plastic lux
09
art-hey [day-night]

From where does our feeling of beauty come? From the idea that the work of art is not arbitrary, and from the fact that, although unpredictable, it appears to us to have been directed by some organizing centre of large codimension, far from the structures of ordinary thought, but still in resonance with the main emotional or genetic structures underlying our conscious thought. In this way the work of art acts like the germ of a virtual catastrophe in the mind of the beholder. (Rene Thoms, 1975:316)   Here Ulmer 'performed' a method for arranging images thrown up by ATH, or feeling, (e-motion). As analogy, Ulmer cites the important role the invention of tragedy in Greek theatre played in the shift from oral to literate cultures, 'the shift that saw people no longer think of themselves as members of one of the 12 tribes to citizens of a community called Athens.' From tragedy as theatre he takes the notion of ATH (pronounced ah-tay, not art hey?) - which is an individual experience of foolishness or blindness. ATH, as a collective feeling, is a catastrophe. Ulmer asks 'how is ATH experienced today?' He calls his method reasoneon, reasoning with neon, a compound of images via Lacan and Benjamin. " 'How to improve the world', as John Cage said, 'You will only make things worse.' We have a sort of fetish logic in the emerAgency about our consultancy. We know intellectually that we won't make things better, no longer believing in progress. On the other hand we have a desire and the cheek to think we can actually help."~ This performance has stayed with me for some time: stuck like 'glue'. How could one bring poetics, and non-communication as affect, to effect some sort of circuit breaker here, in Australia, specific to this context, today.

Perhaps the 'germ' of Ulmer's performance may hold some clues, some ways to effect some sort of dis-orientation, and complicity, in each of us. Complicity. "I give you the torturer along with the rest of the texts. Learn to read them properly. They are sacred." (Duras, The War 1986:115)

Complication, complicated, complicity. The pli (from the old French pli comes bend, fold source of English apply, pliable and plaint and from the same route comes accomplice, comply, explicit, perplex, pleat, plight, reply, simple, supple and supplicate18 ) -in complicity.

~ all unsourced citations from Ulmer's presentation. You can hear it streamed from this url: http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/incubation/archive/2000/audio/ulmer.mp3
 
 
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