Dead Thinking

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Man needs to give himself a perspective on nonknowledge in the form of death. Bataille 
To 'realize' the concept of nothingness is not to see nothingness but to die. Levinas

Alive Thinking

There is an absolutely obvious, normal step, almost a command, a silent requirement to do what we should do in order to secure and improve our life. We want to succeed, to achieve something in this world. Our thinking, perceiving, behaving are shaped by a belief in (the improvement of our) life which guides us in our daily activities, in our moral and political attitudes. An alive thinking is consolidated on and on and this alive, healthy thinking constantly forms us as healthy, functional humans. And as humans we want that a healthy, alive world takes shape around our healthy habits.

William James witnessed how healthy thinking became a new religion or at least a new background for old religions in the middle of the 19th century when the advance of liberalism brought about “a victory of healthy-mindedness” over the morbidity of the old ‘hell-fire theology’. Healthy-mindedness believes in universal evolution, ‘general meliorism’, progress, and appreciates “the conquering efficacy of courage, hope, trust”. Healthy-mindedness fosters an optimistic “muscular attitude”, similar to the one implicit in ‘Don’t Worry Movement’ which has a motto that one is encouraged to repeat to oneself often: ‘youth, health, vigor!’. But healthy-mindedness brings also contempt: for doubt, fear, worry, and “all nervously precautionary states of mind”. For a healthy mind “the attitude of unhappiness is not only painful, it is mean and ugly”. It is impossible to maintain this healthy-mindedness without “zealously emphasizing the brighter and minimizing the darker aspects of the objective sphere of things at the same time . . . we divert our attention from disease and death as much as we can; and the slaughter-houses and indecencies without end on which our life is founded are huddled out of sight and never mentioned.”1

Dead Thinking performance



There is an absolutely obvious, normal step, almost a command, an obligation to do what one should do in order to secure and improve one's life. A healthy, alive thinking was developed around the obsession with life. We are attached to the features of this world, but this world is doomed, we are doomed... obviously, death is much more powerful than life. A planetary decline affects our modes of perceiving, thinking and feeling. Somehow we register the changes and we are scared, but like in a stampede, we choose to reinforce and accelerate what the others are doing and what we know, our petit alive, healthy thinking. Dead Thinking is the post-political gesture that we can do in a time of extinction when politics, in the sense of organizing society and power relations between people, seems more and more a sedative for deadly thoughts. The oscillation between unknown and the worst, between dead thinking and deadly thinking could be the starting point of discussing a new kind of politics, knowledge and existence. Dead Thinking starts where the hopes end and the remaining options are rather negative, dark and dead.

To be presented at Theater Rampe Stuttgart.
Presented at Fabrica de Pensule Cluj, CNDB Bucharest, Platforma Bucharest, PAF St-Erme.
With Alina Popa and Florin Flueras.

 

Second Body

First Body

Since the end of the 60s it was clear for many people all over the world that it is not enough to try to oppose the economic-political order. The problem is not just about how to bring more bodies into the streets to fight the power and the obvious problems, but also about what kind of life powers those bodies. The bodies of the protesters and that of the rulers are not that different - in spite of the racial, sexual and class differences, at certain levels we share a degree of rigidity and limitations in our bodies, life capacities and potentiality. Intuitively, a lot of what happened at the end of the 60s was very much about addressing this situation, and about an liberation of the body from racial, sexual and disciplinary constraints. Since then it was a lot of talk about capitalism that constructs our minds and bodies, about an imperative to follow our desires and to bring freedom to the body. And some experimentation with common living, sexuality, psychotropic substances and everything that can be done to bring freedom of the mind and body.

A good example for this attitude was the passing from a disciplinary regime to a sort of expressive regime of the body in the dance of that period. Improvisation was the keyword and everything seemed to be possible, the body freed from the classical and modern dance discipline could finally express itself. The enthusiasm and the joy of the freedom lasted for a while but, after years and years of self-expression, a depressive moment arrived when the realization that there is no ‘itself’ to express couldn’t be postponed. The ‘authentic movements’ and the expressions of the ‘freedom of the body’ started to appear just as a bunch of clichés, stereotypes and patterns of movements - recombined remains from the trashed disciplinary dances. The same happened also with the less dancing bodies - our bodies of the post-disciplinary, control society are the expression of automatisms and habits from the previously disciplinary and older power regimes. Old and new commands are embodied and expressed in our free movements and behaviors.

The free body -  obtained through hard experimentation with all kinds of substances, all kinds of sexuality and all sorts of techniques of freeing ourselves - got exhausted and turned up not that free after all. The joy and the sensation of freedom felt from getting out of the disciplined body was quickly consumed. Soon the party was over and hangover lasted many years after Woodstock. Woodstock is also good example of how the freedom of the body was transformed into a spectacle, a representation of freedom largely consumed. After that, the capturing and instrumentation of this 'free' and self-expressive body continues and becomes central to a new economy in which sensibility, intuition, affectability, creativity and other capacities are put to work. ‘Express yourself’ seems to be the urge nowadays and Facebook is just an example. There is an opening for the consume of more experiences but this kind of liberation does not produce a new body, it is just letting the old body express itself.

Second Body performance

Paradoxically, we experience an infinite openness of the real, we are overwhelmed by the vastness of the possible and at the same time the reality is more and more something to consume in pre defined bits - packages of pre-fabricated, ready made life-slots. Our lives and world(s) are shaped by our type of culture, nature, society, economy, politics, especially in the unconscious layers, in the unknown - at the level of reflexes, habits, perception automatisms, affective circuits, etc. It’s not enough to deconstruct or to apply critical thinking to the tool-body or to the world. The free body -  obtained through hard experimentation with all kinds of substances, all kinds of sexuality and all sorts of techniques of freeing ourselves - got exhausted and turned up not that free after all. The joy and the sensation of freedom felt from getting out of the disciplined body was quickly consumed. To free your body it's not enough. One needs to reconstruct the body and that’s a different kind of work. If the worlds and the natures are organized around habits it is not possible to produce other world and other body through simple acts of volition nor just through theoretical approaches. Instead of changing ourselves and developing new practices, we can add layers of unknown to what we already do, by adding  a second nature, second intentions, shadow attention, shadow processes and activities to the everyday behaviours, to the first reality. The first body cannot and does not have to be annihilated or replaced, what we can do is to grow a second body by diverting attention from the known body and feeding the shadows and the unknown.

Presented in Chisinau, Oslo, Zagreb, Warsaw, Sao Paolo 
With Florin Flueras and Alina Popa

 

We Are All Reptilians Now

We Live a Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy theories are in a special relation with reality, they are perceived either as the most radical and profound explanation of it or as pure fiction. They are theories of extremes - you make fun of them or you approach them religiously. Or at least this was the case before 2008, now it looks like they become more and more common sense, banal reality. The recent occupy movements brought the 1% vs 99% discourse in the headlines and slowly by slowly the "financial elites" moved from the weird Internet sites abounding in one eyed pyramids to the mainstream media. It is not so easy to laugh about conspiracy theories anymore.

What can we do with an Apocalypse

It is 2012 and the Apocalypse is here. The question is what can we do with it, what can we do with this concept, what is its potential? Apocalypse in the common sense means the end of the world, it etymologically means a lifting of the veil or a revelation about what is already here, hidden in plain sight.
Nowadays we have too many signs of the end and not so many about the revelation. We cross or we are about to cross some major important boundaries like climate change, species extinction, the disruption of the nitrogen-phosphorus cycles, ocean acidification, ozone depletion, freshwater usage, land cover change... Each of these rifts in planetary boundaries constitutes an actual or potential global ecological catastrophe.(1) The panic of the end is everywhere: it is in the current desperate phase of capitalism with its aggressive and destructive scratching for the last resources, using techniques like tar sands, fracking and deep sea exploitation... And, similarly, it is in the aggressive exploitation of the sensitive zones of human subjectivity - our emotions, empathy, sociability, intuition, imagination are now extracted and put to work at the center of the economy. The consequences on ecosystems, socio-systems, psycho-systems are the same – they are all collapsing.

The Inauguration of the People's Salvation Cathedral

The Romanian Orthodox Church wants to build a huge People's Salvation Cathedral. Of course with money from the state budget (around 900 millions euro). Ironically it will be next to the House of the People, the huge building made during Ceausescu's regime. The construction is on, but near it a small, simple and cheap prefab-church has been already built for temporary use, as a way to mark the territory. The Presidential Candidate organized a public campaign announcing that the People's Salvation Cathedral has been already finished and 11.11.11 was the date set for its inauguration.

For the ceremony the Candidate dressed in priest and, after a very short religious procession, he inaugurated the prefab-church as the actual People's Salvation Cathedral. He also apologized in the name of the Orthodox Church for the exploitation and commercialization of gypsy slaves by the Romanian Orthodox Church that went until later 19th century (a taboo issue for the Church).

The priest announced that the orthodox churches will be open day and night and will serve as a shelter for the continuously growing number of homeless people, pushed away from their homes by the harsh Turbo-Capitalism.

He announced also some possible reforms inside the Church, for example granting women the same rights as men to perform the mass and have access in the hierarchical structure at any level, not just to clean the church and sell candles. He also criticized the hierarchical structure of the Church and its hypocrisy - everything is in gold, a lot of properties and political power. The top members of Church travel in limousines surrounded by police, blocking the traffic for the rest of people. In all these facts, the Candidate-priest recognized the Antichrist - the opposite of the Jesus message encompassing simplicity, poverty, love...

Nevertheless the general tone of his preaching was pervaded by a sense of thankfulness for the honor to inaugurate the People's Salvation Cathedral. The priest was happy to help the Romanian Orthodox Church make such an important step towards christianity: choosing to build a simple and spiritual church instead of the opulent home for the Antichrist.

The official sermon was abruptly interrupted by an aggressive orthodox faction that pushed the priest down the stairs and recommended him to perform a self-decapitation immediately after he would take off the holy costume.

DORATO ACTION - PAVILION DISCREDIT

The 'Presidential Candidate' was happy when it got the invitation to participate in 'Just do it. Branding biopolitics' exhibition in Pavilion Unicredit space.
At Pavilion Unicredit one encounters:

Discussion with Franco Berardi Bifo about the Presidential Candidacy project

Bifo: You underline awareness as the "main word". Don't you think that impotent awareness is kind of masochistic? What's the use of awareness when conscious collective action seems impossible?
Florin Flueras: Probably the impossibility of conscious collective action is because too much unconscious collective action - too much production, agitation, too much immersion in the official perception of the reality, too much involvement in the consumerist-capitalist religion.
Maybe for a conscious collective action the first thing that we have to do is to make space by stoping the unconscious collective action. A moment of paralyzing awareness can be good - a total stop, a total silence, a zero moment.

Postspectacle Practice

Postspectacle practice is an ongoing questioning process that deals with performance and its political connotations. It addresses the changes that are taking place within representational arts in particular and in cultural practices in general. In a time dominated by spectacle, performing arts have to reconsider their role - and their power - in society at large. In this world of generalized spectacle, what’s the point to add another spectacle in the theatre?

Postspectacle Practice extends in 2 different directions:

1.In the theater we propose alternatives to spectacle.
- bringing in the theatre the "outside spectacle". The idea is to produce friction between contexts/conventions/languages like we did with the military performance (a military drill on the dance floor).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dICPoZGObQ
- opposing spectacle - if entertainment dominates the mass media and politics maybe we should bring in the theater serious stuff like political theory, critique and cultural deconstruction.
- hacking the big festivals and big art events, as we did with The Romanian Dance History, trying to reveal the logic operating within art institutions and the way values are confirmed and affirmed, as well as the artists value and prestige.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AupKHQL-UgM

2. Performing on the big stages
The second direction is to use our performing skills and knowledge on the big stages of politics and mass media, as we did in the TV performance 2012 - ‘Ultima Apocalipsă’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6qxqKXoi6Y
Moreover we decided as the third part of the postspectacle trilogy to run for president in Romania. We have, since 2009, already made a few interventions and campaign events. The elections are in 2014 but we need that time to organize, explore political practices and make it into the official realm of power as politics as a legitimate candidate. For the postspectacle practice the most important goal is to gain access to these areas and set up actions which deconstructs rituals and create awareness of these charged contexts and also (with the presidential candidacy) to affirm new subjectivity paths and reaffirm politics as an open field of negotiation.

Postspectacle wants to release the accumulated spectacle. The spectacle locked the creativity, performativity in a far away, safe, distant, inoffensive bubble. Spectacle is a commodity that you can consume, or it can consume you, in theaters, on screens, in politics, etc. Postspectacle is when the bubble is breaking and the reality comes in your face.

I'm the Romanian Dance History and I'm a terrorist

The Romanian Dance History doesn’t wait politely in line when it feels to enter the stage and participate in an important dance festival. The Romanian Dance History despises the hierarchical protocols of validation and presentation of art and chooses to terrorize all institutions, authorities and hierarchies. The Romanian Dance History definitely prefers to do cultural terrorism than art. The Romanian Dance History is not something that you should identify with or be proud of, it is more something to be afraid of: beware!
So when you are ready, go on stage and say I’m the Romanian Dance History and I want to start a revolution tonight, and do it…

the candidate speech in the romanian dance history shop



















In general our ways of thinking and functioning are very much influenced by the culture, tradition, education and everything that comes from the past. The tendency is to let history answer the problems. To search for models, values, norms and principles in history, all based on the past.