The written matters

The unstable ‘fictioning’ in performance and philosophy

Tero Nauha

A paper presented at the “Performance Philosophy” panel, with the How To Do Things With Performance? research group at IFTR: Unstable Geographies, Multiple Theatricalities, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, July 10-14, 2017.

The interest in my postdoctoral research is to ask through artistic research, how performance thinks? Can we regard that the different registers do not boil down to one as universal thought, but there still remains a polyvocity of thought? My presentation concerns a term ‘fictioning’, both in performance art practice where bodies are central and with a philosophical thought represented by Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and François Laruelle.

The performance is not fiction, but an indefinite fictioning, i.e., not a narrative way of repeating the same. The fictioning is based on the term fictionale, or philo-fiction, coined by Laruelle[1], which does not position a project about the real, but from the real. Through fictioning, I propose a shift in performative thinking, by which the practice in the world is through ‘fictioning’, in contrast to ‘fiction’ that always resembles the real.

Through abstractions of creating ‘conditions for thought’, the philosopher always returns to the World, as a ‘proper gesture’ of thought, likewise fiction, which has a repetitive relation with the World. But fictioning does not return to the World but remains abstract and in a strict sense does not exist. The fictioning is futuristic in that “not in motion [but] the radical future is a-temporal,”[2] writes Laruelle.

Fictioning is indeterminate, where it does not function through resemblance, analogue or the similarity. Fictioning superposition the polyvocity of gestures of thought. Fictioning is a superposition of ontologically indeterminate states. Performance is not only the body through fiction but performance clones[3] a body in fictioning. There is no first knowledge or ‘standard’ aesthetics about art, but a generation of forms of thought. Fictioning is not an analysis of the world, but an organisation of the matter in the Real, but not in the hierarchical or dichotomist ways. Fictioning has a function as a performative, a creation as an ‘abstract’ practice, where philosophical thought and practice are in superposition.

Simon O’Sullivan writes in his proposition for fictioning as ‘myth-science’ that:

“fictioning inserts itself into the real in this sense—into the world as-it-is (indeed, it collapses the so-called real and the fictional), but, in so doing, it necessarily augments and, indeed, changes our reality (not least as, again, it summons an audience that is appropriate and adequate to it). This is fictioning as mythopoesis: the imaginative transformation of the world through fiction.”[4]

In contrast to this, the ‘sufficient’ world-view regards, that the given world is an abstracted with composite relationships, where there are only possible solutions and options. In other words, the world is a given possibility. However, in relation with the fictioning based on Bergson and Deleuze, as in the previous argument by O’Sullivan, the beings are closed in their own duration, but they have not closed possibilities in the world. The multiplicity of beings differentiate themselves in their actualization, where they are becoming in the movement where they receive material forms, but not through resemblance or as possibilities.

For O’Sullivan, fictioning has a relationship with the virtual, but not through resemblance: the beings or things do not resemble virtuality they embody. The movement is also not predetermined but “created ‘along with’ the act that runs through them”, as Deleuze writes in Bergsonism.[5] The life is a duration of virtual itself. The intelligence captures these movements of other lines of divergence through fabulation, which in terms of Deleuze is a “story-telling function.”[6] Because, as Viveiros de Castro refers to Levi-Strauss that “resemblance has no reality in itself; it is only a particular instance of difference, that in which difference tends toward zero” (2014, 59). The way of resemblance is always a determined way of fiction the reality, where the pre-individual virtuality has indefinite and infinite difference. The fictioning aims to deal with this ‘pure virtuality’ in accepting the indeterminacy of such practice.

The man becomes a creator in this actualization via creative emotion where creation is the process of divergent actualization of the virtual universe and cosmic memory. In What is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari write that

“Creative fabulation has nothing to do with a memory, however exaggerated, or with a fantasy. In fact, the artist, including the novelist, goes beyond the perceptual states and affective transitions of the lived.”[7]

In her recent book, Soul of Documentary (2016) Ilona Hongisto articulates the connection between the term fabulation and documentary cinema. Fabulation is part of the creative processes of interval and a method of thinking in duration. The duration of the different kinds of rhythm and a fabulation is a way to emerge from our own duration to recognize the other durations of different kinds. The creation as fabulation is the capacity to emerge when a singular living beings close themselves.[8] Fabulation is a compositional modality where in documentary cinema:

“it occupies the space in between people who tell stories and the documentary camera that observes these fabulous acts. The relationship between the two creates documentary visions that undo the antagonistic dichotomy between the true and the false,”[9] Hongisto writes.

Following this take on fabulation articulated by Bergson, Deleuze writes how:

“the real character […] himself starts to ‘make fiction,’ when he enters ‘the flagrant offence of making up legends’ and so contributes to the invention of his people,”[10]

which Hongisto clears out how “the flagrant offence of making up legends,” in the French original, “en flagrant délit de” “has a direct legal connotation to ‘being caught in the act.’”[11] She continues, how the term fabulation from Bergson comprises “’hallucinatory fictions’ — that have real effects.”[12] Fabulation does not have a connection with true or false, but with virtual and actualization—instead of possible or potential, which is the power to do something, but only what is potentially existing, and in this world created with particular kind of sufficient thought. So, fabulation and fictioning are not reasonable acts, in correspondance with the world.

My question is about the relationship between the fabulation as ‘being caught in the act’ in the performance and fictioning. Both fabulation and fictioning have a connection with the actualization of the virtual: something abstract, but never an abstraction. The actualization, fabulation or fictioning do not resemble a memory or in the last instance, the virtual, but it is only that the subjectivity as an effect of the virtual, function through memories, actualizations and possibilities. The virtual is distinguished from the possible because possible has no reality. The possible is fiction, but not fictioning as actualization – similarly with, how Laruelle claims that the World is a hallucination produced by the sufficient thought. For the possibilities obtain positions in the world, but the actualization and fabulation follow “the rules of actualization are not those of resemblance and limitation, but those of difference or divergence and of creation,”[13] writes Deleuze.

The possible realizes the real in the likeness of an image, but actual does not resemble the virtual, it differentiates to be actualized. The virtual is not being perceived or a givenness. However, for the possibility or potential Real, the Real turns into a composite, or a ‘ready-made’ given. The possible is the image of the real as resemblance. Here, both fabulation and the term ‘fictioning’ distinguish themselves of not being something possible or relational with reality. Deleuze writes, how the possible has “been abstracted from the real once made, extracted from the real like a sterile double.”[14]

A performance may be a ‘clone’ of philosophy, in how the “Non-philosophy is produced by the effect of the presupposed Real within philosophy,”[15] as Laruelle writes on his term cloning. Cloning is a device for fictioning, but not through resemblance. Performance clones itself as a flattening of thought—instead of transcending thought. In cloning, nothing is destroyed or negated, but postured, where the posture is a divergent affirmation.[16] Laura Cull defines cloning as a sort of ‘failure in register’.[17] In cloning, performance is closer to rendering and posture, which do not cut off thought from matter, but correspond with it, such as from the real. Cloning is not a production of philosophical statements, doubles or replicas in resemblance with philosophy, but only takes postures of statements, but not based on trust their univocal truth. Performance — or shall we call it non-performance, alongside the non-philosophy of Laruelle — does not mimic philosophy, but it is cloning as fictioning.

Cloning as a device of fictioning is not ‘knotting’ the Real and language.[18] The performance as fictioning using cloning is not a reproduction of the possibilities of philosophy, but performative because it clones philosophy in the body and matter. The Real is the presupposed of thought and performance in the fictioning of performance.

Then, fictioning performance will not have anything to say about truth, the Real or existence, and thus it has ties with fabulation because it is not sufficient thought of the performance or the possibilities of performance. Fictioning has no meaning of the performance, or what performance or what body can do. The cloning is the performance itself. Fictioning does not resemble, connect, knot, plait or stitch a performance with reality, or about the Real.

Then, the other side of cloning and fictioning, like fabulation, is that it is also a kind of ‘clowned’ version of a truth or the reality—or myth-science for O’Sullivan. Performing with is philosophising. This is the possible reading of a performance, when it connects sufficiently, when it is practice as system. When fiction works with representation, abstraction and resemblance, or what is happening, and what we can imagine, or vision; their fiction produces an event.

But fictioning is not representational, yet abstract, virtually utopic, and without proper vision. On the one hand of fiction and philosophising action, the performance reflects the world, which generate representations and concepts through philosophical procedures — reflection, withdrawal, analysis and reduction — but on the other hand, the performance is not a material or intellectual reflection in the world, but flat, opaque and indeterminate cloning. It is a fictioning from the real, but not about the Real. For fictioning there is no reality, but only polyvocity and perspectivism.

In a sense of fabulation, fictioning is the act being caught in lying, feigning, faking but not to resemble the reality, but to actualize in creation something, which is never subjective or individual perspective, but always a polyvocity. Or, on the other hand, I want to relate, after discussing with Peter Pál Pelbart few days ago here in São Paulo the term fictioning with cannibalism and perspectivism by Viveiros do Castro (2014). It is of course just a one line, with no proper consistency yet, but there is adherence with them both and fictioning. It is cloning, which is close to this, where Viveiros do Castro writes that it is not the body as an objective thing, what is being eaten, but the that  “what was eaten was the enemy’s relation to those who consumed him; in other words, his condition as enemy” (Viveiros de Castro 2014, 142). The fictioning is not a subjective act, but a similar act of polyvocity, where the objective reality is put in question.

Instead of representative act, it is a concept in correspondence with the Real, or immanence being immanent to something in fictioning. There is no way to determine what fictioning would be, but only that fictioning leaves different traces than fiction – a different unfolding than fiction.



Bergson, Henri. 1935. Two Sources of Morality and Religion. Translated by Ashley Audra and Cloudesley Brereton . New York: Henry Holt.

Cull, Laura. 2012. Theatres of Immanence: Deleuze and the Ethics of Performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1991. Bergsonism. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Zone Books.

—. 1989. Cinema 2. The Time-Image. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1994. What is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchill. London: Verso.

Hongisto, Ilona. 2015. Soul of Documentary: Framing, Expression, Ethics. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Laruelle, François. 2013a. Philosophy and Non-Philosophy. Translated by Taylor Adkins. Minneapolis: Univocal.

—. 2013b. Principles of non-philosophy. Translated by Nicola Rubczak and Anthony Paul Smith. London: Bloomsbury.

—. 2015a. Intellectuals and Power: The Insurrection of the Victim. Translated by Anthony Paul Smith. Cambridge: Polity Press.

O’Sullivan, Simon. 2015. “Myth-Science and the Fictioning of Reality,” in Paragrana: Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie. Edited by Christoph Wulf. Volume 25, Issue 2 (Dec 2016). München: De Gruyter Verlag, 80-93.

Ó Maoilearca, John. 2015. All thoughts are equal: Laruelle and nonhuman philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Schechner, Richard. 1985. Between Theater and Anthropology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.

Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2014. Cannibal Metaphysics. Translated by Peter Skafish. Minneapolis: Univocal.

[1]     Laruelle 2013a, 232-34

[2]     Laruelle 2015, 111

[3]     For Laruelle the clone has an identity of the double without synthesis or connection with the Real, where cloning is not a refusal of the Real, but “a thinking based on that ‘criterion’ of foreclosure.” (Laruelle 2013b, 32-33)

[4]     O’Sullivan, Simon. 2015, 86.

[5]     Deleuze 1991, 106

[6]     Ibid., 110

[7]     Deleuze and Guattari 1994, 171

[8]     Deleuze 1991, 104

[9]     Hongisto 2015, 67

[10]    Deleuze 1989, 150

[11]    Hongisto 2015, 67

[12]    Ibid., 68

[13]    Deleuze 1991, 97

[14]    Deleuze 1991, 99

[15]    Laruelle 2015, 52

[16]    Ibid., 175

[17] Cull 2012, 122-26

[18]    Laruelle 2015, 46

A Critical Posture of Performance

Tero Nauha

A paper presented at the “Dialogues on Dance, Philosophy, and Performance in the Contemporary Neoliberal Moment” event at the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE), Coventry, June 1-2, 2017.

At first, I will present a project “Producores” that I have been working with artist Karolina Kucia in the southern region of Andalusía. Our project focus on the production of food in the region, where for instance the 30% of strawberries consumed in EU is being produced. The food production in the region is a massive scale industry where vegetables and fruits are produced in plastic houses and colloquially called as ‘plasticulture’. The people working in these plastic houses are mostly immigrant workers from the North-Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe. The conditions to work are often horrid – the temperature in the plastic house may rise up to 80 degrees Celcius in the summertime. Our project consist of collecting stories from these people through workshops and interviews, in order that we aim to trace conjunctions between food, production and migration.

The possible end product will be a short fiction film shot in the area of Sierra Alhamilla and Tabernas in Andalusía. Tabernas is famous for being a used in several film settings, for instance by Sergio Leone. We aim to shoot this film on the abandoned film set used in Games of Thrones and Exodus by Ridley Scott, and many others. The written script is going to be based on the material gathered from the workshops and interviews.

However, instead of being a straightforward film production our working process aims to focus on an issue, which is the representation of migrants, crisis and possible victimization of the migrant workers. In this, we want to focus on the issue of an event in performance and film, as well. To start with, I will contextualize this problem.

In her quite recent book Artist at Work Bojana Kunst proposes that one of the options for resisting the ever-expanding forms of capitalist exploitation would be that artists should do less or do nearly nothing. Not unlike the famous adage by the character of Bartleby in the novel by Herman Melville: I would prefer not to. Throughout the book, her analysis of the relationship between the artist and late capitalism seem to revolve around the possibility of revolt and overcoming the contradictions that capitalism is producing. However, this kind of progressive reading of the context, seems to me ill-fitted for producing a critical stance towards the processual nature of late capitalism. Still, she makes a clear point, that the artist as an intellectual has lost an autonomy, and has become more of a facilitator, or in regards Paolo Virno, a virtuoso, where her performance finds its fulfilment in the action itself, with the presence of others.[1] Her vision is bleak, as it is for any other post-Fordist critique that has been circulating for the past few decades.

The forms of late capitalism are not based on dialectical progress, but on mutation and expansion. We are living truly ‘deleuzian’ times. But capitalism has survived only because it mutates and expands, and it creates new axioms, which capture the material, emotional and affective flows, and allocate functions to these flows. In order to survive, capitalism is  “forced to mutate,” writes Yann Moulier Boutang.[2] Here, knowledge and artworks gain value through their performance and application, based on the number of its multiplication and the sharing rate among the people who were part of the process.[3] The cycle of production comes into operation only when it is required, but once the job has been done, the cycle dissolves back into networks and flows, writes Maurizio Lazzarato.[4] In the end, the adage of capitalism – against Bartleby — would be, that “it simply makes sense.”

Capitalism is a milieu, where heterogeneous and chaotic forces emerge, and then some of these forces are axiomatized and made to function. The same concerns also subjectivization processes, or the articulation of collective speech, that subjectivization is a collective process in the first place – the very same way as all processes in the late capitalism writes Félix Guattari.[5] I want to bring this up here because he argues specifically for this nature of late capitalism that is not representational, but axiomatic. But a collective is not only a relation but a ‘modal institution’. The question is about the process of subjectivization, and not on the subject, where a subject is connected with action in the world, but subjectivization is mostly a function.

To move a little bit away from the schizoanalytic system of ‘partial subjectivities’ of Guattari, I regard the subjectivization is but only an effect of the real, and it is a practice.

Following Virno, a performance of the virtuoso is the image of the cognitive labourer, where the “product is inseparable from the producer,” as Christian Marazzi writes, or where the fulfilment is found in the activity, itself — it is praxis.[6] Then, all work does not need to have an end product, but only combine action and intellect. I regard that this action and activity is bound with the possible and the World. It is always a reactionary force and deals with the world and its positions. The action, like Virno points at the orator, is always towards appearance, representation and reproductions. The action creates images — the images of the Real, the Victim, the Other, the Body, and so on. Curiously the possibility of an alternative is never radical enough.

I regard that the possible is bound to the last instance of the economy, and furthermore the positions in relation to hegemony, revolt and exploitation. The possible is like an image of the real, where the real takes form, in reality, resembling the possible. The world relates with the possible, which is always limited and negated. The world is a given possibility, which is an abstract and composite relation, which has only possible solutions and options. The critique of neoliberal capitalism is therefore needed to be a critique of the economy in the last instance. The capitalism is determined in the last instance of an economy, but not the Real, writes François Laruelle.

In these perverse conditions of the late capitalism determined by the economy, the artist as an intellectual and the philosophers position themselves in relation to the victim. But this is particularly the problem we have with our project with the migrant workers also. François Laruelle asks

“What happens to the Victim who has not had the time or the unlikely courage to resist? Philosophy forgets her, evidently; she does not emerge, she is not interesting […]  the Victim must let out a sigh that the philosopher can inscribe in his system.”[7]What, then, could practice or performative of non-philosophy give for this situation? First of all, practice

What, then, could practice or performative of non-philosophy give for this situation? First of all, practice does not enter the labyrinth of protest and vengeance, Laruelle writes, but practice destroys representations – also the representation of the victim. Practice is immanent and determined in-the-last-instance by the victim. In this sense practice is also radically utopic and uchronic, Laruelle argues.

The situation is in crisis and catastrophic for the intellectual working with overcoming the hegemony, which is the intellectual of action. But it is not so, for the determined intellectual, as Laruelle calls it, because practice works with what is close by, and determined by the victim. However, the victim is not a subject, and cannot be approached by humanist philosophy, because of victim=X. It is not sufficient for the signature of the Other. Instead of perceiving the victim as the recto-verso of the intellectual, which sanctions the actions of the intellectual and philosopher, Laruelle proposes the ‘method of the worst’.  It is the

“only method that still remains available for us if we are to hope for a salvation and not identify ourselves with the unfathomable psychology of dictators and tyrants” where we may explore “all the possibilities of struggle,”[8]

but in the human condition, which is not humanist, but where the human is never an essence or an idea, but a radically immanent. It is an actualization of that last instance of the Real or the Victim=X.

In relation with migration, and the condition of work in Andalusía, I can recognize the tone, how Saidiya Hartman writes on the slavery and the victim as ‘stranger’, which

“is the X that stands in for a proper name, it is the placeholder for the missing, that mark of the passage, the scar between native and citizen. It is both and and a beginning. It announces the disappearance of the known world and the antipathy of the new one.”[9]

In the documentary films by Sylvain George, where he followed the lives of several asylum seekers in the ‘Jungle’ of Calais, we can see how his approach is far from objective. The film material is heavily aestheticized with high-contrast black and white editing, and the speed of cutting is not usual. Clearly, he has represented the victim, but also let them speak with their own voice, and to express their wit, anger and analysis of their situation. It is not a non-philosophical film-project if there even can be any, but I would recognize the practice of film not determined by the instance of an economy, but the victim not represented in terms of sufficient reason, also.

In the cut of the frames and editing we are not confronted with economic or informalistic editing, but rather with different duration, which to my regard is similar to the documentary films made by Chantal Akerman, — especially the film D’Est, From the East (1993). It is that particular decision not to decide, or to practice what is at close by, and not aim for an action in the film. Both Akerman and George use the tool of a film in order not to create positions between the victim and the viewer to create action, but because they both put on hold the decision on an economy of a frame, they also let the film be determined by other instance — the victim or the Real, maybe.

Thus, our aim in the project is not to build narratives of resistance, but to recognize the determination in the last instance of an economy, and how it takes place in a shooting, performing and editing. Though, it is not the same adage, as ‘I would prefer not to’. We need to recognize how the practice may not be philosophizable in sufficient terms, that it is not sufficient.

The practice is cloning, and not making connections, knots, plaits or stitching. It is not that practice would be interested of the Real, or represent it in language. The Real is presupposed, but the performance does not resemble the real. There is no verité in the performance as practice. However, the presupposition of the intellectual is that the performance is saying something about the Real, the other, the victim and existence. These presuppositions build up the economy of thought. In cloning as practice, we are not looking at the meaning of performance, or what it can do — or what a body can do. The cloning practice is the cloning of the performance itself, not as action but as practice determined in the last instance of the victim. Not to work less, but what practice with what is close at hand, imminently and not aiming for transformative actions.


[1]     Virno 2004
[2]     Moulier Boutang 2011, 36
[3]     Pasquinelli 2008, 97
[4]     Lazzarato 1996, 137
[5]     Guattari 1984, 43
[6]     Marazzi 2001, 81
[7]     Laruelle 2015, 87
[8]     Laruelle 2015, 81
[9]     Hartman 2008, 8

A Thought of Performance

Tero Nauha

Published in Performance Philosophy Journal  Vol. 2 (No.2) 2017.

In this article I attempt to trace the path of my artistic research, which began from the application of schizoanalysis in performance and which now explores the possible limits of thought in order to regard how performance thinks in specifically different ways from discursive forms of thought, such as philosophy. The main argument starts from the notion—borrowed from French thinker, François Laruelle—that philosophical thought does not tell us more about the Real than any other gestures of thought. I begin from a speculative relationship between the apparatus of cognitive capitalism. I conclude by superpositioning the post-humanist thought of Laruelle and Karen Barad with the concept of ‘non-standard’ performance as fictioning. As a whole, the article aims to propose a performative approach to artistic research in these terms.

The article can be retrieved here.

Speculation on change from the posture of performance art practice

Tero Nauha

Ruukku: Studies in Artistic Research. Nr. 6/ 2016,


In this exposition, change is perceived as an essential part of the paradigm of immanent capitalism, where the transcending immanence articulates the world of capitalism. In other words, capitalism is a system of exchange and economy, where all arrangements within this system are determined by economic functions, such as exchange or constant flux of matter and meanings articulated by sufficient reason. The capital form of thought – that is to say the philosophy of capitalism – is economic, sufficient and productive. The transcending immanence of capitalism produces the world, the immanence of capitalism is a transcending immanence[1]. This exposition is set to inquire how these forms affect the position of artistic practice.

The focus will be on the possible limits of economic and sufficient forms of thought, or what is speculation in this context. In recent discourse on the paradigm of Anthropocene and speculation of nonhuman thought, the distinction between the human and the ‘world not for humans’, or the world in itself and the experience of the world, have instigated another perspective to regard the immanence of capitalism only as an arrangement or ‘pseudo-immanence’. However, due to space constraints, this exposition is a mere introduction to the ongoing research of mine subsequent to the examination of my doctoral research on schizoanalysis and artistic research held on January 2016. In short, I ask: how can we speculate on the limits of change from the perspective of artistic research including the different arrangements of nonhuman thought and the immanent capitalism?

These theoretical speculations are set aside with a performance and installation project “Exception”, which was presented in the Sinä&Minä (You&Me) exhibition at the ARTSI Art Museum of Vantaa in 2016. The project was based on an interview I conducted with an Iraqi asylum seeker in early 2016. My intention in this project was not explicitly political, but rather focused on the topic of ‘stranger’ or ‘exception’ from the juridical and speculative. This project will be presented in this exposition in conjunction with a theoretical part, where the concepts of economy, sovereign and ‘decisionality’ are set in the context of the contemporary art practices and regarded from this point of view.  

The economy of change

In ancient Greece, oikonomia referred not only to the management of a house, the people who composed the household — free men, slaves, and animals — but also to the skill of acquiring wealth, and maintaining the properties and possessions of a house (Aristotle 1991, 1253b1-1253b14). Oikos, the house and ownership of it, was ruled by a free man, despotēs, who had a particular character, but did not have a science of management or acquired knowledge, eidos, in his use (ibid., 1255b16-1255b39). In contrast to the government of a polis, oikonomia had no other purpose or end than itself. Oikonomia is then distinguished as the art of administration, instead of politics. It is in the household, where all things are connected in an orderly manner (Aristotle 1991b, 1075a). In The Kingdom and the Glory (2011) Giorgio Agamben articulates how it is this contingency of a household that functions as a basis for the neoliberal politics. Moreover, the Christian theology is distinguished between the reign and the administration, represented in the triune of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The transcendental oikonomia of God is not based on necessity, but on absolute freedom, whereas the secular government reflects the immanent praxis of economy bound with decision and necessity (Agamben 2011, 54). A transcendent God is idle and indifferent to the immanent government of the world, and in political theology, the ‘king reigns, but does not govern’ in the immanent relation with other things. However, in decisional form, the government transcends, or rather ‘cut off’ from the real. In conjunction with the transcendental oikonomia, Carl Schmitt argues for the liberal government in the Political Theology (1922), that the immanent world does not require a government, but must reign like a pilot. A government needs an ability to make a decision between the familiar and foreign; it needs an ability to make a decision over an exception, and thus cut off from the radical immanence a governable world (Schmitt 2005, 6; Agamben 2011, 75-76).

Agamben continues, in disjunction with Schmitt, that in the context of late capitalism the indifferent and idle God has been replaced with a transcendent representation of Man, and in this philosophical auto-production the transcendent king is being secularized: “the essence of man is nothing other than the praxis through which he incessantly produces himself” (Agamben 2011, 91). This auto-production of Man, God is superseded by man-as-transcendence. However, this auto-production of Man, based on the transcending thought of sufficient reason, oikonomia is kept as central operation, instead of the governmental politics.

In this short exposition, I will investigate what such procedures entail would for the artistic practice. I will argue that the ‘immanence produced by transcending thought’ or the auto-production of Man, is counter to a concept of ‘radical immanence’, or the Real, which have been recently developed by a French philosopher François Laruelle. He argues that such a transcending immanence, and in my jargon the ‘immanent capitalism’, has only a unilateral relation with the radical immanence, or the Real. Such a radical immanence is indifferent to the transcending thought of philosophy or the production of capitalism. Laruelle writes of the radical immanence, that:

This radical autonomy, not relative to Being, to the Other, or to thought, does not follow from an essence distinct from and higher than itself; radical autonomy is its essence; if it must be described, it will be described starting from itself in-the-last-instance. Radical immanence amounts to more than a ‘transcendental fact’: more than a fact, it is the given (in) itself before every transcendental givenness; more than transcendental: it is the Real which ‘precedes’ every description of itself or every usage of transcendence. (Laruelle 2013, 26)

In his postulations of immanence and transcendence, the last instance of the economy is being replaced by the Real, whereas in the context of capitalism and through the transcending thought, where economy function as a milieu for the knowledge to emerge. The capital form of thought is philosophy, that is to say, the philosophy of capitalism, which is economic, sufficient and productive, and such transcending thought produces the World.

The radical immanence is a critique of oikonomia as a transcendental form of the human world, in the citizens of polis and inhabitants of Oikos. Moreover, this critique leads to a speculation of artistic practice as a performative thinking of heresy or hairesis, thinking with a diversity of opinions, which are all bound in the unilateral relation with the radical immanence or the Real. Such a heretical practice is equally foreclosed and equally material thought. There are no exclusive interpretations or reflections of the real. Artistic practice thinks in its right, without the philosophical representatives. A body is foreclosed from the subject, but it thinks in performance and practice.

In contrast, the economic thought of sufficient reason is founded on ‘trust’, ‘exchange’, or ‘faith’, whereas the proposed speculation may be based only on a unilateral relation with the radical immanence; that is to say, a thought is an effect of the Real, which in turn does not unilaterally affect the real. There is a unilateral separation between the Real and the world. The world has relative effects on subjects, and philosophy or aesthetics affect beings (human and non-human) by determining them, but only in a relative sense (only in this world), and only as sufficient thought. Eventually, the concept of ‘immanent capitalism’ thus articulates the decisional nature of philosophy, which is the a priori function of capitalism. In relation to the analysis of the decisional role of philosophy by Ray Brassier, capitalism has produced the world with a “horizon of intentional ekstasis”, and that “[i]t is the unobjectifiable distance implied in the philosophical Decision through which immanence is posited as immanent in a gesture of thought.” In short, immanent capitalism is a transcending product of a philosophical and sufficient capital form of thought — it is the world.

The heresy of artistic practice does not contain a proposition for a rampant anarchy, nor a flattening of all opinions, but a shift from competition, agon or oikonomia, to regard the determination in the last instance of practice, not of the economy, but the foreclosed real – the radical immanence. It is a proposition to consider artistic practice from ultra-materialistic posture: art is matter, and a thought of art is matter; a thought of a body is matter as much as the body is matter itself. The transcendental nature of thought is apparently taken into consideration, but is more akin with the axiomatic thought of science and, taking a critical stance, with a positional thought of practice, that is to say, critical toward being antagonistic. Art, like science, is not a translation of the Real. Art does not tell us how to live, even if we request it to do so, which, in other words, is an application to have a function determined by the last instance of the economy. Art as Philosophy may converse about anything. Artistic practice may be viewed as a translation of the meaningless into the meaningful in the economy of the world. Only in the context of late capitalism does artistic practice alongside science become a translation of the meaningless into new knowledge — morality, truth or how to live a life in this world. Nevertheless, science and art are deaf and blind to the truth.

Speculation on exception

The decision of exception is a transcending operation that in turn creates dyad positions. It is the basic operation of philosophical thought, and thus a philosophy serves as the operator of government and administration. Through the necessity of decision upon exception and norm, the decision cut off from the real. Change is a cut off, a transcending operation, which requires us to ‘leap’. However, it is not a leap into the unknown, but rather in the representation of the unknown, since the transcending operation of decision paradoxically cut off from the foreclosed real. The unknown, or the exception for Schmitt and other liberal, political philosophers, is a fiction of the unprecedented.

Change is a transcending operation, a leap, which actualizes a metaphysical concept of ‘god’, ‘man’, ‘people’, ‘type’, ‘ideology’, ‘race’ or ‘nature’. Therefore, change is productive or auto-production, to be precise. Change is conditioned by the conditions of transcendence, or philosophical thought. Change has a decisional form, where the unknown will be represented by the dyad structure such as one/the other, condition/conditioned. In other words, the changed is positioned in a gesture of thought, which does not indicate that there would not be changes in the radical immanence of the Real. The changes take place on the matter, but due to the transcending nature of thought, and philosophical thought, in particular, these changes in matter are being represented by the dyad structure of thought.

Moreover, the operation of change as a transcending operation, akin to a decision, creates collateral damage. Agamben (2011, 119) writes, about Philo, how the “’malevolent elements of creation (from lightning to hail, from poisonous snakes to scorpions) are conceived as concomitant effect, or blurrings [bavures] of the providential structure of the cosmos … are [collateral effects] {epakoloutheí}.” Each act based on a modern governmental reason conceals a collateral damage within, Agamben (2011, 119) argues. Collateral damage is an inherent part of a government, and it is present in each decisional operation on exception, as well.  The reason administers the contingent effects accordingly, with the economy as the determination-in-the-last-instance[2]. In my argument, the processual practices of contemporary art, which follow the same decisional form, produce collateral effects too.

In the case of performance art, which in this exposition is presented through a project “Exception”, the same relation between practice, economy and administration, is present. The economy of artistic practice has a decisional function, which manages the relations, knowledge production and representation. The economy “extends throughout the depths of the consciousness and bodies of the population – and at the same time across the entirety of social relations,” write Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2001, 23-24). The economy of things and beings is an assemblage of social production, where subjectivities are put in relation through language or intensive flows, and where a decision has a paramount role. A decision is that cutting off form of thought, which produces both exception and norm.

The decision is always a position, where the position is always at another position, that is to say, decision leads to relationality and relativity, which in turn is the apparatus of the oikonomia. The position is a decisional cut off from the background in the process of making a foreground. It is a dislocation from the real and withdrawal into a position. The object such as body, animal or victim do not withdraw itself from the philosopher, but the philosopher makes a move and decides for a withdrawal to have a position of the object in the world[3]. This withdrawal what François Laruelle calls a ‘hallucination’ of “self-imposed distance or auto-position.”[4]

The oikonomia is an assemblage of a system, which is posited as immanent in a gesture of thought, and eventually may acquire the attribute of a ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ state of being. However, no natural systems exist and the relations, which produce immanence as such, are bound to the transcending forms of thought in any case of an assemblage. The neoliberal government was not propagated naturally as a form of democratic government, but it is a product of particular and synthetic operations of secularisation, where the economy in the last instance has superseded God. These ‘natural’ systems are based on the decisional operation of oikonomia, exception, and the norm. Outside such a normative system – lead by a despot, authority, pilot or administrator – nature or natural do not exist: nature is a normative concept.

Carl Schmitt writes in the Political Theology (1922) that, “exception proves everything: it confirms not only the rule but also its existence, which derives only from the exception” (2005, 5-15). It is sovereign, which decides on nature, exception, norm and on mutations. In our present form of ecological, political, economic and psychopathological crisis where, “[r]eality disappears like the Amazonian forest, or a territory devoured by the desert, until the entire context that used to guarantee the living continuity of the community ends up being eliminated,”[5]  the crisis brings forth the normative order, where change, revolutions, and transformations exist only as the reflections of the transcending rule of oikonomia. Here, determined in the last instance by the economy, no change is possible, without a correlation in human thought — the capital form of thought, philosophy. The necessary government of the neoliberal world is founded on the economy, where any collateral damage is only a means to fortify the norm.  

A decision of practice

Language, logos, defines a distinction of a free man to the carnal voice, phōnē, of the animal. In the performance and installation “Exception”, commissioned by the ARTSI Art Museum in Vantaa, Finland, I investigated the role of decision, fiction and matter through methods of my artistic practice. The starting point of the project was the personal narrative of an anonymous Iraqi asylum seeker, with whom I collaborated in early 2016. His story was read in Arabic, and then recorded by the sound artist Taina Riikonen and in the end, pressed on acetate vinyl record. In the exhibition, this LP record was played nonstop in the installation. The installation consisted of another vinyl record player on which a collection of Berber songs from Algeria (sung by Marguerite-Taos Amrouche) played. This record played continuously, accompanying the story of the asylum seeker. 

My method of artistic practice is to combine references from various sources, placing them in formal and aesthetic relation in artworks that include installations, performances, photographs and/or video. While working on the story of the asylum seeker, it brought to my mind the story of Meursault from The Stranger (1942), by Albert Camus, and consequently the literary response to Camus by Kamel Daoud in his recent novel The Meursault Investigation (2015). In the personal narrative and in both of the books, investigation is a central theme. The relationship between a person and law appears as a game of positions. Therefore, positions and settings had an important role in my installation. In his novel, Daoud plays a narrative game with Camus, for instance when he appropriates the famous opening sentence of The Stranger into a sentence “Mama’s still alive today” (Daoud 2015, 1); or in a deliberate reminiscence of Camus’ description of the Arabs, “like ghosts, with no language except the sound of a flute … like discreet, mute spectres, they watched us in silence—us Arabs—as if we were nothing but stones or dead trees” (Daoud 2015, 2-11)

In the exhibition, the concepts of game and law were represented with a photograph of a stone and the book of Finnish law, respectively, and placed on the table. The book was opened from the page defining the law concerning the immigration of the non-EU members. In the performance, I cut off the words on this page with an X-Acto knife word by word. After this, these tiny words on paper were put on top of a black charcoal stone on the table, beside the book. Aside being left as part of the installation, this procedure was presented on a two-screen video, paired with a video where a Möbius band made from the paper was being cut in half with scissors, which paradoxically creates an ever-extending strip. These two videos played a part in the visual game on the connotations of identity, inversion, exception, and selection. The objects of a photograph, law book, knife, scissors and coal produced another relation with games (stone-scissors-paper, etc.), religion and jurisprudence (casting a stone) and punishment (stoning to death), also.

Alongside these objects and images, there was an archival intervention made by me, where I had borrowed a framed woodcut “Seuroissa” [In the community](1978), by Veikko Vionoja, from the ARTSI museum collection to be part of the installation. In this printed image there are four figures, out of which two of them are veiled in black while the two other ones have an ambiguous and androgynous appearance. In my reference, this image was intended to represent the witnesses as they appear in the scene of the wake in the novel by Camus. There, the friends of Meursault’s dead mother sit beside the coffin, dressed in black and veiled, weeping for the dead.

These were the elements of the installation. In the performance, I continued the process of cutting the words off from the law book and laying them carefully on top of the black stone. Following a score that I had written, the next scene consisted of movements and postures in response to the narrative of the asylum seeker, which was being played at the same time from the vinyl record. I then read the story in Finnish to the audience. In the end, a physical interpretation was performed once more, but without the Arabic narrative from the record. 

How then does the practice respond or avoid replying to the decision or exception? My argument is that we may regard practice, how it thinks in a subtractive logic, that is to say, it does not augment the philosophical thought; it does not have a better access with the real. Bodies, objects and matter, are foreclosed from thought, subject and the economy, but aside from this, ‘everything thinks’ – and is equally foreclosed from thought. The performance is not on the body, but like any other thought, it does not think about performance, but it is thought ‘in-performance’ — and ‘in-real’.

Then, on one hand, the artistic practices are economic operations of management — of space, time, and material relationships. They are explicitly decisional operations. However, in my argument, there is another point of view to regard practice not through management or operations, but through a speculative approach. The role of decision, exception and speculation appear while the matter of performance is simultaneously foreclosed, in the dark. The role of decision is put forward, while the background of this operation is the material, where the words are pressed on the acetate vinyl, printed matter on paper and cut off pieces from paper. The signification of words is being obstructed in that the story is being read in language, which is foreign to most of the audience; the printed and cut out words, which rested on a stone no longer created meaningful syntax. A story on the vinyl record marked as cues for a rehearsed physical score of mine, not through meaning, but through sounds that I had learned to decipher the language I could not recognise. The cues based on sounds signified a flow of time, without a recollection of the actual story, but another story, which was the story of my script.  Asignified sounds functioned as cues for physical actions such as: “still / squeezed / escape / multiply…” It was only at the end, where the sounds were translated into a meaningful, grim story of the odyssey of an asylum seeker, and read aloud to the audience. From the material performance, we returned to the commentary, critique and traditional narrative: there is a message, a story, which emphasises the absurd relationships between individual suffering, legislature, exception and the norm. Like an audit, the articulation of the story was read aloud in front of the audience, as if they were witnesses in the court for the event where reality disappears like the Amazonian forest, and the continuity of life is being eliminated as exception appears.

In the artistic practice, reflection, description and analysis are the decisional operations. They aim to “explain or represent the Real in one exclusive way – its own” (Ó Maoilearca 2015, 21). They are the devices of how we operate and how we position ourselves in the assemblage of artistic practice. This is how artistic practice thinks like philosophy, and how to practice as philosophy cut off from matter. This is how we make meaning in art, through the decisional forms, and this is how the significance of art is cut off from the noise, the unprecedented and the unthinkable. The indifferent, foreclosed and obscured is matter, and in this particular case, matter has a consistency of bodies, vinyl acetate, sound, and printed material. It is indifferent matter that functions alongside the structure of administration, economy of relations and decisional forms of thought. Matter is not an exception, but matter recedes in the unrepresented, the non-exceptional and generic immanence. It is only through the jurisprudence and management, where a victim is being allocated a meaning of exception.

A thought of change is not a reflection but a refraction of reality. A reflection of performance is evidently a look from afar, and as philosophy, it is always fiction as an event. Decision and refraction operate the world and create an economy of dyads for artistic practice and representation, where ‘the other’, ‘outside’, ‘nature’, ‘becoming’ or ‘change’ find their dynamic function. The asylum seeker is being represented in a form decided by an artist.

A speculation on practice

On one hand, a body is turned into an operation, and on the contrary, a body is unthinkable and inaccessible to these operations of thought and management. Through these operations a body is produced into the world, where it takes part in systems and an operation, and where morale, truth, faith, or trust have economic functions. A body transcends through operations that produce the world — a sufficient and liveable world, which is the world of collateral damage and crisis, also.

 When we regard bodies, nature, the other or the unknown, then we have utilized a particular system of transcending thought. A body is produced as knowledge within administrative oikonomia. However, bodies and matter do not conflate with the world and these operations, but are instead foreclosed in the unknown, unprecedented, and are radically indifferent to the refractive operations. Where a body-as-knowledge in the world is a body of a refracted hallucination, there an indifferent body as matter is immanent alongside the real, “unilateral against all the philosophical phantasms of reciprocity and convertibility,” writes Alexander R. Galloway (2012, 200). A body is indifferent to the allocated space, determined by the economy and it has no function in the normative assemblage of the world. In a paraconsistent way, a body is an impossible object, it is “absolutely empty, but also had something in it.”[6] We know that the bodies exist, and we can have an experience of them, for sure. However, a body, being also the Real, unilaterally is the foundation for being, and in this paradoxical logic, it is foreclosed from the dyad being/beings. In relation to the non-standard thought presented by Ò Maoilearca and Laruelle, there is no claim that artistic practice, philosophy or aesthetics would have any supreme knowledge about a body or the real. A body as a form of knowledge or experience is produced through operations of decision or economies of thought.

When I cut off the words from the book of Finnish law, and paid attention to the move of my hand and the blade through a magnifying glass, then a pun was barely hidden, which alludes to the etymology of a decision:“to make a cut – decaedere (de- ‘off’ + caedere ‘cut’). To cut off, to de-cide” (Ó Maoilearca 2015, 22). While doing this, paradoxically my body was ‘cut off’ from the background through the processes of decision as transcending operations. Now, there is something particular in the performance and in the artistic processes, which I refrain from conflating with the metaphysical terms of ‘embodiment’ or ‘outside’. This ‘something’ particular, is the other ‘thought’, which is being tracked down by numerous philosophers and various signifying operations in signifying this ‘thought’ with concepts such as affect, outside, the other, nature, embodiment, et cetera.

What is being proposed here, is that operations of ‘cut off’ or ‘auto-affection’ have significant role in how a body and matter are regarded in artistic practice or aesthetics. Ó Maoilearca writes on philosophical thought, how: “all thought, including itself, is material. Think this, it says: thought is a thing, the Real is ‘the thing (of) thought, its ‘in-itself,’” however, a ‘performative’ non-philosophy avoids this auto-positioning, since it “explicitly posits itself as performative rather than representational — it is not saying how things really stand. As such, non-philosophy is not some form of higher-order reflection, representation (of philosophy), or metaphilosophy” (Ò Maiolearca 2015, 20).

 The real, and in the case of this article a body in particular of the Real, has a unilateral relation with the world. In this way, a body is foreclosed and inaccessible to thought, and a body is not an enigma — until a transcending operation of thought. How is one to perceive the role of an artwork through these speculations? In one of the first articulations of performance and conceptual art practice in the 1960s, the base was roughly a philosophical one, where the works of art were regarded as ideas (Lippard 1997, 24). It was the concept, which was considered as priority preceding the materialisation of an idea. Then, the artist becomes ‘a thinker’ instead of a philosopher. We could say, that the work of art, in this case, is the philosophising operation of art. However, my proposition is diametrically the opposite: the work of art, such as performance, is both a processual event bound with the economy of concept, knowledge, idea or speculation and matter, where a thought has a unilateral relation with the matter. The priority of a conceptual thought would have no better comprehension of the body, matter or the Real, than any other forms of thought.  The operations of conceptual art produce an apparatus, which comprehend the world through a particular perceptions and transcending operations. Here, the conceptual apparatus represents how the performance may be thinking. Ó Maoilearca argues how: “performance is allowed to think only through (seemingly nonperformative) philosophy.”[7] A conceptual performance is one in which a performance artist becomes a philosopher who, in proxy of an authentic philosopher, is allowed to think of a body or other materials of the performance art.

However, the conceptual approach is not the base for the speculation that we have proposed here. Our proposition is rather an inquiry into a practice, and thinking as performance, alongside the body — alongside the real. It is a proposition to research artistic practice, which thinks in a subtractive logic, that is to say, it does not augment philosophical thought to tell us more about the real. It is both a rejection of determinist thinking or economy and the nostalgia for anti-science. In contrast to political philosophy, which “believes itself able to provide the conditions for everything [but] ends up harassing everyone,”[8] the performative thinking of the artistic research may regard the radical immanence or the lived body, indifferent to politics.

A body, stone, a book, LCD-screen or coal, are being in the world of oikonomia — the world of capitalism, where the conceptual artwork has a particular function. However, they are immanent alongside the real, also. In other words, they are simultaneously indifferent to the world of economy. It is here, where our speculation for the possibility of ‘non-standard artistic research’ is located; where body and matter may be regarded as the advent of the real, and not the events in the world. We propose not a flattening of opinions, but a shift from agon and oikonomia to practice, which proceeds to perform alongside the radical immanence of the real as an advent. It is not a practice that would be an antagonist to theory, but a practice that regards this theory as a material thing equal to bodies.


Althusser, Louis. 2005. For Marx. Translated by Ben Brewster. London: Verso Books.

Amrouche, Marguerite-Taos. 1967. Chants berbères de Kabylie. BAM, LD 101, Vinyl, LP.

Aristotle. 1991. Politics. Edited by Jonathan Barnes. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 

Aristotle. 1991b. Metaphysics. Edited by Jonathan Barnes. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Agamben, Giorgio. 2011. The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government. Translated by Lorenzo Chiesa and Matteo Mandarini. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 

Berardi, Franco. 2009. The Soul at Work: From Alieantion to Autonomy, Translated by Franscesca Cadel and Giuseppina Mecchia. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).

Brassier, Ray. 2001. Alien Theory: The Decline of Materialism in the Name of Matter. Thesis submitted to the University of Warwick, Department of Philosophy.

Camus, Albert. 1989. The Stranger. Translated by Matthew Ward. New York: Vintage Books.

Daoud, Kamel. 2015. The Meursault Investigation. Translated by John Cullen. London: Oneworld Publications.

Galloway, Alexander R. 2012. “Laruelle, Anti-Capitalist.” Laruelle and Non-Philosophy. Edited by John Mullarkey and Anthony Paul Smith. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 191-208. 

Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. 2001. Empire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 

Laruelle, François. 2010. Future Christ. A Lesson in Heresy. Translated by Anthony Paul Smith. London: Continuum.

Laruelle, François. 2013.  Principles of non-philosophy. Translated by Nicola Rubczak and Anthony Paul Smith. London: Bloomsbury.

Lippard, Lucy R. (ed.). 1997. Six Years: the dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972… Berkeley: University of California Press.

Mullarkey, John and Anthony Paul Smith (eds.). 2012. Laruelle and non-philosophy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Nauha, Tero. 2016. Schizoproduction: artistic research and performance in the context ofimmanent capitalism. Helsinki: University of the Arts Helsinki.

Nauha, Tero. 2016b. “Speculation on Artistic Research and Performance in The Context of Immanent Capitalism.” RUUKKU: Studies in Artistic Research. Retrieved March 3, 2016.

Priest, Graham. 2007. Towards Non-Being: the logic and metaphysics of intentionality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ó Maoilearca, John. 2015. All Thoughts Are Equal: Laruelle and Nonhuman Philosophy. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.

Schmitt, Carl. 2005. Political theology: four chapters on the concept of sovereignty. Translated by George Schwab. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Smith, Anthony Paul. 2016. Laruelle: A Stranger Thought. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Thacker, Eugene. 2011. In The Dust of This Planet: Horror of Philosophy Vol. 1. Winchester: Zero Books.


[1]      See more: “Speculation on Artistic Research and Performance in The Context of Immanent Capitalism” (Nauha 2016b).

[2]       François Laruelle radicalizes the Marxist term of determined-in-the-last-instance reworked by Louis Althusser, for whom the last instance as a dominating force was the economy. For Laruelle, the determination-in-the-last-instance is the Real and that “everything philosophy claims to master is in-the-last-instance thinkable from the One-Real” (Laruelle 2010, xvi). For Althusser, referring to Engels, the economy is the ‘determination in the last instance’ in the long run, but only concerning the other determinations by the superstructures such as traditions. Following this, the “lonely hour of the ‘last instance’ never comes” (Althusser 2005, 112-113).

[3]      Ó Maoilearca 2015, 168.

[4]      Ó Maoilearca 2015, 169.

[5]      Berardi 2009, 156.

[6]       Priest 2007, 128.

[7]      Ó Maoilearca 2015, 248

[8]       Smith 2016, 68.

Speculation on Artistic Research and Performance in The Context of Immanent Capitalism

Lectio praecursoria
The public examination of the doctoral research
Schizoproduction: artistic research and performance in the context of immanent capitalism.
Friday, January 29, 2016
Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki
Tero Nauha

Ruukku: Studies in Artistic Research, April 4, 2016.




The written part of my doctoral research “Schizoproduction: artistic research and performance in the context of immanent capitalism” has a structure resembling an architectonic scheme of a building. Cross section serves as an introduction, whereas the two floors of the building present the artistic works of the research and the theoretical context. Then, there is the foyer and the exit—places for reflection, speculations and critique, departure and advent. The metaphor of a building has two functions, where firstly a drawing of a building is a theoretical scheme; and secondly, a building has finite nature, like text. Due to this finite nature, there are thus infinite amounts of virtual attributes which cannot be articulated. That is why it is so much easier to criticize or to define through negation, rather than to articulate something affirmative. A research project ought to have a critical position, but rather than critique it is an articulation.

We need to ask whether in our research if it is the building—the architecture proper—or is it the scheme that we focus on? On one hand, we may regard theory as scaffoldings, which are manoeuvred away after construction has finished, and on the other hand, we may reflect on the volumes, proportions, movements, ideas, and ideologies of a building. If we value only the final and concrete object, then we regard practice as creation, expression, or innovation, but ignore speculation or conceptual articulation. In that case, theory is like a manual which is needed in order to learn a skill, but of course there are those who never read the manual. The question remains: why would an artist need to spend her time with theory and also bother herself with the strenuous labour of writing?

The position of an artist researcher is not quite a pragmatic one, where the artist would presumably only use theory to stake out positions for ideas or presumptuous endeavours. It is rather more like a position where she feels unease with the notion that we do constantly speculate and theorize in both practice and life, whether we are researchers or not. Any decision we take, a theory has already chosen our way. A speculation is not only a half-baked discursive hobby for an artist, but is in actuality an essential part of artistic practice.

Eight years ago I began a slow process of tinkering with my own tools and methods, concepts and postulations. Out of confusion, irritation, and revolt, I searched for a reason for practice in the context we live in. I had an inclination to research an artistic practice aligned with the transformation from industrial modernism to contemporary forms of labour. This period we find ourselves in has several names and concepts, from cognitive capitalism and post-Fordism to affective labour and neoliberalism—just to name a few. In my research, I have tinkered with another concept, ‘immanent capitalism,’ which I will briefly present in this lecture.

I wanted to produce a critique and research for the possibility of making resistance through artistic practices. In 2007 I started to work with my doctoral research supervisor—doctor of economics Akseli Virtanen—in a group called General Intellect, which consisted of a number of social and political theorists in Finland. There I started an assessment and theoretical inquiry of a post-structural theory connected with schizoanalysis as developed by Félix Guattari, Jean Oury, and Gilles Deleuze in the 1960s in a psychiatric institution La Borde, in the Loire valley, France. At first I had a need to understand and try it out, and then later on would produce a critique and departure from the method—which paradoxically turned out to be the non-method of schizoanalysis. Thus, my research aims toward developing a thought and practice wherein the economy in the last instance of immanent capitalism—that is, the hegemony of capitalism and the presumed shortage of alternatives—is proven to be an illusion. This has been my aim. It is not exactly what I’ve succeeded to accomplish, but I have been able to produce instead a critical capacity to undermine the call of immanent capitalism in artistic research.

first floor: practice and theory

I remember sitting in a train carriage waiting to leave from Katowice to Warsaw, after my first workshop in Bytom in 2012. I felt despair and anxiety. I was having a hard time applying Guattari’s schizoanalytic apparatus to the workshops I conducted in Bytom and to the materials I had collected. In these workshops I had set a fairly rigid system for the participants, and had created a me­tamodel for interpretation and analysis, but my theoretical postulations had become translucent and lukewarm during the workshop, leaving me confused. I was faced with a crisis: was theory nothing more than a pretext to justify actions under academic conditions?

A crisis brings up an exception, and as Carl Schmitt (2005, 15) has argued in his Political Theology, “the rule proves nothing, but the exception proves everything.” So practice, especially if it is research driven, should never fit the norm nor should it be normative. A process produces knowing, which cannot be directly transmitted into discursive knowledge; a process is not an operation of fixing problems. The artistic research does not only take place in phronesis—intuition or in use of adopted skills—but rather also lies within crises, exceptions, and the capacity to articulate discrepancies, mishaps, and irresolvable conundrums. My argument is that practice and thought take place alongside the radical immanence of the unthinkable, unprecedented, and unknown. Research offers no solutions, but instead offers articulations, speculations, axioms, or operations. In moments of crisis, research can make steps ahead.

A contribution of knowledge is not produced by appropriating an already tested method, such as schizoanalysis. Knowledge is produced performatively in practice, in each particular context in order to comprehend the co-operative, collaborative, affective, and precarious conditions we face every day. From this perspective, knowledge production through artistic research is a theoretical, performative, and practical inquiry on the state apparatus, production, economy, the function of the family, relationships, subjectivities, non-human and a-signified matter. Artistic research is an investigation of arrangements and their collective enunciations, functions and operations. Artistic practice is a machinic construct working in conjunction with other social and political arrangements.

The artistic works contained within this research—performances, exhibitions, and videos—aimed to investigate these functions from different points of view and within different contexts. They articulated transformations from modernist industrialism to the post-industrial, affective, collaborative, and processual epoch of our contemporaneity. A central element of these artworks was a body regarded in respect to these arrangements and functions of immanent capitalism—that is what can a body do?

Artistic practice has attributes which are not exclusive from other machinic constructs. The determination in the last instance of economy, or oikonomia, is the foundation for the philosophy of capitalism, which in turn produces the world as an arrangement. The economy is the last instance, which constitutes knowledge, in other words the economy in the last instance is the milieu where our knowledge emerges. This philosophy articulates collaborations, project management, knowledge production, research and development. Capitalism is an absolute system, an arrangement and an operative without an outside. Therefore, a mild critique or analysis is not enough, since it would be only another decisional function within this arrangement, within this world. A critique of the functions and operations are necessary, but in my argument, it is the immanence claimed by capitalism and the determinant economy which must be regarded critically.

The immanence of capitalism is intuitive, and is founded on transcending operations of deduction, analysis, or reflection. The transcending immanence articulates the world of capitalism. In other words, capitalism is a system of exchange and economy, where all arrangements within this system are bound with these economic functions, such as exchange and flow of matter, or lines of flight and the need for sufficient reason. The capital form of thought, that is to say the philosophy of capitalism, is economic, sufficient and productive, which produces a world.

Here, a turn is taking place in my argument, where the immanence of capitalism is determined as transcending immanence—a world, but not the real, which is indifferent to these operations.

second floor: SPECULATION

Artistic practice is ‘schizoproduction’ in a world. It is an expression of the real, the radical immanence as a transcending arrangement. It is a collective articulation bound up with intricate relations and management of carnal, affective, and discursive matter. The present form of capitalism is based on relationships, collaborations, and processuality, and in this is altogether different from the industrial period of modernism in the sense of subjectivity, production, governance, biopolitics and so on. In both cases, the life of a subject is valuable, since it is a substratum of potentiality and capacity, creativity and innovation; and in both cases, a subject is produced with physical, mental, cognitive and affective capacities compatible with each arrangement. Artistic practice is aligned with a shift from modern liberalism to the neoliberal dynamic position of the free agent.

Such attributes have thus become so obvious that the concepts of ‘competence’, ‘trust’ or ‘interest’ are taken as given facts, instead of perceiving them as functions within an arrangement. It is not that neoliberal management has leveraged the world from its joints, but that it is rather capitalism as philosophy which has produced this world, where neoliberalism is just a part of the philosophy. Therefore, the thought of the end of capitalism will always speculative, since we may regard the world without capitalism in the same way as we may regard the world-not-for-humans, which may be a speculative one, also.

In this research I ask, as have so many before me, where is the place of resistance, agonism, and revolt in such a state? The more accurate question could also be: “why do people fight for their servitude?” (Deleuze and Guattari 2003, 29) – as Spinoza, Hobbes, Marx, Reich, Deleuze, Guattari and many others have asked. A practice and our thoughts must begin from this position, where the thought of a world-without-capitalism is a speculation which can be considered only from within the immanence of capitalism, one that still regards this world of capitalism as a product—not the real.


In a foyer we may come across various kinds of paraphernalia that have been left there. We regard a foyer as a liminal space, a threshold, which both defines and distinguishes the exterior from the constructed interior space. It is in the foyer, or the corridor, where the book Life: A User’s Manual by Georges Perec (2003, 3) begins:

“A life can most often be perceived only through those fragmented echoes, those splinters, remnants, shadows, those first moves or incidents or accidents that happen in what are called the ‘common areas,’ soft little sounds damped by the red woollen carpet, embryos of communal life which never go further than the landing.”

It is a room for the actors when they are not on stage, a truly spectral space for speculation, memory, and an advent.

The immanence of capitalism is a transcending immanence: a system, which produces a world as an arrangement, through a capitalist form of thought—the philosophy of capitalism—which is a philosophy of sufficient reason in which economy is the determination in the last instance, and not the real. We need to specifically regard that this world is not real. The world is a process, and in the words of Peter Osborne, it is a “geopolitical fiction” (Osborne 2013, 25). Aside from this reason, there is an unthinkable world that is not for humans. It is not the world in itself, noumena, nor is it nature, bios, but rather it is the world indifferent to and foreclosed from human thought, a foreclosed and radical immanence—the real—which is not open nor will ever be opening itself for human thought. It will forever remain void and unilaterally indifferent.

The radical immanence of the real is not an exception—analogous to the miracle in theology—but rather, it is an advent of the unprecedented unknown, where the lonely hour of last instance never comes. This radical immanence does not confer with ‘the new’ or with ‘the same’ and does not transcend through thought. It is matter in absolute movement, into which philosophy or oikonomia incorporates conditions, concepts, and operations. Now, a shift in thought is possible where the determination in the last instance would no longer be economy but rather a radical immanence of the real, as philosopher François Laruelle has argued.

And this is what I regard as the beauty of theory in artistic practice, where a shift in thought does not necessitate a shift in representative forms, but instead changes our perception. Where practice may be speculative and performative.

Can we, then, have practice alongside the radical immanence of the real? At first, we should regard practice as speculation, and then, to regard a body as matter of the unknown, unthinkable and indifferent to subjectivity: a body of void indifferent to capital forms of thought and to the world. A speculation does not regard the real, that is to say, which is not for us, and not determined by the economy as the last instance. It is a practice which regards bodies and objects as unthinkable matter, a practice of thought aware of its own transcending nature—articulated through being, the other, or the becoming, for instance. A practice of limited theoretical speculations, but not limited by the economy of thought, but by the indifference of the real. A speculative practice does not necessitate one thought should be more valid than the other.


I used to think that if I were to consume and study enough theory, or practice my skills to become a virtuoso, then crystallized and streamlined articulations would simply emerge from within me. This confusion is a consequence of regarding practice in terms of sufficient reason—confusion, because a body is turned into a cog of operations: affective, discursive, and carnal. Here, a body emerges as an institution actualized in the world. A body may even become an exception regarded alongside the norm. It is a system bound with operations of decision, truth, fideism, and oikonomia—a sufficient body in correlation with the world.

Alongside this condition, a body remains void of content, indifferent and unprecedented. It is radical immanence, which remains indifferent to knowledge production and decisional operations, which transcend immanence into a liveable world of sufficient reason. From the movement of matter a body is actualized as a material form, which regardless remains indifferent to these operations.

If in radical immanence there can be no thought of the body, then the body can only exist as a speculative thought. It is not an event nor is it being experienced, but it is an advent and a void of experience—a body which withdraws from experience and economy. I postulate that in performance art practice, an advent of the unprecedented is present—something we cannot witness without turning it into a decisional thought form or argument—but does not present itself. It is a constituted condition of a contingency. From this point of view, performance art is not a site of reflection, commentary, critique or innovation, which thankfully is virtuously being executed by journalists, politicians, stand-up comedians, and talk-show hosts. It is neither an exception nor a miraculous apprehension, but a generic and often strange advent of the real: a body or the world-not-for-humans. Therefore, I speculate that a carnal body is foreclosed from me. There are no methods, but only speculations, through which we can produce an enclave to articulate how capitalism is not immanent or whether oikonomia would be the determination in the last instance. A transcending immanence of capitalism is a form of occupation.

Through these speculations and experiments, I have confidence to articulate the indifference of the real and the body as foreclosed, radical immanence, in contrast with the operations of capitalism producing a world


Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 2003. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.

Osborne, Peter. 2013. Anywhere or Not At All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art. London: Verso Books.

Perec, Georges. 2003. Life A User’s Manual. Translated by David Bellos. London: Random House.

Schmitt, Carl. 2005. Political theology: four chapters on the concept of sovereignty. Translated by George Schwab. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Schizoproduction: Artistic Research and Performance in the Context of Immanent Capitalism

Theatre Academy of The University of the Arts Helsinki

In the written part of my doctoral dissertation, I am presenting the artistic works and set them in a larger context, which I have entitled immanent capitalism. This is an artistic research, where the artworks, their processes or workshops produce knowledge, which will not be fully translatable to a written form. The artworks are performances, live-art projects and works on video. In the presentation of the context, I am presenting the transformation that has taken place starting from the industrialism and modernism, and which have recently been incorporated with new forms of labour and economy. These forms are often referred as cognitive capitalism, affective labour, post-Fordism and neoliberal market economy. I am presenting this context in relation with artistic practice and such concepts or phenomena as trauma, relationality, affect and neuroplasticity. The starting point and the hub of my research are schizoanalysis, which was developed by Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Jean Oury. In my research I am regarding schizoanalysis in relation with the economy, artistic practice and the paradigmatic change of forms of labour. At the end of the written part, I reflect artistic practice and the artistic works with in relation to immanent capitalism. I present a critique toward the presumed hegemony of capitalism from the point of view of artistic research and I am giving an argument counter to the philosophical assertions of schizoanalysis. In this way, my intention is to produce models for thinking and practice, where artistic practice and research may adhere a function of a critical tool against the presumed immanence of capitalism.

The written part has a form of an architectonical drawing of a building, which has two floors. At first, I give a cross-section of the structure, which is followed by the first ‘floor’. In the first floor I present the starting points and question for my performance art practice and artistic research, and this floor includes the description of the artistic works and the processes, which are related with this research in chronological order. The works, which are presented here are: Loop Variation (2008), Tell me about your machines (2012), Life in Bytom (2012), The Astronomer: Experiment (2013) and finally a description of the project Man-a-machine: schizoproduction (2014).
In the second floor, I am presenting the theoretical discourses of the research. It begins from the presentation of the conjunction with industrialism, avant-garde and the concept of trauma, which follows a presentation of the relationship between the immaterial labour, artistic practice, relationality and the concepts of affect and neuroplasticity. This part concludes with a presentation of the schizoanalytic practice and theory.
The third part is called Foyer, in which I will provide a critical argument both towards the theoretical apparatus presented above and towards my artistic practice and the projects, also. I will present the intricate conjunction between the schizoproduction and immanent capitalism, the function of a heretical practice in artistic practice, the relation between knowledge and knowing and I will conclude in the critique of relationality, processuality and co-operation. In my argument, these three concepts are essentially connected with the philosophy of immanent capitalism.

At the end of the written part of my doctoral dissertation, I conclude with a arguments on the possibility for departure, exit or heresy through artistic practice in the context of immanent capitalism.

The doctoral research is published in the Theatre Academy’s Acta Scenica series. Copies of the book can be bought from the Theatre Academy’s Library on the day of the public examination.

One may also order a copy of the book from .

A pdf version is available at

Heresy & Provocation

The sectarians of performance art protest and provoke. A heretic has no home or territory, no function of disruption or “erratic speech.” Can such heresy be distinguished from sectarian provocations? Performance artist Tero Nauha explores, in the philofictional tradition of François Laruelle, heretics as people lived by the Real. & Provocation is a new book series that scrutinizes the use of provocation as an artistic method in the 21th century. This book by Tero Nauha is the first in our series.

Afterword by Peter Pál Pelbart.

Published by Förlaget, Malmö.

Available to order from online bookstores:  |

Or you can buy it from this page.

Schizoproduction and artistic research

The Dark Precursor: International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research
Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium
November 10, 2015 / 16:30-17:30

Synopsis: This is a presentation, where I used two vinyl records, which had the same presentation recorded previously. The presentation had four parts, where at first I started with a reading; in the second one I was reading together with the pre-recorded vinyl, and occasionally elaborating, stopping or repeating (they are marked in the text); in the third part two vinyl records were playing the same text, occasionally stuttering, losing the simultaneity, etc.; in the last part I played a record and did a physical performance with a transparent string, where I spiralled the string on the floor, around the audience, and in the end around my body.

Schizoanalysis is a constructivist method, which aims to comprehend, how the real is being constituted as lived territory through the machinic modulations of the fluxes in regard of the virtual universes of reference – the unrepresentable and virtual singularities. It aims to rediscover a transcendental unconscious as transcendental immanence. (Deleuze and Guattari 2003, 75) This transcendental field constitutes the real of virtual singularities or the universe of virtual, non-representable reference. (Brassier 2001, 57) Following this, according to Deleuze and Guattari, the real is “the result of the passive syntheses of desire as auto-production of the unconscious.” (Deleuze & Guattari 2003, 26)

A meta-model created by them functions as a device in analysing the assemblages of the constituted territories as real, or how virtual singularities of an assemblage such as a group of people and their desiring auto-production may conjunct new lines of flight or reterritorialize into refrains of subjugation. In the process of schizoanalysis heterogeneous machinic assemblies between abstract and concrete machines, which cut the fluxes may be able to discover an unprecedented, Chaosmic and virtual universal references. This, in turn, may produce a transformation of the lived territory of a group, or in terms of neoliberal newspeak, there are some innovations actualizing in the place. However, the virtual singularities are non-representable and pre-individual, which produce an unthinkable exteriority, plane of immanence where no given relation may be held. This plane of immanence of the virtual singularities is the full body of earth or the absolute deterritorialization – and in this sense may not be dismantled into signification, but remains to be virtual. (Brassier 2001, 65; Deleuze and Guattari 2003, 89)

I have named the present socio-economic and political context as immanent capitalism. It is a curious paradox, since how come capitalism would be something immanent? Is it absolute capitalism that has captured a life, a concept not for something, but only to itself – complete biopower? According to the reading of immanence by Deleuze, a life is a process of actualization of virtuals, where they are given particular reality, but the virtual singularities are not conflated with the reality. (Deleuze 2001, 31) Then, should I rather define capitalism as transcendent, where “subject is produced at the same time as its objects”? (Ibid., 26)
To be specific, capitalism as we experience it now, adheres with the plane of immanence, the full body of earth or the absolute exteriority, and it would be a misconception to confirm capitalism explicitly as immanent, but my point at this state is to declare that it functions as-if immanent, as transcendent and a-signified – smooth, rather than striated – a mixture, and not a melange. Thus in this context the production within is based on processes, collaboration, innovation, co-operation and intersubjectivity, which in turn is desiring auto-production. New territories of material, affective, emotional, cognitive, signifying and discursive arrangements are produced following the same logic as in the machinic constructivism presented by Deleuze and Guattari in schizoanalysis. (Brassier 2001, 58) In the context of immaterial labour, including artistic practice, a subject has a function of a group or an arrangement, which has aims to facilitate the actualization of the potentialities through these constructions.

Gary Genosko argues for the importance of transversal mobility between territories, creative lines of flight and the self-engendering auto-production (autopoiesis) in our context. (Genosko 2002, 55) It is through transversal means that a subject as a group may be able to recreate oneself while being mobile between new territories. In this context transversality is a decisional tool for the processual subjectivity in order it to actualize new territories, and not only interpretative reflections. (Genosko 2002, 56) Subject as a function, in lieu groups, is auto-production, instead of conscious assessment or reflection. It struggles with the processual lines of flight and the subjugated refrains. This processuality, namely in the context of immanent capitalism is constantly interrupted, blocked and faced with resistance. (Deleuze and Guattari 2003, 320) The process actualizes into representations and relations. A life transcends itself into a world. Process, collaboration, innovation and cooperation auto-produce resistance, which is inseparable from the synthesis. Thus regulation, calibration and compatibilization are needed in this assemblage. Immanent capitalism serves as the exteriority for these processes, which are explicitly decisional thought-forms, that is to say, transcending operations of deduction, analysis, aesthetics or reflection, which are needed in the process of articulating the world, the world of capitalism. (Laruelle 2012, 138)

A proposition for artistic practice in my dissertation departs from the apparatus of schizoanalysis towards a certain type of heretical or indifferent practice, following a non-standard thought articulated by François Laruelle. I perceive schizoanalysis as a system, where functions, differences and positions have the ultimate role. To this, my proposition postulates absolute indifference. It is a proposition not of reflexive agonism, but indifferent revolt as struggle. This practice is indifferent to agonism, but it is speculative and theoretical and in this such a heresy is towards knowing, gnosis, instead of knowledge production. (Laruelle 2010, 8)

Notwithstanding the significance of schizoanalysis in relation with the capitalist apparatus, my proposition aims to articulate the difficulty of a systemic apparatus in relation with a practice without a foundation. Therefore the concept of immanence needs to be regarded differently, as well. How can we have a practice based on indifference to processuality, relationality, or hegemony? The relation between the inside and outside, hegemony or sect, which are irrelevant from this speculative perspective. There are no revolutions or exodus waiting for heretical practice. It is a practice without a faith, performative alongside the Real.
The immanent capitalism does not recognize such heresy, but signifies it as sectarianism, as agonistic position. All practices not founded on such a sufficient reason are deemed to be buried in history and dragged over coals. Such a heretical practice without a reason, a speculative practice, has no departure or progress, it has no system in itself. However, a proposition of an ‘outsider’ practice, would deem it immediately to sectarian position, against the hegemony. Thus, such a practice ought to recognize the system where it is in, not as the real, but as a world – a production of capitalism and capital form of thought, philosophy. Such practice is therefore accepting these transcending operations of decision: deduction, analytic, dialectic, aesthetic, appearance, reflection, among many others. (Laruelle 2012, 138) Philosophising is an operation of decision, argues François Laruelle (2012, 137). The reflective operations produce the world, which is an actualization on sufficient reason. Artistic practice is an operation of decision, also. This practice takes place not in the real, but in the world of sufficient reason. Therefore, performance art is bound with these operations – the capital form of thought, philosophy – and turns into a performance of capital form of thought, itself.

These decisional forms of practice are the same: deduction, analysis or aesthetic, affective or reflective operations. The practice as a form of thought operates through socio-political commentary, bodily-affective and spatio-temporal explorations. They are operations of actualizing the world on sufficient reason. However, the real does not conflate in the World, it is not being actualized in world. A body does not conflate with the sufficient reason of the given world. This body is an unprecedented mass, a void, which does not perform ‘liveness’ but maybe only in ‘livedness’. A nonrepresentational and a-signified body, indifferent to the operations of liveness. But still, a performance and an event, not with a body, but alongside this unprecedented void.

In fact, it is the reflection, analysis and other decisional operations, which function for the artistic practice as form of thought to regard the real – and in the case of this paper: a body. It is a body, which performance art interprets, and operates through decisions in given conditions. This is not an ontological inquiry what is, or what is being in performance art, but to inquire its operations of interpretation, modulation, and other transcending operations, which create a world of sufficient reason. Alongside these operations, a body – or the radical immanence, indifferent with them — is void of content, whereas the world is the discursivity itself. (Kolozova 2014, 29)

“The term “the world” is used in a sense analogous to the notions of “discursiveness,” “the language,” “the transcendental,” or “the conceptual world” of a society and a time.” These operations have an ambition towards this void, which however remains indifferent to it. So, in the world of sufficient reason, it is by proxy as-if-real, or: as-if-body. It need to be distinguished from the immanence thought by Deleuze and Guattari, where immanence realizes itself in the subject, or where the virtual intensities actualize itself in the real. Both virtual and actual are infinitely mixed in the plane of immanence.

Ray Brassier writes that “it is not the philosopher qua subject who thinks the real; it is the real which singularises itself as an impersonal event of thought to which the philosopher is merely accessory.” (Brassier 2001, 58, 68) For this construction immanence is the unrepresentable, unthinkable and absolute exteriority. “an absolute transcendental residue of the reduction of transcendence … a residue that is nothing independently of the operation …” (Brassier 2001, 65)
The immanence or the real functions as an absolute limit. (Brassier 2001, 65). However, in the argument of Laruelle, this happens to be so, when “immanence is posited as immanent in a gesture of thought,” which gives rise to an image of the real, through philosophical decision. (Brassier 2001, 73-74) This is leading to a radically immanent and foreclosed real, without a concept, and thus asking for a radical question, how do thinking or practice may operate according to the foreclosure of the real? How to operate according to matter and not materialism of a body? (Brassier 2001, 75)

My problem is that I am too much of a middle-sized object, a function, and not enough matter. I do perceive the complexity of virtual-actual mix in schizoanalysis, but in practice it has fallen short. Then, how can I regard a body according to this radical foreclosure of the Real, and not as unconscious immanence? How to postulate a practice according to unprecendented foreclosure? Where is the practice, which would have any place to regard this radical immanence as such that, in words of Quentin Meillassoux, “it brings forth a virtuality which did not pre-exist in any way, in any totality inaccessible to time, its own advent”? (Meillassoux 2011, 235)

How to perceive performance practice as an advent, and not as an event – the event of individuation in the mix of virtual and actual, smooth and striated? If I cannot do that, my argument is that at least the question of practice ought to be articulated along the lines of this – distanced from being, the other or the becomings. In the end it is the question of sufficient reason, the capital form of thought entwined with practice, which is being called into question here. I may regard the principles following this reason behind an event, but I remain foreclosed by these gestures of thought. The transcending reason is incapable of providing me anything about the foreclosed real, or the matter of my body, also. However, following the argument by Meillassoux, there is no reason for the world or its laws to remain as they are, and there is a question emerging for practice to regard itself after the game is over. (Meillassoux 2008, 100) But even so, what follows, is the request for artistic practice not to search for the actualization of the potential.

These speculations lead me to regard practice aside from the economy of desires and desiring-production, which were the fundamentals for schizoanalysis. It is a way to regard practice not being in this world, but indifferent to it and it’s economies, where, following Laruelle, the determination-in-the-last-instance is no more considered to be economy, but this radical immanence of the foreclosed Real. Then, I can speculate on practice, which is an advent indifferent to my thoughts, speculations and other transcending decisions. A practice not designed for humans, the middle-sized objects, or metaphysical entities. A practice without a faith or reason and any sufficiency, illusion, or hallucination of the real. (Laruelle 2009, 37). In this way, the practice is non-standard, but generic and only matter, aside from the fact that there is always a human thinking about it, but it is practice, which would be an advent to thought, and indifferent to it. (Meillassoux 2008, 122) That is to say, it is not collaborative or relational practice or rather it is a unilateral relation, where the matter and radical immanence are indifferent to me and my thoughts and actions. Art does not exist in the Real, but practice may perform according to the Real.

The Real is foreclosed and indifferent to my processes and collaborations, while I inevitably do produce them. These operations are speculations in the World. Capitalism creates conditions where sects and orthodoxy contest each other in respect of the true thinking of the World. It will allow a proliferation and multiplication of sects, because it is in itself the transcendental unification of all. Capitalism is always sufficient capitalism with a reason. Immanent capitalism constitutes the World and makes everything its material for valorization, including dissident sects and fundamentalists. As long as we believe that there is a reason why things are as they are, we will continue to maintain the belief that “there is an ineffable reason underlying all things. Since we will never be able to discover or understand a reason, all we can do is believe in it, or aspire to believe in it.” (Meillassoux 2008, 82)
This is the case of immanent capitalism – or capitalism as transcendental philosophy – and it is the case of the ‘critical art practices’, as well. It is practice, which would produce nothing to be secured by history.
I think about this body; I speculate and I hallucinate — I create systems and axioms — hallucinations of this body are operations of philosophy and art. Thinking is a system and a malignant transcendental growth of the body whereas subjectivity is a parasite of the indifference of a body. The ‘body artist’ has a body with transcendental and malign growths as being panic, blank face, psychosis, assimilation with devouring space, black holes or a body-without-organs. They are transcendental figures of a body. They are transcendental attempts to correlate with a body. This is a postulation without a sufficient reason. A provocation in the last instance is an inconsistent body as void. The lonely hour of heresy, which never comes. I consume this carnal meat, scribe on the surface of it and impose cuts, bruises, knots and enmeshed conjunctions. The heresy is that I do not inhabit my body, but I am being lived by this indifferent carnality — this advent of a body.

I do not articulate anything about the real. I seek no miracles or affirmations of beatitude. I aim to create conditions for the unprecedented, without a reason or territory. I am not fundamentalist, orthodox, liberal, or formalist.

I hallucinate a monster. The becoming(-?) desire of a potentially monstrous otherness. The monster of demos and of multitude, not as a beast but as a zombie between being and nonbeing. I hallucinate a monster of the unprecedented future.

My hallucination is Capitalism. My orthodoxy is Capitalism.

I am not a monster, I am a stranger. I am an idiot. I am not a multitude. I am not demos. I am not a citizen. I am not essence. I am not the Other. I am One. I am generic. I am indifferent.

Nothing is true. Nothing is possible. There is nothing potential. There are no innovations. There are no solutions. I know that I hallucinate.

Non thinking of death. Nothing but precisely sitting and non thinking of an unprecedented death. Non thinking of the generic death. The death of one. Not the death of being. Not the death of the other.

I suffer from the hallucination of an infinite potentiality. I suffer by expressing it in front of grand patricians. We the minors! We the molleculars! We the poor! We the artists! We the alienated! We the multitude! We the exploited! We the delirious!

I have a problem with dialogue and with relation, but men of the system help guide me back on the track of hallucination.

The real for the subject-as-becoming(-?) is but a hallucination of reality. A sufficient reason for the real. The real for the subject-as-stranger is a fiction of a world indifferent to the stranger. Indifferent and without sufficient reason.

Heretical axiom: A performance without sufficient reason. Not for collaboration or cooperation. A performance, not a crusade, but a performance without sufficient reason. A performance is not a verb nor descriptive of the actions of the brethren of dissection. A performance not for humanity but for man.

Everything is real, everything thinks, no-thing exists.

The performance artist is foreclosed from the body, which is cut bruised broken scarred infested twisted worn sewn pierced punctured operated saggy loose flappy.

Meat is my body, the sensual and worldly flesh of carne. I have unthinkable flesh and blood and meat. Meat is my body, the vessel and unthinkable one. Meat is my body, the spectre or a ghost of one, the evasive substance. Meat is my body, given without givenness, without a relation to how meat gives itself to me. Meat is my body, illuminated until the end of time. Meat is my body, a produce—generic goods of one body.

Arrest the hard flexin’ posing tight body. Occupy the soft interior mesmerizing lax body. Enthral the immobile vertical positioned inflated void body. Bewitch the interior obscene luscious body. Rivet the spill drooped curved diluted illuminated modulated distilled body. Catch the tense limit verged falling halt stress encounter body. Seize the implicit requirement to perform and to record and to consume and to excel body. Bust the jarring levitation and vulnerable addiction body.

The body is out of bounds, contrary to delimiting axioms.

I was not able to stand up from the floor. I was unable. I was not authentic. I did not know my body. I did not have reflection of my generic body. I worked my needles, I worked for a stitch of consistency. I mended a quilting point. I needed to be assured.

Game is over. This is a point. This is a point that gathers dust. This is a point that gathers dust, a stylus on a long-playing record. This is a point that gathers dust, a stylus on a long-playing record that gathers dust on the grooves of a vinyl record. This is a point that gathers dust, a stylus on a long-playing record that gathers dust on the grooves of a vinyl record, an album veering into obscurity. This is a point that gathers dust, a stylus on a long-playing record that gathers dust on the grooves of a vinyl record, an album veering into obscurity from a blank tablet. This is a point that gathers dust, a stylus on a long-playing record that gathers dust on the grooves of a vinyl record, an album veering into obscurity from a blank tablet to the unprecedented nothing. This is a point.

The practice of one generic monologue begins here. The practice of being alongside the Real. The practice of how to resist without a reason, how to produce indifference to the orthodoxy of capitalism. The practice of being alone. The practice of solitude, when there is only relation without relation to the radical and indifferent immanence of the Real. The practice of solitude, which takes place in the humdrum of the world. The practice, which is not isolation. The practice, which is not an answer.


Brassier, Ray. 2001. Alien Theory: The Decline of Materialism in the Name of Matter. PhD dissertation, University of Warwick, Department of Philosophy.
Deleuze, Gilles. 2001. “Immanence: A Life.” In Pure Immanence: Essays of A Life. Translated by Anne Boyman. New Yorks: Zone Books.
Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1972/2003. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Genosko, Gary. 2002. Félix Guattari: An Aberrant Introduction. London: Continuum Books.
Kolozova, Katerina. 2014. Cut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststructuralist Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press.
Laruelle, François. 2009. Dictionary of Non-Philosophy. Translated by Taylor Adkins. Available at:
—— 2010. Future Christ. A Lesson in Heresy. Translated by Anthony Paul Smith. London: Continuum.
—— 2012. From Decision to Heresy: Experiments in Non-Standard Thought.Edited by Robin Mackay, Translated by Christopher Eby.
Meillassoux, Quentin. 2008. After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency. Translated by Ray Brassier. London: Continuum.

Carceri: Prisons of Invention

with Karolina Kucia

Transversal Practices, VI Conference on New Materialisms, The Victorian College of Arts, The University of Melbourne, Australia, September 27-29.

(The Unprecedented)
A body is cast away on the shore like a giant whale. It is an unprecedented body, an alien or a stranger body. The cast away body is an advent for the unprecedented, but it may become an event. An unprecedented body is indifferent to the event, and indifferent to any universal reference. It takes no position in this world, but it is real. It is not virtual or potential, but radically immanent body.

A body is bound with operations of the world, which, however do not conflate with the real. These operations are forms of thought, which declare the event of the body in the world. But here, this body is indifferent to these operations, the incarceration of the innovations of these capital forms of thought. A body does not conflate with the sufficient reason of the given world. This body is an unprecedented mass, a void, which does not perform ‘liveness’ but maybe only in ‘livedness’. A nonrepresentational and a-signified body, indifferent to the operations of liveness. But still, a performance and an event, not with a body, but alongside this unprecedented void.

Then, following an event of the unprecedented carnal matter cast away on the beach, an acceptance of the transcendental nature of thought imposed on the radical immanence of body proceeds. Practice, which correlates and fictionalizes the real, into the event, and into the world. The necessary acceptance of the operations on the body. But how does this body resist the probing of thought, where a void transcends into potential, or actualization of the real? How does a body resist the universal practice of the liveness of performance art and artistic practice? Or, isn’t it so, that a resistance is an operation, also. That is, how a body may remain as an unprecedented cast away, aside from the acceptance of the philosophizing of performance, and how the peculiar carnal advent remains, resisting the development of an event. The advent of the lonely hour of the body, which never comes, but only as an event of a fiction of a body.

(A Decision)
In his text from 1989 The Transcendental Method by François Laruelle, he states that, “philosophising is always a decision or a ‘transcendence’.” (2012, 137) These operations of decision are “deduction, analytic, dialectic, aesthetic, appearance, reflection,” among many others. (2012, 138) They are operations, which produce a World. This world is not the Real, but it is an articulation or a philosophical fiction of the world. It is philosophy, which produces a world based on sufficient reason, or a reasonable world – the world of capitalism. Within this world, the artistic practice has a function based on decisions of transcendence. Artistic practice is not the Real, but it takes place in the world of sufficient reason. Performance art is bound with capital form of thought, philosophy — a performance of philosophising.Ray Brassier writes, that this decisional form of thought cannot be identified through the reflexivity, since decision: “is the constitutively reflexive element of philosophizing,” (Brassier 2003, 25)

The reflection, analysis and aesthetic operations prevent artistic practice to research the unprecedented body of a performance artist. It is not a question of what performance is, or what it is doing, but how it interprets — how it makes decisions or what its given condition is and what is being conditioned. Similarly, it is not significant to ask what capitalism is, what it does, but how it interprets, modulates and makes transcendental operations in order to create a sufficient world for these operations.

The practice as an event is a thought form based on decision: deduction, analysis, aesthetic, affective or reflection. This practice as an event may be appropriated to anything alike with philosophy: from spatio-temporal explorations through socio-political commentary into bodily-affective experiments. However, alongside, the cast away body, or the radical immanence as the real, is indifferent and empty, void of content, whereas the world is the discursivity itself, and the notion of philosophy is the World, as Katerina Kolozova writes (2014, 29). The decision of philosophy is ambitious towards the real, which, however, remains ultimately indifferent to this desire on conflation. The world is as-if-real, which conflates the representation of the Real with the Real.

(Heresy of a body)
A body resists only in it’s form and not in its attributes, it is not performing resistance. In its infinite forms of decision or philosophising artistic practice regards a body and creates position: how it lies on the beach. It creates positions of adversary, revolutions, sectarianism and communities around this body in the world. Thus, this as-if-real body is positioned in regard of hegemony or dogma, and this operation is an incarceration of the unprecedented void of a body. This is a sectarian or revolutionary body, an avant-garde body incarcerated and deemed with innovations. This is how the sectarians innovate transcendental ideas and revolutionary positions. Here, a sectarian body creates reformations, reflection, analysis, dialectics and aesthetic operations. In the sectarian practice – body-artists position — each tangent will be joined with the transcendental unity, where autonomous parts are in relation to the whole as in a sect.

A sectarian is on the side of the dogma like a parasite, described by Michel Serres, parasite in a network, where each element is next to, shifted or not on the thing, but on its relation. This is a network of a network, relations to relations itself, system of relations, the labor structure of an artist’s body. This is a parasitical and sectarian network of relations. Becoming self after self, myself, yourself, ourselves and themselves is life assignment and a production of collective responsibility but results in exhaustion and inadequateness, says Alain Ehrenberg. Or in cultural omnivore self, forming aggregate, propertizing time, knowledge, mobility and multicultural otherness to re-fashion and re-tool itself, writes Beverly Skeggs.

Then, what is a heresy of a body indifferent from the sectarian provocations or adversaries like this? Does this mean that heretical are contra revolutions, revolt or any action? Heresy is unprecedented cast-away, which was never suppose to have taken place. A heretic has no home or territory, no function of disruption or ‘erratic speech’ in response to hegemony as it is defined by Rancière. (Hallward 2005, 33) Heretical movement does not aim for reformation or will not be supressed by the orthodoxy of hegemony, as in for Gramsci. (Gramsci 2000, 352) We are regarding a heretic body following the articulation of heresy by Laruelle, as “if they were no longer included in the World,” but lived by the Real. (Laruelle 2010, 19)

The heretical practice is being lived by a body, the unprecedented lonely hour of the heretics, which will never come. In heretical practice, according to Laruelle, we must remove all discourses of transcendence and faith from ourselves — all faith for revolutions or any other transcendental operations, which does paradoxically lead to pragmatic and immanent practice. It is not for humans, but for man without humanism — or for a body — anybody, notwithstanding the transcendental operations, through which we bound our bodies and the immanent real. Heresy is without a reason. It is not schism or separation; it is not internal search for meaning or difference. The sect needs dogma as it is in capitalism, where the economy has a function of the determination in the last instance.

And still, the capital form of thought clasps the indifferent body into its bosom like a newlywed lover, or a radical provocateur, however indifferent the heretical body remains to these insignias of sectarian militancy. What else would a void ‘do’ but to remain indifferent to these passionate new articulations? This indifferent body remain to be utterly and indefinitely without a reason. For the heretic body, the lonely hour never comes and yet the game is already over.

And then, newlywed sects contest each other in relation with the dogma — the dogma of the economy in the last instance and sufficient reason. A contest operates with co-operation, collaboration, discourse and processuality. The sects revolutionize the world without any recourse with the heretical and unprecedented body. In a peculiar sense, it is the indifference not signified as resistance, but rather like Odradek, where in words of Kafka: “the idea that he is likely to survive me I find almost painful.”

It is not only that the body in the case of artistic practice would remain indifferent, but it is so, that the strange darkness of a body is indeterminable.

(Generic body A cockroach. I)
I bought him, out of loneliness and longing for 1,5$. To become my ethical non-voluntary co-worker not abused by ill-defined precarious arrangements. I gave him a name. Gregor S or Bartleby. He lives several months and then he dies. However, then I get another one and give him the same name. This is a figment of him. Sometimes I get more Gregors or Bartlebys, to look at their social behaviors and figment them. I find it to be a weird cure for depression. As they are often fed, they do nothing. They stay together in the corner or eat, occasionally. Sometimes one of them is interested of something or about the space. Nothing happens. They don’t fit any story as nothing happens. They are waking up my body with repulsion and at the same time with a sense of redundancy. They give an excuse to be gentle without a purpose. I lie down often as they do in the bend of walls and floor.

An inconsistent body is disconnected from the machinic conjunctions as being carnal void. It is inoperable and incomprehensible by any sect or a cult. It is not a body of the Other or turning towards the being.

And again, a body as a vessel for subjectivity; and a body of an operational; and a body signified through operations of stitching, weaving, scission, knotting and enmeshing – through the operations of discursivity, becoming and miraculous transcendence; and a body stitched together; and a body as a protuberance of the carnal void through transcendental operations. Still, alongside, one body, as any body. Not psychotic body of a performance artist or a hole/y body of an oracle; not body as limit, boundary, membrane or cut.

I think about this body; I speculate and I hallucinate — I create systems and axioms — hallucinations of this body are operations of philosophy and art. Thinking is a system and a malignant transcendental growth of the body whereas subjectivity is a parasite of the indifference of a body. The ‘body artist’ has a body with transcendental and malign growths as being panic, blank face, psychosis, assimilation with devouring space, ‘black holes’ or a body-without-organs. They are transcendental figures of a body. They are transcendental attempts to correlate with a body.

My artistic appropriations of the body, the economic modulations of the body and the philosophical speculations of the body are virtualization of the body, which is indifferent to all of this. This is a postulation without a sufficient reason. A provocation in the last instance is an inconsistent body as void. The lonely hour of heresy, which never comes. I consume this carnal meat, scribe on the surface of it and impose cuts, bruises, knots and enmeshed conjunctions. The heresy is that I do not inhabit my body, but I am being lived by this indifferent carnality — this advent of a body.

Schizoanalytic performance practice: affect relations and biopolitics

IFTR 2014 / Performance as Research working group
University of Warwick, July 28 to August 1

1. Affect, the capacity of relations

Affect is a relation between potentiality and subjectivity. It is the capacity of making relations, which conjuncts the finite subjectivity with the infinite and a-signified matter of the potentiality. Thus, affects are not the potentiality, but the relation between subjectivity and potentiality. The capacity for affects in each subjectivity is limited, therefore the actualization of potentiality is always limited, also . Affects are intensities, which appear as connections between the desiring-machines, whereas the desiring-machines do exist only in relation with an assemblage – consisting of concrete and abstract machines. Vivian Sobchack argues, that these affect relations are not autonomous, but cultured devices, which organize our sensorium. (Sobchack 2004, 68-69) The capital does not produce commodities, but “first and foremost […] capital relation.” (Lazzarato 1996, 137) While industrial subjectivity was ‘moulded’ into types, then the post-industrial subjectivity of biopolitical administration is in the process of modulation, which signifies general paradigm shift in the systems of production, governance and subjectivity. The pregiven, a-signified materiality of the potential is infinite, thus the amount of affects may be infinite, also. However, capital functions only on the limited condition and may not reach a full governance of the immanent reality. To my argument, in the context of the post-industrial, biopolitical administration, the affects as intensive relations are being administered, however, they are prior to any representation. The biopolitical administration functions through axioms, where affects are modulated or produced into efficient, a-signified ‘triggers’, which do not carry meaning, but may still function. Brian Massumi writes on affects as the constitution of the social assemblage, that: “[i]t must be borne in mind that affect, in the continually varying capitalist landscape, is an impersonal flow before it is a subjective content. […] Affect is an internal variable of the system.” (Massumi 1998, 60-61)

2. The biopolitical administration

In his new aesthetic paradigm Félix Guattari proposes for three assemblages of enunciation, which signify the change from the pre-capitalist to the contemporary post-industrial epoch. (Guattari 1995- 99-108) It is the first assemblage, which is a territorialized assemblage consisting of precapitalist, animist and preinvidual attributes describing the archaic or despotic communities. The second assemblage of deterritorialization can be recognized as the industrial assemblage of a transcendental enunciator, which functions through debt, lack, neutralization and standardization. It is the over-coded society of bourgeoisie. The last one is processual assemblage of the post-capitalist society, which is still bourgeoning. In here, the transcendent enunciator is being folded into the autopoietic nuclei. None of these assemblages constitute well-defined historical period, but overlap and merge with each other. It is the last one, which interest us, because it is also the assemblage of biopolitical administration, or the administration of life not through discipline but through the techniques of the self. It is processual, thus the folding in of the outside or the transcendental enunciator is not accomplished but creates a subjectivity of a movement. Here, Simon O’Sullivan refers to the ‘care of the self’ presented by Foucault, who makes a distinction between the more common gnōthi seauton (know yourself) from the more ‘spirtiual’ practice of epimeleia heautou (care of the self). The latter is an attitude towards the self, an attention, meditation and exercise, which in turn include memorization of the past and examination of conscience. (Foucault 2005, 10-11)

The administration in the processual assemblage, in which the two previous assemblages coincide, is not as straightforward process as it may often be presented in the neoliberal jargon. We have to still consider the affect of fear more connected with the previous assemblages, which for Hobbes “is a crucial part of the commonwealth and its governance in the everyday life.” (Jakonen 2013, 76) Fear, aside from other ‘negative’ affects emerge within multitude mimetically, and may produce danger for the sovereignty, but also for the biopolitical administration. It is the contemporary multitude, which is guided with affects – passions, appetites and aversions – and where obscure passions may involute a process or disorder.

If the second assemblage of industrial capitalism produced a biopolitics of labour and consumerism, then the processual assemblage produces precarity and modulation as intensive relation. (Lazzarato 1996, 138) Claire Bishop argues for the coinciding of the social turn in contemporary art practices and the growth of immaterial, affective labour and precarity. (Bishop 2007, 61) Thereafter artistic practices are extensively valued by the process instead of the production of objects. What follows is that affects are not only ‘atmospheres’, but intensities and relations to actualize something potential. The relations between a-signified potentialities and subjects become the raw materials of artistic productions. Therefore artistic practice does not only produce objects or event, but is able to persist a process and research of the production of subjectivity – and thus capital production and governance, as well. In my argument artistic practice ought to focus on the production of contingent relations instead of “dream of doing something that’s more social, more collaborative, and more real than art.” (Dan Graham in Bishop 2007, 59)

These relations appear as precarious condition of life, which cuts through all classes in the twenty-first century biopolitics. Precarious conditions of the immaterial labour do not explain the particularity of the post-industrial society, but it is the precarious conditions that produce a need for collaboration and network. The foundation for these conditions and the network is not on the cognitive skills, but on the affective capacities. According to Vassilis Tsianos and Dimitris Papadopoulos, this assemblage of capitalism is characterized as sociability, affectivity, volatility, materiality and recombination, where precarious attributes are respectively characterized as vulnerability, hyperactivity, simultaneity, recombination, post-sexuality, fluid intimacies, restlessness, unsettledness and affective exhaustion. (Tsianos and Papadopoulos 2006) For precariat, the tool of the production is the subjectivity itself, while it simultaneously requires an “unrestricted access to the immaterial resources of production […] networks, databases, visual data, health, culture, freedom of circulation.” (Tsianos and Papadopoulos 2006) The performance artist is an example of precariat, par excellence, “intellectual proletarian […] who is recognized as such only by the employers who exploit him or her.” (Lazzarato 1996, 138) In performance artist we can recognize the ‘feminization’ of labour, the affective labour, where “product is inseparable from the producer.” (Marazzi 2011, 8)

Paradoxically, while precariat multitude implodes in affective production and hyperactive sociability it remains ambivalent and non-representable; fleeting and cunning, with a departure but no arrival in sight. Precariat is multitude, but it is not everyone – it is in everyone and everywhere. The Spanish collective Precarias a la Deriva (PD) argue that precarity is a common attribute for the experience of contemporary, overtly urban life. However, certain jobs, such as retail, telemarketing, sex work, domestic labor, nursing, food service and media production have more tendency for the precariousness. (Precarias a la Deriva 2004) These are the conditions, artist recognizes as his or her own, as well – instead of the worn out label of avant-garde anti-bourgeoisie. Following the argument of PD, it is crucial to focus on the critique of the biopolitical organization of these precarious attributes and affects: sex, attention and care. That affects, communication and carnal knowledge need to be taken as central focus of critique in artistic practices and artist can’t separate his or her practice from these precarious conditions.

The precarious conditions are systems of organization, or stratification, which nevertheless do not translate as oikonomia, but rather as calibration, to “live in an affective economy and then make sense of it later.” (Berlant 2011, 166) Thus, strictly speaking it is not exploitation of the subject but axiomatization of the ‘care of the self’, that is how to calibrate the affective, carnal and discursive knowledges to function in the precarious conditions, like ‘treading on water’. (Berlant 2011 174) Therefore, my argument is, if artistic practice may have any distance on this movement? If and when the hierarchical and deeply stratified system of the industrial assemblage is being transformed into the processual transversality, the folding in of the autopoietic nuclei makes a critical distance almost impossible. The processuality of the becoming-subject, is the centre of the production, where the subject is responsible for his or her own motivation, organization, stratification and self-regulation – not unlike the ‘care of the self’. (Lazzarato 1996, 135-36)

The relationship between artistic practice and biopolitical administration

The problem of artistic practice is not in that ‘lines of flight’ or ‘probe-heads’ would not be available, since the whole processuality is based on the departure and exodus. It is not impossible to find artistic practices, which claim a shamanistic position of ‘new’ in the post-industrial context. It other words, the post-industrial and smooth ‘nomadism’ is not difficult. In turn, the problem is how to organize, produce quilting-points and produce consistency around these lines of flight and not only create autonomous territories. How to produce autonomous forms, which repeat and have consistency? How to create a function of the folding-in process – not of ‘know thy self’ but how can artistic practice function as a device of ‘care of the self’? It is not possible with a fluidity of nomadic practices, but request the similar organization or launch, as it was required for the urban investigation of exploitation by the Precarias a la Deriva.

As such, this approach is articulated in artistic research, as well, that “artwork […] need to contain knowledge which is new and that can be transferred to other contexts, with little further explanation, elaboration or codification, even if this transferal involves a degree of transformation.” (Smith and Dean 210, 7) However, there is a slight difference from the position, if we consider performance artists as a affective, carnal and discursive ‘product inseparable from the producer’ and the one proposed by Estelle Barrett and Barbara Bolt, where the Bourdieun cultural capital is embodied, that is: “described as the creative abilities talents, styles, values and dispositions of individuals and communities that emerge from, and relate to artistic production and deployment.” (Barrett and Bolt 2007, 8) In other words, artist or artist researcher locates herself in relation with the apparatus of knowledge production with her contributions, possibilities and innovations. (Barrett and Bolt 2007, 140-41) To my argument, this is valid only to some extent, but does not fully comprehend the magnitude of the biopolitical administration of immanence, or how the processual assemblage of capitalism functions. Axiomatic capitalism functions on each articulation – conjunction and disjunction of the desiring-machine.

In this sense, the practice is an articulation of collective enunciation , the one that is in the process of being folded in, that is: how the modulation, mutations and variations can be given a form, repetition and consistency. This is not a process of translation or interpretation, which would produce representatives of the a-signified matter, but such a practice presents the articulations , and enables a shift that “involves a reflexive knowing that imbricates and follows on from handling instead of mastering the rhetorical game of theorizing what artists do.” (Bolt 2007, 30-34) In my case, I would not use the term of schizoanalysis, but schizoproductions, instead. It is a production of consistency around modulations and experimentations, in other words, the signifying process is required, also. It is not only lines of flight or calibration of life, but production of knots as singular stickiness in the context of biopolitical administration of post-industrial capitalism.

In the performance, I am not distanced from this processual assemblage, the so-called apparatus of capture. I would say, that the event is felt as presence of potential and actual. In the performance Partial Drool, Erotic Teeth, Pins and Needles, which took place in the event organized by the Society for Artistic Research and Stockholm University of Arts in March 2014, there was a structure, but there was not a script . I had prepared some props, audio track, clothing and structure, which consisted of three fifteen-minute parts. The result was a score, which both gave support and tension, in that there was not prepared actualization what would happen. To my argument, in this kind of work, we do not experience something authentic, but may experience a processual articulation of collective enunciation, that is the actualization of the a-signified potentiality in the forms of affects, carnal knowledge and discursive significations.

In the first part, where I had a continuous speech going on with my movements, describing the interior and exterior changes, my voice changed. What more, I had a very strong sense, that I was not able to stand up from the floor. It was a sense of inexplicable inability, obviously not authentic one, but an articulation of some a-signified potentiality of an affect, which was both articulated in speech and expressed in movement. However, it was not analysed, but followed, supported and consistency was produced around the ‘quilting points’. In a way the unpredictable as potentiality actualizing was allowed to ‘gather dust’ around these points, so that consistency would be produced. The inability to stand up was a point, where a knot was produced and different affects, carnal and discursive knowledges started to stick. Moreover, affects are collective intensities between desiring-machines as nodes, so to speak. I heard later on from a member of audience that my physical action of the inability to stand up aroused affective response that connected to a recurring dream, that he said has been going of for some time. In this dream that appears to him occasionally, he is not able to stand up from the floor, which rises panic and anxiety.

My aim in this short presentation is not to analyse this connection, but to use it as a small event that connects the different registers circling around affects, carnal knowledge and discursivity; how they appear in the collective enunciations and modulations of the process. In my argument, it is not simple improvisation on subject matters, but a definite articulation on these processes: giving form and consistency to the precarious conditions of life. A practice produces transversal connections, which are often not the ones the practice is aiming at. Therefore, the striated quilting points, serve a significant counterpart for the affective work on a-signified potentialities.

Works Cited

Barrett, Estelle and Barbara Bolt. 2007. Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry. London: I.B. Tauris.
Bishop, Claire. 2007. “The Social Turn: Collaboration and its discontents.” In Right About Now: Art & Theory since the 1990s. Amsterdam: Valize.
Bolt, Barbara. 2007. “The Exegesis and the Shock of the New.” In TEXT, No 3 April 2004. Accessed May 6, 2014. Available at:
Bourriaud, Nicolas. 2002. Relational Aesthetics. Translated by Simon Pleasance, Fronza Woods and Mathieu Copeland. Paris: La Presses du Réel.
Deleuze, Gilles. 1988. Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. Translated by Robert Hurley. San Francisco: City Lights Books.
Deligny, Fernand and Sandra Alvarez de Toledo. 2013. Maps and Wander Lines – Traces Du Reseau De Fernand Deligny 1969-1979. Paris: L’Arachnéen
Evans, Dylan. 2006. An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge.
Guattari, Félix. 1995. Chaosmosis: An Ethico-aesthetic paradigm. Translated by Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Sydney: Power Institute.
Foucault, Michel. 2005. The hermeneutics of the Subject Lectures at the Collège de France 1981-82. Translated by Graham Burchell, London: Macmillan.
Jakonen, Mikko. 2013. Multitude in Motion: Re-Readings on the Political Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä.
Lazzarato, Maurizio. 1996. “Immaterial Labour.” In Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics. Edited by Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt. Translated by Paul Colilli and Ed Emery. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.
Precarias a la Deriva. 2004. “Adrift through the circuits of feminized precarious work.” In Feminist Review 77. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 157–161.
Rolnik, Suely. 2007, “The Body’s Contagious Memory: Lygia Clark’s Return to the Museum” EIPCP: Transversal. Translated by Rodrigo Nunes. Accessed June 6, 2013. Available at:
Marazzi, Christian. 2011. The Violence of Financial Capitalism. Translated by Kristina Lebedeva and Jason Francis McGimsey. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e)
Massumi, Brian. 1998. “Requiem for our Prospective Dead: Toward a Participatory Critique of Capitalist Power.” In Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy, and Culture. Edited by Eleanor Kauffman and Kevin John Heller. Minneapolis: University Press, 40-64.
Sobchack, Vivian. 2004. Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Smith, Hazel and Roger T. Dean. 2010. Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Tsianos, Vassilis and Dimitris Papadopoulos. 2006. “Precarity: A Savage Journey to the Heart of Embodied Capitalism.” In Transversal Journal, 11. Access date April 11, 2014. Available at:

Schizoanalysis as a Method in Artistic Research

Published at JAR Nr. 3 / 2013


This exposition uses concepts of contamination, sponge and plasticity to approach the heterogeneity of a schizoanalytic practice – and as such as a method for artistic research. These concepts are singular to my research on the amalgamation of performance, subjectivity and contemporary forms of capitalism. My argument is to a large extent based on the theoretical thinking and practical works of Félix Guattari. The singular concept of ‘sponge’, developed here, can be linked to Guattari’s concept of chaosmosis and to the concept of plasticity, which has been reworked from its Hegelian comprehension by Catherine Malabou. The foundation of my research is my artistic practice in the field of performance art. It is a practice based research including three artistic works – “Loop Variations” (2008), “Life in Bytom” (2012) and “Astronomer” (2014). My aim is to predicate it within the larger context cognitive capitalism, the neoliberal economy and post-industrial labour. Artistic practice is a device located within and conditioned by each economic and political ideology or order. However, an artistic practice is not only a formal production, but also produces content, which is not yet categorized, in other words new. Often in the discourse of neoliberal culture production, this new is described with the word ‘innovation’. In my opinion these terms are not equivalent, but often contest each other. This exposition takes place at the convergence of performance studies, psychoanalysis, and the critique of neo-liberal capitalism. My overall aim is to produce a contribution in this convergence. What is the particular locus of a performer in the setting of performance art or social practices, where borders between everyday life, audience, performer, physical setting or duration are not explicit? This exposition includes some analysis of artistic works, which are tied in with the discourses of capitalism and subjectivity.

The article can be read here.

Plasticity and schizoanalytic performance practice: the production of subjectivity in a post-industrial town of Bytom

Published at RUUKKU Nr.1 / 2013


The foundation of my research is my artistic practice in the field of performance art. It is a practice-based research including three artistic works. The context of this research is the capitalism in its contemporary form. What are the qualities demanded of subjectivity in the contemporary neoliberal context? What is the particular locus of artistic production or live art in this context? The focus of this exposition is my second artistic work Life in Bytom. Bytom is a former mining town in Upper Silesia, Poland. I visited this place several times during 2012. Each of these trips lasted around seven days. These visits were composed of workshops, interviews, field trips andsmall events, which produced source material for an affective interpretation of the situation. The final works, a scripted performance, an installation and a video piece were presented at the Kronika from the end of November 2012 to the end of January 2013.

The article can be read here.

Appropriations and constraints in the Astronomer: experiment

Generative Constraints: a practice based publication


This exposition will present the methods used in a collaborative performance, which was made in São Paulo August 2013 by artists Cássio Diniz Santiago, Juha Valkeapää and myself. It will present the practical constraints, which were used in this six hour long performance and the theoretical background, which is laid on the schizoanalytic cartographies by Félix Guattari. The Astronomer: experiment was performed in the performance space of Sesc Pinheiros, August 17, 2013.

The article can be read here.

Plasticity and performance: the production of subjectivity in a post-industrial town of Bytom

May 17, 2013 / Panel session 3, 12.30-14.30.
School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, University of Turku, Finland


How artistic practice reflects destructive transformation and production of indifference? This paper combines the schizoanalytic approach to subjectivity presented by Félix Guattari and the concept of plasticity as being comprehensively developed by Catherine Malabou. It aims to deconstruct the “mess” of semio-capitalist production of subjectivity and consecutive performance. Bytom is a former mining town in Upper Silesia, Poland. This area is famous for mining industry, which, however, has almost disappeared during the past twenty years of transformation. Bytom is an exemplary of transformation on subjectivity, which neo-liberal politics produce. In 2012 I was invited by the curator Stanisław Ruksza from CSW Kronika to do a project in Bytom, and thus visited this city in several occasions. These visits were composed of workshops, interviews, field trips and other events. This material enquired entailed into an affective interpretation of the situation, and took a form of a scripted performance, installation and video piece.

Plasticity is closely related with arts and carries within an idea of giving or receiving form in dramaturgical or typifying terms. However, Malabou emphasizes another aspect of plasticity, namely the annihilation of form. Annihilation is a trauma, an accident or socio-political disaster which will change the subjectivity interminably. The neoliberal transition and conditions produced thereafter have similar effect on the subjectivity as trauma or destructive plasticity – particularly diminishing of affectability and consecutive production of indifference. A subjectivity of indifference, coolness and impossibility for transference is being produced not only in relation with others, but in relation with the potentiality, memory and history, as well. A fundamentally new subjectivity is not a new articulation of a matter reconstructed from the remains of preceding subjectivity, but it is irreversibly and incomprehensibly new, an event. In this project I approached these questions with aesthetic and theoretical apparatuses, with intention to produce an aesthetic device of resilience and resistance for neoliberal engulfing of subjectivity.

More information of these works on the website:


The concepts of contamination, sponge and plasticity are here used to approach schizoanalytic practice as a method for artistic research. They are singular to my research on the amalgamation of performance, subjectivity and contemporary forms of capitalism. My argument is based on the theoretical thinking and practical works of Félix Guattari. The concept of ‘sponge’ is in relation with Guattari’s concept of chaosmosis and plasticity, which has been reworked from its Hegelian comprehension by Catherine Malabou.

I am conducting articulation for the complexity of an event experienced by performing subjectivity. What are the qualities that subjectivity is immersed in as a performer and are these qualities commensurable with other contexts of contemporary political situations? What is the particular locus of performance art or other practices, which do not possess explicit borders between audience, performer, site or durations?

Bytom is a former mining town in Upper Silesia, Poland. This area is famous for mining industry, which, however, has almost disappeared during the past twenty years of economic transformation. Bytom is an exemplary of the transformation, which neo-liberal politics produces. In 2012 I was invited by the curator Stanisław Ruksza from CSW Kronika to do a project in Bytom, and thus visited this city in several occasions. These visits were composed of workshops, interviews, field trips and other events, which produced source material for a performance as an affective interpretation of the situation. The final works were presented at the Kronika from the end of November 2012 to the end of January 2013 were a scripted performance, installation and a video piece.

The Schizoanalysis of Félix Guattari

The concept of schizoanalysis was developed by Félix Guattari and Jean Oury at the clinique La Borde, and has its origin in the radical “anti-psychiatric” movement of the late sixties and early seventies in Italy, France and England. (Genosko 2002, 8-36) So far it has been rarely used in artistic practice, but some recent examples of the appropriation include practice of the Ueinzz Theatre Group in São Paulo and the performance group Plastique Fantastique by Simon O’Sullivan and David Burrows in the UK[1].

What I am trying to do, is to argument the use of schizoanalysis on artistic practice, and appropriation of schizoanalysis as a working method. What is significantly similar between artistic practice and therapy is the production of subjectivity in both instances, and how this production can be approached by schizoanalysis. The event of performance produces a site for actualizing the potential. Infinite actualization of potential is never possible, but the capitalist paradigm aims to simulate the actualization of infinite possibilities. (O’Sullivan 2012, 22) Schizoanalysis is not a manual for full potentiality, but an analysis of the subjectivization process accommodating such promise of infinity by capitalism.

Félix Guattari made a diagram, describing: ”the four domains of the Plane of Consistency or plane of immanence” for mapping the unconscious and subjectivity. (Watson 2009, 123)

The four domains are following, with four distinct functions. In the lower right, there is the existential territory (T) of subjectivity, which is the realm of dominant and minor refrains. Territory is the nondiscursive and real but only virtual; it is ‘life as it seems’ – my ‘apprehension’ of the world. (Watson 2009, 133) In the lower left, there is the realm of material fluxes (F): intensities of play, joy, sadness and semiotics. These fluxes, which are actual and real, are reterritorializing by function. On top of them, there is actual and potential Phylum (Φ) of machines: blueprints, plans, rules, and regulations. These machines do not only regulate and organize the flows, but are in essence creative. (Watson 2009, 126) The realm of incorporeal universes (U) is non-signified and non-discursive domain of virtual content, unformed matter and the realm of potentiality. Janell Watson writes on Guattari’s domains following:

”Concrete, oniric, pathological, or aesthetic […] universe[s] [are] constellation[s] of values, of nondiscursive references, of virtual possibility, not real and not actualized, and yet necessary to any process of actualization and realization. Crystals of singularization.” (Watson 2009, 124/129)

Guattari defines the relationships between the different domains as such, that:

“the Phyla [of machines] supply the plans and diagrams, which must be realized in the matter and energy of the Flows. […] The full cycle of assemblages is not complete until the Universes and Territories also become involved, incorporating both machinic proto-subjectivity and human experience.” (Watson 2009, 131)

The question of non-discursive matter is essential, aside from the discursive signification. In addition to the horizontal division between real and potential, Guattari’s map is divided vertically, where the vertical division responds to the division between objective and subjective: the left side deals with the ‘given’ while right side is the domain of the ‘logic of body without organs’. (Watson 2009, 125) Artistic processes dealing only with semiotic significations, deals with power and language and consequently produces more signification. In turn, artistic practice cannot reside only in the domain of potential Territories and Universes, since it requires machines, in other words significations and material flows of the real. In order to produce changes and transformations both in the singular, existential territory or ‘how life seems’ and between the organizing power of machines and material fluxes practice should consider both signification and asignified potentials.

In order to distinguish artistic practice from the overall knowledge production of capitalism, in my predication it should concentrate on mutations and variations. There is no identical actualization of the potentiality, but only interpretations and variations. However, the knowledge production of capitalism creates predominant refrains[2], motifs, which are based on the promise and obstructions of alternative articulations of potentiality.  (O’Sullivan 2007, 4) The dominant articulations organize the subjectivity in the present conditions of neoliberal and post-industrial semio-capitalism to produce a ‘home’ or ‘nest’, where only specific interpretations of the potential are nurtured, while minor are being reduced to repetition with the same.

Plasticity and Chaosmosis

Plasticity as a concept is closely related with fine arts and theatre, since it carries within an idea of giving or receiving form – mould and impression, as being predicated by Plato in the third book of Republic (1997, 1022-1052) and Hegel in The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807/2008). Hegel reserves the use of this concept for the sculptural and ethical ability to give form and mould subjectivity, which is applied on the modification and transformation on subjectivity. (Clemens 2010) The appropriation of moulding type by National Socialism has been criticized by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy in their essay “The Nazi Myth” (1990) They do not consider the aspect of annihilation as being part of the plasticity, when they criticize moulding the ‘types’ of subjectivity”, since it is third aspect, which is the innovation of Catherine Malabou first presented in her dissertation in 1996[3], and later on in several of her books. She distinguishes three aspect of plasticity in the following way:

“[Plasticity] means at once the capacity to receive form (clay is called ‘plastic,’ for example) and the capacity to give form (as in the plastic arts or in plastic surgery). […] plasticity is also the capacity to annihilate the very form it is able to receive or create. […] to receive and to create his or her own form does not depend on any pre-established form; the original model or standard is, in a way, progressively erased.” (Malabou 2008, 5-6)

Annihilation of subjectivity may be caused by a psychological or physical trauma – an accident or disaster, which will change the subjectivity interminably. Accident is a term, which is machinic and has been used in relation with the development of modern industry. (Schivelbusch 1986, 131)  Prior to that, accident was related to natural effect, and thus the concept of trauma is industrial, as well. It was only in the industrial period, when the potentiality of an accident become ever present. (Schivelbusch 1986, 130) Accident is a cut, which will separate the subjectivity from the past. The French noun plastique or verb plastiquer refers to plastic explosive substances, such as Semtex. (Malabou 2008, 5)  What follows is that plasticity is not reserved for moulding types or identities, in other words to perform normatively, but that there is an implicit potentiality for annihilation or rupture; constant presence of an accident looming over subjectivity. The materiality of our existence is not referred to clay but fluid and plastic polymers, which in contrast with marble or ceramic are flexible, mouldable and elastic. The twenty-first century subjectivity is akin to plastic polymers; it is sponge subjectivity.

I have appropriated concept of plasticity in relation with performance or performing subjectivity to produce a concept of sponge subjectivity. Sponge has a form, which is able to absorb affects and information. Sponge subjectivity is able to mix and use information without losing its form; it is resilient and flexible like plastic, balanced with rigidity and suppleness — thus it has a memory and resistance for change. While it is supple and flexible, it is inclined towards the return of the same rather than repetition with difference. Sponge is prone for control, since the function of a sponge is directly linked with appropriate amount of wetness absorbed in the pores of a sponge. It is a subject, which self-controls itself in the way as it is described by Deleuze in the Postscript on the societies of control (1990) or how Foucault analyzes the development of homo oeconomicus in neoliberal governing in his series of lectures on biopolitics. (Foucault 2008). Like an alcoholic, who meticulously controls the right amount of intake, sponge maintains his or her material and virtual intake, as well.[4]

The pertinence of potential plasticity is valuable for creative processes, social, mental and political aspects of subjectivity. The three aspects of plasticity are inherently potential and not actual: potential forms are taken, given or destroyed. It is the potential annihilation, which is constituent producing repetition with a difference.  In a manner of speaking, sponge has a shadow of unwanted flows in abiding potentiality of annihilation. It is not the presence of death, but the presence of irreversible change, which lies in the shadow of a sponge. Flexibility and elasticity are attributes requested from a subject in contemporary capitalism, and he or she is like a sponge: absorbing, flexible and elastic. (Malabou 2008, 71-72)

Post-industrial town of Bytom and sponge subjectivity

In one of the first workshops in Bytom my questions were connected with the metamodelization of Guattari and I asked people to describe the areas linked with flows, refrains, abstractions, affects and their existential territory. They would draw and write down how the city seems for them and if there are certain territories, which would seem to function smoothly, and if another places made them nervous. After the descriptions, we would visit the places, which they had described in relation with flows, affects and refrains. Next day I would make a private trip and return to site, photograph it, and make my own notes and recollections of what I felt and how the place affected me.

In the actual writing process these refrains, flows and affects which originated from the maps, discussions and tours with the participants became the material for the performance. They were the minor nodes of a folding temporality of the people living in Bytom; the landscape of a memory from these people. My process would start from these rather mundane visits, and lead to immersion into particular histories of the place. Participants would give historical details of the sites. Radosław “Radek” Ćwięląg, who was my assistant and main source, would for instance describe the area of Bobrek which still has a functioning mine and a coke plant:

 “Was your father working here?” (myself)

“No, my father was working there, there is a mine. This mine has tunnels everywhere, so here is just the office part. There was a steel work, but now you have only chimney. It’s like that people are buying only chimneys, to renting it for senders.”

“Mobile phone antennas.” (myself)

“What more refrains. Lot of refrains actually, moving here, you have lot of sounds, and in the past it was really much more. And those chimneys over there are from old powerplant, will go there later. So, it is like one circle, network of connecting one to other. And it was like that, in the shaft you have the circles [Wheel for mining-lift], when they are moving, it means that people are going up. So people who were living here, it was like a refrain everyday. At each day, at the same time it was working. If you saw that it was not working at the right time, it was meaning that maybe there was some kind of accident, and my husband don’t come back from mines, or something had happened there.

In the episteme of post-industrialism each particular context is contaminated with heterogeneous, but localized refrains. These refrains can be found in other locales and contexts, but in each singular location, these relationships between dominant and minor refrains have utmost significance. Radek’s story has a major refrain of transformation from the industrial labour to post-fordism and neoliberal economics in Poland. However, this is not the affective link, which would pass on in my performance practice. In other words, there would be a dominating coding of industrialism present in the material, which is the most discernible refrain. Following this refrain, the practice would have clearly signified route with repetition of the same abstract machines, not unlike the capitalist capture itself. However, there are refrains in the discursive level of Radek’s story, such as a chimney, antenna, the wheel, death, labour, family, and so on, which are not fully overcoded with the same abstract machine of capitalism. One of the ways for me to approach these minor refrains present in the story was to use physical incorporation of the memory; how the story was told and how I was distracted with my own machines of coding. In a way, the physical practice and the modulations of the narrative preserve the potentiality of the minor refrains, in other words, it does not overcode the narrative of Radek. The specificity of Bytom, and in this case the suburb of Bobrek in Bytom is not an example, but an assemblage of refrains – for which I should try to produce enunciation not based on capturing signification. The final work of performance should keep some of the loose ends of the seemingly major refrain of industrialism, which are particular only in the case of Bytom, and to which only the people of Bytom as witnesses of the performance may tie their folding narratives.

Instead of rational Fordist-Keynesian organization, contemporary sponge subjectivity finds itself amidst a mess of heterogeneous refrains. Mess confuses and exhausts the sponge, and instead of command, there is only maintenance and modulation of subjectivity.

“Cerebral organization and socio-political organization are collided in the individuation process of subjectivity, in the daily experience of life, in the potential or annihilation aspect of subjectivity.” (Malabou 2008, 49)

In the mess, subjectivity performs only to adjust his or her delocalized performance in the ever-changing conditions. Yet, it is not the survival or the fittest, per se, but a mode of self-regulation. In the mess, there is a need to build rhizomatic structures, since each link may collapse or corrupt in any instant. Sponges are not side by side, but confusedly in a mess; dislocated like depressed or ill. Contagious refrains of the neoliberal capitalism are producing explicit maladies of cerebral and physical nature. When Taylorism was based on rational and scientific organization by regulations and obstructions then neoliberal power organizes performance of subjectivity through the excess amount of refrains. The product of neoliberal capitalism is subjectivity, which is compatible with a mess. It is subjectivity, which is supple and employable, yet, often capricious. (Malabou 2008, 68)  Supple and flexible sponge subjectivity is able to maintain its form and perform in the conditions required by the neoliberal apparatus.[5] In the effluvium of the neoliberal mess of refrains the function does not take place through clear signs, but a mess is a productive force. Performance of sponge is located in these perturbed conditions, where adjustments and elaborations and the functioning of the apparatus are not executed as disciplinary, but as controlling modifications. It is the capitalist abstract machine of abstractions, which approximates the standard and creates a mess of details; a homogenizing process. Guattari writes on the power of abstract machine of capitalism that it: “must unceasingly recreate the void, reproduce the splitting and isolation of an individuated subject in relation to assemblages of enunciation,” and it is “an active system of neutralization and recuperation of machinic indexes and lines of flight.” (Guattari 2011, 52-53) The sense of mess is not a sense of density, but void, where localized and minor refrains are transformed into the talk of the capitalist machinery. It is a cool identity, which lingers in the void – which in turn has the capacity to annihilate. In practice these moments of cool and indifference are doubled with the sense of despair, loneliness and aggression. I know that I am into something, but I cannot perceive, articulate or signify that. There are no means of articulation, but only a way to probe and leave these elements hanging on and to accept the presence of a shadow, similar to nondiscursive trauma. In my predication, this is what a performance can do, about this nondiscursive matter of potentials – destructive or emerging, like holding them on my fingertips and articulate the void around them. The existential territory is a mess of quotidian virtual not yet captured.

New, accident or shadow – or in turn the coolness of a transformed subjectivity – have no symbolic articulation. Therefore, it brings forth the danger of event as annihilation potential of plasticity. Such practice, which I have been taken upon as schizoanalytic practice works with the accident, and in this way, “The Real can only occur by chance, without any machination“, as Malabou refers to Lacan’s idea of trauma being only possible by an accident. (Malabou 2012a, 135) Void, like trauma evades full symbolic articulations, but transforms subjectivity. The controlling techniques appropriated by the neoliberal capitalism function in similitude with trauma, by damaging subjectivity’s relation with the other and Real and cerebral dimensions. It creates “isolation” and “neutralization”; transform time, space, and relations with perception, interests and performance. (Malabou 2012a, 148) (Deleuze 1992)

Sponge subjectivity is nothing but a complex amalgamate of contagious refrains affecting the three aspects of plasticity; giving, receiving and annihilating form. The other side of the virtuoso sponge of neoliberal capitalism is the shadow, nondiscursive and virtual potentiality. The nondiscursive, minor refrains are consecutively formed through the capturing machines of the Real, but the minor potentialities alter existential Territory of a subject or a group. Abstract machine of capitalism aims to capture the full potentiality of our everyday existence, and contaminate the subjectivity by producing types, which in subdued manner are considerable similar from the types of totalitarian plasticity, criticized by Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy.[6]

I have shortly described an artistic process, which moves around the minute and often nondiscursive matters. It may seem to some extent as a failure, cultivation of disaster, or may appear that the aspiration of these projects would to conjure up ridicule and destructive annihilation. When the discursive nature of artistic practice incorporates the dual nature of nondiscursive potentiality including annihilation – of being exploited or revered as an actuation of the new with difference – it is expressly a political task. It is an articulation of the contemporary political subjectivity.

A subjectivity of indifference, coolness and impossibility for transference is being produced not only in relation with others, but in relation with the potentiality, memory and history, as well. A fundamentally new subjectivity is not a new articulation of a matter reconstructed from the remains of preceding subjectivity, but it is irreversibly and incomprehensibly new: an event. In this project I approached these questions with aesthetic and theoretical apparatuses, with intention to produce an aesthetic device of resilience and resistance for neoliberal engulfing of subjectivity.

Works cited

Clemens, Justin. 2010. ”The Age of Plastic; or, Catherine Malabou on the Hegelian Futures Market”. In Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 6, No 1 (2010). Hawthorn: Swinburne University. Available at Accessed at 16.01.2013
Deleuze, Gilles. 1992. “Postscript on the Societies of Control.” OCTOBER 59, Winter 1992. Cambridge: The MIT Press, pp. 3-7
Foucault, Michel. 2008. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France 1978-1979. Translated by Graham Burchell. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Genosko, Gary. 2002. Félix Guattari: An Aberrant Introduction. London: Continuum Books.
Guattari, Félix. 1996. The Guattari Reader. Edited by Gary Genosko. London: Blackwell.
Guattari, Félix. 2011. The Machinic Unconscious: Essays in Schizoanalysis. Translated by Taylor Adkins. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Hegel, G.W.F. 1807/2008. System of Science. First Part: The Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by Pinkard, Terry. Accessed May 8, 2013.
Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe and Jean-Luc Nancy. 1990. ”The Nazi Myth”. In Critical Inquiry. Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 291-312. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Malabou, Catherine, 1996. L’Avenir de Hegel, plasticité, temporalité, dialectique Paris: J.Vrin.
Malabou, Catherine, 2005. The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality and Dialectic. London: Routledge.
Malabou, Catherine. 2008. What Should We Do with Our Brain? Translated by Sebastian Rand. New York: Fordham University Press.
Malabou, Catherine. 2012a. The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage. Translated by Steven Miller. New York: Fordham University Press.
Malabou, Catherine. 2012b. Ontology of The Accident: An Essay on Destructive Plasticity. Translated by Carolyn Shread. Cambridge: Polity Press.
O’Sullivan, Simon. 2012. On The Production of Subjectivity: Five Diagrams of the Finite-Infinite Relation. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
O’Sullivan, Simon. 2007. “Academy: ‘The Production of Subjectivity’.” Summit: Non-aligned initiatives in education culture. (accessed 03 04, 2012).
Plato. 1997. “Republic”. Complete Works.Edited by John M. Cooper. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing.
Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. 1986. The Railroad Journey: Trains and Travel in the 19th Century. New York: Urizen Books.
Watson, Janell. 2009. Guattari´s Diagrammatic Thought: Writing Between Lacan and Deleuze. London: Continuum.

[1] See
[2] Guattari on refrains: ”I would say that the refrain does not rest on the elements of form, material, or ordinary signification, but on the detachment of an existential “motif’ (or leitmotif) instituted as an “attractor” in the midst of sensible and significational chaos.” (Genosko 1996, 200)
[3] L’Avenir de Hegel, plasticité, temporalité, dialectique from 1996. It was published in English in 2005 titled The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality and Dialectic.
[4] I want give thanks professor Esa Kirkkopelto on this notion.
[5] Dispositif; device or apparatus is ”a strategic nature, which means assuming that it is a matter of a certain manipulation of relations of forces, either developing them in a particular direction, blocking them, stabilising them, utilising them, etc.” and more ”that what I call and apparatus is a much more general case of the episteme; or rather, that the episteme is a specifically discursive apparatus, whereas the apparatus in its general form is both discursive and non-discursive, its elements being much more heterogeneous” (Foucault 1980, 196-197).
[6] “With the idea that the nature and the finality of myth, or of the dream, is to incarnate itself in a figure, or in a type. Myth and type are indissociable. For the type is the realization of the singular identity conveyed by the dream. It is both the model of identity and its present, effective, formed reality. One attains, in this way, an essential sequence in the construction of myth: [Alfred] Rosenberg declares: “Freedom of the soul . . . is always Gestalt.” (“Gestalt” means form, figure, configuration, which is to say that this liberty has nothing abstract or general about it; it is the capacity to put-into-figure, to embody.) “The Gestalt is always plastically limited.” (Its essence is to have a form, to differentiate itself; the “limit,” here, is the limit that detatches a figure from a background, which isolates and distinguishes a type.) “This limitation is racially conditioned.” (Thus one attains the content of the myth: a race is the identity of a formative power, of a singular type; a race is the bearer of a myth.) “Race is the outward image of a determined soul” (M[yth of the Twentieth Century], p. 331; p. 559). This last trait is a leitmotif in Rosenberg and is also found, more or less explicitly, throughout Hitler’s writing: a race is a soul, and in certain cases, a genial soul, [Mein Kampf (1925/1940), translated by Alvin Johnson et al., New York, pp. 403-4] in the sense that German romanticism gave to the word, within which individual differences remain, as well as individual geniuses, who better express and form the type.” (Lacoue-Labarthe and Nanci 1990, 306)

Life in Bytom: The Actual Forms of Plasticity

Presented at the Colloquium of Artistic Research in Performing Arts, CARPA3.
Theatre Academy Helsinki, 28th February to 2nd March 2013


I am investigating how to find ways in artistic practice for the virtual or potential to take a form in the actual? Can the virtually new take place in a performance practice, and in the “real”? This project took place in a post-industrial mining town in Silesia, Poland, including a performance, a video-performance and an exhibition and was curated by Stanisław Ruksza from CSW Kronika in Bytom. What are the conflicts and frictions that my practice meets in encountering the “real”? What is the quality of artistic practice and how does it differ from the “real”? The project is based on encounters, meetings, interviews, workshops, images, reflections, recordings, archives, and questionnaires from Bytom. How do concepts of “plasticity” or “affect” locate themselves in artistic practices concentrating on socio-political issues? The concept plasticity, ability to give form and to receive form – which in my research is related to “sponge subjectivity” – has been recently developed by Catherine Malabou. Plasticity carries the idea of giving form and receiving form. Yet, Malabou wants to evoke another aspect of plasticity: the annihilation of form. How are forms exhausted and what kind of performance or practice entail or are built on that?

The full text is published at the CARPA3 Proceedings

Life in Bytom

Tero Nauha
Social Works: Prace Społeczne. 2012. Edited by Stanisław Ruksza. Bytom: CSW Kronika.

In 2012 I visited Bytom for several times. These visits were composed of workshops, interviews, field trips and other events. In between the visits, I was working in Helsinki – where I am doing my doctoral studies in the Theatre Academy – with the material gathered. Life in Bytom has a theoretical question around subjectivity, affect, plasticity and agency in the context of neoliberal capitalism – the period we are living now. However, this project was not only about theory, nor did it aim to illustrate it.

My starting point was to ask, how life has changed in past twenty years in this particular context of Bytom – a post-industustrial town in Upper Silesia? I cannot say I found any objective answers for that, but encountered many individual and singular stories and events, which were not only particular, but more general in the life of neo-liberal Europe. How privatization, competition, excess, cynicism and opportunism effects everyday life. Thus, my work did not frame itself only in Bytom, the origin of the project, but touched upon many events, attributes and phenomenons, which we can locate in different parts of Europe, and different paths of life, right now.

Capitalism is in a perpetual crisis, a messy journey from one crisis to another. A factory becomes obsolete in the similar way as a clerk in the bank, as his or her tasks are reconfigured to fit into the new systems and operations. Capitalism is a mess. It lives from the success of others, build upon the nescessary amount of excess – excess of images, people, labour, art, and other productions. Thus, the provocative strikethrough in the title, where the word ‘life’ is penciled over. We supposedly have a life – but do we have a life, which would be considered culture or social? What are the expenses culture in such conditions as neo-liberalism?

After collecting material from workshops and interviews, the next step was to assess and process the material. It was not an objective documentation of the crisis, but a subjective and affective interpretation of the situation, the event of life in Bytom. The project took form of a scripted performance, which was repeated during the exhibition, a video, and an installation. Aside from this Karolina Kucia, a performance artist originally from Poland and living in Helsinki, assessed my material and produced an extension of my project: a second interpretation of collected material including my subjective process as a performance artist in Bytom. She produced a piece, which focused on the lapses and cul-de-sac’s of my project. It was presented during the exhibition, as well.

All of the works were based on the encounters, meetings, interviews, workshops, images, reflections, recordings, archives, questionnaires from Bytom. This project was an interpretation of these narratives. Aside from this, it was a reflection of artist’s projections and desires – how life becomes interpreted and structured? What is the cultural added value he produces? Artist’s reflection is not disinterested, but loaded. What is he looking for in such a place? How can this performance, which was a subjective interpretation, relate to the matter of the heterogeneous informations and realities of this city? It was not a documentary of a post-industrial city, but an affective report or articulation of problems, hopes, antagonisms and flow, which surfaced.

Human capital

In his book Perform… or else (2001) Jon McKenzie describes a shift from Taylorism, as a transition from the overall dominating and rigid system of organization of life towards a new paradigm as he calls it a ‘Performance management’(McKenzie 2001, 6). Taylorism and liberalism were based on rational and scientific organization of labour and life, which had drawback of massive, centralized production lines, and little flexibility to reflect changing social circumstances. Transition towards the neoliberal society of performance started from the early 70’s and the transition reached its momentum in the end of 80’s, simultaneously with the collapse of Soviet Union. For McKenzie subjectivity and

”Performance Management […] attunes itself to economic processes that are increasingly service-based, globally oriented, and electronically wired.”(McKenzie 2001, 6)

Another dominating idea of postwar, liberal capitalism, was human capital, which was an apparatus developed by Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker in the Chicago School of Economics in the 1960’s and 70’s. (Becker  1974) Human capital became one of the engineering and managing strategies to organize not only labor, but life in general: the register of intimacy, affect, emotion, solidarity and friendship, all folded into the space of capital. Yet, in last twenty years, such an organizational apparatus, aside from performance management has proven to be in crisis. However, the idea of personal as capital functions in the present crisis situation, as well. Catherine Malabou argues that

“Suppleness, the ability to bend, and docility thus appear to join together in constituting a new structural norm that functions immediately to exclude … in effect, anyone who is not flexible deserves to disappear … The depressed person, like the ‘social failure,’ evidently suffers from a lack of ‘employability’ and adaptability.” (Malabou 2008, 46-47)

If one does not obtain the skills of flexibility or ‘employability’, then one cease to perform.

Finnish political economist Akseli Virtanen says, that instead of rational choices, what matters are the affective directives. As such, it is conflicted with the rational base of the neo-liberalism. According to neo-liberal theorists such as Becker confusion would certainly be confounding with the rate of profit. Following the apparatus of human capital, there are risks, but no unpredictable events, because risks are distributed into smaller fragments, then overall organization is able to control and maintain them. (Becker 1974, 1063-1093) There are arbitrary regulations at play, where reflexivity and suppleness is required from the subjectivity.

In the mess subjectivity may perform only to adjust his or her delocalized performance in the everchanging conditions. These conditions do not produce a swarm, rhizome, or wolf’s huddling in a ring by a bonfire, but in fact disturbing and confusing “antechamber of depression.”(Malabou 2008, 49) In my example of post-industrial town of Bytom, subjectivities are not side by side, but confusedly in a mess. In the poorest area of the city, Bobrek there is no performance. Such subjectivities are dislocated, in the same way as depressed or ill. In this context, performance in the sense that McKenzie proposed exists only in corporate and institutionalized settings. In the level of life as it is in a post-industrial city of Bytom, there is no coherence with such a performance. Performance management functions in corporations and institutions, but it is not sufficient as a general rule applied in life. However, this is what the neo-liberal capitalism claims to do.

Neoliberal capitalism is an apparatus of discursive and non-discursive elements, of which completion is to produce subjectivity, which is compatible with this mess. It is subjectivity whose obtained attributes are precariousness, cynicism, opportunism, and distractedness. Malabou adds, that such subjectivity is necessarily supple and flexible. Having obtained such subjectivity, s/he is able to perform in the conditions required by the apparatus, and s/he is able to create profit in a mess.

Successful performance is not easily produced in a mess and it is rarely functioning in such conditions as Bytom. Needles to say, suppleness does not produce new or difference, but repetition of the same.

Three capacities of  plasticity

A hegelian concept of plasticity, which has been recently developed in relation with neurosciences, philosophy and psychoanalysis by Katherine Malabou, is closely related to arts, since it carries with the idea of giving form and receiving form. Yet, Malabou wants to emphasize another aspect of plasticity, namely the annihilation of form. Annihilation is a trauma, an accident or disaster which will change the subjectivity interminably.

“[plasticity] means at once the capacity to receive form (clay is called ‘plastic,’ for example) and the capacity to give form (as in the plastic arts or in plastic surgery). […] plasticity is also the capacity to annihilate the very form it is able to receive or create. […] to receive and to create his or her own form does not depend on any pre-established form; the original model or standard is, in a way, progressively erased.” (Malabou 2008, 5-6)

I would like to appropriate her thinking with the concept or idea of a subjectivity as a sponge. Sponge does absorb a form or give form. However, it is how it is corraleted with annihilation or through an accident is when a new subjectivity is created, instead of modification of identity. A sponge is not an identity form, but form of subjectivity; it is not form of self, but a subjectivization, self as a collective process. A brain is not only a material base, which receives form, like a sponge, and gives form to a subjectivity. (Malabou 2012a, 36) The affective economy between the psychic and the cerebral, is what, according to Malabou is producing the dynamics of an ‘emotional brain’. (Malabou 2012a, 37)

Accordingly, a sponge subjectivity, is not merely receiving and giving, but is similar to this “homeostasis of affective economy.” (Malabou 2012a, 37) It is this economy between the cerebral and psychic, which maintains a subjectivity and it’s identity; economy of the drives, stimuli and their representations. (Malabou 2012a, 29-37) It is an affective economy of a sponge-type subjectivity, which, as we are not aware of our brain thinking, we are not aware of our identity being carried out by this economy: the way how identities are produced temporarily, whereas subjectivity is an unconsicous process. Malabou writes:

“In the usual order of things, lives run their course like rivers. […] In time, one eventually becomes who one is; one becomes only who one is. Bodily and psychic transformations do nothing but reinforce the permanence of identity, caricaturing of fixing it, but never contradicting it. They never disrupt identity. […] As a result of serious trauma or sometimes for no reason at all, the path splits and new, unprecedented persona comes to live with the former person, and eventually takes up all the room. An unrecongnizable persona whose present comes from no past. […] A form born of the accident, born by accident, a kind of accident.” (Malabou 2012b, 1-2)

Artistic practice produce such anomalies. R. Justin Hunt and Joanna Linsley quote Brecht, when writing about their archival project on performance art practices by saying: “that ‘art must make strange’ its techniques of production to have any revolutionary effect at all.” (Hunt & Linsley 2012, 7) Artistic practice and production is aligned with this third aspect of plasticity, which Malabou extensively argues in several of her books: the destructive annihilation of a form that a trauma, illness or accident produces. The production of strange, weird, Unheimlich, and rupture — the production of an event, which takes over the viewer or participant. It takes place outside from the analytical and rational, creating a rupture or a cut. Here, I am not thinking about a catharctic or ritualistic practices such as those of Viennese Aktionists, nor liminal explorations in artistic practices since annihilating plasticity produced for instance by Alzheimer — an example, which Malabou often uses — does not follow a paradigm of ritual. It is not cultural, but an event of perplexitity which can take place in heterogeneous art practicies. So, what I am actually interested is to look at those instances, which produce a change or transformation by annihilating a form — leaving us stunned or irritated. These instances are sometimes read through a psychoanalytical view point, for instance through the idea of fascinum (the capturing evil eye) developed by Lacan in his lecture “What is a picture?” (Lacan 1998, 105-119) or fascinance (connecting and com-passionate),  which is a kind of contrary concept developed by Bracha L. Ettinger, more recently in “Fascinance. The Woman-to-woman (Girl-to-m/Other) Matrixial Feminine Difference” (2006). However, here I would like to utilize the idea of sponge subjectivity —  in some connection with Ettinger’s idea of linked subjectivitites — which includes the collectivity of subjectivity production and the production / annihilation of form as it is proposed by Malabou. The annihilating event or instant in art piece is not read as a unconscious play, but rather a physical change in relationship with matter, as it is the case with a sponge. A physical change will take place in such an event, and not only a mental alteration. A production of subjectivities nescessarily requires a concrete physical transformation of matter, not only signification by the signifier. An example for this would be any performance, where a viewer and sometimes performer(s) him or herself feel simulatenusly confused, lost, perplexed and exited, vitalized and joyful.

In the case of Malabou, when she writes about the famous studies done by Alexander Luria  of brain damage (Luria, 1987), it is a real physical damages which permanently and irreversibly alters the subjects personality.  In  very different manner, but still through physical means, a performance at work-place is executed with a keyboard, whether it would be an office, nuclear powerplant or school-library. Here, a body is physically manipulated and thus certain subjectivity is produced for certain performances, as well. In relation to plasticity, it is clear, how a sponge is taking a form in this example, and not giving form or annihilating form.

Counter to this track of plasticity, a procedure, which artistic practice takes, would be to produce a shock in the avant-garde manner. To produce new through annihilation and at the same time produce possible alienation — as it is the case in brain damage, as well. There is obvious fascination for destruction, annihilation, corrosion and brain damage througout the history of avant-garde and pop culture practices: a desire to destroy in order to build new. As such my project is not following this dictum of avant-garde, to destroy the old in order to start something new from a clean slate. Neither it follows the other practice of art, which uses the stategy of fashion: to produce somethinge new in cycles, repetition without a difference, as Simon O’Sullivan writes about the new. (O’Sullivan 2008, 91)  But, in fact my project takes the idea of placticity in all forms: to take form, to give form and to annihilate form, to produce repetition with a difference. Thus, I am concentrating on these three factors of form, as they circulate in artistic practices. Annihilation of form can be seen simply that alien element, which asks either or both performer and the participant to cross the comfort zone. The new is not comfortable, but it need not to be explicitly destructive. It might be an intimacy, which produces discomfort at first, but in the end the result is a transformation in the subjectivity.

Then, what happens to absorbing nature of sponge subjectivity? A sponge explodes, and after that the river of life is not following the predetermined path, but another one; another subject and another identity emerge — if an identity at all. A sponge subjectivity is related with the vulnerable construction of cerebral, where as Antonio Damasio writes: “The entire biological edifice, from cells, tissues, and organs to systems and images, is held alive by the constant execution of construction plans, always on the brink of partial or complete collapse.” (Damasio 1999, 144-145) As long as there is a coherence between the signals subjectivity is receiving and the previous forms within a subjectivity, a coherent system or subjectivity remains and functions. As long as there is a coherence between the signals one is receiving from the performance or from the art work, there is a sense of coherent understanding and signification of the piece. In the level of subjectivity, existential territory remains in a loop with other subjectivities in the milieu, as well. These modes work follow the paths of giving and taking form, repetition without a difference. However, when there is a scission, rupture or a cut — or several of them in sequence, a sense of meaning of function blurs or disappears. This is óne of the aspects of destructive side of plasticity, which — as Malabou articulates in her book The New Wounded (2012) — produces irreversible changes in the subjectivity, even the full transformation of subjectivity in unknown, neutral, cool and flat manner. Not only physical trauma, but exhaustion may produce such drastic changes, as well. “The transformation of identity emerges from a sudden, isolated event, unrelated to other events that constitute and individual life story.”(Malabou 2012a, 52) Such an event in the context of art context, is not only an element of surprise or aleatoric structure, but it also produces irreversible changes — it also must repeat with a difference. Not one event will produce this, but it must build a nest for it’s own continuity and contaminate a subjectivity permanently. Such a process is not unfamiliar and rare, but common practice, in fact.

Amateur sponge

Amateur, adolescent mind is a sponge mind, which is able to absorb and use a difference in order to mix and produce something new. In relation to a concept of plasticity sponge first receives a form. A sponge mind is not fully conscious of this receiving process, which has a implicit notion of receiving an identity. Receiving a form as a sponge follows path, pattern and repetition. In a sponge the actual matter, a matter of reference, which can is analoguous to the curves and cavities of a brain. In the way of a brain, sponge works through synaptic connections, and produces a system of reference — a brain is emotional and rational at the same time, through these connections. (Malabou 2012, 38-39) A sponge is a possibility for a new, a potentiality. However, potential only in the virtual, but not yet in the actual. Sponge absorbs a repetition with a possible difference and seeks for actualisation of it’s potential. Such a sponge is receiving form, and remains open to the form. Following the second idea of plasticity, of giving form a sponge might be more rigorous and focused, but also more idiotic, privatized and opportunistic. After receiving a form, another form is produced only to become absorbed into subjectivity’s possession. In another words, what was at first without a significant form, thus received it and became signified and functional. An amateur sponge, receiving form lives a public life, and not like and idiot (idios) spending life on his or her one’s own.

In his book Common as Air (2011) Lewis Hyde describes an artistic process of Bob Dylan followingly, by quoting musician Liam Claincy:

”‘Do you know what Dylan was when he came to the Village? He was a teenager, and the only thing I can compare him with was blotting paper. He soaked everything up. He had this immense curiosity; he was totally blank, and was ready to suck up everything that came within his range.’ But of course he didn’t simply soak things up; he then mixed them, added and subtracted, and wrung himself out.”(Hyde 2010, 199)

What is significant here, is that sponge, aside from having a social status, is not solely a relational, but active individuation process. Sponge has a potentiality for something, and a partial consciousness of a path, sponge (Dylan) absorb some forms, which are referenced with previous forms, in order the potential to become actual. However, the path is only an inclination towards something, which will eventually give form to Dylan, and Dylan becomes something else than Robert Alan Zimmerman — or even a respectable folk musician. But only through accidents and traumas does a truly strange and new Dylan appear, the annihilating plasticity of a motorcycle accident or exhaustion produces Dylan, and Zimmerman cease to exist. Plasticity of giving, receiving and annihilation of form do not produce only events, but a mass of residue and excess, which remains in the shadow.

”Chaosmosis: the (mental) apprehension of the world […] I absorb and I dissolve all discursivity while affirming this discursivity. But in general this time of fusion, or absorption, goes completely unrecognized, or is even thought.” (Guattari et al. 2000: 10-11)” (Watson 2009, 133)

As such chaosmosis is a process of the first two types of plasticity: of receiving form and giving form — and it goes completetly unrecognized. “You are the music while the music lasts,” writes Damasio about the continuous auto-production of the self, and subjectivity. (Damasio 1999, 191) Sponge follows the path of taking form, as becoming-something, something, which is implicitly included into a becoming. This unrecognized process is part of a creative procedure, in which a form is being received and in the end a form is given to a performance, drawing, composition, and so on. However, what Deleuze and Guattari emphasize on becomings, is that they do not follow a path, becoming is not a method. (Deleuze & Guattari 2004, 232-309) A becoming is a process of transformation, which includes discomfort, a potential danger of annihilation and becoming neutral, cool and flat. That in the process of becoming subjectivity may exhaust and pear-shape itself. In this way, becoming-something encompasses all three aspects of plasticity. For Guattari and Deleuze becoming-animal is “traversing human beings and sweeping them away, affecting the animal no less than the human.”(Deleuze & Guattari 2004, 237) It is a process of becoming in which both receiving and giving form are simultaneously taking place, but also annihilation, which is producing something new, a monster with a shadow.


The curious thing about the annihilation side of placticity is that, beyond and in the event of  annihilation there might not be a sense of suffering, but simply numbness. Malabou refers to particular phenomenons, which Damasio brings up from his practice, such as akinetic muteness, where “the patient no longer manifested any emotional reactions and seemed neither surprised nor unhappy to be in the hospital.” (Malabou 2012, 51) Such a ‘numbness’ is not in the level of neurosis, but deeper on the cerebral structure: a link between the emotional and rational has been damaged. Such a scission seem to be present at the moment, in the context of cognitive labour. It might not be a brain damage, which may cause a numb and disinterested behaviour in the work-place, but exhaustion that produces such subjectivities. A potentiality of giving form has been annihilated, and potentiality withdraws into a repetition, but no more with a difference. The production of art is easily linked here with the overall commodification of labour in the global market. And as such, artistic production follows the same seasonal repetition and disinterestedness as fashion does produce new, with repetition but not with difference.

In the language of Guattari, subjectivity reterritorializes into a limited existential territory. A result is depression, suffering and flatness.

In her presentation based on the philosophy of Clement Rosset at the “How Performance Thinks” –conference in London, April 2012, Kelina Gotman’s proposes that a transformation includes a nescessity of a double — shadow, mirror or echo.(Gotman 2012) A transformation includes discomfort, where a potentiality of annihilation is present, in the form of a shadow, mirror or echo — transformation of becoming with difference takes place in the discomforting presence of a shadow, double or echo. As such it is a process in distinction from a sudden trauma and the full annihilation of the past it produces. This process of becoming produces — or maybe, it rather heightenes the presence of suffering. Transformation of the sponge produces suffering, where giving, receiving and annihilating of a form alternate and bypass each other. Plasticity of becoming produce a discomforting process. The work of art makes the world strange, as strange as Dylan’s voice and awkward playing of harmonica must have sound at first. And throuhg repetition this voice contaminates the receiver and a subjectivity is transformed and existential territory deterritorialized.

Thus, a sponge has three procedures, which are not conscious. Either sponge receives form, but without a difference, it risks remain in a subdued position of a ‘user’; sponge gives form and produce an event, but may simply follow a method or path, with identifiable contours; or sponge lives with the proximity of annihilation in the process of actualizing a potential. It is process of suffering in the sense, that there is no comprehension of an end for this process — which in turn produces exhaustion in the context of cognitive labour. Suffering has no sense of duration, as Gotman says. Suffering is produced by the constant presence of three aspects of plasticity. However, when matter takes form and an event takes place, three parts of the plasticity take more fixed positions, and something is actualized, but a potentiality of annihilation remains attached as a form of unknown, incomprehension, shadow or doubt. Elie Ayache writes about an event:

“The true contingent event escapes the category of possibility because it is truly unpredictable and cannot even be identified as a possibility before it is realized. For this reason, the event is real and not possible. It is real to the extent that it is opposed to possibility. Contrary to what the metaphysics of possibility provides, the real preceds the possible and the true contingent event creates possibilities that will have lead to it […] future contingent event should be thought to be real before it becomes actual. […] A thing can be real without yet being actual; this is what Bergson and Deleuze call the virtual.” (Ayache 2011, 28-29)

Here an event, a true contingent event as Ayache writes, is “truly unpredictable” and “can be real without yet being actual”. It is the virtual unpredictability which lies in the annihilating plasticity, not the possibility of destruction, but the virtual real of the annihilation — the deterritorializing power of an event. It is beyond comprehension, since there is no preceding sings of such an event of annihilation. “The true contingent event creates possibilities that will have lead to it,” that virtual potential of annihilation of the form is an event, will reveal what might have been there all the time. A creative, artistic process is never taking place in retrospect, but it is a method without a path — thus it is not a method. A conscious choice of accepting the presence of the shadows and the incomprehensible virtual. As it was for instance for John Cage to accept and utilize the aleatory systems in order to produce not only something neutralized from his own decision, but also to use method as a way to invite the presence of a shadow, suffering, boredom and annihilation as a part of artistic process. Deleuze and Guattari warn about the annihilating black hole, which may appear in the deterritorializing processes of becoming, and may not produce any results, but lead into a flat, pear-shaped numbness, instead of joy of the new. Such a destructive black hole does not reveal archaic self, nor does it regress, but exhausted subjectivity is without past — primitive or childhood. (Malabou 2012a, 59)

Sponge in theory

Finnish political theorist Jussi Vähämäki writes about the abstract and cognitive labour of being:

”formless, moveable, like gas or liquid, and in that way real, though it would have never been fixed on specific space or time, on specific being or event. It needs not to be totality, which joins all separate ”individuals”, events or beings. ”Individuals” are being articulated, separated and differentiated in abstract, coagulated soups of virtual, they get form in theory, and carry on this common, virtual or abstract confusion in them.”[translation from Finnish my own](Vähämäki, 2006)

Such a subjectivity need to be a sponge like, which is able to absorb and use the new refrains, to mix them and be productive. Such a sponge in the context of neoliberal, cognitive capitalism follows the notion of flexibility, but not a plasticity, as Malabou makes distinction with them. Similarly with plasticity, such a sponge is balanced with the rigidity and suppleness — thus it is not towards a new, unknown, the other and difference, but is supple and flexible for the retourn of the same. It is the pertinence of potential plasticity in the social, mental and political aspect of individuation process of a sponge, which are valuable for creative processes. It is the pertinence of noticing the potential difference between rigidity or supple flexibility and the capacity “for deformation, re-formation, or explosion.” (Malabou 2008, 15)

What can a performance and artistic practice do? It is to distinguish these two aspects of rigidity and plasticity — impermanence and change in contrast with the rigid forms. It may enhance a distinction and awareness of the uncertainty of a system and precariousness of working conditions. “The hierarchical principle is demolished and organizations become flexible, innovative, and highly proficient. […] the network is the master term,” writes Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello in their book The New Spirit of Capitalism. (Boltanski&Chiapello 2005, 75) It is in the network, where artistic practices are indistinguishable from the flexible neoliberal capitalism. In the network flexibility of a sponge, makes it an unreliable and merely relational concept. It is the network, which makes relational artist unreliable but flexible. Malabou criticizes such flexibility:

“One is formed only by virtue of a resistance to form itself […] Rather than displaying a real tension between maintenance and evolution, flexibility confounds them within a pure and simple logic of imitation and performance. It is not creative but reproductive and normative.” (Malabou 2008, 71-72)

A flexible and relational sponge subjectivity would follow and imitate forms of normativity and lead  to suberb employability, as Malabou translates term flexibility. A sponge subjectivity without resilience, imitates exactly the path of employability, and in the mess of capitalism, this supple spongeness is required. Imitative practice produces repetition without difference. What distinguishes plasticity from flexibility, is exactly this resilience and resistance it produces in the real, in matter.

“Explosive correspond to the transformation of one motor regime into another, of one device into another, a transformation necessitating a rupture, the violence of a gap that interrupts all continuity.” (Malabou 2008, 72-73)

A sponge without resilience is flexible, employable, bland, passive, and too rhizomatic. It is like rhizomatic thinking without context, mere imitation of the rhizoamtic – aesthetization of a concept.

“[…]transition from ‘homeostasis’ to ‘self-generation’ is not made without rupture or gap. The plasticity that situates subjectivity between maintenance and construction or production of newness is not smooth,” writes Malabou. (Malabou 2008,74-75)

Sponge itself, is part of the necessary homeostasis and flexibility. But as a felxiblesuppleness it misses the explosive self-generation and resistance, in order the new to be generated. A tension released by art event or performance, would only maintain flexibility, whereas artistic practice should articulate tensions, contradictions, shadows and rigidity in order to produce repetition with difference.


In Bytom project, the matter at hand was daily life of imaginary, political and social universe of contagions, which lingers on within the mess of neoliberal capitalism. It is the lingering homeostasis, and not articulated self-generation, which produces sponge subjectivity. One should have a critical stance on adaptation, flexibility and creativity of a sponge; on that , how spongeness obstructs or permits me to live, perform, experience and express; how does spongeness produce the repetition of the same and not the difference?

Life in Bytom –project explored a potentiality of conflict and transformation, by giving a form for the conflict, difference and contradictions. What is not being actualized or articulated, remains virtual but also rigid, inhibited and at the same time supple. In Bytom, and namely in some poor suburbs such as Bobrek, where instead of human capital the social alienation, homelessness, drug addiction and other symptoms are produced by the overall paradigm of “employability”: there resilience also resides. Resilience resides in anxiety and depression. If traces of trauma or disillusionment can change their meaning, thus generating resistance and agency of explosiveness, then it is what artistic practices could do. Connect through contradictions and confrontations, instead of merely releasing tension. This project was an articulation of these tensions, which we come accross in everyday life in neo-liberal Europe. However, it is not a coherent document of a reality, but a subjective articulation – often bleak and dark, rather than positive or empowering.



Project is curated by CSW Kronika / Stanislaw Ruksza
Assitant in the project was Radoslaw Cwielag
Project is supported by CSW Kronika, Theatre Academy in Helsinki, TAhTO Research School in Helsinki, Performance Matters in London, FRAME-fund in Finland, New Performance Festival in Turku, AVEK in Helsinki and Finnish Art Council.
It was done possible with the help several of individuals and institutions in Bytom.

Works cited

Ayache, Elie. 2011. “In the Middle of the Event”. In The Medium of Contingency, edited by Robin Mackay. Falmouth: Urbanomic

Becker, Gary. 1974. “A Theory of Social Interactions,” Journal of Political Economy, 82(6)

—— 1995. Human Capital: a theoretical and empirical analysis, with special reference to education. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Boltanski, Luc and Eve Chiapello. 2005. The New Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Gregory Elliot. London: Verso.

Damasio, Antonio. 1999. The Feeling of What Happens. San Diego: Harcourt.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 2004. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Continuum.

Ettinger, Bracha L. 2006. “Fascinance. The Woman-to-woman (Girl-to-m/Other) Matrixial Feminine Difference”. In: Psychoanalysis and the Image. Edited by Griselda Pollock. Oxford: Blackwell.

Gotman, Kelina. 2012. “Singular object: The Trials of Clement Rosset’s philosophy of the ‘Real’”. How Performance Thinks-conference. PSi Performance & Philosophy Group, Kingston University, London. April 13-14.

Guattari, Félix, Georges Aperpghis, and Antoine Gindt. 2000. “L’hétérogenèse dans la création musicale.” Chimères 38: 9-12.

Guattari, Félix. 1995. Chaosmosis: An Ethico-aesthetic paradigm.Translated by Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Power Institute.

Hunt, R. Justin and Johanna Linsley. 2012. “Alienating the archive”. In Exploring and exploding: The Potentials of Performance. Handout from the event. 26.-27.2012.

Hyde, Lewis. 2010. Common as Air: Revolutions, Art and Ownership. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Lacan, Jacques. 1998. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. Translation by Alan Sheridan. New Yorks: W.W. Norton & Co.

Luria, Alexander. 1987. The Man with a Shattered World: The History of a Brain Wound. Harvard University Press.

Malabou, Catherine. 2008. What Should We Do with Our Brain? Translated by Sebastian Rand. New York: Fordham University Press.

—— 2012a. The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage. Translated by Steven Miller. New York: Fordham University Press.

—— 2012b. Ontology of The Accident: An Essay on Destructive Plasticity. Translated by Carolyn Shread. Cambridge: Polity Press.

McKenzie, Jon. 2001. Perform or else: From discipline to performance.  New York; London: Routledge.

O’Sullivan, Simon. “The Production of the New and the Care of the Self.” In Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New, edited by Simon O’Sullivan and Stephen Zepke. London: Continuum, 2008.

Stuart, Caleb. 2002 “Yasunao Tone’s Wounded and Skipping Compact Discs: From

Improvisation and Indeterminate Composition to Glitching CDs” in Leonardo Electronic Almanac. Vol. 10, Number 9, September.

Vähämäki, Jussi. 2006. “Uusi työ ja prekariaatti.” megafoni. 14.05.

Watson, Janell. 2009. Guattari´s Diagrammatic Thought: Writing Between Lacan and Deleuze. London: Continuum.

TAhTO (Artistic Research School in Helsinki) Open Seminar
May 22, 2012
Theatre Academy in Helsinki

What is New?

It was midsummer 1984, when I heard the first single, ‘Hand in Glove’ by The Smiths. I was in an island close to Hanko with my father and I played this song from Sony Walkman radio-cassette player, which my father had brought for me from Japan. An endless day of midsummer in the Finnish archipelago was as far as it could get from the urban streets of London. However my parents had just divorced, my puberty had begun, and I was bored. I was a teenager who did not understand much of the lyrics of the song, but could feel and sense it. As Simon Goddard writes about this song, it was a “a bleak proclamation of doomed happiness [. . .] a shattering left-hook of self-loathing, loss and desperation” – something that a teenager could easily sense. (Goddard 2003, 31-32) Moreover, it was not about a conscious understanding of a message, but attentiveness towards new.

For the adolescent mind these events are not recognized as retro or fashionable tricks, but new, which are distinguished from the matured taste of a aficionado. Thus, my appreciation to The Smiths or later on to performance art was one of an amateur; affective crush, rather than love. Because music, as Nietzsche writes in Gay Science “One must Learn to Love […] we must first learn in general to hear, to hear fully, and to distinguish a theme or a melody.”(1) But adolescent and amateur mind is not interested of love, but infatuation of new.

Simon O’Sullivan writes, following Deleuze how “The new would then be a repetition, but with difference. As such the new must be distinguished from fashion, which involves a repetition of the same, that is, does not really involve a radical recombination of elements. However, the new is not opposed to fashion, but rather accelerates certain of it’s features [and] Fashion in this sense is the near enemy of art.” (O’Sullivan 2009, 91) New is then a not a repetition of the same, but repetition with difference based on past and recombining unused potentialities.(2) And in turn, this adolescent infatuation of new is being exploited by the commercialized and compartmentalized capitalism. It is being reterritorialized, i.e. fixed to the repetitious refrains. This reterritorialization takes place in commodified pop culture, fashion, contemporary art and in countercultures as well. It seems that such a reterritorialization is necessary for to distinguish tastes and style, which an amateur is not able to undertake. In a similar manner performance art follows logic of reterritorialization of a new, or refrains of reterritorialization. In this presentation I will not go into details of the links between avant-garde, countercultures, mainstream and production of new.

The sponge subjectivity

Amateur, adolescent mind is a sponge mind, which is able to absorb and use the new refrains, to mix them and produce new singularities. A sponge mind is not fully conscious mind. In a sponge there is the actual fibre, which is the matter of reference, but that the actual spores can absorb makes the function of a sponge. The sponge is a possibility for a new. Sponge absorbs the repetition but with a possible difference. Here, I consider sponge subjectivity not an idiot of a private life, nor an opportunist absorbing ideas and turning them into his own possession, nor is s/he an altruistic lamb. Sponge lives a public life, retaining what is his/her own; s/he is not pure becoming nor and idiot, spending life on one’s own. (3)

A sponge relates to a term chaosmosis, created by Félix Guattari: “Chaosmosis: the (mental) apprehension of the world […] I absorb and I dissolve all discursivity while affirming this discursivity. But in general this time of fusion, or absorption, goes completely unrecognized, or is even thought.” (Guattari et al. 2000: 10-11)” (Watson 2009, 133)

That a sponge is not becoming, nor transformation, for transformation includes discomfort, where becoming maybe interpreted as something taking place naturally or automatically: becoming into something that already exists as an idea. In another words, sponge subjectivity is necessary for a creative process. In his book Common as Air (2011) Lewis Hyde describes an artistic process of Bob Dylan followingly, by quoting musician Liam Claincy:

“‘Do you know what Dylan was when he came to the Village? He was a teenager, and the only thing I can compare him with was blotting paper. He soaked everything up. He had this immense curiosity; he was totally blank, and was ready to suck up everything that came within his range.’ But of course he didn’t simply soak things up; he then mixed them, added and subtracted, and wrung himself out.”(Hyde 2010, 199)

What strikes me here is that sponge, aside from having a social status, is not solely a relational, but active individuation process. Sponge has a potentiality, which it uses. Sponge in a modest form is a person or user, who watches a TV series, but at the same time has her attention on the other, minor refrains as well. She is not a mere consumer, but a sponge of potentiality, sponge of agency.

Irritation of new

Another aspect of a new, or unfamiliar, is that it irritates: it is difficult, obscure and even painful. New threatens and stir up resistance, disagreement, cynicism, and depression. New may stuck into the reterritorialization, the impasse fails to the familiar instead of unknown. Similarly it is with the commodified new, as well. New stirs up a double and a shadow, the discomfort of transformation because of new, the new which emerge as a black hole.(4) The infatuation which the dominant refrain at each moment is able to agitate – ‘Hand in Glove’, TV series, performer on stage – also clings with the minor shadows, or contagions – fear, frustrations, indifference, noise, and so on. Something in repetition of new, will always remain mute or silent.

Janell Watson describes the idea of refrain by Guattari:

“Refrain is a repeated semiotic element which functions as a component of passage among behavioural and other assemblages. The refrain can be verbal, melodic, or gestural, and is made familiar through repetition; it ritualizes and normalizes basic temporal refrains. […] The refrain can also mark territories […] refrain can serve as a sort of safety net for dealing with sudden deterritorializations. […] Like catalysts or enzymes, refrains may orient an interaction or behavioral assemblage without participating in it directly.” (Watson 2009, 79)

There are no dominant refrains without minor ones, and the other way around. We cannot say that a minor refrain is a gateway to deterritorialization, and dominant contrariwise. This could be the case if the system was closed and controlled, but as it is not, it would be too simplistic to say so. However this is often a strategy for commodified reterritorializations, i.e. when “punk was sold out” or performance art became mainstream.

Refrain may induce catastrophe, a reversal of what is expected or catalysis, dissolution of an event. (5) (Stiegler 2009, 48) It is the shadow of the new – or the difference of new – which creates a border, which is in relation with subjectivity.(6) Guattari writes how “Science, technology, philosophy, art and human affairs confront respectively the constraints and resistances of specific materials which they loosen and articulate within given limits.” (Watson 2009, 126) Without any qualities of a sponge, this border of new, would be fixed and closed and it would create a pure transmission of data and information and split would be terminal. All the same, sponge subjectivity always leaks and pervades; a split is not conclusive, neither a pure communication – new comes with many contagions, as well. From my point of view, it is this mess, from which new articulations and agency arise, the difference of repetition. This transformation is not only recombination of particles, but production of particles, as well.

Hyde writes how Dylan goes about songwriting:

“What happens is, I’ll take a song I know and simply start playing it in my head. […] I’ll be playing Bob Nolan’s ‘Tumbling Tumbleweeds,’ for instance, in my head constantly – while I’m driving a car or talking to a person or sitting around or whatever […] at a certain point, some of the words will change and I’ll start writing a song […]That’s the folk music tradition.” (Hyde 2010, 199)

What can performance do (in Bytom)?

Such a transformation is what my next project in this research aims to produce. Performance as practice has a potentiality for the new to emerge. A performance or similar event may function the way that it “knocks us off course and on to another vector, producing a mutant line of desire”, but as O’Sullivan continues “the rupture itself needs to be followed by new refrains, new habits.” (O’Sullivan 2008, 95) It needs practice and repetition.

A specific location for my practice-based work is a Silesian mining town, Bytom, in South-Poland. In past twenty years this area has been transformed from industrialism to neoliberal capitalism. As a one result six out of eight mines are now closed. Nevertheless the mining channels are still having a tremendous effect on the city. Even whole blockhouses are collapsing due to the fact, that these abandoned underground tunnels are not filled, but left as they are. Pawn shops, second hand stores and 24-hour shops with licence are frequent: the signs of debt and despair. The curator of Kronika Contemporary Art Centre in Bytom, where my project is located, Stanisław Ruksza calls Bytom the “Detroit” of Poland. In this context, what can a performance do?

Bytom is an interesting place in the respect of economic and social ruptures and transformation periods, since it has gone through three major transformations which have had an heavy impact on the city: first it was a German / Jewish town, then heavily industrialized soviet city in the Upper Silesian industry area and recently neoliberal transformation has taken place. These transformations have produced confusion, which was clearly articulated in my meetings in Bytom, as well: a sense of undisclosed continuity of economic, social and environmental transformations.

Tell Me About Your Machines

Photo: Hannu Seppälä

Part of this project, I did a series of five performances, each lasting one hour, in The New Performance Festival in Turku, May 3rd to 5th, 2012. This performance, which was entitled “Tell Me About Your Machines” took place in Titanik Gallery, which is size of around 40 m2, with large windows on the one side. Windows were covered, so that light entered the room, but it was not possible to see through the windows. In this performance audience sat in a semi-circle around the performer.

There was lot of black cable and wire on the floor. In the beginning, three to five people from the audience were asked to become participants in the performance. They were sitting closer to me, and were asked questions about their machines.

Participants heard my questions through headphones, while rest of the audience, witnesses, heard my voice normally. Participants were asked questions about the machines they have, in the following way, and they were asked to choose one machine, which they wanted to work with:

Can you tell me what kind of machines you have? What do they do? Where are these machines?


What do you do at the same time, while a machine is working?


Is this machine controlling you in some ways? Do you control yourself of using the machine?


How this machine controls your life with other people in social situations? How does it control your relationships with people or other machines? What do you think the machine wants you to do?


Do you think the machine has values? Why not? /What are they? Does a machine promise you something?


Do you remember a moment when a machine was new?

Photo: Hannu Seppälä

After the question part, they were asked to take off the headphones and project a mental image of this machine on an opposite wall, i.e. to imagine how this machine looks like, feels, smells, etc. After that I stepped into that area of projection and ‘became’ a subject of their projections on machines. I asked them to give me directions, which I would follow: how they wished or desired a machine to function, serve or command.

“I am your machine. You can direct me; tell me what to do, ask me to control you. I am your machine.”

After a period of experimentation, the session was over.

What happened there, will take place in larger format in Bytom. As it was in these simple questions, also the workshops are based on Félix Guattari’s idea of metamodelization. He drew a map, in which there are

“four domains of the Plane of Consistency or plane of immanence [for] mapping the unconscious and subjectivity, the four functors are mapping existence itself.” (Watson 2009, 123) For Guattari this mapping is not consistent, but rather a process of remapping; making new maps for each singular situation, i.e. metamodelization. (Watson 2009, 123)

(1) (F) the realm of material fluxes and intensities, of play, joy, sadness and semiotics. Which has reterritorializing by function.

(2) () phylum of abstract machines, blueprints, plans, rules, and regulations. But “Phyla is in essence creative, and also connect with the creativity of the artistic process.” (Watson 2009, 126)

(3) (U) The realm of incorporeal universes, virtual content, unformed matter and the realm of a-signified potentiality: “Universes – concrete, oniric, pathological, or aesthetic.[…] A Universe is constellation of values, of nondiscursive references, of virtual possibility, not real and not actualized, and yet necessary to any process of actualization and realization. Crystals of singularization […]” (Watson 2009, 124/129)

(4) (T) existential territory of subjectivity is a realm of dominant and minor refrains: “life as it seems,” or “The apprehension of the world,” which is for Guattari the equivalent of the constitution of an Existential Territory (Guattari et al. 2000: 11).” (Watson 2009, 133)

Janell Watson writes in her book Guattari’s Diagrammatic Thought: Writing between Lacan and Deleuze:

“[…] Phyla supply the plans and diagrams, which must be realized in the matter and energy of the Flows. […] The full cycle of assemblages is not complete until the Universes and Territories also become involved, incorporating both machinic proto-subjectivity and human experience.” (Watson 2009, 131)

As such, the question of non-discursive matter is essential, aside from the discursive signification. In addition to the horizontal division, Guattari’s map is also divided vertically:

“Quantity belongs to scientific, method and the discursive, economic, rule-driven side of the Phyla and the Flows on the left side of the graph. Qualities are the concern of philosophy, aesthetics and subjectivity, which are located on the side of Territories and Universes on the right side of the graph.” (Watson 2009, 124)

In some sense this division responds to general division of objective and subjective. Also, the left side deals with the ‘given’ while right side with the “logic of body without organs.” (Watson 2009, 125) Artistic processes, which would deal only with semiotic signification, thus deal with power and language, but cannot produce anything but more signification. It ought to use both the symbolic and the asignified aside from the signification, in order to produce transformation, and “existential singularity.” (Watson 2009, 125)

This particular affective production in the “Life inBytom” project gives support and produces unknown encounters. It is not a recombination of discourses, but a production of new, i.e. support for minor refrains of subjectivities and probing of the potential, and agency. (O’Sullivan 2007, 5)

On the contrary to ”major” politics, my practice proposes a production of minor refrains of the political, yet considering history and socius, as well.

In Turku, when I had asked people to describe, if they had an intimate relationship with their bicycle, smart-phone or toaster, such a question seemed to amuse people. However, each participant took the task seriously, and from the comments that I heard afterwards, their relationship with the machines had altered and shifted. In Bytom, this process will be prolonged and repeated, and thus my aim, is that such an open process would produce agency and empower the minor refrains surrounding their life; and to produce new encounters.

Photo: Hannu Seppälä

Devices and subjects in a milieu are transformed, but cannot take control of their individuation. They are linked with each other through milieu – a system of objects, as proposed by Gilbert Simondon.(Simondon 2007, 206-215) Ruptures between a multitude of technological objects, devices, machines and human subjectivity is what creates a deadly repetition, a return to the old and familiar where a device is merely a projection of desire. It is a process of reterritorialization, which will not assess the rules and laws of abstract machines or potentiality. For this reason, all the machines in the performance in Turku were considered as important, though they had apparent categorical difference: a toaster is rather simple compared to a ‘smart phone’. But, what my project aims to produce, is not a high-tech solutions, but to produce agency and subjectivity simultaneously dwelling within the same milieu of technological devices: it is not so, that I only remember the song by The Smiths, but how it was located in the milieu, that it was played through a technological device of a portable cassette-radio player. That in my memory this song is always connected with the machine, which produced a refrain of distinct rhythms.

Then, how does a sponge subjectivity function in my practice? Absorbing material from other works or theories, or rather sponging on a new or unfamiliar milieus? Reading theory like a sponge, would make theory similar to poetry – affective reading – but then would fail to read the discursive matter, not allowing it function properly. When the participants in Turku were giving me directions in the end, the interpretation of these directions was sponge type; not rationally coherent, but rather pathic. Same approach will be used to map the existential territory in Bytom. Sponge subjectivity is not as repetitive, as in the example of Dylan, but more non-discursive device. Sponge functions as a device for agency, aside from the discursive devices. Sponge has no discursive knowledge or skill, but is able to function as a device for probing a milieu, and mapping the territory of existence, and help to produce a transformation of this territory.

Produced and supported by:

Kronika Centre for Contemporary Art in Bytom

Theatre Academy in Helsinki

TAhTO Research School in Helsinki

Performance Matters in London

New Performance Festival in Turku


(1) § 334: One must Learn to Love. This is our experience in music: we must first learn in general to hear, to hear fully, and to distinguish a theme or a melody, we have to isolate and limit it as a life by itself; then we need to exercise effort and good- will in order to endure it in spite of its strangeness, we need patience towards its aspect and expression, and indulgence towards what is odd in it-in the end there comes a moment when we are accustomed to it, when we expect it, when it dawns upon us that we should miss it if it were lacking; and then it goes on to exercise its spell and charm more and more, and does not cease until we have become its humble and enraptured lovers, who want it, and want it again, and ask for nothing better from the world. I is thus with us, however, not only in music: it is precisely thus that we have learned to love everything that we love. We are always finally recompensed for our good-will, our patience, reasonableness and gentleness towards what is unfamiliar, by the unfamiliar slowly throwing off its veil and presenting itself to us as a new, ineffable beauty-that is its thanks for our hospitality. He also who loves himself must have learned it in this way: there is no other way. Love also has to be learned. (Nietzsche 2001)

(2) Jos puhutaan uudesta, tällöin pitää nostaa esiin myös toisto. Vrt. Kierkegaard (Nevanlinnan ja Relanderin kirjassa): ”Ehkä Vanhan ja Uuden testamentin suhde muistuttaa sitä, mitä Søren Kierkegaard kutsuu toistoksi? Kierkegaardilainen toisto ei ole saman asian tuottamista uudelleen. Se on erilaisen tuottamista siten, että pyritään lunastamaan esikuvassa piilleet mutta siinä puolinaisesti toteutuneet mahdollisuudet. Ehkä Uusi testamentti toistaa Vanhan tässä mielessä? Vastaavasti Koraani olisi toinen ja toisenlainen Vanhan testamentin toisto.” (Nevanlinna ja Relander 2011, 54)

(3) ”Franklin had a singular genius, to be sure, but what really made him unusual was not his individuality but his sociability, his talent for entertaining so much of the culture that surrounded him. He was a great cultural sponge, not a backwoods nature child”[…] Belonging simultaneously to the private and the public, we each must distinguish between what is our own (idios) and what we hold in common (koinon). The first of these terms gives rise to the word ”idiot”, for it was the Greek assumption that any life spent wholly on one’s own is byt nature idiotic. If the public world is that in which we become fully human, then along with the positive, need-meeting senses of privacy come its negative or privative senses. Privacy can indicate loss – of public presence, public office, companionship, friendship and dignity.” (Hyde 2010, 180, 183-184)

(4) Kelina Gotman “Singular object: The Trials of Clement Rosset’s philosophy of the ‘Real’”(How Performance Thinks conference, 13-14.4.2012, London) (notes are not from her paper, but the first concepts are).

Shadow, reflection and echo doubles, double not as a copy, but a ‘sidekick’. Political as theatre of double’s and real. Theatre of minor doubles. Transformation (doubles, not copies) not becoming, does becoming lead into confusion because of a process? But transformation including double (shadow, mirror, and echo). That the transformation includes discomfort, but maybe not so with a becoming, that becoming maybe easily interpreted as something taking place naturally or automatically. Becoming into something that already exists. Becoming and maybe being a copy, or at least it is present. Maybe transformation has more uncertainty of what you will be transformed into, the discomfort of this. Transformation more on the side of an amateur, and not so much of becoming. Performativity which produces affectivity in the world, different from the transformation or becoming. Performativity / transformation / becoming / change

Suffering, which is without an end or comprehension of an end in the moment of suffering? Is this suffering becoming, change, or transformation; being with a shadow, mirror or echo? Suffering which comes from outside, leads into some kind of liminality. Being with the discomfort of suffering, becoming, change and transformation. The unknown of ‘new’, linked with this. Cannot interpret or overcome the block that exists, the black hole, but to consider this block as necessary and productive in a sense – this is bit absent in Guattari’ thought, which aims to be rather universal and all encompassing.

(5) 1530s, “reversal of what is expected” (especially a fatal turning point in a drama), from L. catastropha, from Gk. katastrophe “an overturning; a sudden end,” from katastrephein “to overturn, turn down, trample on; to come to an end,” from kata “down” + strephein “turn” (see strophe). Extension to “sudden disaster” is first recorded 1748

Strophe: c.1600, from Gk. strophe “stanza,” originally “a turning,” in reference to the section of an ode sung by the chorus while turning in one direction, from strephein “to turn,” from PIE *strebh- “to wind, turn” (cf. Gk. strophaligs “whirl, whirlwind,” streblos “twisted”).

1650s, “dissolution,” from Gk. katalysis “dissolution, a dissolving” (of governments, military units, etc.), from katalyein “to dissolve,” from kata- “down” (or “completely”) + lyein “to loosen” (see lose). Chemical sense is attested from 1836.

(6) The split[30] in him caused by his contact with her would be reconciled by his actually having returned to her. So once again the girl was not an actuality but a reflexion (reflex) of motions within him and an incident in them. The girl has enormous importance, and he will never forget her, but her importance lies not in herself but in her relation to him. She is, so to speak, the border of his being, but such a relation is not erotic. From a religious point of view, one could say it is as if God used this girl to capture him, and yet the girl herself is not an actuality but is like the laced-winged fly with which a hook is baited. (Kierkegaard, Soren. 1983. Repetition, A Venture in Experimental Psychology, by Constantin Constantius, October 16, 1843. Edited and Translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton University Press. 154-155, 185, 220-221)

Works Cited

Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 2005. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. The University of Minnesota Press.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1992. “Postscript on the Societies of control”. October. Vol. 59 (Winter, 1992). Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Goddard, Simon.2003. The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life. London: Reynolds & Hern.

Guattari, Félix, Georges Aperghis, and Antoine Gindt. 2000. ”L’hétérogenèse dans la création musicale.” Chimères 38: 9-12

Guattari, Félix. 1979. L’Inconscient machinique: Essais de schizo-analyse. Fontenay-sous-Bois: Recherches.

Guattari, Félix. 1996. The Guattari Reader. Edited by Gary Genosko. London: Blackwell.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 2001. Gay Science: With a prelude in German rhymes and appendix of songs. Edited by Bernard Williams; translated by Josephine Nauckhoff. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O’Sullivan, Simon. 2007. ”Academy: ’The Production of Subjectivity’”. Summit: Non-aligned initiatives in education culture. Available at: (Accessed 4.3.2012)

O’Sullivan, Simon. 2008. “The Production of the New and the Care of the Self”. Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New. Edited by Simon O’Sullivan and Stephen Zepke. London: Continuum.

Simondon, Gilbert. 2007. “Technical Individualization” in Interact or Die! Edited by Arjen Mulder and Jokoe Brouwer. Translated by Karen Ocana and Brian Massumi. Rotterdam: V2 publishing.

Stiegler, Bernard. 2009. “The Theatre of Individuation: Phase-shift and Resolution in Simondon and Heidegger” in Parrhesia. Translated by Kristina Lebedeva. Melbourne. Available from Accessed at 10.05.2012.

Watson, Janell. 2009. Guattari’s Diagrammatic Thought: Writing between Lacan and Deleuze. London: Continuum.

Performance and contingency of a contaminated human capital

PSi#18. performance :: culture :: industry
University of Leeds. 27 June – 1 July 2012

In this presentation I will use some concepts, which originate outside from the performance studies, such as human capital, contamination, sponge and plasticity. As such, these concepts are essential to my research which is entitled “Schizoanalysis of subjectivity and performance in the context of cognitive capitalism.” Foundation for this research is based on the critique of neo-liberal capitalism and writings of Félix Guattari. A concept of ‘sponge’ is in relation with Guattari’s concept of chaosmosis and plasticity, which has been articulated by Catherine Malabou.

Life in Bytom project

In march this year, I started a project in a former mining town Bytom in Silesia, South-Poland. This project is based on workshops with a group size of 5 to 15 people. They are invited by Kronika Centre for Contemporary Art in Bytom, where my project results will be presented in the form of an exhibition and performances in November 2012.The participants of these workshops come from different backgrounds, ages and social classes, people living in Bytom. In between the four or five workshops participants are given instructions to document their daily life in relation to machines, devices, common and groups. In this presentation I will concentrate on the more theoretical reflections that this project has brought up, rather than present the more practical aspects of it.

In the past twenty years this area has been transformed from the Fordist-Keynesian industrialism to neoliberal capitalism. As a one consequence, only two of the twelve mines and other industrial sites related to mining are still in function. Buildings and factory sites are left empty, since there is no money or will to renovate them, but owners of the buildings rather wait for them to collapse, in order to build new constructions. Pawnshops, second hand stores and 24-hour shops with liquor license are frequent. Areas such as Bobrek, which used to be a wealthy working class district, have declined into a miserable conditions, where residents are living by the mining refuse area. The curator of Kronika, Stanisław Ruksza calls Bytom the “Detroit” of Poland. In this context, what can a performance do?

Human capital

In his book Perform… or else (2001) Jon McKenzie describes a shift from Taylorism, as a transition from the overall dominating and rigid system of organization of life towards a new paradigm as he calls it a ‘Performance management’(McKenzie 2001, 6). Taylorism and liberalism were based on rational and scientific organization of labour and life, which had drawback of massive, centralized production lines, and little flexibility to reflect changing social circumstances. Transition towards the neoliberal society of performance started from the early 70’s and the transition reached its momentum in the end of 80’s, simultaneously with the collapse of Soviet Union. For McKenzie subjectivity and

”Performance Management […] attunes itself to economic processes that are increasingly service-based, globally oriented, and electronically wired.”(McKenzie 2001, 6)

Another dominating idea of postwar, liberal capitalism, was human capital, which was an apparatus developed by Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker in the Chicago School of Economics in the 1960’s and 70’s. (Becker  1974) Human capital became one of the engineering and managing strategies to organize not only labor, but life in general: the register of intimacy, affect, emotion, solidarity and friendship, all folded into the space of capital. Yet, in last twenty years, such an organizational apparatus, aside from performance management has proven to be in crisis. However, the idea of personal as capital functions in the present crisis situation, as well. Catherine Malabou argues that

“Suppleness, the ability to bend, and docility thus appear to join together in constituting a new structural norm that functions immediately to exclude … in effect, anyone who is not flexible deserves to disappear … The depressed person, like the ‘social failure,’ evidently suffers from a lack of ‘employability’ and adaptability.” (Malabou 2008, 46-47)

If one does not obtain the skills of flexibility or ‘employability’, then one cease to perform.


Instead of rational maintenance of self-organizing subjectivities, these subjectivities find themselves in present crisis amidst a mess and fog of noise. Mess confuses and exhausts: it is difficult to distinguish what is meaningful. Subjectivity is not performing well or worse, in order to follow some rationale of human capital, but he or she is distracted, perturbed and confused. There is no need for command, but merely maintenance of the delocalized subjectivities.

“Cerebral organization and socio-political organization are collided in the individuation process of subjectivity, in the daily experience of life, in the potential or annihilation aspect of subjectivity.” (Malabou 2008)

Finnish political economist Akseli Virtanen says, that instead of rational choices, what matters are the affective directives. As such, it is conflicted with the rational base of the neo-liberalism. According to neo-liberal theorists such as Becker confusion would certainly be confounding with the rate of profit. Following the apparatus of human capital, there are risks, but no unpredictable events, because risks are distributed into smaller fragments, then overall organization is able to control and maintain them. (Becker 1974, 1063-1093) There are arbitrary regulations at play, where reflexivity and suppleness is required from the subjectivity.

In the mess subjectivity may perform only to adjust his or her delocalized performance in the everchanging conditions. These conditions do not produce a swarm, rhizome, or wolf’s huddling in a ring by a bonfire, but in fact disturbing and confusing “antechamber of depression.”[1] (Malabou 2008, 49) In my example of post-industrial town of Bytom, subjectivities are not side by side, but confusedly in a mess. In the poorest area of the city, Bobrek there is no performance. Such subjectivities are dislocated, in the same way as depressed or ill. In this context, performance in the sense that McKenzie proposed exists only in corporate and institutionalized settings. In the level of life as it is in a post-industrial city of Bytom, there is no coherence with such a performance. Performance management functions in corporations and institutions, but it is not sufficient as a general rule applied in life. However, this is what the neo-liberal capitalism claims to do.

Neoliberal capitalism is an apparatus of discursive and non-discursive elements, of which completion is to produce subjectivity, which is compatible with this mess. It is subjectivity whose obtained attributes are precariousness, cynicism, opportunism, and distractedness. Malabou adds, that such subjectivity is necessarily supple and flexible. Having obtained such subjectivity, s/he is able to perform in the conditions required by the apparatus, and s/he is able to create profit in a mess.

Successful performance is not easily produced in a mess and it is rarely functioning in such conditions as Bytom. Needles to say, suppleness does not produce new or difference, but repetition of the same. Moreover, I doubt that there would be a general desire to be successful. My question in the beginning of this presentation was, what can a performance do, then my focus is inevitably on these conditions and contexts, which obtain some other aspects than desire for success.[2]


Finnish political theorist Jussi Vähämäki writes about the abstract and cognitive labour of being:

”formless, moveable, like gas or liquid, and in that way real, though it would have never been fixed on specific space or time, on specific being or event. It needs not to be totality, which joins all separate ”individuals”, events or beings. ”Individuals” are being articulated, separated and differentiated in abstract, coagulated soups of virtual, they get form in theory, and carry on this common, virtual or abstract confusion in them.” (Vähämäki, 2006)

Such a subjectivity need to be a sponge like, which is able to absorb and use the new refrains, to mix them and be productive.

A sponge is not conscious of spongeness. Sponge absorbs the repetition, but with a possible difference and improbability. Sponge subjectivity is not an idiot of a private life or an opportunist absorbing ideas and turning them into his own possession.

This rather vague idea of a sponge relates to a historical concept of plasticity developed by Hegel, and recently adapted by Catherine Malabou, in relation with neurosciences. Sponge is in relation with the idea of chaosmosis, created by Félix Guattari, as well.

“Chaosmosis: [is] the (mental) apprehension of the world […] I absorb and I dissolve all discursivity while affirming this discursivity. But in general this time of fusion, or absorption, goes completely unrecognized, or is even thought.” (Guattari et al. 2000: 10-11)” (Watson 2009, 133)

Two aspects of the term plasticity:

“it means at once the capacity to receive form (clay is called ‘plastic,’ for example) and the capacity to give form (as in the plastic arts or in plastic surgery). […] plasticity is also the capacity to annihilate the very form it is able to receive or create. […] to receive and to create his or her own form does not depend on any pre-established form; the original model or standard is, in a way, progressively erased.” (2008, 5-6)

Sponge is not simply a flexible form, which adapts in each particular situation, but cannot produce or create. Similarly with plasticity, sponge is balanced with the rigidity and suppleness – thus it is not towards a new, unknown, the other and the difference, and not flexibly following the retournement of the same. It is the pertinence of potential plasticity in the social, mental and political aspect of individuation process of a sponge, which are valuable for the schizoanalytic process of making art, as well. It is the pertinence of noticing the potential difference between rigidity or supple flexibility and the capacity “for deformation, re-formation, or explosion.” (2008, 15)

What can a performance do? It is to distinguish these two aspects, rigidity and  plasticity – impermanence and change in contrast with the rigid forms. What performance or artistic practice may do is to enhance this distinction and awareness of the uncertainty of a system – which does not explicitly collide with the precariousness of working conditions.

“the hierarchical principle is demolished and organizations become flexible, innovative, and highly proficient. […] the network is the master term,”

write Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello in their book The New Spirit of Capitalism. (Boltanski&Chiapello 2005, 75) It is in the network, where artistic practices are easily indistinguishable from the flexible neoliberal capitalism. It is the flexibility of a sponge, which makes it an unreliable concept, but sponge is not solely a relational but active individuation process.

Malabou criticizes such flexibility:

“One is formed only by virtue of a resistance to form itself […] Rather than displaying a real tension between maintenance and evolution, flexibility confounds them within a pure and simple logic of imitation and performance. It is not creative but reproductive and normative.” (Malabou 2008, 71-72)

Here, a simple sponge would do exactly this by following and imitating form leading to normativity and, as Malabou translates term flexibility, to employability.

A sponge subjectivity without resilience, imitates exactly the path of employability, and in the mess of capitalism, this supple spongeness is required. What distinguishes plasticity from flexibility, is resilience and resistance: explosivenss. She writes:

“explosive correspond to the transformation of one motor regime into another, of one device into another, a transformation necessitating a rupture, the violence of a gap that interrupts all continuity.” (2008, 72-73)

A sponge without resilience is flexible, employable, bland, passive, and too rhizomatic. In homeostasis, it is merely absorbing and oozing out passively, without ability for self-generation — though it may be fully self-regulating.

“[…]transition from ‘homeostasis’ to ‘self-generation’ is not made without rupture or gap. The plasticity that situates subjectivity between maintenance and construction or production of newness is not smooth,” writes Malabou. (2008,74-75)

Sponge itself, is part of the necessary homeostasis and flexibility. But as itself, it misses the explosive self-generation and resistance, in order the plasticity of subject to be generated.

Art or performance would not only release a tension, which would mean  maintenance of flexibility, but rather artistic practice should articulate this tension, contradictions and rigidity; to produce difference and not the same.


In Bytom, the matter at hand is the daily life of imaginary, political and social universe of contagions, which linger on the mess of neoliberal capitalism in Poland. It is the lingering homeostasis, and not articulated self-generation, which produces sponge subjectivity. My approach is to have a critical stance on adaptation, flexibility and creativity of a sponge. How does spongeness obstruct or permit me to live, perform, experience and express; how does spongeness produce the repetition of the same and not the difference?

Life in Bytom –project explores and simulates the potential conflict and transformation, by giving a form for the conflict, difference and contradictions. Because, sponge without any resilience is simply flexible and employable individual. Something in Bytom is not being actualized or articulated, that is to say something is rigid, inhibited and at the same time supple. In Bytom, in some poor suburbs such as Bobrek, where instead of human capital the social alienation, homelessness, drug addiction and other symptoms are produced by the overall paradigm of “employability”: there resilience also resides. They also reside in anxiety and depression. If traces of trauma or disillusionment can change their meaning, thus generating resistance and agency of explosiveness, then it is what artistic practices should do. Connect through contradictions and confrontations, instead of merely releasing tension.


CSW Kronika, Bytom. The Theatre Academy in Helsinki. New Performance Festival in Turku. Performance Matters in London, Bytom workshop participants.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Sara. 2010. ”Happy Objects” . The Affect Theory Reader. Edited by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Allilaire, Jean-François, professor of psychiatry at the University of Paris VI—Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, keynote address to the conference “Dépression et neuroplasticité: Èvolution ou revolution?” PSY-SNC Colloquium, Cité des Science et de l’Industrie, Paris, November 5-8, 2003.

Becker, Gary. 1974. “A Theory of Social Interactions,” Journal of Political Economy, 82(6)

Becker, Gary. 1995. Human Capital: a theoretical and empirical analysis, with special reference to education. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Boltanski, Luc and Eve Chiapello. 2005. The New Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Gregory Elliot. London: Verso.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1992. ”Postscript on the Societies of control”. October. Vol. 59 (Winter, 1992). Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Ehrenberg, Alain.1998. La fatigue d’être soi: Dépression et société. Paris: Odile Jacob.
Le Bon, Gustav. [1895] 1960. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. New York: Viking Press.

Malabou, Catherine. 2008.  What Should We Do with Our Brain? Translated by Sebastian Rand. New York: Fordham University Press.

McKenzie, Jon. 2001. Perform or else: From discipline to performance.  New York; London: Routledge.

Nancy, Jean-Luc. 2009. Communism – the Word. Notes for the London Conference. Available from

Terranova, Tiziana. 2004. “Communication Beyond Meaning: On the cultural politics of information,” Social Text 22, no. 3 80 (2004): 51.

Vähämäki, Jussi. Uusi työ ja prekariaatti, 5.14.2006 (

Viren, Eetu & Jussi Vähämäki. 2011. Perinnöttömien perinne. Helsinki: Tutkijaliitto, p.11

Watson, Janell. 2009. Guattari’s Diagrammatic Thought: Writing between Lacan and Deleuze. London and New York: Continuum. p.128-129)

Felix The Cat on Air: Introduction to artistic practice

Episodi 3: Converging Perspectives—Writings on Performance Art, Edited by Annette Arlander

In the beginning of my artistic practice, I had no theoretical knowledge or aspirations. I had neither skill nor even an idea why and how to approach an audience. Performance art was a tool for personal expression. Through practice an interest and in necessity for theoretical arguments became more and more significant. What is this knowledge that practice produces and how can it become a shared knowledge? If there is some singular or obscure knowledge
on artistic practice or subjectivization processes acquired, how is this knowledge being utilized in cognitive capitalist value production, as well? What kind of devices and machines performance is able to develop or adjust?

The article can be read here.

“Contaminated Performer” in the Trashing Dance Theatre Journal, Volume 24, number 3, 2011

“This special issue of Dance Theatre Journal is a dedicated and rigorous exploration of Trash in art, performance, work, and club culture. It features interviews with performance star and living-legend Penny Arcade, club performer Mouse, sex worker and activist Thierry Schaffauser, plus articles exploring the work of John Sex, Danish collective dunst, Club Wotever, wasted works, contaminated performances and the ‘lowest form of performance’ – living street sculptures. Forms of trashy articulation including soap box articles, TV Chat Shows and Tabloid Newspapers interrupt and compliment more formal essays and interviews in this special issue!

Contributors include:

Augusto Corrieri
Bryony Kimmings
Eirini Kartsaki
Johanna Linsley
Lisa Wesley
Lorena Rivero de Beer
Marcia Farquhar
Marianne Mulvey
Mathias Danbolt
Oriana Fox
R. Justin Hunt
Rachel Lois Clapham
Season Butler
Tero Nahua
The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein
Vikki Chalklin

Trashing Dance Theatre Journal will be available to purchase through the Unbound stall at the Trashing Performance Public Programme.”

Playing prepared CDs according to the score was like advancing in a maze where ambush was everywhere, and that made the performance situation all the more interesting.
— Yasunao Tone

A performer has a skill in what s/he is doing. Some practice or rehearsal has taken place before the performance, so that it develops as planned. Similarly, when one learns to use a technical device, it is not only that the process of learning consists of pushing buttons or practicing movements. One must inhabit an environment with a device which will enhance or obstruct perception and decode one’s relationship with experienced reality in a specific way. “There is no subject opposing other subjects, but the transversal flows of imagination, technology, desire: they can produce vision or concealment, collective happiness or depression, wealth or misery,” writes Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi regarding the present context of cognitive capitalism (Berardi 2009, p. 120). As such, cognitive capitalism is substantially based on immaterial labour, capitalization of relationships and digitalization of communication. It requires a compartmentalization and cohabitation of heterogeneous objects, which in turn are dependent on ‘plug-ins.’ Such plug-ins function not only in digital, but in social and mental networks as well. These plug-ins decode heterogeneous elements in order for them to function in each network, but malfunctions, bugs, cracks, and glitches also disseminated with them.

Devices fail. They become corrupted and contaminated — they skip and glitch. A performing subject slips, gets jammed or contaminated in analogous ways. The term ‘glitch’ has been researched in media studies in relation to electronic music, digital media, hacker culture or video art. One of the most recent publications on that subject is Caleb Kelly’s Cracked media: The sound of malfunction (2009). The Webster’s Online dictionary derives ‘glitch’ from the German ‘glitschig’ (‘slippery’), via the Yiddish ‘glitshen’ (‘to slide’). It is a “sudden interruption in electric service, continuity, or program function. […] In space technology it simply started to mean a spike in the electrical current” (Webster’s Online dictionary). Glitch is thus not a repetition, but a malfunction. When a device such as CD glitches, the sound we hear is random data, which is produced when a digital device repeatedly offers an alternative for corrupted data.

Performance artist and researcher Karolina Kucia has recently studied the social nature of the ‘slip’ or ‘lapsus’ in her performance project Oops! (2010). She derives it from the ‘Freudian slip,’ in that for her the slip is not a malfunction that reveals something primordial like in Freud, but it is rather a replacement of information — a glitch – and as such it produces contaminated information, i.e. noise. In her collaborative performance project, Kucia invited people from different backgrounds — artists, a librarian, an environmentalist — to share their experiences of a slip, which in her argument result in a social event. Those experiences took shape as ‘microevents,’ which in turn served as the core material of her performance.
Caleb Kelly brings up another term from the digital and hacker culture: ‘cracked media,’ which relates to illegal software or media, disseminated in peer-to-peer networks with cracked codes or illegal security passwords (Kelly 2009). Cracking is a process of “discovering the plaintext of an encrypted computer password […] the defeating of security devices in computer networks […] the defeating of software copy protection” (Wikipedia). In my proposition, cracked media interconnect with the question of authentic or contaminated subjectivity. Such notion of subjectivity understood as malfunction, glitch or contamination, often seen negatively, serves as a tool to understand the heterogeneous nature of social interaction and performance in the realm of cognitive capitalism. According to Deleuze quoted by André Lepecki, “subjectivities are always processes of subjectivication, active becomings, the unleashing of potencies and forces in order to create for oneself the possibility of ‘existing as a work of art’” (Lepecki 2006: 8). Subjectivity in the cognitive network is not ontologically good or bad, pure or contaminated. To create a network with devices and other subjectivities one needs to obtain heterogeneous skills, which nevertheless do not function perfectly in precarious environments. When a glitch, failure or panic emerges, we improvise. A contaminated subject is a user who must develop an infinite amount of skills required by constantly emerging new devices, social events and cognitive environments. Such subject fails, cracks, glitches, forgets and panics; it is incomplete and his/her responses are dependent on each network.

In an ongoing performance of mine entitled Schizoanalytic practice (2009-11), influenced by the psychoanalytic theory of Félix Guattari, my attempt is to research this contaminated subjectivity. In the performance some persisting repetition starts to take place. I tend to walk around in circles on the stage; I feel disoriented and distant from the specific place. I do not make direct contact with the audience, but still I am nervous with their quiet presence. At some point I start grunting and making noises or faces at them. I scratch the floor with my nails or I swirl around. Sometimes I fall on the stage, which can lead to a loop of falling and swirling. Other times I fall off the stage, but still without losing my awareness of the frame in which I am in. I do not go crazy or forget where I am. I am performing without being fully aware of what is really happening. Can a performer do something else, outside these variations of loops and glitches? I have a guitar and a loop box with me, and I play some skronking riffs and build a repetitive sonic field. While playing the guitar I am still whirling around the stage on the verge of falling. I feel clumsy, tense and ashamed of my lack of skill. Eventually, layers of repetitive sound become noisy and chaotic and create a frame or protective field between me and the audience. I feel uncomfortably distant, and dwindled in my thoughts. I am aware of my actions, but utterly uncertain of what is going on. I do not want to entertain, but neither do I deny it completely. Such a performance seems extremely tense and stressed and I feel that my mind is working in high-pitch mode.

In such experiments there is no choreography or directions to how I should proceed. Such action is a performance of my capability to perform, and also of my repetitions, glitches and malfunctions that have taken place in each previous performance. These contaminations are usually put aside as ‘noise’ or ‘side effects’ of my work, but in Schizoanalytic Practice they are the substance of the performance.
While touring California in 1978, punk band The Cramps performed for free at Napa, a Californian mental hospital. The Cramps – Live at Napa State Mental Hospital has become a classic punk documentary and the material for Jane Pollard and Iain Forsyth’s reenactment performance File Under Sacred Music (2003). “The shakily shot, one-camera film shows patients swinging their arms at the side of the stage, grabbing the microphone from vocalist Lux Interior and even ignoring the whole spectacle in favour of reading a newspaper” (Aitch, 2003). Such contaminated punk and no-wave aesthetics, as presented in this example and in performances by The Ramones, DNA or Teenage Jesus and The Jerks, were flirting with psychopathologies either in the lyrics or in their performance style. Similarly to Napa, Dan Graham’s Rock My Religion (1984) researches the relationship between American subcultures and religion, ecstasy and community. Graham “analyses the emergence of rock music as religion with the teenage consumer in the isolated suburban milieu of the 1950s, locating rock’s sexual and ideological context in post-World War II America” (Graham 1984). In the original recording of Napa, The Cramps are confronted with the chaos of mind, unruliness and unpredictability of the members of that particular audience, yet the band does not lose their sense of self-irony. There is a rather ingenuous relationship between the punk subculture, post-punk performance and the contamination of minds, which is, for instance, visible in the cult status of Tod Browning’s b-movie Freaks (1932). Twitchy gestures or DNA’s “[Arto] Lindsay laconically imploding epiglottis” were not a replication of the body language of mental patients, but rather gestures with no pathological cause (Bangs 1981). Lindsay did not portray a loopy person or expressed some authentic pain to be witnessed. His spastic guitar skronkings did not evolve into a manic behavior on the downtown streets of New York.

In on of her early performances, Rhythm 2 (1974), Marina Abramović took medication usually prescribed for catatonia and depression. As a result, the drugs took over her body and she started behaving in what looked like an involuntary manner (Abramović & Biesenbach 2010). In 2004, art historian Anders Härm created a performance lecture entitled Be Drunk, Be Very, Very Drunk for the Baltoscandal theatre festival in Rakvere, Estonia. “In this performance Anders Härm balances between the acceptable and unacceptable and transforms an academic reading into an ironic scientific experiment with himself” (Härm 2004). Preceding the performance he drank a large quantity of vodka, which resulted in him passing out during the performance. The physiological effects of drugs or alcohol cannot be performed and hence the body will react regardlessly of the predetermined plan of a performer. This happens in contrast to general conceptions of performing as acting. A drunk on the stage is actually drunk, not performing drunk. Nevertheless, performers do create sidetracks to glitches by taking drugs, depriving themselves of sleep or using chance operations. These choices provoke authenticity within a practice of culturally learned inauthenticity — performance. Such a desire for involuntary action or incoherent responses from the audience has led to the use of these substances and procedures. They are there to perpetuate a glitch, which can often take the form of amnesia. As Abramović notes, she has no memory of the event itself due to the effect of the heavy medication she was on (Abramovic & Biesenbach 2010). Such must be the case for Härm too. However, even if something has happened, the performer cannot remember it. A glitch is a system that replaces missing gaps with any possible information, and it is somewhat aleatory. Something is missing, and the device starts to fill the missing information with any possible replacement, and most probably this will lead to a repetitive behaviour.

The body of a performer repeats and twitches; it behaves involuntary. It is culturally organized, but its behaviour is unruly. What can a performer do, when a subject is like a sponge — more holes than matter — where missing information is replaced with ‘whatever’? Still, performative gestures are not the same as the involuntary movements of the schizophrenic or the immobility of catatonic patients. Lux Interior is aware that he is playing a deviant character, he is using a technique to enter into a liminal state. Such performer inhabits a certain assemblage of gestures, glitches and cracks, which despite not being clearly codified, still do fit loosely in categories. Contaminated performance is of ‘something like this-or-that.’ Performance presents a ‘catalogue’ of glitches, contaminations, loops, gestures, obstructions and noise. The performances of Lindsay, Härm, Abramović and Lux Interior are dirty, unclean and contaminated with heterogeneous meanings, and hence close to the notion of abnormality (Foucault 2003: 31-80). This is similar to Kucia’s idea of ‘microevent’: “From the point of view of microevent the structure of general event fails. It is a very, very tiny moment from where you don’t see the whole picture, it does not perceive itself in the structure” (Kucia 2011). Microevent and glitch are against natural order (Hebdige 1988). Such performances are not only contaminated with representations of sexual deviancy, idiocy or contemporary psychopathologies of nihilist opportunism; they are generally corrupted. A result of this kind of performance is that delivered information is bouncing back and forth inside a constrained environment, where a contaminated or ‘cracked’ performer is producing arbitrary information. There is no origin for the gestures but only an excess of information, noise. To produce noise is what a performer can do with the decoded ‘whatever.’
Noise-musician Nicolas Collins explains how he started cracking the digital devices:
“With this pin removed, the CD player never shuts up, and one can hear the sound as the laser ‘scratches’ (a magnificent, cartoonish ripping noise) or ‘pauses,’ (fast looping rhythms, possessed of a peculiar stutter and swing)” (Kelly 2009: 249).
Such noise is implicitly embedded in cognitive capitalism and the culture it perpetuates. Here, meaning is probable but sometimes unlikely. What is seen as culture is itself a probability. Cognitive capitalism functions on repetitive signals where meaning is decoded from noise. Nevertheless, information is not simply transmitted from A to B “but bumps around, mutates and multiplies from channel to channel, from network to network, from singularity to singularity” (Terranova 2004: 61). Decoded information, though, makes the world a livable place. The decoding of noise is part of oikonomia, the general management and organization of the world (Virtanen 2006: 44), the freedom for the homo œconomicus to pursue his/her interests (Foucault 2008). It is the management of signals delimited out of the unlimited noise. Noise is unlimited, whereas signals produce decoded capital (Pelbart 2000). Culture itself is a managed ‘life narrative’ of a predictable future; it is the repetition of a pop formula where subcultures have become expressions of subjectivities readily available to anyone from the virtual supermarket (Muggleton & Weinzierl 2003). What becomes significant is not that which is being consumed but how we use it and, in turn, how it contaminates subjectivity.

Capitalism is not noise in itself, but capitalist culture production lives from noise and contamination, from the actualization of potentiality. Capitalism performs in cycles, loops and repetitive signals. It gives form to noise and this form loops around in infinite variations of expression. The initial purpose of this is to isolate subjectivisation from uncertainty and precariousness of life. Paradoxically, capitalist culture production functions through contamination of decoded signals. Human capital is founded upon the decoding of noise into clear meaning: repeatable, compartmentalized identity and variation of loops. In contrast to this, a contaminated performer is flirting with idiocy and deviancy, which may be a way of probing with the potentiality lurking in the excess of noise. The performing subject is not a fetishised, technological android, but a biological machine of loops, clicks, glitches and cracks. The idiot’s approach is not an authentic one but, following Haraway’s reading of Isabelle Stengers, an idiot “insists we cannot denounce the world in the name of an ideal world. Idiots know that. For Stengers, the cosmos is the possible unknown constructed by multiple, diverse entities. Full of the promise of articulations that diverse beings might eventually make, the cosmos is the opposite of a place of transcendent peace” (Haraway 2008: 83). The cosmos is a contaminated place.


Abramovic, M. & Biesenbach, K., 2010, Marina Abramovic: the artist is present, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Aitch, I., 2003, It beats bingo, Guardian,17 March 2003.
Bangs, L., 1981, A Reasonable guide to Horrible Noise, Village Voice, 30 September 1981.
Berardi, F., 2009, The soul at work: from alienation to autonomy, Semiotext(e), Los Angeles, CA.
Foucault, M., Marchetti, V., Salomoni, A. & Davidson, A.I., 2003, Abnormal: lectures at the Collège de France, 1974-1975, Picador USA.
Foucault, M., Senellart, M., Ewald, F., Fontana, A., Burchell, G. & de France, C., 2008, The birth of biopolitics: lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979, Palgrave Macmillan.
Gendron, B., 2002, Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club: popular music and the avant-garde, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Graham, D., 1984, Rock My Religion,Electronic Arts Intermix.
Haraway, D.J., 2008, When species meet, Univ Of Minnesota Press.
Dick, H., 1993, Subculture: the meaning of style, Routledge.<
Härm, A., 2004, Estonian Night, Homo Novus Theatre Festival, 2004.
Kelly, C., 2009, Cracked media: the sound of malfunction, The MIT Press.
Kucia, K. 2011, Micro event. The Theatre Academy in Helsinki, Master of Arts.
Lepecki, A., 2006, Exhausting dance, Routledge.
McKenzie, J., 2001, Perform or else: from discipline to performance, Routledge, London; New York.
Muggleton, D. & Weinzierl, R., 2003, The post-subcultures reader Berg, Oxford.
Pelbart, P.P., 2000, The Thought of the Outside, the Outside of Thought, Angelaki, 5(2), pp. 201-9.
Rees, J., 1981, The Cramps: Live at the Napa mental hospital, [DVD] Target Video.
1965, Space Exploration: Portrait of a Planet, Time, 23 July 1965.
Terranova, T., 2004, Communication Beyond Meaning: on the cultural politics of information, Social Text, 22(3) 80, p. 51.
Tone, Y 2000, John Cage and Record, Intercommunication (Japan), 2000.
Virtanen, A., 2006, Biopoliittisen talouden kritiikki, Tutkijaliitto, Helsinki.


Kukkia was for a moment and not forever. As Kukkia group, we, Karolina Kucia and Tero Nauha, existed publicly from autumn 2004 to summer 2008 when we buried the public side of Kukkia. We created several performances at different locations, festivals, events and site-specific works during those years. This book is not only a documenting of this practice, but a collection of short texts that revolve around the subjects with which we have been working.In its practice, Kukkia was to develop an ‘anti-cynical front’ against this general approach to life which has become an imperative. Was it a fighting or atmospheric front? Which one would be more naivé? Kukkia, flowers themselves seem to be strong enough to take on cynicism and naiveté. However, there are elements of defeat in everything – in ourselves, between each other, and in our encounters with other people. Still, anti-cynicism seems a good place to stand.

There is a book about Kukkia published in November 2011. This book assembles some of Kukkia’s concepts and approaches, as well as contributions from the people we had been affected by or worked with – there are texts by John Grzinich and Evelyn Müürsepp from the MoKS artists organisation in Mooste, Estonia; a poetic witness report from Jonimatti Joutsijärvi; a short essay from Franco ’Bifo’ Berardi; illustrations by artist Dwi Setianto and the form of the book by Mika Aalto-Setälä.

Here you can find the PDF version of the book. If you are interested in purchasing the book, please contact me.

#we are the käpytalists!#

Karolina Kucia, Tero Nauha
Rahkeen karistamo, Eno 10.-19.9.2010

Sosiaalisessa elämässä ja työelämässä – yksityiselämässä, tehdastyössä, taiteilijan työhuoneella ja muissa prosesseissa – on kyse yleisten ihmisen kykyjen astumisesta työhön: kyvystä tutustua, jutella, reagoida ja inspiroitua. Nämä kaikki kyvyt vaativat herkkyyttä, kykyä vaikuttua toisesta ja maailmasta. Työn suorittaminen ei vaadi ainoastaan fyysistä sitoutumista, vaan ihmisen yleisten mentaalisten, fyysisten ja sielullisten kykyjen, taitojen ja luovuuden hyödyntämistä tuotantovoimana. Ihmisen elämä sellaisenaan astuu työhön — vapaa-aika ja työaika sekoittuvat ajallisesti, paikallisesti tai emotionaalisesti. Tällaista uuden työ-elämän tekijää voidaan yleisesti kutsua tietotyöläiseksi, jolloin tiedoksi käsitetään inhimillinen ymmärrys yleensä. Tätä tilannetta kutsutaan yleisesti tietokapitalismiksi. Mitä ovat nämä uudet tuntemukset, oireet ja aavistukset joita koemme, mutta joilla ei vielä ole annettu nimeä? Tässä työpajassa työskentelimme näiden tuntemusten solmujen, katkosten ja automatismien parissa. Työpajan fyysisenä paikkana ja eräänlaisena masiinana toimi vanha käpyjen karistamo, Rahkeen karistamo Enossa. Lähtökohtana oli siis hylätty ja hyödyttömäksi muuttunut työympäristö, jolle tämän työpajan kautta pyrimme löytämään uusia merkityksiä emootioiden, tuntemusten ja automatismien solmukohtana.

Pohjois-Karjalan taidetoimikunta/Liisa Haverila

ISBN: 978-951-53-3310-0 (nid.) / 978-951-53-3311-7 (PDF) KL: 70 / 71.7

The PDF version of the books is here (in Finnish)

Osmotic Performance of subjectivization – a schizoanalytical artistic research on the potentiality of collective subjectivization within the processes of art-making and between the relationships of audience and performer.

This is a first version of this text, which is in progress.

(Topics: subjectivity, post-fordist condition, joy, trauma and a-signifying processes.)

AA: Micropolitical level

  1. Production of subjectivity
  2. Affect ability
  3. Relationship to copoiesis, to context of art world. The strategizing of art markets.


My starting point on the research of the production of subjectivity is how it is done in the context of post-fordism, in fine-arts and in culture in general. I am researching subjectivization as affectivity and through the processes of joy, sorrow an a-signification. For the general ability of being affected has become part of the production in the cultural capitalism in general. In a way, performance art and labour have converged with each other. I am using a concept of copoiesis, which is developed by psychoanalyst and artist Bracha Ettinger. For her copoiesis is not to be used as a method, model or strategy, but we may find some expressive support for it. For this reason, Ettinger rather talks about art-making, rather than art as a prospect of clearly defined objects or acts. In my interpretation copoiesis is being attached with the general ability to become affected, or general intellect – and therefore it is one of the interests to utilize with the cultural or cognitive capitalism.

The social aspect of processual subjectivization

One starting point to think about the relationship between the performer and audience (in a stage of in general on the cultural capitalist work environment) comes to me from Ettinger, and how she perceives a foetus in the womb. She defines the womb being a resonating chamber, where an unborn child is never alone, but from the level of micro-organism she resonate with the world. The world for a developing embryo or for and adult is a network of affects, where the clearly-defined subject is never existing, but instead one is constantly becoming: becoming-animal, -cosmos, -woman, -black, and so on. In the process of becoming my point is not to claim it as a lack of subjectivity, rather that the processuality is something different than shift from one identity to another. Another point is that, there is nothing more unnatural than some preconceived idea of naturalness; a natural nature, human or eventually a natural identity. My focus is based on that the subjectivization is a social event, something preceding the development of an individual, which creates a context where for instance in a performance situation builds up a temporary collectivity and a social subjectivization. Nevertheless, the social subjectivization will lead into individuation: a position or a reflection of the collective subjectivization. This thinking of processual and a-signifying subjectivization I see based on potentiality and a human ability in relation to actuality. I would claim it to be found somewhere in the thinking of Ettinger as well, in what way the social or matrixical subjectivization is developed into individuation? There is an option that a subject is frozen under the gaze of fascinum, the evil eye, which will be part of a process of paranoid or cynical subjectivity. The other option is where the collective subjectivization supports individuation with compassionate, transforming gaze, with fascinance in a way, which the matrixical jointness is not being lost.

«When self-exploitation acquires a central role in the process of valorisation, the production of subjectivity becomes a terrain of the central conflict» says Andre Gorz and defines the relationship between the cognitive capitalism and the general intellect. The general abilities of human being have become part of the production of value, and have also become part of the project of so called relational aesthetics in contemporary art. Now, relations, which work through affectivity, are more valuable than traditional power or hierarchical relations. Nevertheless, the foremost is the production of subjectivity, without any other capitalistic production is not possible, as Deleuze and Guattari write. The production of subjectivity is bone marrow of capitalism. Production of subjectivity is also the part of collective and matrixical copoiesis.

I would like to define performance or an event of being as a production or a process of production, part of the larger discourse of subjectivity production. This process of subjectivization is different than some «progressive» discourses of subjectivity, for instance the subjectivization of avant-garde. A discourse, which aims towards more, differentiated or enlightened subjectivity, but also more estranged as well. One may call it a «bourgeois» subjectivity. Neither do I intend to create an emancipatory process or some neo-liberal research-project of «creative self». These projects have a desire to combine the general potentiality with the more traditional forms of production of surplus value. In the field of contemporary art, these projects carry around themselves some kind of an aura of «pseudo-criticism» towards market economy, but they operate only in the levels of communication and representation. Eventually the goal of these projects is to make profit on general human potentiality and affectivity – on the proxy of positivism.

As an example of bourgeois subjectivity, Peter Sloterdijk has written about the subjectivity of Dadaism. Here a subjectivity attempt to create a rupture with the world – in a similar manner as a cynical subjectivity of cognitive worker would do it: ”Weimar art cynics train themselves to play masters of the situation, while the situation in fact is one in which things have gotten out of control and sovereignty is no longer possible […] they impudently place their poses against the equally overwhelming and mediocre destiny of the period: cynically allowing themselves to be swept along — Hey we’re alive! The modernization of unhappy consciousness.”

Later, Sloterdijk is interpreting Heidegger’s idea of «Everyman», the connection with social of him, and the rift he has created. This rift becomes the component of paranoid subjectivity, which can be defined as ‘scopic’, where a subject is only taking part in the world with observations and representations.

Osmotic boundaries

In my research project on performance studies and theory, my subject is not to search for an over-coding collectivity to signify all singularities. The most important in the process of collective subjectivization is in what relation is it with the singular subjectivization. Becoming-animal or –woman does not mean that one should resemble, sound or act in some certain way as such; it is not about mimetic behaviour, but the emphasis is on the becoming, in the affective process. Collective subjectivization is temporary and at the same time becoming, at the same time of singularity being present. Singular processes of subjectivization are resonating with each other within the collective process, in a similar way as a foetus in the becoming-mother’s womb in the example of Ettinger. Subjectivity is a fold or a pleat. A collective process of subjectivization of an event or experimentation is has a similar nature of a fold. It has no permanence except on the very elementary level. So that the process of temporary collective subjectivization would not reterritorialize – for instance after the workshop, experiment, or witnessing an act of performance – into mere meaningful memories, but would continue thickening within the singular subjectivity, there is a necessity of singular present in the process of collective subjectivization. Thus, the process should not «iron out the wrinkles». Neither the process should not concentrate on the production of a personalized individual. Often in the context of pedagogy of fine arts the subjectivity is understood as a process of a personalized individual, which is supported by the social structure. In my point of view, this leads to inevitable conflict between the collective subjectivization and a personalized individual. Therefore the balance should not be on the pure individuals but on the process of individuation and singular subjectivities, because an individual clearly defines its contours and aims, while a singularity I consider as being part of the social production of subjectivization. A processual and collective subjectivization is synthetic and relentlessly produced.

How to remain open to the world, when a resonating and coming subjectivity already exists in the world? In my approach a collective subjectivization is diverged from the collective desire to find a lost community, to establish a tribal bonfire and to imagine the world not existing behind our backs. Based on the resonating matrixical a collective subjectivity cannot be defined from one point of view, without the other. Desire for archaic communities is an obstruction and against becoming, it erases the singular subjectivization, as well. In this way we might create pseudo-tribes and hierarchical gangs, but not becoming packs. Becoming-animal does not mean that one would become a single wolf, mouse or lap-dog, but becoming a singular pack and multiplicity. A singular subjectivity of a collective subjectivization is already many. In contrast an individualized artist may not bear within himself anything but phantasms of bestial families.

Fusion is not inevitable, when a subjectivization can exist with boundaries, if the singular contours function osmotically, smooth and permeable, yet intensive. Ettinger, again has an affective example of matrixical, where the bipolar communication can become osmotic in a similar way as it existed in the a-signifying level between becoming-mother and foetus in the womb.

Paranoid tight-rope walker

A different process than the one of fordist subjectivity is going on in the post-fordist capitalistic society. If the urban modernist subjectivity was defined as paranoid and cynical, as Sloterdijk among others has analyzed, then in the context of post-fordism, subjectivity might be defined with matrixical copoiesis, as well – yet not archaic, but singular. Yet, this might not be anything non-existent in the fordist 19th and 20th century context, but rather something latent throughout the existence of modern subjectivity. Still, like Ettinger shows, Freud for instance would never give a chance for a matrixical concept to exist. In contrast to the avant-garde paradigm, processual copoiesis does not attempt to give an emancipatory, transgressive or enlightening impact on the world. On the terminology of Lacan, the nature of modern, paranoid subject is scopic, where subject functions within imaginary and representations: ”The libidinal cathexis heightens the images that have become perceptions, transforming them into hallucinations” A world is being transformed into a hostile place, against which the subjectivity must protect itself with representations and individualization. There is the spectre of an evil eye tracing the limitation of a paranoid subjectivity. He is like a tight-rope walker, and for him the fascinum function as an incentive and a judge, as well – yet, the evil eye is draped behind the screen, as Lacan writes. Contrary to fascinum, the matrixical subjectivization is haptic, transformative, sensitive, a-signifying and processual.

The transport-station of art-making

An example: I was instructing a workshop in a small village Maçao in Portugal, where a group of twenty participants, students from Portugal, Estonia and Finland took part. During the workshop I initiated an exercise, where I asked each student to pick up a line from balls of thread lying on the floor. After that we were moving around in the space, until everyone was entangled with each other more or less. Following this, we tried to move out from the space as a «assemblage» of this kind. After some effort we were able to get out, where we dismantled the threads from our bodies. A suggestion of untying the tangled knot was aroused, so proposed it that it should be done. But the actual proposal was given from the group members themselves. This part of the process lasted more than two hours, in comparison that it took 15 minutes to make this snarled knot. I have been analysing this process in the way, that first the singular movements create a complex, existential expression. A group will define itself a form, and later disentangles itself collectively. The knot is processualy being opened, which will be enunciated; it will express the collective articulation. Enunciation will have a form of expression and is collectively being dismantled. The singular forms are appearing from the collective process, and the opening of the knot brings up the appearance of singular subjectivization within the collective process of subjectivization. So, they co-exist.

To analyze this project and other performative events, I have been using the concept metamodelization from Félix Guattari. He writes: «‘Schizoanalysis, I repeat, is not an alternative modelling. It is metamodeling’ (Guattari, 1996: 133). It is ‘a discipline of reading other systems of modelling, not as a general model, but as instrument for deciphering modelling systems in various domains, or in other words, as a meta-model’ (Guattari, 1989: 27). ‘Schizoanalysis does not… choose one way of modelling to the exclusion of another’ (Guattari, 1995: 60-61). ‘What distinguishes metamodeling from modelling is the way it uses terms to develop possible openings onto the virtual and onto creative processuality’ (Guattari, 1995: 31). Metamodeling produces, creates, and finds new paths. In trying to follow this model, I have tried to differentiate how, in action, workshop or performance the interpretation of an action – could be phantasm, as well – is locating itself in the actual, and becoming signified. But, could there be some existential refrains to support the articulation, without such clear signifying process? This is yet a question for me, which I will not go into now.

Brazilian artist Lygia Clark(1920-1988), whose works have been posthumously defined as the predecessor of relational aesthetics, worked from 60’s on, until her death in 1988 with the forms of collective enunciations. She often used very ordinary materials such as plastic, fabrics, paper and thread to create kind of costumes for couples or groups: assemblages as such. In this way she manipulated or altered the social, subjective and corporeal perceptions and this way the structures as well. Her works, in my opinion are an excellent example of an «transport-station of trauma», and idea of art-making created by Ettinger. Moreover, that in Clarks works the emphasis is in the art-making, and not on the production of artefacts. Clark was living and teaching in Paris as well, and she was very much influenced for her practice in visiting the Clinique of La Borde, which was directed by Guattari.

Clark often used to define her works and processes with words like ‘vomiting’, ‘anthropophagic drool’ or ‘bichos’, animals. Then, how to work with such concepts that does not transfer easily in the representation; these vomitings and flows of collective subjectivization. So that they would not be located under the signifier, which according to Guattari’s idea of metamodelization would mean that potential matter would have a signified form of an expression: «this one here, means this…», and so on. In this way the self-image of a subject would become at stake, and the process would become a process of individualities, at cost of diminishing process of singular subjectivization. Through signification there is also a possibility to be stuck with the need of community in the way of three possible forms of state: the state of heroes, state within the walls of the city and the pastoral state that has build the walls of the city inside the subjectivity, who is wandering in the desert.

Nevertheless, without enunciation, Clark’s experimentation would remain in the level of strange experiences, and her work would become just «engineering of experiences» as she noted herself. «At the very moment when the artist digests the object, he is digested by society, which has already found him a title and a bureaucratic function: he will be the future engineer of leisure, an activity that has no effect whatsoever on the equilibrium of social structures. »

In this way these engineers or ‘groomers’ of experience will create expression without minor articulation, if minor can be understood, as Deleuze and Guattari wrote about Kafka, who wrote in German, but was Czech in nationality, thus writing in minor German language. Thus, these groomed experiences, might become localized expression, but not minor expression, but in search of legitimate signification.

The corporate state of art-making

In my research I will try to analyze some different forms of collective subjectivization in the area of performance art or in general performative events. For instance, one form opposing the practice of Lygia Clark could be the workshops of performance artist Marina Abramovic, where the participant locates him or herself in very hierarchical, submitted and «cloistered» relationship to the instructor herself. More similar to Clark, but in the area of live art practice one might think of the devising practices of Wooster Group, Goat Island and Forced Entertainment. Also the relationship with audience is in extremely important role in these examples. In the one-minute sculptures of Erwin Wurm, the affective agency is the viewer herself, and she can do variation according to simple instructions of the artist. In Finland, among other attempts, the similar singular-collective practices one might think of the practice of Toisissa Tiloissa-group. My question in the research is, how does these different models relate to the collective, audience, singularity and performer?

The collective subjectivization in art should be seen as an dispositif, or as a device as Brian Holmes writes, in which ”The consisting of a human assemblage results from the flow of desire, involving a multiplication of the self, indeed a kind of a delirium in relation to other, to language, to images and to things […] Cognitive capitalism, characterized by the rise of an intellectual or ”immaterial” labour based on cooperation and open resource-sharing, but also by its contrary: the commodification of enclosure of knowledge in the form of intellectual property, which is then deployed as a source of rent. […] Urgent need for an articulation of aesthetics and thinking – the need for and intellectualized art, or what might be called ”cognitive creativity”.

This urgent need for articulation is the form, how the enunciations of collective subjectivization in the field of fine-arts and cultural production are transferred immediately from the sphere of a-signifying and singularity to significant interpretations and legitimate relationships. This has been the case for the works of Lygia Clark, as well. Her works are now exhibited in museum context as objects and in the best occasions with a demonstration, but representation has replaced the affective aspect of her works.

The relationship with audience or «user» of art could be expressed with words of marketing guru Peter Drucke with some alterations: ”There is only one valid definition of business [art] purpose: to create customer [audience].” In this way, audience is nothing but a particular, individualized and specialized audience, nevertheless how heterogeneous it might be. This general performance creates individuals. Performance is a general mode of strategic management , and in cultural context the production follows the strategies of cognitive capitalism, in exchange. They are producing subjectivity and individual’s relationship to collective subjectivity as well. Anyhow, I would insist to keep the concentration on the production side, and not on the discourse of «passive consumers».

A collective subjectivity as matrixical is between singular subjectivization instead. But, it is also one possible material for the production of value in the cognitive capitalism, for instance to be used in some works of relational aesthetics.

If an artist or similar agency, functions only in the macro political level, as an activist artist, these works, however critical they might be, are in this respect part of the capitalistic production. It works merely on the level of representations, and in this pursuing a model of capitalistic production – in fact the fordist model. Retournement of signs does not influence the collective process of subjectivization; it does not amplify the affective ability, but increases cynicism instead and in this way push forwards the agency of capitalistic value production. In this form, art is functioning, as Guattari says «[the]’overcoding’ of experience. What Guattari designates with this word is the establishment of abstract models of collective behaviour, and the use of these models as guidelines for the creation – or if you prefer, the ’coding’ – of real environments, which are expressly made to condition our thinking, our affects, our interactions.»

Yet, some examples from the combination of affective artistic practices and activism could be for instance CIRCA (The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army). CIRCA, utilized the affective aspect as a form of resistance in demonstrations, in a similar way as The Yes Men in the corporate context. Artur Zmijewski’s video «Them», which was based on a workshop he did for «Four very different groups were involved in the workshop project: a group of female Radio Maryja listeners, members of the far-right All-Polish Youth group, members of a left-wing organisation and a group of young Polish Jews. Sarzynski describes the project: “Each group is given the task of creating something that expresses their ideological orientation. The older ladies paint a church, the members of the All-Polish Youth draw the sword of the Polish kings with a national flag, the Jews a card with ‘Poland’ written on it in Hebrew, the leftists the word ‘Freedom’… The initial atmosphere of tolerance becomes increasingly aggressive. The participant’s start cutting up each other’s T-shirts and end up setting the ‘works of the enemy’ on fire… The final scene shows an image of destruction in the aftermath of the meeting.»

In my opinion these are examples, where contemporary art functions with some elements of activism or vice versa, where activism utilizes some affective aspects of art-making.

Mikropolitical affect

On her article about Lygia Clark, Suely Rolnik has brought up the level of micropolitical, where sensitivity and affectivity is in the centre. Tuning with the aesthetical affectivity creates a matrixical relationship within art-making, a relationship with a collective trauma and the a-signifying nature of that – a Brazilian military junta in the context of Clark. A connection with trauma is created with the support of matrixical fascinance, which is connected with the com-passionate. Com-passionate is what is co-affective, but not «grooming», in Ettinger’s examples com-passionate is the analyst, who is affected by herself in transference – without direct signification. In art, with Clark as well as in the works of Ettinger, the works go further than signified experiences, but into the sphere of affective micropolitics.

Based on my own experiences from the workshops that I have held, and tried to process affectivity, a-signified does not become conscious, but the affectivity functions as an intensity: it connects with potentiality and power. The general ability of human being, potentiality as a collective subjectivity is connected with the affective agency. The need for archaic or sacral group-formations emerges as well, and there is an aspect of the instructor – or someone else – becoming a demiurge, while the group creates a collective consciousness. However, to maintain the singular subjectivities, there should be a process, where there is a way from the a-signifying back to conscious – even, if this would mean that the process is in danger of becoming fully analyzed and signified. In my opinion, this is one way to avoid the creation of tribes and demiurges – however, there are another ways, for sure. Microsocial is jointed with the cognition of macro-level, but in my opinion to utilize the meta-modelisation of Guattari, is essential. ”He sketched diagrams showing how people on a given existential territory come to mobilize the rhythmic consciousness of poetic, artistic, visual or affective fragments – the refrains of what he called ’universes of reference (or of value)’ – in order to deterritorialize themselves, so as to leave the familiar territory behind and engage themselves in new articulations. These would take the form of energetic flows, involving economic, libidinal, and technological components (flows of money, signifiers, sexual desires, machines, architectures, etc.). He explained how these machinic flows are continually transformed by contact with the abstract phyla of various symbolic codes, including formalized juridical, scientific, philosophical and artistic knowledge. The point was to suggest how a group could act to metamorph itself, to escape from the overcoding that tries to fix it in one position, and to produce new figures, forms, constellation – in short, original material and cultural configuration that are inseparable from collective statements. This is what Guattari calls an agencement collectif d’enonciation – the phrase which I have translated as ’an articulation of collective speech.’/ writes Brian Holmes.

Enunciation of art-working subjectivities

Performance-art, art and art-making as a collective subjectivization in situations here described, require existential support for the enunciation: the immaterial of potentiality to be enunciated. This is the appearance of collective expression of affectivity – it is the object of utilization as well, where the potentiality of affectivity is becoming actual. Enunciation requires existential support, which, in my opinion should not become immediately signified and actual.(liite )

These forms of enunciation are part of the copoiesis without a strategy, but bringing forth potentiality, still. In this process the enunciated are the social expression of becoming, in which the social subjectivization is being transformed into individuation. It will not freeze under the spell of evil eye and become paranoid subjectivity, but the transformative process of individuation is resonating in matrixical fascinance.

Bracha Ettinger The Matrixial Borderspace (University of Minnesota Press, 2006)

Chantal Mouffe Interview with Andre Gorz, (Multitudes, No. 15, 2004):209.

Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical Reason (Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press, 1987; Original German 1983), 385.

Gilles Deleuze The fold: Leibniz and Baroque (London, Athlone Press, 2006)

Bracha Ettinger, The Matrixial Borderspace (University of Minnesota Press, 2006)

Jacques Lacan, Ecrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (London and New York: W.W. Norton, 1977):2-3

Jacques Lacan, Seminar Eleven: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (NY & London, W.W. Norton and Co. 1978)

Janell Watson Schizoanalysis as Metamodeling, (Fibre Culture, issue 12 Models, Metamodels and Contemporary Media)

Suely Rolnik, The Body’s Contagious Memory: Lygia Clark’s Return to the Museum (, 2007)

Lygia Clark, L’homme structure vivante d’une architecture biologique et celulaire, in Robho, n. 5-6, París, 1971 (a facsimile of the journal has been published in Suely Rolnik and Corinne Diserens (eds), Lygia Clark, de l’oeuvre à l’événement: Nous sommes le moule, à vous de donner o souffle, cat., Nantes: Musée de Beaux-Arts de Nantes, 2005.

Brian Holmes, The Artistic Device: Or the Articulation of Collective Speech

Bernd Schmitt, Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to SENSE, FEEL, THINK, ACT and RELATE to Your Company and Brands (New York: The Free Press, 1999); 60

Jon MacKenzie, Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance (London: Routledge, 2001)

Brian Holmes, The Artistic Device: Or the Articulatin of Collective Speech

Piotr Sarzynski, Artur Zmijewski’s documenta exhibit as an instructive work on intolerance (Polityka, July 4, 2007)

Suely Rolnik, The Body’s Contagious Memory: Lygia Clark’s Return to the Museum (, 2007)

Félix Guattari, Cartographies schizoanalytiques (Paris: Galilée, 1989):40

Félix Guattari, Chaosmosis: An ethico-asethetic paradigm (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995)

Brian Holmes, The Artistic Device: Or the Articulatin of Collective Speech


Deleuze, Gilles The fold: Leibniz and Baroque (London, Athlone Press, 2006)

Ettinger, Bracha The Matrixical Borderspace (University of Minnesota Press, 2006)

Guattari, Félix Cartographies schizoanalytiques (Galilée, 1989)

Guattari, Félix The Guattari Reader, ed. Gary Genosko (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1996).

Guattari, Félix Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm trans. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995).

Hays, Michael K. Modernism and Postmodernist Subject (MIT press, 1992)

Holmes, Brian The Artistic Device: Or the Articulation of Collective Speech

Lacan, Jacques Ecrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (W.W. Norton, 1977)

Lacan, Jacques Seminar Eleven: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (NY & London, W.W. Norton and Co. 1978)

MacKenzie, Jon Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance (Routledge, 2001)

Mouffe, Chantal Interview with Andre Gorz, (Multitudes, No. 15, 2004):209.

Mouffe, Chantal: Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces (

Rolnik, Suely The Body’s Contagious Memory: Lygia Clark’s Return to the Museum (, 2007)

Sarzynski, Piotr Artur Zmijewski’s documenta exhibit as an instructive work on intolerance (Polityka, July 4, 2007)

Schmitt, Bernd Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to SENSE, FEEL, THINK, ACT and RELATE to Your Company and Brands (The Free Press, 1999)

Sloterdijk, Peter Critique of Cynical Reason (University of Minnesota Press, 1987)

Watson, Janell Schizoanalysis as Metamodeling, (Fibre Culture, issue 12 Models, Metamodels and Contemporary Media)(


In schizoanalytic performance practice encounter glitches, ruptures and frustrations – inconsistencies.

Inconsistency: Form of innovation, and event, singular event. But also a catastrophe,
also a suicide, resistance to repetition. For psychoanalysts, a joke, surprise, lapsus. But
glitch is different, it is not predictable, it does not create homeostasis. But inconsistency
for Howell requires a repetition, a machinic repetition – but inconsistency may turn
into a refrain as well.

J.L. Austin’s theory of speech act functions as a basis for a linguistic performance theory. Speech act is a performative. There are illocutionary acts utterances such as “I do” in wedding ceremony. Then there are perlocutionary utterances that use force, in a Foucauldian sense. My question arises from this, the move from Foucauldian disciplinary society to control society, from order words to a-signifying commands and triggers; from humanist subject to a-humanic compositions. Where is resistance, then?

A-signifying semiotics
There are no clear, signifying messages, but commands that either enter or block. They are nonrepresentational and affectual. Yet without a meaning, there are real transformations in reality. For instance, the effects of stock-market transactions or a mobile-phone bombs. A-signifying part-signs bring together material without meaning. It is a trigger without a meaning, a plug-in or thickening. It is a refrain of performatives, also a glitch and a leakage. In a rigid macro level organization, in a traditional way, I would search for meaning, performatives in a humanist sense. A search for revealing something. In a micro political sense, there are commands, triggers, plug-in at works. Shortly, affects. I will recombine machinic and non-human aspects. Guattari and Deleuze write about Kafka, as a minoritarian.

“Minor literature is the gaze from outside, the gaze of somebody who observes the ritual without knowing the code, and thus understands its a-signifying nature.” Not to become official and officially understood – neither underground nor avant-garde. This is not at all related to identity, identity being something territorial – at least in some sense. Yet becoming minor is something essentially related to the subjectivation in process in the cognitarian, precarious working conditions. An very much in the art, as well.

Being sticky, and non-shareable. Emotions being something I possess, affect is something that will take over me, or stuck in me, but not with explicit meaning. In performance art, these would be non-shareable affectuations, not yet meaningful performance, yet connected into a swarm-behaviour such as stock market: affectual, yet very real consequences. Thus affects are very much at work in the building of a negative swarm, and in the very negative individuation leading to identities, such as fascistic nationalism or apathic psychopathologies. Affect is like a plugin or a part-signs.

What is a refrain, or ritornello, it is a child singing in the night of his fear of the dark, trying to control the events, which are too quickly going out of hands. It is too quick proliferation of cosmos and chaos, the incorporeal universe. Refrains are also what each individual, each group, each nations equips themselves. It is repetition that is in the process of becoming fixed automatism. It is what we build identity upon. “through the refrain the process of subjectivation is realized”.

Schizoanalytic practice
In this practice I intend to trace the refrains, capitalist automatisms. Not to transgress, but to try some recombinations. But where am I, between the cables, ether, thoughts, affects and all? Schizoanalytic practice is a singular machine, singular psychogenesis as a background. Not universality, universal or archaic humanism.

Marx writes in Grundrisse, in the “Fragment on machines” that how human beings become merely supervising machines. How “General intellect is absorbed into capital, into machines” Eventually human abilities will be subsumed. What else is a machine? It is a refrain, ritornello of performatives. There are constant refrains and automatisms between the conscious organisms and other, non-human and technological machines, with abstract machines, and with semiotic constellations as well. This machinery builds a process of “subject”.

In historical reading, every order has a historical reflection of the politics it represents, it is part of the device. It reflects the control society, semiocapital, infosphere, as well. In this way of rather structural thinking, public is stratified, not smooth. There is a struggle with hegemony and opposition. Yet, there is no discussion, no clear signals – or there are mixed signals in the cognitive capitalism. Too much information. In some antagonistic thinking there is still a base too much on identity and subjectivity, sensible and progressive subjectivity. This is all true, of course, but from the viewpoint of processual subjectivization, machinic subjectivity, identitarian subjectivity leads into fight for space and territory, a dialectical space. In my point of view, here, there are not identities, but an event of subjectivation. Which is exactly the milieu of capitalist subsumption. And what is an event? What are the conditions to make process of subjectivation and event possible?

“Events are produced in chaos, in chaotic multiplicity, but only under conditions, that a sort of screen” (Deleuze, “The Fold”, 76)

being a sum of all possibilities. The question could be putted also:

“under what conditions does the objective world allow a subjective production of novelty, that is, a creation?”(Ibid.)

A micro political resistance is not based on identitarian subject, roots, self or ideals. It is neither a practice of being minority, strengthening of it. It is, as DG about Kafka, a look from outside, not knowing the code, not in opposition, not underground, not revealing something, truth, etc. This resistance is a mutaction, production without a stance or position, machinic and organic together. Language of art does not produce meaning, consensus and there after an action in the public. It is not a progressive process. But in comparison, what is a wave in the stadium? A swarm, cloud, mû. Is performance action something similar, singular action in public, can it form a collective articulation in this manner? And why in comparison to stadium an art event can be highly stratified, encoded and rigid? On the other hand, what is a value of a swarm without praxis, swarm without aim, but praxis of minoritarian deterritorialization, tracing of singular flight plans? When does an artistic practice turn from chaos and refrains to automatisms? If the composition or “soup” is made from organic, semiotic, electronics, chemistry, thoughts, emotions, affects, desires, electrons, where is the resistance? Resistance for automatisms? Is there a compassionate from machinic subjectivities in noosphere, for instance?

Esc(ape). Pathic or apathic escape, depression, panic, suicide. Or full compassion, transformation, and body without organs? This possibility of escape is in the core of subjectivity: already in Marx, workers leaving east coast to west. Exit is a swarm-factor, affectual event. How is a collectivity then possible? How should we perceive collectivity then, not as a hierarchical, historical unity, but unstable? In this process of subjectivation a schizoanalysis works as a plan of the plans (metamodelization): to trace singular flight plans, starting from the middle, with BWO – intensity yet without a meaning, but full of memory. There is not cure (therapeia), and no healing, no utopia, no enlightenment. It is a plan, how to exist in every singular situation, but moreover how to gain more autonomy, keeping in mind the arbitrary and machinic nature of subjectivity. This is not neo-liberal territorialinism based on firm subjectivity and identity. Only careers have an end.
Schizoanalytic practice is a compassionate mapping of glitches and flows divert and mutate the milieu, experiment with body temperature 37,5°C. It might be Dadaist without avant-garde, errorist, affective compassion, no wave, Kafka, Burroughs… This is the machine of partial-objects. These fragments are at play in the schizoanalysis, in the unfolding of subjectivities, subjective void. Schizoanalytic practice is a singular machine, singular psychogenesis as a background. Not universality, universal or archaic humanism. A process of mutant subjectivation, where no ontological “real” exists.

About schizoanalytic practice

Go first to your old plant and watch carefully the watercourse made by the rain. By now the rain must have carried the seeds far away. Watch the crevices made by the runoff, and from them determine the direction of the flow. Then find the plant that is growing at the farthest point from your plant. All the devil’s weed plants that are growing in between are yours. Later…you can extend the size of your territory by following the watercourse from each point along the way.
— Deleuze & Guattari, “Thousand Plateaus”, p.12.

One could wonder, if a schizoanalytic performance practice is at all possible, since it was rooted into a certain context, and also to certain people – Félix Guattari is still only person who has claimed to practice schizoanalysis. Nevertheless, since this is a concern for my research, I attempt to do so. What it means, is to create series of short “improvisations” alone or with other people, where one follows the lines of flight. One disperses the attention, and counter to contact improvisation, there is no search for balance. In fact, the crossings, interruptions and ruptures are what becomes somewhat significant. What is a flow, and what are the pebbles, rocks or crevices that distract the flow. One is meeting some contours and borders, but the intentions is not to cross the boundaries – one should not try to break through, but just follow the lines of flight. In a deleuze-guattarin jargon: one is not fully deterritorialized.

This clip is documentation of the first attempt in public, in Perfo-event in Telakka, Tampere, 16th of March, 2010, and video documentation of second schizoanalytic practice in “Teatro”-bar in Tomar, in 4th of May, 2010.

Esityksen skitsoanalyysi tietokapitalismissa – subjektivaation murros

Tutkin yhteistyön mahdollisuuksia ja uuden organisoitumisen muotoja nyky-yhteiskunnan kollektiivisissa muodostelmissa. Kollektiivinen subjektivaatio, subjektivaatio esityksessä ja esityksen kaltaisissa tilanteissa on tutkimukseni ydinkysymys. Tutkimuksessani käyn läpi yhteyksiä, jotka ovat syntyneet prekaarin, hauraan subjektiviteetin, tietotyön, esityksen ja taiteen tuotantojen välille – niin kuin se tapahtuu nykyisessä, ns. postfordistisessa yhteiskunnassa. Elämä ja taide ovat yhdistyneet, mutta toisella tavoin kuin se modernistisessa paradigmassa ajateltiin. Tutkimukseni analyyttisenä perustana toimii Félix Guattarin teoria ja käytännöt, erityisesti skitsoanalyysin ja metamallinnoksen käsitteet. Tarkoitukseni on tutkia esitystaidetta tästä näkökulmasta, skitsoanalyyttisesti.

Tutkimuksen taiteellinen osio koostuu kolmesta tarkastettavasta teoksesta. Tämän lisäksi teen harjoitteita ja muita teoksia, jotka kuitenkaan eivät tule tarkastettaviksi. Ensimmäinen taiteellinen teos, ”Silmukka variaatioita” oli esillä maaliskuussa 2008, MUU galleriassa. Seuraavat kaksi sijoittuvat vuosille 2011 ja 2012. Näillä teoksilla on hieman päällekkäinen aikataulu. Toinen teoksista käsittelee depression, affektin ja esityksen suhdetta. Kontekstina tulee olemaan työ-ympäristöt. Toteutan tämän moniosaisen teoksen Karolina Kucian kanssa. Tarkoituksenamme on tuottaa ”työkaluja”, joilla tietokapitalismissa olevia affekteja voitaisiin tutkia ja niiden parissa työskennellä. Tämän osion on tarkoitus hyödyntää skitsoanalyyttistä metodia. Kolmas osio tulee olemaan jonkinlainen seminaari ilman ohjelmaa, tai meta-seminaari. Kutsun tutkijoita, taiteilijoita ja muita ihmisiä osallistujiksi prosessiin, jonka tarkoituksena on käsitellä muutosta affektiivisuuden kautta. Osallistujat käsittelevät kysymystä haluamallaan tavalla. Tarkoitukseni on luoda ympäristö, jossa työskentely affektien parissa sekä kollektiivisen subjketivaation kokeilut voivat tulla mahdollisiksi – huomioon ottaen myös nykyisen, tietokapitalismin kontekstin.

Skitsoanalyyttinen harjoitus, ensimmäinen.

Esiinnyin 16. maaliskuuta Perfo tapahtumassa Tampereen telakalla. Tarkoitukseni oli kokeilla ensimmäistä kertaa skitsoanalyysiä pohjana esitykselle, tai esityksen tutkimiselle.

En ollut valmistautunut mitenkään erityisesti, paitsi että olin pyytänyt järjestäjiä tuomaan paikalle sähkökitaran ja vahvistimen. Mukaani otin looppi-pedaalin, jolla voi muodostaa mistä tahansa äänimateriaalisti helposti päällekkäisiä looppeja, sekä efektipedaalin. Otin myös kirjan ”Coming Insurrection” (Semiotext(e), 2009) jonka kirjoittajana on anonyymi, ranskalainen aktivisti-ryhmä ”Invisible committee”. En oikeastaan tiedä miksi, koska en ollut saanut luettua kirjaa loppuun. Telakan takahuoneessa luin kirjan viimeisen lauseen ”All power to the communes”. Ajattelin jotenkin käyttää sitä.

Ennen esitystä sain tietää, että voin lainata Perfon viimeisenä esiintyjänä olevan metallibändi ”Tiuhan” kitaristin kakkoskitaraa ja vahvistinta. Hermostuin, koska kitara oli kiiltävä hevikeppi ja vahvistin valtava Marshall-kaappi – olin odottanut, että saisin vanhan pilalle hakatun, kiinalaisen rakkineen, jolla ei olisi niin väliä, miten sille käy, sekä pienen 20 wattisen teinivahvistimen. Tämä loi hieman liiallista hermostuneisuutta esitykseeni, varsinkin, kun roudattuamme vahvistimen yläkertaan, kitaristi jäi tsekkaammaan saanko kitaraa vireeseen, jne. Ymmärrän kyllä, että hän halusi tarkastaa, kenelle laitteitaan lainaa. Hänen läsnäollessa pimputtelen joutavia ja vakuutan, että tosi hyvä peli, ja tulee toimimaan mainiosti, koska tarkoitukseni on käyttää kitaraa vain esityksen aivan viime minuuteilla, mikä on totta.

Saan efektipedaalista rakennettua soundin, joka mielyttää minua, eli pinkeästi kirskuvan ja kaiuttoman migreeniäänimaailman. Viritän kitaran avoimeen vireeseen, sekä tarkoituksella hieman pieleen, teen pahvista plektran ja laitan looppipedaalin valmiiksi. Näin olen valmis esitykseen. Olen illan viimeinen esiintyjä, ennen Tiuhaa. Willem Wilhelmus aloittaa, Maurice Blok näyttää videoita ja Simo Saarikoski tekee monologimaisen, pitkähkön esityksen. Ostan lasin punaviiniä, jota siemailen erittäin kohtuudella. Olen hermostunut, mutta Telakan tunnelma on mukava, ihmisiä on paljon ja järjestäjät osaavat hommansa, eivät itse hermoile. Esitykset menevät livenä verkkoon, josta niitä seuraa lähes 80 katsojaa. Päätän kuvata esityksen kännykän videokameralla, vaikka tiedän, että laatu on jotakin aivan hirveätä. (Kun olen saanut kameran käyntiin, astelee tietämättäni mies ruudun eteen, peittäen kuvaruudun puoliksi, joten oma dokumentaationi kamera kuvaa vain miehen selkää ja toisella kuvan puoliskoa näkyy yleisöä. Vilahdan ajoittain kuvassa.)

Olen rakentanut tällaisen näyttämön. Käyttänyt hyvin understating koneistusta, en ole harjoitellut, dokumentaatio ei tule olemaan priimalaatua enkä tee minkäänlaista lämmittelyä. Tämän lisäksi minua jännittää ja pelottaa, koska en tiedä mitä tulen tekemään – paitsi sen, miten aion esityksen jotakuinkin lopettaa.

Maurice Blokin esityksen lopuksi valkokangas nostetaan kattoon ja minä aloitan. Kerron yleisölle, että tarkoitukseni on tehdä skitsoanalyyttinen harjoitus ja ensimmäinen sellainen. En kerro sen kummemmin mitä skitsoanalyysi tarkoittaa, mutta sanon että kyse ei ole psykoanalyysistä. Sanon myös, että tämä voi olla ehkä huonoin esitys minkä he tulevat koskaan näkemään, tai jonkun uuden alku. Kovin moni ei ymmärrä käyttämääni lakonista ironiaa. Ennenkuin aloitan, ajattelen kestoksi noin kahtakymmentä minuuttia.

Skitsoanalyyttinen harjoite

Mitä ajattelen skitsoanalyysistä, miten voin sitä ajatella käyttävän tutkimuksessa on ollut pitkään ongelma, en ole oikeastaan edes kunnolla ymmärtänyt mitä se teoreettisessa tai konkreettisessa mielessä voi tarkoittaa. Ymmärrän toki sen, missä muodossa Félix Guattari käytti sitä jonkinlaisena työskentelymetodina, tai metodin metatasona työskennellessään La Borden mielisairaalaklinikalla. Skitsoanalyysillä ei kuitenkaan ole mitään psykoanalyysin tapaista metodia taustallaan. Se tuntuu kuitenkin nousevan esiin useasti Guattarin ja Deleuzen yhteydessä, suorasti ja epäsuorasti. Eräs sanallinen, mutta hyvin avoin muotoilu tälle löytyy kirjasta ”A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia” (University of Minnesota Press, 1987):

Go first to your old plant and watch carefully the watercourse made by the rain. By now the rain must have carried the seeds far away. Watch the crevices made by the runoff, and from them determine the direction of the flow. Then find the plant that is growing at the farthest point from your plant. All the devil’s weed plants that are growing in between are yours. Later…you can extend the size of your territory by following the watercourse from each point along the way. (p.12)

Haluan tässä lyhyessä tekstissä kirjoittaa esityksen kokemuksesta ja aloittaa sen purkaminen tavalla, jossa pyrin erottelemaan sen monesta muusta yhteydestä. Olen ollut tietoinen siitä, että lähtökohtani on teoreettinen, mutta toisaalta teoreettinen kysymys on noussut esiin omien taiteellisten toimintojeni kuten esitysten, näyttelyjen, kokeilujen, tms. kautta. Jo pitkään tuo lainaamani lause on kummitellut työskentelyäni ja ajatteluani kiihottavana määreenä, eli miten käy, jos en etsi analyyttistä selvyyttä sille mitä ja miksi jotakin teen, vaan alkaisinkin tukemaan sitä usein hyvin epämääräistä suuntaa, johon työskentelyprosessi on kaartumassa. Niitä useita samanaikaisia suuntia joita on vireillä? Entä miten tämä eroaa muista improvisatorisista menetelmistä? Ja kuinka sitä voi tutkia tai siitä kirjoittaa?

Seison Telakan yläkerrassa yleisön edessä ja tiedän että minun tulisi tehdä jotakin: minun tulisi aloittaa. Tunnen kuinka etäisyys yleisön ja minun välillä, sekä itsessäni ero esiintyvän minän ja arkiminän välillä kasvaa. Mikä on tämä ero ja erottuminen? Se tuntuu pehmeältä ja se muuntaa aisteja, miten aistin kehoni, ympäristön ja ihmiset. Käännyn pehmeästi ympäri ja hieman ylöspäin kurottaen, päästän suhahtavan äänen. Jälkeenpäin muistan tämän kokemuksen selvästi. Mutta mikä tämä ele on, jolla ei ole merkitystä, eikä se ole kaunis? Mitä kohti olen pakenemassa?

Muistan kohtia, en muista rakennetta, en muista miten siirryn tilanteesta toiseen. Raavin lattiaa, levittelen huuliani käsilläni, aivan ääriään myöten ja päästän karmean rumaa ääntä minua katsovalle yleisölle. En halua viihdyttää, vaikka olen tietoinen, että minulle nauretaan. Olen tietoinen ja samalla sumea. Hyppelehdin tilanteesta toiseen ilman mitään selkeyttä, osittain seuraan tilannetta, toisaalta katkaisen toiminnan keskeltä ja putoan lattialle, josta aloitan alusta jotakin muuta. Nousen kattoa kohti varpailleni, tunnen olevani kevyt – mielessäni olen feminiinisen herkkä, kuin tanssija. Näköpiiriini osuu katossa kiinni oleva lamppu ja tartun siihen käsilläni. Alan heiluttaa lampun kupua ja se alkaa kiertyä auki. Rynkytän kovempaa, mutta jätän homman kesken. Pyörähdän ympäri, ja silmissäni sumenee enkä muista mihin olen oikein menossa, tai mihin joudun. Raavin lattian pintaa kynsilläni ja hilaan itseäni yleisöä kohden, mieleni on purkautuvaa raivoa täynnä. Yleisö nauraa kun punkean pylly pystyssä heitä kohti, ja näytän koomiselta rapsutellessani lattiaa kynsilläni ja puhistessani sieraimistani.

Olotilani on kummallinen. Aloitan asioita aivan sattumanvaraisesti, en anna hetkeäkään aikaa minkään asian kehittymiselle tai loppuunsaattamiselle. Olen naurettava ja hämmentävä, mutta mitään järkeä toiminnassani ei ole. Olen jo alusta lähtien tiennyt, että suurimalle osista katsojia toimintani menee sekoilun piikkiin ja on omiaan vahvistamaan ennakkoluuloja performanssitaiteen luonteesta. Miksi jatkan edes näinkin pitkään? Miksi teen tätä, kun alun ensimmäisestä, pehmeästä kaarroksesta lähtien minua ei ole kiinnostanut pätkääkään onko tässä jotakin järkeä jonkun toisen mielestä vai ei. Olen tullut tutkimuksessani ja taiteellisessa toiminnassani, kaikkien teoreettisten mutkikkuuksien jälkeen siihen tulokseen, että oma taiteellinen toimintani määrittyy ekpression ja affektisen kautta. En hae merkitystä, enkä sitä ole koskaan tarvinnut, mutta olen aina sille pyrkinyt löytämään tarkoituksen, koska taiteen nimissä merkitys on oltava. Mutta skitsoanalyysi ei etsi merkitystä. Se toimii affektien alueella.

Elimetön ruumis, BWO, on jotakin sellaista mitä ajattelen tässä esitystilanteessa tapahtuvan. Tosin tämä käsite on ehkä liian ylevä, liian suureellinen määrittämään toimintaani. En ole Artaudilaisen toiminnan miehiä, mutta Deleuzen ja Guattarin tulkinnasta ymmärrän esityksen ja taiteen intensiteettien tasoina, affekteina joille voidaan luoda ympäristöjä. Esitys on minoorista, se on hiipuvaa, viitteellistä ja loppuu ennenkuin kunnolla alkoikaan. Ei-merkitykselliset signaalit ovat sidoksissa minooriseen.


Hivuttaudun sähkökitaraa kohden. Otan sen käteen, en tiedä miten sitä käsittelisin tässä olotilassa. Se myös näkyy yleisölle. Kaksi ihmistä kommentoivat esitystäni jälkeenpäin, jotka molemmat pitivät siitä kovasti, paitsi tästä vaiheesta kun otin kitaran käteeni. Minä rikon jännitteen, teen siirtymän kömpelösti, ”en luottanut kehooni” toinen kommentoijista kertoi. Tätä kautta kuitenkin ymmärrän, miksi skitsoanalyyttinen harjoite ei ole kontakti-improvisaatioota, luottamusta kehoon, sillä pyrin jatkuvasti löytämään toimintani epäjohdonmukaisuuksia tai katkoksia – vahvistamaan tuntemuksia, jotka eivät kulje jouhevasti ja sulavasti balanssissa. Nostan siis kitaran ja tunnen kuinka ”huuma” laskeutuu, joudun ajattelemaan – miettimään Tiuhan kitaristia ja hänen arvokasta kitaraansa. Lasken kitaran pois, ja se tuntuu teennäiseltä. Mikä ero on teennäisyydellä, silloin kun mitään suuntaa ei ole? Milloin minä näyttelen tässä prosessia, ja mitä väliä sillä on?

Otan kitaran uudestaan ja seison sivuttain yleisöön, en tiedä mihin suuntaan katsoisin ja tuntuu siltä kuin aloittaisin koko esityksen alusta. Tämä on selkeästi toinen osio ja päälleliimattu. Painan ensin jalalla looppipedaalin päälle ja odotan hetken. Olen toisessa mielentilassa, jossa minun on koordinoitava paljon enemmän mitä teen. Lyön pahvisella plektralla kitaran kieliä ja räikeän pinkeä, epävireinen ääni kuuluu kovaa kaiuttimista. Painan looppipedaalia uudelleen, jolloin loopin pohja on määritetty, ja voin alkaa soittamaan kerroksia sen päälle. Löydän edellisen toiminnan tason helposti ja nautin soittamisesta. Kerrokset kasvavat ja ääni kuulostaa mielestäni hyvältä ja kiinnostavalta. Katoan taas kummaan tilaan, huumaan, jossa en erota enää yleisöä, mutta kontrolloin tilaa – esiinnyn, selkeästi eroten edellisestä osiosta. Kitara on ongelma, en voi toimia sen kanssa niinkuin haluaisin, koska se ei ole omani. Olen siitä selkeästi tietoinen. Olen tietoinen, mutta kuitenkin etenen nopeasti, summittaisesti johonkin uuteen suuntaan. Näin, kyse ei ole puhtaasti mimeetisestä ”sekoilun esittämisestä”. Ääni on uusi ulottuvuus, taidoton mutta sillä on oma olemuksensa, se tuo lisän toimintaani. Onko tästä kyse, kun kitara koettiin päälleliimatulta? Haluaisin ajatella sen olevan merkki siitä, että tein jotakin odottamatonta ja rumaa tai ärsyttävää. Miksi suunnitelemattomassa toiminnassa katsoja näkee rakenteen, jolla on jo lainalaisuudet, jota ei toivoisi rikottavan?


Soitan kitaraa noin puoli minuuttia. Huudan ja mölyän, mutta lopetan esityksen siihen lauseeseen, jonka luin mukanani tuomasta kirjasta. Teen siitä selkeän lopun ja sisälläni pidän siitä. Pidän siitä, että tällä on hallittu loppu. Teen lauseesta kertosäkeen, toistan sen kaksi kertaa: ”All power to the communes”. Viimeisen äänteen aikana painan samalla looppiboxin sammuksiin ja lopetan soittamisen. Tämä on selkeä loppu, aivan kuin biisin loppu, ja ehkä banaali, mutta tuntuu oikealta. Esitys kesti noin kahdeksan minuuttia.

Miksi lopetin tavalla, joka teki skitsoilustani esityksen, rajasi sen ja antoi muodon lopetuksen kautta? Miksi en olisi käyttänyt kitaraa eräänä ”subjektivaation osatekijänä”, tässä kyseisessä muodostelmassa? Minua jäi vaivaamaan, miksi halusin lopun, enkä seurannut paon viivaa loppuun saakka? Kaikesta heikkoudestaan huolimatta, haluan nähdä tämän siirtymän osana prosessia.

Aikaisemmissa esityksessäni, jossa vastaavaa skitsoilua on ollut olemassa, olen usein pyrkinyt menemään yli rajojen. Teoreettinen pohdinta on auttanut ymmärtämään selkeämmin sen, että esityksessä ei kuitenkaan ole kyse ”todesta”, eikä skitsoanalyyttinen harjoitus ole transgressiivinen. Saattaa olla, että joka kerta joudun palaamaan takaisin tai vesittämään yritykseni tutkia esiintyjän subjektivaation prosessia tai yleisösuhdetta, mutta miellän tämän välttämättömyytenä. Tiedän, että seuratessaan paon viivoja, todellinen kaaos on yksi mahdollisuus. Todellinen kaaos on ollut myös eräs performanssitaiteen halun kohde: järkyttää reaalista maailmaa kaaoksen keinoin. Tähän viitaten, Baudrillard kritisoi ”halun filosofeja” siitä, miten libidinaalinen energia ei ole rajaton, sillä ei hänen mukaansa näin ole rajatonta kykyä murtaa järjestyksen muureja. Koko transgressiivisen taiteen perinne on näin ollen epäillyttävää, koska kaikki halun totaalista vapautusta kohti suunnistavat esiintyjät tulevat jossakin vaiheessa kohtaamaan itseään tukevamman vastuksen. Tämän vastuksen Deleuze ja Guattari myöhemmin, kirjassaan ”Mitä Filosofia on?”(Gaudeamus, 1993), Baudrillardin tapaan tulkitsevat erääksi kapitalistisen abstraktin koneen olennaiseksi piirteeksi.

Näin ollen, ”pää läpi seinän” transgressiivis-emansipatorisena toimintona voi viedä kaaoksen mustaan aukkoon (ja sinne moni ukko-performoija jostain syystä aina suunnistaakin). Oikeastaan mikään muu ei tällaisessa toiminnassa ole mahdollista, jos sitä seurataan johdonmukaisesti. Skitsoanalyyttinen toiminta on kuitenkin jotakin muuta. Se on myös muuta kuin tasapainoileva, taitoa harjoittava kontakti-improvisaatioharjoitus. Nyt aloitamme keskeltä, emmekä koskaan pääse loppuun, ainoastaan siirtymässä toiselta poimulta toiselle, laajentaen tietämystä kulloisenkin alueen tai tasangon ympäristöstä. Kyse ei ole koskaan tilan haltuunottamisesta, vaan joidenkin tilassa ”olevien” säikeiden, sävyjen tai tuntemusten – affektien esiintuomisesta.

Miksi esiintyjä etsii uutta, vaikka se olisikin jo tehty, miksi hän ei muista, tai miksi hän ei välitä tietää, että joku asia on jo tehty? Mikä on uusi? Jos esiintyjä ei välitä yleisöstä, vaan välittää vain energiasta, niin onko tämä tällön esiintyjän ja yleisön välinen suhde? Onko esiintyjä tällöin ”kanava”, onko esitys rituaali ilman suuntaa?

Toisesta näkökulmasta katsottuna esityksessä voidaan nähdä ilmenevän ritornelloja, kertosäkeitä. Näiden varaan Deleuze ja Guattari laskevat kapitalistien toiminnan perustuvan: kuolleille kertosäkeille, joita ihmiset tuottavat, ja niiden varaan laskeutuvat hetkestä toiseen. Huomaamattomille ja miniatyyrimäisille toiminnoille, jotka jäävät usein pysyvästi toistumaan, joiden perustalle ihminen rakentaa käsityksen identiteetistä. Skitsoanalyysi pyrkii nostamaan esiin näitä subjektiviteetin kertosäkeitä, mutta ei kuitenkaan kerro miksi jokin asia toistuu. Paremminkin kyse on siitä, millaisen koostuman kukin on saanut aikaan, miksi jokin kertosäe on merkittävä oman subjektivaation prosessille, miksi pyrin ajattelemaan maailmasta jonkin maailmankuvan kautta. Guattarin skitoanalyysi toimi metodina auttaa skitsofreniapotilaita löytämään paon väyliä, rakentamaan uusia pakosuunitelmia omista subjektivaation toistuvista kertosäkeistä. Tukien subjektivaation prosessia, ei subjektin rakentumista.


Eräs subjektivaation esiintymiseen liittyvä kertosäe minulle on musiikki, kokeellinen rockmusiikki. Osaan soittaa kitaraa ja osaan tehdä musiikkia. Tämän kertosäkeen kautta, jättämättä sitä pois toiminnastani, saan lisää autonomiaa suhteessa taiteelliseen toimintaan. En halua toimia niin, että karsisin sen pois epäoleellisena. Unohdetut kertosäkeet toistuvat loputtomiin. 1980-luvun alkuvuosina New Yorkissa kehittyi hyvin lyhytikäinen rock-musiikin suuntaus, No Wave, jonka vaikutus kokeelliselle musiikille on lyhyestä kestostaan huolimatta suuri. En tietenkään ole kuullut musiikkia muuta kuin tallenteiden kautta, mutta löydän siitä jotakin, jonka tunnistan läheiseksi taiteellisessa prosessissa ja omassa tutkimuksessani. Kyse ei ole ainoastaan punk-lähtöisestä anarkiasta, jossa esiintyjä sylkee ja räyhää samalla mitalla kuin häntä seuraava yleisökin. Oleellinen ero, jota mm. DNA yhtyeen kitaristi Arto Lindsay tuolloin painotti oli se, että kaikki siihenastinen punk-musiikki perustui jokatapauksessa kolmen soinnun blueskaavaan. Punk on populaaria musiikkia ja poliittista, usein sanomallista. No Wave oli avant-garde musiikkia, sen sanoma oli muodossa ja affektiivisuudessa, sen poliittisuus minoorista. Omaa toimintaani määrittää samoin jonkinasteinen moderni avant-garde. Toisaalta oma tulkintani esimerkkinä toimivan DNA:n musiikista ja esiintymisestä – kolmekymmentä vuotta jälkeenpäin, ja täysin silloisen, apokalyptisen Lower East Siden maailmasta eroten – on muutakin kuin uutta tai erityisyyttä ihannoivaa. Näen tässä halussa jättää kaavat ja vaatimukset taidosta tai esteettisestä joustavuudesta juuri jotakin skitsoanalyyttiselle harjoitteelle ominaista. Mitään toistuvaa ei synny, vaan esteettinen kokemus on lyhytkestoinen, hajanainen ja rikkonainen. Kokemus on affektiivinen: en tiedä mitä tuntisin tai miten teosta tulkitsisin, vaikkakin avant-garden tapaan esityksen viitteellinen maailma on urbaani sekä nihilistinen.

Lopuksi haluan painottaa sitä, että kyse ei ole toistuvan kertosäkeen muodostumisesta, vaan sen muodostumien tunnustelusta. En voi luottaa esiintyjän kehoni taitoon, koska en voi tietää milloin mikin kertosäe on vallalla. Voin tunnustella virtausten ääriviivoja, subjektiviteettiani rajaavan kaaoksen muotoa.


An artist book
Edition of 500

Michel de Certeau defines the place as an environment, which one reads in a similar way as language. The place gets signified when it will be pronounced.
According to de Certeau, when one is walking in the environment, one is constantly out of place; in a process of enunciation, searching for meaning. Walking is similar to talking – but to a singular enunciations: dialect, patois, stuttering, mumbling or any other way of speaking without clear signification.
Between 1999 to 2005 I have finalized eight walking pieces in various forms and environments. My relationship to walking or environment has been quite different in each piece, also. To collect these pieces or the documentation of these projects, an artist book ”Käynti” (Gait) will be published in Anti-festival, 2009. This book will be based on textual documentations, memos and interpretations. Each of the project has its own character, context and conceptualization – nevertheless these might have appeared after the finalization of the projects. Some of the works were developed as art-projects, some not so much, but nevertheless this publication will define them as art works. Or, at least part of these events or eventuations had some character of art-works, but might be that larger part of the event does not appear in this representational form.
This project is part of my doctoral studies in the program of Performance Studies and Theory in The Theatre Academy in Helsinki. Title of my research is ”Schizoanalysis of performance art”, and is based on the new aesthetic paradigm articulated by Félix Guattari – among others. Obviously the title is rather a signpost than definite signification, since Guattari himself is propably the only single person every practicing schizoanalysis. Nevertheless, in my research the performance art is seen as a production, and part of a larger discourse of the production of subjectivity. I attempt to research the strategies of production of desires in the field of social environment. The production of subjectivization is a different than the process of general individualization, which in turn creates personalities, and is part of a post-fordist capitalist project. In contrast, the production of subjectivization is based on potentiality and general intellect, and is a transformative force. The production of the self or subject is the bone and marrow of capitalim, it is the basis of all othe production. The creative self has a increasing value on the speculative market.
The book is printed in Siuron paino, a one-man printer, that is run by a poet JK Ihalainen. He prints the book still in offset, and the printer is the only one in Finland that runs with its own electricity generated from the Siuro rapid.

Past Amsterdam, 1999

At 00:00, Monday, 21st of March I begun my 24 hour walking trip without a direction in Amsterdam, from my home address, Egelantierstraat 46. Each hour I turned around and took a polaroid-photograph from the “past” trip, which I had committed. In the next hour, I would staple, tape or otherwise attach this photograph on a tree, bench, wall, etc. Every sixth hour I had a break. I finished my walk on the building of Rijksakademie v.B.K., Sarphatistraat 470, where I was studying at the moment. On the bulletin-board of the academy I left this note, a map of my walk and the last polaroid-picture. During the trip I got mugged twice, thus I felt necessary to interrupt this performance after 18 hours of walking.
There are obvious connections to the practice of The Situationist International and their practice of dérive. I had done seveal walks like that in different cities and often the experiences was something of a paranoia. I was not sure why, exect that it felt obvious to think about it as a result of the city architecture, noise, traffic, etc. Aside from the Situationist I had get to know the works of dutch artist Stanley Brouwn, and his conceptual walks ending up as artists books. Therefore this project was a combination of free-flowing drifting and series of obstructions.

Swarm, Jakarta, 2001

Swarm is the abstract formation of a megalopolis city. I was in search of the traces of swarm in the megalopolis, Jakarta, with recordings and mappings. Traffic in the city was swarm-like and chaotic, but still flowing within it’s concrete channels. The flow of multitudes has a form of swarming in the mental and physical levels. This mapping of physical, mental and ecological space was done in collaboration with the Ruang Rupa artists’ organization in Jakarta.
Deleuze writes about the desire and swarm in the same manner as Guattari:
What is liberated desire? A desire that escapes the impasse of individual private fantasy: it’s not about adapting desire, socializing and disciplining it, but hooking it up in such a way that its process is uninterrupted in the social body, so its expression can be collective. The most important thing is not authoritarian unification, but a kind of infinite swarming: desires in the neighborhood, the schools, factories, prisons, nursery schools, etc. It’s not about a make-over, or totalization, but hooking up on the same plane at its tipping point. As long as we stick to the alternative between the impotent spontaneity of anarchy and the hierarchical and bureaucratic encoding of a party-organization, there can be no liberation of desire. 1

Gilles Deleuze ”Desert Islands and Other Texts 1953-1974”, Semiotext(e), 2004

Kopronomia, Chicago, 2003



Love towards what is left, the economy of a waste. I made a walking piece in the city of Chicago, which photographic documentation I used to make a video-piece. During several months I went to explore spaces in my then hometown Chicago, which were “monuments that have forgotten the future”. One starting point was a famous environmental art piece by Robert Smithson called Passaic, New Jersey, from 1967. I wandered around the areas that got to know, at the same time expanding my territory, photographing sites, which had not utilitarian, clear function; sites which until now, or not any more had no meaning.
I paid attention to the lush nature in these sites; it seemed like that all the wild weeds seemed to burst over the boundaries of the signified spaces. The city-plan of Chicago is based on a grid-model. Opposing this utilitarian model, I found this rhizomatic network of a-signifying spaces. The video-work is based on a photographic animation of these sites. For the book I will select some photographs and text.


Walking is an activitiy based on the human body, which relates directly to the environment. It is movement of a body in space, a way to explore the non-urban environment, nature or the built environment – built by the bodies – monuments, buildings and nonspaces.
Walking is a spiritual practice, political activity and anthro-social expedition, all at the same time. These aspects play a significant role in my work, but the composition of these factors may differ greatly, depending on the specific environment.
One defines the relationship with the environment through the actions. Thus, walking is a political action. The surrounding environment has an affect on us, walking creates an awareness of terrain, breathing, heart beating and eventually one starts to think differently – thinking in 4 mph. Walking is a spiritual practice.
For me the idea of walking in urban environment and as a social behaviour relates to the ideas conceived by the Situationist International in 1950’s and 60’s. Their concept of dérive, ”drifting” was an idea of walking as an effective and playful way to transform the perception of the world and in this way change the structure of the society itself. Walking is a way to define and deconstruct a city.

One reflects the environment, nature or city through oneself. Thus, there is no “nature” outside oneself. Depending on the way of perception, the world is conceptualized by the intellect or the opposite, one is fully immersed in the enthropy of nature.
Walking in an urban environment is a play between these two polarities: I might be fully convinced that everything around me has a rational, pragmatic function, everything in significant. Suddenly, I have to catch my breath, accidentally I lose my balance and then, for an instant the architecture looks different, I become aware of myself in the world. For a walker, the world is different from the world seen through the windshield.
My project for this exhibition is a survey of non-sites in Chicago, inspired by the famous project by Robert Smithson in Passaic, New Jersey in 1967. In my walks I’ve located and documented few hundred sites around my normal daily routes. These places I would define “monuments which have forgotten the future”. They are places, which for the pragmatic mind are “dysfunctional” waste, but through walking around the city, these places have become sites – no matter their physical size – which hold strong presence in their absence of utility. In fact, what constitutes a city and environment has lot to do with empty places and non-signified sites. Urban environment has much more to do with the multiplicity of swarm than with the organized machine, at least when the humans are concerned.
“What stands fast does so, not because it is intrinsically obvious or convincing; it is rather held fast by what lies around it. (Wittgenstein)


Kökar, Åland, 2003

I walked from end to the end of the Kökar island, about 15 kilometres to one direction. First I counted my exhales, and on my way back paces — the way how Romans used to measure the distance. After this, I printed a card with the text below and distributed to all members of the Kökar community. On the both ends of this main road of the island I left a street-sign with the texts: “Franciskuskapellet 6865 Steg” and “Hellsö Brygga 2012”. For the book there will be this text and two photographs:


Saapaskylä, 2004

In a similar way, I counted my exhales during a one-day walking trip from my home in Hyvinkää to a friend’s house in Saapaskylä, in the countryside in Häme. The length of the trip was 45 kilometres. I carried with me a dictaphone, where I recored my thougths. This text will be in the book, including the “exhale-numbers.”

Malmi, Helsinki, 2004

In a similar way, I counted my exhales during another one-day walking trip from Hyvinkää to a Helsinki, capital of Finland. The length of the trip was 60 kilometres. Again I had a dictaphone with me, for the recording of my speech. Aside from that I made some drawings of places and wrote down the street-names I was walking in or crossing over. The book will include the street-names, spoken text, drawings and the “exhale-numbers.”

Sudeten, 2004


A memo from a night-walk in the Christmas-time in the mountains, between Poland and Slovakia.

In Sudeten, there is one photograph presented. It is a photo of man lying down on snow, by the river and pines. This pose was originated in a practice that I did with Karolina Kucia in an old, vacant, bourgeoisie style apartment in Poznan in Christmas 2004. The pose appeared as a pose of combination of rapist/raped, a pose of humiliation and loss. In the walk in the mountains between Poland and Slovaki, some days after the practice, this pose reappeard – and in fact became a series of photographs with the same pose, but different landscape. Pose also appeared in a series of performances that Kucia and I did later that year. A concept of ”Sprezzatura” came to our minds; which means

”an easy facility in accomplishing difficult actions which hides the conscious effort that went into them.”

Sprezzatura has also been described “as a form of defensive irony the ability to disguise what one really desires, feels, thinks, and means or intends behind a mask of apparent reticence and nonchalance.”

So, that within a walk in the night and a next day some emotions that were rather hidden, and had a need to be defensed started to appear within the walk itself. This had been appearing before in previous works as well. A connection between the bodily memories or inhibition becoming released with the repetitive excersise of walking.  An two-sided image of rapist/raped reappered.

Félix Guattari with Gilles Deleuze have developed a concept of Ritornello, or the refrain. As the refrain becomes sort of camouflage to ”keep the darkness at bay”. But Guattari does not want to reveal the origin of the trauma on any symbolic level. What matters is the kind of following, how I get here, what is the walking path that made the rapist appear? It has appered before in the walking-project of ”Saapaskylä”. Sexuality and perversities do connect with walking, especially with urban walks, as Rebecca Solnit has presented in her book ”Wanderlust:History of Walking”, as well.

A memo from a night-walk in the Christmas-time in the mountains, between Poland and Slovakia.
In Sudeten, there is one photograph presented. It is a photo of man lying down on snow, by the river and pines. This pose was originated in a practice that I did with Karolina Kucia in an old, vacant, bourgeoisie style apartment in Poznan in Christmas 2004. The pose appeared as a pose of combination of rapist/raped, a pose of humiliation and loss. In the walk in the mountains between Poland and Slovaki, some days after the practice, this pose reappeard – and in fact became a series of photographs with the same pose, but different landscape. Pose also appeared in a series of performances that Kucia and I did later that year. A concept of ”Sprezzatura” came to our minds; which means
”an easy facility in accomplishing difficult actions which hides the conscious effort that went into them.”
Sprezzatura has also been described “as a form of defensive irony the ability to disguise what one really desires, feels, thinks, and means or intends behind a mask of apparent reticence and nonchalance.”
So, that within a walk in the night and a next day some emotions that were rather hidden, and had a need to be defensed started to appear within the walk itself. This had been appearing before in previous works as well. A connection between the bodily memories or inhibition becoming released with the repetitive excersise of walking.  An two-sided image of rapist/raped reappered.
Félix Guattari with Gilles Deleuze have developed a concept of Ritornello, or the refrain. As the refrain becomes sort of camouflage to ”keep the darkness at bay”. But Guattari does not want to reveal the origin of the trauma on any symbolic level. What matters is the kind of following, how I get here, what is the walking path that made the rapist appear? It has appered before in the walking-project of ”Saapaskylä”. Sexuality and perversities do connect with walking, especially with urban walks, as Rebecca Solnit has presented in her book ”Wanderlust:History of Walking”, as well.

Ahvenanmaa, 2005

A three day walk around the Åland archipelago. An interpretative and subjective text on walking during this trip. Korppoo, Föglö, Kumlinge, Brandö, Kustavi, Iniö, Houtskari, Korppoo.


The book is printed in Siuron paino, by a poet JK Ihalainen.

A book review (in Finnish) in the blog Alaston Kriitikko.
and in the Tuli&Savu literary magazine by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Fascinance and Fascinum: Multitude between Evil Eye and Creation

Paper presented at the conference ’Power: Dynamics, Forms of Consequences’ Tampere, 23rd of September, 2008.
Session: Arbitary Power: Ecologies of Power and Resistance in Cognitive Capitalism.
Chair: Akseli Virtanen


Pscyhoanalyst and visual artist Bracha Ettinger developed a concept of ‘fascinance’ in opposition to Lacan’s ‘fascinum’. In which fascinum – ‘evil eye’ or ‘spell’ – is set as a freezing visual element of gaze, that I do not see. But fascinance behaves differently. It is a matrixial, creative and transformational gaze. In Ettinger’s theory fascinance is linked with the ‘matrixial gaze’ and ‘com-passionate’. These concepts set a foundation for my point of view for the mechanisms of power and control in the area of cognitive labour – which has certain connotations with performance and the performer, also. In performance context, Lacan’s set of the ‘evil eye’ can be seen behind the audience, where it lays the invisible gaze on the performer, building up a tension as if on the tight-rope performance. For Ettinger, fascinance creates yet another performance, but completely different: a transformative station. Still, fascinance and fascinum are different modes of gaze, and without the support of com-passion and matrixial dimensions, fascinance reverts back to fascinum. In this context, these modalities resemble the link between cynicism and sensitivity in the contemporary, mental environment of cognitive labour.


In this paper I would like to talk about the concept of trauma with connection of general ability of potentiality. In terms of copoiesis, a term, which Bracha Ettinger has developed, corresponding the matrixial gaze, I claim that cynicism and sensitivity have a connection with each other, which has important consequenes in thinking about performance art, creativity and cognitive labour as well. Cynicism shows itself as a potentiality to do anything one wants. An ethical bond with the society has ruptured, where in turn this rupture, and lack of “moral” integrity has become a new economical production-force. It is not guarded with any ethical guidelines, but still it will not errupt recklessly, due to the inner discipline. My research is dealing with this discipline, and how it can be interpretated with the two concepts, one of fascinum from Jacques Lacan and other as fascinance from Bracha Ettinger – and what consequences they might have.



One factor for cognitive work environment is the feeling of “homelessness”, being without boundaries and foundation. We could see the development of the idea of homelessness in following ways: first of all, subject has clear connection with the state, the walls of polis; second, there are no walls, but the walls are internalized, which can be defined as a pastoral or shepherd’s “state”; third, there are the nomadic subjects, without internal/external walls of the state. All of these modes have a different distribution of people in space and time. One main concern is if in the nomadic state, there still exists fascinum as well?

Taking a performance event as an overall example, for a cognitive worker’s situation as well, these three positions have a different relationship with fascinum and fascinance , as well as with cynicism and co-poiesis.

Why and how does the state of “homelessness” appears in the present state of cognitive capitalism, when the knowledge “flows” over the boundaries of institutions? For instance in the culture-infrastructure, museums are using more and more free-lance curators or creating events and projects. Similarly the amount of one-person companies are growing in the work market. This flow creates a state of uncertainty – similar to a performance situation, in which one is no more sure where is the protagonist, or does it have anymore clear function, such as in the site-specific perfomances. Performance is a performance on the level of social structure, corresponding to the “relational aesthetics”.(Bourriaud, 1999) Work-performance becomes a situation.

Uncertainty creates a defence, which in turn defines a certain cynicism, when the act of leaping over the walls of the city eventuates. Due to the reaction of cynicism, it seems that one requires external or internal boundaries, to define an identity and image of self. Opportunist and cynical subject is a clearly defined subject.
Lacan, explicates the concept of gaze being something that:

“I can feel myself under the gaze of someone whose eyes I do not see, not even discern. All that is necessary is for something to signify to me that there may be others there. This window, if it gets a bit dark, and if I have reasons for thinking that there is someone behind it, is straight-away a gaze”.(Lacan 1986: 67-119)

For Lacan the gaze does not belong to the subject, but to the object of the gaze. Therefore, a peformer, a public speaker or in a performance of any kind in public situation, gaze is located behind the audience or in the audience, like behind a darkened glass. Gaze is not mine, nor is it in the personas of the audience. For Lacan it rests on Imaginary of the performer:

I am looking at the audience, but I am being looked at by the gaze from the audience, but on the level of imaginary. As a performer, I become a picture. It may feel like being on the tightrope, creating a constant but unconcious tension, which audience is not aware of. Yet, this tension on the performance might lead to almost psychotic behaviour of the performer, which in turn for the members of audience builds a feeling of hostility and uncertainty: as if looking at the performer being behind a glass. Following Lacan, in fact it is so for the performer, for whom the audience plays as the representative of the gaze, but on the level of Imaginary . The performer freezes under the gaze, and slips into the realm of Imaginary(1), maybe even into psychotic behavior or psychosis.

A subject is captured – not unlike as being photographed – and devoured by space, devoured into a full darkness, which penetrates the subject completely. In his essay “Mimicry and Legendary Psychastenia”(1937) Roger Caillois describes the horrific situation of mimesis, where “life takes a step backwards,[…] animals start to mimic plants, human-being animals”(Caillois, 1937); the personality dissappears, as I am being assimilated into a devouring space. Subject is not able to discern onself from the environment – or from the Image. Subject is sucked into a schizophrenic black hole. According to Deleuze and Guattari BWO, a body without organs, with it’s partial objects and zero intensities can also be connected with this black hole, with a result that this connection will drive the subject into psychosis, maybe even death and destroy ability to be affected(Deleuze & Guattari, 1980:149-166). Threatened by darkness – or evil eye in this case:

“A child in the dark, gripped with fear, comforts himself by singing under his breath. He walks and halts to his song. Lost, he takes shelter, or orients himself with his little song as best as he can. The song is like a rough sketch of a calming and stabilizing, calm and stable, center in the heart of chaos.” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987: 311).

One draws a circle around oneself, to create a home into the black hole. This sonor camouflage, similar to Caillois’ insects which line themselves with the veins of a leaf to become invisible – or rather get “in tune” with the plant – child’s humming builds walls around to keep the darkness at bay. Voice is a Ariadne’s thread, oikonomia of the space. Yet, it is nescessary to connect with the cosmos, to improvise with it, so that one could transcend from the catatonic trap. Otherwise falling back into the realm of pastoral, internalized city walls would be inevitable.

What are the similarities of a cognitive worker or for instance the performance of a politician? They are not free of the walls of the polis, but carrying the imaginary evil eye with them. According to Paolo Virno, the cognitive labourer is behaving like performer without a script or a choreography – like a performance-artist or a stand-up comedian, he or she is able to innovate and create new ideas in a blink of an eye. An nihilistic image of an artist, in fact.

This is a productive force, but not copoietic. Why does a situation of free forming, co-creativeness turn into cynicism and return within the walls of internalized or externalized discipline, rather than sensitivity and copoiesis in the openness?

Cognitive-worker-perfomer is like a tight-rope walker, without a script, but constantly aware of the imaginary evil eye. It must be made clear that the evil eye is not a “big brother”, not a control camera that works in the realm of paranoia. Evil eye is a productive force – but it will never turn into copoiesis. This requires fascinance, a matrixial gaze.


In his book “Grammar of multitude”(2004) Paolo Virno defines the life of a cognitive worker with such affects as opportunism, cynicism, restlessness and powerlessness. In general, there seems to be no ethical foundation, to create a social bond. If for Emmanuel Levinas, the face of the other indicates a command “Do not kill”(Levinas, 1974) for the cynical cognitive worker the face will not affect a sense of preceding ethical responsibility. State of restlessness carries the subject away in a state, which has no base or foundation. The world has no foundation, on which the face of the other could signal a justness of humanity or law. This justice would precede the face of the other, but is coming into sight by it only. Yet, it seems that this foundation has been ruptured by the cognitive capitalism.

State of homelessness does not recognize a shared, common foundation. The walls of the state are partially ruptured, likewise it has happened with a link between the pastoral state. In this second model, a crowd is wandering in desert, but with the guidance of internalized “walls of polis”, preceding the face of the other. The crowd is in the open space, but the immaterial domain of law is inscribed within the contours of a subject.

Performance situation serves as a model, where a performer carries the internalized fascinum, ‘evil eye’ within. Performer’s skill is to held the freezing affect of the evil eye at bay, like a tight-rope walker. But in a performance situation and within the post-fordist environment, the subject may freeze or implode suddely – either it is anticipated or not – but the performer is then violating the social body and bond, as well. It seems like the cognitive performer wishes to locate the invisible walls of the internalized polis, and to damage them, to destroy the freezing affect of the evil eye. For a performance theorist, Anthony Howell, this transcending act will lead to repetition, since it is not possible to eliminate the evil eye by an direct attack – if at all. These futile attacks would become ritualistic and performed. I repress because I repeat, I cannot remember, that’s why I repeat. In the example of performance art, it is clear that this repetitious behavior may become a “style”, “ritual” and eventually “entertainment”. It seems these acts strengthen the spell of the evil eye.

In the canon of conceptual art from the 1960’s and 70’s one line of body-artists treated the artist’s body as a representative surface of antagonisms and conflicts in the social body. Such artists like Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci and Chris Burden did use their own bodies in this way. Such works were not done in an utter rage, but rather in a very planned and calm way, for example the work titled “Shoot” by Burden, where he asks his friend to shoot him in the left arm with a rifle from a close distance, while this act is being shot on a video-tape. Due to meticulous planning, these works do not suffice to be laughed out just as being purely masocistic acts, but there is part truth in this observation. In his book about masochism and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Gilles Deleuze points out that for masochism rules, misdemeanors, punishments and discipline play a bigger part than gaining a libidinal satisfaction through perverted ways(Deleuze, 1991). Each situation is constructed and performed: each pervert is perverted in a singular way. Therefore performance art is not self-destructive in itself, but rather a play of deconstructing the oppression on body. Yet, being singular events, they have very different relationship with the evil eye, than the cognitive performances, which are aimed to destroy the power of an evil eye, and unconciously to repeat it. A cynical and opportunist cognitive worker is in the cycle of repetition, which is not a game of masochism, but the point is in the variation of repetion, by forgetting.


What is that thrust, that time of arrest of the movement? It is simply the fascinatory effect, in that is is a question of dispossessing the evil eye of the gaze, in order to ward it off. The evil eye is the fascinum, it is that which has the effect of arresting movement and, literally, of killing life. (Lacan, 1986: 118)


The cognitive performer is in the cycle of repetitious nihilism. Though, it seems that the horizon is open, all acts seem to have no real – at least no long-term – effects. 24/7 cycle creates a sense of freedom within the cycle, but not outside the cycle: when you are driving on the highway 100 mph, you are still within the perimeters of a highway. The spell of evil eye still keeps it’s control on the cognitive performer, and reactions to this inner control are billowing emotions of powerlessness leading to futile violation of boundaries, or mutilations of mental, social and eventually physical bodies.

General state of uncertainty is an expression of the anxiety facing a lack of foundation. In nomadic distribution of space, according to Deleuze:

there is no longer a division of that which is distributed but rather a division among those who distribute themselves in an open space – a space which is unlimited, or at least without precise limits. Nothing pertains or belongs to any person, but all persons are arrayed here and there in such a manner as to cover the largest possible space… To fill a space, to be distributed within it, is very different from distributing the space. (Deleuze, 1994: 46)

Here, there chimes not only one sound of being, that would set the ethics, reflected through the face of the other. Here, a space is a open space of modalities. But, in contradiction to a promise, on this billowing, smooth space, a cognitive performer finds everything worthless, dull and meaningnless.


Psychoanalyst and visual artist Bracha Ettinger does not share the idea of nomos being a foundation without a base, for nomadic ethics:

The place or space doesn’t belong to the ‘I’. In that sense the word ‘nomadic’ is limited and limiting. I and non-I need a home, and co/in-habituating is a proposition for another kind of home. Here, to enter copoietic fascinance and not freezing fascinum is critical, especially in a world where paranoia gained to such an extent that it became transparent. We hardly see that we live through the filter of paranoia. Fascinance and primal compassion are not a reply to paranoia. Fascinance is a also then a “home” of resistance, it draws its own borderlines, and it evokes primary compassion and thus the proto-ethical potentiality gets a new chance to evolve. That is, this Beauty is pregnant with proto-ethical potentiality. Resonating along a borderlinking string doesn’t automatically constitute a mature ethical responsibility, but without it, ethics is shrinking into a mascarade of ethics. (Ettinger, 2008)

The concept of fascinance has a transforming effect in contrast with the freezing fascinum (Ettinger, 2006). Yet, without the hospitable com-passion, this fascination power will reel back into the freezing spell of evil eye. Ettinger interprets the story of Dora, whom Freud analysed in his case-studies, and uses this story to describe the process of fascinance. Dora “stopped in front of the pictures that appealed to her. She remained two hours in front of the Sistine Madonna, rapt in silent admiration” (Freud, 1901: 15-112). Interpretation after interpretation Freud’s analyses lead him to a conclusion that Dora wanted man and father-figure: Freud himself. Ettinger claims, that for sure “she did not know what she wanted, but she did know what she did not want”, and thus Dora stopped the analytical process.(Pollock, 2006: 60-93)

For Lacan, gaze as fascinum is an unconcious element in the image that stops and freezes life, but:

the matrixial sphere offers other possibilities for the gaze. (Ettinger, 1995) A matrixial borderlinking is transformational. I call the transformational subjectivizing potentiality of a matrixial link (gaze or voice): fascinance. Fascinance is an aesthetic affet that operates in the prolongation and delaying of the time of encounter-event and allows a working through of matrixial diffferentiating-in-jointness and copoiesis. (Pollock, 2006;61)

Separation from this matrixial sphere creates a trauma, which can come into affect in the moment of fascinance, if it will have a support of the com-passion.

In the analysis situation this corresponds with the ability to co-emerge and respond, it is a process of co-poiesis – and for Ettinger similar to the experience of art-work and art-working. Both require an ability of com-passion, to enable the matrixial borderspace to emerge. Both analytic and analysand – or artist and the viewer – wit(h)ness the trauma. Here Ettinger emphasizes that to witness is not enough, but we need to find ways to wit(h)nessing, which emerges from the matrixial sphere. It requires border-linking in the encounter-event and to join with the shared time-space. In a such encounter-event:

Subjectivity-as-encounter in resonance transgresses ‘performance’ and ‘representation’. Some encounter-events become ‘performance’ but the point is neither in a desire to perform not in the desire to represent. Intensities and vibrations manifest themselves via encounter-events. (Ettinger, 2008)

Matrixial space is a shared, border-linking space. It originates from the matrixial, feminine and pre-natal space, which for Ettinger is essentially copoietic. It is not a space of “one-sound of being chiming”, but a resonance-chamber, where unborn child already expresses primary com-passion and “full” emapthy towards a becoming m/Other, as well. There, primary com-passion in the matrixial sphere is creating a shared space of copoiesis. Later, in life and separated from the compassionate hospitality, art-working or analysis-situation may create an co-emergence of fascinance. Art-work is a “transport-station of trauma”(Ettinger, 2006).

Only in a borderlinking within a real, traumatic or phantasmatic com-passionate co-response-ability the asthetic affect of fascinance can linger on without turning into fascinum. In fascinance it is yeilding to the cosmos-spirit of the world by volitional relinquishment. Consciousness arises from the artist and from the world, from vectorial intensive body-minds, matter-functions and trans-sensed knowledge.(Ettinger, 2006)

Similar to a feminine matrixial space is the artwork, a station of copoiesis, joint-linking of several matrixial threads by the artist, viewer and cosmos. Cosmic and matrixial threads are wowen together, where cosmic does not represent god or Absolute spirit, but a realm of intensities, forces and densities. Art working is a process of synthesizing, where the process is only foundation, for matrixial and cosmic forces, weights, and intensities create an singular environment, connected with virtual and potential. The process of co-emergence in fascinance is based on the com-passionate hospitability of matrixial gaze. Art-working process is located in the realm of improvisation, represented by the child’s humming turning into a refrain, in the example of Deleuze and Guattari (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987: 311), or in another words, matrixial and cosmic threads are linking with each other.

Process of art-working is not without a foundation, but similar to a crystal structure:

In the matrixical borderspace the possibility of knowing the other through both primary fascinance that is transformational and therefore creative (unlike the Lacanian styptic fascinum) and primary compassion is articulated. Primary compassion is in my view a transgressive knowing of the other that precedes abjection and continues in parallel to it, which arises each time anew in the aesthetical and proto-ethical psychic web of coemergence in encounter-events where different souls are reattunned to one another (Ettinger, 2008).

Ettinger does not propose a realm emptied out from the power of evil-eye, but acknowledges it’s affect, and finds fascinum and fascinance as different modes of gaze. In this way we have a significant point in understanding the traumatic repetitions of performance-art or the fluctuating and traumatizing shifts of sensitivity and cynicism in the cognitarian envinronment. Both indifference and com-passion may emerge. They create a double-bind. Thus, avoidance of recognition of the freezing, cynical powers of evil-eye prohibits understanding the traumatic, but copoietic matrixial gaze. Cognitive capitalistic market wishes to utilize the general copoietic “ability” as a production force, but at the same time has difficulties of accepting the cynical force of traumatic indifference.

Matrixial sphere pre-exists subjectivity and identity, but serves as a foundation for the copoietic co-emergence.


Art is the space of a potential future offered always in a certain Now. Offered doesn’t mean that the chance is going to be taken, or that there can be pre-scriptions concerning what would creat it. You might not enter at all this time-space or the artwork might not offer it, but also: if you enter, you will discover another potential for resistance that is only born in such a space to begin with. If such resistance developes from the proto-ethical into the ethical space that enters the public domain it trangresses all prescribed political agendas though it can produce transformations in the political sphere.(Ettinger, 2008)

Copoiesis assumes a matrixial borderspace, which would open between the viewer, art-work and artist, in which I and non-I appear without repression or symbiosis, supported by the com-passion.

Such fragility touches the non-I and is accessed by the I in com-passion and in a primal compassion that must be differentiated both from misericord as pity and from empathy. (Ettinger, 2008)

In copoiesis, subject is able to “differentiate-in-jointness”(Ettinger, 1999). Matrixial threads are shared and through the art-work joint-linking, without a symbiosis. Art-work tranforms the trauma into Real(Ettinger, 1999)


In the sphere of trauma there is located the knowledge of ones’s own potentiality, as well. The world might seem a place having no reason or direction, but at the same time everythins is possible. In post-fordist era of capitalism our general abilities have stepped into work, to function as a labour force, as Paolo Virno claims(Virno, 2004). The situation resembles in some ways the general idea of what artist does. In 1970’s german artist Joseph Beuys coined one of his most famous slogans: “Every man is an artist”.(2)

In the context of cognitive labout, this sentence serves us at least in two ways: first, every work-environment requires abilities that are connected with artist’s labor: ability join others, inspire, get inspired, obtain new ideas and trends quickly, to be creative, i.e. give some extra, your own full personality. On the other hand these general abilities are not some secret, hidden knowledge, but very basic human abilities and potentialities.

Nevertheless, both interpretations miss something of the Beuys’ point, since it is essential to notice that he is clearly talking about copoiesis, ability to co-create. Copoiesis, related to fascinance, as it opens up as a process is inherently connected with trauma – subject that Beuys was working with all his career, also – with cynicism and sensitivity. I obtain the ability to do and create anything, and this ability, being a force, also challenges social and political contours. It may create indifferent state, which in turn will be controlloed in various methods. Yet, this challenging power, indifference or sensitivity it may be, is inherently connected with copoiesis. Cognitive capitalism must tolerate in some sense this cynical companion of so valuable copoiesis. Both intensities are interconnected. Anyhow, sanctions and new control mechanisms have an affect on the copoietic creativitity, thus leading on the diminishing of it, and into a opportunistic and cynical state.

Jussi Vähämäki writes about delay, or procastination at work, how it is not possible to control the worker anymore by clockcards, but by credit and showing trust and understanding. (Vähämäki, 2006) Cognitarian performer-worker’s nihilistic and opportunistic side must be tolerated.


Worker is in a double-bind situation. He/she might feel freedom to come and go to the workplace with his/hers schedule, but at the same time he ought to keep his mobile-connection open all the time. He/she might feel that it’s ok to express himself/herself at the workplace quite freely, even cynically, but does it have any effect. Is it the full expression, or expression under unconcious spell of evil-eye? Cognitive labour is still subordinated to capitalistic degree, but it is not anymore about exploitation of his body but his general abilities, his/hers copoietic skills, which are being exploited.

General abilities are connected with a general sense of schizophrenia, being splitted. He/she is aware of his/hers potentialities and trauma. Copoiesis is well-known. He/she is able to create a BWO, to connect other partial-objects, and to evoke copoiesis and fascinance – but only if matrixial gaze and com-passionate hospitability is present. There is general sense of connecting and getting jointed with other beings, objects, atmospheres, ideas, etc. Connection with the matrixial sphere may also appear, connecting with the other matrixial and cosmic threads.True innovations are emergings from this sphere.

Still, all of this is a very unstable, fragile and requires sensitivity. There is almost no control – truly a creative and artistic process. At points, when fascinum is present, instead of fascinance, process seems futile and useless. Life is meaningless, and at these moments the freezing power of evil-eye instigates a need to create need for values, directions, interpretations and relentless planning. You want to fill the horrific black hole with some organization. There, copoiesis is seen only through the point of view of utility. This state is similar to a psychotic-narscissistic state in the performance-act mentioned earlier.

Inner conflict with the evil-eye might lead to a continuous state, where subject is in constant conflict with the environment, and copoiesis is not possible. Every act is signified.

In contrast, the encounter-event that may inspire and support fascinance, seem to be more like a confrontation, instead of internalized conflict. Two, or more people join their matrixial threads. In confrontation, a subject comes into the time-space, from imaginary conflict to real confrontation. An opportunist cannot confront, unless there is something to gain to, but such confrontation would not affect inner conflict in any ways. Open confrontation is not possible, therefore it must be sublimated and simulated.

Open confrontation requires architectonical plannings of the work-environment as well. If cognitive-performer-worker is in constant flow between places and assignments, no place for a confrontation never appear, but inner and internalized conflict is ever present. Confrontation may have mimetic and representational forms, but it will not release the inner conflict. In a similar way theatre as a mimetic or representational skill may not release the class-antagonisms in the real.

Performance is a limited and limiting word when we want to refer to the resonating level of each encounter-event. Subjectivity-as-encounter in resonance transgresses ‘performance’ and ‘representation’. Some encounter-events become ‘performance’ but the point is neither in a desire to perform not in the desire to represent. Intensities and vibrations manifest themselves via encounter-events. This is subjectivity before identity and gender where a special kind of Eros manifests itself. (Ettinger, 2008)


Fascinance is a link.

A link x of matrixial virtuality modulates the tension between virtual strings, traumatic strings, phantasmatic threads and memory threads (in which unconscious traces like objet a and link a are accumulated) that are borderlinking in metramorphosis between I (presubjective instances) and non-I (m/Othernal sub-subjective instances to begin with) to actualize a potential or a new possibility. Matrixial trans-subjectivity absorbs the vibrations of the virtual strings, the traumatic strings, the memory and the phantasy threads within a shareable unconcious real, to produce new psychic matrixial traumatic or phantasmatic threads and to enable transformations in the traces (link x) or matrixial virtuality itself and create new future psychic instants and entities. (Ettinger, 2006)

With com-passion we are joint-connected with the separation-in-jointness of the matrixial threads of trauma. Full com-passion is thus something else than regulations by good and bad deeds and ideas. This singular baselessness and homelessness is connected with the general, human abilities. Com-passion eventuates in Real, where it brings the trauma into the time-space, into duration. Matrixial and cosmic intensities are connected in the real, without any motivation of evil- or good-doing. This encounter-event, with its joint-connectedness has replaced the ethical-bond.

In the sphere of matrixial gaze, confontation finds its form as a trauma, in time-place or Real, in encounter-event which has a transformative power.

(1) Real, Symbolic and Imaginary. For Lacanian psycho-analytic theory, Imaginary defines a realm of concious and unconcious images, which is not simply antanogisitic to Real. Where Imaginary represesents ego, Symbolic represensts the Other. Symbolic is the sphere of signification, in contradiction with the subjects ego and self-image on the Imaginary. Real should not be confused with reality. It serves as a link between the Imaginary and Symbolic. It is a fond and endlessly impossible, a world ‘before’ language. Lacan, Jacques: “Ecrits: a selection”

(2) “Jeder Mensch ein Künstler.”


Bateson, Gregory (1999): Steps to an ecology of mind
Beuys, Joseph (1990): Energy plan for the western man
Bourriaud, Nicholas (1999): Relational Aesthetics
Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Félix (1987): A Thousand Plateaus, p. 149-166
Deleuze, Gilles (1994): Difference and repetition
Deleuze, Gilles (1991): Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs
Ettinger, Bracha L. (2006): Fascinance. The Woman-to-woman (Girl-to-m/Other) Matrixial Feminine Difference
Ettinger, Bracha (1995): The Matrixial Gaze
Freud, Sigmund: “Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria” (1901), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. VII (1953), pp. 15-112
Howell, Anthony (1999): The Analysis of Performance Art
Jakonen, Mikko; Virtanen, Akseli; Vähämäki, Jussi (2006) : Uuden työn sanakirja
Lacan, Jacques (1988): Seminar One: Freud’s Papers On Technique, p. 215
Lacan, Jacques (1986): The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis, pp. 67-119
Levinas, Emmanuel (1974): Otherwise Than Being or Beyond Essence
Pollock, Griselda, ed (2006),.: Psychoanalysis and the Image, pp. 60-93
Soleim, Kjell R. (ed.) (1999): Fatal Women. Journal of the Center for Women’s and Gender Research, Bergen Univ., Vol. 11: 115-128
Nauha, Tero (2008): “Interview with Bracha Ettinger”, Taide-magazine (04/2008),
van Loo, Sofie (ed.)(2006): Oppression and Relief in Art. Royal Museum of Fine Art. Antwerpen
Virno, Paolo (2004): Grammar of Multitude

Huomioita herkkyydestä, lumovoimasta ja myötätuntemisesta, kanssatodistamisesta ja vastustuksesta.

Taide-lehti 4/2008

Bracha Ettinger (1951) on pääasiassa Pariisissa asuva israelilainen psykoanalyytikko ja kuvataiteilija, jonka teokset ovat piirroksia, maalauksia, muistikirjoja. Ettingerin töitä on ollut esillä monissa kansainvälisissä näyttelyissä, Suomessa viimeksi ARS06:n yhteydessä.
Ettingerin käyttämät teoreettiset käsitteet ovat syntyneet psykoanalyyttisen ja taiteellisen työskentelyn kautta. Hän lähtee Freudin ja Lacanin myöhäiskauden teoreettisista kehitelmistä, mutta jatkaa niitä radikaalisti feministiseen suuntaan. Yksi hänen keskeisistä käsitteistään on matriisinen, sielullisen kohtaamisen tila, jonka metaforisena lähtökohtana on kohtu (matrix) resonoivana yhdessätuotannon tilana, ei yksinäisenä kammiona, johon sikiö on suljettuna.
Syntymä on muuntava tapahtuma. Se ei synnytä ainoastaan lasta vaan myös äidin, äidin Toisena (m/Other). Tämä yhdessätuotannon tila on oleellinen myös myötätuntemisen syntymiselle.
Taideteoksen kautta matriisisuus kytkeytyy toisen ihmisen matriisiseen tilaan, teoksesta tulee ”trauman siirtoasema”, jossa lumoutuminen voi tapahtua. Taideteos on siis piste, jossa katsojien tai tapahtuman kanssatodistajien matriisiset säikeet kytkeytyvät toisiinsa.
Tämä haastattelu syntyi, koska halusin ymmärtää paremmin Ettingerin yhteistuotannollisuuden, copoiesiksen ajatusta ja erityisesti sitä, kuinka se liittyy esitystaiteen, mediataiteen ja prosessilähtöisten taiteiden kysymyksiin. Ettinger korostaa, että ei puhu taiteesta vaan taiteen tekemisen luonteesta. Vastauksiinsa hän yhdisti katkelmia muistikirjoistaan ja viimeisimmästä kirjoituksestaan Imprints of Fragility,
Fascinance and Resistance (Herzlyia Museum,

Ettingerin lanseeraama lumovoiman (fascinance) käsite on syntynyt vastauksena Lacanin jähmettävälle pahalle silmälle (fascinum), sen ylittävänä, mutta siihen kuitenkin jollakin tavalla
yhdistyneenä. Esitystilanteessa paha silmä pitää esiintyjää pauloissaan, aivan kuin häilyen tunnistamattomana katsojien takana tai itse katsojissa. Se luo jännitteen. Lumovoiman kautta esitys tai taideteos muuntuu yhdessätuotannolliseksi. Lumovoimalla on muuntava vaikutus, ja se kytkeytyy myötätuntemiseen. Mutta onko myötätuntemisen taustalla jokin etiikkaa ja moraalia edeltävä perusta tai perustattomuus?

– Ehdotukseni käsittää kokonaisuudessaan toisenlaisen etiikan. Fascinance on esteettinen ydin, joka sitoutuu proto-eettiseen myötätuntoon affektiivisin ja aistit ylittävin säikein. Kun taide herättää lumovoiman uudelleen, siihen liittyvä yhteenkuuluvaisuus voi sublimoida alkukantaisen ”hurskauden” tai ”uskollisuuden” jonkinlaiseksi eettiseksi sopimukseksi, joka edeltää sosiaalista ja poliittista, mutta osallistuu niihin ja voi palvella niitä. Tämä sopimus kuitenkin tulee ennen ”kasvoista kasvoihin” -tilannetta, sen herättämä myötätunteminen (compassion) edeltää ja ylittää aistit.

Myötätunteminen Ettingerin käyttämässä kirjoitusasussa, com-passionate tarkoittaa kykyä tuntea yhdessä, sulautumatta toiseen. Pahan silmän jähmettävyyden sijasta sillä on muuntava voima. Ettingerin ajatusta havainnollistaa Freudin tapauskertomusten Dora, joka lumoutuu Sikstuksen Madonna -maalauksesta. Ilman toisen tarjoamaa myötätuntemusta lumoutuminen jähmettyy pahan silmän katseen alla. Emmanuel Levinasin tavoin Ettinger korostaa kohtaamista eettisyyden ja subjektiviteetin lähtökohtana. Kyky vastavuoroisuuteen on oleellinen osa yhdessätuotannon prosessissa, jossa myös taideteos voi olla osallisena. Kohtaamistapahtumassa erilaiset sielut uudelleenvirittyvät toisiinsa.

– Matriisisessa rajatilassa primaari myötätunto ja muutosvoimainen ja siksi luova lumoutuminen (toisin kuin Lacanin tyrehdyttävä fascinum) tekevät toisen tuntemisen mahdolliseksi. Näen tässä myötätunnossa alkukantaisen mielenliikutuksen, joka on alkukantainen samassa mielessä kuin ahdistuskin on. Freudin kummasta (Das Unheimliche) poiketen matriisinen mielenliikutus kuuluu kuitenkin kotoisan outouden (Heimlich) myötätuntoon, joka on sidoksissa lumovoiman

Ettingerin näkemyksen mukaan taideteos on materia, paikka tai yhteys, jonka puitteissa taiteilija ja katsoja todistavat yhdessä traumaa, jonka aiheuttajaa he eivät tunne. Taiteilija on sekä potilas että lääkäri, jonka tehtävänä on yhdistyä sekä matriisisen että kosmisen kanssa. Yhdessätuotanto on tällöin riippuvainen herkkyydestä. Mutta kuinka yhdessätuotanto voi taideteoksessa ilmetä?

– Taide on potentiaalisen tulevaisuuden tila, jonka Nyt-hetki tarjoaa. Tarjous ei edellytä, että siihen tartuttaisiin tai että olisi olemassa sitä edeltäviä määräyksiä, joiden avulla tila voitaisiin luoda. Ehkä emme koskaan astu tähän aika-tilaan tai ehkä taideteos ei tee sitä mahdolliseksi.
Kanssatuottaminen edellyttää katsojan, teoksen ja tekijän välille avautuvaa matriisista rajatilaa, jossa minä ja ei-minä ilmenevät yhdessäilman torjuntaa tai symbioosia, myötätunnon kannattelemina. Primaarina myötätuntona se erottautuu laupeudesta, säälistä ja empatiasta.

– Luominen voi olla uskollisuutta matriisiselle herkkyydelle, mikä tulee esiin joka kerta erilaisellaja yllättävällä tavalla, aistillisten yksityiskohtienympäröimänä, aistit ylittävänä inspiraationa tai innoituksena: poikki-innoittumisena. Kun taideteos tai taiteen tekeminen herättävät lumovoiman, lumovoiman ja myötätunnon välille arkaaisessa kehitysvaiheessa rakentuneet säikeet kytkevät psyyken uudelleen primaariseen myötätuntoon. Siksi taiteellinen
luominen voi koskettaa näitä virtuaalisia kieliä ja avata reitin eettiseen. Mutta mikään ei kuitenkaan takaa, että näin tulisi tapahtumaan.
Nykyisin sosiaalista toimintaa määrittää usein kyynisyys, vainoharhaisuus tai opportunismi. ”Kyky vastata myötätuntoisesti” ei tunnu istuvan ajan henkeen. Pitäisikö esiintyjän ja yleisön rooleja muokata toisenlaisiksi, jotta myötätunteminen tai lumovoiman esiintulo helpottuisi? Voisiko esimerkiksi performanssia ajatella syvällistä iloa tuottavana tapahtumana?

– Performanssi on rajattu ja rajoittava termi, silloin kun haluamme viitata kohtaamistapahtuman vastakaikuiseen tasoon. Resonoiva subjektiivisuus kohtaamisena ylittää ”performanssin” ja ”representaation”. Joistakin kohtaamistapahtumista tulee ”performansseja”, vaikka oleellista ei ole sen enempää esiintymisen kuin esittämisenkään halu. Kohtaamistapahtumassa kyse on identiteettiä edeltävästä subjektiviteetista ja sosiaalisesta sukupuolesta, jossa tietynlainen Eros julistaa olemassaoloaan.

Ettingerin ajattelussa kohtaamistapahtuma on siis eräänlainen muodonmuutos, metramorfoosi, joka edellyttää vastavuoroista, mutta kuitenkin epäsymmetristä rajankäyntiä minän ja ei-minän sekä fantasman, nautinnon (jouissance) ja trauman välillä

– Kohtaamistapahtumassa minä ja ei-minä ristiinyhdistyvät (transsconnect) tasolla, jolla sekä ilo että trauma koetaan jonkinlaisen ihmeen kautta. Ihmettä ei pidä tässä ajatella positiivisena tai negatiivisena mielenliikutuksena, vaan tapana saavuttaa yhteys toisen ja Kosmoksen välillä.

Kosmoksella Ettinger ei tarkoita Jumalaa tai hegeliläistä maailmanhenkeä, vaan ihmisen rajat ylittävää jatkuvuutta, materiaalimuotojen muutosta materiaalisiksi voimiksi. Termi on siis ymmärrettävissä jonkinlaiseksi järjestyksen periaatteeksi vähän samaan tapaan kuin Ettingerin kommentoiman Gilles Deleuzen Kosmos, joka ilmenee Kaaoksen vastakohtana. Levinasin tavoin Ettinger käyttää kuitenkin Raamatun kertomuksia ja käsitteitä kuvatessaan esimerkiksi lumovoimaa. Kun Jumala puhutteli Abrahamia tämän ollessa jo uhraamassa poikaansa, Abraham vastasi hepreaksi Hineni, tässä minä olen. Kyse ei ollut pelkästä läsnäoloilmoituksesta, vaan herkkyydestä, täydellisestä tietoisuudesta ja reagointivalmiudesta. Ettinger kuvaa lumovoimaa rajakytkeytyneeksi säikeeksi, joka kulkee kahden Hinenin välillä vastaamatta yhteenkään Aiyecha?, ”missä sinä olet?” -kutsuun.
Hineni kuvaa copoieettista itsestäluopumista, minän ja ei-minän rajojen ylittämistä, joka muuttaa nimettömän intiimiksi toiseksi. Tila tai paikka ei kuulu ’minulle’. Voisiko yhdessätuotanto siis perustua jonkinlaiselle perustamattomalle ’kodittomuudelle’, ’nomadisuudelle’ tai jaetulle perustamattomuuden kokemukselle?

– Hetkellisyyden tanssi ja muuntuminen yhdessätuotannossa ei ole nomadista. Minä ja eiminä tarvitsevat kodin, ja (kanssa)asuttaminenkin on ehdotus toisenlaisesta kodista. Siirtymä yhdessätuotannollisen lumovoiman ja jähmettävän pahan silmän välillä on äärimmäisen tärkeä, erityisesti maailmassa jossa vainoharhaisuus on laajentunut niin, että se on
tullut läpinäkyväksi

Ettinger ymmärtää jo syntymää edeltävän vaiheen yhdessätuotantona, jossa tapahtuu matriisista kytkeytymistä. Mitään ”alkuperäistä” tilaa tai perustaa on siis mahdotonta tavoittaa. Eikö tämä tarkoita sitä, että yhdessätuotanto on kuitenkin jossain mielessä ilman perustaa tai ainakin ilman etiikkaa?

– Lumovoima on vastarinnan ”koti”. Se määrittää omat rajansa ja herättää myötätunnon, jonka avulla proto-eettinen saa uuden mahdollisuuden kehittyä. Kauneus on siis tiineenä esi-eettisen mahdollisuuksista. Rajakytkeytyvien säikeiden vastakaikuisuus ei automaattisesti muodosta kypsää eettistä vastuullisuutta, mutta ilman sitä etiikka kutistuu vain omaksi irvikuvakseen. Siellä missä lumovoima törmää primaariin myötätuntoon, myötätunteminen johtaa kanssatodistamiseen ja kanssatodistaminen on jo myötätuntemista. Sosiaalisessa elämässä ja työelämässä – yrityselämässä, tehdastyössä, taiteilijan työhuoneella ja teosprosesseissa – on kyse ihmisen yleisten kykyjen asettumisesta maailmaan ja työhön: kyvystä tutustua, jutella, reagoida, inspiroitua… Tämä kaikki vaatii herkkyyttä, mutta ei vielä ole yhdessätuotantoa, joka vaatii kykyä vaikuttua toisesta ja toisen lumovoimasta. Onko yhdessätuotanto jollain tavalla suhteessa esitystaiteen kentällä kehitetyn ’todistamisen’ käsitteen kanssa, siinähän yleisöllä on teatteriesitykseen verrattuna selvästi aktiivisempi rooli?

– Vaikka todistaminen on tärkeätä, ei se vielä riitä. Matriisisessa kentässä esiin nouseva kanssatodistaminen on erilaista kuin se, mitä yleisemmin kutsutaan todistamiseksi. Se vaatii rajakytkeytymistä kohtaamistapahtumassa ja osallistumista jaettuun aika-tilaan. Kanssatodistaminen osallistuu vastarintaa tekevään erokseen.

– Todistaminen edellyttää erillistä, ei-vainoharhaista yksilöä. Ja minän ja ei-minän rajatilan sisällä olevien siteiden ja punosten hedelmöittämä yksilö on kanssatodistaja, joka tarjoaa
toisenlaisen todistuksen.

– Yhteisen vastarinnan jakaminen tuottaa odottamattomia, yllättävän transgressiivisia minän ja vieraan kokoonpanoja – ristisiitoksia, joiden rajanylitykset siittävät ihmisen tekemiä esineitä ja omaavat kyvyn tuottaa taideteoksia. Jos tämä vastarinta kasvaa proto-eettisestä julkisen sektorille kuuluvaan eettiseen tilaan, se ylittää kaikki ennalta määrätyt poliittiset ohjelmat, ja tuottaa silti muutoksia myös poliittisen alueella.

Bracha Ettingerin tärkeimpiä julkaisuja:
– The Matrixial Borderspace. Minnesota: University of Minnessota Press, 2006.
Artworking: 1985–1999. Ghent: Ludion, 2000, 127 s.
– Regard et espace-de-bord matrixiels: essais psychanalytiques sur le féminin et le travail de l’art. Bruxelles: Lettre volee, 1999, 251 s.
– Time is the Breath of Spirit: Emmanuel Levinas in Conversation with Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger. Translated by Joseph Simas and Carolyn Ducker. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 1998, 22 s.
– Que dirait Eurydice?: Emmanuel Levinas in Conversation with Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger. Paris: BLE Atelier, 1997, 47 s.
– The Matrixial Gaze, Leeds: Feminist Arts and Histories Network, Dept. of Fine Art, University of Leeds, 1995, 51 s.
– Matrix Halal(a): Lapsus: Notes on Painting. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 1993, 95 s

Jarmo Kukkonen toisin sanoin

Taide-lehti 3/2008

Jarmo Kukkonen (1968) tunnetaan ehkä parhaiten suurikokoisista, Aasia-vaikutteisista värimaalauksistaan, joita oli muutama vuosi sitten esillä Näkemisen virta -näyttelyssä Amos Andersonin taidemuseossa. Tuolloin kerronnallista kaarta luoneet hahmot ovat nyt kadonneet.

Uusimpia maalauksia määrittää pitkä horisontaalinen muoto, joka viittaa maisemamaalauksen kaanoniin – mutta sen voi nähdä myös jonain aivan muuna, arjesta tuttuna elokuvateatterin valkokankaana. Laajakangas tai cinemascope on jännitteinen muoto, jonka ansiosta keskushenkilö asettuu ympäristönsä kanssa dynaamiseen suhteeseen niin Hollywoodin toiminnallisissa lännenelokuvissa kuin Michelangelo Antonionin niukkaeleisissä elokuvarunoelmissakin. Myös Kukkosen maalauksissa pohjakankaan horisontaalinen muoto voimistaa kuvan dynamiikkaa. Eikä lännenelokuvan luoma viitekehys kaikessa maisemallisuudessaan ole hullumpi lähtökohta hänen maalaustensa katsomiselle. Maalaussarjassa Saapaskylä 1–4 näyttää olevan useita valonlähteitä, mikä viittaa ajalliseen muutokseen. Tällainen maalauksellinen liike ei houkuttele minua niinkään kontemplatiiviseen istuskeluun vaan usuttaa kävelemään, kiertelemään, katsastelemaan eri kulmista. Maalauksen edessä tulen tietoiseksi omasta näkökulmastani, mutta peruspinnan ”epäluonnollinen” laajuus tekee myös epävarmaksi. Voin kuvitella  maalarin kulkemisen ympäristössä sekä liikkeen kankaan edessä ja aistia hänen tapansa kuvata valon muutoksia niin kuin hän leikkaisi kerroksellisen ajan ja liikkeen määrittämää montaasia.

Lännenelokuvista tuttua sankaria Kukkosen maalauksissa ei näy. Hän ei tarjoa helppoa protagonistia, jonka saappaisiin voisin asettaa itseni. Taivas peittää lähes koko maalauspinnan, maa levittäytyy ohuena viivana kuvan ala-laidassa niin kuin monissa lännenelokuvissakin. Silti työt ovat maallisia ja materiaalisia samassa mielessä kuin Andrei Tarkovskin elokuvat.

Keskushenkilön puutteen takiako mieleeni juolahtaa pitää teoksia “mielenmaisemina”? Valkokankaina, joihin projisoida sisäinen tilani. Tässä uneksuvassa hetkessä piilee kuitenkin vaara: ennen kuin huomaankaan katselen maalausta ennalta asetetun tulkintavälineistön kautta, joka esittää sen salamyhkäisenä ja myyttisenä. Kukkosen uusimmissa töissä ainoastaan Arnold Böcklinin Kuoleman saaren pohjalta tehdyissä maalauksissa on kuvattu ihmishahmo, joka sekin sulautuu maisemaan, häviää asteittain ja muuttuu merkityksettömäksi. Ainoa elementti, johon subjektiviteettini voisi asettautua, katoaa. Sinisenä hohtava taivas pakenee merkityksiä, mutta säilyttää silti sisällöllisen potentiaalinsa. Siitä tulee valkokangas vailla kerrontaa. Kukkosen maalauksissa ”merkitseviä eivät enää ole muodot tai materiat, tai teemat, vaan voimat, tiiviydet ja intensiteetit”, Gilles Deleuzen ja Félix Guattarin muotoilua lainatakseni.  Se kuinka paljon Jean-François Millet’n kuvaama perunasäkki painaa, tai millaisia voimia Cézannen maalaama kallio pitää sisällään on heistä merkityksellisempää kuin subjektiviteetin ilmaiseminen. Kukkosenkin työt ovat ensisijaisesti tällaisia materiaalisia voimien kenttiä. Värit eivät ole johonkin piilotettuun symboliikkaan viittaavia merkkejä vaan omalakisia tiiviyksiä, ja maalaukseen kerrostuneet ajan elementit kertovat tiedostamattoman intensiteeteistä. Näitä maiseman voimia, tiiviyksiä ja intensiteettejä ei voida lähestyä pragmaattisesti tai määrätietoisesti tulkiten vaan kuljeksien tai hajamielisesti – niin kuin valkokankaalle heijastuvaa elokuvaa Walter Benjaminin mukaan katsotaan. Kukkosen maalausten horisontti luo näyttämön, jolle keskushahmo ei kuitenkaan tule astumaan. Laajana avautuva maisema ilman merkitsijää on kuin lankapako, lännenelokuvan lupaus ja taivaanrannan takaa odottamatta nouseva uhka. Tämän lankapaon takuuna ei ole puhdistautuminen, vaan sen avaamiin intensiteetteihin astuminen ja niiden kokeminen. Maali peittää kankaan. Se viittaa maisemaan, joka houkuttelee nimeämään intensiteettien merkityksettömyyden, tuon horisonttiin pakenevan mielettömän ja lainsuojattoman karjalauman. Lännenelokuvan tavoin maisema on täynnä paon mahdollisuuksia, lupauksia ja vimmaa, halua tavoittaa horisontin takainen Eldorado. Päämääräksi muodostuu kultakaupungin löytäminen, teoksen tulkinta, mutta aina sitä edeltää tuo paon viiva, maalauksen puhdas intensiteetti – jonka parissa musiikki on niin kotonaan.

Kukkosen maisemamaalausten voima onkin juuri tässä hunnuttamattomassa intensiteetissä ja lunastuksellisuuden poispyyhkiytymisessä. Maalausten takana ei ole mitään löydettävää. Näyttämö on riisuttu tapahtumasta. Maalauksen yläosan taivas roikkuu väristä raskaana, valloittavana ja lumoavana. Kuljen  maalauksen lomitse hiukan hämmentyneenä ja löydän itseni lopulta lumovoimaisen paon intensiivisestä piiristä.

Esitys ekosysteeminä

Taide-lehti 2/2008

“Me löysimme performanssin tekemällä sitä”, kirjoittaa Chicagossa vuodesta 1987 toiminut Goat Island -ryhmä uudessa kirjassaan Small acts of repair. Tanssijoista ja esitystaiteilijoista koostuvan joukon ohjaajana on alusta lähtien toiminut koreografi Lin Hixon.
Ryhmä kuuluu kokeellisen angloamerikkalaisen esitystaiteen jatkumoon. Heidän lähtökohtanaan ja toimintametodinaan on ollut ”korjaaminen”: Kuinka korjata jotakin sijoiltaan menneessä maailmassa? Yksi tällainen fiksauksen paikka voisi olla ihmisen ja luonnon välisten suhteiden uudelleen ajattelu.

Kolme ekologiaa

Ekologisia kysymyksiä ajatellaan usein pelkästään ihmisen toiminnan aiheuttamana ekotasapainon järkkymisenä. Kulttuuriantropologi, psykologi ja tietoteoreetikko Gregory Bateson (1904–1980) ja myöhemmin filosofi Félix Guattari (1930–1992) ovat pyrkineet laajentamaan tätä ajattelun horisonttia.
Kirjoissaan Steps to Ecology of Mind (1972) ja Mind and Nature (1980) Baetson kehitteli ekologisen mallin, jossa ihminen ja luonto, mieli ja ruumis tai kone ja sen käyttäjä eivät enää ole selvästi erotettavissa toisistaan.
Hänen mukaansa ihminen on osa suurempaa systeemiä, jota hän ei millään pysty kontrolloimaan. Koska eloonjäämisen perusyksikkö ei ole laji, elämän säilymisen edellytyksenä pidetty itsesäilytysvietti onkin omiaan johtamaan ympäristön ja sitä kautta koko elämänmuodon tuhoon.
Guattari laajensi Baetsonin ”mielen ekologiaa” tuomalla siihen vielä kolmannen, poliittis-sosiaalisen ulottuvuuden. Keväällä suomeksikin ilmestyvässä kirjassaan Kolme ekologiaa Guattari kirjoittaa, että ekosysteemi olisi ajateltava pienistä muodostelmista kutoutuvana globaalina metropolina, fyysisenä, mentaalisena ja sosiaalisena ympäristönä, johon niin Mehtäkylän vanhapoika kuin Wall Streetin pörssimeklarikin kiinnittyvät.
Sillä jos ekologinen kriisi mielletään pelkästään teknologian aiheuttamaksi hätätilaksi, sen yhteyttä kapitalismiin, ja kapitalismin kykyä muokkaa sosiaalisia suhteita, mentaalista maailmaa tai kulttuuria ei pystytä analysoimaan. Siksi myöskään psyykeä manipuloivaan kulttuuriteollisuuteen, asutuskeskusten gettoutumiseen tai kapitalismin muihin vaikutuksiin ei voida puututa pontevasti.

Yksilöitynyt mustekala

Guattarin mielestä ekologinen katastrofi onkin seurausta yhteiskunnan sosiaalisesta, poliittisesta ja olemassaoloa määrittävästä kriisistä, jonka ytimessä on kysymys siitä, kuinka minuus tuotetaan, kuinka sitä vahvistetaan tai muokataan. Tai siitä, millaiset olemisen ja toiminnan muodot ovat vielä syntymättä.
Humanismiin jämähtänyt ”vihreä konservativismi” haluaa suojella elämää sellaisenaan. Kolmen ekologian mallissa lajien lisäksi myös potentiaalisten olemisen muotojen suojelu ja niiden kasvualustojen tukeminen on mahdollista.
Konservatiivisessa ajatteluta mentaalinen, sosiaalinen ja biologinen olemisen taso on erotettu toisistaan, ja niiden välisen vuorovaikutuksen oletetaan tapahtuvan vain määrättyjä väyliä pitkin. Esimerkiksi puhdas vesi on aina lähtökohtaisesti parempi kuin likainen, mikä ei välttämättä pidä kään paikkaansa.
Guattari kertoo tarinan mustekalasta, joka elelee tyytyväisenä saastuneessa satama-altaassa. Sieltä tutkija sen pelastaa puhdistettuun ympäristöön – missä mustekala lyhyessä ajassa kuitenkin kuolee. Hyvää tarkoittava tutkija tappaa eliön, koska ei kykene ottamaan huomioon sopeumia ja toiminnan uudelleenmuodostumista: mutaatiota.
Koreografi Lin Hixonin mukaan taide on tällainen saastuneessa altaassa asustavan mustekalan kaltaisten mutaatioiden alue, missä ekologia – eliöiden toisiinsa sitoutuneisuus ja riippuvaisuus – liittyy ihmisen subjektiviteetin kehittymiseen ja tulee esille katsojan ja esiintyjän suhteessa.

Vienkö Jussin hautajaisiin?

Kuinka seurata esitystä, jossa rekvisiitta on vähäistä, esiintyjillä ei ole luonnerooleja, eikä esityksellä ole kerronnallista kaarta? Kuinka esiintyjä lähestyy katsojaa, mitä hän haluaa yleisön ajattelevan, ottaako hän katsekontaktin?
Perinteisessä elokuvakerronnassa katsoja aina tietää muutamaa minuuttia ennen, mitä tulee tapahtumaan. Goat Island pyytää yleisöä lähtemään alueelle, jota he eivät ennestään tunne. Esitykset eivät noudata ”draaman kaarta”, vaan perustuvat hitauden ja toiston estetiikkaan.
Esityksen Can’t Take Johnny to the Funeral (1991) alussa kolme miestä toistaa raskasta fyysistä rutiinia alun viisitoista minuuttia. Se näyttää hankalalta ja vaivalloiselta, paljon hikeä ja ähinää. Yleisö on turhautunut, vaivautunut, lumoutunut ja innoissaan.
Kun kohtaus loppuu miehet makaavat huohottaen maassa, musiikin alkaessa he nousevat, yleisö huokaisee ja rentoutuu, esiintyjätkin ovat irtautuneet arkisesta kokemisen tavasta. Jos katsoja pystyy päästämään irti elokuvakerronnasta tutusta suspense-vaatimuksesta, esityksestä tulee avoin tila, tyytyväisen mustekalan saastunut satama-allas.
”Esityksen mutaatioiden maaperänä on ihmiskeho ja materiaalinen maailma”, kirjoittaa Matthew Goulish Goat Island-ryhmästä. Korjaamisen ja paikkaamisen prosessissa kuvat, laulunpätkät, mainoselokuvat ja muu kulttuuriteollisuuden mentaalinen jämämateriaali toistetaan, punotaan, vanutetaan ja kierrätetään moniulotteiseksi montaasiksi.
Katsoja ja esiintyjä muodostavat kollektiivisen yksilöitymisen prosessin, jossa ainutlaatuiset olennot toimivat subjektiviteetin ja tuotannon masiinoissa ja jossa mentaaliset, yhteiskunnalliset ja fyysiset tasot muodostavat kotoperäisen ekosysteemin.

Pelle-pelottoman myssy

Filosofi Gilbert Simondonin (1924–1989) mukaan ihmisen ja muiden eliöiden välistä suhdetta määrittää myös niiden suhde koneisiin. Tämä kolmiosuhde on jatkuvaa materian virtausta ja tuotantoa, sillä olion yksilöityminen ei ole koskaan lopullista, vaan kiderakenteen tapainen muodostelma, jossa jokainen yksilöllinen taso toimii syntyvien olioiden ja keksintöjen miljöönä ja ravinteena.
Ohjaaja Tuija Kokkosen yhdessä Maus & Orlovski -ryhmän kanssa toteuttama esitys Herra Tossavainen – I muistio ajasta käsittelee tätä ihmisen ongelmallista suhdetta koneeseen ja eliöihin. Esityksessä ihminen, eliö ja kone ovat toimintayksikkö, jonka osia on mahdotonta erottaa toisistaan. Jalustin, hevonen ja ihminen muodostivat aikanaan ratsukon, vastaavasti ihminen voi olla mikrofonikon tai kamerakon osa.
Esityksessä nainen piirtää meduusaa, jonka kuva kulkee videokameran kautta ja näkyy kahdessa monitorissa. Tai mies vääntää putkiradioin nappuloita, jolloin sähkömagneettinen säteily tunkee ulos kaiuttimista. Näitä koneiden ja ihmisten välisiä koosteita – haravikkoja ja läppärikköjä – jokainen hetki on pullollaan.
Simondonin ja Kokkosen ehdottama suhde koneeseen poikkeaa esimerkiksi australialaisen kehotaiteilijan Stelarcin (1946) kyberneettisestä lähestymistavasta. Stelarc tuli tunnetuksi 1990-luvulla teoksestaan Kolmas käsi, jossa robottikäsi on kiinnitettynä hänen oikean kätensä hermostoon ja toimii lähes autonomisesti.
Mutta mihin me tarvitsemme robottikättä? Olemme joka tapauksessa kytkeytyneenä koneiden ja eliölajien fyysisiin tai psyykkisiin masiinoihin tavalla, joka saa mekanistisen käden näyttämään haavekuvalta. Tässä haavekuvassa ihminen nähdään ympäristönsä hallintojohtajana, joka kantaa ympäristön painoa taakkanaan tai siitä piut paut välittää.
Goat Island -ryhmän tavoin Kokkonen ajattelee esityksen ekosysteeminä, jonka kasvualustana ovat fyysinen materia, psyykkinen kosmos ja yhteiskunnallinen masiina. Tämä metropolin kaltainen miljöö sijoittuu fyysisen, psyykkisen ja yhteiskunnallisen kaikille tasoille – ja antaa ekspressiivistä tukea ekologiselle muutokselle.

Goat Island
Tuija Kokkonen, “Esitys merinäköalalla – II muistio ajasta”, Kiasma-teatteri, ensi-ilta 6.5.

Taskuvaras vai poliitikko?

Taide-lehti 1/2008

Eli kuinka olla taiteilija uuden työn taloudessa?

Muuttuvat työn muodot ovat viime aikoina olleet sekä filosofien että taiteilijoiden mielenkiinnon kohteina. Yksi esimerkki tästä on Pilvi Porkolan ohjaama ja muiden Kallion teatterista Todellisuuden tutkimuskeskukseksi kasvaneen taiteilijaryhmän jäsenten kanssa toteuttama produktio LUMO – esitys uudesta työstä, joka sai Suomen ensi-iltansa Kiasmassa järjestetyssä /teatteri.nyt-tapahtumassa viime syksynä.
Teos käsittelee ”uuden työn” käsitettä, jonka tekijät määrittävät ”kehystämisen aktiksi” sekä “aina-valmiudeksi”. Italialaisen yhteiskunta- ja kielifilosofi Paolo Virnon mukaan nykyväkeä leimaavat opportunismi, kyynisyys ja levottomuus, jotka hänen ajattelussaan vertautuvat ihmisiltä töissä vaadittaviin ominaisuuksiin: kykyyn pysyä muutoksen tasalla, mukautuvuuteen, aloitteellisuuteen, joustavuuteen, banalisoituneeseen kielelliseen kanssakäymiseen ja taktikoinnin kykyyn.
Fordismin eli liukuhihnatuotantoon perustuneen tehdastyön (T-Fordejahan valmistettiin liukuhihnalla) aikakaudella alhaisiksi määritellyt asenteet, kuten nihilismi ja kyynisyys ovat muuttuneet tietotyön tuotantovoimiksi. Taiteilijankin on pystyttävä loikkaamaan edellisestä projektista uuteen, ehkä täysin vastakkaiseen tehtävään. Keskustellessaan yhteisöllisten teostensa luonteesta puolalainen taiteilija Artur Zmijewski kertoo, miten hänen mielestään taskuvaras on erityisen taitava löytämään sosiaalisessa tilassa ilmenevät epähuomion tai hetkellisen poissaolon tilanteet – tunnistamaan ilmapiirin tunnelmat ja mielialat, joita voisi käyttää hyväkseen. Taskuvarkaan tavoin taiteilijallakin on oltava terävöitynyt kyky tajuta mielialojen ja tunnelmien nopeat muutokset.
Virno määrittää tämän kyvyn poliitikon lahjakkuudeksi. Poliitikolle oleellista on kyky puhua ja esiintyä ilman koreografiaa kuin jonkinlainen stand up -koomikko. Poliitikon hahmossa koomikon tai taskuvarkaan opportunismi kutoutuu yhteen luovuuden kanssa. Virnon mukaan uuden työn tekijä on dynaaminen poliittinen virtuoosi, jonka performanssia ei voi erottaa työn tuotteesta, sillä hän on se itse.

Kehys vailla mestaria

Taiteilijan työ ei myöskään enää oleellisesti eroa muista töistä. Tämä roolien lähentyminen ei kuitenkaan ole aivan tavatonta. Esimerkiksi ennen teollistumisen aikakautta työtä määritti mestarin toiminta pajassa, pienessä yksikössä, jossa hänen ammattitaitonsa takasi tuotteen laadun. Taiteilijan työ noudatti tätä samaa mestarin, kisällin ja killan yhteistoimintaperiaatetta.
Teollistuneen yhteiskunnan tuotantomekanismeilla olivat myös kulttuuriset vastineensa. Theodor Adorno ja Max Horkheimer näkivät liukuhihnan vaikutuksen esimerkiksi lehtien, elokuvan, radion ja television tuotantomuodoissa. Taideteos muuntui sarjalliseksi ja mekaanisesti uusinnettavaksi. Liukuhihna imi suunnattoman määrän fyysistä työvoimaa ja samalla se synnytti taiteelle kuluttajan, jonka mielentila vastasi liukuhihnatyöläisen mielentilaa. Venäjällä, Euroopassa ja Yhdysvalloissa radikalisoitunut avantgarde-liike oli tästä hengen mekanisaatiosta huolissaan, mutta toisaalta se käytti uutta teknologiaa myös hyväkseen.
Situationisteihin kuulunut Guy Debord kuvasi viisikymmentäluvun kukoistavaa kulttuuriteollisuuden alaa sanoen, että siinä “inhimillisestä kommunikaatiosta tulee tavara sellaisenaan”. Tämä kommunikatiivinen kielenkäyttö tulee näkyväksi spektaakkelissa, joka ei itsessään ole tuote tai teos vaan tekemisen tapa. Spektaakkeli on kommunikaatiokeinojen teollisuutta, jossa kommunikaatio itse tuottaa itseään, kokemuksia ja uusia totuuksia.
Porkolan ja Todellisuuden tutkimuskeskuksen esityksessä kuvitteelliseen näyttelykontekstiin asetetut näyttelijät viittasivat Debordin ja muiden Situationistien kehystämis-harjoitteeseen, jossa pelkästään rajaamalla ympäristöä voidaan suorittaa esteettinen ja poliittinen teko.
LUMOssa kehystäminen vieraannuttamisen muotona kääntyy verkostoituneen tietotyöläisen irvikuvaksi. Kehykset ovat kuin peräjälkeen latautuvat verkkosivut – alkioihin pilkottua aikaa ja hetkien katkonaisuutta, jossa kiinnostuksen ja juttelun aiheet kasvavat joka hetki räjähdysmäisesti, mutta aiheeseen ei ole aikaa tai tarvetta syventyä. Kehykset eivät enää vieraannuta, ne eivät saa katsomaan etäältä. Todellisen ja mahdollisen ero sumentuu. Jäljellä on kehys itsessään.

Yleinen ymmärrys

Tehdastyö oli valvottua ja säädeltyä, työntekijä ja suunnittelija erotettu toisistaan. Variaatio tai luovuus ei ollut suotavaa. Nykyisellä tietokapitalismin aikakaudella sen sijaan yllytetään säännösten kiertämiseen tai kepulikonstien keksimiseen, jos se vain parantaa tuottavuutta.
Pääoman esitöihin kuuluvan Grundrissen (suom. Vuosien 1857–1858 taloudelliset käsikirjoitukset) kappaleessa Fragmentti koneista Karl Marx puhuu yleisestä ymmärryksestä, General Intellectista, joka yhdistää työntekijät. Virnon mukaan juuri tämä yleinen ymmärrys tekee yksilöllisestä yhteiskunnallisen: “yksilö on yhteiskunnallinen, koska General Intellect ilmenee hänessä”.
Yleinen ymmärrys määrittää myös taiteilijan tai ajattelijan olemista: hän ei voi vaimentaa marketin ääniä tai vetäytyä syrjään elämästä vaan hän joutuu jakamaan tämän yleisen paikan suojattomuuden, levottomuuden ja epävakauden. Marketin kaltaisista arkipäiväisen jutustelun paikoista puuttuvat vakaat yhteisöt. Elämää hallitsee outouden ja erityisten paikkojen puutteen luoma levottomuus.
Nämä yhteiset paikat, topoi koinoi, kuten Aristoteles niitä kutsuu, eroavat erityisistä paikoista, topoi idioi. Erityisillä paikoilla tarkoitetaan esimerkiksi kirkossa, yliopistossa, nykytaiteen museossa tai performanssifestivaaleilla käytettäviä erityisiä sanomisen tapoja.
Fordistisessa mallissa tieto on rajattu erityisiin paikkoihin. Sitä pihistellään ja sen luo pääsemistä valvotaan. Tiedon niukkuus on keinotekoisesti luotua. Tällöin erikoisosaajilla, spesialisteilla ja ammattilaisilla on merkittävä osa. Vastaavasti linjan toisessa päässä on tiedon tuotannosta erotettu syrjäytynyt kuluttaja.
Uudet tuotannon muodot esiintyvät yhteisissä paikoissa, yleisen ymmärryksen tiloissa. Tietoa ja taidetta ei
enää voida pitää erillään tehtaasta. On tultava toimeen massaälymystön ja roskasakin kanssa. Tätä murrosta ennakoi 1970-luvun opiskelijaradikalismi, ja sen eräänä ilmentymänä tapahtuma, jossa Joseph Beuys erotettiin Düsseldorfin taideakatemian kuvanveiston professuurista vuonna 1972. Hän kun salli kenen tahansa koulunsa keskeyttäneen tulla opiskelemaan tunneilleen. Jo tuolloin oli siis näkyvissä pyrkimys olla rajoittamatta tietoon pääsyä.

Kuinka muuttaa viini vereksi

Ammoisina aikoina duunari kävi kulttuuririennoissa ja poliittisissa tapahtumissa työajan ulkopuolella. Tietokapitalismissa työaika on jatkuvaa tuotantoaikaa, jossa työttömyys on valmiustila ja ei-työn harjoitusjakso. Ajatusten tai fyysisen taiteilijan siirtyminen toimipisteestä toiseen ei oleellisesti eroa muiden alojen työtehtävistä. Liikkuvuus, mukautuvuus ja joustavuus määrittävät tietokapitalismin taiteilijaa.
Vapaa-aika Virnon määrittämällä tavalla on ei-työtä ja merkittävä osa tuotanto-aikaa. Ihmisen työvoima, dynamis laitetaan kokonaisvaltaiseen tuotantoon. Tämä kyky sinänsä on vaihdon keskipisteessä, ja juuri se liittää taiteilijan samanarvoisesti muihin työntekijöihin. Museon intendenttiä, kuraattoria, taidemaalaria, siivoojaa, performanssitaiteilijaa ja taiteilijatarvikeliikkeen työllistettyä yhdistävät oleellisella ja fordismista poikkeavalla tavalla sellaiset mielentilat ja toiminnat kuin opportunismi, levottomuus, banaalisuus, uteliaisuus ja juttelu.
Työelämää määrittävät rajatilojen kokemukset vaivaavat sekä työelämässä olevia, että sitä varten harjoittelevia pitkäaikaistyöttömiäkin. Ominaisuuksia harjoitetaan työttömänä ja vapaa-ajalla, siinä missä työpaikallakin. Kielenkäyttö sellaisenaan – juttelu – muuttuu tärkeäksi tuotantovoimaksi. Työ on vuorovaikutusta, jossa ”vuoropuheleva sana asettuu kapitalismin sydämeen”, kuten Virno kirjoittaa.
Tällainen tietotyöläisen epävarmuutta ja prekaaria mielentilaa kuvaava pitkään Suomessa asuneen Tomasz Szraman (1970) videoteos Kuinka muuttaa viini vereksi. Siinä mieshahmo kiertää arkista kehäänsä kuvakerronnan käydessä yhä levottomammaksi. Videon hahmo säilyy jatkuvasti ruudun keskiössä, mutta lopulta murtuu ja sekoaa syksyisen metsän sisälle, luontoon – elämään sellaisenaan.

Työ stand up -komiikkana

Kyky tehdä työtä, potentiaalisuus on olennaisesti mahdollisuus – myös mahdollisuus olla tekemättä mitään. “Juuri silloin kun identiteetti ei enää mitenkään välttämättä muodostu suhteessa tuotantoon, tuotanto heijastuu kaikkiin puoliin ja ottaa alaisuuteensa kielelliset kyvyt, eettiset taipumukset sekä subjektivisuuden vivahteet”, Virno huomauttaa. Taiteen kohdalla tämä tarkoittaa murroskohtaa, jossa objektien tuotannosta siirrytään tilojen ja tilanteiden tuotantoon.
Tietokapitalismin kehittyessä 1970-luvulta lähtien yhteisötaide, performanssit ja katoavan taiteen teokset ovat tuoneet marginaalista keskiöön kysymyksen taiteen immateriaalisuudesta ja museosta erityisenä paikkana. Museo, mutta myös yritykset, instituutiot ja yliopistot pyrkivätkin nykyään levittäytymään rajojensa ylitse, muuttumaan erityisistä yleisiksi paikoiksi. Toisaalta taiteen tuotanto on “ulkoistettu” taiteilija-yksityisyrittäjälle, taiteen prekaarille pätkätyöläiselle.
Muuallakin työsuhteet ovat muuttuneet lyhyt- tai määräaikaisiksi projekteiksi, töissä jutellaan, keskustellaan, luodaan strategioita ja innovoidaan. Työn suhde tilaan on myös muuttunut, kun se tapahtuu kaikkialla ja ei missään. Työhuone ei ole välttämättömyys, vaan varasto taiteen pätkätyöläiselle, joka on omaksunut liikkuvuuden työhön kuuluvaksi.
Fyysisen kommunikaation tilalle teknologia tarjoaa korvaavia sovelluksia, joissa jatkuva keskustelu on käynnissä. Taiteilija on alituiseen työpaikalla ja samanaikaisesti vapaalla. Mielen elämä on julkistunut, taide on muuttunut performanssiksi. Taiteilija ei valmista tuotteita, mutta on riippuvainen muiden läsnäolosta. Hän tarvitsee näyttäytymiseen yleisen paikan kuten poliitikko, jonka työ on puhumista yleensä. Taide jonkinlaisena erityisenä tekemisen tapana tullut tiensä päähän tai ainakin kriisiytynyt fordistisen työnmallin mukana.


Pääoman kappaleessa Uudenaikainen siirtomaateoria Marx kuvaa tilannetta, missä Yhdysvaltojen itärannikon työläiset olivat tienanneet kylliksi tai saaneet yksinkertaisesti tarpeekseen, jolloin he päättävät yksinkertaisesti jättää tehtaat ja lähteä länteen kohti vapaita maita. Exit. Työläiselläkin on siis kyky ja mahdollisuus olla tekemättä mitään ja muuttaa sääntöjä yllättävällä tavalla, jolloin peli tai järjestelmä voi muuttua merkityksettömäksi.
Exit on pako ja oleellinen strategia myös paikkasidonnaisille ja esitystaiteille. Teokset eivät enää ole palvelevaa, immateriaalista työtä vaan strategisia siirtoja. Tietotalouden taidetyö kutoutuu kollektiiviseen kokemukseen niin kuin ranskalainen filosofi Gilbert Simondon on sitä kuvannut: “kollektiivi, kollektiivinen kokemus tai ryhmän elämä ei ole ympäristö, jossa yksilön omalaatuiset piirteet kalpenevat tai vähenevät, vaan päinvastoin kasvualusta uudelle ja radikaalimmalle yksilöllistymiselle.” Taide on ekosysteemi.

Tomasz Szrama, Jaap Klevering, Jone Takamäki, Otzir Godot: ”Kuinka muuttaa viini vereksi”, Kanneltalo 31.10.2007.
Todellisuuden tutkimuskeskus: ”LUMO – Esitys uudesta työstä”, ensi-ilta 12.10.2007.