The Critical Magic: Probability Praxis Series has come to an end. We just made our 28th full show of the series and we want to show our appreciation to all of those who were part of the process of bringing this project into being.
The music and texts for Critical Magic emerged from the site specific performance “Spectral Rite” at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2014); in collaboration with the artists Sylbee Kim and Nico Pelzer. The music was mixed by HYENAZ and Bartłomiej Kuźniak, with High Definition Mastering by Bartłomiej Kuźniak at Studio333. Thanks to Yeorg Kronnagel for makeup design, styling and accessories and Juan Chamié at House of EXIT for costumes. We are grateful to Quecke Autonomous Feminist Community for providing the space to conceive the Spectral Rite performance and record the Critical Magic album. Finally, but not least, thanks to our label SPRINGSTOFF for believing in this project and releasing this album into the world, along with Critical Magic Remixed.
We have presented this work for the past two years as an open workshop series called Probability Praxis. This process has allowed us to comment and blog about the performances in an effort to improve them, creating a dynamic and unique show every repetition. We want to thank each and every one of our INTERLOCUTORS who have danced live and on screen with us throughout this series. They have helped to create worlds and pictures that they themselves uniquely curated and designed in the moment. Our Interlocutors throughout this series have been:
Federica Dauri, ReveRso, Valentin Tszin, Nuit Nile, Donato, Savage Slit, David Wampach, Nathalie Mondot, Hana Frisonsova, Tereza Silon, Non la Décadence, Lu, Bishop Black, Olave Nduwanje, Pascal Mourits, Sanne van Driel, Yareth Habermehl, Dennis Snorremans, Lizzie Masterton, Mil Vukovic-Smart, ROC, Simon(è) Jaikiriuma Paetau, Danilo Andres, Yozhi Yazooma, Mojmir Mechura, Ambra Stucchi, Charlotte Busch, Isabel Jagoda, Joschi Rotheneder and Anonymous
The wood has become symbolic, to me, of the nature of the performance right now, its strengths which are also its weaknesses. The fixity of the performance, its text, sound and images. They are so strong, as powerful as the log with which I bash a hole through the borders of magical reality at the end of the performance. They are so strong that they work in spite of any context in which we find ourselves. And yet…
This holds back our ritual from being truly dynamic in the way that we would like it to be, so that we are not only carrying others in the ritual but are carried along by them. Only at certain moments of the performance where there is openness (the end, when the soundtrack concludes), does this moment of autonomy from the audience occasionally emerge, where people pick up the instruments take the microphone, sing sing sing, only in these moments is the performance “free”.
This ending which only sometimes, very rarely manifests itself has to be the model for the new iteration of this evolving idea.
Proximity began as a numinous experience of wetland life in the Barmah Lakes in Yorta Yorta Country. Surrounded by frogs clicking at one another (and at us), responding in an aural choreography to our every movement.
Our latest multimedia work, PROXIMITY, has been released by Interim: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics for their Body Issue. This issue has been carefully curated by Autumn Widdoes, who took the opportunity to integrate her background in dance, performance, and poetry, to actively include works which “require the presence of the body.” We are so pleased to be part of this expansive approach to poetics and we are eternally grateful to the artists who made this work with us: movers Danilo Andrés, Tereza Silon, Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau, Bishop Black and ROC and cinematographers Jo Pollux and Raja de Luna.
Proximity, we might say, underlies everything–and nothing. A measurement of distance, an exactitude that defines a broad range of emotional perspectives and access to privilege. Birthright. Mobility. Trust. Community. Family. Language. Safety. Neighbor. Care–if one cares and how one cares.
But then again–does proximity bind? And what, if anything, is modified in the exchange of touch, skin contact? At the point of acceleration–what’s the thing that draws us together? That motivates care? And in the absence of touch, of proximity–what then? Do digital proximities fill in the emotional gaps, does VR substitute skin contact? Is Proximity, then, a hallucination? A necessary hallucination?
Building on the previous methods we developed for our work BINARIES, we utilized techniques and forms of attentiveness to create a work of A/V poetry: frames as syllables, seconds as stanzas, text merged with image, bodies merged into other bodies, subjects merged into objects.
Proximity attempts to represent not answers but questions, questions which are more often felt than articulated because their formation escapes both everyday and specialist academic vocabularies. They are questions posed by the skin, by orifices, by a gaze that mediates recognition or its opposite, care or its opposite across a room, across a skype call, across a Guardian front page.
These questions are suggested but not wholly contained by the video’s text:
do you recognize me my your sovereignty / I am not close to you / I am not there / it is not me / I make better contact with your ghost / how much of my body could I lose / does our proximity bind us / I am afraid to touch / I might get a sense of you if you were within / reach / the further away you are the easier it is to ignore you / are we close / even though we touch / I you can’t hear my your voice / proximity
These corporal questions are multiplied by the encounters that proliferate as a consequence of hypermediated thought and speech acts. Ultimately they form a territory for experience. Other bodies, present in their absence, or absent in presence, disturb my relations to my own body enmeshes my body in ever-multiplying exchange practices – of money, of fluids, of goods, of glances exchanged.
Each of these interlocutors is a singularity in and of itself. The other that is the subject/object of my gaze/desir/touch, or in whose gaze/desire/touch I am objectified/subjectivised, this other deserves its own question that is not subsumed in meta ethical questions like “how should others be treated?” Yet the work of asking this question for all the entities with which we are connected exceeds the limits of expression.
Proximity does not seek to ask the question for every body present to consciousness but to identify the necessity of seeing each relation we have — even those we have to invisible others via media, geopolitics and global systems of manufacturing and food harvesting — as worth questioning, as worth raising as a form of potential intimacy.
PROXIMITY is the first in a series of singles, associative mixed reality performances and audio visual installations that interact with the conceptual origins of the auditory process, entitled Foreign Bodies. The work has been developed through the practice of learning from individuals and communities who move in resistance to, in spite of, and as a result of the management and control of bodies by states and other authoritarian actors.