17 December 2016

Repetition/s: Performance Philosophy in Ljubljana

From 21 to 24 September 2016, I participated in the Performance Philosophy conference Repetition/s, hosted across venues in Ljubljana, Slovenia, including the University of Ljubljana and City Museum of Ljubljana.

My first academic conference, I used this occasion to expand on some research and writing I had begun early this year around the Argentinean poet Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972), and as a chance to hear and see lectures and performances by an array of fantastic international academics and artists working at the intersections of philosophy, performance, psychoanalysis, etc.

Ljubljana was the perfect location for these questions to come together, and some of the highlights include the performances AKTUATOR::2016 by Zupančič::Turšič::Živadinov, Botched Executuion by Vanessa Place, and The Collected Works of Victor Bergman by The Family; as well as lectures by Lucas Ballestín, Justin Clemens, Bojana Kunst, Dorota Sosnowska, Samo Tomšič, Mischa Twitchin, Christopher Wallace, Alenka Zupančič, and more; not to mention the dozens of great conversations had during the course of the conference!

This is the abstract for "Seeing Her Voices: Rehearsing Alejandra Pizarnik", delivered on Thursday 22 September 2016 at the Univeristy of Ljubljana (FA 415) in a session with Polona Tratnik and Nadia Bou Ali, chaired by Miklavž Komelj:

This text-lecture-reading-performance works with the words of Argentinean poet Alejandra Pizarnik in order to extract, not just the stone of madness, as the title of her recently published anthology avows, but the terminally displaced essence of her poetic oeuvre. Recently translated into English from Spanish, which I cannot speak, I approach Pizarnik from the presumed position of something always being missed – someone always being missed. I believe it is how she saw language, by the way, as a deathly construction to which she belonged in a manner excessively proportionate to her actual lack of belonging (for who belongs in language?). Language, words, her voices; that which would never fulfill their mandate but which nonetheless compelled her to undertake to make sense. “Where does this writing lead her?” Pizarnik asks, “To blackness, to the sterile and the fragmented.” And it’s not nonsense. Rather, being confronted with her writing forces me to recognize, by way of her, what I am in turn lacking, which is precisely the source of my desire for her, that is to say, for her writing – terminally displaced. It is a sort of Eros, as Anne Carson would describe it, or an exemplary form of Minimal Difference, as Žižek notes. The subject will always be found, thus, in its own negation. For Repetition/s, I seek to convey Pizarnik’s language, poetry, and voice as precisely vital because impossible (paraphrasing Jame Rodríguez-Matos). Recording, delay, citation, and repetition, trying to make sense; a rehearsal of sorts – if to rehearse is to endlessly prepare for the inevitable.

More info here: http://repetitions2016.org/participants/#88.

Many thanks to the organisers Ben Hjorth, Bara Kolenc, Gregor Modor, and Anna Street for hosting such an exciting event, and to all the new and old friends including Lucas Ballestín, Helen Brecht, Justin Clemens, Mauricio Gonzalez, Sigi Jöttkandt, Sami Khatib, Peter Klepec, Luka, Karl Sjölund-Teglund, Kiri Sullivan, Mischa Twitchin, Federico del Vecchio, Christopher Wallace, et al., for making these four days so much fun!


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