Literature, a History of the Moment & Spacing Out:
Writing in Response to 3 Performance Artworks

Infinite regress of texts within texts in literature
Literary works are never contemporary. That is, they’re never just about the contemporary moment. Rather, texts engage in intertextual weaving with other texts that came before it. If one reads the spaces characters inhabit, and how the author builds these spaces, we often see other textual spaces patched in, and sometimes we trace an infinite regress of texts within texts, linking minds to one another through the millennia.

Daisuke Takeya’s performance artwork Borderland embeds within it a former time as a set of spaces. These spaces of hunting rituals performed until the early Edo period populate the natural space with its babbling brook, long green grasses, a stand of coniferous trees, and birdsong. The artist uses a simple white step ladder to recreate the central festival of old, with its staircase-shaped pier surrounding the ritual ground. The use of permutational movement, of multiple crossings over the brook, first over the stepladder, then through the brook itself, then over it again, but with the artist on his belly…we see a crossing, between texts, between selves. The visual effect of this piece elevates the performance beyond the history of its moments, into our

A history of the moment
Performance artworks are a history of the moment they occur in. The epistemological clarity of the artist is extremely important, and so is that of the writer responding to the ‘text’ of a performance. Moments are only present, they have no past or future, and so a moment’s history would have to deploy along a spatial axis. A performance artwork, then, is a series of contiguous moments which can only be spoken of in terms of how the body moves through space, of how the body and objects interact, and how spaces are imbedded within spaces. Performance artworks hold spaces within spaces, historical accounts linking the mind of the artist to itself, from moment to moment.

Urich Lau’s performance artwork consists in 24 hours of CCTV footage of his studio. I received four short clips, the most mature of which was 9 seconds long. There appears to be no thought or intention, but rather an abandonment of thought and intention, the artwork marking a border at which the abandonment took place, i.e. when the artist decided to package this footage as an artwork. We are left to guess at what is technical, and what is creative in terms of thinking, feeling, images, and communication. As a performance artwork, Lau embeds spaces within spaces, monitors within monitors within monitors. No narrative between screens, images, cuts, splices, frames, or streams is pretended. We smell loneliness, isolation, involution…

Spacing out
Disambiguation of the Interval (4th essay), a performance artwork by Graciela Ovejelo Postigo is the most classical and writerly of the three performances I write in response to here. Like Ulrich Lau, the artist has scripted the camera into their performance. Whereas the camera and its tell-tale screen were more vocal than the mind in Lau’s work, here in Postigo’s work, the camera breathes apace with the artist as a second mind, as a pen scrawling marks across the page of the performance text. We consider the space the camera holds, the space which slips past the camera, leaking outside the frame of the artist’s mind, into our mind. As she writes: “The physical space is cut by the framing of the camera, the visual thought and the spatial and sequential magnetic drive that affect the acting body, are activated in a double dimension, anticipating the trace in simultaneity.”

Postigo’s histories are epic. Objects pregnant with agency, the artist wears them, tears them, walks upon them, crumbles up their empty stories, “in the virtual field of the possible encounters of this present, phantasmagorical evidence of the ghost.” The performance artwork is not present. That is, it is only in that moment. We must study how the artist builds her spaces, how one space reflects upon another, embeds within the next space, as a history of moments linking the artist’s mind to the mind of the camera, to our bi-cameral seeing of old and increasingly viral moments.










グラシエラ・オベヘロ・ポスティゴによるパフォーマンス・アート作品【Disambiguation of the Interval(第4回エッセイ)】は、私がここで回答を書いている3つのパフォーマンスの中で、最も古典的で作家的なものです。ユーリック・ラウのように、このアーティストはカメラをパフォーマンスの中に脚本化しています。ラウの作品では、カメラとそれを示すスクリーンが心よりも声を出していましたが、ポスティゴの作品では、カメラは第二の心として、パフォーマンス・テキストのページにマークを書き入れるペンとして、アーティストと一緒に呼吸しています。私たちは、カメラが保持する空間、カメラをすり抜けてアーティストの心のフレームの外に漏れ出し、私たちの心の中に入ってくる空間について考えます。彼女の記述によれば、「物理的な空間は、カメラのフレーミングによって切り取られ、視覚的な思考と、演技する身体に影響を与える空間的・順序的な磁気的駆動力は、二重の次元で活性化され、同時性の中で痕跡を先取りする。」というものです。

ポスティゴの歴史は壮大です。エージェンシーを孕んだオブジェクトを、アーティストは身につけ、引き裂き、その上を歩き、空虚な物語を崩していきます。「この現在の可能な出会いの仮想フィールドで、幽霊の幻影的な証拠 」として。パフォーマンス・アートは存在しません。その瞬間にしか存在しないのです。私たちは、アーティストがどのように空間を構築するのか、ある空間がどのように他の空間を反映し、次の空間の中に埋め込まれるのかを、アーティストの心とカメラの心、そして私たちの古い、そしてますますウイルス化していく瞬間の両眼的な見方を結びつける瞬間の歴史として研究しなければなりません。

Performance at Distance

Urich Lau – Virtual Reverie for Life Circuit (VC_VT_LC)
Graciela Ovejero Postigo – Disambiguation of the Interval (4th essay) 
Daisuke Takeya – Borderland

Biography 略歴

Sophia Kidd (United States)

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