spectatorship, evoking gesture

Courtesy of Antonia Hirsch

antonia hirsch
vox pop
still from 2-channel video installation

Notes Toward a Minor Performance

Julia Kristeva, "Arendt and Aristotle: An Apologia for Narration," in Hannah Arendt: Life is a Narrative:

"We note that the actor himself, the actor alone, however heroic his exploit, does not constitute heroic action. Heroic action is such only if it becomes memorable. Where do we find this memory? It is spectators who complete the story in question, and they do so through thought, thought that follows upon the act. This is a completion that takes place through evoked memory, without which there is nothing to tell. It is not the actors, but the spectators, if they are capable of thought and memory, who turn the polis into an organization that is creative of memory and/or history/histories" (p.16).

What Is a Stadium?

In his essay "What Is a Camp?", Giorgio Agamben attempts to locate a political-juridical structure of the camp form that allowed and facilitated the atrocities and crimes against humanity committed in their spaces. But rather than a sad footnote consigned to the archives of history, he suggests, the camp endures as a diagram of the biopolitical condition located throughout the contemporary global context of what we have referred to elsewhere as Empire.

To be sure, in excavating those sites of horror such as Dachau or Auschwitz, Agamben does not mean to suggest that each of us today lives the embodied politics and naked existence of those who have ever been embroiled in the concentration camp or refugee camp. Rather, in developing earlier work by Hannah Arendt he illustrates how the camp-as-form operates "as the hidden matrix of the politics in which we still live, and we must learn to recognize it in all of its metamorphoses" (Means Without End: Notes on Politics, p. 44).

my tattoo
Tattoo on my ankle of a basketball with my university jersey number inside.

Most assuredly, the metamorphoses of which Agamben describes can and should be located on a spectrum of trauma, pain, embodiment and what he refers to as the sheer reduction to zoe or naked life. In drawing the matrixial relations between the concentration camp proper and the camp-as-form that structures other biopolitical contexts — as I will suggest, for example, with postmodern sport and the contemporary stadium — I do not mean to draw an equivalence between the Holocaust victim and the high performance athlete. Rather, I wish to identify in a non-trivial sense those structuring principles found in the most extreme version of the camp and how they, in their metamorphosis to the ludic arena, may also be found to structure and govern the biopolitics of those most purportedly noble pursuits we call sport.

(from chapter one in "body+politics: towards a sporting multitude," a work-in-progress doctoral dissertation for the european graduate school of media and communications)

Happy Mother's Day


[03/05/2009 1:58:39 PM]

sportsbabel says: please say thanks to your mom……!
sportsbabel says: you are our relation……
sportsbabel says: (smiley)

[03/05/2009 1:58:55 PM]

The Moebius Strip of Control

It used to be of greater consequence whether an individual was located in front of the camera (participant) or in front of the screen (spectator), but that holds less true today. When considering contemporary aesthetics and politics, camera and screen no longer provide distinct or mutually exclusive subject positions, bound up as they are in the moebius strip of surveillance and spectacle, or the moebius strip of control. As Arendt and Virilio would suggest, the substance of technological progress also contains the catastrophe of the accident — and the erosion of democratic principles may be witnessed as the accident of camera+screen.

Courtesy of ESPN

ESPN, the "Worldwide Leader in Sports," uses "never before seen" surveillance camera footage for an Outside the Lines segment alleging the involvement of Adam "Pacman" Jones' entourage in an Atlanta nightclub shooting June 18, 2007. Jones was not charged by police. In this snapshot of Jones' biography on Wikipedia, 24 out of 54 references were from ESPN.com.