Sunday, March 23, 2008

Documentation and Olchar's Un-Report on the Silent Soiree and The Disappearence of Imogene Engine

Never say that we're not suckers for self-inflicted punishment, for it has come about again: the 'documentation' must be specific to the particularities of the event from which it is culled, even though it entails our giving ourselves absurd amounts of extra work that we certainly don't need.

There have been (among others) two key motifs that can be seen in both the FIDDLESTICKS #2 exhibition and the events related to it (and there was a great fluidity between those two parts of the whole shebang that weekend), that it is worth pointing out here, to whit:

1. Tsubasa's beautifully subtle care-taking of the space; cleaning up the debris of the shit we leave him to deal with (last week, the local bureaucrats; in this case, the bloody rubber carnage of five life-or-death surgeries!) despite our attempts not to do so, and in the attention that he pays to that process, transforming the space in a way that is nearly invisible but entirely pervasive, better than than a work of 'art' because we can't even put our finger to it, it is already dissolved into the world. (You could compare this to Post-Neo's roots in an art school maintenance department; what if instead of Catharsism of Narcotica you'd had someone who wasn't lazy? You might have Tsubasa...)

This care extends to his documentation of this whole campaign; in a way that is far from merely aesthetic, in the attention payed to all of the nuances of each situation as it unfolds, and an equal sensitivity of how it might say itself in a different form when viewed by you-all out on the blog in England or Ohio or Canada or Washington or Florida or Chicago or Cornwall, he does not record what happens, but translates it into another language. Because of this there has been a kind of growing conversation between the photos and blog, and the events as they happen; his photos have become as much a part of the whole enterprise as the events they come from.

To be (relatively) brief, Tsubasa's photos are different from 'what happens', but are something just as integral, and a definite addition, to constituting what the festival 'is'.

2. The action of arrangement in Imogene Engine's poetry, which as many of you presumably know was part of the literary/performative aspect of FIDDLESTICKS 2. This constant arrangement and shifting, and the way in which it oscillates between the life that it stems from and the 'something else' that it is, might be related to the subtle shifting about, lining up, relating, that Tsubasa does with objects such as the remnants of the Surgery, and with patterns of light and socialized movement through his camera. Re-arranging relics. The way in which her poems are dismembered and refigured, constantly re-arranged, to create discrete poems that are never in fact discreet but are different forms and combinations of parts of each other.

3. You might also see how this theme relates to the idea of silence, of not-saying, of thinking of saying but--because you can't or because it won't be said--withholding. And even more specifically to the idea of a Silent Soiree, the need to communicate even when you cannot say, to find a way to speak when you can't speak; and so whatever you talk about isn't itself. And so really, in Imogene's work, in Tsubasa's work, and in the idea of a Silent Soiree, its the idea of speaking through silence, of speaking through not speaking-about.

Pure magical evasiveness. (Engine: 'if she tucks her leg underneath, she disappears')

This is also to say that if this installment of Fiddlesticks throws up a certain facet of Post-Neo (and all of the people involved--Alan, Imogene, Tsubasa, Charlotte, and Angee ,whose work was absent due to UPS--have positioned themselves outside the noisy, polemic aspects of Post-Neo, and in some cases or ways outside of its various more 'speechifying' (un)centres, while all being vital to Post-Neo in a relatively silent manner; a quiet and careful and even cautious embodiment of it, or interjection into it, without which Post-Neo as it is would be unthinkable), a facet which realizes that subtlety and respect are not enemies of fun or energy, and in fact that neither has any value without the other.

And it is here that we find that the idea of silence has an unexpected relationship to that of trust (and therefore, equally, with its reciprocal, respect). To withhold speech, to remain voluntarily silent, is a mark of respect for the speech, or the silence as such, of the other. To request silence is to trust that the other will extend this silence, to allow one to speak to them. To withhold speech may be to hope that one has earned enough respect for others to trust in what is not said, in the deliberation of this withholding.

Of course, all of this does not only go for what calls itself a 'silent soiree' (and the soiree itself, in fact, was fairly silent).

Now, as events continue to unfold, these kinds of motifs have a tendency to reduplicate themselves, especially once you notice them; so that they somehow manage to become seemingly necessary to carry on, even if it costs you a good deal of extra energy, worry, and time that you can ill-afford. And what do you know, it's ended up happening once again.

For the video (we're getting to it) stemming from the Silent Soiree and my reading of Imogene's poems attaches itself to this set of themes. It is not a representation of what happened, but an attempt to remain silent about it, while re-arranging its elements to create something else of value, something new; because what happened, of course, cannot be said, and those of you who did show up and experience it itself will understand why; though even then, only in part.

(What a lot of speech I have found necessary to articulate this silence, which nonetheless remains silent within itself,--it turns out to be practically a whole essay on silence! And motivated by the very silence that it perpetuates while, perhaps, speaking.)

At times, one wants to speak to so many people at once that the only option is a complex silence through which one can speak silently to each; only silence has so many tongues. And one must be silent even about the relevance of this silent speech (which is the opposite and the same as a speaking silence).

Therefore: Here is a palimpsest of the evening--and all palimpsests are, of course, creations, they are leaving things out or they would not be palimpsests, and that is such a lovely word. The transition from silence to speech, which was not an easy one (it never is), is here, as much as I could make it, preserved; I have arranged Imogene's poems into something that I hope is (even, of course) better than the reading itself that has disappeared; if her disappearance that night (and she did disappear, of this there is no doubt) cannot help but disappear again when all the many of you who were not there view it, then is it not best that it disappear as beautifully as possible?

Of course it is equally possible for her not to disappear, and her poems may reappear at any time.

Now. Please excuse my digressions; and feel free, if you wish, to put it all down to simple eccentricity. I will remain verbosely silent on the subject, as usual.

So here it is:

and the SILENT SOIREE!!!