latest biari

BIARI has been great – a remarkable cohort… also a complete time-carnivore. Did some summing up yesterday – here’s some notes. Cleans up and extends some old vocabulary; the rubrics are starting to make more sense…


To pursue an ethical course of action, know what you are in the middle of – what our options for movement are. If you have no options you are either perfectly realized or destroyed. The middle for example may be class, or – your perfect problem – the way in which you are in absolute tension.


What is the middle? If it is something other than hell, then it is creative; hell is the absence of creation. Creativity is continuous action, to be different from itself moment to moment it moves against itself, counter to itself; it contradicts itself – it oscillates (Derrida: creative action is what we must do, in that situation where it is impossible to know). In our creativity, our capacity, we will be burned up unless we approximate, get something wrong, move out of this and into decision. Art is what we get wrong in order to save ourselves from creativity. The vibration of a guitar string is a note when it is relative to what it is not. The basic structure of sound is: attack, decay, sustain and release – always transforming out of itself.


Move from this agitation – from the heart or middle of yourself – to avoid being worn away. If class, a state of being, a state is creative, it is dynamic, if it is being created and ceding its creation.


To be faithful is to be public (personally present), to be hopeful is to join your will to a separate will/personal or not (to become plural), to be charitable is to be that which is given (redistributive in the sense that you are redistributed; fire and courage); what’s left is to become one (to cease doing and to be the name of action; to be forgiven – to be put in new relationship to oneself, to be given a new self – specifically a new name and face, the name and face you had before you were born, to be outside of history; to be the work), and then to be medial, a self for others. The public sector is faithful (disinterested), civil society is hopeful (interested), artistic practice is charitable (free of content – useless, violent, making space), we move to a letting go of art and art letting go of us, into a state of pure “letting” – or the anarchist ideal – chaos, or un-imposed order, where all orders are ecologically cooperative. We want to be decreated versus uncreated – restored to perpetual indecision, than to know what you are doing. Hell is full of people who have made their last decision and who are sticking by it; hell is full of people who know exactly what they are doing.


Pursue need vs. surplus. In choosing the path of growth, prefer need, and not your own, rather than the object of satisfaction, especially where it is controlled by force. The atmosphere becomes thicker and thicker. Rather, work hopefully/socially, and charitably, meaning you are giving things away. If you are in good faith, meaning you are available, and if you are hopeful, meaning plural, you’ll be sustained. The only sustainable economy is barter based on trust; the essence of money and written contracts is distrust.


We see how we love one another in acts of hospitality. “Who is washing you?” Hospitality is the making of space in a way that puts one at risk – we own less. If we do not own less, we haven’t made space; so we open in particular to those in need. “Doubt is a force for change.”


Our trace is our art, where we have been. Write your brains out, give yourself away.


Moving discussion away from class – we surrender safety through a change of heart, and art is a consequence of the way we live; theory the same; capital is the stain or remnant of action.



Performance is built on mortality – mixed. Impure. Depend on impurity – impurity is our medium.


Law offers the pretense of neutrality but actually concentrates power. Blindness:  “I’m colorblind” = “everybody’s white”.


Witness: to believe it has happened – to become complicit – your outcome is to cause belief. We can’t pray or commemorate without belief. Prayer is to believe and to speak. We too often simply speak, or believe as if that is the end of it. [The shadow; Pliny.]


NGO’s tweaking the vocabulary – Is Forum Theater the Google of Performance?


Desensitization; to the extent you are desensitized, you are not looking at the right thing…


If you have to do outreach, you’re in the wrong place.


Assessment: not our job.


Language of poets – beyond calculation (translate your grants into poetry).


A function of memorial art – to produce levity without letting go, without knowing it in a way you can forget it. To manufacture a space hospitable to the unlovely.


A function of tragedy is to generate kitsch; a function of comedy can be to destroy it; if at the heart of performance is learning – then it is not the sense but the implication. To be human is to imply. A construct is something that hides, so that what is hidden is transformed.



  1. Is the work live and held in common? Does it entertain – meaning, does it hold us together, equitably? Does it lead to the redistribution of material resources, rather than the concentration? What is being given away and what is being received?
  2. Is the work invisible; or: is it in motion – or is it in pursuit of orthodoxy? Is it active/activist – operating in vulnerability to chance/nature? Is it subject to decay?
  3. Does it protect alterity? Is it Diverse?
  4. Is it hospitiable? In danger of the other – nearly not itself.
  5. Is the wound fecund – moving to mutuality without obviating the wound?
  6. Does it wait? Does it learn? Is it faithful?
  7. Does it persevere? How is the work part of what’s ongoing, and how does it go on?


Is it useful to chaos?

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