Saturday, 15 December 2012

Louise's thoughts 15/12/12. Things I personally would like to explore through the OPEN PLAN project

Attempts at Utopia, or, Playing Rugby with Brecht.

I am currently thinking about the structures of capitalism and the state, and how they are played out through the law and what part the sovereign plays, etc. This stems from my repeated reading of A Thousand Plateaus.

I have been thinking about the plays Brecht wrote that were for ordinary people to rehearse - the rehearsals themselves were the performance and there was no audience - the audience and the actors were one. Brecht wanted to use the processes of playing and rehearsal to initiate group conversation and reflection upon socio-political ideas - to resist what Marx called 'alienation'.

From these thoughts on rehearsal, I have been thinking about the word 'essay' (and 'essai' in french, which means try or attempt). The essay was invented as a literary form by 16th century french writer Montaigne. This has led me to think about the very english idea 'it's not a goal but it's a good try' - which was alledgedly what Rugby School's sports teacher said when William Webb Ellis supposedly invented rugby while playing football and subverting the rules. I like this idea of a try, or a rehearsal, an attempt. The space we create could be utopian in this way (utopia means nowhere, so it is a dream space but it also has to be pragmatic in some way so it can be beliveable and hopeful, because utopia doesn't work unless it feels like it could happen, even though it is never fully attainable). John Jordan's film Paths Through Utopia is really relevant.

I am also interested in the shape of the rugby ball and the way it is designed so that it is slippery/unpredictable/omnidirectional. I think it relates to the shape of the Occupy movement and Deleuze and Guattari's idea of a rhizomatic spatial mode- the potential to pop up at any place or time, a contingent spatial 'becoming'. In A Thousand Plateaus they talk about the difference between the game Chess and the game Go. I am thinking a lot about social structures and how they are reinforced in real space (the police as performers of this structure, which make the law physical and present, like scaffolding that is always being remade and moved). Form and formlessness (in George Bataille's sense) are ideas I keep coming back to.

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