16beaver: Informe, Abstraction, Ecstasy III - Narcissism

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16beaver: Informe, Abstraction, Ecstasy III - Narcissism
Sunday January 24th 2010, 20h
16Beaver Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10004
Free and open to all

This sunday will be the third in a four-part series investigating the role of abstract and affective processes in a contemporary revolutionary politics, featuring performance and experimental film and video. The evening, as did our last two events, mixes lecture elements with screenings in order to recontextualize select works from the experimental film and video canon, and set them to work for an idiosyncratic, political activism.

Continuing our investigation of linkages between politics and abstraction, tonight will examine the critical category of narcissism.

Using Harari’s text on the late Lacan, and Krauss’ seminal essay from the first October on Video – The Aesthetics of Narcissism as touchstones, this sunday we will investigate the complex interaction between “narcissism” and the political. In previous evenings abstraction has been considered according to Bataille’s categories of the informe (formlessness) and the sacred, and Agamben’s analysis of The Open, with the political necessity of keeping open the spaces exemplified (and intensified) by the abstract Image as a primary theme. Here narcissism (the mirror) figures as a kind of short-circuit, which tonight’s performance-based videos evocatively display. Performance/improvisation – as a strategy of conceptual liberation, as a tool for creating radical intuitive (abstract) spaces, versus a kind of “mimetic narcissism” – as a product of radical devolution. The work of surrealist Jacques Vache (and the fourth dimension of (h)umour) and Duchampian irony will be utilized. Krauss’ essay will be considered but creatively reconfigured in order to take video performance out of its historicized context and set it to work for political activity.

Works to be included tonight (Jonas’s hypnotic meditation on self-reflexivity and alter-ego Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy, Trecartin’s synaptic, digitally manipulated psychedelia What’s the Love Making Babies For?, Charles M. Jones’ classic short Duck Amuck, and Joe Gibbons’ acerbic take on emergence Sabotaging Spring, among others) will be employed to develop the theme.

In order to refigure video performance strategies to their purely abstract/structural dimension, performance works tonight will be interposed with the work of Japanese filmmaker Takashi Ito.

Films to be screened
- Joan Jonas, Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy 15 min.
- Takashi Ito, Venus 8 min.
- Chris Burden, Big Wrench 16 min.
- Takashi Ito, Box 4 min.
- Leslie Thornton, She Had He So He Do He To Her 5 min.
- Takashi Ito, Ghost 6 min.
- Ryan Trecartin, What’s the Love Making Babies For? 20 min.
- Charles M. Jones, Duck Amuck 7 min.
- Takashi Ito, Drill 5 min.
- Tony Oursler, Selected Early Work [excerpt] 10 min.
- Takashi Ito, Spacy 10 min.
- Joe Gibbons, Sabotaging Spring 15 min.

Texts for this sunday
- Rosalind Krauss, Video – The Aesthetics of Narcissism
- Roberto Harari, How James Joyce Made His Name – A Reading of the Final Lacan
- Jacques Derrida, The Double Session, in Disseminations
- Jacques Lacan, Seminar 23 – The Sinthome