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life art

what in former times we called a work of art is here a living work…they invite you, through their action, to know yourself better…its not about exhibition, its about communication, a colelctive gesture that doesnt have any reason for being except for participation, the continuity of living…

jean jacques leveque / occupation of places 1968
text from poster for ‘Occupation des lieux’. American Center for Students and Artists, Paris, Dec. 1868.

the artist is a modell of the anthropologist engaged…an artist-as-anthropologist’s theory as praxis…it ‘depicts’ while it alters society. And its growth as a cultural reality is necessitated by a dialectical relationship with the activity’s historicity (cultural memory) and the social fabric of present-day reality.

pervasiveness of artistic-like activity
as opposed to disengaged nature of anthropology

joseph kosuth / the artist as anthropologist / 1975


if everyday practices, “ways of operating” or doing things, no longer appear as merely the obscure background of social activity, and if a body of theoretical ques­tions, methods, categories, and perspectives, by penetrating this obscur­ity, make it possible to articulate them.

a relation (always social) determines its terms, and not the reverse, and that each individual is a locus in which an incoherent (and often contradictory) plurality of such relational determinations interact.

<Consumption as a way of deciphering production.>

– Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

We know poorly of the types of operations at stake in ordinary practices, their registers and their combinations, because our instruments of analysis, modelling and formalisation were constructed for other objects and with other aims.

(de Certeau et al 1998: 256) Living and Cooking

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spice route // reading list

Bauman, Zygmunt. Living on Borrowed Time: Conversations with Citlali Rovirosa-Madrazo. Comp. Citlali Rovirosa-Madrazo. Cambridge: Polity, 2010. Print.

Bishop, Claire. Participation. London: Whitechapel, 2006. Print.
Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics. [Dijon]: Leses Du Réel, 2002. Print.
Braidotti, Rosi. Transpositions: On Nomadic Ethics. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2006. Print.
Buchloh, B. H. D., Judith F. Rodenbeck, and Robert E. Haywood. Experiments in the Everyday: Allan Kaprow and Robert Watts, Events, Objects, Documents. New York: Columbia University, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 1999. Print.
Certeau, Michel De., Luce Giard, and Pierre Mayol. The Practice of Everyday Life. Vol. 2: Living and Cooking. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, 1998. Print.
Certeau, Michel De. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley, Calif. [u.a.: Univ. of California, 2008. Print.
Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1987. Print.
Doherty, Claire. Situation. London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2009. Print.
Gómez-Peña, Guillermo, and Roberto Sifuentes. Exercises for Rebel Artists: Radical Performance Pedagogy. London: Routledge, 2011. Print.
Gómez-Peña, Guillermo. Conversations across Borders: A Performance Artist Converses with Theorists, Curators, Activists and Fellow Artists. Ed. Laura Levin. London: Seagull, 2011. Print.
Hoffmann, Jens, and Joan Jonas. Perform. London: Thames & Hudson, 2005. Print.
Iversen, Margaret. Chance. London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2010. Print.
Jackson, Shannon. Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.
Johnstone, Stephen. The Everyday. London: Whitechapel, 2008. Print.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. Berkeley: University of California, 1998. Print.
Kwon, Miwon. One Place after Another: Site-specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: MIT, 2004. Print.
Riley, Shannon Rose., and Lynette Hunter, eds. Mapping Landscapes for Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print.
Roberts, Les. Mapping Cultures: Place, Practice, Performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Print.
Rosler, Martha, and M. Catherine De. Zegher. Martha Rosler: Positions in the Life World. Birmingham, England: Ikon Gallery, 1998. Print.
Shaughnessy, Nicola. Applying Performance: Live Art, Socially Enganged Theatre and Affective Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian, 2012. Print.

Stella Dimitrakopoulou

Rirkrit Tijavanija

Antoni Miralda

Eloise Fornieles

Lina Issa

Gordon Matta Clark

Hans Haacke

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repost // interview with Jan Ritsema // on intimacy

intimate interview with Jan Ritsema

Sleeping Beauty: How do you define intimacy for yourself?
Jan Ritsema: Of course I thought a little bit about it. Intimacy in principle means not to be timid or “timide”(in French)
SB: Ah it has something to do with timid.
JR: I don’t know. But of course In is non. Inconscience, Incontinent. So the meaning of in is non. So its non-timide. And that’s what is intimate. The interesting thing is that we change intimacy to a very small space, a very safe space where you can be intimate, we think. But what we mean with intimate is not “timide”, is open to everything, is borderless, is every protection away, in principle. And it’s not just a small space where you can….
And then of course in history it’s got a very sexual connotation. For me ideal for society would be if we did not use the word intimacy. A society that is not timid. Timid is not a quality. When someone says someone is shy “Oh he or she is soo shy”- you have fear, that’s why you are shy. Intimacy is not a quality. Intimacy is a quality but it shouldn’t be called intimacy. It’s just that you are open. In this fearful society where everyone is putting daggers in each others’ back, usurping each other – the neo-capitalist society is like this – in this society intimacy is reduced to the bed, or to the most private space where you dare to be without protection.
So intimacy is the space where you are without the fear that forces you to protect yourself.
SB: Is this intimacy something you try to achieve in your life?
JR: Yes, I try to be as intimate as possible. I don’t think timidity is a quality.
SB: Quality meaning something good?
JR: Yes. But on the personal level, I always said about myself that I have an intimacy addiction. My mother died when I was three. So the little boy is still looking for protection. That’s the other meaning of intimacy, that is to be in a fully protected surrounding, in mommy’s arms, and feel safe. That’s not how I think we should read and use intimacy. Intimacy should be the normal state of us, namely without fear of each other. There is no need to be fearful.
SB: So it’s also a lot about complete trust?
JR: The word trust is not in my vocabulary. That’s another story. You cannot trust anybody.
Religion and power need people to be fearful, to ask for protection. They play the protectors. Their alibi for power is offering protection. It’s just a Mafia principle. We burn your shop or we protect you. And you pay us for the protection.
It’s the same “chantage” of religion and of every power position of somebody else over us. You have to trust that we don’t put fire on your shop if you pay us every month 1000 Euros, if you come to our Church. Then we don’t put fire on your shop – that’s hell. It’s Mafia – church.
So trust is an invention of people that want to have power over you. Trust does not exist. It cannot exist. We are unable to trust each other.

SB: What about trusting yourself?
JR: And I mean really trusting each other. You can never be sure if you can trust somebody. Never. You cannot know it. So don’t use it.
SB: What about being intimate with yourself or trusting yourself?
JR: How can you not be intimate with yourself? If you are not intimate with yourself you are ripe for personal problems. I must admit that many people are ripe for that.
SB: Yes I think for a lot of people it’s difficult to be intimate in general, and to be intimate with themselves.
JR: I don’t understand this. That’s the interesting thing: You cannot be intimate with yourself!
SB: You cannot?
JR: No.
SB: Cause it’s always about a relationship with someone else?
JR: No, intimate with yourself is a relation with yourself. Whatever tricks you use, whatever mutations and lies you make up about yourself, in principle they are all clear to you. Yourself is an open field to you. You cannot protect yourself from yourself. You can protect yourself from the others, but not from yourself. You are the victim and the perpetrator. You cannot harass yourself. You cannot rape yourself
SB: Hmm….Ok. I’m really trying to take in all this information. But it’s quite a lot. – Do you think intimacy is something we can create for ourselves in a relationship with others? Or is it something that just happens by chance when we don’t look for it? Can we create conditions for it?
JR: Yes, of course. It’s by eliminating the boundaries of protection. Every boundary you take away makes you less “timide”. So the less you act as a fortress, the less timid you are. But a fortress can have many forms. A fortress can act as if it’s very open. So the defense system can be “I’m so open, so open, so open! Let’s say everything. I am here. Ah you are so nice!” But you never allow a merging state. So intimacy is the moment where you merge, dissolve with the world around it. We are all very intimate with oxygen. We love it. We are intimate with a lot of food. So it’s where the filters, the membranes that filter whatever information comes to you, filter as little as possible.

SB: Mmmh – thanks. So when you see a performance – do you sometimes use the word intimacy or intimate to describe what you see in the theater? Or how do you relate that term to the theater. Cause I think it’s used a lot in my experience when there is an intimate setting, when there is very little audience, or when it’s a very closed space. what is for you an intimate performance?
JR: That for sure not. Because this reading of intimacy (going to a very private, protected situation) is not what I call intimacy. Intimacy has to go the other way around. You have to take away your borders and should not withdraw to a small corner. So I cannot imagine any performance that is intimate.
SB: According to your concept of intimacy it would be a performance where the performers cross a lot of boundaries and open up a lot of possibilities. So really liberating …that would be intimate?

JR: Yeah …(thinks) But it’s a very complicated thing. I know a performance- when I was professor at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam – we invited every now and then performances. There was a group of visual artists/performers who asked us to sit around a big table. We were thirty people around the table. And they were on the table and under the table shitting and masturbating and pissing, putting it on themselves and mixing it, and using some masks and costumes and whatever but …. So that sounds as if this was borderless. It’s transgressive performance. People of course walked out of it because they had to vomit. But I don’t know – I wouldn’t use the word intimate. The action of being borderless is not intimate. It’s an aggressive action. So it’s like trust. It is a word that shouldn’t exist. It should be the normal state.
SB: Yes, but that is talking ideally. It is not reality.
JR: Intimacy is not something you make. It is an ontological state. It’s something you are.
SB: What is ontological?
JR: To be. It is like this. That’s ontological. It’s not a process. It’s a fact. It’s a state of being.

SB: Is intimacy something you are interested in seeing in the theater? Or in your own work?
JR: Not to see as a subject. But yes I’m interested in theater that does not protect itself so much. I’m not interested in all the masking that’s connected to theater.
SB: So you mean also theater that takes risks? If it doesn’t protect’s more risk-taking, no?
JR: I don’t know. What is theater that takes risks?
SB: For me it’s going into the unknown and not putting clear boundaries of how far this can go…
JR: I cannot make theater out of going to the unknown. Theater is a space that is occupied with certain actions during a certain time. Can this be more intimate or less? – I’m interested in soft. I am not interested in hard. I’m not interested in virtuosity. That is creating borders. I’m interested in soft.
SB: Subtle?
JR: Yes, for sure. Sensitive. But not in an esoteric way. Your brains can be very smart. And that I would call sensitive. Very smart and precise. I always talk about being specific. Try to be as clear as you can be. And that’s soft It’s all about being as little protected as possible. There is a state between the stage and the audience where it is easy to dissolve. Not to dissolve in being drawn by spectacularity. It’s necessary for me that people stay independent, that people stay independent but that they also want to dissolve.

SB: Do you think intimacy is possible on the web? Virtual intimacy? Or can it only happen in real time face to face?
JR: If intimacy is being as borderless as possible, then within the context of the border on the web that is communicating by screens, I would say no there is no intimacy. The screen is in between.
SB: Because I think there aren’t as many ways of negotiating or measuring intimacy on the web. I’m still stuck with this idea of trust. How far can you go? On the web you can say much more and then just delete it again.
JR: Maybe when I think about it now – even when you do skype-fucking you always stay alone. There is a certain way of dissolving a little bit, but it’s very task-oriented. No the web is certainly not made for intimacy.
SB: And still I think a lot of people are looking for intimacy on the web and spend much more time looking for it on the web than in real life.
JR: Yes of course, because it’s in the context of the protection of the screen, this huge membrane that filters everything. So you can never really be touched. Intimacy presupposes a sharing, I would say. When I was talking about dissolving, merging before – I mean on the web there is the idea of merging too. But it’s not happening. It’s very much an as if situation. That’s why we call it virtual.
SB: Do you think intimacy is disappearing? Do you think it is an endangered species?
JB: The more you live in a society of screens, you will communicate by screens. I always say why I like theater is because it’s the only place since the church is empty where we are all together alive. This live togetherness with strangers is something very specific to the performing arts.
We communicate so much by screens, whether it’s a computer, or a television or a telephone or whatever, they all have interfaces. And everyone who was born knows what it is to be taken in the arms of the mother, to have physical contact, to appropriate the world around you, whether it is oxygen or a piece of meat. You are all the time merging. You are appropriating the world and you are contaminating the world with your things. Our words, communication, are a way of infecting each other. I contaminate your mind with my words and you have to try and live with it – which is very difficult of course after what I’ve said. (chuckles)
SB: Have you had a chance to visit my blog? I would be interested to get some feedback from you. I want to go on with this research but also think about ways to put it in a performative frame. I wonder if it should be a lecture demonstration in Reims next week.
JR: What I see on the blog is a little bit this sweet and tender ….. social, nice atmosphere, esoteric thing. But basically the “demarche” about intimacy I like. It’s in all my work. My work is about this.
SB: About finding intimacy?
JR: About trying to be borderless. If you would do some more brain effort ….. ( )…. I think Derrida said a lot about this. You should watch this interview with Derrida. I show him because he is very intimate. This Eva Verdes is also very intimate. It’s naïve, but it’s one to one. And Derrida when he talks about his childhood and his fear about writing, it’s very intimate. I support this. But not in an esoteric way. I’m not interested in doing intimate in a fine, nice world.
SB: Why do you say esoteric?
JR: Because then it becomes a culture. Then it’s like in the screen as if we do intimate. You can create here a subculture of intimacy, of nice people who love each other very much and fuck around. A sixties commune that does “intimate”. And I don’t want to have a retreat behind the walls of PAF because then you go to the private situation of the idea of intimacy when you are in a bed with somebody. You have to look for ways of being intimate at the table. And you have a tendency to be – also the way you speak is quite soft. So intimacy is about being intimate in public, which doesn’t mean that you have to fuck on top of cars in the center of Paris. That is being transgressive. That’s also ok to be sometimes transgressive.
So for me a blog about this ? ( )…. – but a brain work please! I gave some notions in this talk – there is a lot to think about – I twist intimacy completely from private to public. The way Derrida talks in his interview has for me the dignity of intimacy. And I like to combine these two words. It’s nobility. And that is the ability to merge, to dissolve – and not to grasp. We are in a grasping, in a colonizing culture, in an appropriating culture. And not in a sharing exchange culture, which is a much richer culture.

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migrant manifesto // tania bruguera

In November 2011, Immigrant Movement International published this Migrant Manifesto. 

I quoted the website:


IM International held a two-day convening on November 4th and 5th, 2011 engaging (im)migration experts from both local and international communities, activists and community leaders from social service organizations, elected officials and academics.  The event focused on re-defining what it means to be a (im)migrant in the context of the 21st century, establishing a new framework for analyzing this multifaceted concept. The meeting concluded with the drafting of the Migrant Manifesto that will be used directly in our call to action on December 18th, the United Nations’ International Migrants Day:

We have been called many names. Illegals. Aliens. Guest Workers. Border crossers. Undesirables. Exiles. Criminals. Non-citizens. Terrorists. Thieves. Foreigners. Invaders. Undocumented.

Our voices converge on these principles:

1. We know that international connectivity is the reality that migrants have helped create, it is the place where we all reside. We understand that the quality of life of a person in a country is contingent on migrants’ work. We identify as part of the engine of change.

2. We are all tied to more than one country. The multilaterally shaped phenomenon of migration cannot be solved unilaterally, or else it generates a vulnerable reality for migrants. Implementing universal rights is essential. The right to be included belongs to everyone.

3. We have the right to move and the right to not be forced to move. We demand the same privileges as corporations and the international elite, as they have the freedom to travel and to establish themselves wherever they choose. We are all worthy of opportunity and the chance to progress. We all have the right to a better life.

4. We believe that the only law deserving of our respect is an unprejudiced law, one that protects everyone, everywhere. No exclusions. No exceptions. We condemn the criminalization of migrant lives.

5. We affirm that being a migrant does not mean belonging to a specific social class nor carrying a particular legal status. To be a migrant means to be an explorer; it means movement, this is our shared condition. Solidarity is our wealth.

6. We acknowledge that individual people with inalienable rights are the true barometer of

civilization. We identify with the victories of the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, the advancement of women’s rights, and the rising achievements of the LGBTQ community. It is our urgent responsibility and our historical duty to make the rights of migrants the next triumph in the quest for human dignity. It is inevitable that the poor treatment of migrants today will be our dishonor tomorrow.

7. We assert the value of the human experience and the intellectual capacity that migrants bring with them as greatly as any labor they provide. We call for the respect of the cultural, social, technical, and political knowledge that migrants command.

8. We are convinced that the functionality of international borders should be re-imagined in the service of humanity.

9. We understand the need to revive the concept of the commons, of the earth as a space that everyone has the right to access and enjoy.

10. We witness how fear creates boundaries, how boundaries create hate and how hate only serves the oppressors. We understand that migrants and non-migrants are interconnected. When the rights of migrants are denied the rights of citizens are at risk.

Dignity has no nationality.

Immigrant Movement International
November 2011

Download the IM International Migrant Manifesto as a PDF.

Click here for more about the November 4th and 5th event.



featured image “Immigrant Respect” via:

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live art // europe


Glasgow, Great-Britain

Kuopio, Finland

Brussels, Belgium

Madrid, Spain

Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland

Lyon, France

Hambourg, Germany

City of Women Association (Oct)
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Festival international de Performance en Milieu Urbain

Marseille, France (Sep)


Featured image via: