Parasitic Noisification: A Four-Part Dance Blog by Andre Lepecki, #3

I would like to try out the following experiment instead – what would happen if we approach the current emphasis on dancing as an investigation of the conditions of affirming actions among the ruling parasitical? A resistance or even opposition to the ruling hegemony of communication as the rule. This would necessarily lead to an investigation of the noisy nature of all transmission once a choreographic score is activated by a dancer. What would happen to approach dancing as a mode of expressing the dancer’s task not as “transmitter” or a “channel” for choreographic ideas or forms? Particularly not one of communicating ideas, feelings, affects, words, images “of the” choreographer to the audience — as if the dancer was but a stable, noiseless channel linking neutrally emitter and receiver in supposedly shared (sympathetic) “code”. What I think it could happen under such model would be the revelation that dancing displays the highly “amazing” (Serres) capacity of making beyond any communicational imperative; dancing affirms a capacity to actioning amongst the plethoric noise. This a-semiotic formation of affirmative (or actioning) dancing as a doing of the dancer, rescues not only the aesthetic away from the semiotic, but pulls dancing away from theological images about “creating” that infest our collective imagination (artistic creation as the smooth expulsion of a content [idea] into form [direct communication of the idea into matter]). Parasitic paradigms privilege the fuzzy diagrammatic concatenation of unfoldings in the plane of composition and the eventful occasioning of the aesthetic act as pragmatic appearing (see Massumi, Semblance and Event) of “a very great improbability” (Serres): not of meaning, but of dissonant, indeed noisy, harmonics.

So, the emphasis is less on communicating, than on doing. But doing (actioning) is already the definition of politics. And, on the other side, on the side of the spectator, the question is not so much to “perceive” and even less to “receive” (particularly, not to perceive nor receive “as intended”) but to host. To will hosting the parasite, which is both “location and subject of transformation” (Serres) and who wants, above all, to advance with its noises, already filled by the blood, life, images, or affects of all the others with whom the parasite composes its relentlessly actioning singularity. Even if the parasite lurks, what it does not hide is the fact that it is traversed and that it occasions and fosters even more traversing. As well as it looks, always, for hosting. And the host should not shy away from hosting the event of being traversed without receiving.

All of this makes me think of the consistent, vague, stubborn, diffuse, hard, slippery, endless and highly (I will repeat the word here, once again, because it matters) consistent practices that in their stubborn (I know I have repeated this word also) multiplicity have by now created a singular, and I think, really important, line for dance. This singular line is drawn by the many propositions Mårten Spångberg has composed at least since 2003, when he premiered his solo piece Powered by Emotion. This singular line is made out of books, dance pieces, performances, lectures, talks, theatrical events, films, videos, architectural interventions, dance compositional seminars, more talks, more books, drawings, curatorial projects, reviews

And I stop the list here because it dawns on me that the reader could be taken by the semantic resonance of “parasite” to think (or hope, depending on the degree of resentment) that I may be wanting to say that these stations in the line of composition Spångberg has been assembling in the past decade are examples of “parasitism” — or whatever other denigration one may want to derive from this word. NOT AT ALL!!! What I am saying, what I am striving to say above the smoothness of communication, is to call attention to the incredibly important work of “noisification” of dance and choreography, of dance theory and choreographic theory, and their smooth images and modes of appearing, circulating, behaving, in their staged as well as well as in their written formations (theoretical, fictive, pedagogical) that by now have become clearly one of the features of Spångberg’s propositions. Because, with Spångberg, the question is never one of communication. It is rather of an (apparently) noisy (or unreasonable) activation of capacities to fulfill or accomplish tasks one is not supposedly fit (or trained) to accomplish.  I find this work necessary, urgent, important. Even if it is quite often irritating work.  But if it is about noisification, it has to be that way. The parasite irritates, but we never know exactly where it does so — otherwise it would be caught, killed and expelled. Parasitism must remain invisible, or just slightly so in order to continue its actions, and “that is what is interesting; that is the point; that is what must be thought about. He becomes invisible in the inconceivable” (Serres). And what we need to do is to host. To host not smooth meaning, but the noisy-inconceivable. Not so easy, granted. But let me try to communicate… now, to see if it makes sense.








View all Parasitic Noisification posts. Come back next Friday to read the final installment, #4!

André Lepecki is Associate Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at NYU. He is the author and editor of many books, including Exhausting Dance (2006); Of the Presence of the Body(2004); Planes of Composition (with Jenn Joy 2010); and DANCE (forthcoming 2012). He works also as an independent curator. In 2008 he received the “Best Performance Award” from AICA for directing and co-curating the redoing of Allan Kaprow’s “18 Happening in 6 Parts”. He was the chief-curator of the festival IN TRANSIT 2008 and 2009 (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin); and in 2010 he was co-curator with Stephanie Rosenthal of the Interactive Archive on Dance and Visual Arts since 1960 for the exhibition MOVE (Hayward Gallery, London).