Discoteca Flaming Star: Agora Conversations
For the exhibition SAY IT LOUD. on words and actions, Discoteca Flaming Star created the video Agora in September 2012 as a performative actualisation of their temporary installation Banner Study for an Agora.
The installation was up on the facade of District until 20 April 2013. The video continues to be shown after the dismantling of the installation.
Based on the structure of the video, which from Monday to Sunday proposes seven poetic phrases in a reflection on time, performativity and space, Discoteca Flaming Star and curator Suza Husse exchanged daily emails between 1 and 7 April. A textual structure gradually developed from these Agora Conversations that can be followed below:
From: Discoteca Flaming Star; Date: April, 8 2013 23:31:01 GMT+02:00; To: Suza Husse; Subject: Re: Agora Conversations 7
Good Evening Suza,
The dancer stands still and leans with her back against the wall. A shadow flickers in the front left edge of the image.
In the next frame, she walks towards the viewer.
She rests against another point on the same wall.
Monday. Defending as ones own life
Artworks are meant to be a proposal. A proposal to be able to see or comprehend or condense and think something, which would be impossible without it. The banner is the attempt at a possible agora. Fragile, unfinished, limited in time but insisting on its necessity.
The film Agora plays within, with, and on this attempt.
“There is a radical difference between political and poetic discourse. Political discourse must declare a defined goal; it can hesitate in terms of its means and ways but not in terms of its goal. Writing greatly consists of indignation, upsurge and production of unconsciousness, writing is Eurydice who sees the back of Orpheus, but he, Orpheus, does not see either himself or Eurydice.”
Hélène Cixous, Écriture Féminine
Bye for now. Thank you.
From: Suza Husse; Date: April 8, 2013 11:56:35 GMT+02:00; To: Discoteca Flaming Star; Subject: Agora Conversations 7
Good morning Discoteca Flaming Star,
Today the janitor hits the beat with his broom against the wooden stairs out in the hallway.
It was delightful to move in words with you to changing melodies, rhythms and sounds. Like a flirt on the dance floor with others dancing between us. A fragile connection, touching almost randomly. Short conversations at the bar remain without the promise of a rendezvous. Sure enough we are going to meet again.
as a discrete
Give it all up, free yourself. Be in the moment, without past or future. Forget definitions and categories, learn to see and feel. Utopian anxiety? Art?
The dancer stands still. What do you wish for the space that remains when the “Banner Study for an Agora” clears away?
Bye for now. Thank you.
From: Suza Husse; Date: April 7, 2013 14:23:02 GMT+02:00; To: Discoteca Flaming Star; Subject: Re: Agora Conversations 6
It is late enough for the sun to be shining again. Perhaps time has been turned around, and our memories are dreams and dystopias of the future?
Remembering can also be a form of solidarity with the lost, the displaced, and those ousted into forgetting. In view of the amnesia or exploitation of remembrance by repressive and exploitative economies, remembering can become resistance, a political gesture. The artist Minouk Lim, together with the composer Minwhee Lee, has created a song without words, which is available for anyone wanting to remind of places that don’t exist anymore or people who have been displaced. The score, sound files and videos are online. http://hit-run-seoul.org/archives/663
All the best until Sunday
PS I imagine the light of the dancer’s garment to taste of the long journey of a meteorite, resembling the feeling a snowflakes on the tongue.
From: Discoteca Flaming Star; Date: April 6, 2013 11:02:26 GMT+02:00; To: Suza Husse; Subject: Agora Conversation 6
Black digital artifacts accompany the dancer as she passes the camera. She comes so close to the lens that only a blurry glistening and glimmering can be seen, almost touching the eye of the viewer. How would the light taste if it could be touched with the tongue?
Contributing to the present as well as the past and the future with one’s preoccupation.
Having allies amongst the dead, the absent and the fictive.
Trying to be always ready to meet something that seems distant. Distant in time, in space, and in probability.
Meeting something unfamiliar that has never been remembered perhaps.
From: Discoteca Flaming Star; Date: April 6, 2013 00:35:57 GMT+02:00; To: Suza Husse; Subject: Re: Agora Conversations 4/5
Good Evening Suza,
Our day was particularly nice indeed. It was slightly chilly at times, but the sun was shining. We went to a vast wasteland in the south of Madrid, in Ciudad Los Angeles. It closely resembles places where Pasolini shot some of his films. Accattone, for example, or The Hawks and the Sparrows.
First the dancer disappears in the glistening light and then she wanders further. Her thoughts lead her past and through the camera! In the film, she never leaves the agora. She always speaks in lines. Nevertheless.
Perhaps zombie-zombies exist, perhaps they are also the only creatures that cannot suffer loss, like one famous monster, Mary Shelly’s character from Frankenstein, which was the only creature who knew that god did not exist because it personally knew its own creator of course.
More than anything else, the creature accused Dr. Frankenstein of creating something that cannot love and cannot be loved.
(…) ‘Cause I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste
I don’t wanna die
But I ain’t keen on living either
Before I fall in love
Written by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers in 2002
From: District Suza Husse; Date: April 5, 2013 11:51:46 GMT+02:00; To: Discoteca Flaming Star; Subject: Re: Agora Conversations 4/5
Writing is also a musical journey.
We were floating into the night under Paul Sochacki’s and Roman Schramm’s spaceship-chandelier made of twigs and sparkling fabric. The opening went on until late; I could not write yesterday evening.
The dancer dissolves into blinding white on Thursday and reminds me of the end of Arthur Gordon Pym, who disappears into a marvelous drift of white (after the expedition to the South Pole ends with the death of all of the ship’s crew on the unknown island Tsalal. Death is actually a misunderstanding. The white conquerors/explorers do not understand the language and signs of the islanders who fear everything white). But also the glittering light of nuclear extermination. horror vacui. Is the notion of the end prerequisite for a speculative treatment of reality? Are there zombie-zombies who embody the remaining zombies’ loss after the headshot? The deformance is something I have to think about.
Today she is wandering, and her thoughts lead her past the camera, through herself.
Playing for some loving serenity
I believe Franco Berardi always says love is the only way to start a revolution. What do you love? And what is the love of the future?
By the way, the quote above is from Peter Weibel, Schriftmusik, 1967, paper music.
Have a nice day!
From: Discoteca Flaming Star; Date: April 4, 2013 10:31:13 GMT+02:00;To: Suza Husse; Subject: Agora Conversations 4
Good Morning Suza,
Yesterday we spent hours at the hairdresser’s, reading or rather looking at Vogue. All the girls (and of course also boys) in this magazine are younger, slimmer and more beautiful than virtually anyone looking at them. They wear clothes that hardly any of the readers can afford. Still, we left the hairdresser feeling happy and content. Perhaps it was because the name of the salon was Ailobiu.
The dancer disappears in the glistening light. The wind blows. The camera is slightly shaking. The banner has a light, velvety black swell.
Shooting for documents of imagination
Art embodies truths that historical documents cannot articulate. The artist’s ability to reinvent himself in the future harbours the potential to form a collective together with his audience.
Zombies give a body to loss. In order to kill them, they have to be shot in the head. Killing death. Tenderly rejecting the beloved. The mourner can call loss by its name. Mourning establishes the collective.
Muldoon in “Survival of the Dead” and Hershel in “The Walking Dead” make a stand against this and try to live with it.
The third possibility remains, because there is no world exterior to this, to be eaten alive.
Perhaps performance could be replaced by deformance and we could come up with utopian desires?
What and how would this be?
What and where would these be?
We are going to the park now, to drink a coffee and go to Reina Sofia to see the exhibition Tableau Vivant by Azucena Vieites.
Best wishes DFS
From: Discoteca Flaming Star; Date: April 3, 2013 20:54:55 GMT+02:00; To: Suza Husse; Subject: Re: Agora Conversations 3
Good Evening Suza,
The Don Quixote-Borges story you mentioned yesterday sounds beautiful. We have not read it ourselves. We have only been told.
Valentina’s sentences sound something like this: Culo raba no. Pez enter pan more mama oso puzzle kaputt. Leche tina too more eitan no tei. Papa silla shoes on.
Harbouring as part of a collective
The dancer Laurie Young walks carefully, embraced by the light, carrying her thoughts with her along the agora, talking to her and the viewers. She is the centre and periphery of the event.
Dancers are more likely to know that they need each other. Artists tend to the misapprehension that they want to be alone.
Our feeling is that art is always made by more than one person, by more than one gender, at more than one time.
It is based on dialogue with the world and the people around us, a dialogue with those present and absent.
We are embraced by a collective of others, which can be a source of pleasure and excitement, but also constricting and estranging. Your own desire constantly has to be held in balance with the collective’s necessities.
Or installation “Banner Study for an Agora” at District on the grounds of Malzfabrik is a fragile attempt in an endangered space. Like the passages described by Benjamin, Malzfabrik is under private ownership. It is partly publicly accessible and functions similarly to a shopping mall as a public space. This is where it poses questions around the building blocks of community. The film we are discussing, “Agora”, is an actualisation and extension of the installation. Going away from local and temporal limitations and into a poetic, filmic space without its own body.
Best wishes DFS
PS…the story of our name would take up too much space here. It was a fiction, then a love of Elvis, then tiredness, then a village disco in Almería.
From: District Suza Husse; Date: April 3, 2013 13:47:01 GMT+02:00; To: Discoteca Flaming Star; Subject: Agora Conversations 3
Today it has taken me some time to write because the morning was spent in conversation with Lorenzo Sandoval about the precarious bodies of our time. We are preparing something new with the title “dissident desire” for the summer. Wednesday’s motive was very fitting:
Harbouring as part of a collective
The erotic of the collective of agoraphilia? What kind of protagonist is she? In which way is she constituted through the invisible protocols of space, form, history and discourses around her? She is not alone. Is she speaking to someone? Is it us, behind the camera, with our longing for community? Jean Renoir once said the agora of the old Greeks was a place dedicated to an exchange of the ideas on which community is constructed as well as a place in which nothing “happened”. Art seems to be one of the few places where this inertia of producing, this fervour of imagination, can be dreamt.
Where is democracy being performed today? Piotr Piotrowski has used the term “agoraphilia” to describe the potential of co-determining public debates in spaces of art (to which he also counts biennials and other mega exhibitions). How do you position yourselves in these symbolic-political infrastructures?
And what about the artists collective as camouflage for a micro-political space?
Looking forward to your next letter.
PS: How actually did your name come about?
From: Suza Husse; Date: April 3, 2013 00:27:09 GMT+02:00; To: Discoteca Flaming Star; Subject: Re: Agora Conversations 2
Good Evening Christina and Wolfgang,
Do you know the story of the writer who surrendered himself to the attempt of rewriting Don Quixote word for word? His interval lies in the overlapping of memory, forgetting and the indistinct image of a book not yet written, or perhaps also between cannibalistic incorporation and recreation (perhaps also “reenactment”?).
From King-Kong art and notions of reality to movements in mourning. Everyone is longing for spring. In Berlin, not a day passes without cursing the winter misery. By now it seems to stand for anything micro or macro-depressive. What does Valentina say in her short sentences?
In the middle of the story I just mentioned (by Borges), this nice quote from Poe appears out of nowhere:
Ah, bear in mind, this garden was enchanted.
Have a good night, until tomorrow.
From: Discoteca Flaming Star; Date: April 2, 2013 09:12:31 GMT+02:00; To: Suza Husse; Subject: Agora Conversations 2
Good Morning Suza,
We are on the way to León to see the exhibition of Geta Brătescu. Yesterday we visited Antonio Ballester in his studio to talk to him about his new paintings. Valentina speaks sentences of 3-5 words, mostly in Spanish. We talked about Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night, Susan Buck-Morss’ Dialectics of Seeing, Peter Weiss, skin-coloured lipstick and the stock exchange in Madrid.
TUESDAY Moving as weeping King Kongs
Memories made flesh, moving (themselves)?
Embodiments of truths that cannot be articulated by historical documents?
The possibility of new feelings and insecurities?
The dancer glistens and, striding tenderly.
Christina + Wolfgang
From: Discoteca Flaming Star; Date: April 1, 2013 23:13:45 GMT+02:00; To: Suza Husse; Subject: Re: Agora Conversations 1
Good Evening Suza,
In a recent conversation with the biologist Marta Magariños in Madrid, she concluded a discussion about art with the declaration: “I want art to be larger than life (…) in order for it to relate to my life. The world is too small for my desires, but art can handle them!”
It has to be a matter of everything. Never less.
If there were a court hearing on reality, the work of DFS would serve as proof for the fact that fragility is and can be part of reality.
Through layers of confusions. Insistence. Interruptions. Hesitation. Interims. The in-between is where no one and nothing dominates.
Together in thoughts, the agora blows away, thinking along.
From: Suza Husse; Date: April 1, 2013 12:41:10 GMT+02:00; To: Discoteca Flaming Star; Subject: Agora Conversations 1
Good Morning Discoteca Flaming Star,
To enter into our diary conversation and because “agora” begins with the formulation of a defense, I am sending you several newspaper headlines from today, 1 April (Easter Monday). The topics are the usual: war, religion, revolution and repression, pharmacy-dictatorship, economic crisis.
Conflict with North Korea: South Korea threatens Kim Jong Un with military retaliation (Spiegel Online), Faith in East Germany: Under an empty sky (Süddeutsche), Satiric Bassem Youssef on trial: Egyptian’s judiciary takes action against regime critic (Tagesspiegelfh) Novartis loses Indian patent case: Supreme Court rejects application for cancer drug Glivec (Financial times), The danger of German complacency: McKinsey’s world (faz)
MONDAY Defending something as one’s own life
A dancer walks towards the old factory wall, perhaps there is an entrance, later it can be seen that it is a bricked-up window. She stops, looks up, the dark netting blows softly in the wind.
I wonder how “defense” could be discussed in relation to your artistic practice. Because our bodies, languages, relationships and social expectations exist in increasingly fragmented or precarious conditions, the necessity to defend something as one’s own life can be related to extremely diverse areas of the present. At the same time, there has to be a difference between one’s own life and the one to defend, in order for such a comparison to work at all. Where, in your view, is the dividing line and how would you define a defense strategy within the framework of your art? What is worth being defended, and how?
Bye for now. Tomorrow it’s your turn.