Friday, 1 October 2010

A1: Final Presentation

Decontextualization as Hybridity:

In Stifters Dinge, hybridization is decontextualization. Its starting point could be the assumption that the properties of an entity could find itself in a context other than its original. The actual enterprise of detaching something from its context results in the hybrid. The question of whether one should recognize or not recognize the original elements is probably not relevant in Stifters Dinge.

For instance, Goebbels uses traditional songs from Greece, New Guinea and Columbian Indians. It seems that Goebbels’ intention is not to arrive at an intercultural performance: he merely uses these songs as recorded by ethno-musicologists. Could this be considered as an ethical misuse?

How could we perceive hybridity in Stifters Dinge? First, as in all Goebbels productions, music, as an enveloping and ephemeral experience, is the tie that binds all the scenic elements together. It conditions the perception of the audience, what Bell calls a “human meditation” (152). Then, there is also a scene where a Ruisdael painting projected on a screen suddenly undergoes a color altering transformation. The staticness and finality of a painting is made to flow, therefore spontaneously providing a sense of oddity. This immediacy, intrinsic to this hybridization, makes it performative. Could hybridity be the (shocking) encounter in the present of previously heterogeneous (in time, space and nature) elements?

This seems to be the case here, as with the multiple types and levels of blurring what is given in the actuality. The blurring of time (e.g. juxtaposition of Levi-Strauss’ interview and Burroughs’ poetry); of space (e.g. transformation of the physical states of matter); of categories (e.g. fine art vs. folk art, art vs. non-art, natural vs. artificial); of the role of the performer (e.g. backstage hands as performers).

The experience of the performance in the “present” also yields ethical questions. What kind of response does the insertion of politically and historically charged discourses solicit? For example, Malcolm X’s speech could trigger a shift in the object of attention: should the audience focus on political implications or just on the sheer musicality of his voice? Is there something like a romanticizing of politics in this “trance” experience[1]? Or maybe this division between focuses is too straightforward, the question would be are the effects of the hybridization going on stage enriching or enclosing Malcolm X’s discourse?:

“Reading the list of recorded voices that Mr. Goebbels incorporates into this work, including William S. Burroughs and Malcolm X, may make “Stifters Dinge” sound like some heavy-handed rant. But the texts are used as much for their expressive and musical elements as for their content. And Mr. Goebbels has a keen feeling for how to structure and layer an 80-minute piece of music drama.” (O’Hagan)

Does a political discourse, when subjected to artistic process, lose its politicality?

“Like Charles Ives, Goebbels embraces a wildly heterogeneous world with a quixotic faith that it's all connected in the end. His works don't exist on the usual good vs. bad continuum; the question is whether he broadens your senses.”(Stearns)


Bell, Gelsey, “Driving Deeper into That Thing: The Humanity of Heiner Goebbels’ Stifters Dinge” The Drama Review, Vol.54 No.3, 2010, pp.150-158

O'Hagan, Sean, “It was bound to be interesting...” The Observer, Sunday 20 April 2008 (

Stearns, David Patrick, “Nothing to it: No - plot magic in N.Y.”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 December 2009,


[1] “Though there is a progression to the events of Stifter’s Dinge, the piece moves forward more like a dream than a story.” (Bell 150)

A2 Creative Class: Creating an interactive space (video presentation)

Thursday, 30 September 2010

A2 Creative Class: Creating an interactive space.

"I Need The Right Side"

This public activistic project and one kind of “displaced collaboration” is an artistic strategy in networked environment and can be looked at as a static performative element of performance practices. To start with, the concept of Creative Class defines the rise of a cultural wave of passive consumers becoming active creators, inserting inputs, manipulating everything around them, having initiative and developing specific preferences while remaining open for more options.

One of the first definitions of the context of the creative class is offered by Terry Flew, pointing at the ‘knowledge economy’ and the ‘new capacity to collaboratively develop, distribute, share and communicate knowledge’ (2003: p.22). And while networked ICTs offer a democratising of the capacity for participation in media production, new and unforeseen connections appear between arts, media and the technology sector: their pinnacle are the ‘creative industries’ (Flew, 2003: p.23), due to the fact that creativity is no longer linked only to arts, but to business, science or technology also (Flew, 2003: p.115). As a result, ’the cultural productions are now ‘collaborative, not necessarily driven by market criteria’ (Flew, 2003: p.93).

Moreover, this collaborative working together managed in so little time to provide an entire new ethic, where it is no longer only about ‘do it yourself’, but more and more about ‘do it yourself and together with everyone else interested’. Burgess (2006) talks about ‘vernacular creativity’ being possible and ‘emerging from non-elite social contexts and communicative conventions’ (Flew, 2003: p.111); Leadbeater & Miller are discussing the PRO-AM Revolution and how ‘innovative, committed and networked amateurs are working to professional standards’ (Flew, 2003: p.111), while Terry Flew reminds us of the ‘IT-related creative practice (ITCP)’ (2003: p.112) related to the ‘3 T-s’ of Technology, Talent and Tolerance (2003: p.172). This reminds us of the way in which, debating the future imaginative participation within the construction of knowledge, Marshall McLuhan has intuitively concluded that ‘this would seem to be a fate that calls men to the role of artist in society’ (1964: p. 310).

Similarly, in this new infusion of creativity and tolerance, <<informational-sharing is a powerful positive good>> (Raymond, 2000b)’ (Cuttlife, 2001: p.423). We think of users (spectators) as consumers in disguise: they began to act and produce, driven by different incentives that just financial ones.

If we agree that ‘the relationship between information, knowledge and creativity and the ways in which sustained technological and economic innovation are accompanied by social, cultural and institutional innovations is strongly connected to the rise of creative industries’ (Flew, 2003: p.186), then the usage of ‘new media’ (with the focus on technology) should be replaced by the usage of ‘social media’ (focusing upon society). Within the social media, creative inputs becomes the new currency of performing interactions.

What matters most is how users are ‘trading’ these inputs, redefining the popular culture throught more ‘rewarding relationships’, empowered by new technologies (Flew, 2003: p.111). The power of the networked is enforced by the belief that ‘the synergy is obtained by giving to others and receiving from others.’ (Castells, 2005: p.40.) Manuel Castells defines the networks as a ‘set of interconnected (...) absorbing more relevant information, and processing it more efficiently’ (2005: p.1), forming a ‘new social structure based on communication’ (2005: pp.5-6).

We give credit to this perspective as our online non-discursive performance triggered collective and connective actions that proves the distinction between simply publishing in Web 1.0 and real participation in Web 2.0. The participants are encouraged to continue the “story” in their own way, editing it, publishing it and finding afterwards a new departure point for continuing the idea. This illustrates the importance of taking in consideration local knowledge, context, meanings and experiences.

This social experiment remembered us about the Do-It-Yourself trend, a popular practice that leads to the rise of the Creative Class. With the help of mass-media and marketing techniques combined with leisure time, DIY gained fast a broad audience. Popularity allowed random people to “gain confidence in their craft skills, and take on increasingly challenging tasks” (Jackson, 2006: p.66).

This kind of empowerment allowed them to “express a more individual aesthetic unbounded by the strictures of mass-production and passive consumption (Atkinson, p.1), leading “to more aestheticized lifestyles” (Jackson, 2006: p.61). As presented by the literature accounts, the Do-it-Yourself trend allowed “the creation of goods in order to derive personal meaning (…) achieve a more individual sense of self (Atkinson, p.7).

Accordingly, for the Creative Class, the maintenance of self-identity is clearly an important one. Using the FaceGroup “I Need The Right Side”, we opened the stage for self- expression.

We are curious on reactions, ideas enthusiasm, boredom and, of course, rejection.

Although we were therefore initially afraid we might not get any response to our challenge at all, however the immediate enthusiastic responses we did receive to the project were striking. People went out and took photos especially for our project, while others browsed the extensive photo collection already on their respective computers. This specific, remarkable dedication and commitment to our project made us wonder whether there was a certain demand, or even a need for an assignment as such, more than we had realised to begin with.

Likewise, it was interesting to see the dichotomy in their approach to the task set. That is, while some based their associations on the photograph on already existing (created) images working their way back to the posted photo, others took the photo as a starting point to create new images. This dual mode of interpretation linked the project in a chain of past-present-future.

Moreover, it showed the different, often ambiguous, but always creative thought processes at work. Because of the endless possibilities this entails, the above unexpectedly added a more psychological viewpoint into the discussion for the (mass-) creation of art. We have therefore established a Facebook group for people everywhere to engage and (co)create, inviting a personal response, in the space of mass-communication.

Join us too, at!/group.php?gid=154799591218928

Similar example of our project, but with moving images can be found here:

Warwick 2: Intercultural Identity

Meet Yan Huang from China.

She likes to dress up...

....and go wild with style!

This is her Masai shawl and Brazilian hat...great for those frosty days out in the cold Shanghai metropolis.

...a trend setter, no doubt.

She fuses cultural styles...

...adopting different cultural attitudes.

*^/HiP hoP!*

Hip Hop is a GLOBAL culture!

We ask:
"Who am I?"

...And we ask...who the f*&^% are you?...(pardon...its about an attitude ;p)

We are the Lost Citizens?

We are global citizens?

The confused citizens?...

...The Intercultural Citizens.


Dear fellow MAIPR students and staff,

Today we were contacted by a prominent Austrian scholar specialized in performances in cyber spaces, professor Post Akomment, who stumbled upon our MAIPR blog and Youtube posting and got intereseted in our small project about subverting performance space. He made contact with us so we shared details of our work and in the end he was kind enough to write a brief reflexion on what he had found out. We would kindly ask you to take some time and have a look at his blog to see what he thinks. Please follow the link.

Best wishes,


Warwick Group 3: Ghabrusstaintaica: A Performance of Interculturalism