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01 / in between

autumn 2008

01 / in between

With: Michel Auder / Julien Blaine / Maud Capelle / Gérard Collin-Thiébaut / David De Beyter / Anne-Lise Dehée / Xavier Douroux / Matthieu Exposito / Vincent Gangloff / Hortense Gauthier / John Giorno / Adam Kahan / Olga Kisseleva / Bob Lens / Patrice Lerochereuil / Jack Pospisil / Larry Litt / Eleanor Heartney / Cécile Meynier / Agnès Rosse / Nicola Schudy / Nathalie Talec / Pierre Tilman / Vincent+Féria / Isabelle Vorle / Démosthène Agrafiotis / Patrick Beurard-Valdoye / Philippe Boisnard / Jean-Marc Chapoulie / Denis Chevalier / Philip Corner / Charles Dreyfus / Anselm Jappe / Krzysztof Knittel / Martin Liu / Richard Martel / Edgar Morin / Emilie Oursel / Vincent Pécoil / Plinio W. Prado Jr / Louis Ucciani

 

Order Mobile 01 / In between

Three poles for a cartography :

Album :
“Late XVIIth c. / album amicorum /, Lat. expr. “album of friends”, used in Germany, in which the owner collected the signatures of fellow scholars ; mid XVIIIth c., / album / “travel log” ; Lat. album “white tablet, list”).
1. Personal notebook or binder in which to insert drawings, photos, or various collected items.
2. Printed collection of iconographical documents. “A lithograph album showing different views of Switzerland” (Alfred de Musset). In, Paris, Le Robert.
In between :
“In between, (in intermediate position) a row of bushes with little clumps of flowers in between. Une rangée d’arbustes intercalés de petits bouquets de fleurs”. Edinburgh, Harrap’s Publishers.
La Papillonne :
“La Papillonne, ( female butterfly ). The need to flit and flutter about, from one pleasure to another, varying between short sessions and contrasting alternations”. Charles Fourier, Le nouveau monde industriel, Paris, 1830.

SHOWCASE

Olga Kisseleva - Conclusive Evidence - New York - page 46

Agnès Rosse - Moteur - page 60

Agnès Rosse - Ça tourne - page 62

Larry Litt - Burn the fox - page 56

On 21 Sept 2006, at the Chelsea gallery Magnan Projects Courtyard, Litt performed the mixed shaman ritual « Burn the Fox » In the spirit of Fluxus, Larry Litt’s BURN THE FOX pantheist shamanic ritual performance melded Santoria, Kabbalah, Korean Kuut and Dogon Shamanism in a purgative public event aimed at realigning America’s political balance through the desired implosion of Fox News cable network. The work simultaneously entertained and empowered the audience and general population to resist the obfuscations and blandishments of conservative talk and news media. Remarkably, within days of the ritual, Fox News and its owner News Corp began a downward spiral of operations confusion and political ridicule culminating in the return of Democrats to Congressional control in the mid term elections. Critical Comment by Eleanor Heartney

Denis Chevalier - Go between - page 96

If we admit that art – what is and what makes art – is divorced from discipline, or “extradisciplinary” ( a term borrowed from Brian Holmes and Stephen Wright¹ ), or if, for example, we adhere to the notions of “art without art” or “art without an art identity” ( Jean-Claude Moineau² ), it goes without saying that artistic practices are situated between – within the between. Between artistic domains, between all domains, between functions; in a continuous coming and going. Between, neither outside nor inside, and outside and inside. We have been proposing this for a long time now : art can happen in all kinds of places and spaces – but it should be linked or slightly “out of synch”, not as a colonizer, evangelizer or decorator, even if it means losing its visibility as art ( and at times, especially of losing its identity as art ), this is the “risk” involved; we would even say that an artistic attitude can be seen in the disposition to advance freely without being held back by the decision of what is or is not art. Sometimes, the very effacement of art allows it to reach its accomplishment. Which will not prevent us from proposing an idea of art, in constant evolution, in constant movement. It is high time to stop crying blasphemy when faced with the concept of the “utilitarian”. Whatever constitutes art is not any easier to define or control ( quite on the contrary ).

This desire to intervene within an “economy of the real” ( the social domain ), outside of systems of representation, does not, for all that, indicate unitary behaviors ; thus we consider the cinema and music as profound generators of thought and as precious tools ( exercises ) – more comings and goings. But the simple fact of intervening outside of the artistic framework cannot by itself serve as a guarantee of the content; new questions thus arise ( discussed elsewhere ). For our part, we have put forth the idea of propositions which are able to adhere to a dual status, both artistic and functional, but in such a way that the artistic aspect is inherent to their function. The development of practices with a direct influence on professional, social, private or other functions. Put simply : dispositions which are as much, if not more, related to the figure of the engineer (to respond to a given or revealed situation) as to the traditional figure of the artist ( expression of the inner self, of the world ).

1. cf. leurs textes dans le catalogue de la XVe Biennale de Paris, par exemple. 2. L’art dans l’indifférence de l’art, Paris, PPT, 2001. Réédité in Contre l’art global, Pour un art sans identité, Éd. è®e, 2007.

Anselm Jappe - Situationists and separations - page 110

Forty years ago, when Guy Debord published Society of Spectacle, he also aimed to sum up situationist theory. The first chapter is named The culmination of Separation, and all along the book the concept of separation constantly comes back, along with those that relate to it : scission, specialization, isolation, or, on the contrary, unification. The controversial concept of spectacle is in itself a variant of the concept of separation : it highlights the separation between actors and spectators — and hence between managers and underlings in general — and the socially organized passivity that follows from it. Giving such centrality to the Critique of Separation ( title of a 1961 film by Debord ) was absolutely coherent for Debord. From the beginning the central claim of the young lettrists, and then the situationists ( groups that were leaded by Debord ) was to bound life to art. This did not mean giving a greater place to art in life, but searching to go beyond the separations between, on one side everyday life, economics and utility, and on the other art as the expression of a possible human fullness. Art had to be « realized », and to make that possible it was first necessary to go out of the art world, and change the whole society. It is because of this project, defended for over fifteen years ( 1957-1972 ), that the situationists have often been qualified as the last avant-garde. And yes, they did radically take up what used to be the deep tendency of the historical avant-garde : moving beyond art as a separate field. First, the modern artists wanted to override the barriers between the different art practices ( painting, literature, music… ) ; then they claimed not to be ( solely ) artists, refusing the confinement of art.

But a much more radical attempt was to « change life » so that the whole life would be up to art and all its promises. The situationists wanted to apply this in real life, raising back the banner of the Dadaists and surrealists. The everyday was to be the unitarian place for life, and its revolution the backbone of anything that pretended to go towards a non-alienated society. Art only had to melt into everyday life. It must be said that the situationists were not the only ones facing this idea. At the time when Debord was writing : “In a society without classes, could it be said, there will be no more painters, but situationists who would, among other things, be painting” ( Report on the Construction of Situations, 1957 ), one of the members of Fluxus, Allan Kaprow, was saying : “Today’s young artists do not need anymore to say :“I am a painter, or a poet, or a dancer”. They are just artists”. Situationists as well as Fluxus intended to use the legacy of art for the creation of an exciting everyday life, starting within experimental groups.

But appearances are deceptive. The situationists and Fluxus set similar issues, but their projects were not close — and not just because of some “missed meeting”. For a better understanding of this, the habit of locking the situationists in one of art history’s drawers labeled “anti-art” should be given-up. The adventure of the situationists was not only driven by the legacy of avant-garde art, but also just as much by the thought of a possible revival of a revolutionary working-class movement, and of Marxist theory. Their aim was to achieve a “radical separation from the world of separation” ( Society of Spectacle, § 119 ). The situationists — and that was one of their strong points — read again the revolutionary project through modern art, and vice-versa. Given the fact that this aspect of situationist activity is now likely to become less known, it might be worth taking a glance backwards to understand the controversial relationship between a certain minority Marxist tradition and modern science’s tendency to always establish even more separations.

It is in the eighteenth century that “humanities” begun their process of differentiation and specialization, that went on uninterrupted until today. The proliferation of disciplines, fields, and objects of study left in charge of ever more specialized “experts”, is today considered by bourgeois science as the basic guarantee of scientism for studies on mankind, finally stripped off of unverifiable philosophic speculation. The pilling-up of knowledge was the official pretext for the setting-up of disciplinary boundaries, as the central element of all positivist programs which have followed for nearly two centuries. The real reason of this determination is rather to be sought for in the desire to bring the study of mankind to “operationality” and “ usefulness”, so that it may be put to work for the new society based on labor : the goal was not so much to understand what mankind is — as it used to be in the tradition of philosophy — but to enhance the use of mankind. So as to have machine-man work at best, it is suitable for every engineer to take care of a single wheel — the same applies to medical science. This fundamental purpose of humanities always ends up covering up any other tendency that may rise within them, because it fits the social role they were designed for. Meanwhile, it reenacts the crumbling of modern life into separate fields ( work / leisure ; private/public ; economics / politics ; art / seriousness ; and so on ), unknown in previous times.

But, in time, the results obtained in this crumbling race turned out to be quite unsatisfactory, including from the point of view of a science only willing to present useful conclusions to its employers. So it steadily generates contradictory reactions. The machinery of science itself indulges into “interdisciplinarity”. But, as the word suggests, this is all about fitting together pieces that have previously been carefully broken, and to have specialists talk together about the ways of linking after the fact scientific results that are useless because of their unidimensionality. So other attempts rise outside the walls of the university, reacting to a scientific spirit that has lost track not only of the forest, but also of the trees, and then the branches. Holistic thought, periodically reborn, sometimes manages to pin down efficiently the limits of official science. But its own search for “wholeness” always tends to suppose more or less religious “essences” that, as they cannot be proven, remain a question of faith. “Qualitative” thought goes by official science, just as modern irrationality follows modern rationalism like its shadow, without ever being able to go past it, and thus staying there as its distorting mirror.

The other attempt to oppose the shrinking of the study of mankind to the making of a toolbox goes back to the times when this shrinking began. It can be found in Hegel’s first formulation of modern dialectical thought. Here, all the figures of knowledge are always transmuting one into an other, because they only are temporary forms of a continuously developing mind. With Marx, this way of describing reality looses its privileged reference to the world of representations. But it would be a deep mistake to consider the work of Marx as a work of “economics”, or even to talk of a passage from philosophy to economics in the development of his work. The “critique of political economy” ( the subtitle of Capital ) is a large critique of life and production in capitalist society, building on its basic patterns ( commodity, labor, value, money, capital ). As opposed to a widespread idea, Marx does not analyze an economical “base” over which would rise “superstructures”, such as religion, culture or family, for which other disciplines would be needed.

But that is what his followers did. Official Marxism rapidly gave up the dialectic reflection of totality that was at the core of the method of Marx. Using bourgeois science as a model, Marxism developed “Marxist economics”, “Marxist history”, “Marxist philosophy”, and so on. The first to oppose this trivialization of the theory of Marx was Georg Lukàcs in 1923 in his book History and Class-consciousness. He reminded that Marx’s theory is an analysis of modern society as a whole comprised by commodity-form, that tends to weigh on every manifestation of human life. This interpretation has been taken up by various forms of “heretical” Marxism, including the Frankfurt School and the situationists, and contemporary “critique of value”. The Society of Spectacle is strongly influenced by Lukács. The category of totality implies that a social phenomenon is but a stage of a dynamic process. But for official Marxism, as for bourgeois science, facts have to be studied on their own first, in their independence, and only then comment on their “reciprocal effects”. As opposed to dialectical theory, bourgeois science and Marxism shaped on the same model do not consider politics and economics, state and market, individuals and society, capital and labor existing only as opposed factors, as opposed ends of a relationship that contains them ( in modern society, it is commodity as a “crystallization” of labor ) and will just as well melt them. If dominant thought rejects the concept of totality as “non-scientific” ( or even bound to “totalitarianism” ) and makes fun of it as a “vague supposition that everything is likely to have some kind of relationship with everything” ( Adorno ), other reasons may be suspected. Indeed, in this way it avoids having to state a global judgment, and for instance to conclude that western democracies, fascism, Stalinism, and nationalist third-world regimes are in the end just different shapes or different stages of the global development of commodity.

It is against this default of totality that the situationists stood up. For them, “workers” should “refuse the totality of their misery, or else nothing” ( Society of Spectacle, § 122 ). Recomposing the totality that crumbled under the effect of commodification and spectacle, first in thought, then in practice, was the challenge of the situationists. But, according to them, it will not be possible to rebuild the social totality, and to go past the separations that make modern alienation, without having art come back into life from which it was separated at the beginning of modern times. It was nostalgia for the lost unity of art and life, and the practical will to reenact it that allowed situationists to be more than an artistic avant-garde. If historical circumstances have not made possible the accomplishment of their program, at least they had the merit of having formulated it, and tried to put it into practice.

Edgar Morin - In between - page 136

Michel Collet : Does the notion of in between exist in the paradigm of complexity you have developed ?

Edgar Morin : I believe that what lies between the different disciplines, that is to say, between compartmentalized and distinct fields of knowledge, is perhaps what is most important. Concerning this subject I have quoted Breton who spoke about “The gold of time”. On the one hand you have the domains of the different disciplines, and on the other hand, everything that has been forgotten and sacrificed, and it is precisely what interacts between these disciplines that links them or divides them. So the truly vibrant, truly real, world is found in this between. Let’s take an example, the problem of “what it is to be human”, you won’t find it anywhere, not in any high school or university curriculum, you’ll find fragments in the social sciences which are themselves divided and isolated, in literature and in poetry which have been placed outside the sciences, in biology because we are also animals, biological beings, and biological beings are also physical beings in the physico-chemical world, with a history, in fact the entire biological evolution is part of us, and after that the history of the cosmos. But what is missing ? What’s missing is something that links all of these things together and that allows us to understand them, and it is this invisible something that constitutes the between. The between does not deny the different domains, but rather it shows us the relationship between them, be they antagonistic or complementary.

Michel Collet : Can this figure of the between be represented as a function, or as a transforming object, or even as a hybrid element that incorporates both function and transitional form ?

Edgar Morin : I don’t much like the word function, and object is not an object as generally studied in the disciplines, I see this notion rather as being spatial, the space which is both full and empty. What lies between objects is what is empty, because normal knowledge does not go there, and it is also full because it is there, in reality, that the richness of the real can be found.

COLOPHON

Editorial director: Valentine Verhaeghe
International editorial board: USA – Patrice Lerochereuil / Italie – Anselm Jappe / Espagne – Bartolomé Ferrando / Pays-Bas – Émilie Oursel
Coordination and development: Michel Collet
Design : Jean-Luc Gehres / www.welcomedesign.fr
Ditribution: Les presses du réel, Dijon, France
Copyright: Mobile Album & the authors.

Mobile Album International In between is publishing by Montagne Froide / Cold Mountain in partnership with le Centre d’Art Mobile (France).
Montagne Froide / Cold Mountain is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Region Franche-Comté, Haute-Saone (France) & Astoria (USA).
« Alternante, Composite, 7 passions de l’âme », in Charles Fourier, Théorie de l’unité universelle, Dijon, Les presses du réel.

01 / in between
autumn 2008
168 pages
ISBN : 978-2-9518588-4-1
12 euros
chf 19
us $ 17
cnd $ 18
£ 10
¥ 1750