[soulogrphie, ten months out.
thinking about difficulty, and social change vs. improving efficiency.]
The esthetic principle we’re after grounds excellence in difficulty; not in perfection, but in the breaking of best intentions – in the test of intentions by driving them to the point where they crack. I’m speaking concretely – the difficulty of walking on stage, of rendering an environment, of speaking. Also the difficulty of super-human ease and swiftness (the collapse of years and miles). This is in the line of Noh, which I misunderstand persistently and badly, but which is nonetheless my teacher.
Change is a breakdown, a shedding, a flowing out without return. If we want social change, we want difficulty – our best intentions are merely very good if they don’t end in the failure of our will – if they don’t cast us into a power beyond our current capacities – if we are not newly collective, newly witness to each other.
The address to genocide requires that we be-with, that we witness and be witnessed (that we confess to our incapacity for action, to our distorted motives, to our confusion and incomplete knowledge). To find reward in the difficulty of understanding on a path that continues to move forward (in difficulty) forever, without achieving a portable understanding, or despairing of understanding – is the reward of esthetic hope (patience, perseverance in difficulty – not efficiency in space and time).
The contemporary sense of what information is and how it needs to flow advertizes efficiency – values brevity and accessibility. We want to get it and go. Our movements for social change will have to camp in inarticulation/multiple articulations for longer stretches, the dramaturgy of occupation. Can we invite audiences to occupy our theaters?