The aim of this common work is to divert the way we think about the space of the SABL, to not consider it as a place where something can be realised, but as a material element, a sculpture; we will reflect and act on its contours. We do not start from its materiality as a place to fill, but we wish to take care of the space itself, to initiate flows of thoughts around it, reflections that relate to it, perhaps even interventions without being empirically in it, in order to think about the specificity of this space located on a website and the potentialities it offers.
This mailing list is intended to be a place for free exchange. Participants are asked to send their contributions to this reflection on the space when they wish, at the frequency they wish and in the form and language they wish. Until the end of April this mailing list will be our notebook of reflections, drafts, exchange of images and references, in a total freedom of form and commitment.
I’m looking forward to this.
On 4 Mar 2021, at 14:34, daniel prenleloup <prenleloup.d[at]gmail.com> wrote :
Spime / monitoring / l’avenir
A first point on which to reflect
is based on the paradigm of functionality related to the condition of
Unimaginatively, Bruce Sterling defines "Spime" all those objects that even before their production are triggered by an integral traceable relationship.
“The SPIME is a set of relationships first and always, and an object now and then. The key to the SPIME is identity. A SPIME is, by definition, the protagonist of a documented process. It is an historical entity with an accessible, precise trajectory through space and time. “ (see Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things, pag.77. The MIT Press - 2005)
The forming characteristic of the
concept "Spime" coincides within what the
assimilation of some object's history has to offer, that is, for instance a
possible improvement of the object itself.
Therefore an object, that because of the constant observation become the subject of some sort of empowerment.
Even though in case of products
it's not a real physical isolation adopted in order to monitoring developments,
it is nevertheless given the idea that the persistence of a gaze on the object,
embodies a corrective project for the future of its reproduction.
Control of the objects is the key that underlies the performativity itself.
For the Spime cases, control implies the necessity to maintain a grip on the occurrence of an object after its introduction into an environment.
Even if in this case the meaning "control" assumes a positive value related to the possibility of a future positive improvement, namely the resiliency expressed via re- entering the object in a more ecological process, it is interesting to reflect on how this mutual relation generates a very basic prerogative, that of "functionality" or perhaps, in our case, “significance”. Outlining a substantial difference between what is defined as contemplation, expressed as a "passive" act, and observation as a “ programmatic “act.
Hello Daniel and everyone else,
Thank you for your contribution. I would like to reply by asking you a question.
What do you think about the fact that normally museums shows works of artists that were done in the past (or near past) but in the « sabl.live » the artwork "is in making" (always live) and after "is not anymore"(because the time passed) ?
I think it has never been, because it has always been a move between time and space and never been a moment un particular, the art is the movement. I say that it has never been, not because I think it has never been, but because institutions show artworks in museums "that were been" and "are now" and "will be" in history. What does that mean to not show the archive and to show the live ?
Few artists did it, Bruce Nauman at the end of the 60’s did it. Okay, but he is an artist, « sabl.live » is an art space so what does that mean for an art space to do show it live ? What does that tell about our present ?
In that case, I’m wondering how much traceable the artwork is and how it can be an archive. Everyone can screenshot it by « God’s eye ». Everyone can have it, it’s free.
Feel free everyone to reply to this message.
Antoine Félix Bürcher
about the way of considering art.
Also, what does that mean the fact that the viewer is not walking in the "temple" (or art space or Museum) but he has access to the a panoptic view (the monitoring room or god’s eye) ? I think it’s another consideration about the way we consider art.
I wanted to add some thoughts maybe more linked at first sight to the “spime” concept Daniel wrote about.
The project of exchanging through a mailing list about one specific place that is not an empirical space reminded me directly of the beginning of internet art or Net art (1990s). With this new “space” outside of national and legal borders, as it was ideologically perceived at its beginnings, artists thought about the potentialities that the digital space offer to exchange of thoughts and creation. For some of these pioneer artists the place of art was the space between two computers, two machines, and the gesture of the exchange (as you can see in the Simple Net Art Diagram). The artwork was mainly only visible on the net and was made for it, for a community that existed and exchanged mainly through Internet forums. The medium of net art is the connexion (internet connexion or connexion between the artists abled through the internet), it requires interaction and reaction.
Image: MTAA (Mike Sarf & Tim Whidden), Simple Net Art Diagram, 1997.
I also thought about the mailing list “Nettime” proposed by Geert Lovink and Pit Schultz, a useful tool for the internet artists that exchanged through the same medium we’re using now. The aim is not the same, we’re thinking about an internet space on its contours, not creating net art (or maybe we are?), but the collective aspect of exchanging as the ontological basis of potentialities of creation in the digital (or now post-digital) era re-contextualised in my point of view our approach and gave it even more sense.
I wanted to cite this at the beginning of this exchange to contextualise how important it is that we are thinking from a non-significantly important distance to each other on the same non-material space and still it creates a content and a conceptual texture around the object we’re approaching; a “spime” that is not an object yet, or maybe is, but lives “only” through this exchange, the documentation of it with this mailing list that archives all of our impulses and thoughts, the gaze that we are producing on a common object (SABL), not a passive contemplation as Daniel wrote but a programmatic active observation.
It can be also linked to the “live” aspect Antoine mentioned, maybe only this format and temporality allows this conceptual work we are doing on a a continually on-developing object without any archive.
Bisous to all,
Items found in time. SPIME as an Epistemological reconsideration.
Reading the various inputs shared by the participants of this mailing list, what emerge to be the focal point of the discussion is how the dimension ‘time’ is perceived in reference of an object during its transformations and vice versa: how we perceive the transformative nature of an object from a given perception of ‘time’.
What I am trying to address is the concept of SPIME in its double nature of cause and necessity of a historically circumscripted way of thinking the objects. The SPIME - and SABL as well - force into the consideration of the object the dimension ‘time’ as a crucial aspect. And a particular type of ‘time’. The consideration of the objects in their transformative natures through a temporal direction is something that ever existed in the human cognition, or at least since the human was equipped with the capabilities needed for the particular act of the narratological rationalization.
The temporal dimension of a SPIME however is intrinsically bonded in its coming into being.
I’ll try to get this as straight as possible: for a SPIME to be as such, the temporal information is essential, thus the reason for its name. When we consider a SPIME we cannot think about a precise moment of its transformative existence as synecdochical - as an ideal, ‘mature’, concluded form - of its being. We have access simultaneously to every moment of its existence.
When we think about an item, let’s say a hammer for example, we will tend to think about the most stereotypical shape of a hammer, a precise moment of its life that we load with an exemplar meaning of its existence in toto. And this moment will be the moment in which the hammer is most capable of fulfilling its purpose.
The appeal of the concept of SPIME, from my understanding, comes from its potential to elude this sort of stereotypization. And its potential to summon in the same instant every moment of it, all at once, possibly. The potential seems to be to definitely evade that problematic behavior that Hegel called roughly ‘to reduce something to its past’. In this sense I feel the concept of SPIME so related to the popular accusations for an ‘end of history’ as well as art history. This can be also related to what Antoine said about considering ‘art as a movement’: the necessity of considering the phenomena in their transformation, rather than a synecdochical moment of ‘ideal’ conclusion.
Ultimately the potential seems to be to consider the object from a point of view different from the one of its telos, its purpose.
Obviously one of the reasons for the concept of SPIME to come into being is to be optimized and be reshaped according to the information collected during its tracking. I would, however, try to address this intuition: what are the consequences of thinking an object in a ‘temporal simultaneity’?
I remember a phrase from Anselm Kiefer’s Notizbücher, writing about the representative value of the ‘form’ book for the occidental understanding of history as a montage of meaningful moments bonded with each other. He also wrote about the necessity of a ‘Kernbohrung’, a ‘coring’ as his particular way of thinking history; the action of going through the layers of the narrative made up of the pages of the book. Concepts like SPIME, and spaces like SABL, make the proposal for a ‘coring’ very natural and feasible.
metaphorical form of the book seems transformed seeing its pages turned into
acetate sheets that let the observer’s
gaze go through them, perceiving all the moments at once.
This voluntarily unserious image highlights the issue perhaps hidden in our speculations: that of orientation. Is it possible that such a gaze - its appeals aside - , the ability to observe all moments
of an event/object, could result in some sort of disorientation?
When Felix speaks of "being in Live" I believe that the definition is closely linked to the temporal element that the persistent gaze exerts on the "being" as much as it remains conscious of its being in Live.
The narrative in this case is once again that of returning, as the spime returns to its "beginning", it is improved, redesigned after each cycle of entry into a set of relations... the "sense" of an action produced within SABL inevitably returns to the "gaze" that initially legitimized it, namely the 4 cameras that constitute SABL itself.
It is for this reason that the question concerns, if taken in these terms, precisely the risk that this awareness reduces any form of intervention "in live" to a tautology, vicarious of the space that solidly remains once the actors have left, as a disturbing glimpse of our absence embodied by our watching it.
The reciprocity of influences established between the narratological act and its possibility to direct the transformativity of "history" through a telos, risks as it is known to produce a funnel effect where only some narratives survive because of their power.
So I would say that a positive reinterpretation of this presumed simultaneous accessibility* of whom Robert wrote, is given when the saturation of potential access points collapses on the actual impossibility of orienting oneself through all of them, precisely because of their excess.
The partiality of subjects versus the ubiquity of mediums.
I am reminded of the case of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons when during an episode he goes for a check-up and discovers that
all the viruses that try to hit him simultaneously end up blocking "access", leaving him "perfectly" healthy.
When Felix asks what means to Reflect on SABL today*, I find, is a bit like reflecting on the thumbnail of the door in the image. Which is configured for mr.Burns, and perhaps for us, as the only real detectable symptom of something else.
My initial tendency to dispose of SABL by prefiguring its "plastic" value alludes to this "show and tell" operation, which has been said so far, implies a real agency.
Nevertheless, I shall hope for my future interventions some kind of immersion that can field the partiality I alluded to.
All the best,
Your thoughts on the spime directly linked to the essence of the sabl and to what this space allows us to watch are for me directly linked to a reflection on the body and the performative. I think the consequences of thinking the objects shown through the sabl as these “cored” objects in a “temporal simultaneity” just like Robert wrote, are maybe the same we can experience by participating as a public to a performance piece. We are in front of a body moving, expressing something, on a still on-going transformation with no assumed finality or no expected representation. But this is if we think purely of what a performance should be, not what a performance actually is with all the pictures, video, media communication and sometime re-presentation in museum-friendly forms as we observe in the current art world. The embodied act as a medium seems in the theoretical aspect to escape the problem of the musealisation of objects that then loose their “life” and are strictly linked and implemented to concepts, explanations, historical contexts. But I think that how it is empirically working right now does’t really apply to this pure theorisation.
In a certain way the sabl contextualises the objets it shows: through the description and links of references on the website. But once the residency is over, nothing is archived anymore. Maybe this strict rebuttal to archive the art that is shown inscribes the objects even more in this “live” embodied aspect we’re seeking to approach through performances but usually fail (or not?).
And for this I would like to write about the “bugs” and “errors” we can all observe on the platform. If a body starts moving, dancing, sometimes the video-cameras don’t follow – the potentiality of the bay moving takes a form of control on the device. It is not a clear film of what is going on in the space, but the device has its own life too and “expresses” something too by destorting the signal that is arriving to us. Daniel you wrote about ubiquity – in fact the panoptic aesthetic of the dispositive puts the watcher in an omniscient position. He is able to see in the dark, there are no blind spots. But these bugs question this, and maybe it is where the disorientation Robert wrote about starts or maybe ends?
Would we be more disoriented to have access to a full “control room”, a full ubiquity – this whole saturated accessibility Daniel wrote about? Or are we intrinsically so voyeur that we like it and feel disturbed by the bugs that block this ubiquity? Maybe it is disorienting to not be able to go backwards, to accelerate or to see in a higher quality one specific detail. We feel like we are omniscient on what is happening, but maybe at the end we realise we are not. The object we see has its own power over our view and it can be frustrating.
I will leave you this thoughts and questions, feel free to disagree.
I feel like the questions SABL rises are all related to the particular issue of governmentality. In particular, the government utilizing logistics. In other words, translation of complex experience in a given set of valuable information - as Monica put it 'to strictly link and implement to concepts, explanations, historical contexts'. SABL is problematic probably because it pushes in both directions at once: from a certain point of view it looks like the constant gaze of the webcams could offer the non-plus-ultra of control. on the other end, all the information suddenly disappears as the product of the artist/performer exits the door, returning to the infinitus moltitudo of the world outside SABL. Just today morning I was reading a passage in Agamben's text 'Stasis. Civil War as a political paradigm' where the author cites Aristotle's interesting description of the civil war as something both mandatory and as something to be forgotten necessarily. What's interesting to me is the definition of Aristotle of forgetfulness as 'the most political way of dealing with (dramatic) past events'. In this particular sense, what Aristotle was addressing as 'remembrance' was the reintroduction of a past event in a present scenario, loading it with meaning. Today, similarly to the ancient greek civil war, also the work of art seems to be repulsive of being reintroduced in the present as a meaningful memory, paradoxically vanishing from the past as well.
To track or not to track, to remember or to forget. This seems to be the question that rises from a place like SABL. At both ends of these two opposites lays the problem of disorientation. The 'information overload' of the spime-ish object, that being constantly tracked lose every kind of symbolical narration, becoming alienated; the total relegation of the event at a historical 'state of exception'.
To answer very briefly your question, Monica: from my point of view the 'error', the 'glitch' is where the disorientation ends, reminding me that what I'm looking at is just an image, a particular point of view. The temporal lag is what restores the partiality, reintroducing some sort of meaning. On the other end is instead the omniscience that gave me that uncanny feeling of disorientation.
Some of you have repeatedly discussed the problem of museification, interpreting it in terms of certain implications concerning the controversial relationship between artworks and institutions, the risk that the first ones might become fetishes, that their cultural capital might be privatized or, more generally, that they might lose their vitality, as in the case of a performance rebroadcast until boredom.
To remember or to forget?
To escape, to escape, or to remain imprisoned in the mirror of one's own gaze.
As much as we try to keep alive the mordant between the subjects of the triad "institution" - works - users, trying to shade more and more on that gerarchy that still hovers like a parent's legacy on children, the solution could be less obvious than it seems.
In an interesting passage within Hito Steyerl's "Duty free Art", the artist refers to those dynamics that characterise "the economy of presence in the art world" Contrary (and with a certain sense of irony) to the Fluxian promises of the 1960s, the presence of the artist at all sorts of cultural events seems to evoke the promise of unmediated communication, apparently not alienated - exclusive manifestation that results in synthesis as one of the primary fronts in speculative economies that continue to invest in the symbolic narrative of the unique and exclusive, namely the unrepeatable.
The question is once again controversial, technology is not extraneous to this economy of presence, and can unexpectedly stimulate or an antithetical growing exaltation, (such as VIP-passes at fairs - private Talks with the artist with a limited number of participants) or a state of promiscuous monopolized ubiquity (meaning that omnipresence in the media which only with a direct proportionality of the administration tools can actually be dealt, for which a broadband connection is not enough).
In the same paragraph, Steyerl proposes a proxy politics that deploys alternative strategies of presence, dummies, delegates, bots, etc., or what one might call a sensual-absence (like the strategic absences of workers' movements, at list being absent but at the right time and in the right way).
To repeat once again the performative act of the subject as an "unrepeatable event" would be, in my opinion, to contradict what we set out to do from the beginning of this exchange... how can we manage to "be there" live, keeping active the same spirit that has brought us to this moment? SABL has so far been a conceptual intersection for reflecting on some of the existence conditions and modalities of those cultural agents that exchange their forces in unpredictable currents and motions, but now that we are approaching the surface, what will emerge?
I spoke about escape at the beginning, our progressive approach towards the inner space has so far, been a way of deconstructing its appearances, weighting its critical aspects, evaluating its infrastructure, as if we were reunited as conspirators in front of a map, sketched out little by little on those same sheets of acetate to which Robert referred, and filled with everyone's notes, some of which were erased and questioned, while others remained firm references of the unfolding discourse. In front of that map, as we rush towards its centre, we could now choose to read a plan, as if we had prepared for a strike or an imminent crisis, or again, as if we had prepared to evade.
Besos to all,
Our last reflections are very close to a questioning around this fetishization of the link between the artistic domain and the domain of the “lived” or “authentically experienced” – the co-presence, the irrepeatable Daniel wrote about. During this pandemic time we have often experienced the same fetishization for talks taking place on zoom for example. Even if they were sometimes retransmitted on YouTube afterwards, it was necessary to try to be present at the right time in the right “place” – the website – to be present “in” it, to be able to ask questions for instance. Let's start with this non-sensual alternative to presence (to use Hito Steyerl's words) that SABL also offers.
Why not get out of this fetishization of the authentic? I would argue that the "authentic" work takes place in this very moment, by our exchanges. The relational aesthetics, as theorized for example by Nicolas Bourriaud, starts from the same maxims of co-presence, participation of the public and exchange as intrinsic to the experience that would be the perception of a work of art - contrary to the supposedly passive contemplation of the art that we could have in museums before the "contemporary art era". I propose then to consider this exchange of mails, this conceptual forum, as a form of relational aesthetics. Through this exchange we create by putting in relation our thoughts, and we will reach an audience by making these thoughts available and visible on the platform. We show that what appears to be the site of an omniscient voyeurism blocked by a certain gaze structure imposed by the device, is actually much more. First, SABL is material. Daniel questions how we will approach the surface of the site without being empirically present there – how can we then act in SABL? We will start from its materiality, to question it, because it is this very materiality that causes the disorientation that Robert wrote about. We can play with this material/medium: a room that has as many white walls as camera views, a wooden floor, sound and image transmission devices that retransmit “live" what is happening inside, with the bugs that are part of this same materiality. Secondly, the SABL is a platform. We can slip in links, texts, a direct way of awareness for whoever wants to read them. We act within it by addressing an audience, or at least the authority of a potential always-present omniscient gaze. The relational may not be through the "body to body” dimension, but if we get out of this fetishization of co-presence, the relational does take place. What is happening right now in this exchange between us is the proof. As Paul Virilio states in L'inertie polaire, what was commonly considered as a distance, an inability to move and act (inertia) is now becoming a new "place" in itself, that of an instantaneous transmission. Given that we can participate in "live" online events and exhibition, what happens to the definition of representation and its presumably opposite – authenticity? And is it really necessary to question it?
Let's start from the material, let's start from the distance, from the non-presence of our bodies, to play with a place that lends itself almost instinctively to the performative and whose temporality is constructed by a constant potential gaze of whoever decides to venture on the site.
Parlando di estetica relazionale, di arte partecipativa e di economie della presenza, sembra risuonare la domanda: Chi o cosa supererà l’ordalia del vero? Ovviamente una domanda che suona come una provocazione, un problema aperto che meriterebbe una riflessione ben più estesa, lungi dal tentare di identificare il “vero” come una categoria universale, rimane tuttavia il quesito sul dominio della domanda stessa, ossia sul “quando” e sul “dove” sia lecito domandare del vero. Penso ai nostri ultimi interventi come allo sforzo di localizzare questo “dominio”, quando parlo di evasione e di assenza-sensuale, intendo perciò il tentativo di fuggire da quei processi di soggettivazione che SABL innescherebbe se facessimo fronte alla materialità del suo spazio come “performer” ideali in carne e ossa.
Prendiamo in prestito allora tutte quelle narrazioni ( di isolamento e non solo ) nelle quali il discorso diacronico del succedersi di eventi vacilla irrimediabilmente, nel cinema come nella letteratura, il Gap che si viene a costituire ci porta a sperimentare modi alternativi di riferire il tempo e di conseguenza i soggetti. La mente, per esempio diviene spesso il vettore del cambiamento, una sorta di diario, costituendosi come intima coscienza del divenire. Penso al caso di Jack London, ed il Vagabondo delle stelle, dove il protagonista viaggia attraverso le memorie perdute dei suoi antenati mentre il suo corpo rimane imprigionato nella camicia di forza, dove l'identità del protagonista viene meno, mischiandosi nei flutti del tempo. Mi vengono in mente tutti quei film nei quali il corpo diviene irrimediabilmente tutt’uno con la psiche, nella sua debolezza o forza, soffocato dall’incedere dei giorni e dimentico della vita o proteso nell'idea del ritorno ad essa ; quando l'ordine del quotidiano viene scalzato dai linguaggi segreti che nascono nell’ombra di invisibili apofenie, frutto di insospettabili affetti, con idee, oggetti e spazi.
Speaking of relational aesthetics, participatory art and economies of presence, the question seems to resonate: Who or what will overcome the ordeal of truth? Obviously a question that sounds like a provocation, an open problem that deserves a much broader reflection, far from attempting to identify the "true" as a universal category, the question remains, however, about the domain of the question itself, that is, about "when" and "where" it is legitimate to ask about the true. I think of our last interventions as an effort to locate this "domain", and when I speak of evasion and of absence-sensual, I therefore mean the attempt to escape from those processes of subjectification that SABL would trigger if we were to approach the materiality of its space as ideal "performers" in flesh and bones.
Let us then adopt all those narrations (of isolation and not only) in which the diachronic discourse of the succession of events vacillates irremediably, in cinema as in literature, the Gap that is created leads us to experiment with alternative ways of referring to time and consequently to subjects. The mind, for example, often becomes the vector of change, a sort of diary, constituting itself as an intimate consciousness of becoming. I think of the case of Jack London, and the "Wanderer of the Stars", where the protagonist travels through the lost memories of his ancestors while his body remains trapped in a straitjacket, where the identity of the protagonist is lost, mingling with the waves of time. I am reminded of all those films in which the body becomes irremediably at one with the psyche, in its weakness or strength, suffocated by the passing of the days and forgetful of life or reaching out to the idea of returning to it; When the order of the everyday is undermined by the secret languages that are born in the shadows of invisible apophonies, the fruit of unsuspected affections, with ideas, objects and spaces.
On 17 May 2021, at 11:25, Robert Zamboni <robert1zamboni[at]gmail.com> wrote:
The idea of 'being in live' as a new topos of transmission is surely florid and could be the viaticum for a positive understanding of the contemporary phenomenon of excess of narratives that Daniel talked about and which moves hand in hand with datafication and so-called surveillance capitalism. From this Idea Monica brought up I will try to sum up a brief conclusion to my speculations about SABL: Being live permits a factum to become admittedly an event, the platform of the site dodges the problem of the politicization of information by avoiding the practice of recording. Airing an event without fixing any meaningful or representative information of it opens the spectator to the form of liberty of the un-edited (in both the senses of unreleased and not edited), thus reenacting the form of the presence we usually think about as 'analogical'. The instantaneous transmission Virilio wrote about could be perhaps this: an unmediated experience of an event, in the sense that no recorded judgement is prior or successive of the event itself.
The economy of presence is still here, without addressing the problematic dichotomies of authentic and inauthentic, actual and virtual, corporal or digital, but perhaps summoning another: Understood in this sense, the question of the presence Hito Steyerl and Daniel wrote about doesn't configure as a medial problem, but rather an economo-political one (to be intended as the tension between oikos and polis, private and common). Presence presents itself as the space of the 'state of exception', reserved to the impolitical, i.e. what does not get fixed in a sensus communis (literally a common meaning). The Presence I'm referring to is nothing less than the presence of the spectator in front of the monitor of his computer, in the cosiness of his apartment, ready to be struck by an event he knows practically nothing about, reassured by the awareness of his appreciation or disdain remaining private and untransposed. SABL looks like an attempt to cutout a space of bare life in a usually politicized space like the one of the web.
In other words, Monica is right when addressing this mailing list as an attachment to the dispositif of SABL. But what I would highlight here is the very problematic aspect of policies of interpretation that SABL brings into play. From the very mnestic processes to the establishment of a truly historical time as a community sense. I would like to insist on this problem of 'what to remember' which, in some ways, resonates with Daniel's evocative figure from The Ordeal of Truth. SABL put us in front of the problem of what is our memory and what is the memory of the other.
Continuing what Daniel began, that's one of the main themes of the brief book Voyage autour de ma chambre from the author Xavier de Maistre, where the protagonist, confined in a room for forty-two days while awaiting trial, consoles himself from the impossibility of leaving by willingly exchanging his possibility of experiencing the world for identification with the characters in his books; historical myths, narratives of an outdated past, memories that expand themself to the point of becoming his present.