ARTLURKER

A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

DEFACTO

Courtesy Ella de Burca in collaboration with SPRINGBREAK.

A response to the exhibition ‘defacto’ by Ella de Burca in collaboration with SPRINGBREAK. The exhibition took form as a daily 6 hour walk during gallery hours in February 2012. ARTLURKER asked the collaborative to respond to the exhibition. The following text, direct quotes taken from Guy Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’, Georgio Agamben’s ‘The Coming Community’ and Seth Price’s ‘Dispersion’ was the result. By adding direction lines and emotion ques a hypothetical conversation was created.

DEFACTO

EPISODE ONE: [PATHOS]

SCENE 1:

MIAMI BEACH BOARDWALK
INCREDIBLY SUNNY WEATHER

[A MAN IS SELLING COCONUTS TO THIRSTY BEACH-GOERS ON THE BUSY BOARDWALK. PEOPLE GATHER AROUND AND WATCH AS HE PERFORMS THE TASK OF PREPARING THE RIPE FRUIT FOR CONSUMPTION. HE METICULOUSLY CRACKS OPEN THE SHELL, PEELS OFF THE TOP LAYER WITH HIS STRONG HANDS, AND STICKS A STRAW IN IT, PRESENTING IT TO A CURIOUS LITTLE GIRL IN A PINK HAT. SHE CARRIES IT DELIGHTEDLY TOWARDS HER PARENTS. THE MAN’S EYES FOLLOW HER, PLEASED. HIS ATTENTION IS CAUGHT BY THREE STRANGE LOOKING MEN IN THE DISTANCE, WALKING SLOWLY TOWARDS HIM, DEEP IN CONVERSATION]

CUT TO

[GUY DEBORD, GEORGIO AGAMBEN AND SETH PRICE WALKING, PRICE IN THE MIDDLE WITH DEBORD ON THE SIDE NEAREST THE SEA. ALL THREE MEN ARE BAREFOOT, DRESSED SOMEWHAT INAPPROPRIATELY FOR THE HOT WEATHER IN STIFF CITY CLOTHES]

GEORGIO AGAMBEN: [SPEAKS SOFTLY] [...] but the life that begins on Earth after the last day is simply human life. 1

[LOOKS TOWARDS SKY]

SETH PRICE: [MATTER-OF-FACT, EXPRESSING WORDS WITH HANDS] The problem arises when the constellation of critique, publicity, and discussion around the work is at least as charged as a primary experience of the work [...] Does one have an obligation to view the work first-hand? What happens when a more intimate, thoughtful, and enduring understanding comes from mediated discussions of an exhibition, rather than from a direct experience of the work? 2

[GEORGIO LOOKS TOWARDS SETH]

GEORGIO AGAMBEN: [KNOWINGLY] if we try to grasp a concept as such, it is fatally transformed into an object, [...] and the price we pay is no longer being able to distinguish it from the conceived thing. 3

[GUY TAKES A LEAF FROM A BUSH AS HE PASSES BY]

GUY DEBORD: [INSPECTING LEAF, INTROSPECTIVE AND SPEAKING QUIETLY] With writing there appears a consciousness that is no longer carried and trans­mitted directly among the living – an impersonal memory, the memory of the administration of society. 4

GEORGIO AGAMBEN: [FROWNING] [...] if the word through which a thing is expressed were either something other than the thing itself or identical to it, then it would not be able to express the thing. 5

[GUY STARTS TEARING APART THE LEAF AS HE SPEAKS]

GUY DEBORD: [SADLY, WITH EMOTION] [...] in societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. [...] everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation. 6

[SCATTERS THE BITS OF THE LEAF ON THE BOARDWALK]

GEORGIO AGAMBEN: [SOFTLY EMPATHIZING] The name always and only names things [...] 7

[GUY RUBS HIS FACE AND LOOKS TOWARDS THE SEA]

[THEY WALK IN SILENCE, THINKING]

SETH PRICE: [EMPHATICALLY] One must return to Fountain, the most notorious and most interesting of the ready-mades, to see that the gesture does not simply raise epistemological questions about the nature of art, but enacts the dispersion of objects into discourse [...]

[GUY AND GEORGIO LOOK AT SETH]

[...] the power of the ready-made is that no one needs to make the pilgrimage to see Fountain [...] few people saw the original Fountain in 1917. Never exhibited, and lost or destroyed almost immediately, it was actually created through Duchamp’s media manipulations [...] In Fountain’s elegant model, the artwork does not occupy a single position in space and time; rather, it is a palimpsest of gestures, presentations, and positions.

[SETH TAKES A MOMENT TO BREATHE, LOOKS AT THE SEA, AND BEING AS YET UNINTERRUPTED, CONTINUES]

[...] distribution is a circuit of reading, and there is huge potential for subversion when dealing with the institutions that control definitions of cultural meaning. 8

GUY DEBORD: [FIRM] But even when such a society has developed a technology and a language and is already a product of its own history, it is conscious only of a perpetual present [...]

[PULLS ANOTHER LEAF OFF A BUSH AND HOLDS IT UPWARDS BY THE STEM]

[SPEAKING TO LEAF] [...] knowledge is carried on only by the living, never going beyond the memory of the society’s oldest members. Neither death nor procreation is under­stood as a law of time. Time remains motionless, like an en­closed space [...] 9

GEORGIO AGAMBEN: [QUICKLY INTERRUPTING] [...] this life is purely linguistic life. Only life in the word is undefinable and unforgettable [...]

[LOUDLY] Exemplary being is purely linguistic being. 10

GUY DEBORD: [ENERGIZED BY GEORGIO’S INTERRUPTION] When a more complex society finally becomes conscious of time, it tries to negate it – it views time not as something that passes, but as something that returns. This static type of society organizes time in a cyclical manner, in accordance with its own direct experience of nature. 11

[THE TRIO PASS BY THE COCONUT MAN, WHO IS PREPARING ANOTHER COCONUT FOR A GROUP OF INTERESTED TOURISTS]

SETH PRICE: [GENTLY TAKING THE LEAF FROM GUY] [...] that work which seeks what Allan Kaprow called “the blurring of art and life” work which Boris Groys has called biopolitical, attempting to “produce and document life itself as pure activity by artistic means,” faces the problem that it must depend on a record of its intervention into the world, and this documentation is what is recouped as art, short-circuiting the original intent [...]

[STOPPING MOMENTARILY TO PLACE THE LEAF ON THE BOARDWALK]

[...] Groys sees a disparity thus opened between the work and its future existence as documentation, noting our “deep malaise towards documentation and the archive.” 12

GUY DEBORD: [LOOKING TOWARDS THE SEA DEFEATEDLY] [...] historical thought is still a consciousness that always ar­rives too late, a consciousness that can only formulate retro­spective justifications of what has already happened. It has thus gone beyond separation only in thought. 13

SETH PRICE: [LOOKS AT GUY ENCOURAGINGLY] The last hundred years of work indicate that it’s demonstrably impossible to destroy or dematerialize Art, which, like it or not, can only gradually expand, voraciously synthesizing every aspect of life [...] Meanwhile, we can take up the redemptive circulation of allegory through design, obsolete forms and historical moments, genre and the vernacular, the social memory woven into popular culture: a private, secular, and profane consumption of media [...]

[SMILING] Production, after all, is the excretory phase in a process of appropriation. 14

GUY DEBORD: [ADMITTINGLY] [...] the spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes images. 15

GEORGIO AGAMBEN: [LOOKING DOWN] [...] the spectacle is nothing but the pure form of separation. When the real world is transformed into an image, and images become real, the practical power of humans is separated from itself and presented as a world unto itself [...] In the figure of this world separated and organized by the media in which the forms of the state and the economy are interwoven, the mercantile economy attains the status of absolute and irresponsible sovereignty over all social life.

[SPEAKING SLOWER, AND LOOKING AT THE OTHERS] [...] after having falsified all of its production it can now manipulate collective perception and take control of social memory and social communication, transforming them into a single spectacular commodity where everything can be called into question except the spectacle itself, which as such, says nothing but [GESTURING] ‘what appears is good, what is good appears.’ 16

[ALL THREE SMILE]

SETH PRICE: [CURIOUSLY] Is it incumbent upon the consumer to bear witness, or can one’s art experience derive from magazines, the Internet, books, and conversation? 17

GEORGIO AGAMBEN: [THOUGHTFULLY, AND GESTURING WITH HANDS TO EXPLAIN] The being-such of each thing is the idea. It is as if the form, the knowability, the features of every entity were detached from it, not as another thing, but as an intention, an angel, an image. The mode of being of this intention is neither a simple existence nor a transcendence, it is a paraexistence or a paratranscendence that dwells beside the thing (in all the sense of the prefix “para”) so close that it almost merges with it, giving it a halo. It is not the identity of the thing and yet it is nothing other than the thing (it is none-other) [...] An eternal as-suchness. This is the idea. 18

SETH PRICE: [LAUGHS] What a time you chose to be born! 19

FADE OUT

THE CHARACTERS CONTINUE WALKING INTO THE DISTANCE BUT THE CAMERA STAYS STILL

FADE OUT

END SCENE

Footnotes:

1: Georgio Agamben. The Coming Community. Translated by Micheal Hardt.2007. http://www.mediafire.com/?wxmwgw2tddm P 14

2: Seth Price. http://www.distributedhistory.com/Dispersion2008.pdf

3: Georgio Agamben. ibid p 81

4: Guy Debord. Society of the Spectacle. Translated by Ken Knabb. http://www.mediafire.com/?59ky4v5ngqv5s47 p77

5: Agamben. ibid p 81

6: Debord. ibid p 7

7: Agamben. ibid p 97

8: Price. ibid

9: Debord. ibid. p 73

10: Agamben. ibid p 17

11: Debord. ibid p 73

12: Price. ibid

13: Debord. ibid p 39

14: Price. ibid.

15: Debord. ibid. p 34

16: Agamben. ibid. p 86

17: Price. ibid.

18: Agamben. ibid. p 108

19: Price. ibid.

This post was contributed by Ella de Burca in collaboration with SPRINGBREAK.

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DEFACTO