When a performance artist or a practitioner of artistic research attends a conference organised by the Society for European Philosophy, then one should always ask: why? Not because this would implicate lower self-esteem, hierarchy, class or power relations, but one should ask why philosophy, as much as one should as why quantum mechanics?, why cerebral plasticity? Or why psychoanalysis?
However, I am not proposing a defeated or cynical positioning for thinking, but a sombre one, since it is philosophy itself, in many ways, which summons itself about the same trouble with the world, production, thinking, objects, nature or the real as does art? The world is produced through cuts of reason, wherein a process of a scalpel, and the decision, decaedere, is the way to cut off from the real. We cut off from the real, and there the performance artists, or the artists in general, are aligned with the philosopher. Again, this is not a defeated and cynical question, but a rigorous estimation of positions we produce.
Through reason and reflection, we create a distance and positions, which are the primary functions of philosophical thought, also. For instance, we think through dyad concepts, but often in the artist discourse, we do not use this kind of jargon.
So, I have been sitting and sweating in the classrooms of the Regent’s University, while the hottest day of English summer has enclosed London into a clammy bosom. I have tried to maintain a thought, where the point for all of this perspiration is not to gain more cognitive capital, but maybe to consider performance, not as an object for philosophising. A general proposition seem to become more apparent, where we should not augment practice with more up-to-date theory, but carefully pay attention, how and in what ways performance art practice needs philosophy, and philosophers? And even more so, it is important to pay attention, how performance art thinks indifferently and irreducibly with philosophy. Therefore, how to do things with performance, is a very particular question when it comes to thinking. What are the things performance does, and how?
Art is matter, and a thought of art is matter. There are no exclusive interpretations or reflections of reality. Artistic practice thinks in its right, without the philosophical representatives, but it needs to regard thinking rigorously alongside the other forms of thought.
The paper presented at the conference is here.