mind the gap
[…] I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man.
(Act 1, Scene 7)1
Mind the Gap, this year’s title for Action Field Kodra 2016. It is the second time (the first one back in 2009) I have been assigned on short notice to undertake the project so we can make it and facilitate its continuation, exposed as we are to evident shortage, difficulties and unforeseen obstacles, “Mind the Gap!”
In its long course, this tradition has been cherished by its audience and now belongs to it. Its existence, as Agamben states, entails the emotional tonality of “self-enjoyment” as proposed by Deleuze and Plotinus, and belongs to those “small joys through which being happy means finding therein the strength to resist villainy”2.
By way of synergies in a context of “a condition of exception”, the aim of a group of artists and theoreticians who were asked to constructively and ingeniously respond to the imperative need to coproduce meaning from a critical and up-to-date point of view.
We are already experiencing the anguish of the age of crisis. Utopias’ era is long past. Lengthy narratives have collapsed. Disorientation and chaos triggered thereby have caused breaches, cracks and gaps to the collective unconscious, eventually leading to the exile of common consciousness. What we take interest in is the desire for a way out of this Hell. However, “impossible as it might seem, it is precisely this impossibility of the attempt that reveals its own effectiveness. It is the extreme difficulty of the task of liberation, the coarseness of resistance and the primeval power of survival that reveal to us the way which brings us up against chaos, in that actual chaos”. We truly understand this urge to construct and “create a productive fantasy”3.
In this context of necessity and under such circumstances of exception, Kodra 2016, “Mind the Gap”, literally constitutes an attempt to fill our gaps against the suffocating objective circumstances with reformative solutions, in the same way a womb gestates the inseminated oncoming. Desire, divergence, body, unconscious, pleasure, slippery signifier, living experience, political, every-day, disguised or non-disguised myths are at all times the early seed that will produce the final fruit through the processes of viewing, equilibrium, selflessness, and release of aesthetic experience as proposed by Dewey, by integrating spiritual and practical experiences4.
For an endeavor to come to life, it takes a condition that will lead to its release. And this condition clearly results from dialogue, antinomies, contradictions, the refutation of its own self-delusion, its redefinition, in an art that even today moves within a dipole: eventually, the emperor is naked also in Richard Rorty’s folksy admonition: “Don’t scratch where it doesn’t itch”. With regard to fate, Hermann Cohen states “it is the order of things that triggers off and brings about this violation, this fall”5. While Terry Eagleton notes that since it is possible for one to become involved so as their attempt ensures public appeal, we can expect controversy, dispute, divergence, conflict, a condition which is the complete opposite of some painless utopia6. “For: every bloodless touch feels like Play-Station: you lose-you win, then get back into your warm bed”7.
Action Field Kodra 2016
1 William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Heinemann Educational Books, London, 1982, p. 73
By approaching this famous excerpt of Shakespeare’s work via close reading we refrain from seeking the author’s intentions (intentional fallacy) and a subjective interpretation is applied here through the reader’s feelings (affective fallacy). In these verses, the notion of courage is strangely used, as if a woman addressed a soldier-fighter. Courage is the distinguishing virtue of a soldier, and the reproach of cowardice cannot be borne by any man from a woman, without great impatience.” “Dr Johnson’s works – Miscellaneous pieces”, Oxford, by Talboys and Wheeler and W.Pikering, London. σ.69
2 Giorgio Agamben, Derive Approdi, issue 9/10, 1996
3 A. Negri, Chaosmos, El Mundo, 1991, and L'inverno è finito. Scritti sulla trasformazione negata (1989-1995), Castelvecchi Publications, Rome, 1996
4 Monroe C. Beardsley, Aesthetics from classical Greece to the present: Α short history, Nefeli Publications, Athens, 1989, p. 327
5 Hermann Cohen, Ethnik de reines Willens, 2nd edition, Berlin 1907, p. 362
6 Terry Eagleton, After Theory, Morality, Metaixmio Publications, p. 231
7 Thanassis Triarides addendum to Salome, one-act tragedy by Oscar Wilde, Gutenberg Publications, p. 213