Vinter på Solsidan

Efter en paus på flera veckor under julhelgen är jag tillbaka till Stockholm, och tillbaka till mitt lilla rum på Solsidan. På hösten startade jag en bildserie genom att spela in tre sekvenser på en minut från tre olika platser utanför huset, mot viken, och så en bild av gungan. Att hitta en stor fin gunga i tallen utanför terrassen kändes som ett gott tecken, för en gunga är det jag senast använt både under Ormens år 2013-2014 på ön Stora Räntan (som blev till ett antal videoarbeten, se nedan) och i några föreställningar där jag spelat in folk som gungat i gungan och så projicerat en video av dem på samma plats oh försökt gunga i takt med dem. Så det är klart att jag ville använda gungan också, mest för skojs skull, ändå.

När jag återvände efter julhelgen hade jag visserligen kameran med mig, men tänkte att jag inte skulle fortsätta med vyerna från hösten, utan sätta igång med intervjuer kring profilområdena istället. Men när jag såg den snöiga trädgården ville jag givetvis fortsätta. Och dessutom hade jag möjligheten att dröja kvar på Solsidan lite längre på morgonen och vänta att det blev ordentligt ljust. Nästa vecka måste jag iväg mycket tidigare, så jag måste välja ifall jag vill ta två helt mörka bilder eller ifall jag bara hoppar över de morgnarna helt enkelt – men den tiden den sorgen. Just nu är jag nöjd med mina tre vita morgnar. Havet har inte frusit än, trots att det rykte om det på morgonen. Kanske det inte fryser alls, eller så får jag vänta på det ännu några veckor….

Den första bilden tar jag direkt från terrassen, den andra vid trappan lite längre ut i trädgården, den tredje nere vid bastuterrassen. Och så gungan, rätt nära, med kamerastativet i blomsterrabatten. Bilderna är stillbilder från videon, här förminskade förstås:

P1010583

P1010584

P1010585

P1010586

Och som en “förklaring” till min fascination beträffande gungor, några länkar till tidigare arbeten med en gunga:

Year of the Snake Swinging (mini) 2014 (3 min. 6 sec.) HD 16:9

Year of the Snake – In the Swing 2014 (16 min.8 sec.) HD 16:9
Day and Night of the Snake – Swinging 2014 (6 min. 46 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Porches 2014 (2 min. 27 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Silhouette 1 2014 (6 min. 15 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Silhouette 2 2014 (7 min. 21 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Mugoni 2014 (11 min. 46 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Split 2014 (4 min. 6 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Tiburon 2014 (12 min. 29 sec.) HD 16:9

Med flere personer som gungar:

Year of the Snake – Swinging Along 2014 (26 min. 30 sec.) HD 16:9  Year of the Snake – Swinging Along (mix) 2014 (3 min. 40 sec.) HD 16:9

Och live performance med projektion och gunga:

Swinging Tonight 25th July 2014 (1 min 1 sec.)

Swinging in Moonlight 9th August 2014 (4 min 11 sec)

Swinging Together 29 August 2015  (21 min 20 sec)

Live Documentation and other problems

At the so called final seminar organised by doctoral candidate Malin Arnell at Stockholm University of the Arts taking place on 12 October at DOCH in Stockholm I was invited to act as a so called respondent. The material I could base my response on in advance was the text for her previous seminar published in issue, available here (the video link I could unfortunately not access without a password). I was told, however, that she planned to present as much as possible of her work in live form, as performances or events. Thus I decided to prepare some thoughts about liveness and documentation before posing some questions related to context, past legacy of the work as well as expectations regarding the future and continuation of the work. The following text was presented, slightly abbreviated in the moment, as an introduction to the conversation:

Some thoughts on liveness – for Malin

Preamble: Problems related to evaluating and discussing artistic research

To specify a question, problem or topic, or specific plan for artistic research is not only an academic convention, it can also be very helpful if you want to reach beyond the personal as an artist and to be assessed for what you are actually trying to do. Without a specific research problem or topic one easily starts to discuss the whole artistic oevre and production of an artist, and conflates the artist and the artwork more than what is necessary. Some conflations are inevitable, and according to feminist stand point epistemologies desirable, but in artistic research part of the identity business and myth making, which is necessary for the art market could (and in my opinion should) be avoided.

To focus on either 1) the experimental dimension of artistic research, which tries to invent and create new or alternative practices, and then shares the road to those inventions or 2) the articulation and critique of tacit knowledge involved in existing (personal or common) artistic practices, helps in reaching beyond the connoisseur -dimension of evaluation. Without some form of stated goal that can be reached or not as basis for evaluation, some claim, however small or modest, to a contribution to knowledge, understanding or even knowhow, evaluation necessarily boils down to issues of preference and taste and questions of more or less good or bad art. For many artists the reason to engage in artistic research in the first place is related to a wish to reach beyond these often rather arbitrary power plays, in order to explore, question and share what is really important for them.

On Liveness and Documentation

The problem of ephemerality and documentation is a joint and traditional topic for performance art and for practice as research in performance, or artistic research, as it is called here. In practice as research multimodal documentation has been understood as an equivalent to and a surrogate for the written text, enabling some form of dissemination and archiving over time. (Rye 2003) The early discussion of how documentation relates to practice as research in the UK, is summarized by Piccini and Rye (2009). Another discussion concerns the role of documentation in performance art. In orthodox or traditional body art like Gina Pane’s, in some sense, the live moment is often emphasized. The action is nevertheless often performed for the camera while the audience witnessing the event takes a secondary position and the relationship between the artist and the photographer is a symbiotic one (See “Art Lies and Videotape”, George 2003). This is paradoxically because of the liveness and the unrepeatability of the action, since evidence is needed that the action took place. And scholars like Amelia Jones (1990) have insisted that performance art can be studied based on photographic documentation.

The problem of liveness can be approached via the debate in performance studies, starting with Peggy Phelan’s assertion in 1993 that performances cannot be documented or reproduced without becoming something else:

“Performance’s only life is in the present. Performance cannot be saved, recorded, documented or otherwise participate in the circulation of representations of representations: once it does so, it becomes something other than performance. To the degree that performance attempts to enter the economy of reproduction it betrays and lessens the promise of its own ontology. Performance’s being, like the ontology of subjectivity proposed here, becomes itself through disappearance.” (Phelan 1993, 146.)

The ensuing debate with Philip Auslander, who claimed (for example in Liveness 1999) that performance in itself is technique of mediation and many forms of media are also ephemeral was continued by Rebecca Schneider in 2001 who pointed out that performance remains. Performances are actually often mnemonic techniques, and if we think of classical ballet or some folk dance traditions they are really preservation devices. As Diana Taylor noted in her Archive and the Repertory in 2003, western colonizers tended to value the archive (of documents) over the (embodied) repertory and could thus exclude indigenous populations from decision-making and power. Recently Susan Foster has critiqued the trend of re-performances for being ignorant of this debate (a critique I have only second hand information of, though). The problem of performance practices as carriers of knowledge is their inherent conservatism. In order to be useful as mnemonic devises, the performances have to strive to remain the same; they must be repeated for maintenance…

On the other hand liveness can be problematized in a more phenomenological sense, as has been done by Auslander in his overview from 2008. He utilises discussions within music, where various categories of liveness can be distinguished and refers to media studies where liveness has more and more come to mean temporal co-presence rather than spatial co-presence. For instance Margaret Morse has suggested that today interaction is crucial for our understanding of liveness. And I have argued that this focus on interaction, including on-line liveness or group-liveness, as proposed by Nick Couldry, is radically transforming our understanding of what liveness and being alive means. (Arlander 2012) More of this later.

In performance art the problem of documentation is a paradox related to the art institution and the art market, which need something to display, to archive and to sell. In artistic research the problem is related to examination and assessment, to dissemination and to archiving, as well as to the idea that research is involved in creating or producing knowledge in an accumulative manner. Current research builds on, criticises and corrects previous research, and serves as a starting point for future research. For this task of knowledge transmission over time, the written text has been a fairly efficient technology. Since text obviously has some limitations, and literacy is also a very class based privilege, looking for alternatives have been understood as important. Many visual and performing artists have turned to art exactly in order to avoid the linguistic dominance that used to prevail in our culture. (One could of course claim that it has been succeeded by a visual dominance today). Alternative techniques of documentation, like audio-visual recordings and of publication, including web-based publication formats (like the Research Catalogue devoted explicitly to publishing artistic research) are investigated and explored. Artistic researchers have been pioneers in these attempts within humanities and social sciences. In the natural sciences various forms of demonstrations, diagrams and visualisations have long been in use. Sometimes the question is not so much whether to use text or other modes, but what kind of text. And here Karen Barad’s notion material-discursive practices can be very helpful. There are no material practices without a discursive dimension, nor discursive practices without a material aspect, she points out (Barad 2003; 2007). Our task is to analyse and unpack the entanglements involved.

In discussions on performance documentation and on the changing notions of the live and the mediated, questions of the organically alive, the animate and the inanimate, are rarely posed. Nor is the importance of a living environment usually emphasized when the live encounter between performer and spectator is stressed. According to Teresa Brennan (2000), known to performance scholars mainly through André Lepecki (2006), whose book Exhausting Dance is referencing Brennan’s Exhausting Modernity – Grounds for a New Economy, we should take seriously the indissolubility of individual and environment. According to her our tendency to assume ourselves as subjects in a world of objects is intensified in a manmade environment. Surrounded by commodities, which function like fantasies, the subject is more likely to see what it has made, rather than feel itself to be connected with, or part of, what has made it. New materialists like Jane Bennett (2010) have of course contested a sharp distinction between the animate and the inanimate. The environment we live in has an impact on our sense of what is alive, and of liveness, too. Documenting a live performance means that we make it inanimate, in order to thus preserve its life, in some form, for posterity.

Another dimension is the relationship between the live and the mediated in performance summarized by Philip Auslander (2008), who claims that there can be no unmediated performances, since performances are actually techniques of mediation in a broader sense. He describes the concept of liveness as a moving target, though the word live is traditionally used to refer to a performance heard or watched at the time of its occurrence, as distinguished from one recorded on film, tape etc. Though we can speak of so called live recordings as well. Auslander presents Steve Wurzler’s schema, which distinguishes between three different types of liveness, based on the spatial or temporal co-presence between performers and audience. The first mode, the so called classical live, is based on temporal and spatial co-presence. The second form of live is based on temporal simultaneity, like in the use of telephone, “live” radio, “live” television, and so forth. The audience witnesses the performance as it happens, but performers and spectators are not spatially co-present. The third form of live is based on temporal anteriority and spatial co-presence, as in lip-synching or stadium replays, where the audience is spatially present but hears what has been recorded previously. The fourth category, the recorded (or the non-live), is based on temporal anteriority and spatial absence, as in motion pictures or film, recorded radio and television. The audience shares neither the temporal frame nor the physical location with the performers and experiences the performance later. Many performances end up in this category sooner or later, via documentation in some form, for instance as video clips on Youtube or images on Instagram.

Another way of looking at the spatial-temporal schema is to think of it in terms of representation and presentation, following Margaret Morse in her seminal text on the space of video-installations. (1990) Representation and presentation are often discussed in the sense of representation portraying or standing for something that is not present (i.e., words, signs, etc.), whereas presentation is referred to as displaying something “as it is” (i.e., color, sound, etc.). But we can think of representation-presentation in terms of time and space as well. For example, narratives use representations of “there at that time” as in “once upon a time there was,” whereas performance art and real time video try to present the “here and now.” Other combinations are possible, too. We could say “here at that time” is the logic of heritage sites, while “there now” is the logic of the telephone or webcam. The latter coincides with Wurtzler’s second form of liveness described above. Whereas a traditional live performance takes place “here and now,” video installations, for instance, mostly deal with “there at that time.” Such a neat division, however, is crumbling today. Auslander refers to recent work by media theorist Margaret Morse, who insists that our understanding of liveness is increasingly produced by temporal (rather than spatial) co-presence, and through an entity’s ability to interact with us and respond to us. Moreover, he cites Nick Couldry, who proposes online liveness and group liveness to be new forms of liveness. Couldry maintains that the experience of liveness in these cases is not limited to specific performer-audience interactions, but to “the feeling of always being connected to other people, of continuous, technologically mediated co-presence with others known and unknown.” The word “live” thus increasingly refers to connections and interactions between human and nonhuman agents.

And here the relevance of Brennan’s ideas can be considered once more. Our understanding of liveness as interaction could be conditioned by the foundational fantasy, seeing ourselves as subjects in a world of objects that are supposed to serve us and respond to our needs. If the experience of liveness is understood more and more as a function of interaction, of receiving a response from a technological device that simulates the reactions of a living entity, how does this alter our relationship to living beings that do not respond to us in an instant? A robot will surpass a tree in terms of immediate interactivity, to be sure, and also help maintaining the foundational fantasy. If we expect the world to constantly respond to us, in order for it to feel alive to us, this will alter our relationship to the environment. How can we appreciate creatures that are not mammals or machines and somehow recognizable as potential co-performers interacting with us, if we do not feel them to be alive? A tree is very much alive, though it cannot provide us with the experience of liveness as interaction. Some kind of interaction is actually taking place, in an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, for instance, but on a microscopic scale that is imperceptible to us, or on an energetic level, as Brennan proposes.

According to Brennan, we respond energetically to our environment, consciously or not. Moreover, the energetic connection between individuals and the environment has reciprocal consequences; psychical and contemplative resistance will also have effects, she claims. If we take seriously the indissolubility of the individual and the environment, then every action and every thought will necessarily have an effect. Her assertion that every action and every thought has an effect is alarming and potentially reassuring. Our ways of making art and research do make a difference. What we repeat, and how we repeat it, has an impact.

Performative research?

Another way of looking at the problem of documentation is precisely through the idea of consequences or effect. If we think of artistic research as performative research, a specific research paradigm distinguishable from qualitative research, as Brad Haseman (2006) and Barbara Bolt (2008) have argued, it will have implications for how we look at the impact of such work. If we accept that performative research does not describe phenomena but actually creates or shapes them – like a performative utterance, which does not describe phenomena (as constative utterances do) but actually does something in the world – we must commence our analysis by trying to articulate what a specific research project has accomplished. According to Bolt the effects or consequences of a creative research project can be discursive, material or affective. But how we might evaluate these “effects” remains open. Bolt suggests that “[t]he problem for the creative arts researcher is recognizing and mapping the transformations that have occurred.” (Bolt 2008) From the point of view of the artist and author there are mainly two indicators of transformation or impact: one’s own experience and feedback from viewers. And in addition we have the possible material effects on the environment. Therefore I have suggested that we distinguish between 1) impact on the performer and 2) impact on the viewer or participator or the audience, as well as consider the 3) consequences of the working process in addition to the 4) consequences of the work itself. The working process might, for instance, produce unwelcome side-effects, like a possible heap of waste, not considered to be part of the actual work. (Arlander 2012)

So what is the effect of this action or event? Should we think of effect in terms of the “results” of an agenda, or rather as “damage” to a previous situation of affairs? Or as a sensory and affective “experience” tasted by the participants (including the performers)? Or should we think of effect in terms of what remained undone due to this event? What did not take place because this action took place? That is a question almost impossible to answer.

What are the possible (or intended) effects on current discourses on art or artistic research? What other discursive fields or discussions does the work address itself to? What is the impact of the creation process? What is the damage to the environment, the affective benefit or damage to the participants, and so on? If we follow Bolt we should consider the material, affective and discursive effects of the work, the transformations that have occurred. And in my opinion we should look beyond the work to the process, too. The artist who claims to do artistic research cannot leave this analysis to critics, curators or posterity, like an ordinary artist might choose to do. She or he needs to choose the focus. And looking at and articulating the transformations closest to home, for instance those that have taken place in the artist’s own thinking, is one relevant option. The impact of an artwork (like of all artworks capable of producing new events) cannot be determined in advance. Whether these events will produce strong material, discursive or affective reactions or other effects, is not clear, yet. Fortunately their future and potential impacts remain open. Paradoxically and problematically their survival and future life depends to a large extent on their existence in the form of documentations or descriptions in some form.

 

Sources:

George, Adrian. 2003. (ed.). Art, Lies and Videotape: exposing performance. Liverpool: Tate Liverpool.

Arlander, Annette. 2014. “From interaction to intra-action in performing landscape”. In: Beatriz Revellez Benavente, Ana M. Gonzalez Ramos, Krizia Nardini (coord.). “New feminist materialism: engendering an ethic-onto-epistemological methodology”. Artnodes. No. 14, p. 26-34. http://journals.uoc.edu/index.php/artnodes/issue/view/n14

Arlander, Annette. 2012. “Performing Landscape: Live and Alive” Total Art Journal Vol. 2. 2012. http://totalartjournal.com/archives/3201/annette-arlander/

Auslander, Philip. 1999. Liveness. London and New York: Routledge.

Auslander, Philip. 2006. “The Performativity of Performance Documentation,” Performing Arts Journal 84 volume 28 no 3. New York: MIT Press Journals, September 2006, 1-10.

Auslander, Philip. 2008. “Live and Technologically Mediated Performance,” Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies, edited by Tracy C. Davis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 107-119.

Barad, Karen. 2003. ”Posthumanist performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter”. – Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 28, no. 3, 801–831.

Barad, Karen. 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway. Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Bolt, Barbara. 2008. “A Performative Paradigm for the Creative Arts?” Working Papers in Art and Design, volume 5 (2008). Available at https://www.herts.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/12417/WPIAAD_vol5_bolt.pdf

Borgdorff, Henk. 2009. “Artistic Research as Boundary Work”. In Corina Caduff, Fiona Siegenthaler, Tan Wälchi (eds.), Art and Artistic Research. Zürich Yearbook of the Arts Vol 6.

Brennan, Teresa. 2000. Exhausting Modernity: Grounds for a New Economy New York: Routledge.

Couldry, Nick. “Liveness, ‘Reality’ and the Mediated Habitus from Television into Mobile Phone.” In The Communication Review 7 (2004): 356-7.

Haseman, Brad. 2006. “A Manifesto for Performative Research.” In Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, theme issue “Practice-led-Research,” no. 118 (2006): 98-106.

Jones, Amelia. 1990. Body Art / Performing The Subject. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Lepecki, André. 2006. Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement. New York and London: Routledge.

Morse, Margaret,. 1990. “Video Installation Art: The Body, the Image, the Space-in-between.” In Illuminating Video: An Essential Guide to Video Art, edited by Dough Hall and Sally Jo Fifer Reading, PA: Aperture.

Phelan, Peggy. 1993. Unmarked. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Piccini, Angela and Caroline Rye. 2009. “Of Fevered Archives and The Quest for Total Documentation.” In Practice as Research in Performance and Screen, edited by Alleghue, Jones, Kershaw and Piccini. Basingstoke Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 34-49.

Rye, Caroline. 2003. “Incorporating Practice: A multi-viewpoint approach to performance documentation.” Journal of Media Practice 3(2) 2003, 115-123. Available at http://www.researchgate.net/publication/249918283_Incorporating_practice_A_multi-viewpoint_approach_to_performance_documentation

Schneider, Rebecca. 2001. “Archives – Performance remains.” Performance Research Vol 6. N 2, 100-108.

Taylor, Diana. 2003. The Archive and the Repertory. London and New York: Routledge.

Wurtzler, Steve. 1992. “She Sang Live, but the Michrophone was Turned Off: The Live, the Recorded, and the Subject of Representation.” In Sound Theory Sound Practice, edited by Rick Altman. New York and London: Routledge, 87-105.

Kan konst rädda världen genom andning?

Förra året fick jag information om seminarier med den vid första ögonkastet skrattretande rubriken kan konst rädda världen. Men rubriken var raffig nog att stanna i minnet. Och nu, igår, vad jag med om mitt första seminarium i den serien, som moderator! Se förhandsinformationen. Tillställningen var gemytlig för den här gången hade rubriken inte lockat några större folkmängder, de inblandade, ett par lärarkolleger, ett par utomstående intresserade, det var allt. Men det var en början på samtal med fokus på några kärnkoncept. Samtalet var avspänt, publiken ställde vettiga frågor beträffande presentationernas relation till konstnärlig forskning. Jag bifogar här nedan inledningen som jag skrivit på förhand, men det är faktiskt bara inledningen. Själva diskussionen var mer fokuserad på det praktiska i undervisningen.

28-10-2015

Kan konst rädda världen (genom) andning?

Välkommen till det här samtalet, som är en fortsättning på serien Kan konst rädda världen? från förra året, men nu med fokusering på några kärnbegrepp, som just andning, idag. Den här gången sker diskussionen på svenska. Jag heter Annette Arlander och är för närvarande gästprofessor här på Stockholms Konstnärliga Högskola och kommer att fungera som moderator. Panelen idag består av experter från de olika högskolorna.

Andreas Berchtold, lektor i folkdans, från DOCH

Pia Olby, lektor i sånggestaltning, StDH

Karin Rudfeldt, lektor i språklig gestaltning, StDH

Tyvärr är undervisningspersonalen på Operahögskolan på en studieresa just idag, så det finns ingen representant därifrån idag. Men vi kommer säkert att ha mycket att prata om ändå.

Programmet i dag är följande:

Först ger jag en kort introduktion och lite bakgrund till temat andning, varför tala om andning idag… Sedan får vi höra korta presentationer av experterna i panelen om andningen i deras undervisning och forskning. Sedan ber jag paneldeltagarna kommentera varandras inlägg. Och så öppnar vi samtalet till alla de närvarande…

Andningen är ett tema som diskuterats här på forskningsavdelningen innan jag kom med i bilden, men som jag ivrigt nappade på, eftersom jag skrivit om andning i anknytning till min forskning, och för att andningen varit en viktig del-teknik i mina försök att uppföra landskap. Helt personligt kom jag i kontakt med andningens mångbottnade betydelse då jag slutade röka för mer än tio år sedan. Det blev möjligt att sluta först då jag insett att jag behövde kedjeröka för att känna att jag andades. Vilken paradox, att förgifta sig själv för att uppleva njutningen i att andas. För en performance vid den tiden, år 2004, som sedan blev ett videoarbete, skrev jag ett kort recept (på engelska):

Take a scarf, Go to the shore, Stand at the shore.

Look at the horizon, Look at the water’s surface, Breathe.

Until your eyes rest, Until your mind rests, Until you are cold, tired, having enough.

Take the same scarf, Go to the same shore, Stand at the shore.

Look at the horizon, Look at the water’s surface. Breathe.

And so on.

Det höll jag på med ett år. Andning handlar om upprepning. Vi andas in och ut, om och om igen. Och om vi andas långsammare blir vi ofta lugnare. Andningen bjuder på en väldigt privat, intim och personlig utgångspunkt som samtidigt är helt allmän och gäller alla, eller de flesta former av liv. Andning är en kärnfunktion för livet på den här planeten, åtminstone i dess nuvarande syre-baserade form. Inte enbart människor utan djur och växter andas, till och med haven andas, mer eller mindre väl beroende på luftkvalitén.

Vi måste andas, och ifall vi upphör att andas, dör vi snabbt. Att beröva någon möjlighet att andas fritt är en form av tortyr. Och det kan ske också på ett mer symboliskt plan. Igår fick jag höra om ett föredrag, som den italienska aktivistveteranen Franco ”Bifo” Berardi skall hålla i Köpenhamn om några dagar, med rubriken “I can’t breathe” kring anding, poesi, kroppen och den astmatiska samtida kapitalismen. Det är en bra fråga; varför är det så svårt för många att andas idag?

Andningen binder oss tillsammans med andra livsformer. Med växterna lever vi i en symbios, för de producerar syre som en biprodukt av sin fotosyntes, syre som vi och andra djur förbrukar då vi andas, och vi producerar som slaggprodukt den koldioxid som växterna i sin tur binder i sin fotosyntes. Men det är också fascinerande att tänka hur vi alla i detta rum andas samma luft, och på så sätt blandas ihop, åtminstone på molekylnivå. Andningen är ett bra exempel på hur svårt det är att sätta skarpa gränser mellan individ och omgivning. Luften jag andas in är en del av mig, och när jag andas ut den blir den en del av omgivningen, och snart en del av dig, och så mig igen…

Förutom denna biologiska och ekologiska dimension associerar andningen till det andliga, till andakt. Den franska feministfilosofen Luce Irigaray har hävdat att vi lever i andens och andningens epok, i Andningens Tidevarv (le temps du souffle). Som arvtagare till den katolska kristna kulturen ser hon vår tid som en andens tid. Efter gamla testamentet som var faderns tid, och nya testamentet som var sonens tid är vi nu inne i den heliga andens tid, som hon dock försöker förstå på ett mer globalt sätt. Andningen ser hon som en aspekt som förenar många olika andliga traditioner. “Genom att kultivera andningen kan vi få tillgång till vår egen autonomi; öppna vägar för ny tillblivelse och för att dela med andra traditioner.” (Irigaray 2004, 146) Hon betonar i synnerhet vikten av att kvinnor tar vara på sin andning, tar tid åt sig att andas, att vara för sig själv, med sig själv. Andningen är grunden och garantin för vår självständighet. Att andas själv är vår första gärning som individer då vi föds…

Att Irigaray så starkt betonar det individuella känns rätt paradoxalt idag, i en tid som så framhäver individen och illusionen av ett autonomt och oberoende jag. Men hon talar globalt till kvinnorna, som ofta har som uppgift att upprätthålla den illusionen för andra. Och det kan förstås som ett led i hennes försök att förstärka kvinnornas tro på sig själva och sin rätt till ett eget liv. Irigaray förespråkar ett kultiverande av andningen, en andningens kultur som kunde garantera kvinnorna rätt till självständighet och ett inre liv, två nödvändiga förutsättningar för subjektivitet. (Irigaray 2004, 170)

Och här håller jag helhjärtat med. Att koncentrera sig på andningen är ett bra sätt att börja – nästan vad som helst. Och visst föreslår hon också att vi skall andas tillsammans. Enligt Irigaray kan vi fullfölja det mänskliga inom oss genom att återvända till oss själva, att samla oss, och genom att återvända till varandra, att samlas, och genom att vårda vår relation till omgivningen och världen. En möjlighet att öva sig är att hitta nya möjligheter till andakt, till att andas.

Så frågan “kan konst rädda världen genom andning” är inte enbart en poetisk gest, en provokation, eller en dröm om konsten som ett andningshål. Kanske konsten kunde lära oss att andas, visa oss sätt att andas tillsammans, och hjälpa oss att minnas att vi andas samma luft?

Andningen är en funktion som är delvis automatisk, oberoende av vår vilja, och delvis viljestyrd, för vi kan manipulera vår andning. Inom olika former av yoga, meditation och mindfullness är andningen ofta ett centralt redskap. En av orsakerna till att jag i tiden fastnade för astanga yoga var just andningen. I den formen av yogaträning är andningen strikt kontrollerad och synkroniserad med rörelserna, och den kopplingen gör att övningen är väldigt effektiv som stress-reducerande aktivitet även för en nybörjare. Men andningsövningar är också en mer avancerad del av yoga i form av så kallad pranayama, där man tränar förmågan att kontrollera andningen. Många former av meditation börjar med att man följer med andningen, räknar andetagen eller liknande. Att försöka fokusera på andningen är ett sätt att bli medveten om sitt kroppsliga jag i nuet istället för att fladdra iväg med sina tankar eller identifiera sig med sitt inre tal, som ofta håller en fokuserad i huvudet.

Andningen som en genväg till det psykofysiska är något som många konstnärliga tekniker inom olika typer av musik, dans och scenkonst utnyttjar. Inom de performativa konsterna och i olika slags mediala och performativa praktiker är andningen avgörande. Den manipuleras eller kultiveras ofta på varierande och ibland sinsemellan motstridiga sätt. Och det är det vi skall få höra mera om och diskutera idag.

Här ger jag över till experterna….

 

Källor:

Arlander, Annette. 2008 ”Finding your way through the woods–experiences in artistic research” Nordic Theatre Studies Vol. 20. 2008, 28-41.

Arlander, Annette. 2004 ”Day and Night of the Monkey” http://www.av-arkki.fi/en/works/day-and-night-of-the-monkey/

Irigaray, Luce. 2004. “The Age of Breath” i Key Writings, Continuum 2004, p 165-170. Original “Le Temps du Souffle”, 1999, översatt till Engrlska av Katja van de Rakt, Staci Boekman och Luce Irigaray.

First Attempts at Solsidan

On the 21 October 2015, I recorded the view from three spots outside the terrace of the small summer-house I presently live in at Solsidan, near Saltsjöbaden, outside Stockholm. The previous week, while I stayed there a few nights for the first time, I had already chosen the spots, and that morning I only tried to remember which they were. To my surprise there was a beautiful rainbow over the bay, due to the soft drizzle. And something of that rainbow can be seen in the header for this blog, as a sign of good luck to begin with.

After the start in October I have tried to maintain a practice of recording one minute from those three spots every morning I am there. Now, of course, when I am more familiar with the place, I could perhaps choose more interesting spots or a more interesting framing for the images, but I stick to my initial choices. This problem I have experienced before, and one of the reasons for keeping the framing as constant as possible is to avoid searching for the perfect version and instead try to focus on the changes from day-to-day.

There is a swing in an old pine tree in the garden outside the house,  as a nice echo of a project I worked with in 2013-2014 and have occasionally continued with in collaborative versions this year as well. Compared to the tiny blue swing that I first fastened in a small aspen at the western shore of Harakka Island in Helsinki, and then carried with me to various sites on my travels (see links to works at the end) , this swing is big and comfortable. I sat in the swing just for fun and did not plan to do anything more –  swinging is something I have done already – but then I kept on ending my recording sessions swinging, with the camera against the wall in the flowerbed. So I had to accept that swinging was there again. Now I am actually working on four different videos, rather than three. Or probably one three channel installation, and then this extra thing with the swing. The following still images correspond roughly with the first video images recorded on 21 October.

_1010204The first image is taken with the tripod on the terrace.
_1010207The second image is taken from the end of the stairs a little below.
_1010208The third image is taken from the terrace of the sauna further down on the slope.
_1010240The fourth extra image with the swing is taken (here on 5 November) with the tripod next to the house again. And this is the only image where I actually enter the image myself, as I usually do. So perhaps that one is the only one to actually survive and develop into something.

This practice of recording the mornings at Solsidan is meant to keep me going while I wait for some brilliant idea to occur. I am waiting for new idead since I do not want to repeat myself, or at least not too much. Well, thinking about it, repeating myself is what this is all about…

Here are some links to previous works – with a swing:

Year of the Snake Swinging (mini) 2014 (3 min. 6 sec.) HD 16:9

Year of the Snake – In the Swing 2014 (16 min.8 sec.) HD 16:9
Day and Night of the Snake – Swinging 2014 (6 min. 46 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Porches 2014 (2 min. 27 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Silhouette 1 2014 (6 min. 15 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Silhouette 2 2014 (7 min. 21 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Mugoni 2014 (11 min. 46 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Split 2014 (4 min. 6 sec.) HD 16:9
Swinging in Tiburon 2014 (12 min. 29 sec.) HD 16:9

With many people swinging:

Year of the Snake – Swinging Along 2014 (26 min. 30 sec.) HD 16:9  Year of the Snake – Swinging Along (mix) 2014 (3 min. 40 sec.) HD 16:9

And performing live with a projection and a swing:

Swinging Tonight 25th July 2014 (1 min 1 sec.)

Swinging in Moonlight 9th August 2014 (4 min 11 sec)

Swinging Together 29 August 2015  (21 min 20 sec)