On a twirling shoe
Developed over centuries, reflexion means the act of a retrospective rendition, the account or interpretation of a preceded event. It is first and foremost considered as a task carried out from the outside, a re-view on the exposed object of investigation. Such an object hangs statically framed on a white wall, while generations become overwhelmed with its outer expression, so that this monologic encounter may be understood as the universal form of cultural reception.

If, accordingly, I am to reflect on this dance photograph, taken while facing the move of a twirling shoe, one could assume that this photographic record, this static image of a past and distant event had nothing in common with the fullness of the encounter that brought it to life. Then, any reflexion, any emerging thought, and any layer of memory turns out to be meaningless, since truth and reality only mean the immediacy of the shoe’s past and ephemeral expression. This text has come too late and should not have been written.

If, however, I nevertheless undertake this effort, I need to acknowledge photography, memory and textual re-enactment—contrary to the preceding hypothesis—still bearing the immediacy of the real, even more bringing forth the real in a continuous and novel form. The past event, its documentation and reflexion no longer stand in a hierarchical relation to each other, giving the intensity of the past a firstborn supremacy. Rather, it allows for dimensional metamorphoses of one and the same natal process, whose continuous equality is felt, becomes manifest, without falling into a final objecthood.

The floor, the dancing shoe, the moving foot, and the embedded body are all part of an act, which can be considered as the emergence of a diagram. To quote Deleuze and Guattari here, it is precisely the diagram—not to be confused with the constraints of an established system—that opens up a new type of reality. Encountering the body and its shoe is no longer separated from its photographic image or its remembered words; just an obvious materiality allows for optical differentiation, whereas the haptic—the feeling of the dance—flows through these lines as well as the muscles of the moving foot or the light of the photographic shot.

The body, so gently embedded in space and time, feels and breathes. It is the same body that becomes manifest in the materiality of the dance photograph—enclosing something, which lives not just for the moment, but which takes the visitor, the observer, even the stranger at any moment into its continuous vibrancy, into an incessant birth of life. It is no coincidence that performances and workshops at Draw to Perform are entangled with each other, so that the visible and the invisible, the outer expression of dance, and the inner becoming of mysticism happen simultaneously. The artistic essence of the dance was perceived immediately during the symposium’s two days in winter 2017, and still going on.

Here, it seems important to note, that there is no reason to escape into metaphysics. For each body, if expressed in dancing (Jan Rae), bordering (Rossella Emanuele), enduring (Jasmin Schaitl), colouring (Cesar Forero und My Johansson), criticizing (Echo Morgan), listening (Katrina Brown), sounding (Ram Samocha und Paul Hartnoll), miming (Nelly Lewis), spatialising (Marega Palser), projecting (Yael Flexer und Nic Sandiland), or transforming (River Lin) unfolds the real itself, a vibrant landscape of the artistic affect. Each line, drawn in dusty coal or dusty air, points to an equal, i.e. human space, whose essence is real and tangible, while withdrawing from objectified solidity.1

The fourth edition of Draw to Perform at the Fabrica Centre for Contemporary Art in Brighton was not only an event of corporeal synergies, but the collective formulation of a new and moving space, transcending established boundaries. What the symposium made possible was to locate an open space, wherein all present bodies became enfolded by a new essential wholeness, giving them fragments of life. Ram Samocha succeeds to curate a poetics of the ordinary, wherein a walk in wintery Brighton resembles the wave’s movement whose lively flow is round the shore of yellow-shaded buildings—as does the photography that opens this text. It shows no stasis, but a flow, coloured and loud, sensitive and unseen. It allows a call into the great wide open, where I stand, too, removed in time and space, but equally an immediate part of the shoe, the floor, the wall, and the body.

The quality of this short symposium showed the beauty of an aesthetic, which refuses to be beautiful. The dimensions of the emerging spatial drawings go far beyond the time and the place of the original event. Exactly for this reason it does matter to write this text. For the dancing shoe also formulates an ethical dimension, in making visible—as Bracha L. Ettinger has psychoanalytically noted—the affects’ living subreality. No longer do we deal with a one-dimensional abreaction—a Freudian being-towards-death—but to the contrary with a post-conceptual, collective being-towards-birth. My own and the dancer’s sensing intellects are not subsumed by a destructive potential, but move towards a humanising horizon of new life: we do not need a war machine, but a peace instrument for art. Draw to Perform was and is a tool for such human becoming: I breathe and feel the matt white floor—the tango begins to play and life—the One—is born.

François Laruelle and Alyosha Edlebi (trans.), “First Choreography: Or the Essence-of-Dance,” in Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences, 21 (Spring/Summer 2013): pp. 143–155.

Review of Draw To Perform 4—An International Symposium For Drawing Performance, Curated By Ram Samocha. Fabrica Centre for Contemporary Art, Brighton, UK, March 4-5, 2017

Image: Jan Rae dancing at  Draw To Perform 4, Brighton, 2017.

A Letter
He peeled off every vein I had / till there was nothing left /
but a bloodless heart / still beating for him / (he plays with fire)

–Susanne Sundfør, Among us, 2012

Dear Architecture!
This is your pathology: Since the day your imagination’s vastness transcended its dark openness and in a human act of violence turned to bright material; since the day your matte surface subjugated the immeasurable depth; since the day your rock’s fire became the human’s fire; since that day, your term died, as the one and only living cell of your entire being.

Your term is a possible world, a space describing a continuous flow through the fullness of its imploding intensities. Since man is condemned to build, She is lost. All known conditions and experiences, everything that proves man’s evolution is not your term; for She is all different: She is not an architecture, she is not an object, she is not a concept. She is life.

Your term could be truth. She could be deepest dark and glistening chrome. She would be the other, the fear, the torture, the death, the excitement, the birth. A blustering stream, a rhythmic knowledge, your entire being. She would be herself: freezing water, thawing ice. A borderline: cold-black and hot-white.

Dear Architecture, your term is dead. She died in the wall’s mist, when the colour actualized the surface’s rays and the idea’s geometry; when the stone turned into the cornerstone, and the light into the night; when the strength became the life and the purpose of the human. But the term is no strength. She is a weak gaze, a pale field, a fragile horizon.

Dear Architecture, your strength has to slip away. It has to fade in the tone’s storm. As a knife that heals, as a doom that creates, as a poison that has beauty. For strength is inane and weakness is strong. The rebirth of weakness uncovers a shimmer of the indefinite. The rebirth of the term makes any signification disappear.

Dear Architecture, your importance does not lie in any function, in any direction, in any aim. Your importance lies in the creation of new spaces, in spaces of the term. They have no other purpose than the moment, no other task than the imagination. Your term is the void of the full, the flow of the solid; the sound of the unheard, the colour of the unseen, the space of the unbuilt.

Let me bleed in caressing the term; let me suffer in sleeping the imagination; let me live in forming the indefinite. I want to be within the term. On her snow-white shoulder I leaned and still the time was not come. The imagination’s wind pales all built. To live in her being. Be a bloodless beating heart. Open up an unexpected spring. Draw a line. Please.

Published in: Dear Architecture: Letters on Love, Apologies and Gratuitous Selfies (New York: Blank Space Publishing, 2015), pp. 126–127.

Accompanying image: "Cyanide", collage on glass, approx. 28x20 cm

Dröhnt der Wind
Und das Licht seinen Schatten

Trag mich fort, Haus!

Schweigend bin ich
In dir
Und möchte nicht mehr los.