3 October 2012
London, 24 September 2012
Dear ‘Talking with Strangers: What is Violence?’ Spectator,
There are only a couple of weeks left until I will need to “violently” end all email chains through which I have been receiving the object-responses that will constitute the installation. A different process will then begin: that of bringing these objects into a common physical space and making decisions on how to make them legible.
This project has been attempting to create a space where a conversation about violence is initiated through the gathering of object-responses and continued through their entering into an installation and through the ensuing conversations from the act of exhibiting them. Violence – as an idea, and posed as a question – has been at the centre of this project because of the economic and physical violence that is been inflicted upon the people of numerous countries at the moment and my concern with being part of quite a few conversations that felt violently disembedded from the global societal apparatus.Violence is something that needs to be ended but at the same time is also something that is called for; being violent – in the sense of being disruptive (see Zizek’s Interview at TV Cultura / BR), and rethinking assumptions – has become a visceral need (see the blog posting ‘Radical Displacement, Viral Intrusion: On Violence and Trust’). The performance studies discourse, a discourse of disruption, needs to maintain its connectedness to the disruption / violence outside of it.
The exhibition of the object-responses will attempt to create an environment where lived experiences and understandings of violence will be illuminated on their own terms and at the same time re-embedded in a specific context, making different kinds of legibility possible. The project seeks to make legible both the mechanism of its construction, as well as the conversations around the subject of violence arising from this mechanism. What becomes legible through this work? What ideas and values do these object-responses question and/or reproduce and circulate? What assumptions does this work challenge or confirm? What are the potentials of this small-scale spatial experiment? How might it function as a gesture? These questions will be discussed with the participants of the project, guests and you – the spectator – on the day of the symposium.
I would like to thank all the participants for their thoughtful object-responses – they are the project on several different levels. Special thanks to Flavia Zaka for our recent conversation on this work.
Dear spectator, I look forward to meeting you and to your entrance into this conversation.
P.S. Although I am attempting to address the issue of violence, I did not want the participants to conform to a singular vision – i.e. to my interest in economic violence. Therefore, the subject of discussion is posed as a question (‘What is violence?’) that is open to different interpretations. For the same reason – allowing for the participants’ uninfluenced response to the question – I have intentionally broken the rule of the project that allowed for chains that broke to become visible on the website.