On the Threshold of Knowing: Lectures and Performances in Art and Academia 9783839438046

In this in-depth analysis of artistic and academic lectures and performances, Lucia Rainer features an innovative concep

168 42 5MB

English Pages 228 Year 2017

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD PDF FILE

Table of contents :
Table of contents
1. Introduction
1.1 Field of study
1.2 Research questions, approach, and contribution
1.3 Between scholarship and performance practice
2. Theoretical embedment
2.1 Frame analysis
2.2 Practice theory
2.3 The concept of knowledge
2.4 Artistic research
3. Methodological approach
3.1 Case-study-driven praxeological frame analysis
3.2 Complementary video and audio analysis
3.3 Four case studies
4. The concept of lecture performances
4.1 Between lecture and performance
4.2 Current state of research
4.3 As an artistic research practice
4.4 Embedded within the performative turn
5. The lecture frame and its framings
6. Academic lecture: “Experimental physics 1”
6.1 Creating a context and framing the strip
6.2 Scientific demonstration
6.3 Mathematical validation
6.4 Illustration by use of video documentation
6.5 Combinatorial clarity
7. Artistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”
7.1 Creating a context and framing the strip
7.2 Referencing and transcribing
7.3 Ambiguous clarity between reference and transcription
8. The performance frame and its framings
8.1 The concept of performance
8.2 The concept of performance and the postmodernist perspective
8.3 The concept of performance within the field of performance studies
8.4 A frame analytical perspective on the concept of performance
8.5 Transcribing performances from offstage to onstage
8.6 The transformative power of performance
9. Artistic performance: “Dance for nothing”
9.1 Creating a context and framing the strip
9.2 Referencing
9.3 Transcribing
9.4 Ambiguous clarity between reference and transcription
10. Academic performance: “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras”
10.1 Creating a context and framing the strip
10.2 Scientific demonstration
10.3 Illustration by use of video documentation
10.4 Video-based clarity
11. Overriding knowledge practices
11.1 Voicing
11.2 Transcription
11.3 Clarity-based alignment
12. On the threshold of knowing
12.1 Re-conceptualizing knowledge from a praxeological and frame analytical perspective
12.2 The impact of lecture performances on the concept of knowledge
12.3 Between and beyond art and academia
12.4 Outlook
13. Acknowledgments
14. Appendix
14.1 Books and journals
14.2 Internet sources
14.3 Interviews
14.4 Performances and performance scripts
14.5 Table of figures
14.6 Visuals
Recommend Papers

On the Threshold of Knowing: Lectures and Performances in Art and Academia
 9783839438046

  • 0 0 0
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up
File loading please wait...
Citation preview

Lucia Rainer On the Threshold of Knowing

Critical Dance Studies edited by Gabriele Brandstetter and Gabriele Klein | Volume 46

Lucia Rainer (Prof. Dr.) teaches at Medical School Hamburg. As a performer and performance studies theorist her interests evolve around the concept of lecture performances and notions of interdisciplinary research and performative writing.

Lucia Rainer

On the Threshold of Knowing Lectures and Performances in Art and Academia

On the Threshold of Knowing was submitted to the faculty of psychology and human movement science at the institute for human movement science at the University of Hamburg in candidacy for the degree of doctor of philosophy.

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de © 2017 transcript Verlag, Bielefeld

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Cover concept: Kordula Röckenhaus, Bielefeld Cover illustration: lecture performance 99% bacteria-free; credits: Lucia Rainer Printed by Majuskel Medienproduktion GmbH, Wetzlar Print-ISBN 978-3-8376-3804-2 PDF-ISBN 978-3-8394-3804-6

Table of contents 1.

I ntroduction  | 9

1.1 1.2 1.3

Field of study  | 9 Research questions, approach, and contribution  | 15 Between scholarship and performance practice  | 21

2. T heoretical embedment  | 23 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4

Frame analysis  | 23 Practice theory  | 34 The concept of knowledge  | 41 Artistic research  | 54

3. M ethodological approach  | 67 3.1 3.2 3.3

Case-study-driven praxeological frame analysis  | 67 Complementary video and audio analysis  | 69 Four case studies  | 72

4. T he concept of lecture performances  | 75 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4

Between lecture and performance  | 75 Current state of research  | 76 As an artistic research practice  | 80 Embedded within the performative turn  | 83

5. T he lecture frame and its framings  | 87 6. A cademic lecture : “E xperimental physics 1”  | 91 6.1 6.2

Creating a context and framing the strip  | 91 Scientific demonstration  | 94

6.3 6.4 6.5

Mathematical validation  | 101 Illustration by use of video documentation  | 105 Combinatorial clarity  | 109

7. A rtistic lecture : “L ecture on nothing ”  | 113 7.1 7.2 7.3

Creating a context and framing the strip  | 113 Referencing and transcribing  | 115 Ambiguous clarity between reference and transcription  | 128

8. T he performance frame and its framings  | 131 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6

The concept of performance  | 131 The concept of performance and the postmodernist perspective  | 133 The concept of performance within the field of performance studies  | 135 A frame analytical perspective on the concept of performance |  140 Transcribing performances from offstage to onstage |  141 The transformative power of performance |  144

9. A rtistic performance : “D ance for nothing ”  |  149 9.1 Creating a context and framing the strip |  149 9.2 Referencing |  151 9.3 Transcribing |  155 9.4 Ambiguous clarity between reference and transcription |  162

10. A cademic performance : “M aking research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high - speed cameras ”  |  165 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4

Creating a context and framing the strip |  165 Scientific demonstration |  168 Illustration by use of video documentation |  173 Video-based clarity |  177

11. O verriding knowledge practices  |  181 11.1 Voicing |  182 11.2 Transcription |  184 11.3 Clarity-based alignment |  187

12. O n the threshold of knowing  |  193 12.1

Re-conceptualizing knowledge from a praxeological and frame analytical perspective |  194 12.2 The impact of lecture performances on the concept of knowledge |  196 12.3 Between and beyond art and academia |  203 12.4 Outlook |  205

13. A cknowledgments  |  209 14. A ppendix  |  211 14.1 Books and journals |  211 14.2 Internet sources |  221 14.3 Interviews |  221 14.4 Performances and performance scripts |  222 14.5 Table of figures |  222 14.6 Visuals |  223

1. Introduction 1.1 F ield of study “I began to take two dance classes a week at the same time that I started to work on my thesis for my Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology” (Le Roy 1999). This quotation originates from Xavier Le Roy’s “Product of circumstances” (1999), which – in retrospect – greatly popularized the concept of lecture performances.1 Within this lecture performance Le Roy examines his artistic as well as his academic profession. He utilizes substantive lecture practices, i.e., reciting a pre-written text, relying on visual aids, giving demonstrations, and referencing formal lecture structures as well as spatial arrangements. Yet simultaneously, he exhibits and exploits these particular practices. Thus, “Product of circumstances” adheres to two frames that never entirely blend. Le Roy’s lecture on the one side, and his performance on the other, simultaneously comment on and cancel each other out. In addition, the lecture performance finds itself at the center of incessant crossovers and is conducive to reciprocal encounters. To give an example, on January 23, 2000, “Product of circumstances” was staged in Hamburg at the theater venue Kampnagel Kulturfabrik, which claims to be “Germany’s largest production and performance facility for national and international freelance artists and is one of the most reputable venues for the performing arts.”2 Yet “Product of circumstances” was not only performed at Kampnagel Kulturfabrik. Approximately five years later, on January 11, 2005, the University of Hamburg invited “Product of circumstances” to be performed in Hamburg again. Building on this, I reason that “Product of circumstances” not only distinguishes itself as a prominent 1 | Until the present day, “Product of circumstances” has influenced contemporary art practice (cf. Hoffner [2010] and a manifold amount of literature has been published on this lecture performance (cf. Brandstetter [1999]; Siegmund [2006]; Bernard [2009]; Husemann [2009]; Chapuis [2011]; and Sabisch [2011]). For more information, see also: www.xavierleroy.com. 2 | As indicated on the Kampnagel theater website: www.kampnagel.de/en/service/ about_kampnagel. [accessed June 24, 2014].

10

On the Threshold of Knowing

lecture performance example but simultaneously provides insight into a contemporary phenomenon that can be termed as “performing science” or – to be more precise – “performing knowledge.” This phenomenon distinguishes itself through imprecise frames and framings. It offers the blurring of boundaries between scholarly and artistic practices and within diverging social fields (Bourdieu 1993). New forms of collaborative and collective working approaches are emphasized and explored via mixed modes of inquiry. On the one side, “Product of circumstances,” and the concept of lecture performances in general, brings into focus that the performing arts are finding themselves directly set within scientific culture, whereas the latter “is not the culture of scientists” (UNESCO 2005, 129) but a culture of science centered on practices of dissemination. On the other side, the concept brings into focus that the lecture frame, as an academic form of talk that disseminates knowledge, is in flux. In the course of this, lecturers bow out of reading their lecture text out loud and rather center on depicting knowledge in a vivid and demonstrative manner. This shift mirrors modes of diversification regarding existing advertency. It substantiates the observation that knowledge co-legitimizes itself in and through images and visualizations that can be ascribed to a contemporary pictorial – and in a particular performative turn. This turn points toward the fact that staged on the threshold, knowledge is continually created and simultaneously challenged. Thus, at the bottom of my study lies the observation of never finally arriving. Notions of the transitory, singular, and irretrievable bring into focus that knowledge is not a factum. Instead, knowledge occurs within the ken of activity as an encounter that is interfused by presence. Knowledge bears reference of appropriation within its individual, spatiotemporal frame. Therefore, accommodating changes within the artistic as well as the academic field, my study sheds light on the notion of knowledge as a concept that oscillates between acts of determining and re-determining. It addresses points of intersection between social fields and their varying modes of research and knowledge production. It offers the blurring of boundaries between lectures and performances. My study acknowledges that thresholds are on the move and that art and academia are not only opening their doors but also borrowing across the borders. My study appropriates the concept of lecture performances to demonstrate that knowing emerges as a matter of multiple, overlapping, and at times conflicting affairs. It underscores the idea that thresholds emerge as units that separate and unite. Based on these observations, the following questions become central: (1) What are the implications of thinking about contemporary culture as a continuous performative intervention? (2) What concept of knowledge reveals itself, if knowledge practices inevitably emerge as modes of mutual inquiry? Referring to these research questions and precisely regarding the artistic and academic fields, it is necessary to make mention of a modus operandi termed “artistic

Introduction

research.” This modus operandi originates from an artistic perspective that acknowledges that thresholds are de facto on the move. It does not determine frameworks and frames as permanent, but it actively reflects theses very frameworks and frames, acknowledging their continuous transformation and interplay. Thus, based on a growing number of conferences, symposia, and the publication of respective miscellanies and journals,3 the modus operandi and subsequent research field of artistic research exhibits and challenges field-specific practices alluding to the artistic as well as the academic domain. Artistic research builds on the unsettled relationship between art and academia and the disputed divide between practice and theory. Its modus operandi highly determines contemporary discussions regarding the artistic and the academic relationship. Its modus operandi recognizes contemporary crossovers and looks into implicit artistic and academic framings – historically and socially embedded – that explicitly challenge the divide between the two. Its modus operandi provides the impetus for transdisciplinary debate. This has consequences for the artistic as well as the academic field. Albeit first and foremost connected to the artistic field, artistic research practices are hallmarked by different artistic-academic constellations and collaborations that particularly stand out because they substantially stimulate and engage in transdisciplinary dialogue. Artistic research practices act on field-specific procedures and methodologies and contest practices of knowledge formation and validation. Conversant with artistic and academic practices, artistic research exposes both the scientist as well as the artist to the challenge of, on the one hand, articulating their praxis and respecting their praxis’s inner coherence. On the other hand, artistic research mirrors field-comprehensive occurrences bringing into focus that both artists as well as scientists are putting practices to the test that operate at the margin of acknowledged praxis. Precisely regarding the notion of acknowledged praxis, the modus operandi of artistic research challenges the widely held belief that the concept of knowledge is neither unitary nor exclusively and distinctly linked to the scientific field. This is of particular interest with reference to Daniel Bell’s “venture in social forecasting.” Within his study The coming of post-industrial society (1973), Bell brings forward the argument that the twenty-first century has passed the era

3 | In this regard, it is interesting to be aware of the online Journal for Artistic Research (www.jar-online.net), which, starting in 2011, has published bi-annually, allowing, to quote its editorial team “an ever-increasing number of artistic researchers to partake in what for the sciences and humanities are standard academic publication procedures.” Moreover, the journal seeks to bring together “diverse voices, facilitating the discourse and thus improving the artistic research community.” www.jar-online.net/index.php/ pages/view/133/ (accessed October 23, 2014).

11

12

On the Threshold of Knowing

of modernity, distinguishing itself as “post-industrial” instead. From this, he infers that knowledge has become a downright productive force and the decisive instrument regarding social development. More than forty years later, Bell’s forecast has proven true. Published in 2005, the UNESCO world report Towards knowledge societies posits that contemporary societies primarily differ from former knowledge societies as they are inevitably linked to virtuous circles that result in a ceaseless “acceleration of knowledge production” (UNESCO 2005, 19). The increase expeditiously determines who has access to power and profit and who does not (UNESCO 2005, 27ff.). On account of this, the knowledge component – in the first instance – refutes other value-bound factors, i.e., capital, natural resources, and labor force, and “can go hand in hand with serious inequality, exclusion and social conflict” (ibid., 17). Knowledge is revealing itself as an utmost important source of empowerment and capacity building (cf. also Drucker 1993). Referring to this and turning towards the academic perspective, Karin Knorr Cetina’s study regarding culture in global knowledge societies is groundbreaking. Her work is based on the assumption that “everyone knows what science is about,” but “no one is quite sure how scientists and other experts arrive at this knowledge” (Knorr Cetina 2007, 363). Building on this observation, Knorr Cetina employs the concept of epistemic cultures to capture and in the course of this be able to determine “interiorized processes of knowledge creation” (ibid.). Her argument is based on the proposition that epistemic cultures are embedded within knowledge settings and are the structural feature of knowledge societies – even though knowledge societies are far from being “homogeneous and one-dimensional” (Knorr Cetina 1999, 8). Epistemic cultures distinguish themselves through “those sets of practices, arrangements and mechanisms bound together by necessity, affinity and historical coincidence which, in a given area of professional expertise, make up how we know what we know” (Knorr Cetina 2007, 363). From this she deduces that epistemic cultures are “cultures of creating and warranting knowledge” (ibid.). My study also examines the practice-bound arrangements of knowledge, but its most important contribution is the articulation of a field-comprehensive occurrence that is ingrained within an arrangement that can be termed as “performing knowledge.” My study supports the argument that contemporary societies particularly distinguish themselves through notions of scientific culture not being “the culture of scientists” (UNESCO 2005, 129), but a culture of science. This culture goes beyond the academic field, mirroring contemporary transformations defined in terms of the current transition to a society entitled as knowledge society. My study explores the production of knowledge emerging from and originating in the relationality of field-bound frameworks and frames and intrinsic performances, i.e., originating in and emerging from cultural-historical and conceptual dimensions and manifestations.

Introduction

Regarding the practice-bound arrangement termed as “performing science,” my study pursues Knorr Cetina’s ethonographic study. Her Epistemic cultures (1999) examines how two exemplary, scientific laboratory cultures create knowledge. In the course of her systematic comparison, she questions scientific entity, pointing toward the fact that there are many – at times also incommensurable – scientific practices. In addition, she queries whether it is possible to “extrapolate from other forms of social order to learn what we need to know about the organization, the structures, the dynamism of knowledge systems” (ibid., 2). She has two specific concerns. Firstly, her study promotes reflection on the depth and diversity of “the contemporary machineries of knowing” (ibid., 2), increasing the possibilities of understanding contemporary praxis. Secondly, her comparison introduces epistemic cultures as structural features and practices in the transition to shaping knowledge societies. Relating to these two concerns my study additionally corresponds to Hans-Jörg Sandkühler. He follows a similar line of argument as Knorr Cetina, positing that epistemic cultures relate to a spatial and temporal frame, within which predefined parameters regarding the formation and validation of knowledge are appropriated and continually negotiated (cf. Sandkühler 2002, 31, translation by the author). Knowledge alludes to an expedient, process-related praxis that is cross-linked to customs, convictions, values, and norms. These map onto practices of assimilation, affirmation, refusal, and/or resistance (cf. ibid., 33, translation by the author). Phrased differently, knowledge practices are uniquely embedded within the manifold praxis of the epistemic cultures of a social field. They advert to culturally acceptable manifestations as well as to transformations and are informed by incessant and reciprocal interdependency. Both these manifestations and transformations account for one another, yet are mutually exclusive, allowing a plurality of realities to exist. Viewed from this angle, institutional boundaries – and their internal systems of reference – play a pivotal role in the processes linked to knowledge formation. These processes build on complex textures, which, paraphrasing Knorr Cetina, can only be made visible when magnifying “the space of knowledge-in-action” (1999, 3). My study precisely calls attention to this staged “space of knowledge-in-action,” which accommodates the field-comprehensive occurrence of performing science or rather performing knowledge. My study seeks to investigate the linkages, clashes, and confluences of staging knowledge as a site of crossing-over. It substantiates the observation that “knowledge-in-action” has surfaced as a happening that crosses institutional boundaries and – as I will make plausible in the course of the analysis – is increasingly emerging as multifaceted and interactive. The act of staging pursues the objective of giving an interested public insight into research processes and simultaneously creates a public forum for engaging in shared dialogue. “Performing knowledge”

13

14

On the Threshold of Knowing

positions the scientific field beyond the academic realm, expanding notions of science as a process of shared inquiry and participatory analysis. In creating this public forum, the practice-bound arrangement of performing science coincides with encounters termed as events. Referring to theories from the field of sociology (e.g., cf. Gebhardt, Hitzler, and Pfadenhauer 2000), an extraordinary and exceptional framing, interfused with dramaturgical practices, characterizes events. In most cases, they are professionally organized and staged. Moreover, their subject-based focus directly addresses the participants – whereas very different modalities of partaking exist. These range from merely attending a public lecture to actually evaluating the lecturer and their performance. Prominent examples are, inter alia, science slams, science plays, science galleries, and performing science-competitions, in which the audience votes on their favorite candidate, allowing the lecture and the performance framing to mutually enrich, rather than compete, against one another. Marking contemporary knowledge society, none of the examples named above distinguish themselves through “knowing more” or even “knowing better,” but through the very fact that they are, to borrow the words of Knorr Cetina, “permeated with knowledge settings, the whole set of arrangements, processes and principles that serve knowledge and unfold with its articulation” (Knorr Cetina 2007, 361–62). These knowledge settings pervade different social fields and impact on and diversify each field’s respective praxis. Building on these observations, the present study brings into focus the performative dimension of knowledge, i.e., how knowledge is nested in and emerges from its use. My study sets out to advance reflection on scientific cultures, entitling both the artistic and the academic as cultures of “creating and warranting knowledge” (Knorr Cetina 2007, 363). With reference to four case studies from the artistic and academic fields, I am following the praxeological argument that knowledge is neither a representational nor technological “product” of research, but – in the first instance – process-bound. Viewed from this angle, I construe culture as practice. My study, similar to Knorr Cetina’s analysis, moves “the level of cultural analysis ‘down’ to the realm of material regularities without losing sight of symbolic regularities and the ways these are associated with the material” (ibid., 364). Yet my study expands Knorr Cetina’s approach in the sense that it renders knowledge formation processes possible beyond the academic field. With reference to the notion of scientific cultures, my study delineates notions of “sharing knowledge” (UNESCO 2005, 159ff.), inferring that scientific knowledge formation is on trial in the sense that it is less linear, authoritarian, and discipline-bound, yet in the course of this, more complex (cf. UNESCO 2005, 115). Since I am building on the observation stated above that social fields and institutional frames and framings are increasingly emerging as

Introduction

multifaceted and interactive, the question arises as to how knowledge practices reveal themselves between frame-dependency and coalition. Concerning this matter, my work turns toward the concept of lecture performances,4 proposing that lecture performances have not only become “a feature of contemporary art” (Jentjens et al. 2009, 5) but also a feature that crosses the field of art and mirrors scientific cultures within contemporary knowledge societies. Thus, my study argues that lecture performances present themselves as highly revealing because they provide a space to exhibit and (re)negotiate the coalition of lecture and performance and – more importantly – artistic and academic practices. While the lecture and the performance frame have often been presented in binary terms, I argue that it is thoroughly productive to consider the space in-between – the very threshold between lectures and performances.

1.2 R ese arch questions , approach , and contribution Since lecture performances encompass the scope of extending the possibilities of what artistic and what academic practices might be, the question that arises is not only how an artistic or rather academic subject matter emerges from the very act of framing it as such, but also how – beyond that – knowledge emerges within. Phrased differently, how are knowledge practices inscribed within artistic and academic lectures and performances – between discursive format and self-contained event? How do knowledge practices position themselves within art and academia and – in the course of this – shift the two social fields toward or apart from one other? Hence, how does the concept of lecture performances provide a space to exhibit and (re)negotiate the coalition between art and academia? With reference to these questions, my study takes interest in the shift from the referential to the performative dimension and relocates knowing in the micro-practices of four sample case studies. Its methodology is a praxeological frame analysis that examines practices in the context of their creation as well as application. What this means is twofold: Firstly, the praxeological perspective encompasses the potential to unpack hermeneutic as well as empirical binaries, putting into focus how knowledge-dependent determinacy as well as indeterminacy guides praxis. Secondly, the frame analytical approach provides a space to point toward the embedded and situated dimension of praxis. This is of particular interest regarding the empirical material positioned between lecture and performance and art and academia. To be more precise, while primary frameworks and frames induce and prefigure practices, practices themselves – in turn – give meaning and define the primary frameworks and frames, hence 4 | For a list of prominent examples, please see Chapter 11.4.

15

16

On the Threshold of Knowing

not pointing toward notions of “either or,” but particularly toward notions of “as well as.” In this respect, a praxeological frame analysis and the methodology of direct observation elucidates how socially situated and interrelated processes become “know-able” and de facto manifest themselves. In exploring knowledge practices in all their characteristics and dependencies, my study deepens reflection on how knowing is nested within praxis. I propose that a praxeological frame analysis and its deconstructive approach encompasses the potential to determine which forms of knowing appear and reveal themselves as legible, focusing upon the micro-systematics of the social and aiming to make the implicit logic of apparent self-evident practices visible. While two of the four case studies are framed as lectures, the two others are framed as performances – in each case, one alluding to the field of academia and one to the field of art. In this context it is worthwhile to note that the praxeological and frame analytical argument undergirds the supposition that lecturing, or rather performing, continually brings forth and defines practices that count as belonging to the lecture, or rather performance, frame. Viewed from this angle, knowledge practices are inevitably – and in the first instance – social. The first analysis explores a lecture held by the experimental physics scientist Professor Dr. Michael Vollmer. I have chosen the academic discipline of experimental physics as it particularly distinguishes itself through its investigational methodologies, aiming to transcend spatiotemporal elements inherent to physical principles. In this context, it is worthwhile to make mention of Sibylle Peters’s study regarding the derivation of experimental lectures. Within her habilitation treatise The lecture as performance (2011), Peters examines the narrative of the academic lecture, pointing to the fact that within the evolutionary history of the modern university, the process of researching has not always been placed exclusively prior to its presentation but also directly within. Peters paraphrases Wilhelm von Humboldt, who attests that the act of presenting quickens insight, thus proposing that the act of researching, in the form of an experiment, and the act of lecturing de facto intersect within the presentation (2011, 86 ff., translation by the author). On account of this, alluding to Jan Golinski (1992), Peters argues that the exemplifying character of experimental lectures – between illustration and demonstration – encompasses the potential to facilitate the advancement of transdisciplinary research, i.e., research between art and academia (Peters 2014, 489ff.). This form of research is not predictable, i.e., it is “un-know-able,” what the experiment will de facto illustrate and demonstrate. In this regard, knowledge does not testify to consistency but adheres to its individual processes of the singular. Returning to the present case study linked to the field of experimental physics, this implies that “the know-able” relates to a process of the singular, which is – in the first instance – embedded within the interplay of a scientific demonstration, math-

Introduction

ematical validation, and illustration using video documentation. The use of a high-speed video camera provides the framework for making the invisible, spatiotemporal-bound elements of effective velocity visible, i.e., “vis-able.” The artistic lecture that I have chosen is Cage’s seminal “Lecture on nothing,” which deals directly with the lecture frame, specifically its framing and frame specific limits. In this respect, Cage’s lecture devotes itself to the question: how does a lecture emerge when an artist takes the position of the lecturer? In addition – apart from greatly influencing a concept that would come to be called lecture performance – “Lecture on nothing” distinguishes itself through its investigation of how a lecture’s score serves as a catalyst for rethinking the correlations between the notation, the enactment, and the actuality of a lecture. The third case study, Eszter Salamon’s “Dance for nothing,” reflects on this very question, even though direct correlations between Cage’s lecture and Salamon’s performance are neither wholly straightforward nor unambiguous. Hence, referring to the Goffmanian theater frame and a performance concept as termed by Erika Fischer-Lichte, the question arises as to how an artistic lecture emerges when reframed as an artistic performance, precisely dealing with the very question of the lecture’s or rather performance’s author, principal, and animator. As definitions are not definite, the question raised is: what role does the framework theater and the framing performance effectively play regarding the performance’s knowledge practices? Thus, the fourth case study, Professor Dr. Michael Vollmer’s and Professor Dr. Klaus-Peter Möllmann’s academic performance, “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras,” staged at the University of Giessen and the Performing Science2-Competition, is doubly framed. On the one side, it is staged within an academic framework and has explicit similarities to acknowledged academic lecturing practices. This means the performance comprises practices that are, firstly, generally known to the participants as academic, secondly, precisely perceived as such, and thirdly, performed – mindless of being aware of this or not – accordingly. On the other side, the academic performance is staged within a competition framework and distinguishes itself through a manifold complex of performance practices. Thus, it is – more explicitly than the other three case studies – located in the context of the broader question regarding the thick interrelatedness regarding frames and framings, building on three aspects in particular. Firstly, the academic performance is staged within a competitive setting, in which artists as well as scientists – which the competition’s pre-jury selected prior to the competition – are competing against one another. Yet, and this is the second issue, the pre-jury has abstained from artistic or rather academic frames and

17

18

On the Threshold of Knowing

framings regarding the competition’s set-up and its prize awards5. Despite this and owing to the competition’s setting, some artists have however – and this is the third aspect – framed their performances as lectures, while some scientists have framed their lectures as performances. This causes the boundaries between artists and scientists – and their lectures or rather performances – to be highly blurred. In this context, it is necessary to mention the fact that the transition from four individual case studies to generalized statements is justified by the iterative and recursive quality of analytically acquired practices that are empirically manifest in multiple cases. In this respect, the empirical findings facilitate the emergence of a knowledge concept that touches upon the non-priori deterministic properties of knowledge. In the course of this, the challenge lies in doing justice to praxis, which is – inevitably – only indirectly accessible. The double structure of knowledge practices displays itself as methodologically complicated, as the practices derive from multiple and at times conflicting “nexus of doings and sayings” (Schatzki 1996, 89). This confronts the analysis with the ingrained gap of practical and verbal reasoning and the methodological problem of plausibility (cf. Reckwitz 2008, 199, translation by the author, as well as Lynch 2001, 146). Over and above, practices in general, and knowledge practices in particular, are not completely intelligible and explicable in the sense that they can be transcribed into a written text, but in fact emerge through the indexical and demonstrative quality of praxis itself – yet without becoming explicit per se. In these terms, every text reveals itself to be problematic as practices are always pre-constructed in accordance with language structures. Cognition is inevitably inscribed causing text to unavoidably emerge as a structuring agent in the perception of reality. Furthermore, a text’s sequence-based structure can merely advance reflection upon one sequence at a time in spite of the fact that – within praxis – sequences tend to overlap. In this regard, words are merely assimilated and never adequate, thus superposing and transforming praxis. This transformation can be addressed, yet not solved. Taking this into account, my study’s multifocal and multidisciplinary perspective underscores the constitutive and interactive interrelations between lecture and performance and artistic and academic practices, inevitably addressing the question of where, how, and by whom boundaries are being

5 | The first Performing Science-Competition staged in 2007 at the University of Giessen categorized the presentations by the candidates’ artistic and academic backgrounds. Hence, there were artistic and academic prize awards. In 2011, however, this categorization was set aside, and the jury solely awarded three candidates regardless of their artistic or rather academic professional orientation.

Introduction

drawn. In this respect, I recognize lecture performances to be a concept that renders contemporary occurrences – at the intersection of knowledge formation and induced regulation – comprehensible. The concept exposes how collision infiltrates contemporary practices and facilitates a shift in knowledge formation and validation processes – between artistic and academic lectures and performances. Referring particularly to the space between the artistic and academic fields, the concept of performance becomes pivotal as it can be appropriated on an interdisciplinary scale as an expedient methodological tool that allows for making different cultural practices comprehensible. The concept of performance promotes reflection on how social recurrences and replications manifest themselves while simultaneously rethinking notions of the social. Hence, the implementation and actualization of a concept as that of performance points to the present experience linked to the singularity of the event that is not brought forth apart, but in and against its material and discursive denotation. New analytical parameters, which renegotiate and inevitably confound the fixed order of knowing, reveal themselves. Regarding notions of (un)certainty, the anthropologist Michael Jackson suggests Lived experience accommodates our shifting sense of ourselves as subjects and as objects as acting upon and being acted upon by the world of living with and without certainty, of belonging and being estranged. (Jackson 1989, 2)

This shifting sense pertains to the interplay of referencing a subject matter and producing the very subject matter. It exposes the basis upon which the performative dimension of knowing reveals itself – between lectures and performances as academic teaching and artistic research formats. Beyond that, my study brings into focus the centrality of performance within contemporary knowledge society and points toward the necessities of thinking about contemporary culture as a continuous performative intervention. Building on this, my study introduces a dynamic knowledge concept that attempts to understand individual knowledge practices and their relevance to the broader social context while simultaneously displaying itself as incessantly alterable. My work adheres to interrelations of acts of framing and acts of knowing – to their intrinsic correlations and the potential of transforming the epistemic through performance. This methodological approach does not exemplify the application of theoretical considerations, but goes beyond in the sense that it provides a conceptual and methodological tool to gain insight into contingent practices that are difficult to grasp. Hence, in appropriating a praxeological frame analysis and asking what lectures and performances know rather than what they are, my study marks the displacement of knowledge from the domain of truth – regardless of the artistic or academic field. The respective

19

20

On the Threshold of Knowing

cross-section attests that within the lecture and the performance frame a form of knowing is always already presupposed and at work. Irrespective of the social field, my study aims to promote a more profound understanding of notions of knowing between lecture and performance and between academia and art as well as to put the separation into perspective. Particularly regarding lectures, Erving Goffman remarks: Given that the situation about which a lecture deals is insulated in various ways from the situation in which the lecturing occurs, and is obliged to be insulated in this way, can an illustrated discussion of this disjunctive condition be carried on without breaching the very line that is under scrutiny? (Goffman 1981, 164f., italics in the original)

Here, Goffman points to the fact that praxis is predetermined by its larger cultural and scientific paradigms. Praxis adheres to frame-specific methodologies and mirrors frame-specifically acceptable knowledge acquisition. Praxis is bound to its spatiotemporal elements – always being more than it knows itself to be. This raises the question how it is de facto possible to scrutinize praxis. My work is engaged in this very question. Its transdisciplinary approach aims to act as an intermediary that reworks the relationship between artistic and academic practices. It contributes to the field through providing a space for the gradual transitions of how knowing comports itself at the interface of lecture and performance and the artistic and the academic. To be more precise, while the artistic and the academic field are entitled to their differences, my study sets its focus and promotes reflection on the actual practices within these two fields, deploying the concept of lecture performances. What this means is twofold. Firstly, while my work contributes to contouring the concept of lecture performances, it, secondly, corroborates the hypothesis that while the artistic or rather academic “products” keep the two fields apart, their matter of doings, i.e., their practices, comprise similarities. From this, I contend that the sustained division between the artistic and the academic field primarily relates to processes of dissemination rather than actualities. As both art and academia have, in the course of time, developed separate domains, my work calls attention toward “the space of knowledge-in-action” (Knorr Cetina 1999, 3), rather than the discourse surrounding it. Thus, theoretically as well as methodologically, my study particularly contributes to the fields of artistic research, performance and theater studies, and cultural studies. My work acts on field-specific procedures and methodologies and contours a knowledge concept that renders possible encounters beyond social fields with the objective of stimulating and engaging in transdisciplinary dialogue.

Introduction

1.3 B e t ween schol arship and performance pr actice During the process of writing this study, I attended numerous lecture performances, conducted interviews with performers and field experts, and completed theoretical research. Simultaneously, I was consistently engaged in my own artistic practice that (re)articulated my research positions. In this respect, my artistic practice and the actual staging of lecture performances inhabited a space in-between where knowing was – first and foremost – in the process of being established. Within this process, I compiled scores, wrote observation protocols, and carried out open interviews. I did, to borrow the words of Gilbert Ryle, “a bit of theory and then [...] a bit of practice” (Ryle 1949, 29) as: To do something thinking what one is doing is, according to this legend, always to do two things; namely, to consider certain appropriate propositions, or prescriptions, and to put into practice what these propositions or prescriptions enjoin. (Ibid.)

Thus, working at the intersection of scholarship and performance practice, I postulate permeability between theoretical and practical (re)articulation. Yet during my research process I also adopted the position of a Ph.D. candidate within a university context. I accepted regulations in which there is no provision for a practice-based doctoral degree. This clarifies why this part of the present study is exclusively theory-based. I am however very much aware of the fact that the act of writing about performance fundamentally alters the artistic practice. On account of this, I have, to borrow the words of Peggy Phelan, found myself more and more inspired by acts of writing and publishing that “re-mark again the performative possibilities of writing itself” (Phelan 1993, 148). At the present, I am exploring a methodology within which words de facto emerge as performative. In the course of this, the graphic composition presents itself as a starting point to (re)examine my epistemic interests and start investigating productive contact points between my text, the video stills, the purpose-made diagrams, and the practical implementation of Goffman’s frame analysis. At this juncture, it is crucial to state that the graphic compositions relate to medium sensitivity, i.e., a work-in-progress, that I am further exploring and implementing.

21

2. Theoretical embedment 2.1 F r ame analysis 2.1.1 Background In the 1960s, the Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman (1922–1982) – educated at the University of Chicago and professor at the Universities of California Berkeley and Pennsylvania – contributed to the research field by contending that structural mechanisms – irrespective of the fact that everyday praxis is truly ambiguous and nested through and through – stabilize and destabilize social order. To be more precise, in contrast to the more functionalistic orientated sociology of his time, Goffman’s approach is interpretative – everyday interactions being his object of investigation sui generis. Hence, consistently returning to the genuine sociological question “what is going on,” Goffman’s studies give insight into how structural and ritualized mechanisms influence the smallest encounters of everyday life. Within his book Frame analysis: an essay on the organization of experience (1974), Goffman reassesses this genuine sociological question and introduces a theory, which aims to explain how structurally conventionalized mechanisms organize and influence interaction. Building on this, he undertakes an in-depth study that explores how people understand and experience the everyday. In this regard, Goffman relied on his previous writings Encounters (1961), Behavior in public place (1963), Stigma (1964), Relations in public (1971), and Strategic interaction (1972). His subsequent publications Gender advertisements (1976), The arrangement between the sexes (1977), and Forms of talk (1982) are in turn affected by his frame analytical argument. Until the present day, Goffman is one of the most widely read sociologists – also beyond the academic context. In the introductory remarks of Frame analysis, Goffman notes that his study is influenced by the “ethnographic sociologists” (Goffman 1974, 5) Alfred Schütz and Harold Garfinkel, both having explored patterns and rules of generating “world” and thus broaching the issue of and extending the concept of multiple realities. Accordingly, Frame analysis has its methodological roots in sociological analysis. Moreover, viewed from a contemporary perspective,

24

On the Threshold of Knowing

Goffman’s study is conducive to the linguistic turn, within which languagebased structures and meanings are brought in relationship to acts, actors, and institutions. Its deconstructive approach – which is pivotal to the theory – promotes reflection on the interdependency of language and deeds and their constitutive role in the construction of reality. Retrospectively, Goffmans frame analytical approach has been filed among broader sociological concepts, i.e., symbolical interactionism, ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, and phenomenology (cf. Willems 1997; Raab 2008) and has been applied across the disciplines, especially throughout the humanities and the social sciences.6 Yet Goffman himself, not having students who followed him, neither positioned his work in relation to other research inquiries nor affiliated his ideas and concepts analytically. Close reading reveals that trying to read frame analysis in regard to a specific research tradition unilaterally reduces and distorts respective findings as Goffman’s theory does not build on a methodological social science research canon: Goffman neither reflects on himself as the observer, nor does he describe his viewpoint and reference context. Instead, he accumulates his study material through – inter alia – newspaper clippings, radio and television reports, theater scenes, and conversation transcripts and his position of the observer vanishes within. In this respect, his study material emerges as a linguistic anecdote, within which the theoretical concepts are, on the one hand, difficult to grasp and, on the other hand, difficult to employ. Furthermore, his observations are not so much the starting point from which Goffman develops his theory: rather, they stand on their own in their own materiality and essential substance. Hence, frame analysis’s unique inductive, case-study-driven mode emerges as its strength and its weakness – especially since frame analysis’s core concepts are only marginally established and not, throughout Goffman’s extensive survey, revisited thoroughly. Also, it can be put into question why Frame analysis – being published more than forty years ago – is pivotal for this study. The answer is multilayered. Firstly, frame analysis is particularly promising because it directs its attention to an in-depth examination of praxis, advancing reflection upon how actual doings7 bring about socially structured meaning. Viewed from this angle, 6 | Goffman’s frame analytical theory is particularly prominent in the fields of social movement studies (cf. Snow et al. 1986) and communication theory (cf. Johnson-Cartee, 2005). Well-arranged summaries have been written by Müller (1984, esp. chapter 3), Drew/Wootton, eds. (1987), Lenz/Hettlage, eds. (1991), Tannen, ed. (1993), and MacLachlan/Reid (1994). 7 | The concept of “doing culture” adheres to Harold Garfinkel and Harvey Sacks (1970) emphasizing that culture inevitably is brought forth – and becomes visible – in and through everyday practices. Hence, rather than being an entity, culture is process-de-

Theoretical embedment

frame analysis gives praxis – and the interrelations of bodies, artifacts, and practices – their space and time. In this respect, rather than privileging the motivation and intentions of the individual or groups of individuals, frame analysis promotes understanding on social situations and how given attributes turn into properties and how properties evoke attributes. Goffman’s spatiotemporal-bound approach – as will be elaborated on in the chapters that are to follow using the core concepts of frameworks, frames, and keys – provides a flexible tool to observe and to reflect upon the construction of social reality. In addition, frame analysis’s core concepts of frameworks, frames, and keys provide insight into how lectures or rather performances are profoundly structured regarding their field-specific orientations. A lecture’s, or rather performance’s, frame gives meaning to the actions taking place, allowing the lecturers, the performers, and the audience to be able to classify acknowledged and socially embedded actions and reactions. In these terms, examining the concept of lecture performances – which adheres to two frames that never entirely blend – from a frame analytical approach is particularly promising. Especially Goffman’s concept of “breaking frame” takes on a pivotal position. Breaking frame evokes misunderstanding and disagreement – and in the course of this – inevitably makes existent frameworks, frames, and acts of framing visible. Frame breaks give insight into everyday praxis and its practices. They deepen understanding how social order is constituted and perpetuated in and through acts of framing. In addition, frame analysis is pivotal to this study because Goffman’s theory focuses upon actual occurrences within spatiotemporal-bound and fleeting interactions. The Goffmanian approach provides a space for the renegotiation of the social. Frame analysis works with the tension of the signifying system, all the while taking part in it. Over and above, Goffman’s theory renders possible to determine knowledge practices in their context of creation and application. The interplay of frames and framings points to the fact that praxis does not last but must incessantly be affirmed and refreshed. His concepts of frameworks and frames allow for an occurrence to be defined within an acknowledged setting that gives the situation meaning. Simultaneously, the concept of framing renders the spatiotemporal-bound interpretation of the participants possible,8 reflecting interpretation majority and agreement. In these terms, the concepts

pendent and can only be comprehended in situ (cf. Hörning & Reuter 2004, 10, translation by the author). 8 | Within Forms of talk (cf. Goffman 1981, 3), Goffman broaches the issue of the participant. Within my study, I will also be using this terminology as it corresponds with practice theory – and in particular with Stefan Hirschauer’s concept of practice – as will be dwelt upon in Chapter 2.2.

25

26

On the Threshold of Knowing

of frameworks, frames, and framings reflect a society’s cultural repertoire regarding the actual and the acknowledged. Thirdly, combining the correlations of structural limitation and performativity, frame analysis promotes reflection on the fact that knowledge practices are indexical in the sense that they always bear marks of their frameworks, frames, and spatiotemporal-bound framings. Frame analysis’s deconstructive approach provides a link between conceptual frameworks and their respective praxis. It points toward the two-way relationship of existing structure and everyday practices, linking the two accordingly. In this regard, frameworks pre-structure knowledge practices without pre-defining them. Even more, frame analysis recognizes that knowledge is not simply credited as knowledge, but that knowledge maps on to a setting that counts as knowledge and that can be defined as effectively true or false. In this regard, counting as knowledge is ingrained within the materiality and performances of respective frameworks, frames, and keys causing acknowledged knowledge propositions to incessantly “outperform” themselves. I will now advance this line of reasoning referring to Goffman’s core concepts of primary framework, frame, and key. I will particularly address the question: how does the act of knowing reveal itself in-between material property and process-related attribute?

2.1.2 Core concepts 2.1.2.1 Primar y frameworks Frame analysis examines structural patterns that participants de facto use for interpreting and making sense of individual situations. These situations are – in the first instance – inevitably plurivalent. On account of this, interpretation patterns allude to a social, spatiotemporal-bound repertoire that organizes and structures the ambiguity of each and every situation – despite the fact that several frameworks, frames, and keys may occur simultaneously and be interrelated in a complex manner. Concerning this matter, frame analysis scrutinizes how plural frameworks, frames, and keys can be co-existent? How is it possible to understand interrelated patterns of meaning making and their inherent transformation processes? The first reference point to these questions is Goffman’s concept of primary frameworks, which alludes to William James’s Principles of psychology (1890) and his concept of “subworld.” According to James, subworlds inevitably adhere to and are real in their “own special and separate style of existence” (James 1950, 291). Building on this, Goffman coins the concept of primary framework, positing that primary frameworks rest upon the most general and basic level of understanding and – in the first place – make it possible to “locate, perceive, identify, and label a seemingly infinite number of concrete occurrences defined in its terms” (Goffman 1974, 21). Thus, primary frameworks organize an event

Theoretical embedment

through regulating a situation’s denotation, building on the supposition that different frameworks bring about different interpretation schemes. In this context it appears that primary frameworks are “primary” because there is nothing that precedes them: they provide the first interpretation scheme giving insight into what it is that is going on. Primary frameworks structure the situation, making it possible to make sense of simultaneous and ambiguous practices. They entitle certain practices as significant or rather insignificant, allowing the former to come to the fore while the latter remain in the background and are perceived as not belonging to the framework. Furthermore, Goffman differentiates between two primary frameworks, recognizing that while natural frameworks “identify occurrences seen as undirected, unoriented, unanimated, unguided, ‘purely physical,’” social frameworks “provide background understanding for events that incorporate the will, aim, and controlling effort of intelligence, a live agency, the chief one being the human being” (ibid., 22). Regardless of whether a primary framework is natural or social, it inevitably takes a pivotal position in meaning making, even though it is generally not consciously manufactured, but unconsciously adopted within the course of interaction, thus disappearing “into the smooth flow of activity” (ibid., 39). In this regard, primary frameworks structure actions, mark positions, channel the participants’ perception, and define the acceptable – or rather non-acceptable. They countermand the ambiguity of a situation and serve as the ultimate reference point for understanding. Often, multiple frameworks are applied in parallel – each fitting within or adding to one another. This is the reason why a framework’s boundaries are often not clearly distinguishable. Concerning the aspect of classification, Goffman offers an interesting answer to the question “what is real.” Building on the phenomenological standpoint of James’s Principles of psychology (1950) and the twenty-first chapter of The perception of reality, Goffman pursues James’s relational standpoint, arguing that “the real” as such does not exist. Instead, “the real” is a product of social consensus – and thus subject to change. Hence, in order to be able to describe and understand “the real,” Goffman posits that it is necessary to examine how the encounter is situated within a contingent set of frameworks and entities, as merely the most inner framework, i.e., the rim, is able to represent “reality.” The rim activity is something one “can claim is really going” (ibid., 6), irrespective if it is fact or not. Concerning this matter, Goffman states: Actions framed entirely in terms of primary frameworks are said to be real or actual, to be really or actually or literally occurring. A keying of these actions performed, say, onstage provides us with something that is not literal or real or actually occurring. Nonetheless, we would say that the staging of these actions was really or actually occurring. [...] perhaps the terms “real,” “actual,” and “literal” ought merely to be taken to imply

27

28

On the Threshold of Knowing that the activity under consideration is no more transformed than is felt to be usual and typical for such doings. (Ibid., 47, italics in the original)

Here Goffman points to the fact that frame analysis’s focus lies in delivering insight about how an encounter is perceived and how meaning is constructed accordingly. To be more precise, how does actual doing give information and guidelines to following actions? How – despite the fact that participants often merely act and react accordingly (cf. ibid., 1–2) without necessarily being aware of a situation’s “implicit rules” (ibid., xiii) – do the participants know what is “literally” going on? These questions underscore the fact that frameworks are mostly interwoven in complex institutional structures that do not exist per se, but need to be successfully assessed and actuated each time anew. In this respect, participants establish frameworks through affirmative and repetitive application, pointing to the fact that they understand a framework’s social and cultural contextualization and interrelatedness. Viewed from this angle, acts of framing encompass the potential of giving frameworks their stability. Simultaneously, they comprise the possibility of supplementing, modifying, or rejecting an existing framework. This renders possible a new – slightly or strongly altered – framework to emerge.

2.1.2.2 Frames and framings In Goffman’s understanding – building on Gregory Bateson’s A theory of play and fantasy (1955) – a frame distinguishes itself as a generator of signification that, embedded in social and cultural praxis, organizes everyday actions and reactions. The terminology reflects on the relational dimension of meaning and is linked to sociological concepts such as background, setting, and context (cf. Goffman 1974, xiii), yet differing from the latter as context in particular is “compatible with one frame understanding and incompatible with others” (ibid., 441). In this respect, Goffman’s position regarding the terminology stays partially unclear as he merely uses the concept of frameworks and frames as the starting point for his work. His micro-sociological study observes that definitions of social situations are “built up in accordance with principles of organization which govern events” (ibid., 10) and regulate meaning, contending that both frameworks as well as frames signal meaning and give access and guidance on how to act and react. Furthermore, the term “frame” refers to stratigraphic principles, i.e., the layering, formation, and embedment of frames, which are both rooted within – and simultaneously mark – varying frameworks. The term provides insight into the two-way relationship of preexisting structure and every day practices, not only with regard to how actual doings bring forth socially structured meaning, but how praxis – i.e., the interrelations of practices, bodies, and

Theoretical embedment

artifacts – are wholly lodged within their individual space and time. Hence, frame analysis builds on the supposition that interactions are characterized through contingency that does not allow for definite interpretation schemes. Instead, each participant interprets the occurrences individually, signaling their understanding of what is going on to the other participants involved. In this context it is worthwhile to note that the term “frame” is ambiguous in meaning. Firstly, the term relates to a cognitive interpretation structure that bears meaning. Secondly, it refers to how the participants actually employ the term based on their individual understanding. Subsequently, the term encompasses the potential to take on a political verve, as the concept mirrors processes of historical and cultural stratification. To be more precise, through inquiring how the everyday is stratified, i.e., framed, the concept of frame analysis promotes reflection on preexisting frameworks and frames. These regulate legitimacy regarding acknowledged entitlement and actions or rather reactions. Frameworks and frames comprise practices that are, firstly, generally known to the participants, secondly, precisely perceived as such, and thirdly, performed accordingly – mindless of being aware of this or not. Viewed from this angle, frame analysis refers to processes of ordering within prevailing hierarchies, operating with historically, politically, and culturally constructed categorizations. These – in particular – relate to notions of primary versus secondary, natural versus social, and real versus apparent. Yet simultaneously, the concept points toward the fact that while frames are pre-structured and historically and culturally developed, they are consistently re-assessed and re-applied as well: every participant actively recurs to their cultural repertoire that builds on common and individual knowledge structures. Concerning this matter, frames build on temporal and spatial brackets that individually announce a respective frame. Brackets make it possible that frames reveal themselves and that frames can be recognized and categorized appropriately. According to Goffman, brackets are “presented in a slightly different voice from the one employed in the body of the text itself” as they “put into perspective what is about to be discussed” (1981, 175). While brackets inevitably belong to their frame, they particularly signal meaning regarding that what is to follow. Hence, brackets channel the action and allude to a story line that enables the participants to classify and appreciate the frame as such (cf. ibid., 251–52). In this respect, they draw attention toward specific actions taking place, while at the same time deflecting attention away from simultaneous, but frame-irrelevant activity. Brackets spatially and/or temporally mark the frame’s beginning and/or ending and can be of an inner or outer type. While inner brackets divide an event into two episodes allowing the event – after a pause – to be revived and continued, outer brackets initiate a frame or let the frame come to an end. In

29

30

On the Threshold of Knowing

some cases, an outer bracket simultaneously signals a frame’s end as well as a new frame’s beginning. In all cases, brackets limit possibilities for interpretation, all the while evoking expectations. They enable participants to know what it is that will be going on and where to focus their attention. Furthermore, they guide the participants’ perception, pointing to the fact that frames are inevitably subject to framings and hence build on given attributes rather than exclusive properties. The concept of frames is multifarious and dynamic, as frames build on acts of framing that relate to different forms of realization, which are not predictable in advance, but are intrinsically ingrained within spatiotemporal-bound notions of meaning making. This implies that frameworks and frames do not produce automatic access. Instead, access results through respective acts of framing, which produce meaning and are responsible for creating acknowledged realities or rather non-realities. On account of this, framings encompass the possibility to actuate, modify, and reject an already existing framework and frame, even if multiple frames occur simultaneously and in the course of this emerge as non-distinct. Precisely regarding the act of framing, Goffman infers that: those who are in the situation ordinarily do not create this definition, even though their society often can be said to do so; ordinarily, all they do is to assess correctly what the situation ought to be for them and then act accordingly. True, we personally negotiate aspects of all the arrangements under which we live, but often once these are negotiated, we continue on mechanically as though the matter had always been settled. (Goffman 1974, 1–2, italics in the original)

This quotation points to the fact that while frameworks and frames delimit various denotation possibilities revealing which meaning is appropriate and legitimate, acts of framing de facto bring forth meaning. Simultaneously however, a participant does not classify what is going on each time anew. Rather, within “the smooth flow of activity” (ibid., 39), participants embody the “normal.” They act as if the situation is not in need of being assessed, re-assessed, and challenged. In most cases a participant knows what doings and sayings to carry out, falling back on their cultural repertoire and the experience embedded within. They act accordingly, reverting to spatially and temporally embedded practices that present themselves as reasonable, meaningful, and appropriate. In the course of this, frameworks and frames are mostly unchallenged and taken for granted and in the course of this well-grounded, sound, and self-supporting. Staying in the frame gives rise to the least amount of misunderstanding and disagreement. Nevertheless, frameworks and frames can be disputed and become ambiguous, vulnerable, and cease to exist, as every framework and

Theoretical embedment

frame has the flexibility to allow for external and non-compliant practices. Within the smooth flow of the everyday, non-compliant practices can become noticeable and disturb the congruent story line. In this case, the non-compliant practices cannot be ignored. Rather, the out-of-frame-activity breaks and redefines the framework and/or frame(s) prompting one, or the other, or all, to become visible. This “mis-framing” makes an existent framework and frame visible and gives insight into how social order is constituted and perpetuated in and through acts of framing. In this context, it is worthwhile to note that mis-framings display themselves as most informative, as solely an act of mis-interpreting, i.e., mis-framing, can answer the sociological question “what is going on.” In the course of this, mis-framings serve as catalysts for rethinking the very confinements that regulate social change. Concerning this, Goffman emphasizes the regular application and maintenance (cf. ibid., 36) of frameworks and frames. Both influence and direct the perception of frameworks and frames, as both application as well as maintenance convey knowledge considering states of being and social affiliation. Application and maintenance exclusively apply to bodily doings. For example, mime, gesture, dress code, posture, and artifacts convey how a person perceives the framework, the frame and its framing. Persons act upon their perception, whereas each person’s response and reactions relate to an individual’s social reality. This reality is simultaneously based on social consensus and inevitably subject to change. Hence, both applications as well as maintenance relate to individually linked, but commonly shared, spatiotemporal-bound notions of denotation. Summa summarum, even though infinite regress categorizes the stratigraphic principles inherent to acts of framing – meaning that a frame’s rim can never be clearly determined – notions of application and maintenance do however substantiate how frameworks and frames are positioned in relation to each other. Over and above, the interplay of frames and framings deepens reflection on how knowing is positioned within social order. Goffman’s theory gives insight into recurring modes of knowing that are embedded within (re)emerging frameworks and frames that in turn mark everyday situations. Particularly the interplay of framings and keyings – as will be exemplified in the following chapter – addresses the issue of how knowledge practices position themselves within an artistic and academic framework and – in the course of this – provide a space to display the coalition between the artistic and the academic fields.

2.1.2.3 Keys and keyings The Goffmanian term “key” or rather “keying” has musical reference and deals with – building on Dell Hymes article “Sociolinguistics and the ethnography of speaking” (1971) – transformations. To be more precise, keys build on preex-

31

32

On the Threshold of Knowing

istent frameworks and frames. Unlike the former, however, the framework or frame alone does not make meaningless actions meaningful. Instead, keys relate to situations that are patterned after actions that have their own denotation. They serve as a model, whereas the question is left open “whether or not this design is an ideal one” (ibid., 41). More specifically, the event is a model for, not a model of” (ibid.) the action taking place, which is systematically altered through transposing and gradually breaking up the parallel dimensions accordingly. In this regard, a “transcription or transposition” (ibid.) occurs, whereupon all the participants involved have a clear understanding of what it is that is going on. Referring to this, Goffman concisely states, “the set of conventions by which a given activity, one already meaningful in terms of some primary framework, is transformed into something patterned on this activity but seen by the participants to be something quite else” (ibid., 43–44). A key resembles its preceding frame, yet signals meaning in its own terms as Goffman exemplifies using five prominent case studies: firstly, make-believes, secondly, contests, thirdly, ceremonials, fourthly, technical redoings, and fifthly, regroundings (cf. ibid., 48). Using these examples, he prompts reflection on the fact that – irrespective of a natural or social framework, even though the latter are more common – keys are systematically transformed with reference and in accordance to preceding frameworks and frames, without which the key would be meaningless. Furthermore, the participants “are meant to know and [...] openly acknowledge” (ibid., 45) the systematic alteration, dependent on a key’s cues, i.e., its spatiotemporal-bound brackets. While keyings often only slightly alter the event, they nevertheless “utterly change[s] what it is a participant would say was going on” (ibid.). Thus, keyings perform a crucial role in defining reality. While reality corresponds to “an inward-looking experiential finality” (ibid., 46), which is not “more transformed than is felt to be usual and typical” (ibid., 47), keys are in fact vulnerable to chain transformations. On account of this, keys can be re-keyed multiple times, pointing toward the fact that in each and every case, it is always the outermost lamination, i.e., the rim, which is essential in signaling what it is that is going on (cf. ibid., 82). In this regard, keys comprise both added key laminations, i.e., up-keying, as well as subtracted key laminations, i.e., down-keying. They also vary “according to the degree of transformation they produce” (ibid., 78). Irrespective of the number of up-keyings or rather down-keyings, the affinity to the preceding framework or frame is observable, even if it is clearly realigned and newly defined. Precisely regarding this matter Goffman remarks: A rekeying does its work not simply on something defined in terms of a primary framework, but rather on a keying of these definitions. The primary framework must

Theoretical embedment still be there, else there would be no content to the rekeying; but it is the keying of that framework that is the material that is transposed. (Ibid., 81, italics in the original)

Thus, as the keying progresses, the keyed action can become further and further removed from the given activity and can evolve into a primary framework itself. On account of this, laminations are generally not easily distinguishable. Instead, within a particular setting, a framework or rather frame can dominate and thus re-structure, i.e., re-key, the event. In this regard, acts of keying can emerge as practices of subversion, as they may be re-interpreted and consciously or subconsciously resist existing frameworks or frames, thus shifting and realigning the latter. Viewed from this angle, keys and keyings in particular, shed light upon spatiotemporal-bound processes of knowledge formation and transformation. They substantiate how knowledge practices are inscribed within praxis – between discursive address and self-contained practice.

2.1.3 Practical use As argued above, frame analysis builds on the unsettled correlations of theoretical considerations and empirical observations. Furthermore, its interpretative, case-study-driven research mode – which cannot be assigned to a methodological-bound social science research canon – complicates the theory’s utilization. On the one hand, there is neither a concrete code of practice on how to observe nor how to interpret the empirical material. On the other hand, there are no guidelines on how to tie the findings in with frame analysis’s terminology and core concepts. Instead, using individual and case study-driven examples, Goffman’s theory micro-analytically examines how interactions are situated on an individual basis between frameworks, frames, and acts of framings. Yet Norman Denzin and Charles Keller (1981) abstract away from the continual interplay and embedment between frame and framing – or rather key and keying – and denominate frame analysis as ahistoric and not subject to social change. They assert that the Goffmanian terminology and its definitions are not clearly distinguishable and at times puzzling and delusive, not to mention non-applicable. Hence, while it can be interpreted as the theory’s weakness that the theory neither discusses theoretical developments, nor links these with historical occurrences and incidents, there is also another way of looking at the matter. I will demonstrate that it is also possible to argue that Goffman’s theory is so comprehensive that it encompasses the possibility of describing multiple encounters, their plurality, and their modes of variation. Herbert Willems, for example, credits frame analysis’s flexibility for being able to explore both an encounter’s micro as well as macro-level separately – as well as in relation to one another – while coevally allowing the gap between the two to co-exist

33

34

On the Threshold of Knowing

and pointing toward its dependent variables (cf. Willems 1997, 29, translation by the author). Robert Hettlage (1991) advances a similar line of reasoning, suggesting that Goffman’s frame analytical theory encompasses the potential to re-conceptualize society between factum and process (cf. Hettlage 1991, 421, translation by the author). In this respect, frame analysis, on the one hand, raises the question of how praxis is embedded within frameworks, frames, and keys. On the other hand, it examines how frameworks, frames, and keys constitute and mark praxis. Thus, frame analysis does not only invite inquiry into the multiple ways that frameworks and frames or rather keys are framed or rather keyed outwardly, but also promotes reflection on framings and keyings within. Frames can term practices successful or rather unsuccessful, just as practices have the potential to prompt frame modifications or transformations, hence – in part – resting upon interpretative heterogeneity, ambiguity, as well as incommensurability. Taking this as my starting point, I will now introduce the concept of practice theory and elaborate on the way in which a frame analytical and praxeological approach can be linked.

2.2 P r actice theory 2.2.1 Common features despite conceptual differences The term “practice theory” is an umbrella term regarding theories that examine praxis as composed of, and dependent on, interrelated practices and inherent techniques, which are performed by the participants of a society. The underlining thought is that practices are embedded within praxis and are reflective of the latter. In the course of this, the concept of practice theory underscores the pivotal role of the practical, i.e., actual doings, for understanding the production and reproduction of social phenomena. This suggests that the social does not exist outside or rather apart from individually linked, yet collectively shared and organized practices. In this respect, the concept sheds light upon and discusses cohesive practices that evoke sociality, simultaneously pointing toward the fact that praxis comprises social phenomena, which emerge in and through the participation in existing practices. Yet despite these underlying keynotes – which shall be further elaborated on – it is necessary to mention that the concept of practice theory comprises diverse thinkers and research approaches that are in part insurmountable, as they are permeated by differing preconceptions that lead to conceptual divergence. Within contemporary use, practice theories relate to, firstly, the research field of sociology (prominently Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of habitus (1977) and Anthony Giddens’s theory of structuration (1979/84); secondly, the field of social philosophy (prominently Ludwig Wittgenstein’s study Sprachspiel 1958); thirdly,

Theoretical embedment

the field of ethnomethodology (Harold Garfinkel’s Studies in ethnomethodology 1967); fourthly, the field of poststructuralism (Michel Foucault’s concept of discipline (1975) and fifthly, the field of cultural studies (prominently Judith Butler’s concept of performativity (1997), Michel de Certau’s study Practice of everyday life (1984), and Bruno Latour’s study Science in action (1987).9 All of the above named approaches emphasize the primacy of doing, linking the practical to the formation of the social. In the course of this, all of the thinkers oppose the classical dualism of theory and praxis, substantiating the idea that praxis is as theoretical as theory is practical. In these terms, practice theories stand out through their double articulation of theory and practice. The positioning beyond hermeneutic and empirical binaries exposes their basis, allowing the dialectic interrelationship between theory and practice to be negotiated. In this respect, practice theories critically distance themselves from objective and holistic perspectives, which affirm society as a stable entity. Instead they attempt to grasp the consecutive processes of sociality ingrained within the everyday. Moreover, rather than keeping practice at a distance to theory, the praxeological perspective argues that theory is first and foremost a social practice, which encompasses the potential to generate and re-generate theory. Within his book Soziologie der Praktiken10 (2012), Robert Schmidt particularly emphasizes the permeability between theory and praxis from a sociological perspective, arguing that theoretical concepts necessarily – and in the first instance – subscribe to praxis and are modified, revised, and further developed within (cf. Schmidt 2012, 13 ff., translation by the author). His conceptual studies linked to empirical analysis counter methodological individualism, structuralism, and functionalism, addressing the issue that practice theories at large distinguish themselves through their anti-rational and anti-intellectual impact. This provides a space for a continuous re-examination of concepts relating to acts, actors, subjects, and social order. On account of this, practice theories – unlike action theories – do not privilege the motivation and intention of individuals and systems in defining the social. Rather, to borrow the words of Pierre Bourdieu (1977), “intentional consciousness” evolves into “acquired dispositions” (ibid., 97f.), substantiating the idea that knowledge-dependent routines as well as indeterminacy guide praxis. Moreover, at a minimum – and in spite of conceptual differences – practice theories adhere to an ethnographic approach. The latter asks how participants perform, inferring that the complexity of social phenomena can be observed in and through practical doings. Hence, practice theories direct their attention toward practices within their context of creation and application, seeking to give 9 | For a detailed overview, see Andreas Reckwitz (2003, 282–84). 10 | The sociology of practices, translation by the author.

35

36

On the Threshold of Knowing

insight into occurrences within contemporary society and advancing reflection upon how performed practices bring forth social order. Practice theories examine the spatiotemporal-bound structures of meaning making, based on the participants’ commonly shared understanding of what it is that is going on, which is embedded – and inevitably reveals itself – within the everyday. Concerning this very matter, Andreas Reckwitz remarks that all of the research fields named above explicitly oppose universal validity, but – all the same – implicitly follow an individually justified “strategie d’universalisation” (cf. Reckwitz 2004, 41, translation by the author). He argues that the double structure ingrained within the concept of practice accounts for this conflict. On the one side, practices are tied to their social fields and spatiotemporal-bound frameworks. On the other side, they can be outright arbitrary, random, and permit genuine difference, as they are directly linked to the participants’ actual performances. This allows for practices to be marked by spatiotemporal sensitivity linked to preexisting and culturally-bound frameworks, frames, and keys. Yet simultaneously these practices are marked by non-allocatable ambiguity and variation. Viewed from this angle, notions of transformation are inevitably inscribed within the concept of practice. A change in practice – or the correlations between multiple practices – bears reference to a change in praxis, which de facto occurs in incessant minute shifts. Hence, even though possibly unspectacular at first, far-reaching change is instigated in tiny shifts. These most times are, regarding their significance, wholly unpredictable. Therefore, the challenge and strength of a praxeological standpoint lies within its minimum of conceptual pre-condition (cf. Reckwitz 2004, 52, translation by the author), which acknowledges notions of indeterminacy and ambiguity each time anew. From this the philosopher and cultural scientist Tasos Zembylas derives that practices can be “clearly understood as collectively constituted and regulated, and as transforming along social, cultural, technological, and economic trajectories” (2014, 1). Each time anew, practices address notions of the foreseeable (im)possibility within social order.

2.2.2 The concept of practice Regarding the concept of practice, I will primarily draw upon Theodore Schatzki’s post-Wittgensteinian perspective. This perspective has proven as insightful regarding my study’s core interests. It has provided important impulses as to how practices reveal themselves between frame-dependency and frame-coalition and how knowledge emerges within. Thus, while practice theories commonly contend that social phenomena emerge within a set of joint practices, Schatzki specifies practices as being organized by practical and general understanding within “temporally unfolding and spatially dispersed

Theoretical embedment

nexus of doings and sayings” (1996, 89). He employs the term “nexus” as practices are individually linked in a triple manner. Firstly, practices can relate to a common understanding of what to say and what to do; secondly, they can apply to explicit rules, principles, precepts, and instructions; and thirdly, practices can correspond to teleoaffective structures, which embrace “ends, projects, tasks, purposes, beliefs, emotions, and moods” (ibid.). Accordingly, the concept of practice scrutinizes the spatiotemporal-bound elements of meaning making. The concept emphasizes that meaning making develops in and through praxis and is interwoven in a thoroughly individual and complex manner. Over and above, Schatzki’s post-Wittgensteinian perspective underscores the notion of practice interlaced within practices, falling into place within bundles. While practices are composed of and correspond to a manifold constellation of interrelated techniques, both the techniques as well as the practices tie into larger constellations, which are, in turn, larger than the antecedents that compose them. These constellations are larger again, finally constituting “one immense plenum” (ibid., 20) and connecting “to other practices through, among other things, shared ends and chains of action” (Schatzki 2014, 19). On account of this, techniques link to their practices but are also connected to one another, again being organized by practice-bound understanding that relates to explicit rules and “accepted or prescribed emotions and end-task combinations” (ibid., 18). Thus it appears that practices are squarely social, as they are “performed by more than one person” (Schatzki 2014, 17). As a matter of fact, quoting Zembylas, practices can be identified as “configurations of cohesive activities that establish coordinated and collaborative relationships among the members of a community” (Zembylas 2014, 1). Phrased differently, while practices are linked to the participants that perform them, they are simultaneously co-created and commonly shared. Their embedded logic establishes a guideline to which practices may follow – and which may not. Practices mirror a society’s praxis, i.e., acknowledged modes of acting and reacting, orientating what participants of a particular society do, or rather, what they are “urged” to do. In this respect, practices prefigure and induce which joint actions participants “enact and into which cooperative arrangements they enter” (Schatzki 2014, 22). From this Schatzki concludes that praxis is self-organizing. Each and every participant does “what makes sense” (ibid., 23, italics in the original) within individually-bound, but also commonly shared settings. Thus, from a praxeological standpoint, the dichotomy “subjective” versus “objective” is obsolete: that “what makes sense” is neither one or the other, but necessarily both. Yet in order to be able to wholly understand “what makes sense,” and the logic embedded within, the concept of practice must inevitably be linked to social entities: practices cannot be viewed independently. This is the challenge

37

38

On the Threshold of Knowing

ingrained within the praxeological approach, since praxis – and its conglomerate of practices – adverts to notions of the self-evident. Within the smooth flow of everyday activity, practices are generally not consciously performed, but unconsciously adopted within the course of interaction. Joint practices transpire through the participants’ individual performances. They bear reference of the fact that in performing particular practices the participants not only master their “vocabulary” but accept and pursue the inscribed logic accordingly. Thus, the concept of practice relates to the participants’ actual experientiality while explicitly making mention of the modus operandi embedded within. This modus operandi reveals itself as a conglomerate of practices linked to social entities. It facilitates mutual understanding and persists over time. Building on this, Schatzki differentiates between dispersed and integrative practices. Firstly, with reference to Ludwig Wittgenstein, dispersed practices allude to habits, conventions, and institutional guidelines that are linked through collective practical forms of knowing and understanding, e.g., practices of description, explanation, reporting, etc. Secondly, integrative practices constitute a very specific social field, e.g., education, religion, the financial markets, etc. and are, in the course of this, more complex. The doings and sayings are not only linked through communal forms of knowing and understanding, but additionally through organizational components – as for example explicit rules, regulations, and teleoaffective structures, e.g., specific projects, aims, etc. (cf. Schatzki 1996, 91–110). Regardless of their dispersed or integrative qualities, practices can – in many cases – also be outright cognitive and solely include “mental actions” (Schatzki 2014, 19). These – listening and watching for example – also emerge within the ken of activity and are non-detachable from the latter. Yet, mental actions only become “vis-able” and “comprehens-able” within the continuous cross-section of bodily entities and artifacts. Betwixt and between actual doings and sayings, they give insight into the implicit logic ingrained within praxis, even if a conditional relationship between that what is thought and that what is done does de facto not exit. To be more precise, practices in general – and mental actions in particular – do not have a preexisting or determining relationship to the participants’ motivation and intention, as the cognitive is not perceived as outright mental. Instead, mental actions are interactively constituted in and through bodily practices. They are anchored within the organization of the social and become identifiable within vagrant instants of action, interaction, and re-action. Moments of discontinuity, e.g., distraction, hesitation, and irreproducible pauses, interrelate what verbal communication ontologically differentiates, allowing sociality, to paraphrase Schmidt, to emerge via silent, but observable and thereby predominantly public practices. These practices do not reflect the participants’ intentions but reveal a society’s anchored and typecasted actions

Theoretical embedment

(cf. Barnes 2001, 17; Schatzki 1996, 96). They give information regarding how “world” can be comprehended sensuously. Poised at the threshold of the present, practices relate to the non-propositional dimension of the everyday, which is carried out so smoothly and without any difficulty, that its complexity is only marginally perceivable and cannot entirely be put into words (Schmidt 2012, 226ff.). On account of this, practices bear a tenuous relationship to language, as neither individually linked nor collectively shared practices can be squarely specified. Rather, the act of naming and specifying practices accounts for the ongoing endeavor between possible and impossible articulation: denomination relates to the gradual and incessant transitions of “know-able” versus “non-know-able.” Concerning this matter, specifying practices and their inherent techniques displays itself as a possible approach in understanding praxis. Yet while specification, beyond doubt, provides insight into everyday actions and interactions, it simultaneously also makes its contribution in de facto bringing forth practices that are denominated as such. In the course of this, the act of specifying unavoidably encompasses a risk of eclipsing – and possibly also eradicating – a practice’s distinctive and transient traits. It is as an interpretative reconstruction – or rather construction – regarding praxis’s spatially and temporally layered and cultural-bound dynamics, which are processed-based and can thus not be entirely accounted for. Hence, as denomination not only mirrors, but de facto also constitutes praxis, the challenge lies upon doing justice to the double structure ingrained within. Praxis positions itself between explicit practice and implicit meaning – at times deriving from conflicting “nexus of doings and sayings” (Schatzki 1996, 89) – and is confronted with the fixed gap of practical and verbal reasoning and its methodological problem of plausibility (cf. Reckwitz 2008, 199, translation by the author). Or to borrow the words of Charles Taylor: To situate our understanding in practices is to see it as implicit in our activity, and hence as going well beyond what we manage to frame representations of. [...] This understanding (that is largely inarticulate) is more fundamental in two ways: (1) it is always there, where we sometimes frame representations and sometimes do not, and (2) the representations we do make are comprehensible against the background provided by this inarticulate understanding. (Taylor 1995, 170)

Referring to its inarticulate understanding, the concept of practice hence necessarily relies on a praxis of substitution, within which the act of performing is, on the one hand, (pre)-supposed and, on the other hand, (re)constructed. Both acts are only partially explicatory, as the inherent distinctiveness can neither be fully presumed nor perfectly specified.

39

40

On the Threshold of Knowing

Building on this, the miscellany The practice turn in contemporary theory (2001) further contours the concept of practice, arguing that joint and coordinated practices transpire within and across social fields. Within his essay titled “Practice mind-ed orders,” Schatzki links artifacts to the participants employing them, inferring that artifacts – in the first instance – shape and induce practices. In this respect, artifacts are performative, as, within the act of being performed, they unavoidably also (per)form their user. The artifacts do not merely present themselves as bodily extensions, but de facto – within the act of being performed – co-determine how they are to be employed, hence shaping and, at least in part, transforming the user’s actions and their body. In this regard, artifacts facilitate an adaption that can be successful, or rather unsuccessful, and allows for the participant and the artifact to become a possible entity (cf. Schatzki 2001, 51ff.). From a praxeological perspective, artifacts do however not – in contrast to the argument of representatives of the field of Science Studies (cf. Knorr Cetina 2002; Latour 2005) – have an equal participant status. Rather, the concept of practice acknowledges the bodily basis of everyday activity providing a space to introduce notions of “skilled bodies” that carry out “skillful performances” (Schatzki 2001; Hirschauer 1999 and 2004). Focusing on skilled bodies and their skillful performances allows for the primacy of knowing how to perform something to reveal itself. This, as discussed in Stefan Hirschauer’s seminal article “Praktiken und ihre Körper”11 (2004), reflects on the fact that practices inevitably build on the accomplishments of their participants: skillful performances make skilled bodies visible and – in the first instance – operable. In this regard, bodies can neither be presupposed, nor are they the result of discourse, or rather practice. Instead, bodies allude to their performances. What this means is twofold: practices bring forth bodies, while bodies simultaneously allude to the individual practices belonging to these bodies. This brings into focus that notions of body and practice are intrinsically interrelated and inevitably interconnected (cf. Hirschauer 2004, 75, translation by the author). Thus, linked to skillful performances, practices encompass the possibility of constituting, regulating, and transforming social trajectories. They are performative as practices expose the basis upon which social phenomena produce and reproduce themselves. Practices display and communicate themselves beforehand, while simultaneously engendering further practices. In this respect, the concept of practice refers to the ephemeral and ongoing dimension of sociality, contradicting both the idea of the self-governed as well as the heteronomous subject, in which discourse is radically inscribed. Rather, the praxeological argument substantiates the idea that participants and artifacts use, react to, and shape the world as much as the world induces and shapes 11 | Practices and their bodies, translation by the author.

Theoretical embedment

them. The praxeological argument challenges the binary opposition between society and its participants, postulating incessant permeability between the two, and providing the argument that the social materializes itself in and through individually linked and commonly shared practices (cf. Schatzki 2001, 3; Reckwitz 2003, 291, translation by the author).

2.2.3 Praxeological frame analysis The frame analytical argument addresses the issue of the organization of the social, contending that frameworks, frames, and keys are linked to effectively practiced acts of framing, or rather keying. The praxeological argument extends this line of reasoning regarding the pivotal role of the practical. It substantiates the idea that the social does not exist outside, or rather apart from, individually linked and collectively shared and organized practices. Both the frame analytical as well as the praxeological argument emphasizes the interplay of multifarious, spatiotemporal-bound, and structurally interwoven practices. Hence, the concept of frame analysis and the concept of practice overlap, in the sense that both simultaneously reflect on the interrelated praxis of the individually linked and commonly shared. Both the frame analytical as well as the praxeological argument position themselves between a micro-analytical and a macro-analytical standpoint, putting into focus that concisely the cross-section between structural arrangements and elusive practices bears reference of the transitory and “silent” constituent of knowledge: knowledge that goes without saying. The latter does not relate to an a priori setting that acts on and wholly determines knowledge. Rather, its innominate dimension relates to practices, which “effect, use, react to, and give meaning to arrangements” (Schatzki 2014, 19), which in turn again induce, prefigure, and are essential to these very practices. In this respect, the combined approach opens up analytical entities and description possibilities for denominating the “knowledge-able” dimensions of knowing. To advance this line of reasoning, I will now turn to the concept of knowledge as a modus operandi between material property and possible, or rather impossible, denotations.

2.3 The concep t of knowledge 2.3.1 Between material property and (im)possible denotation As argued above, a frame analytical and praxeological perspective invites inquiry on how everyday encounters are layered in terms of their spatial and temporal dynamics and positioned in relation to respective frameworks, frames,

41

42

On the Threshold of Knowing

and keys. Hence, asking how praxis is framed and keyed is an invitation to (re)consider how respective practices serve as catalysts for rethinking the very hierarchies that regulate praxis. It is an invitation to prompt reflection on how knowledge formation renders possible. In its first instance, the concept of knowledge is fractured in a complex manner as it is not only influenced by diverging historical traditions and cultural debates but particularly distinguishes itself through its notions of a posteriori. This means that knowledge only counts as knowledge in retrospect, deriving from the fact that knowledge is de facto not perceived as such the moment it emerges, but only specified as knowledge once it has been performed. Thus, numerous facets and subsequent manifestations of knowledge exist, causing the concept to rest upon complex and conflictual modes of signifying. Over and above, knowledge that emerges within the ken of activity and is specified in retrospect relates to two diverging practices. Concerning this very matter Ryle concisely remarks: It is, however, one thing to know how to apply such concepts, quite another to know how to correlate them with one another and with concepts of other sorts. Many people can talk sense with concepts but cannot talk sense about them. (Ryle 1949, 7)

This quotation points to the fact that the act of knowing and saying what one knows does not necessarily coincide, as knowing cannot be delimited from the epistemic-embodied regimes with which it is affiliated. Instead, it is a remarkably ambiguous concept with multiple and constantly shifting meanings. Knowledge – irrespective of knowing how to apply, or knowing how to correlate its practices accordingly – is often contradictory as, to borrow the words of John Dewey, knowledge is inevitably – and in the first instance – “something which we do” (1916, 331). In this context, it is understandable that a full historical and conceptual overview regarding knowledge would exceed the remit of my study. Instead, relating to my epistemic interests, I will focus on the interplay of propositional and non-propositional knowledge.12 To be more precise, I will center Ryle’s study of knowing how in opposition to knowing that (1945–56; 1949) – and in contrast to Michael Polanyi’s concept of tacit knowing. This approach has 12 | There are several prominent concepts that investigate how knowledge reveals itself and renders possible between material property and (im)possible attribute. Apart from the chosen two, it is necessary to make mention of three other prominent scholars: while John Dewey differentiates between “known” and “knowing” (1929, 107, 164ff.), Ludwig Wittgenstein (1958, §78) relates to the terminology of “being able to say” and “knowing,” which Jean-François Lyotard (1984, 18–23) similarly terms as “savoir” and “savoir faire.”

Theoretical embedment

proven insightful regarding how knowledge practices reveal themselves between frame-dependency and frame-coalition.

2.3.1.1 Tacit knowing and knowing how To begin with and at first view, the similarities of Polanyi’s and Ryle’s studies are strikingly obvious, as both underscore the departure of concepts that are exclusively cognitive-bound. Both Polanyi as well as Ryle acknowledges process as a form of knowledge acquisition. Their utmost concern is not – in the first instance – to increase knowing, but to re-conceptualize, expand, and re-allocate particular notions of knowledge that are, for their part, effectively already known. Yet at the same time, both concepts distinguish themselves through considerable differences and Polanyi’s concept of tacit knowledge can in fact not be put on a level with Ryle’s concept of knowing how. To be more precise, while Ryle argues that an action can coincide with both a “bodily and a mental process” (Ryle 1949, 33), he contends that it is de facto one and the same action that is pervaded by both. On account of this, the act of knowing how to do something alludes to practical accomplishments, which do not necessarily coincide with knowing that and, over and above, may not easily be put into words. Polanyi also investigates how individuals acquire and subsequently share knowledge, but he does not oppose acts of knowing that can, or rather cannot, be articulated. Rather, Polanyi’s perspective of the philosophy of science undermines the necessity of opposing concepts concerning “explicit” and “tacit,” substantiating the idea that knowledge always comprises a tacit dimension. From this he infers that the act of knowing presents itself as a dynamic continuum between being outright ineffable and being generally explicit – meaning beyond a circle of experts, who share a common background, comparable education, and similar experiences. Polanyi highlights the subjective elements ambiguously ingrained within knowledge formation processes, challenging notions of objectivity. Pointing toward the sensuous experience linked to the individual person who knows, he remarks: “Into every act of knowing there enters a passionate contribution of the person knowing what is being known, and [...] this coefficient is no mere imperfection but a vital component of his knowledge” (Polanyi 1958, viii). Building on this, Polanyi, similar to Ryle, substantiates the permeability between the act of knowing and that what is known. He investigates processes within which “the tacit cooperates with the explicit, the personal with the formal” (ibid., 87), inferring that language plays a pivotal role in communicating that what can be known. Yet simultaneously, he avows that articulating one’s knowledge does not necessarily coincide with that what the individual actually knows. He extends this line of reasoning within his seminal study The tacit dimension (1966), claiming: “Our body is the ultimate instrument of all our external

43

44

On the Threshold of Knowing

knowledge, whether intellectual or practical. In all our waking moments we are relying on our awareness of contacts of our body with things outside for attending to these things” (Polanyi 1966, 15–16, italics in the original). This quotation reveals that Polanyi prefixes an act of confidence to the body, which is rooted within the conviction that one can, first and foremost, rely on bodily practices when acquiring and subsequently sharing knowledge. Yet, as “all confidence can be conceivably misplaced” (Polanyi 1958, 250), the acquired and shared knowledge is also inevitably exposed to notions of the tacit. From this Polanyi infers that “we can never quite know what is implied in what we say” (ibid., 95). Accordingly, not merely bodily sayings and doings signify meaning, but also the participant and his counterpart who mean something by them. Precisely drawing on the example of the sciences, he depicts the latter as “an art”: an art that rests on its unconventional character as well as an explicit system of rules. Advancing this line of argument, he infers that instead of solely abiding to knowledge-bound procedures, scientific knowledge builds on the scientists’ individual performances and accomplishments as well, allowing knowledge to only partially allude to structured dispositions. On account of this he states: We may conclude quite generally that no science can predict observed facts except by relying with confidence upon an art: the art of establishing by the trained delicacy of eye, ear, and touch a correspondence between the explicit predictions of science and the actual experience of our senses to which these predictions shall apply. (Polanyi and Prosch 1975, 31)

This observation calls for multifaceted descriptions of knowledge processes, linked to the sensuous experience of the individual subject and the spatiotemporal-bound context of application. Yet, Polanyi does not explain if, and if so how, notions of knowing become universally valid. Instead, he conceives that knowing is neither detachable from the individual subject, nor can it be made entirely explicit: “I shall reconsider human knowledge by starting from the fact that we can know more than we can tell” (Polanyi 1966, 4, italics in the original). In this context, Polanyi comments on the attempt to make tacit knowledge comprehensible, i.e., explicit, but he concedes that “a definition must rely all the time on its undefined understanding by the person relying on it.” He concludes that “definitions only shift the tacit coefficient of meaning” (Polanyi 1958, 250). In these terms, definitions reduce the ambiguity of the tacit, but are never capable of eliminating it entirely. They are, to borrow the words of Polanyi one more time, “an act of confidence, and all confidence can be conceivably misplaced” (ibid.). Yet interestingly enough, while Polanyi acknowledges the body to be the ultimate instrument for all external knowledge within the studies named

Theoretical embedment

above, he actually denies the body its attending function within his study Personal knowledge. Toward a post-critical philosophy (1958). Despite the fact of having explicated his concept of tacit knowing, he posits that critique is solely linked to articulatory and deliberative practices. He claims as follows: Where there is criticism, what is being criticized is every time, the assertion of an articulate form. It is our acceptance of an articulate form that is judged [...]. In the sense just specified, tacit knowing cannot be critical [...]. Systematic forms of criticism can be applied only to articulate forms, which you can try out afresh again and again [...]. Tacit acts are judged by other standards and are to be regarded accordingly as a-critical. (Polanyi 1958, 264, italics in the original)

The implications of this claim present themselves as misleading, as Polanyi does technically not oppose theoretical to practical – and thus explicit to tacit – knowledge. Over and above, Polanyi contends that there are tacit dimensions within all modes of knowing. Thus, as will be exemplified using Ryle’s concept of knowing how and knowing that, the act of denominating tacit knowledge as a-critical, effectively denies the underlying “criticality” and productive conflicts that are unavoidably inherent to the concept of knowledge13.

2.3.1.2 Knowing how and knowing that Concerning the indeterminacy inherent to tacit knowledge, Ryle follows a similar line of argument as Polanyi. In particular within his study The concept of mind (1949), he suggests that there are multiple practices that “directly display qualities of mind, yet are neither themselves intellectual operations nor yet effects of intellectual operations” (Ryle 1949, 26). On account of this, he recognizes that the act of knowing is composed of knowing how and knowing that, whereas the two do not relate to two detached operations. Rather, knowing how alludes to practical operations and knowing that to the description of the operations’ modus operandi. Hence, while acknowledging a degree of mutuality between knowing how and knowing that, Ryle incipiently addresses the issue that there are differences. Using the example of a boy learning to play chess, Ryle contends that in the beginning the boy consciously thinks through the game’s rules – aloud or merely in his head – and asks – as and when required – how the rules are to be applied within a specific situation. Yet once the boy is able to relate the theoretical rules fully and without the help of the others to his practical doings, Ryle infers that the boy actually knows the rules and does de facto not lose time thinking about them while playing. This observation provides Ryle with the 13 | I will advance this line of reason within Chapter 2.4 pertaining to the concept of artistic research and its notions of passing criticism.

45

46

On the Threshold of Knowing

argument to underpin the claim that understanding – just as its counterpart misunderstanding – accounts for knowing how: both acts mirror competence. Relating to this matter, the act of understanding adverts to what is actually seen and heard. Understanding derives from practices that are effectively and successfully performed, rather than deriving from ascribed and presupposed acts of meaning making. Hence it goes without saying – in the literal sense – that the boy knows what to do: he knows, which moves are permitted and which moves are not allowed. Following from this, Ryle deduces that the ability to perform a practice does not inevitably result in being able to formulate this very practice. Returning to the boy learning to play chess: the boy may no longer be able to cite the rules. Thus, if asked to instruct a beginner, Ryle reasons that the boy would very likely “show the beginner how to play only by himself making the correct moves and cancelling the beginner’s false moves” (ibid., 41). Advancing this line of argument, Ryle postulates, “efficient practice precedes the theory of it” (ibid., 30), as it is quite possible to solely learn by watching and doing without ever being able to “propound the regulations in terms of which ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ are defined” (ibid.). He claims that “the ability to apply rules is the product of practice” (ibid., 42). Participants learn how to do something through practicing a specific ability, regardless of being “unaided by any lessons in the theory” (ibid., 41). He specifies his concept, in particular regarding notions of knowing how, concluding: Knowing how, then, is a disposition, but not a single-track disposition like a reflex or a habit. Its exercises are observances of rules or canons or the applications of criteria, but they are not tandem operations of theoretically avowing maxims and then putting them into practice. Furthermore, its exercises can be overt or covert, deeds performed or deeds imagined, words spoken aloud or words heard in one’s head, pictures painted on canvas or pictures in the mind’s eye. Or they can be amalgamations of the two. (Ibid., 46–47)

From this Ryle infers that knowing how relates to practices of observing just as practices of executing – regardless of the fact if these very practices are performed publicly or silently. Yet he emphasizes that knowing how is not merely a “product” of knowing that. Instead, knowing how adverts to practices that are conceded and performed as well as vetoed and avoided: knowing how mirrors knowledge of the rules “in the executive way of being able to apply them” (ibid., 41). On account of this Ryle remarks that a participant who reverts to their knowing how – and is thus able to understand “what is going on” (Goffman 1974) – possesses a “degree of competence in performances of that kind” himself (Ryle 1949, 54). Simultaneously, he factors in that performing a practice is by no means the same as merely following that practice: “the ability to appreciate a performance does not involve the same degree of competence

Theoretical embedment

as the ability to execute it” (ibid., 56). Thus, Ryle concludes: “roughly, execution and understanding are merely different exercises of knowledge of the tricks of the same trade” (ibid., 55). Referring to this, Ryle concisely remarks that successful performances do not merely satisfy predetermined criteria but de facto apply them, i.e., “to regulate one’s actions and not merely to be well-regulated” (ibid., 28). In this context it is worthwhile to note that within Ryle’s understanding of “successful,” performances relate to an assemblage of skills, e.g., accuracy, correctness, and efficiency. These skills are inevitably in need of being performed. Viewed from this angle, being successful is exhibited in the performance per se and not in the acceptance of successful propositions. If a practice is to be reckoned as successful, not the act of denominating it as such, but the act of demonstrating de facto entitles the practice to be successful. A successful demonstration neither devalues the significance of knowing that, nor negates that knowing how and knowing that are inevitably interrelated. Instead, successful demonstrations put into focus that knowing how is not necessarily in need of being accompanied and being affirmed through knowing that. Rather, knowing how can stand on its own, as it does not relate to single-track dispositions but mirrors a composition of dispositions that comprise a variety of practices. In this respect, knowing how is wholly self-contained. Moreover, following from the claim that knowing how cannot be squarely re-assimilated to knowing that, Ryle negates that “all intelligent performance requires to be prefaced by the consideration of appropriate propositions” (ibid., 29). Accordingly, the term “intelligent” mirrors the interplay between performances and propositions, particularly pointing toward the fact that knowing how and knowing that do not occur in “two different ‘places,’ or with two different ‘engines’” (ibid., 51). Rather, the act of knowing is one activity that is in need of varying explanatory descriptions. These descriptions relate to – employing a frame analytical terminology – frameworks, frames, and keys that neither squarely precede the “knowledge-able,” nor do they have the potential to fully explain that what is known (cf. Ryle 1945–1946, 4). Yet the key reason why Ryle’s concept is significant for my study is that his line of reasoning deepens understanding regarding the fact that knowing – in the very first instance – performs itself: When a person knows how to do things of a certain sort [...], their knowledge is actualized or exercised in what he does. It is not exercised [...] in the propounding of propositions or in saying “Yes” to those propounded by others. His intelligence is exhibited by deeds, not by internal or external dicta. (Ibid., 8)

Regarding my study’s cognitive interest, this quotation is pivotal, as it undermines the opposition between knowing how and knowing that, postulating

47

48

On the Threshold of Knowing

permeability between the two. The quotation acknowledges knowing how’s and knowing that’s manifold share of neither being outright one or the other. Hence, Ryle’s concept acknowledges the performative dimension inherent to knowing: “Knowing a rule is knowing how. It is realized in performances which conform to the rule, not in theoretical citations of it” (ibid., 7). This quotation concisely clarifies that Ryle’s concept of knowing how is not continuative to analyzing knowledge from the standpoint of a knowing subject – thus pointing toward the decisive difference between Polanyi’s concept of tacit knowledge and Ryle’s concept of knowing how. Instead, Ryle recognizes performances as exercises of skill. He acknowledges that skills distinguish themselves through their traits of not being “a happening at all,” but “a disposition, or complex of dispositions, and a disposition is a factor of the wrong logical type to be seen or unseen, recorded or unrecorded” (Ryle 1949, 33). He specifies this stating that: “To possess a dispositional property is not to be in a particular state, or to undergo a particular change; it is to be bound or liable to be in a particular state, or to undergo a particular change, when a particular condition is realised” (ibid., 43). In this regard, Ryle’s concept does not privilege the motivation and intention of individuals in defining the social, but points to the fact that social phenomena produce and reproduce themselves and engender further practices. Surveyed from a praxeological perspective, Ryle’s concept undergirds the ephemeral and ongoing dimension of actions, contradicting both the idea of the self-governed as well as the heteronomous subject, in which discourse is radically inscribed. Instead, the individual’s knowing how “shapes” their knowing that as much as – in turn – this materiality “shapes” knowing how. Both influence one another without necessarily accounting for one another. In this context, it is also worthwhile to note that both may go quite unmarked even though Ryle emphasizes: I find out most of what I want to know about your capacities, interests, likes, dislikes, methods and convictions by observing how you conduct your overt doings, of which by far the most important are your sayings. (Ibid., 61, italics added)

This statement brings into focus the overriding importance of the actual performance, i.e., how bodily doings and saying are performed within an individually linked but collectively shared spatiotemporal-bound context. It advances reflection upon the fact that passing criticism necessarily relates to overt doings – composed of a dynamic continuum between being generally explicit, being outright ineffable, and going without saying. To be more precise, joint notions of knowing how and knowing that transpire within and across the act of passing criticism. Deriving from this, knowing how and knowing that are dialectical in the sense that – instead of withdrawing themselves from critique – they position themselves directly within. Passing criticism inevitably

Theoretical embedment

positions itself at the cross-section of knowing how and knowing that and can be made comprehensible through knowing what. I will explicate this line of reasoning through introducing Robin Nelson’s multi-mode epistemological knowledge model that supports and pursues Ryle’s concept, postulating permeability between material property and possible denotation.

2.3.2 Embedded within a multi-mode epistemological approach In his book Practice as research in the arts, Nelson introduces a knowledge model that adverts to “a matter of multiple perspectives” (Nelson 2013, 53) and builds upon three counterparts. None of these counterparts has an overriding function. Instead know-how, know-that, and know-what are all interrelated and complementary. At first glance, the model’s counterparts seem to trap knowledge within fixed categorizations. When adhering to notions of know-how, knowthat, and know-what, the risk of simply actuating and acknowledging these notions suggests itself. This is, however, not the case. Instead, Nelson endorses a praxeological knowledge term, postulating that “knowing is a matter of doing as much as a matter of facts” (ibid., 114). He emphasizes the process-related, spatial, and temporal relationship between the subjects engaged and the objects to be understood,14 underscoring the fact that categories are crucial when postulating permeability between two or more properties. Embedded within the artistic research discourse, Nelson introduces a knowledge model that undermines the binary divide between theory on the one side and practice on the other. His model seeks to provide a space for examining the gradual transitions of how knowing comports itself at the interface between knowing how and knowing that, made comprehensible through knowing what. Accordingly, the model acknowledges that knowledge is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon. Rather, modes of knowing are dynamically interrelated in an iterative manner, addressing different components and varying forms of emergence. While knowing that can be falsified – as it is founded and consistent – and adverts to propositional knowledge, knowing how on the contrary alludes to successful accomplishments and inevitably succumbs validity. Yet as both knowing that and knowing how are subject to continuous actuation and transformation, they converge and coincide, which allows knowledge to exist on a spectrum in-between. Knowing how always carries traces of knowing that and vice versa. Taking this into consideration, Nelson’s model builds on a third component: know-what. While knowing what “might not be expressed in propositional 14 | Concerning this matter, Nelson makes mention of Fred McVittie’s unpublished doctoral thesis “The role of conceptual metaphor within knowledge paradigms” (2009), in which the term “knowledge” is replaced by the term “knowing.”

49

50

On the Threshold of Knowing

terms (articulated as rules or laws)” (ibid., 44), it does display itself in critical reflection and takes shape in ongoing revisions that diverge from prior conceptions. In this regard, knowing what adheres to “an additional dimension” that encompasses the potential “to dislocate habitual ways of seeing” (ibid., 45) and provides a space for examining assumptions and suppositions regarding knowing how as well as knowing that. Thus, knowing what encompasses the potential to trace knowledge processes and advance reflection on the materiality, spatiality, and ephemeral temporality of knowledge practices. Knowing what examines how knowing that builds on knowing how and how knowing that inevitably carries traces of its making.

2.3.3 Embedded within the frame analytical argument Referring to Nelson’s multi-mode epistemological knowledge model, I propose that the theory of frame analysis and its deconstructive approach distinguishes itself as a “know-what method” (ibid., 37) that encompasses the potential to determine which forms of knowing appear and reveal themselves as legible. The frame analytical approach focuses on the micro-systematics of the social and aims to make the implicit logic of apparently self-evident practices visible. Moreover, this know-what method aims to give insight into how recurrences and replications manifest themselves and play out their transformative potential. Related, it systematically examines the ongoing process of how given attributes turn into knowledge properties and how knowledge properties evoke attributes. Hence, as social situations are “built up in accordance with principles of organization which govern events” (Goffman 1974, 10) and regulate meaning, frame-dependent notions of thinking inevitably accompany individual knowledge formation processes: knowledge forms itself at the juncture where frames and framings intersect. This implies that frames can be identified as predefined interpretation schemes that evoke specific approaches toward modes of knowing. Building on this, frame analysis provides a theoretical framework that advances the applied-relational aspect of knowledge. It brings into focus that knowledge practices are indexical in the sense that they bear the marks of their frameworks, frames, and keys, which have a reciprocal relationship to respective practices of framing and keying within which a form of knowing is always already presupposed and at work. Moreover, this know-what method broaches the issue that frames pre-structure knowledge without pre-defining it. In order to be accepted as knowledge, knowledge needs to be inter-coordinated with accepted knowledge properties and attributes which themselves allow knowledge to reveal itself as such. In this regard, knowledge is directly situated and inevitably interwoven within its predefined parameters of the possible. Simultaneously, it adheres to continuous arrangements of bodily actuation.

Theoretical embedment

Knowledge builds on performative exercises that are performed in the present, refer to the past, and both look toward and constitute the future. They adhere to continual (re)negotiations, rest upon fleeting experience, and are subject to binding norms. On account of this, knowledge is performative as it is constantly challenged and must persistently prove itself, alluding to validity rather than truth (cf. also Foucault 1974a). Taking this into consideration, questions regarding the performative potential of knowledge come to the fore. Which practices emerge within knowledge formation processes? How does knowledge reveal itself between material property and process-related attribute? How does it pass and how does it fail? Regarding these questions, a frame analytical perspective recognizes that knowledge is not simply credited as knowledge, but that knowledge maps onto a setting that counts as knowledge and that can be defined as effectively true or rather false. Phrased differently, counting as knowledge is first and foremost ingrained within the materiality and performances of respective frameworks, frames, and keys allowing that what is supposed to count as knowledge to necessarily – and in the first instance – outperform assumed knowledge propositions. In this context it is necessary to draw upon the concept of praxis and the praxeological argument.

2.3.4 Embedded within the praxeological argument As exemplified above, the concept of practice acknowledges the bodily basis of everyday activity, emphasizing the primacy of knowing how to perform. The concept of practice undermines the division between knowledge that is entitled as outright cognitive and knowledge that is first and foremost bodily-bound. Instead, the praxeological perspective recognizes the two as being interwoven in a complex manner and poses the question of how knowledge circulates within everyday praxis, i.e., how implicit knowledge schemes reveal themselves within the interplay of utterance, artifact, and bodily-bound actions and interactions. In this respect, Bourdieu remarks: Practice has a logic which is not that of the logician. This has to be acknowledged in order to avoid asking of it more logic than it can give, thereby condemning oneself either to writing incoherencies out of it or to thrust a forced coherence upon it. (Bourdieu 1990, 86).

In this context, acknowledging that practices have a logic that is not of the logician allows for the renegotiation of criteria for evaluating the concept of knowledge. Positioned between notions of coherency and incoherency, the praxeological perspective broaches the issue that knowledge is construed as a spatiotemporal-bound, practice-based phenomenon dynamically linked to,

51

52

On the Threshold of Knowing

using the Goffmanian terminology, frameworks and frames and certainly also artifacts. Thus at the cross-section of frameworks, frames, and practice, the concept of knowledge accounts for, firstly, contextual anchoring. Secondly, it attests to its incremental processes. Thirdly, the concept interrelates the permeability of propositional and non-propositional knowledge. Building on this, truth and non-truth are not inherent to the concept of knowledge but are relegated to mere attributes. Knowledge does not derive from the fact that it is founded, or on the contrary untenable, but successfully maps onto its practice-bound accomplishments. In this regard, acknowledging the practical and spatiotemporal-bound mode of knowledge, undermines the dichotomy “cognitive” versus “bodily” and provides a space to rethink the matter of course often associated to this very concept. Precisely concerning this matter, Polanyi addresses the issue of applicable knowledge. Applicable knowledge addresses the dialectical relationship between knowledge properties that are specified as cognitive versus knowledge properties that are entitled as bodily. Polanyi contends: Knowledge can be true or false, while action can only be successful or unsuccessful, right or wrong. It follows that an observing, which prepares a contriving, must seek knowledge that is not merely true, but also useful as a guide to a practical performance. It must strive for applicable knowledge. (Polanyi 1958, 175)

This quotation points to the fact that applicable knowledge is connected to processes of negotiation, which are culturally-bound. Applicable knowledge coincides with nameable as well as non-nameable practices, which relate to the interplay of preexisting and novel praxis. This interchange renders meaning making possible. It allows for the participants to know what it is that is going on and to act and react accordingly and – if necessary – to adapt their actions respectively. On account of this, the praxeological argument substantiates the idea that, paraphrasing Reckwitz, doing is – in the first instance – a knowledge-bound activity (cf. Reckwitz 2004, 42, translation by the author). Or, to borrow the words of Schatzki, “practical understanding is knowing how, through the performance of bodily doings and sayings, to carry out actions that makes sense to one to perform” (Schatzki 2014, 24). Or as explained by Zembylas: knowledge is no longer a product of an individual mind, a collective world spirit, a symbolic order, or an anonymous being. Instead, knowledge and also truth are produced and practically anchored through social interactions and negotiations within institutional frameworks. (Zembylas 2014, 11)

Theoretical embedment

Specifying this line of reasoning, Hirschauer introduces three interrelated and bodily-bound perspectives of knowledge that are neither institutional nor power-bound: firstly, knowledge that is ingrained, i.e., “sits” within the body; secondly, knowledge about the body that can be “owned” and “collected”; and thirdly, knowledge that is found “on” the body and thus exhibited respectively (cf. Hirschauer 2008, 974). Thoroughly examining these three perspectives – and their conjunctions – he concludes that knowledge (per)forms the body, instead of the body (per)forming knowledge (cf. ibid., 982). He strengthens the praxeological argument by contending that knowledge no longer precedes the body but is profoundly embedded within – and inevitably authorizes itself through – bodily practices. When pursuing this praxeological perspective from a frame analytical point of view, it becomes apparent that interrelated forms of knowledge are generally performed so smoothly and without any difficulty – intricately embedded within social interaction – that the complexity which is inscribed and put into practice is often only marginally perceived in a conscious sense. Or to borrow the words of Thomas Regelski, through “minding their bodies” (cf. Regelski 2006, 293), a clear distinction between the participants’ minds and bodies is no longer possible. Viewed from this angle, knowledge builds on a conglomerate of practical conclusiveness, that – depending on its frames and actual framings – is partially inaccessible and unavailable. Knowledge practices only reveal their knowledge-ability and emerge as explicative – regarding how they are to be performed successfully – if the dichotomy of implicit/explicit is replaced in favor of a process-orientated continuum of explanation. Is this the case, knowledge practices go without saying. They emerge as a vagrant phenomenon that is informed by continual and incessant materializing possibilities and marked, actuated, and perpetuated in a highly individual manner. In this context, the cross-section of practice and knowledge attests that within knowledge and our understanding of it, constant transformation takes place. Within praxis, a form of knowing is always already presupposed and at work. Hence, whereas practices give insight into and implement “what is going on” (Goffman 1974) and social order takes shape in and through performing individually linked but collectively shared practices, the cross-section of practice and knowledge controverts sociological concepts orientated around intentional actions. The praxeological argument posits that it is not the individual who primarily acts and not the individual’s head who primarily knows. Instead, knowledge is – first of all – socially bound and embedded within the interplay of bodies, artifacts, and practices – only revealing itself within this interplay. Summa summarum, knowledge can only be acquired, disseminated, and preserved in and through practices. It builds on a tentative formation process that is always already highly influenced by diverging debates and traditions, causing the “knowledge-able” to be thoroughly fragmentary. Paraphrasing

53

54

On the Threshold of Knowing

Polanyi, there is always a tacit dimension within knowledge formation processes that remains unknown. From this, Polanyi infers that definitions do reduce the ambiguity of the tacit, yet the ambiguity of the tacit can never be eliminated entirely (cf. Polanyi 1958, 250). Thus, the concept of practice relates to a knowledge formation process that is subject to the multi-facetted and unattainable dimensions embedded within the concept of knowledge per se. To advance this argument, I will now turn to the concept of artistic research as a modus operandi that precisely looks into how the concept of knowledge is embedded within the academic framework and how the latter marks knowledge practices accordingly. Using its modus operandi, I will corroborate the hypothesis that knowledge settings pervade scientific cultures and not only influence, but also diversify, the culture’s praxis – irrespective of belonging to an academic framework or not.

2.4 A rtistic rese arch This section classifies the theoretical background and practices of artistic research. Referring to the empirical material, I will argue that the modus operandi alluding to artistic research provides a space to affirm and undermine academic and artistic framings, despite of historical traditions, i.e., adverting to the Greek classics, within which academic and artistic research are systematically isolated from one another. I will show how artistic research opposes classification by facilitating both the confrontation as well as the coalition of the artistic and academic fields. Hence, this section looks into how the concept of knowledge is linked to the subject of research. It follows the hypothesis that knowledge practices stand their ground in academic as well as artistic frameworks, which are neither mutually exclusive, nor compete with one another. Rather, the framing “artistic research” instead of “artistic practice” encompasses the potential to actuate a process of redefinition that evokes reflection on which research and knowledge practices are privileged or rather marginalized, or even excluded. The framing exhibits and undermines the standardized framework and administrative design of academia to which concepts of research and knowledge are traditionally affiliated. Within the field of art education, for example, most syllabi require art students to independently know how to produce discourse. In this context, it is not surprising that besides artwork presentations, performances, and media actions and interactions, discursive formats – such as artist talks and lecture performances – have become common modes of presentation and address. Especially the discursive formats are deemed as forms of knowledge production regarding topic-based viewpoints and questions. Hence, as the artist discloses individual standpoints, they initiate a transformation in their status

Theoretical embedment

as an artist,15 posing the question of how practices of simultaneous theoretical and artistic examination render possible and diversify knowledge formation. In what is to follow, I shall focus on how the concept of knowledge can be linked to the field of artistic research. The purpose being to examine, discuss, and make plausible how knowledge reveals itself within artistic frameworks, that is to say within an artistic lecture and within an artistic performance.

2.4.1 The artistic vis-à-vis the academic framework In their book Artistic research – theories, methods and practices (2005), Mika Hannula, Juha Suoranta, and Tere Vadén suggest that artistic research practices have “different, incommensurable and even contradictory ontological, epistemological and practical starting points and commitments” (Hannula et al. 2005, 23). Artistic research practices can either be hallmarked by the dialogue and collaboration of artists and scientists; by artists picking up and acting on scientific research fields, questions, and methodologies; or by artists exhibiting the academic system and its practices of knowledge formation and validation. On account of this, the authors specify artistic research as a practice in which an artist “produces an art work and researches the creative process, thus adding to the accumulation of knowledge” (ibid., 5). This allows for the artistic practice to the object of research just as its outcome. Over and above, the modus operandi of artistic research does not fix knowledge through description, but makes processes of knowledge formation and transformation both visible and understandable. Especially within the last twenty years, the consolidated debate over artistic research’s epistemology and methodology has resulted in its institutionalization. From a contemporary perspective, it suggests itself that artistic research practices are – in the first instance – deeply rooted in and derive from the American and European avant-garde of the 1960s. Thus, as previously touched upon in the introduction, critics have on various occasions pointed out that the modus operandi as linked to the field of artistic research does not correlate with a new practice. Instead, artistic research mirrors a social movement related to notions of scientific cultures and sharing knowledge. Schwab and Borgdorff, for example, claim that the term “artistic research” “simply announces the arrival of the art academy into academia” (Schwab and Borgdorff 2014, 9). They contend that the enduring and ongoing transformation of the art academy has allowed discourse to enter the artist’s studio (cf. ibid., 18). But rather than

15 | Within his book, Art subjects. Making artists in the American university (1999), Howard Singerman, for example, examines the interplay of university instruction and consequential artistic practice.

55

56

On the Threshold of Knowing

defining a new practice, the terminology specifies a modus operandi that has always been inherent to artistic praxis. Granted that this is the case, the highly visible establishment regarding the debate around artistic research, e.g., the emergence of the ongoing discourse and the institutionalization of a respective research field, can however not be overlooked. On account of this, the dispute regarding artistic research no longer qualifies as a practice of critique from “below” or rather “outside,” but particularly relates to formalities regarding administrative designs. As a result, the contemporary dispute poses the urgent question of how artistic practice can pass criticism regarding the development of art as an institution to a time of academic reformation and structural adaptation. I will argue that the very practice of framing artistic practice as research encompasses the potential to actuate a respective redefinition of research and knowledge practices. The framing artistic research, instead of artistic practice – on the side of the artist researcher herself – evokes an altered understanding of “what it is that is going on” (Goffman 1974). The framing prompts the question how the concept of research is termed and positioned – artistically and beyond. In this regard, the act of voicing does not necessarily define a new practice, but de facto invites and at the same time precludes certain types of content. It renders reflection possible regarding which research practices – and the knowledge practices it entails – reveal themselves as privileged, marginalized, and/or excluded. In this respect, voicing exhibits and undermines the standardized framework and administrative design of academia to which the concepts of research and knowledge are traditionally affiliated. To support this claim, I will now turn toward the notion of research.

2.4.2 The notion of research This section claims that the link between the artistic and the academic fields regarding processes of knowledge formation and transformation lies within the notion of research – the act of exploring and investigating existing phenomenon – in search of new findings. It acknowledges that research practices are ingrained within multifarious knowledge settings that pervade different social fields and scientific cultures, i.e., not being cultures of scientists (cf. UNESCO 2005, 129), but a culture of science. This culture extends beyond the academic field, mirroring contemporary transformations defined in terms of the current transition to a society entitled as knowledge society. Particularly relating to the concept of knowledge within the field of academia, Polanyi states: discovery reveals new knowledge, but the new vision which accompanies it is not knowledge. It is less than knowledge, for it is a guess; but it is more than knowledge,

Theoretical embedment for it is a foreknowledge of things yet unknown and at present perhaps inconceivable. (Polanyi 1958, 135)

Relating to their foreknowledge of the unknown, all research methodologies and forms of documentation and exposition highly vary, as they are all discovery-led. Yet each and every methodology provides the basis on which new knowledge can emerge, albeit if still unknown or at present incomprehensible. Particularly referring to the concept of knowledge within the field of art, László Moholy-Nagy claims: “although the ‘research work’ of the artist is rarely as ‘systematic’ as that of the scientist they both may deal with the whole of life, in terms of relationships, not of details” (Moholy-Nagy 1989, 68). Borgdorff also follows this line of argument. He negates the widely acknowledged assumption that research is “owned” by academia and its discursive formations (cf. Borgdorff 2011, 53). He clarifies that notions of research allude to knowledge settings that squarely permeate contemporary societies and their scientific cultures. When simply looking at the terminology, the term “research” implies the return to an ongoing inquiry – and its state of tumult. This state distinguishes itself through a practice-based process of discovery that is continuously adapted, as it is, quoting the science historian Thomas Kuhn, “a process driven from behind” (Kuhn 1992, 14). Building on this, the research process is necessarily open to indeterminacy that in turn transforms conceptual understanding. While research undoubtedly alludes to methodological guidelines, these may in the course of the research process be adapted multiple times. In this context, it is possible to infer that the modus operandi of research is led by uncertainty and the unexpected, while simultaneously adverting to a set of basic conditions that – dependent on discipline-based specifications – must be fulfilled. The research’s scope directly relates to discipline-based specifications that determine the character of questions and answers the researcher can give. These are communicated toward – and directly address – an audience. Yet in order to count as research, the research’s outcome must be relevant and reliable in the sense that the findings make a significant contribution to the respective field. Research is intersubjective, as the researcher must coherently articulate and position their practice in relation to the broader research field, precisely expressing the research’s aim and its relevance. In the course of this, the researcher is inevitably confronted with questions of documentation and actualization, which in turn are necessarily interrelated with a process of continuous debate that renders possible a space for trial and error, as new insights can only be established if the researcher takes the risk of formulating a claim that in effect can possibly turn out to be false. In this context, processes of researching necessarily link to acts of presenting within which the researcher not only positions their practice in

57

58

On the Threshold of Knowing

relation to the broader research field but also safeguards the relevance of their research and its methodology. When safeguarding a claim, the presentation of the research process must – in the broadest sense – allude to validity, validity in turn alluding to testability, reproducibility, and intersubjective objectivity, e.g., multiple test procedures on the one hand, and/or a diversity of research methods on the other. Accordingly, the researcher partakes in the accumulation of knowledge and while their practices are typically discipline-specific, they may also originate from non-discipline-specific research fields and thus be suitable and applied in different disciplines and/or fields. Building on this, one can, to borrow the words of Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, define the process of researching as a process that oscillates and ranges between notions of knowing as well as non-knowing (cf. Rheinberger 2005, 75–81, translation by the author), since beforehand it is never possible to know what one does not know. A researcher seeks to gain new insights, yet not knowing what these insights will be. The latter are not predictable and can only – to a limited extent – be brought about since “the know-able” crops up and materializes itself each time anew. From this, Rheinberger infers that experiments identify as a set-up, which allows for the investigated phenomena to speak for themselves, maybe rendering knowledge formation possible. In the case that knowledge emerges, the researcher solely acts and reacts (cf. ibid. 2014, 310, translation by the author). Relating to Rheinberger, the framing artistic research attests and pursues a research concept, all the while postulating permeability between notions of knowing and non-knowing and arguing for a dynamic knowledge model. The framing brings into focus that research is traditionally affiliated with the academic framework, which in turn marks and constitutes research practices. Yet artistic research simultaneously claims its share, inferring that research and knowledge concepts are ingrained in non-academic fields as well. What this means is twofold. Firstly, when an artist frames their practice as research it is – in the first instance – possible to assume that the artist is engaged in a practice-driven and discovery-led inquiry, which is methodologically positioned and fixed – the research practices being in accordance with the subject of research, the research question, and the research aim. The inquiry presents itself as relevant and objectively reliable, whereas notions of objectivity primarily allude to notions of “coherent communicativity” (Bohr 1987, 7). Referring to this, a search for what knowledge is – or rather can be – wholly determines the artistic research process. Secondly, it is possible to assume that pursuing artistic work betwixt and between practice and theory, i.e., contextualizing artistic practice within a larger social and historical legacy, is not extraordinary. Artists are often engaged in artistic-methodologically positioned inquiries (cf. Riley 2013, 183). Yet art institutions and artists are – only within approximately the last thirty

Theoretical embedment

years – framing this methodology “research.” Thus the question arises: why are art institutions and artists themselves employing this framing? Why are they differentiating between artistic practice and artistic research? And how does knowledge reveal itself within this very act of framing? Rolf Hughes gives a preliminary answer, suggesting that artistic research follows an academic request – different from artistic practice – of “giving an account of a work or method, of “making a claim,” while still respecting a work’s intentions and coherence on its owns terms” (Hughes 2014, 52). Thus, next to communicating the subject of research, the research question, and the research aim, the framing artistic research particularly corresponds to underlying sensibility and ephemerality. The framing points to the fact that unlike within the academic field, the research’s outcome – its processes of knowledge formation – can be a work of art, which may, or may not, be supplemented by (academic) writing. In this context, it is not expedient to differentiate – building on a broad research concept as outlined above – between research practices carried out in an academic rather than an artistic framework. Instead, the concept is connected to coherent procedures that set apart research from non-research practices. Nelson, for example, differentiates between academic and artistic research, claiming that the decisive difference derives from the fact that artistic inquiry is based in practice (cf. Nelson 2013, 6). I on the contrary – relating to the concept of practice theory – counter that the academic inquiry is also, very similarly, practice-based and practice-driven. The academic inquiry is – in a very similar manner to the artistic inquiry – exposed to the challenge of acknowledging, but also “translating,” the inquiry’s inner coherence. Practical and fleeting processes of the ephemeral inform both research encounters, conveying knowledge that – in the very first instance – serves praxis. Hence, even though artistic or rather academic research practices – and this is not particularly surprising – take on a distinctive form and relate to different notions of “outcome,” both research processes build on coherent – or rather harmonious – communicativity that brings forth knowing. Precisely in the case of artistic research, as it is the artist and not the scientist doing research, the accumulation of knowledge flows into the work of art instead of the work of science – independent of its form of expression or state of completion. Thus, while both processes can be considered as research, the artistic classification – this is my hypothesis linked to the following case studies – differs from the academic in the sense that it alludes to a concept of research that acknowledges the unattainability linked to knowledge formation processes. This concept of research allows for knowing to demonstrate itself in and against its denotation. Granted that an artwork engages in a process that qualifies as research, in the sense that the artistic inquiry is situated in a broader context, within which the position of the researcher is communicated, and within which a methodology and understanding is developed that corroborates the research’s reliability and

59

60

On the Threshold of Knowing

relevance, the question justifiably comes to the fore if it is actually knowledge that results? Does research necessarily bring forth knowledge? Engaged in similar questions, Sibylle Peter’s article “The performance of performance research: a report from Germany” (2010) directly addresses the notion of performance. Peters investigates the interrelations between research and performance and proposes the following typology: “research on performance (artistic and cultural), performances of research (transitions between performance and research) and performance as research (on performance)” (Peters 2010, 154). This typology emphasizes the gradual transition – and processes of knowing – from theory to practice. It puts into focus that research practices are inevitably linked to their “foreknowledge of the unknown” (Polanyi 1958, 135). Viewed from a praxeological perspective, the term “performance as research” – embedded within the field of artistic research – recognizes practice as theory, and theory as practice, inevitably undermining the sacrosanct divide between the two. The praxeological argument accounts for the incremental processes in-between. It interrelates the permeability of propositional and non-propositional knowledge. Hence, within the process of researching, knowledge emerges as a vagrant phenomenon that is informed by continual and incessant materializing possibilities. Knowing is marked, actuated, and perpetuated in a highly individual manner, preventing truth and non-truth from being inherent to the concept but instead relegating them to mere attributes. Therefore, alluding to a praxeological standpoint, it is possible to answer in the affirmative and contend that knowledge is de facto ingrained within each and every research process – between theory-bound and praxis-bound knowledge, i.e., between knowing that and knowing how, regardless of an academic or rather artistic framework.

2.4.3 Passing criticism As stated above, a praxeological perspective does not privilege theory over practice, but argues that theory is – firstly – imbricated within praxis. Praxis displays itself as pivotal regarding the research process and its results – independent of an artistic or academic framework. Thus, when referring to the artistic framework, the artistic practice is not only the object of research, but it also provides the setting in which the research is presented. The artistic practice stands for itself and in its own right making it possible to, from a praxeological standpoint, argue that within praxis, a form of knowing is always already presupposed and at work. Hence, instead of asking if artistic research brings forth knowledge, I will specify and re-phrase the question asking: how does artistic research bring forth knowledge and how is it bound to pass criticism concerning academia’s predominance regarding the concept of knowledge.

Theoretical embedment

In order to be able to answer these questions I will refer to examples of lecture performances that relate to the modus operandi of artistic research. I will pursue Borgdorff’s claim, which proposes that “articulating knowledge and understandings as embodied in artworks and creative processes” (Borgdorff 2008, 21) encompasses the potential to shift gridlocked perspectives, broaden horizons, and give access to uncharted territories. I will argue that this is the case, as the act of framing artistic practice as “research” is a provocation to fundamental assumptions regarding acknowledged research and knowledge concepts. Particularly the artwork’s ephemerality – and the knowledge embedded within – challenges the territory of the accepted. Ephemerality poses specific challenges, as it does not relate to notions of the unambiguous. Instead, artistic research and artistic knowledge – and its notions of the ephemeral – specifically build on responsive practices. These address the non-bridgeable notions of that which can be termed “un-know-able,” regardless of an artistic or academic field. In addition, when taking a closer look at contemporary lecture performances that relate to the field of artistic research, self-reflective practices present themselves as the structural feature. This feature links to three interrelated categories16: (1) open work and reflexive sampling (cf. Le Roy 1999, Lehmen 1999, Roller 2002/2003/2004, Deufert & Plischke 2003, Sehgal 2003, Bel 2004/2006/2009, Nachbar 2008), (2) inquiry-led arrangements and laboratory settings (cf. Dominguez 2002, Laughlin 2008), and (3) scorebased experiments (cf. Lehmen 2002/2004, Salamon 2010). Based on these examples, it appears that frame-dependent practices are expanding, touching upon, and intervening within different social fields. Reciprocal proposals and mutual exchange characterize the modus operandi of artistic research, consolidating notions of the ephemeral as well as the unknown. Simultaneously, the question comes to the fore of whether or not the term “research” is merely an oversimplifying buzzword that has allowed artistic practice to find its way into academic structures and knowledge claims. As stated earlier, authors such as Schwab and Borgdorff claim that this is in fact the case, as artists have always – to a greater or lesser extent – been engaged in research processes. Yet until the present day, this process has neither been dependent on academic validation nor a framing entitling it as research (cf. Schwab and Borgdorff 2014, 9). In the course of the artistic research debate however, scientists as well as artists are competing for research funding and subsidies (cf. also Nelson 2013, 4). Thus, framing artistic practice as research has consequences – within and beyond the artistic field.

16 | It is certainly not possible to definitively categorize the examples, but it is nevertheless insightful to highlight aspects inherent to the performances named.

61

62

On the Threshold of Knowing

Firstly, framing artistic practice as research exposes art to the challenge of articulating its praxis, while simultaneously confronting the artistic practice with the challenge of respecting its praxis’s inner coherence. Thus, it appears that artists educated at art academies are not only educated within, but also for a particular system, within which the motive is, inter alia, to bring the artist into the scholarly debates of academia. Simon Sheikh’s article “Spaces for thinking. Perspectives on the art academy” (2012), for example, advances this line of reasoning pointing to the fact that different to two, or rather three, decades ago, artists today represented at “contemporary galleries, museums and international biennials [...] are almost exclusively all academy-trained.” Sheikh reasons that “art schools and academies have never been more effective or even successful in the influence on the art world and art production in general” (Sheikh 2012). This observation is especially interesting regarding the fact that when an artist frames their practice as research, alluding to the disciplinary domain of academia, they are seeking artistic and academic acknowledgment and legitimacy. Whereas the American and European avant-garde of the 1960s – to which the modus operandi of artistic research can be linked – explicitly challenged academic structures and positioned itself in opposition to the latter, this no longer seems to be the case. Rather, artistic researchers directly place and explicitly frame their work within traditional academic structures and knowledge claims. The artist does not simply “borrow terminology across” the disciplines. Instead – in a constant process of attesting, undermining, and re-employing – artists legitimize themselves to take up and sound practices that qualify as research in the present – and will possibly newly qualify as research in the future. Focusing on this very issue and building on the observations stated above, framing artistic practice as research inevitably encompasses the potential to pass criticism and actuate a redefinition of existing and ongoing research and knowledge practices. Yet simultaneously it is necessary to define one’s concept of critique. Within “What is critique? An essay on Foucault’s virtue” (2002), Judith Butler takes on this challenge. Her essay comments on Michel Foucault’s “What is critique,” originally published in the Bulletin de la société française de la philosphie (1990), and claims: Critique is always a critique of some instituted practice, discourse, episteme, institution, and it loses its character the moment in which it is abstracted from its operation and made to stand alone as a purely generalizable practice. (Butler 2002, 212)

Within this quotation Butler emphasizes the practical character inherent to the act of critique. Critique does not – in the very first instance – suspend judgment but is compelled to offer “a new practice of values based on that very

Theoretical embedment

suspension” (ibid.). Butler advocates that it is necessary “to rethink critique as a practice in which we pose the question of the limits of our surest ways of knowing” (ibid., 214), which can inspire to think otherwise. Building on this, Butler infers that critique must inevitably relate to established and acknowledged practices of knowing, not being assimilated to the latter, but foreclosing the possibility of thinking otherwise. Concerning the concept of artistic research, it is possible to contend that artistic practice is critical if it relates to a process of reflective evaluation that challenges the familiar and accustomed. This form of critique is dialectical in the sense that – instead of withdrawing itself – it positions itself directly within, exposing, scrutinizing, and putting acknowledged practices at risk. Thus, the act of authorizing oneself to challenge – in the case of artistic research – the academically linked concepts of research and knowledge are central to the practice of critique. In exhibiting practices in and through which concepts of research and knowledge are established and reproduced, artistic research practices encompass the possibility to shift gridlocked perspectives and give access to uncharted research territories, which are never exclusively determined, but inevitably heterogeneous, temporary, and precarious. Thus, practices of critique present themselves as incessantly interrogatory, as they allude to acts of transformation that exhibit legitimate, or rather non-legitimate, research and subsequent knowledge practices. Regarding the observation that multiple examples exist within which artists contextualize and pursue work in art theory as well as art practice, it is useful to return to the earlier question: how is artistic research bound to pass criticism concerning academia’s predominance regarding the concept of knowledge. Referring to this, Schwab and Borgdorff remark that historically “art has always been an epistemic activity” (Schwab and Borgdorff 2014, 11) ingrained within knowledge society. Within, knowledge does not assimilate itself – but aims to resist – the “knowledge-driven stage of capitalist development” (UNESCO 2005, 46). This development relates to a concept termed as “knowledge economy,” which fuels a “knowledge divide” (UNESCO 2005, 22) in terms of “skills and access and also in terms of the value placed on different types of knowledges” (Schwab and Borgdorff 2014, 10). Thus, the very practice of placing artistic work within traditional academic structures raises the question if art is de facto resisting the characteristic knowledge divide inherent to a knowledge economy. Critics, such as Simon Sheikh (2006) and Kathrin Busch (2011), for example, argue that the coalition between art and academia is threatening the autonomy of the arts. If this is the case, artistic practice is no longer in the position to pass criticism concerning coherent processes of communicativity, which bring forth and result in an encounter that renders knowledge formation possible. Considering this, it becomes apparent that the greatest challenge that informs artistic research

63

64

On the Threshold of Knowing

practices is, on the one hand, making the frames and framings in which research and knowledge are embedded “know-able” and, on the other hand, transcending these very frames and framings. Artistic research is only bound to pass criticism if the crossover of its modus operandi looks into implicit artistic and academic framings – historically and socially embedded – and explicitly challenges this very divide. If this is the case, its crossover can promote the impetus for transdisciplinary debate that has consequences both for the artistic as well as the academic field: fundamental framings regarding acknowledged research concepts – and in the course of this also subsequent knowledge concepts – can be (re)adjusted and (re)aligned. Granted that the artist accepts this very challenge of making acknowledged frames and framings “know-able,” i.e., visible, and simultaneously transcending these very frames and framings, the act of placing artistic practice within traditional academic structures does in fact encompass the potential to re-address (new) questions. The meaning of this is twofold: on the one hand, the research framing promotes critique of the academic sphere and addresses the correlations between research process, research presentation, and knowledge formation. This prompts reflection on how the research process is embedded and how the presentation in turn influences ongoing research and its subsequent formation of knowledge (also cf. Peters 2011). On the other hand, framing artistic practice as research builds on notions of sharing knowledge that calls for interest and debate beyond a narrowly defined art world. The framing addresses a wider audience: possibly an audience that is not easily predictable and might neither affiliate oneself with an artistic nor academic framework. In these terms, opening up the artistic practice not only provides insight – in the sense that the process linked to the artistic practice becomes transparent and thus inclusive – but in fact calls for partaking and shared engagement. This very engagement builds on an incessant dispute that is productive, in the broadest sense, as it does not “fuel on the knowledge divide” (Schwab and Borgdorff 2014, 10) of a knowledge economy, but reveals which practices regarding the formation of knowledge are privileged, marginalized, and/or excluded. Thus, opening up artistic practice and framing it as research encompasses the potential to provoke an ongoing conflict that renders different processes of knowledge formation possible. The latter builds on, quoting Goffman “breaking frame” (1974) and resists instrumentalization, as it is not in need of being dissolved. Instead, it is a conflict that must persist – especially if it does not want to be mired in purpose, performance, and efficiency, and does not want to meet the standards of knowledge economy. On account of this, artistic research passes criticism if it succeeds in demonstrating its ability to “break with” acknowledged but narrowing forms of knowledge, allowing for the unknown possibilities of what else knowing might encompass to emerge.

Theoretical embedment

Concerning this very matter, it is useful to cite Foucault, who emphasizes the need to discern the relationship “between mechanisms of coercion and elements of knowledge” (Foucault 1990, 50) as knowledge and power are incessantly linked. To be more precise, Foucault writes: nothing can exist as an element of knowledge if, on the one hand, it [...] does not conform to a set of rules and constraints characteristic, for example, of a given type of scientific discourse in a given period, and if, on the other hand, it does not possess the effects of coercion or simply the incentives peculiar to what is scientifically validated or simply rational or generally accepted, etc. (Ibid., 52)

This quotation points to the fact that artistic practice can only pass critique regarding concepts of research and knowledge if it knows and denominates what counts as non-contested knowledge. Simultaneously, artistic practice must tackle the task of contesting these generally accepted knowledge practices. What this means is twofold. Firstly, artistic practices need to expose the interrelations of knowledge and power, i.e., how the “know-able” is embedded within multiply layered and socially acknowledged practices that control “what is going on” (Goffman 1974). Secondly, the practices must offer a redefinition regarding self-evident interrelations, i.e., how knowledge practices are de facto acknowledged as legitimate. Regarding this, Butler interrelates critique with risking “security within an available ontology” (Butler 2002, 119), pointing toward the fragile and liminal space within which practices – on the one side – are constituted and marked and – on the other side – constitute and mark respective knowledge practices themselves. Butler adverts to the vagrant juncture where reproduction and transformation meet. This juncture is pivotal regarding the modus operandi of artistic research, as the juncture refers to a space for the performative dimension of knowledge to reveal itself.

65

3. Methodological approach 3.1 C ase - study - driven pr a xeological fr ame analysis My study’s methodological approach is a case-study-driven praxeological frame analysis. This methodology accommodates changes within the artistic as well as the academic field, addressing points of intersection between varying modes of knowledge production within artistic and academic lectures and performances. While acknowledging that thresholds are on the move and that art and academia are not only opening their doors but also “borrowing across the borders,” it appropriates the concept of performance as an expedient methodological tool that allows for making different cultural practices, at the interface of art and academia, comprehensible. To this effect, the concept of performance depicts a venue of double transgression. On the one side, the audience find themselves directly within the performance situation, which surrounds and directly addresses every audience participant. The audience partakes within – and not apart from – the spatiotemporal-bound, social situation (cf. Gronau 2012, 39, translation by the author). On the other side, the performance only emerges within this particular spatiotemporal-bound encounter. Thus, every performance constitutes itself and simultaneously expounds the problems of its own categorization each time deranged, transformed, and newly aligned through different audience constellations. This implies the following. Firstly, when analyzing performances, researchers directly partake within the performance, i.e., they actively bring the performance forth as such and cannot take on the position of an external observer (cf. Fischer-Lichte 2012, 18, translation by the author). Secondly, the performance’s knowledge practices are spatiotemporal: their ambience and materiality exclusively relate to the event of the performance (cf. ibid., 12, translation by the author). Hence, all knowledge practices point to the present experience linked to the singularity of the performance – that is not brought forth apart, but in and against its material and discursive denotation. Considering this, knowledge practices encompass potential critical value, as they do not silence opposing positions, but – in constant negotiation – attain precise articulation and fuller understanding of the know-able. The latter emerges as an encounter that separates and unites.

68

On the Threshold of Knowing

From this follows that new analytical parameters are embedded within and result from the examination of the concept of performance. Over and above, the concept exposes the basis upon which the performative dimension of knowing reveals itself. Thus, while the choice of a methodological framework is always predetermined by its larger cultural and scientific paradigms – which rest upon frame-specific methodologies and mirror frame-specific knowledge acquisition – the question regarding the case studies’ status and generalizability inevitably emerges. Referring to this, it is needful to emphasize that the following methodological approach observes and specifies practices as performed within their appendant frameworks and frames. It accommodates the fact that identical practices can be ingrained within multiple and also contradictory settings. Hence, frameworks as well as frames can term practices successful or rather unsuccessful, just as practices have the potential to prompt frame modifications and/or transformations: frameworks, frames, as well as practices rest upon interpretative heterogeneity, ambiguity, as well as incommensurability. Bearing this in mind and taking into account that individuals have entangled and ambiguous relations to the practices they perform – meaning they cannot make the various elements embedded within their doings and saying wholly plausible – the analysis alludes to a single audience account and builds on a multi-mode research inquiry. This inquiry includes three components: 1) attending the lecture/performance event17 and subsequent non-participant observation; 2) gathering additional data through press releases, organizational documents, scores, documentary materials, informal conversations, and e-mails; and 3) conducting a video or audio analysis of the recorded material.18 In the first step of the analysis – in three of four cases – I was present in the audience and wrote up field note protocols of the live event, identifying the distinctive features and general themes. In the fourth case, “Lecture on nothing,” it was no longer possible to attend the live performance. Furthermore, the recording is not in the public domain, so I travelled to the John Cage Trust at Bard College in Red Hook, New York, and listened to the audio file in situ. In all four cases, my observations were based on vivid details. However, the textual data presented is, by analysis standards, rather roughly transcribed, as I have not made mention of overlapping words, prolonged syllables, pauses, 17 | “Lecture on nothing” being the exception as John Cage passed away in 1992. 18 | A praxeological frame analysis – irrespective of the fact if the material is audio or audio-visual – pushes the limits of reason-based explanation as it valorizes the significance of the ephemeral state of being. In this respect, the audio analysis – just as the video analysis – builds on the voice as medium of address that comprises the potential to evoke transgression (cf. Kolesch 2013).

Methodological approach

and interruptions. Nevertheless, the chosen transcription form is satisfactory regarding my epistemic interests. I reworked the field note protocols to, on the one hand, reactivate my memory and, on the other hand, to complement the video or audio analysis regarding the lectures’ and performances’ practices. In this respect, the observation protocols showed themselves as a helpful tool for peer communication, as multiple data sessions facilitated differences in perception, all the while unveiling apparent, but unquestioned, background knowledge. Moreover, the data sessions required an attempt to return to the unschooled gaze of the newcomer and establish an adjuvant distance to the empirical material. In the second step of the analysis, I gathered additional data through press releases, organizational documents, scores, documentary materials, informal conversations, and e-mails to be able to clarify any questions I had regarding the lectures and performances as a whole. Following this, I conducted a micro-analysis and subdivided the cases into primary frameworks and frames, mapping them onto a Goffmanian definition matrix. It became evident that within praxis, fix frameworks and frames do not exist but are in fact simultaneously intertwined. Thus, in a second step of processing the material, I further structured the thematic frames at hand through identifying individual practices and their particular techniques. In this step, the grouping process was again – not wishing to run risk of adhering to preexisting preconceptions – exclusively driven by material-based, in-depth observations. Finally, in the third step of material processing, I selected the lecture or rather performance entities most relevant to my epistemic interests and segmented them into respective strips. Adhering to Goffman, a strip identifies an: arbitrary slice or cut from the stream of ongoing activity, including here sequences of happenings, real or fictive, as seen from the perspective of those subjectively involved in sustaining interest in them. A strip is not meant to reflect a natural division made by the subjects of inquiry or an analytical division made by students who inquire; it will be used only to refer to any raw batch of occurrences (of whatever status in reality) that one wants to draw attention to as a starting point for analysis. (Goffman 1974, 10)

3.2 C omplementary video and audio analysis Particularly in recent years, video recordings have evolved as the prominent form of empirical data collection and knowledge acquisition. Yet, recordings can range in a continuum from documentation, to for-the-camera stage re-performance, to different forms of liberal adaptations (cf. Reason 2006, 74). Within the social sciences, the methodological interest of video recordings is strongly connected to the volatility and immediacy of the social (e.g., Heath 1997;

69

70

On the Threshold of Knowing

Knoblauch et al. 2006), which is – when documented – inevitably transcribed, thus transmuting to a past event that is in need of reconstruction. Regarding (social) performances, Phelan states: “performance is the art form which most fully understands the generative possibilities of disappearance. Poised forever at the threshold of the present, performance enacts the productive appeal of the nonreproductive” (Phelan 1993, 27). In this respect, Caroline Rye remarks that a recording functions merely as a substitute, as it “cannot provide evidence of exactly the thing it purports to record” (Rye 2003, 115). Or to borrow the words of Phelan precisely regarding the field of art, “performance art cannot be documented (when it is, it turns into that document – a photograph, a stage design, a video tape – and ceases to be performance art)” (1993, 31). On account of this, the recording can only partially reveal “what is going on” (Goffman 1974) and unavoidably encompasses the risk of eclipsing, “diminishing (or even eradicating) the distinctive, living qualities of embodiment and encounter in a time and space framed as singular, transient, site-specific and non-repeatable” (Hughes 2014, 61). Thus, a video or audio analysis demonstrates the performative quality of experiencing. One senses that even if the same person was asked again and again about their performance encounter, they would most likely each time a new describe slight differences. In this respect, it becomes apparent that a recording does not necessarily mirror, but in fact, actually constructs the encounter, which is elusive and – in parts – beyond representation (cf. Allegue et al. 2009, 35–49). Or phrased differently, documentation necessarily relies on practices of substitution, within which equivalency is supposed and reconstructed. Yet, even though media documentation is never fully explicatory – as a live encounter’s distinctiveness can neither be perfectly recorded nor fully presumed – the documentation is in fact an essential and fundamental part of my analysis. According to Rye: In a video we can see a version of the space that the event inhabited, albeit rendered from three dimensions into 2; we can see performers in relation to one another, their gestures, movements, other details. Importantly we can also hear an approximation of the sound (because the argument for the photographic image is equally potent for recorded sound): we can hear the sound in the performance environment synchronized with its accompanying stage action. The differences of speech and music balances, the flows and rhythms of the performance, perhaps even something of a residual “atmosphere” of the show, all can be shown in a video. These are all qualities that video inherits from the indexical images and sounds that form the basis of its “reality effect.” (Rye 2003, 116)

Rye adverts to the fact that while documentation cannot squarely depict reality, recordings are capable of disclosing “reality effects.” Hubert Knoblauch follows

Methodological approach

this line of argument specifying that the repeatability and level of detail within video recordings facilitate access to empirical interrelations that would possibly otherwise not be recognizable (cf. Knoblauch 2004, 131, translation by the author). The details can only be “preserved” in the recording and only through the recording can one hope to understand the logics of the individual case study. Over and above, the technical possibilities of being able to stop, replay, and play the action back in slow-motion encompasses the possibility of making the intrinsic correlations of praxis comprehensible. These possibilities allow for in-depth insights into what is happening between the interfaces. Yet simultaneously, recordings are sequence-based. This means that merely one perspective at a time can be documented. Furthermore, as cameras are slower in movement than eyes, they increasingly encompass the risk of partially missing elementary fragments and components (cf. Laurier 2006, 182). Beyond that, editing techniques, e.g., cuts, depths of focus, and montages, can transform the recording into an individually distinct practice of explanation. Taking this into account, there is an additional way of looking at this issue. In her 2010 article, Peters alludes to Hans-Friedrich Bormann (1999) and Gabriele Brandstetter (1999, 2004) who challenge the differences between the performance event and its documentation. Peters argues that “a performance does not pass but continues wherever it leaves traces” (Peters 2010, 158). Her perspective takes into consideration that what performances trigger is always part of the performance itself from the outset. Hence, the recording does not stay within a representational register of possible and impossible documentation, but in fact resembles an ongoing endeavor. This interpretation undermines Phelan’s claim that although only a “limited number of people in a specific time/space frame can have an experience of value” (Phelan 1993, 149), performances can de facto leave their traces within the documentation and beyond. Following this line of thinking, I set my primary focus exclusively on the implicit logic of the practices that had been performed and documented. This confronted me with the challenge of doing justice to each and every practice’s double structure – between bodily practice and implicit meaning – that at times derived from a conflicting “nexus of doings and sayings” (Schatzki 1996, 89). I was confronted with the ingrained gap of practical and verbal reasoning and the methodological problem of plausibility (cf. Reckwitz 2008, 199, translation by the author and Lynch 2001, 146). Moreover, the bodily practices were neither completely intelligible nor explicable and it was not possible to squarely assign the practices to language structures. Instead, the practices emerged through the indexical showing quality of movement itself – yet without becoming explicit per se. In this respect, my study calls attention to the fact that every text emerges as problematic as practices are always constructed in accordance with language

71

72

On the Threshold of Knowing

structures, within which cognition is inevitably inscribed. Furthermore, a text’s sequence-based structure can merely address one movement sequence at a time in spite of the fact that – within praxis – sequences most times overlap. Words are assimilated and never adequate, thus inevitably superposing and transforming praxis. My study addresses this very transformation and emphasizes that transformation derives from a dialogically engaged, creative-critical practice that accounts for and provides access to the ongoing endeavor between possible and impossible articulation. It reflects on the reconstructive – or rather constructive phenomenon – of how artistic and academic lectures and performances are layered in terms of their spatial and temporal dynamics. While the text seeks to give insight and convey knowledge, knowing that and knowing how necessarily build on a tentative formation process that is always already highly influenced by diverging debates and traditions, causing the “knowledge-able” to be thoroughly fragmentary. This line of argument ascribes to Polanyi’s line of thought, underscoring the fact that there is always a tacit dimension within knowledge formation processes inevitably remaining “un-know-able.” This implies that defining the known reduces the ambiguity of the tacit, but is never capable of eliminating it entirely (cf. Polanyi 1958, 250). Or phrased differently, the knowledge practices gathered within the present analysis do reduce the ambiguity of the tacit but are de facto not capable of making every dimension of knowledge “knowledge-able.” Rather, the gathered practices allude to an individual, methodologically anchored understanding of what it is that in part – to alter the words of Goffman – is going on. Accordingly, the depicted knowledge practices relate to a formation process that is subject to the multi-facetted dimension embedded within the concept of knowledge per se.

3.3 F our case studies As argued above, a praxeological frame analysis aims to deepen our understanding of the variability of praxis. The transition from individual case studies to generalized statements is justified by the iterative and recursive quality of acquired practices that are empirically manifest in several cases. The choice of four case studies provides material diversity, while simultaneously corresponding to the study’s working resources. My analysis presents a kaleidoscopic view looking at the conjunctions of practices by means of four very individual shifts in focus. While turning the kaleidoscope several times, I focused upon the dramaturgical peaks – regarding my epistemic interests – and took the time to gaze at individually selected strips in detail and depth. While two of the four case studies are framed as lectures, two are framed as performances – in each case, one alluding to the field of academia and one

Methodological approach

to the field of art. In academia, “Experimental physics 1” is framed as a lecture and “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high speed cameras”19 as a performance. Both were performed in German. Within the field of art, both “Lecture on nothing” as well as “Dance for nothing” were performed in English: thus, for the sake of consistency, I have translated the German texts into English and incorporated them directly into the text rather than into the footnotes. Three of the four case studies are documented audio-visually. In the case of “Experimental physics 1,” I myself recorded the lecture in situ at the University of Brandenburg for Applied Sciences. Conversely, official versions of the academic performance and the artistic performance were officially produced for, on the one hand, the Performing Science2-Competition and, on the other hand, for Eszter Salamon. Both recordings are – unlike the academic lecture – edited. In the case of “Lecture on nothing,” there was no video material accessible, requiring me to carry out an analysis based on an audio recording at the John Cage Trust at Bard College in Red Hook, New York.

19 | The original German title reads “ Forschung erlebbar machen – Faszinierende Phänomene beobachtet mit Hochgeschwindigkeitskameras.”

73

4. The concept of lecture performances Today, across the globe, artists as well as academics, within either artistic frameworks, e.g., museums and theaters, or artistic-academic contexts, such as conferences20 and symposia,21 are staging lecture performances and seminars on the concept discussing the position of the lecturer versus the position of the performer. The ambiguity of neither being one nor the other exposes the basis on which the determinacy of knowledge is acknowledged and the incongruity and tension of the highly contested (academic) knowledge site is exhibited. In this respect, lecture performances present themselves as compliant as well as emancipatory. Rather than providing facts, they disclose a space for renegotiating the concept of knowledge.

4.1 B e t ween lecture and performance From a contemporary perspective, it is possible to argue that the framing “lecture performance” emanates from the American and European avant-garde of the early 1960s, when various working practices – which had particularly established themselves in non-artistic fields – were incorporated within artistic practices, e.g., open studio work, work-in-progress, lectures, experiments, and laboratory settings. To be more precise, independent of the field and discipline, artists referenced and simultaneously reframed selected formats and their practices, replacing the idea of the prevailing masterpiece with process-orientated concepts. In the course of this, individual artists specifically directed their 20 | For example, the conference “Lecture performance between art and academia” in June 2013 at the Overgaden, Institut for Samtidskunst (Copenhagen). I am referring to this very symposium in particular because I followed the invitation to speak in situ on the topic of art and knowledge production. 21 | The latest symposium was staged in Munich at the 14th international festival for contemporary dance (May 15–17, 2015) and titled “Zitieren, kommentieren, archivieren – Formate der Lecture Performance” (English translation: “Citing, commenting, and archiving – lecture performance formats, translation by the author).

76

On the Threshold of Knowing

critique toward acknowledged authorization and marginalization practices. They underscored the idea of not simply working across formal boundaries, but effectively working in the gaps “in-between.” Relating to this development, lecture performances do not so much equate to a genre but to a flexible, conceptual platform that can position itself within and in-between its frames and framings. The contradistinction “lecture” versus “performance” is not tenable. Instead, the question that comes to the fore puts into focus how the lecture and the performance frame and framing relate to one another and how they are compatible and/or interconvertible. Hence, pursuant to the term alone, lecture performances adhere to two frames that never entirely blend. From the outset, the concept is always situated between lecture and performance and academia and art – to which they are traditionally affiliated – without entirely being one or the other. The concept combines two frames, each with their own social and historical framings. This allows lecture performances to, quoting the artist and director of adult and academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art Pablo Helguera, be “in a constant process of self-definition” (2009, xii). Continuous self-definition also becomes apparent within the concept’s multiple terms: while the term “lecture performance” is frequently used, other common terms such as “lecture demonstration,” “performance lecture,” and “performative lecture” – dependent on individual frames and framings – exist as well. While the term “lecture demonstration”22 places emphasis on the component of demonstrating and its techniques of announcing, showing, and explicating, the term “performance lecture” underscores the performance component that is often associated with the field of art. On the contrary, the terms “lecture performance” as well as “performative lecture” frequently map onto artistic-academic settings. Moreover, in Germany, the term “lecture performance” is rampant and commonly used, which is the reason why, within my study, I will exclusively employ this term, despite the fact that I am well aware of deviant appellations.

4.2 C urrent state of rese arch Different institutions and scholars have – especially within the past years and in varying detail and varying form – looked into the concept of lecture performances, yet the amount of literature that exists on the topic still remains limited. Helguera interprets the “absence of a theoretical framework” 22 | The art historian Kristine Stiles (1998, 227–329), for example, introduces the term “lecture demonstration” in connection with the British performer Gustav Metzger and his acts of deconstruction.

The concept of lecture per formances

as “somewhat liberating” as it can trap the subject matter “in philosophical premises” (2009, xi). In spite of this, Helguera does endorse a tentative definition, which he phrases as the following: “a live presentation imparted by an artist who takes advantage of his or her artistic license and of the conventions of academic pedagogy to create a work that straddles fiction and reality” (ibid., xi–xii). Viewed in these terms, truth versus non-truth plays a fundamental role within lecture performances. To be more precise, the “un-know-able” emerges as the productive element, taking up a pivotal position in challenging generally accepted as well as non-accepted knowledge practices and their modes of meaning making. In the course of introducing the “un-know-able” as a productive element, lecture performances – drawing on the examples listed below – offer a space to exhibit multiple and simultaneously occurring counter-realities. Even though lecture performers address a multi-facetted selection of topics, it is particularly remarkable that they – implicitly, explicitly, and in very different modalities and modes of self-reflexivity – broach the issue of knowledge formation and dissemination. In doing so, knowledge construction goes hand-in-hand with knowledge deconstruction, the latter encompassing the potential to unmask embedded frames and framings. In the course of this, it is not surprising that processes of knowledge accumulation precede many lecture performances, which stem from critique grouped around private as well as professional constraints. Within these performances the artist’s work is not only reflected upon but becomes the subject of the lecture itself (i.e., Jochen Roller’s trilogy “Perform performing” 2002/2003/2004). While lecture performances often times evolve around disclosing individual working practices (e.g., Roller’s “Perform performing” 2002/2003/2004, Jérôme Bel’s “Pichet Klunchun and myself” 2005, and Martin Nachbar’s “Urheben Aufheben”23 2008), they also can explore the correlations of language and image (e.g., Eszter Salamon’s “Dance for nothing” 2010), seizing the opportunity to engage directly with the audience. The Kölnischer Kunstverein and Salon of MoCA Belgrade for example organized the exhibition “Lecture performance” (2009) and published the corresponding catalogue. Both formats introduced the concept and presented selected scores and images of prominent lecture performances, e.g., staged by Andrea Fraser, Martha Rosler, and Xavier Le Roy and less prominent lecture performances, e.g., staged by Fia Backström, Mark Leckey, Achim Lengerer, and Jeronimo Voss. Pirkko Husemann (2004) and Petra Sabisch (2002), for example, took a different approach and investigated the concept through performing own lecture performances. Florian Dombois (2006) and Sibylle Peters (2011) on the contrary staged lecture performances and published texts, setting their focus on 23 | The title translates into “Authoring and countermanding,” translation by the author.

77

78

On the Threshold of Knowing

the interplay of the cognitive versus the performative. In her book Der Vortrag als Performance,24 Peters elaborates on the interplay of knowledge presentation and knowledge production (cf. Peters 2011, 13), putting forth the argument that, rather than documenting preceding research results, lecture performances distinguish themselves through exhibiting their findings directly on stage and pursuing the act of research in and through the performance. She brings into focus that the research presentation itself is an integral part of each and every research process. The presentation exposes and inevitably realigns knowledge practices that derive from supposed certainty and assurance. Accordingly, lecture performances build on the exchange between knowledge accumulation and its presentation, allowing the audience insight and the possibility to partake (cf. ibid., 170 ff., translation by the author). Helguera follows a similar line of argument. Using lecture performances that he staged alone or in cooperation with others in different venues, he infers that the performance frame, on the one hand, promotes critique of the academic sphere and, on the other hand, passes criticism regarding the lecture as a medium of transmitting information (cf. Helguera 2009, xi–xii). Patricia Milder on the contrary focuses on the artist as teacher. She proposes that lecture performances map onto “aesthetic and educational experience” (Milder 2010, 22), encompassing the potential to exhibit the art system and its functionality. In the course of the analysis, she ascribes the act of teaching to becoming the artwork itself, denominating lecture performances as “activism through education” (ibid., 14). Milder’s approach can prominently be attributed to artists such as John Cage and Joseph Beuys. To be more precise, in a conversation with Robert Filliou titled “Teaching and learning as performing arts,” Cage contends, “art is teaching” (Dufrêne 2008, 25). In a similar manner and to a similar time, Beuys also linked and re-conceptualized artistic and academic practices. His public lectures and art classes25 were, and still are, carried on by Bazon Brook (cf. Stiles 1998). From this perspective, lecturing – and in the broader sense education – evolves into a work of art in its own right. This argument can be exemplified and extended using two prominent examples, Manifesta 626 and documenta 12. Both not only featured an international exhibition panel but also a multifarious composition of lectures, discussions, and publications as well. The latter were pivotal to the concept and provoked ongoing debate – not

24 | The title translates into “The lecture as performance,” translation by the author. 25 | Regarding Beuys’ position as a teacher, see Lange (1999). 26 | Interestingly enough, instead of being an exhibition, Manifesta 6 was originally set as a transdisciplinary education program, modeled after the concepts of Black Mountain College and Bauhaus.

The concept of lecture per formances

only regarding the artworks that were exhibited, but also regarding the given framework – calling into question “what effectively qualifies as the artwork.” Marianne Wagner’s doctoral thesis “Lecture-Performance. Sprechakte als Aufführungskunst seit 1950”27 (2013) follows a similar approach. Informed by phenomenological concepts, Wagner focuses on “the practice of lecturing as a possible mode of artistic expression” (2009, 17) and introduces lecture performances that she describes as “purely artistic.” Wagner investigates the artwork’s distinctiveness, using the classification of four field categories: speaking, addressing, disseminating, and embodying. Also within the framework of a doctoral thesis, yet with a different focus, the performer and performance theorist Daniel Ladnar examines how lecture performances participate within different – inter alia – historical and social contexts. His thesis “The Lecture performance: contexts of lecturing and performing” was, as is the case with Wagner, also submitted in 2013.28 Regarding my study’s epistemic interests, it is necessary to finally make mention of Wolf-Dieter Ernst’s article “Die Lecture-Performance als dichte Beschreibung.”29 Within, and from a Theater Studies perspective, Ernst questions how a particular subject matter emerges from the very act of speaking about the respective matter. On account of this, he suggests that lecture performances build on acts of citation and direct address. He does not isolate the concept but chooses to reevaluate it as a mode of thick description. In his understanding, lecture performances can qualify as “thick,” as they exhibit the partiality of (academic) description, i.e., the positively intangible intersection of observation, description, performance, and reassessed observation (cf. Ernst 2003, 197, translation by the author). Relating to this, Ernst infers that lecture performances cannot simply be termed as lecture performances because an artistic frame exists. Instead, the artist must employ the lecture component that facilitates the “infrastructure” to address individual concerns, irrespective of an artistic or academic framing. Viewed from this angle, it is possible to conclude that lecture performances – every time anew – emerge out of the necessity for an experimental concept. On the one side, this concept broaches the issue of a “more relevant status for art” (Vujanovic and Vesic 2009, 47). On the other side, the concept challenges this very acknowledgment. Hence it is a concept that is socially legitimized, while simultaneously encompassing the potential to undermine this very “guarantee” regarding recognition and approval. In this respect, the lecture frame, framing, 27 | The title translates into “Lecture performance. Speech acts as (performance) art since 1950,” translation by the author. 28 | To this date, neither Wagner’s nor Ladnar’s doctoral thesis has been published. 29 | The title translates into “The lecture performance as a form of thick description,” translation by the author.

79

80

On the Threshold of Knowing

and its structural terms of reference permit a mode of address that is adopted and newly aligned, allowing artistic discourse not only to be produced within the realm of academia, but also to qualify as artistic practice per se. Thus, the contemporary relevance of lecture performances can be attributed to an unresolved cross-section that challenges acknowledged modalities of knowledge formation and dissemination, allowing recognized, frame-compliant practices, on the one hand, and marginalized, non-frame-compliant practices, on the other – to implicitly and/or explicitly – (re)negotiate the coalition of art and academia. In this respect, lecture performances squarely qualify as an artistic research practice.

4.3 A s an artistic rese arch pr actice Relying on a growing number of conferences and symposia and the publication of respective miscellanies and journals, artistic research practices distinguish themselves through challenging the unsettled correlations between art and academia and the disputed divide between practice and theory. Other commonly used terms are – to name only a few – performance as research, practice as research, practice as research in performance, arts-based-research, practice-based research, practice-integrated-research, and studio research. The diversity of terminology indicates that artistic research has, over the last thirty years, become a prominent research field with an extensive amount of literature.30 The consolidated debate over its epistemology and methodology has resulted in its institutionalization. Yet from a contemporary perspective, artistic research practices are – first and foremost – deeply rooted in and derive from the American and European avant-garde of the 1960s, which, paraphrasing Peter Bürger (1984, 22), particularly criticized the development of art as an institution in bourgeois society. A research field that presumably originated in Finland and the United Kingdom in the mid-1980s (cf. Nelson 2013, 11) rapidly spread across the continent, established itself, and was – inter alia – termed “artistic research.” First within the visual arts, but shortly after also within the areas of design, music, film, theater/performance, and dance, artistic research practices took shape, distinguishing themselves through notions of research on art, research for and into art, and research through art (cf. Borgdorff 2009, 29ff.). Hence, as the artistic practice is the object of research just as its outcome, the modus operandi of artistic research does not fix knowledge through description. 30 | Cf. the most prominent: Barrett & Bolt (2010), Borgdorff (2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012), Biggs & Karlsson (2011), Hannula et al. (2005), Smith & Dean (2009), Tröndle & Warmers (2011), and also the Journal for artistic research.

The concept of lecture per formances

Instead, the act of making processes of knowledge formation and transformation visible and understandable particularly informs the broader field as well as the individual concept. Internationally, artistic research has expanded most in the Anglo-Saxon region (cf. Hannula 2005, 15), even though artists from numerous countries and varying professional traditions are engaged within the debate. Considering the differences of artistic expression and their historical and cultural embedment, the individual methodologies highly vary. In this context, it is worthwhile to mention that the ongoing debate regarding artistic research’s modus operandi reached its peak at the turn of the twenty-first century. At this time, critique once again emanated from the confining development of art institutionalization and education. The reason being that twenty-nine European countries had signed the Bologna Conventions. This raised the question if the rising interest in the artistic research debate is primarily embedded within matters of educational policy, since the participating countries had established a standard for the European education system aiming to facilitate the cooperation between different faculties and different countries. This concrete assessment initiative and educational plan preceded and consequently activated the debate. Hence, rooted within the conventional decisions of Bologna, art education has been subject to many changes: inter alia the transformation from the Franco-Germanic education model, and the close collaboration between a particular professor and their art student, to the Anglo-American Bachelor, Masters, and PhD degrees and their credit transfer systems. Furthermore, the standardization requires reports that strongly determine the allocation of research money and subsidies, causing Vujanovic and Vesic to contend that contemporary (art) education has, in the first instance, transformed into a “profitable investment,” within which the student emerges as an “entrepreneurial unit” (Vujanovic and Vesic 2009, 52). Within their entrepreneurial units students are urged to appropriate and rely on practical experience and acquired know-how, acting on the assumption that “knowing how to do something” outranks the theoretical enterprise linked to knowing that. Hence, Vujanovic and Vesic conclude that education is no longer dependent on predetermined, academic structures, but can just as well result from institutionally-autonomous initiatives that “take education into their own hands” (cf. ibid.). Irrespective of predetermined or institutionally-autonomous structures, critics have on various occasions pointed out that the modus operandi as linked to the field of artistic research does not correlate with a new practice. As stated earlier, Schwab and Borgdorff, for example, claim that the term “artistic research” “simply announces the arrival of the art academy into academia” (Schwab and Borgdorff 2014, 9) as rooted within the conventional decisions of Bologna. They contend that the enduring and ongoing transformation of the art academy has allowed discourse to enter the artist’s studio (cf. ibid., 18), but

81

82

On the Threshold of Knowing

rather than defining a new practice, the terminology specifies a modus operandi that has always been inherent to artistic praxis. Granted that this is the case, the highly visible establishment regarding the debate around artistic research, i.e., the emergence of the ongoing discourse and the institutionalization of a respective research field, can however not be overlooked. It suggests that lecture performances identify as an artistic research practice not because – to quote Paul Feyerabend – they incorporate the “ability to break with accepted methodologies and to facilitate paradigm shifts” (Feyerabend 1990, in Schwab and Borgdorff 2014, 14), but because the lecture performer themselves frame and voice their inquiry within the established discourse, in turn reestablishing the latter. To be more precise, it is not the curator who places the artwork within its discourse, but the artist themselves. The act of voicing does not define a new practice but invites and at the same time precludes certain types of content, making it necessary to reflect on which practices are privileged, marginalized, or even excluded. Thus, lecture performances, as an artistic research practice, encompass the potential of exhibiting and undermining the standardized framework and administrative design of academia. They do not – as Hito Steyerl contends in her article “Ästhetik des Widerstands? Künstlerische Forschung als Disziplin und Konflikt”31 (2010) – run risk of merely being submitted to academic validation. And numerous artistic research projects, e.g., “The mobile academy” and “Blackmarket for useful knowledge and non-knowledge,” and programs such as the “Performing arts forum” in Reims, France and “Advanced performance and sceneography studies” in Brussels, Belgium exist that prove this claim. Partially self-organized and partially art academy associated, these projects and programs exhibit and defy academic incorporation, or rather subordination.32 Broaching the interplay of categorization and subordination, Schwab and Borgdorff conclude: it seems that whatever we think art is, we have to allow for the possibility that something else, while still remaining art, will come along that breaks with all such understandings. In fact, it may be questionable whether our Western definition of art even allows us to accept something as art that does not surprise us by extending the possibilities of what art might be. (Schwab and Borgdorff 2014, 14)

Interestingly enough, this statement applies to artistic as well as academic research practices. The very fact of framing a practice as research – irrespective of an artistic or academic frame – inevitably extends the possibilities of what art 31 | “Aesthetics of resistance? Artistic research as discipline and conflict,” translation by the author. 32 | More projects and programs are listed at www.deschoolingclassroom.tkh-generator.net/?cat=6 [accessed November 27, 2014].

The concept of lecture per formances

and what academia can be. Viewed from this angle, research practices in general – and artistic research practices in particular – do not so much advert to a research concept characterized by (permanent) innovation but to long-standing processes of framing and reframing. Considering this, lecture performances relate to the confrontation and permissiveness of individually frame-dependent and vocabulary-specific methodologies. From this it is possible to infer that artistic research practices in general and lecture performances in particular encompass the potential to, quoting Elke van Campenhout, open up “the cracks in our systems of understanding: mislaying the knowledge that in the gridlocked predefined contexts that define our society can only be understood according to the conventions of the discourses [...] the knowledge ‘belongs’ to” (Campenhout 2013).33 Building on this, the following question comes to the fore: how are existing frameworks, and their acknowledged artistic or rather academic frames and framings, confronted with the challenge of, on the one hand, disclosing their praxis, and on the other hand, respecting their praxis’s inner coherence? This question points toward a research perspective that can be described as alluding to the performative turn.34 With reference to lecture performances, this turn is of particular relevance, as it underscores the pivotal significance of modes of application, creation, legitimization, and extension within contemporary culture. In pointing toward the precarious indeterminacy of the everyday, the performative turn undermines presupposed validity and stability, providing a space for a repertoire of manifold, multifaceted, and at times ambiguous practices of meaning making.

4.4 E mbedded within the performative turn In the 1990s, lecture performances caused furor within the German dance and performance scene, as renowned artists – despite the fact that their shows were staged at theater venues – primarily talked to their audience, i.e., lectured. Today, especially Le Roy’s “Product of circumstances” (1999) is commonly known and it is possible to contend that this lecture performance greatly popularized the concept. Within, Le Roy looks into his artistic as well as his academic 33 | Elke van Campenhout is research coordinator at a.pass – advanced performance and sceneography studies. Cf. www.apass.be/apass/index.php?cnt=31 [accessed April 24th, 2013]. 34 | In the first instance, the performative turn alludes to the semiotic perspective (particularly Ubersfeld 1977/1981, Pavis 1996, Fischer-Lichte 1992, Helbo et al. 1991, Martin & Sauter 1995), which advances reflection on the semiotic density inherent to performances. This will be discussed further in the following chapter.

83

84

On the Threshold of Knowing

profession, prompting his lecture on the one side, and his performance on the other, to simultaneously comment on and cancel each other out. In the course of this, Le Roy emerges as the performer who dances and speaks, particularly bringing the act of speaking to the foreground. Furthermore, “Product of circumstances” interest pertains to the interplay of referencing a subject matter and producing this very subject matter, hence mirroring a change of research perspective that can be termed as alluding to the performative turn. While the adjective “performative” was coined by the linguistic philosopher John Austin and relates to the construction of social reality, the term “turn” denotes a reexamination of predominant research perspectives. Every turn introduces a new leitmotif and underscores a change of point of view regarding the notion of culture and its underlying materiality and practices. In this context, it appears that the transition from one turn to the other is ambiguous and far from being clear-cut. It can neither be considered linear nor causally determined but as mirroring an adjustment of dominants. On account of this, the performative turn gradually replaced the linguistic turn, which centered on textual structures – in the broadest sense, i.e., not merely linguistic but squarely culturally-bound – in constructing social order. The linguistic turn’s deconstructive approach, to borrow the words of Fischer-Lichte (2001, 111, translation by the author), examines “a culture’s text,”35 i.e., the organization of textual structures and their underlying coherency. The performative turn on the contrary is embedded within the metaphor “culture as performance” (cf. ibid., translation by the author), putting actual acts of performing into focus. Thus, the shift from the linguistic – particularly predominant in the 1970s – to the performative turn reallocates its research perspective from the organization of meaning making to its actual staging. Here, a systematic line of research gradually established itself, reaching its peak in the 1990s. The performative turn centers on the observation that meaning making is a matter of multiple, overlapping, and at times conflicting affairs, which promote reflection on how social recurrences and replications de facto manifest themselves. Referring to this, it is necessary to point toward the fact that especially within the past thirty years the term “performative” has acquired ambiguous meanings, thus making it difficult to specify the concept (cf. Schechner 2006, 123). Yet when tracing its origins and initial use, Austin’s “Eighth William James” lecture delivered at Harvard University is very insightful. Austin states:

35 | Within her article “Vom ‹Text› zur ‹Performance›. ‹Der performative Turn› in den Kulturwissenschaften” (English translation: “From text to performance. The performative turn within cultural studies,” translation by the author), Erika Fischer-Lichte contends that the metaphor of the linguistic turn can be termed “culture as text” (cf. Fischer-Lichte 2001, 111).

The concept of lecture per formances It therefore seemed expedient to go farther back for a while to fundamentals – to consider from the ground up how many senses there are in which to say something is to do something, or in saying something we do something, and even by saying something we do something. (Austin 1962, 94, italics in the original)

This statement, widely quoted across multiple disciplines, points toward Austin’s keynote that utterances do not only encompass the potential to represent actions, but they can de facto emerge into actions themselves. Thus, it is necessary to concede that utterances only really happen, if they are corroborated by a following action. This means – using the often quoted example of a wedding vow – if the vow is not followed by an exchange of the rings and the signing of the documents, the words “I do” are not successful. Instead, they emerge as infelicitous, i.e., unhappy, in the sense that they do not do something. Building on this, the conceptual architecture of the performative turn can, apart from Austin, also be traced back to John Searle (1969), who devised his speech act theory from Austin’s concept of the performative. Yet also Milton Singer’s concept of cultural performances (1972), primarily linked to the fields of anthropology and ritual studies, and Goffman’s studies on the presentation of self (1959) additionally provide a space for using the concept of the performative to rethink notions of the social.36 In this context, it is worthwhile to note that the performative argument particularly broaches the interrelations and inherent tensions between “culture as text” and “culture as performance.” It examines the emergence of meaning making within praxis arguing that the construction of social order relates to transparent and publicly observable procedures that particularly distinguish themselves through incessant flux. Building on this, concepts of materiality, mediality, and interactivity come to the fore and are employed to promote reflection on acts of performing that comment on, and in the course of this, de facto affirm, modify, and/or negate what has been said (cf. Fischer-Lichte 2001, 111–12, translation by the author). This is of particular interest regarding the lecture frame and its framing, as will be discussed in the following chapter.

36 | This will be discussed in depth in Chapter 7.

85

5. The lecture frame and its framings Despite its ambiguity, knowledge has, as argued above, emerged into a concept of proposals that can – relating to this study’s underlying hypothesis – act as an intermediary across the fields. Simultaneously, the concept of knowledge is highly contextual, inevitably pointing to the fact that different approaches to knowing have different validation criteria. Precisely regarding the lecture frame, the concept of knowledge presents itself as – in part – separate, and at a distance from, the person, i.e., the lecturer, imparting knowledge. Yet simultaneously ingrained within lies the assumption that knowledge is effectively available. This assumption is connected to the fact that the lecture frame is historically positioned within the institution of academia and preceded by research practices. These relate to a process of inquiry – and a state of tumult – that distinguishes itself through a discovery-led procedure that is continuously adapted. On the one side, the academic lecture aims to disseminate this process; on the other side, it is particularly aimed at disseminating the research results that follow. Thus, in dealing with the presentation of basic findings, notions of precarious indeterminacy also mark the lecture frame. In this way, a lecture is inevitably in need of demonstrating itself and its findings, hence being a performance par excellence. This is the case as both lectures as well as performances present themselves in and through their mode of expression and performative manifestation. Both impose meaning and are communicated toward – and directly address – an audience. Yet while lectures rather present themselves as comprehensible and reproducible regarding knowledge that can be comprehended, categorized, and known, performances, on the contrary, build on alternatives and potentiality. Practices of indeterminacy and/or resistance break with the illusion of control and power in terms of meaning making and knowing. Yet simultaneously the performance frame cannot simply be denominated as being “the other” in a culture increasingly given to simplified dichotomies. Instead, performance identifies – or rather can identify – as a privileged site that is not set apart but set directly among culture. Related to this, Michael Vanden Heuvel writes:

88

On the Threshold of Knowing Theater has maintained itself as an arena where potentially conflictual, even antithetical, issues and value perceptions about the world [...] are transformed into interactive energies that can be made to sustain, rather than dominate, one another. (Vanden Heuvel 1991, 6)

Focusing on “potentially conflictual, even antithetical, issues and value perceptions about the world” and interested in acknowledging the processual and spatiotemporal-bound relationship between a lecturer and their audience, Goffman acts the role of the lecturer within his book Forms of talk (1981).37 Within the fourth chapter Goffman introduces the lecture as an academic form of talk between inherent traits and performative potential. Furthermore, relying on a frame analytical argument, Goffman points to the fact that the lecture frame and its framings are more or less taken for granted, prompting him to formulate a generic description. Goffman terms lectures ambiguous inasmuch as they position themselves between the text, the real time event, and the actual act of lecturing (cf. ibid., 167). This triple connotation fundamentally underlines a lecture’s performative nature: firstly, a lecture text with regards to content and consequential argumentation is needed; secondly, an event, where the lecture is actually held, must take place; thirdly, a lecturer must de facto address the occasion and expose themselves to the audience “under cover of conveying” (ibid., 191) their text. In the course of this, the act of speaking authorizes the lecturer, who stands in and speaks in the name of a specific topic and their institution. Thus, Goffman terms lectures as purely social, as people – who structure and control the event – are inevitably involved. Moreover, lectures are practice-bound, as they embrace varied practices regarding writing, staging, and performing in “face-to-face-interactions” (Goffman 1981, 162), in which both a lecturer as well as an audience is essential. Phrased from a frame analytical perspective, the frame facilitates the possibility of noticing, localizing, and identifying the incidents as defined within the lecture frame. It draws a border between the speaker on stage and the audience in front of the stage and signals that the lecturer is – while giving their lecture and systematically developing the topic of their speech – invariably the center of attention. In this respect, lectures precede their audience. In contrast, however, lectures simultaneously build on the interaction of the lecturer and the audience, both of whom the lecture frame defines as such in the first place.

37 | Goffman himself does not use the term “lecturer.” Rather, adhering to Dell Hymes, Goffman argues that it is common to use the term “speaker” (cf.: Goffman 1981, 166– 67). I have, however, decided to use the term “lecturer,” as this term is connected to the notion of an audience, who are listeners as well as spectators.

The lecture frame and its framings

In this context, lecturing practices are tied to spatiotemporal frameworks and frames and are again linked to further constellations and overall complexes that are interrelated with cultural, political, and economic constellations. Relating to the praxeological standpoint, lecturers perform a totality of joint practices – and attributive techniques – that are adapted to the collective endeavor of society and embrace their share of the overall plenum, mirroring the logic ingrained within. The lecturer holds “variable and separable functions” (ibid., 167). They are “animator, author, and principal” (ibid.) all in one person. This means the lecturer contemporaneously animates, authors, and takes the text’s position allowing the “textual self” (ibid., 173) to correspond to the “scholarly voice” (ibid., 174). In this regard, the audience can rely on the lecturer’s intellectual authority in speaking. Goffman also adds: “however valid or invalid their claim to a specialized authority, their speaking presupposes and supports the notion of intellectual authority in general: that through the statements of a lecturer we can be informed about the world” (ibid., 195). Yet this self can be represented by another lecturer, should the author for example fall sick (cf. ibid., 174). Furthermore, Goffman argues that there are “three main modes of animating spoken words: memorization, aloud reading [...], and fresh talk” (ibid., 171, italics in the original). While “fresh talk” is acknowledged as the general ideal and evokes the impression that the lecturer is de facto aware of responding to their audience, reading aloud is most frequent, and memorization least acknowledged. In most cases, however, a lecturer rotates between the three “production modes” (ibid., 172), which all point to a different relation between the lecturer and their audience – the latter emerging as the “immediate witness” (ibid., 165). Building on this, Goffman’s investigation emphasizes that a lecture’s spatial disposition evokes certain behavior on behalf of the audience, which, in most cases, does not speak, but sits still, and listens and watches quietly. While the lecturer mostly stands in front of their audience, the audience is likely to be seated and expected not to leave the room before the end of the lecture. The lecture frame signals that the audience is not to intervene and ask questions before the lecture’s internal logic signals that the lecture has come to an end and the time to ask questions has begun – generally in the form of the lecturer themselves thanking the audience. Hence, ingrained within a lecture’s logic are a set of conventions, which precede the lecture and the act of lecturing, and often include the following elements: firstly, a third person introducing the lecturer; secondly, the audience clapping; thirdly, the lecturer introducing themselves; fourthly, the lecturer announcing their topic and lecture procedure; fifthly, the lecturer systematically developing their topic in accordance with the announced procedure; sixthly, the lecturer displaying their results and ending their lecture; seventhly, the lecturer thanking the audience; eighthly, the audience clapping; ninthly, the audience asking questions and the lecturer

89

90

On the Threshold of Knowing

answering; tenthly, a third person announcing that the question-and-answer session has come to an end; and finally and once again, the audience clapping. Now, in addition to Goffman’s frame analytical investigation, Foucault’s historic-philosophical approach regarding the intrinsic properties of lectures is also of interest. Foucault centers his study on the constitutive coherence of discursive knowledge production constructed around the spatial-dependent-power relations of an academic institution and its effective operation. Within his seminal inaugural lecture, “The order of discourse” (1974), Foucault also acts the role of the lecturer, pointing toward the ambiguity inscribed within, i.e., within the act of speaking in general and within the act of lecturing in particular. He poses the question: “what governs and regulates the order of speaking within the act of speaking?” and as only adumbrated in Goffman’s Forms of talk, amplifies the argument that a lecture’s spatial disposition de facto mirrors disciplinary society (cf. Foucault 1974b, 31ff., translation by the author). According to Foucault, the lecturer’s positioning gives them authority as the lecturer overlooks the whole audience; the audience does not enjoy the same privilege. In this respect, Foucault classifies the lecture – as part of the academic system – as a disciplinary power technique that enforces and reinforces power and produces social exclusion. In addition, Foucault deepens understanding regarding the fact that knowledge conveyed within the frame of a lecture is inevitably informed by the regulations of its discursive praxis. Concerning this matter, knowledge and discourse are highly reciprocal and interdependent, as knowledge is not a sum of expertise and findings that can be defined as effectively true or false. Rather, the lecturer as well as the audience carry out “policies of truth,” developing techniques of truth finding, and eventually accepting certain discourses as true or rather false (cf. Foucault 1974a, 261ff., translation by the author). Accordingly, the knowledge embedded within the lecture frame builds on power relations, which not only support, but possibly also exploit knowledge, allowing modes of acquiring and distributing knowledge to de facto emerge as effects of fundamental power-knowledge complexes. The implications of this proposal are manifold and shall be further elaborated in my analysis of the first case study: an academic lecture held at the University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg by Professor Michael Vollmer and Professor Klaus-Peter Möllmann. The lecture is a mandatory first semester course for bachelor students studying Electronic Engineering, Microsystems and Optic Technology, or Mechatronics and Automating Systems. It is termed “Experimental physics 1” and was held on October 16, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

6. Academic lecture: “Experimental physics 1” 6.1 C re ating a conte x t and fr aming the strip The academic discipline experimental physics is a relatively new research field ensuing from the Humboldt Reforms of German universities at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Relating to a research perspective corresponding to the performative turn, this academic discipline is of special interest for two reasons in particular. On the one hand, the discipline reckons itself among the established natural sciences, which, to borrow the words of Ryle, “model accomplishments of human intellect” (1949, 26) and strive for knowledge of true propositions and facts. On the other hand, the discipline particularly builds on experiments, which allude to processes of researching and – in the course of this – finding, i.e., bringing forth true propositions. Yet as every experiment is practice-based and discovery-led, the discipline particularly distinguishes itself – in spite of aspiring toward true propositions and facts – through continuous processes of indeterminacy. In carrying out experiments, the lecturer finds themselves within the transition of doing and presenting research, which necessarily conveys more than the lecturer contends and knows themselves to be. There are direct correlations regarding what the person doing the experiment de facto knows – and in the course of the experiment imparts and communicates – and what the experiment effectively reveals. On account of this, the additional footings inherent to experimental set-ups inevitably provoke multiple and ambiguous readings – regarding the research on the one hand and the disclosing of the research results on the other. Experiments are ambiguous inasmuch as they position themselves between methodological guidelines and discipline-based specifications on the one side and the experimental set-up and the act of actually performing the experiment on the other. Both fundamentally underline an experiment’s performative nature, as the act of experimenting brings forth and authorizes the experiment as such in the first place. Firstly, presuppositions with regards to content and consequential argumentation are needed. Secondly, an experimental set-up, where the experiment can actually be carried out, e.g., a laboratory, must be available. Thirdly, the person carrying

92

On the Threshold of Knowing

out the experiment must de facto address the occasion and expose themselves to the indeterminacy of the research process. Considering this, the lecture “Experimental physics 1” inevitably finds itself between introductory course and bachelor degree program, academic lecture, and experimental set-up. The lecture builds on multiple media forms, e.g., flip chart, chalkboard and overhead projections, live presentations, video screenings, and demonstrational experiments38, and has three aims. Firstly, the purpose is to give an introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics. Secondly, the lecture is to give insight into physical terms and laws. Finally, the lecture is supposed to convey basic skills regarding simple technical phenomena or rather problems. In addition, the lecture communicates the following target competencies: firstly, the students are to become familiar with the basic terms and concepts illustrated and clarified through experiments; secondly, the students are to master the abstraction process from observing a physical-technical incident to being able to describe its procedure and subsequently applying appropriate formulae and equations; thirdly, the students are required to technically transfer and apply physical terms and concepts in the laboratory; and fourthly, the students must be able to carry out, master, and evaluate simple physical experiments in the field of mechanics as well as thermodynamics. Relating to this, the examination, scheduled for the end of the semester tests the students accordingly. The lecture is accompanied by a practical exercise course in which the students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the lecture’s topics; yet to be enrolled, the students do not need specific qualifications or examinations apart from their general school knowledge. During the winter semester 2013/14, the lecture “Experimental physics 1” is divided between two professors: Professor Michael Vollmer taught the first half of the semester and Professor Klaus-Peter Möllmann the second half. Vollmer, professor of experimental physics at the University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg since 1994, delivered the sequence I analyzed. The analysis alludes to a single audience account and builds on a multi-mode research inquiry with the following three components: 1) lecture attendance and its non-participant observation; 2) gathering additional data through the study course regulations, informal conversations with both participating students as well as Professor Vollmer, and e-mails with Professor Vollmer and Professor Möllmann; and 3) conducting a subsequent video analysis, translating Professor Vollmer’s lecture into English, and incorporating the quotations accordingly to facilitate the flow of reading. 38 | From a frame analytical perspective, the term “demonstrational experiment,” as termed in the university’s calendar is deliberately contradictory, as the setup can either be a matter of demonstration or experiment (cf. Chapter 4.2).

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

In what is to follow, my analysis will demonstrate that the academic lec-ture “Experimental physics 1” expands and re-conceptualizes notions of sci entific proof, as the lecture’s knowledge formation processes are informed by complementary and conclusive negotiations. The latter relate to acts of making the epistemic practical and rest upon vagrant notions of combinatorial clarity – between comprehensible demonstration, logically deducible validation, and self-evident illustration. Please imagine the following:

The lecture is staged in an ascending auditorium that can seat approximately 200 students. Today, merely one fifth of the wooden seats are occupied. The front stage is crowded with tables, chairs, mathematical devices, and site-specific artifacts. Among other items, in the middle of the room there is a long, double sliding chalkboard, which can be pushed to the top or bottom revealing a white wall when it is pushed to the top. In front of the chalkboard, there is a white table on which several cables, a plate, a grey square device, a piece of chalk, and other objects, which I am not able to identify – because, on the one hand, I am seated too far away and, on the other hand, am lacking the respective knowledge. In addition, slightly to the left is a lectern with a small silver lamp, a computer, and lecture notes placed on its top. Slightly to the right, there is another white table with multiple devices on its top, e.g., a tea set, a towel, and an overhead projector. Also, a video camera, which is turned on, has been placed on a tripod and directed toward a previously prepared experimental set-up. On the righthand side of the chalkboard, there is a white board, a set-square, and a compass hanging on the wall. In the very left-hand corner of the room, there is a periodic table, a sink, a trash bin, and a towel dispenser. Next to the sink there is a red bucket with water, a rag, and a chalkboard wiper.

93

94

On the Threshold of Knowing

6.2 S cientific demonstr ation

Visuals 1–8: Vollmer, “Experimental physics 1” (2013), video-stills made by the author.

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1” One hour and twenty-seven minutes into the lecture

While standing by the sink and filling a champagne glass with water, Professor Vollmer announces, his back turned to the students: “I will show you a simple experiment that will illustrate this.”39 (minute 00:01)40 While speaking, he frequently pauses signaling that he is preoccupied in the sense that he is focusing on two things at once. Relating to this, Goffman asserts that the illusion needs to be kept upright that the lecturer is properly involved. He explains: “while delivering one such segment one must be on the way to formulating the next mentally, and the segments must be patched together without exceeding acceptable limits for pauses, restarts, repetitions, redirections, and other linguistically detectable faults” (Goffman 1981, 172). In the case of Professor Vollmer, his mode of fresh talk is slightly off beat and exceeds the acceptable limits for pauses. Thereupon, Professor Vollmer redirects his attention, turns to look at the students, and says: “In the old days, when I was a child, milk cans were still in use.”41 (minute 00:10) Holding the champagne glass in his right hand, he takes a small wooden square from the table to his left and places both the square and the glass in his left hand. Simultaneously he swings his right arm dynamically back and forth and walks toward the middle of the room. He recounts: “Back then, if you had such a milk can, you would usually swing it back and forth on the way home. You would swing it back and forth more and more and wanted to know what would happen if you were to swing it all the way around. Will the milk spill?”42 (minute 00:14) Now, Professor Vollmer’s right arm swings dynamically in a whole circle and subsequently comes to an abrupt stop. One hour, twenty-seven minutes, and twenty-five seconds into the lecture

39 | Professor Vollmer speaks a slight dialect and at times mumbles short phrases that I am unable to understand acoustically. Therefore, I am slightly rephrasing his sentences accordingly. In German, he announces: “Ich zeige Ihnen ein einfaches Experiment, was das etwas veranschaulicht.” 40 | I have listed the corresponding time intervals as set on my video camera in order for the reader to be able to retrace Professor Vollmer’s words. As it was not possible to record the full ninety minutes of the lecture, I had to limit the recordings to the most relevant strips, causing the time intervals of the lecture and those of the recording to unfortunately not coincide. 41 | “Früher, als ich noch ein Kind war, gab’s noch Milchkannen.” 42 | “Wenn man so eine Milchkanne hatte, ist man so schlenkernd nach Hause gelaufen und irgendwann schlenkerte man immer weiter und fragte sich, was ist wenn ich weiter schlenkere? Kann die Milch rauskommen?”

95

96

On the Threshold of Knowing

Within the present strip, Professor Vollmer’s words are informative and his tone of voice is entertaining. Without cease, his speech melody, tempo, and volume are steady and his words are informative. He occasionally glances at his notes, yet most of the time he alludes to fresh talk. While he verbally directs the students’ attention toward the scientific experiment, his gaze is alternately directed on the students and the experiment. His fluent act of speaking, on the one hand, as well as his positioning and bodily actions on stage, on the other hand, allow Professor Vollmer to emerge as the lecturer who’s “claims to authority as his office, reputation, and auspices imply are warranted” (Goffman 1981, 191). The lecturer’s intellectual authority emerges in and through his performance. Precisely relating to the position of the lecturer, Goffman, referring to the sociolinguist Dell Hymes, argues that troublesome ambiguities are inherent to the term, as the lecturer is an animator, author, and principal all at the same time. This means that Professor Vollmer does not only perform his lecture. Instead, he has also authored, formulated, and scripted it, and appears as the individual who personally believes “in what is being said and takes the position that is implied in the remarks” (ibid., 167). Phrased differently, “Experimental physics 1” builds on Professor Vollmer’s textual self and his position as the author, principal, and animator, who stands “behind the textual statements made and which incidentally gives these statements authority” (ibid., 173). Goffman specifies, “typically, this is a self of relatively long standing, one the speaker was involved in long before the current occasion of talk” (ibid.). Furthermore, Professor Vollmer’s position as the lecturer builds on his status as a professor and affiliation with the University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg. He attests to his intellectual authority in and through the act of lecturing, allowing himself to stand in the name of the experimental physicist. He presents himself as the individual who takes ownership of the lecture and its “demonstrational experiment.” However, Professor Vollmer’s experiment does not characterize itself through the fact that it renders possible insights that are unknown, i.e., surprising the researcher with its outcome (cf. Rheinberger 2014, 311, translation by the author). Instead, the announced experiment is de facto a scientific demonstration. In the third chapter of Frame analysis, Goffman terms demonstrations as “performances of a tasklike activity out of its usual functional context in order to allow someone who is not the performer to obtain a close picture of the doing of the activity” (Goffman 1974, 66). A demonstration distinguishes itself as a “redoing” (ibid.), in which a new context keys the primal action – i.e., the experiment – and transforms it. While demonstrations require a specific spatial set-up and visual order, the constitutive coherence of the tasklike activity constructed around the spatial-dependent-power relations of the demonstra-

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

tion allows the audience to notice, localize, and identify the demonstration as such in the first place. The demonstration’s staging allows point-blank insight into the actions on stage. Hence, whereas the spectators most times neither interact nor participate in the demonstration directly, the staging broaches the issue of audience focus. The staging evokes an alteration of perception and action, entailing a respective frame change and simultaneously pointing toward the two-way relationship of bringing forth and legitimating the performer and audience as such. The demonstration is successful if the action is, firstly, carried out by an expert, who steps forward in and through the act of demonstrating; if, secondly, it is watched by an audience, who emerges as such in and through the demonstration; and if, thirdly, the demonstration “provides an ideal running through of an activity for learning or evidential purposes” (ibid., 69). The lecture frame in general, and its demonstration in particular, draw a line between the performer on the one side and the audience on the other. Both signal that Professor Vollmer is – during the duration of his demonstration – invariably the center of attention. His actions precisely rest on the successful carrying out of an experiment, even though, from a frame analytical perspective, not the experiment itself, but a demonstration of a prepared experiment is taking place. The latter emerges as a scientific demonstration that builds on the redoing of the antecedent experiment, which was – at an earlier time – carried out to gather new knowledge. Hence, on the one hand, the scientific demonstration directly relates to the experiment. Yet on the other hand, it primarily distinguishes itself through essential acts of deferment and reapplication. It – in contrast to its antecedent – is not discovery-led – and does not, at least concerning Professor Vollmer, impart new knowledge. Instead, the scientific demonstration signals meaning in its own terms. It exclusively rests on visual proof that relies on and reproduces a specific logic of reality, which in turn establishes itself within the representational possibilities of effective velocity’s ephemeral principles of space and time. On account of this, Professor Vollmer, initiates an abstraction process – which he passes on to his students – from demonstrating a physical incident, to observing, describing, and explaining its procedure. Drawing on techniques of firstly framing and announcing the research question and corresponding procedure and secondly performing and simultaneously explaining its principles, the scientific demonstration aims to give access to and make the physical incident of effective velocity visible. Its respective “knowledge-in-action” allows praxis-bound knowledge and theory-bound knowledge to overlap and interact, extending the possibilities of what effective velocity is – or rather might be. In the case of the scientific demonstration, the visible is – quoting Phelan (1993) – “employed as a truth-effect for the establishment of [...] discursive and representational notions of the real” (Phelan 1993, 3).

97

98

On the Threshold of Knowing One hour, twenty-seven minutes, and twenty-six seconds into the lecture

After a short interruption, Professor Vollmer restarts the scientific demonstration. He puts the full water glass in his right hand and the wooden square in his left. Subsequently, he raises the glass and announces: “I’ll now just show you”43 (minute 00:26). He places the glass on the table in front of him. He then takes the swinging device with both hands and detangles the four strings, which are wrapped around the wooden board multiple times. He takes the device with his right hand and holds the knot where the four strings come together. The knot is positioned at the level of Professor Vollmer’s forehead. The swinging device floats in the air for a couple of seconds and Professor Vollmer adds by way of explanation: “I don’t have a milk can now, so we just made a device, which you can swing. It is a wooden board with different strings”44 (minute 00:27). Professor Vollmer directs the students’ attention by way of a second announcement, informing them that he will now position the filled water glass on the swinging device. He then temporarily places the board on the front table and sets the glass on the board with his left hand. After the glass has been directly placed in the middle of the square, Professor Vollmer lifts his right arm so that the board is no longer touching the table, but floating freely in the air. The swinging device is now floating in front of his hips and its strings are stretched and hanging down diagonally. Raising his head to look at the students, Professor Vollmer announces that he will now start swinging. He adds, “I will swing it parallel”45 (minute 00:43). Following, he focuses back on his experimental set-up. Professor Vollmer advances and claims: “Technically” – here he glances up to look at the students – “nothing can happen if the precondition on the board” – his left hand points to the mathematical equation written there – “is fulfilled”46 (minute 00:47). He pauses a short moment, gathers momentum, and starts quickly swinging the device in a full circle several times. Within the cycle period, the filled water glass is – sure enough – shortly upside down, but neither falls off nor does the water spill. Professor Vollmer explains: “So this means you just have to turn the whole thing fast enough and the liquid does not spill”47 (minute 00:51). He mentions that one needs to concentrate when 43 | “Zeige ich Ihnen jetzt einfach.” 44 | “Milchkanne habe ich jetzt nicht. Wir haben einfach ein Brett gemacht, was man schlenkern kann, auf einem Holzbrett mit verschiedenen Schnüren.” 45 | “Ich mache es mal parallel.” 46 | “Und im Prinzip kann nichts passieren, wenn die Bedingung hier an der Tafel erfüllt ist.” 47 | “Also müssen Sie einfach nur schnell genug das Ganze drehen und die Flüssigkeit kommt nicht raus.”

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

bringing the device to a stop, takes a big step to the left, and quickly brings the rotation to an end. The device sways back and forth one last time at the height of the tabletop. Professor Vollmer pauses for a moment, positioning the device and the water glass steadily between his chest and stomach and concludes: “This as well usually functions without any difficulty”48 (minute 00:58). One hour, twenty-eight minutes, and one second into the lecture

Within the strip described above, Professor Vollmer’s performance is not in accordance with his announcement and explanations since he tells the story of the milk can but does in fact not have a milk can at hand. Rather, Professor Vollmer uses a rough device, which he and his colleague have built with the primary purpose of showcasing this point. To this effect, Professor Vollmer incorporates a dual self (cf. Goffman 1974, 129) – between private individual and professional lecturer – provoking “a somewhat changed alignment of speaker to hearer” (Goffman 1981, 177). Within, the boundary between make-believe and reality is deferred as “the depicted world from what lies beyond the stage line” (Goffman 1974, 139) is put directly on stage. In this respect, Professor Vollmer’s first person narrative of the old days is brought forth in and through the lecture and pursued through the act of lecturing, thus bringing forth the individual – in the position of both the private person and the professional – who did in fact have a milk can in the old days that he swung back and forth. Referring to this, Professor Vollmer’s personal story exclusively builds on linguistic visuals, which do not serve evidential purposes, but merely contextualize and give access. The students are not, however, confused by the non-congruency of the required and the representational. Instead, quoting Judith Butler, within Professor Vollmer’s performance “the real is positioned both before and after its representation; and representation becomes a moment of the reproduction and consolidation of the real” (1990, 106). To be more precise, a keyed requisite supplements the original, making reference to, but simultaneously deferring and reapplying the antecedent, thus blurring the boundaries between the real and the symbolic. On account of this, the scientific demonstration is doubly keyed. As a keyed key, it distinguishes itself through practices of transcription that adhere to techniques of bracketing – i.e., framing, announcing, and explicating – and practical consolidation, i.e., performing effective velocity. The interplay – and this is key to the lecture’s scientific demonstration – succeeds in giving access to the correlations of effective velocity.

48 | “Aber auch das funktioniert im Allgemeinen problemlos.”

99

100

On the Threshold of Knowing

framing

announcing

bracket

scientific demonstration

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

performing effective velocity

practical consolidation

Figure 2. ACADEMIC LECTURE - scientific demonstration

Figure 1: Academic lecture – scientific demonstration The lecture’s scientific demonstration conveys knowledge regarding the systematics of demonstrations in general and the systematics of the physical principle in particular, mapping on to three major avenues. Firstly, the framing and in particular the announcement’s “verbal markers” (Schindler 2011, 155ff) direct the students’ gaze. Secondly, the explanations underscore the significant aspects of the performance. Thirdly, the performance itself succeeds in bringing forth the interrelations of effective velocity: effective velocity emerges in and through the performance. In this respect – rather than adhering to argumentation – the scientific demonstration builds on inherent, coherent, and observable actuality. It relates to its clarity-based alignment, within which apparent conclusiveness discloses the phenomenon of effective velocity and makes it experiential. Furthermore, the scientific demonstration distinguishes itself through its genuinely constructive character that practically clarifies the physical principle. Within, the transition of theory-bound to praxis-bound to theory-bound knowledge emerges as Professor Vollmer explicitly makes the students aware of the fact that “nothing can happen if the precondition on the board is fulfilled” (minute 00:47). This statement points to the fact that effective velocity’s inner coherence has been translated into formulae that make it possible to de facto document and test the phenomenon. The formulae make it possible to, firstly, transcribe effective velocity; to, secondly, explain its inner logics; to, thirdly, make its ephemerality understandable; and to, fourthly carry out multiple test procedures. Yet, while the ephemeral fragility of the phenomenon adheres to mathematical statements that can predict if effective velocity will succeed and/ or rather fail, the scientific demonstration’s success inevitably depends on its successful performance. Therefore, the formulae succumb to practical validity, necessarily oscillating between material property and epistemic attribute.

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

6.3 M athematical validation

Visuals 9–12: Vollmer, “Experimental physics 1” (2013), video-stills by the author. One hour, twenty-eight minutes, and two seconds into the lecture

Professor Vollmer places the swinging device as well as the glass on the middle table and explains that the scientific demonstration just presented refers to the precondition of effective velocity. He points to the chalkboard with his right hand, on which the following formulae are written: mv2 ≥ m · g 49 r v2 ≥ g · r. Heading toward the lectern to have a short look at his notes, he subsequently walks back to the board, takes the chalk from the middle table, and draws an arrow that points downwards under the equation v2 ≥ g · r. Subsequently, he 51 remarks: “And with v being Ω50 · r, and Ω being , let’s have a look at the 52 solution” (minute 01:18). While speaking he writes the following on the board:

49 | m = mass, v = effective velocity, r = radius, and g = gravity acceleration. 50 | W = angular velocity. 51 | T = periodic time. · r. Gebe ich Ihnen an. Mal schauen was da raus kommt.” 52 | “Und mit v ist Ω · r, ist

101

102

On the Threshold of Knowing

v2 ≥ g · r ↓ v=Ω·r =

·r

and concludes: T ≤ 2π



The periodic time of one turn – he spins his right arm once – needs to be ≤ 2p times the root of .53 Professor Vollmer turns to look at the students and concludes: “If this is the case, what follows is that within the upper part of the pathway, the centrifugal force directed outward is larger than the weight. This means nothing spills”54 (minute 01:38). Turning back to the chalkboard, Professor Vollmer explains, while simultaneously writing: r = 0.5 → T ≤ 1,4s. “For example, if I have a radius of 0.5 meters, T needs to be ≤ 1.4 seconds and I can reach that without any difficulties”55 (minute 01:50). That said, Professor Vollmer returns to the lectern. He pauses to read his notes, subsequently walks back to the chalkboard, and continues his explanation, writing all the time: T = 1s → a =

≈ 2g.

“If I implement the time of one second, the acceleration a equals . That is already twice the size of the weight”56 (minute 02:03). Having finished writing he heads back toward the lectern concluding: “This means nothing can go wrong. Rather than spilling, the weight is pushed upward instead, just as in 53 | “Es kommt eine Bedingung raus, dass die Umdrehungszahl für eine Umdrehung



kleiner gleich sein muss, als 2 π .” 54 | “Wenn das gewährleistet ist, ist im oberen Teil der Bahn, die nach außen gerichtete Zentrifugalkraft größer als die Gewichtskraft und dann kann nichts rausfallen.” 55 | “Beispielsweise wenn ich hier ein r 0,5 Meter habe, führt es auf T ≤ 1,4s was ich ohne Weiteres erreichen kann.” 56 | “Wenn ich die Zeit von einer Sekunde realisiere, dann führt das dazu, dass meine Beschleunigung a ist schon zwei Mal so groß ist, wie die Gewichtskraft.”

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

the case of a carrousel, or here, the liquid is pushed upward. Thus, the liquid cannot run down”57 (minute 02:16). One hour, twenty-eight minutes, and twenty-seven seconds into the lecture

This strip, which follows the lecture’s scientific demonstration, builds on a cross-section of verbal, gestural, and mathematical explanations. Firstly, Professor Vollmer derives effective velocity from mathematical formulae that are written in his lecture notes and subsequently copied onto the chalkboard. On the one hand, the formulae transpose the physical phenomenon into a mathematical system that explains and allocates the demonstration. The formulae offer a mathematical statement, relating to mathematical reasoning, and define under which circumstances the liquid does not spill. On the other hand, only the scientific demonstration – or rather the scientific experiment – renders the assignment of the actual occurrence possible. It only becomes possible to mathematically allocate and explain the physical phenomenon after the scientific experiment is carried out. Thus, theory-bound knowledge exclusively rests on praxis-bound knowledge, which is in turn measured and documented mathematically. On account of this, mathematical validation is based on the proposition that the ephemeral, inner coherence of practical occurrences can be reduced, translated, and documented reliably within mathematical formulae, from which it is in turn possible to distill persistent principles. This proposition mirrors the transition between the modes of doing and presenting research, oscillating between actual properties and given attributes. To be more precise, in the case of the lecture “Experimental physics 1,” scientific demonstrating and validating overlap and interact. The consolidation and cross-section of the two exposes itself as combinatorial clarity, which builds on principles of visibility as well as logical reasoning. Thus, applying effective velocity – in the form of both a scientific demonstration and a mathematical equation – attests validity, particularly since both applications can be repeated and transferred. The application’s well-tried replication rests on two different modes: while the scientific demonstration succumbs to successful, practical accomplishments, the mathematical formulae are subject to consistent, discipline-based laws and their validation. The inserted numbers encompass the potential of transforming the formulae into a true-or-false statement, conveying knowledge regarding a very specific question or rather problem. If multiple test procedures outperform the 57 | “Das heißt, es kann gar nichts passieren. Ich werde eher noch in meiner Gewichtskraft nach oben gedrückt wie auch im Karussell. Oder hier wird die Flüssigkeit nach oben gedrückt. Sie kann also überhaupt nicht nach unten weg fallen.”

103

104

On the Threshold of Knowing

knowledge propositions fixed in the mathematical formulae, the latter need to be adapted accordingly. In this respect, mathematical validation distinguishes itself through the interplay of bracketing – i.e., framing, announcing, and explicating – and mathematical consolidation that in turn builds on applying mathematical formulae. framing

announcing

bracket

mathematical validation

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

applying mathematical formulae

mathematical consolidation

Figure 3. ACADEMIC LECTURE - mathematical validation Figure 2. Academic lecture – mathematical validation

The ephemeral temporality of effective velocity is voiced, explicated, and mathematically translated – pointing toward the question: does the transcription and application truly acknowledge effective velocity’s inner coherence? Taking this into consideration, consolidation becomes pivotal. On the one hand, the physical phenomenon can be consolidated by means of multiple test procedures, or, on the other hand, by means of a diversity of research methods. Yet in any case, mathematical validation must allude to “the truth,” which in turn rests on inductive as well as deductive principles. Thus, if the phenomenon’s praxis-bound as well as theory-bound knowledge are not in accordance with one another, the formulae need to be scrutinized, adjusted, and reapplied accordingly. On account of this, mathematical validation necessarily rests on its practical application, which defers, but simultaneously consolidates effective velocity through the repeated interplay of demonstrational and mathematical anchoring and explaining. Furthermore, mathematical validation addresses the bonding relationship of knowledge as “a matter of doings” and knowledge as “a matter of facts” (Nelson 2013, 114). Regarding the application and reapplication of practical test procedures and/or multiple research methods, mathematical validation particularly distinguishes itself because its representational application merges into that what is being represented. Yet the immediacy linked to combinatorial clarity – between scientific demonstration and mathematical validation – does not merely represent, but in fact brings forth effective velocity in the first place. Effective velocity emerges because combinatorial clarity conveys a space to witness and employ seeing as a way of knowing.

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

Building on this, the coalition of bracketing and mathematical consolidation points to the fact that mathematical validation necessarily rests on a conglomerate of practical conclusiveness. Within, the physical phenomenon becomes visible and hence “knowledge-able.” Accordingly, knowing how is not subordinated to knowing that, but in fact displays itself as the elementary component of validating and taking evidence. Knowing how is not simply marked by praxis-bound and knowing that not merely by theory-bound knowledge. Instead, the two are interrelated in a complex manner, as knowing how is not separate to knowing that, but absorbed within – ab initio – encompassing the potential of bringing forth knowing that.

6.4 I llustr ation by use of video documentation

Visuals 13–15: Vollmer, “Experimental physics 1” (2013), video-stills by the author. One hour, twenty-nine minutes, and twenty-eight seconds into the lecture

Professor Vollmer brackets his lecture with the sentence: “And – last but not least – I’ll show you a video which demonstrates this: our rotating wine glass”58 (minute 02:26). While making this announcement, Professor Vollmer is standing behind the lectern and looking up to the white wall behind the extended chalkboard. He explains: “Here I filled it with red wine, so that it is better visible, and during the rotation – I will stop it at the highest point – you will see that the liquid is always more or less parallel to the movement: Vertical to, to, to [stuttering] the radial direction. The liquid cannot run downward 58 | “Und ich zeige Ihnen, last not least, ein Video, dass das auch demonstriert. Unser rotierendes Weinglas.”

105

106

On the Threshold of Knowing

because the weight on the individual liquid particles is much larger than the weight toward the bottom”59 (minute 02:33). While giving this explanation, Professor Vollmer looks at the students and fully stretches out his right arm while the three middle fingers of his right hand are pointing toward the class. Subsequently, he quickly conducts his arm downward and bends his right elbow, allowing his right hand to be slightly cupped, positioned next to his side, and approximately at the height of his chest. He turns his back to the students and now also watches the video documentation. The latter displays Professor Vollmer dressed in black and equipped with a swinging device and a champagne glass similar to the one used within the scientific demonstration, only that the glass is now filled with a red fluid. Professor Vollmer stops the video at the cycle period’s highest point. While the students survey the video-still, Professor Vollmer adds: “A problem would only occur, if I were swinging the milk can and then all of a sudden get scared and leave my hand up”60 (minute 02:53). While saying this, he swings his right arm and stops the movement at its highest point. His fingers are slightly cupped. “Then I would get wet”61 (minute 02:59). For a couple of seconds, Professor Vollmer’s fingers loosely play back and forth above his head. Following, he concludes: “So now you have the next experiment for your grandma’s birthday. Magic up some physics”62 (minute 03:01). While saying this, his elbows are approximately bent at a 90-degree angle and the palms of his hands are showing toward the ceiling. One hour, thirty minutes, and six seconds into the lecture

Following his verbal, gestural, and mathematical explanations, Professor Vollmer now makes use of an illustration by use of video documentation. The latter builds on, firstly, a preceding announcement, secondly, the replay of a pre-recorded documentation, and thirdly, respective explanations, which – in part – rely on the antecedent scientific demonstration. On account of this, interestingly enough for a second time, Professor Vollmer tells the anecdote of him, as a 59 | “Hab ich hier mit Rotwein gefüllt, dass man’s besser sieht. Und während der Rotation, ich halte mal am oberen Punkt an, sehen Sie, die Flüssigkeit ist mehr oder weniger parallel immer zur Bewegung. Senkrecht zur, zur, zur [Stottern] radialen Richtung. Die kann gar nicht rauskommen, weil die Kraft auf die einzelnen Flüssigkeitsteilchen viel größer ist, als die Gewichtskraft nach unten.” 60 | “Das würde nur ein Problem geben, wenn ich meine Milchkanne schleudere und auf ein Mal Angst bekomme und meine Hand oben lasse.” 61 | “Dann werde ich nass.” 62 | “Also haben Sie das nächste Experiment für den Geburtstag Ihrer Oma. Zaubern Sie bisschen Physik.”

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

little boy, swinging a milk can on his way home. Once again, the anecdote does not serve evidential purposes but provides contextualization and gives access. A keyed requisite supplements the milk can, allowing both the scientific demonstration as well as the video illustration to present themselves as keyed keys. The illustration by use of video documentation maps onto “actual remains of something that once appeared in the actual (in the sense of less transformed) world” (Goffman 1974, 69). Simultaneously, it presents itself as a medial reenactment that transforms and therefore facilitates the illustration of effective velocity in the first place. The replay makes it possible to actually see what usually cannot be seen with the naked eye. Concerning this matter, Goffman claims: In our society there is considerable (and growing) use of replicative records of events, that is, replays of a recording of a strip of actual activity for the purpose of establishing as fact, as having occurred, something that happened in the past. Whereas a demonstration provides an ideal running through of an activity for learning or evidential purposes, documentation employs the actual [...] world without, it is claimed, a documentary intent. [...] The power of the documentary key to inhibit original meanings is impressive. (Goffman 1974, 68–69)

This statement emphasizes the permeability between the original and its key, which encompasses the ability to inhibit meaning associated with – and very similar to – the original. In the case of Professor Vollmer’s pre-recorded highspeed video, the documentation’s key traits are very visible as retardation and pausing fragment the action. In this respect, the illustration by use of video documentation distorts effective velocity into a medial set of two-dimensional images, yet – because of this – actually succeeds in illustrating its inner logics and ephemeral dimension of space and time that can otherwise not be seen with the naked eye. Hence, the illustration by use of video documentation is based on the proposition that the ephemeral and inner coherence of effective velocity can be translated and documented reliably with a high-speed video camera. Referring to this, the illustration by use of video documentation firstly relates to an interplay of bracketing – i.e., framing, announcing, and explicating – and secondly to a video-based consolidation – i.e., medial replaying, retarding, and pausing.

107

108

On the Threshold of Knowing

framing

announcing

bracket

explicating illustration by use of video documentation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

replaying

retarding

video-based consolidation

pausing

Figure 4. ACADEMIC LECTURE - illustration by use of video documentation

Figure 3: Academic lecture – illustration by use of video documentation The illustration by use of video documentation builds on, to borrow the words of Bohr, “coherent communicativity” (Bohr 1987, 7), in the sense that the interplay of bracketing and video-based consolidation expands notions of visible denotation. Over and above, the interplay reveals that liquid does actually not spill when being quickly spun in circles, as the liquid does always finds itself parallel to the movement of the rotation. Phrased differently, the knowledge linked to effective velocity – and the possibilities of being able to coherently and perspicuously communicate this knowledge – rests on the encounter of being able to witness the phenomenon. Thus, even though the illustration presents itself as a practice of transcription – relating to techniques of referencing and deferring – the act of transcribing, first and foremost, succeeds in making effective velocity visible. While signaling meaning in its own terms, the illustration employs seeing as a way of knowing. Yet, the illustration simultaneously broaches the issue of the documentation having been produced at an earlier time. It provokes the question if the illustration is based on natural facts or if it has documentary intent. It discloses Professor Vollmer’s claim that the illustrated, physical incident can be reproduced in spite of spatial, temporal, medial, and contextual differences. In this respect, the illustration by use of video documentation relates to the performative as it visually represents the antecedent scientific demonstration and simultaneously transforms it. Medial replaying, retarding, and pausing pinpoint that the illustration by use of video documentation imparts knowledge that cannot be explained within the indexical of the demonstration itself. Rather, as the inner logics of the physical principle reside within a micro-second time frame, the high-speed video documentation alone has the potential to clarify effective velocity. In this regard, the illustration rests on video-assisted proof. Only the technical know-how of the illustration can render the physical incident’s inner

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

logic practicable: its mechanization procures, stores, converts, and disseminates knowledge of the singular. If, for example, the scientific demonstration was to be retarded and paused, the glass would fall off the swinging device, it would most likely break, the water would spill, and the scientific demonstration would fail. Yet needless to say, the scientific demonstration is conducive to the illustration’s credibility and clarity. To advance this line of reasoning, I will now introduce the notion of combinatorial clarity. This knowledge practice is key to the analysis and its epistemic interests.

6.5 C ombinatorial cl arit y The academic lecture’s outline terms specific target competencies, alluding to four successive phases – performing, observing, analyzing, and evaluating – which the students are to acquire in the course of the semester. The lecture maps onto a university set-up of hypothesis nomination and builds upon a correlated complex of integrative practices that emerge as specifically field-dependent, adhering to field-specific interests. These interests require field-specific methods and prompt field-specific answers,63 which – on account of the lecture frame – are to attest to the “truth,” i.e., “something to be cultivated and developed from a distance, [...] as an end in itself” (Goffman 1981, 165). Hence, physical laws – that incorporate and exhibit the conditions of experimentation from which the laws originated from – are performed in varying spaces and to different times, attesting that, to borrow the words of Phelan, “time itself conforms to its constant fixed measurement” (Phelan 1993, 126). Phrased differently, the lecture rests on the proposition that “events of the past “contain” their futures” (ibid.), reasoning that the future can, at least theoretically, be predicted. Building on this very presumption, the academic lecture seeks to give insight into the systematics of a physical phenomenon, i.e., how the phenomenon functions, disassembling and in turn reassembling its interrelated components. The phenomenon’s “truth” relates to the application of the consecutive practices of a scientific demonstration, mathematical validation, and illustration by use of video documentation that employ aligning as a way of finding “an end in itself.” All three practices are in accordance with one another: mathematical validation follows a scientific demonstration and is rounded off by an illustration by use of video documentation. All three distinguish themselves through their search for diverse description possibilities of effective velocity. Yet particularly the video illustration, which presents itself 63 | This claim relates to a laboratory studies perspective (cf. Latour 1987, Rheinberger 1997, and Knorr Cetina 1999).

109

110

On the Threshold of Knowing

as a keyed demonstration, deepens understanding relating to the fact that effective velocity – first and foremost – alludes to visibility, i.e., traceability, only then encompassing the potential to be able to be converted into physical formulae. In this respect, effective velocity unfolds in and through combinatorial clarity – in the interplay and consolidation of the triangular. It testifies to and is simultaneously displaced by notions of communicativity and coherency. framing

announcing

bracket

scientific demonstration

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

performing effective velocity

practical consolidation

framing

announcing

bracket

mathematical validation

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

applying mathematical formulae

combinatorial clarity

mathematical consolidation

framing

announcing

bracket

explicating illustration by use of video documentation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

replaying

retarding

video-based consolidation

pausing

FIGURE 5. ACADEMIC LECTURE - combinatorial clarity

Figure 4: Academic lecture – combinatorial clarity Moreover, combinatorial clarity closes the gap between what is announced, what is performed, what is explained and allocated, and what is de facto made visible at the interface of audio-visual, mathematical, and video-supported

Academic lecture: “E xperimental physics 1”

proof. In this respect, combinatorial clarity addresses the abstraction process formulated in the university’s study course regulations: it defers the division between the actual occurrence and its set mathematical explanation. Over and above, combinatorial clarity addresses questions of the configuration of reality, within which every practice points toward its individual logic and individually encompasses evidential purposes. Thus, at the interface of a scientific demonstration, mathematical validation, and illustration by use of video documentation, combinatorial clarity prompts reflection on the intrinsic performance of clarity itself. This performance – between the actual and the symbolic – allows for knowing how to bring about acknowledged, intersubjective, and communicable knowing that. Accordingly, combinatorial clarity addresses the issue of how proof is inevitably linked to its performance, i.e., how it performs itself and how it is performed. Regarding the performance, Professor Vollmer’s positioning gives him authority as he overlooks the whole audience, but the audience does not enjoy the same privilege. Foucault classifies this spatial disposition – as part of the academic system – as a disciplinary power technique that enforces and reinforces power and produces social exclusion. Professor Vollmer’s physicality and actions on stage consolidate this signaling “such claims to authority as his office, reputation, and auspices imply are warranted” (Goffman 1981, 191). Thus, speaking in the position of the experimental physics scientist, Professor Vollmer emerges as the lecture’s author, principal, and animator: he demonstrates the physical incident, which he derives from physical principles and consolidates using the technical know-how of a pre-recorded high-speed video. Simultaneously, Professor Vollmer is not in the position to fully set the performance’s course. Instead, clarity emerges through integrative practices. Clarity is embedded within the integrative practices and changes respectively pursuant to their emergence. On account of this, knowing is co-created and based on mathematical statements, which precede and allocate the physical incident, as the formulae rest on a common and practically realized understanding that mark and distinguish the physical incident as such. Yet the potential of transformation is inherent to this allocation, as knowing – first and foremost – rests upon its successful performances. The performances precede the mathematical representation and bring effective velocity forth in the first place. Accordingly, both knowing how and knowing that build on apparent actuality, incessantly concurring and answering back. They point toward varying forms of emergence inherent to knowledge – their fragility and contestability between material property and given attributes. Knowing how does not represent knowing that. Instead, knowing how allows knowing that to emerge in the first place, allowing knowledge not to be solely predicated on authorship and expressed accordingly. Rather, it appears in and through the actual encounter. While knowing how builds on successful

111

112

On the Threshold of Knowing

accomplishments and knowing that on coherent propositions, their cross-reference attests that the eye can witness both. Following, the lecture builds on the proposition – precisely regarding the process of transcription ingrained within the scientific demonstration, mathematical validation, and illustration by use of video documentation – that the invisible can make itself visible. Accordingly, knowing is – first and foremost – centered on the act of making the epistemic practical, in turn allowing knowledge to de facto become “knowledge-able.” However, knowledge emerges in the fragmentariness of its transcription, i.e., failing to be able to, ab initio, impart knowledge well and truly, which expounds the problem of the impossibility of the predicable. In the case of “Experimental physics 1” this means that the lecture’s knowledge practices are intricately linked to the fact that effective velocity can, de facto, not be seen with the naked eye, but, reverting to the technical know-how of high-speed video cameras, is nevertheless documented. Thus, the audience’s and the camera’s eye newly configure reality, transforming the physical principle into a co-created phenomenon that can actually be seen and witnessed. On account of this, the performative potential inherent to the phenomenon rests on incessant and partially unsettled materializing possibilities that relate to unsettled notions of clarity. The lecture’s knowledge practices oscillate between immediacy and transcription. They blur modes of “the actual” and “the deferred” consequently undermining the separation between that what reveals itself as “knowledge-able” and that what reveals itself as “un-knowledge-able.” This finding is of particular interest regarding the artistic lecture “Lecture on nothing” and links the two lectures with one another.

7. Artistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing” 7.1 C re ating a conte x t and fr aming the strip Frame analysis demonstrates that lectures rest on frame-specific interests that require frame-specific methods and prompt frame-specific answers. Accordingly, the question arises, how does the lecture emerge, if its frame-specific interests do not relate to the frame-specific methods of an academic framework – to which the lecture is traditionally affiliated? To be more precise, how does a lecture present itself when an artist takes the position of the lecturer? In what is to follow, I will analyze John Cage’s “Lecture on nothing” – its score and its performance – and discuss what it reveals about the lecture frame, framing, and its frame specific limits. The question arises: how does “Lecture on nothing” serve as a catalyst for rethinking the correlations between notation, (re)enactment, and actuality? Phrased differently, how does the score advert to a reenactment that inevitably broaches the issue of the impossible repetition – its (re)construction and (de)construction – and the differences inscribed within (cf. Klein 2011, 75ff.)? This question is of particular interest since many writings with historical claims are based on a structured overview or interpretation of Cage’s scores and compositions. Rather than exploring the correlations and interrelations between the score’s and performance’s materiality, the scores mostly only serve as attached illustrations. William Fetterman’s dissertation John Cage’s theater pieces. Notations and performances (1991) is one of the sparse examples, which intrinsically investigate Cage’s scores and map the respective findings onto historical documents and participatory experience. Following Fetterman’s example and his investigation regarding the scores’ materiality, my analysis of “Lecture on nothing” alludes to a single audience account. It builds on a multi-mode research inquiry with the following three components: 1) listening to “Lecture on nothing” at the John Cage Trust; 2) gathering additional data through press releases, documentary materials, and informal conversations and e-mails with Cage experts; and 3) conducting a subsequent audio- and score-led analysis. Cage’s “Lecture on nothing” is pivotal regarding my epistemic interests because – more than sixty years after its debut performance – it still holds

114

On the Threshold of Knowing

major influence on contemporary art practice and theory. Thus, it is an ambiguous lecture that falls between historical event, published score, and live performance. On the one hand, according to David Patterson, its score was “not read by Cage enthusiasts as tangential afterthoughts but served as the initial springboard by which many were first introduced to the composer, sometimes long before the actual opportunity to hear one of his compositions ever arose” (Patterson 2002, 85). On the other hand, the actual performance is – as of 2016 – not publicly available. It is kept within the archive of the John Cage Trust and only very few people have ever had the chance to listen to it in full length. All the same, it is possible, from a present-day perspective, to acknowledge that “Lecture on nothing” greatly influenced a concept that would come to be called lecture performance. Its significant shift from the referential to the performative dimension – between lecture and performance – still delivers seminal artistic as well as theoretical impact today: the act of speaking – as a praxis of agency and self-empowerment – remains far from being a conventional and unchallenged practice. Hence, not only did Cage come of age surrounded by the American and European avant-garde, but he also played his part in devising this era within which self-reflexivity and critique incessantly permeate the artistic work and working process. Even more, Cage’s concept of nothing challenges the lecture frame and its acknowledged framings. From a contemporary perspective, Cage’s preoccupation with the concept can be interpreted as an echo of his engagement with Zen Buddhism after attending Daisetz Suzuki’s lectures on Zen at Columbia University from 1949 until 1951 (cf. Cage 1961, ix). Precisely concerning his preoccupation with the concept, Cage broaches the process of categorizing and meaning making, or to borrow the words of Goffman the interplay of frames and framings, stating: It was called Zen Buddhism and Dada. It is possible to make a connection between the two, but neither Dada nor Zen is a fixed tangible. They change; and in quite different ways in different places and times, they invigorate action. What was Dada in the 1920s is now, with the exception of the work of Marcel Duchamp, just art. (Cage 1961, xi)

According to Fetterman, Suzuki’s lectures taught Cage to “welcome the moment without the intervention of intention or desire, to transcend language, conceptual thought, and in the process gain enlightenment” (Fetterman 1991, 38). And in fact, Cage asserts, regarding “Lecture on nothing,” that: “Most speeches are full of ideas. This one doesn’t have to have any. But at any moment an idea may come along. Then we may enjoy it” (Cage 1961, 113). Hence, “Lecture on nothing” systematically works at experiencing “nothing,” inherent to which is the potential of reconfiguring “something”: letting ideas come and letting ideas pass.

Ar tistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”

Please imagine the following:

In 1949 or 1950 – the exact year is not known – Cage performed “Lecture on nothing” at the New York City Artists’ Club, which had been started by Robert Motherwell and predated the more popular venue associated with Philip Pavia and Bill de Kooning (cf. ibid., ix). As the story goes, the artist Jeanne Reynal stood up in the middle of the performance, screamed, and said: “John, I dearly love you, but I can’t bear another minute” (ibid.) and left the room while Cage continued performing. Within the available recording of “Lecture on nothing,” Cage’s speaking tempo is regular and concerted without relevant tempo variations. His voice is calm, stable, and precise. Cage’s words are well accentuated and well articulated, having a monotonous, sonorous, and melodic tone. The flow of words is regular and neither stressed noticeably nor in a peculiar manner. The beginning of a new sentence, a new clause, and context words are emphasized, making it easy to listen to the text. Yet the reading rhythm is scored in beat and measure, as if being read for metronome. It is intoned in time and does not correspond to reading practices, which distinguish themselves through techniques of variation and dynamics. On the contrary, the text’s progression is very slow, non-dynamic, and non-directional.

7.2 R eferencing and tr anscribing 7.2.1 The performance event and its myth distribution Today, the anecdote regarding the artist Jeanne Reynal accompanies the debut performance of “Lecture on nothing” and functions as an example of myth distribution regarding Cage and his work.64 To my knowledge, neither a recording nor another witness report of the debut performance currently exists. Yet, approximately nine years after the debut performance, to be more exact in 1959, the score of “Lecture on nothing” was published in the Italian journal Incontri musicali. Additionally, in 1961, the score was published in the book Silence: lectures and writings by John Cage. The publication, according to Patterson, played a crucial role in letting Cage ascend to “avant-garde guru-hood” (2002, 99). Today, years 64 | In 1999, Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf published the book Mythos Cage (The Cage myth, translation by the author) aimed at making the myths around Cage’s life and work transparent. The miscellany’s different perspectives examine the myths in regard to how Cage’s work has been and is being perceived.

115

116

On the Threshold of Knowing

after its debut performance, numerous interpretations of artists performing “Lecture on nothing” exist. Around the globe, individuals have cited, performed, and made reference to it, both professionals as well as amateurs. The myth distribution of “Lecture on nothing” has its place in ongoing debate and response related to the lecture. While it is often associated with the happening at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, “Lecture on nothing” was in fact not performed there. Rather, passages of “Lecture on nothing” were incorporated within Cage’s “Juilliard lecture” (1952), which he performed at Black Mountain College. Moreover, “Lecture on nothing” is one of Cage’s last performances, which – apart from its question-and-answer series – were not led by chance. This was, devoting oneself to chance, the core characteristic of the Black Mountain College happening. Yet myth distribution continues, as not a single video recording and only one official audio recording of Cage himself performing exist – even though Cage performed “Lecture on nothing” several times. The live recording of Cage’s lecture is still not in the public domain as of 2016. All the same, there is continuing cooperation between the John Cage Trust at Bard College in Red Hook, New York, and the Belgian label subrosa, which may allow Cage’s lecture to be publicly available in the near future.65

7.2.2 The publication as initial springboard The publication of Silence is a reconstructive montage of selected lectures and writings that Cage wrote and performed approximately between 1940 and 1960. The title of Silence refers to Cage’s core topic of sound, implying that silence is never silent, but characterized through unintended and intermediate noise. Cage’s essay “Defense of Satie” (1970 [1968]) explains his continuous engagement with sound and silence: If you consider that sound is characterized by its pitch, its loudness, its timbre, and its duration, and that silence, which is the opposite and, therefore, the necessary partner of sound, is characterized only by its duration, you will be drawn to the conclusion that of the four characteristics of the material of music, duration, that is, time length, is the most fundamental. Silence cannot be heard in terms of pitch or harmony: it is heard in terms of time length. (Cage 1970, 81)

Hence, within Cage’s publication, the topic of silence frames all eighteen texts. In addition, the book’s subtitle lectures and writings by John Cage brings forth two sorts of textual status: writings and lectures. As Cage’s lectures were written for a specific occasion and its individual audience, publishing practices defer the lectures and subject them to retrospective authorization. Cage’s 65 | Unfortunately, the release date has not yet been fixed.

Ar tistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”

writings, on the contrary, have not been “re-done” (Goffman 1974, 66) as they were in fact written for publication and thus – unlike the lecture texts – not contemporaneously re-edited according to form. The techniques of framing, announcing, and explicating converge into and make reference to an outer bracket, which functions as an introduction. This bracket limits possibilities for interpretation, all the while evoking expectations. It enables the participants to know what it is that will be going on and where to focus their attention. framing

announcing

bracket

reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

explicating

Figure 6. ARTISTIC LECTURE - reference

Figure 5: Artistic lecture – bracket reference

7.2.2.1 Reframing and concealing Silence’s dedication and foreword frame the eighteen texts. It directly addresses a person or group of people and directs the readers’ attention. It stands on the side, situated between the title page and the table of contents, and reads: “To whom it may concern” (Cage 1961). This sentence is an address familiar from letters or announcements; conventionally, it is used when the addressee is unknown, or to address many people too numerous to be named. In Silence, the phrase is cited and simultaneously reapplied, i.e., reframed, as neither the frame letter nor the frame announcement exists. Rather, the phrase is shifted into the frame of a book. However, it does not convey any information regarding the book’s addressee nor its message. The dedication is so broad and impersonal that the dedication addresses everybody and nobody. The deferment of the phrase reveals itself as a key, which in turn emerges as performative in the sense that it references and brings into being a dedication which runs counter to acknowledged dedications and their framings. Furthermore, a foreword – written by Cage himself – follows the dedication and precedes the eighteen texts. Even though the foreword contextualizes Cage’s work and states his intentions, it particularly distinguishes itself through concealing techniques, as instead of giving an overview of the eighteen texts published in Silence, the foreword exclusively discusses one: “Lecture on nothing.” Thus, as merely “Lecture on nothing” is introduced and discussed, it could even be argued that the foreword itself contributed to the work’s seminal impact and legacy. The foreword takes on a special role and function as a placeholder to exemplify Cage’s crucial concerns and reflect on his working practices. Commensurate to the systematics of a foreword, Cage informs the reader about the methodology of “Lecture on nothing,” which has the same rhythmic

117

118

On the Threshold of Knowing

structure as the musical compositions Cage was working on to that time (e.g., “Sonatas and interludes” and “Three dances”). In this respect, “Lecture on nothing” is neither framed as an academic form of talk, nor does Cage seize the position of the musicologist. Rather, Cage reframes the lecture’s interests and methodological components, introducing the lecture’s stylistic device of repetition (cf. ibid., ix). Following on from this, the foreword covers the question period at the end of “Lecture on nothing” and explains that there was, commensurate to the systematics of lectures, time for the audience to engage in a discussion and ask questions, thus encouraging and promoting the sharing of ideas. Yet unusual for this procedure, “six previously prepared answers regardless of the question asked” (ibid.), did in fact not allow a shift to the “intimacies and informalities of question and answer” (Goffman 1981, 176). Rather, in the afterword for “Lecture on nothing,” Cage explains that he kept “with the thought expressed [...] that a discussion is nothing more than an entertainment” (Cage 1961, 126), thus squarely reframing the established procedure. Adding to the foreword’s concealing techniques, several years after Silence’s publication, a dialogue between Daniel Charles and Cage was published in which Cage clarified that he himself neither chose the texts within Silence nor edited the book. This is surprising as there is not a single reference regarding an editor’s name within the publication, neither on the title page, in the foreword, nor in the publishing house information. Only the dialogue between Charles and Cage printed in “For the birds” (cf. Charles 1978, 115ff.) discloses the secret and states the editor’s name: Bill Bueno (also cf. Bormann 2005, 99–101). Taking this into consideration, reframing, and concealing techniques point toward the fabrication ingrained within “Lecture on nothing.” According to Goffman, fabrications, like keyings, require the use of a model, the use of something already meaningful in terms of primary frameworks. But whereas a keying intendedly leads all participants to have the same view of what it is that is going on, a fabrication requires differences (Goffman 1974, 84). In the case of “Lecture on nothing,” both the historical event and the publication build on differences, which provoke a manifold repertoire of myth formation. Regarding Bill Bueno’s influence, for example, this remains partially unknown and unexplained still today.

7.2.2.2 Specif ying, classif ying, and authorizing Apart from reframing and concealing techniques – relating to the practice of deferment – Silence’s foreword and its specifying, classifying, and authorizing techniques converge into and makes reference to an outer bracket, which functions as an introduction. Quoting Goffman, brackets are “presented in a slightly different voice from the one employed in the body of the text itself” (Goffman 1981, 175) as they “put into perspective what is about to be discussed” (ibid.). They spatially and/or temporally mark a frame’s beginning and/or

Ar tistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”

ending and can be of an inner or outer type. While inner brackets divide an event into two episodes allowing the event – after a pause – to be revived and continued, outer brackets initiate a frame or let the frame come to an end. In some cases, an outer bracket simultaneously signals a frame’s end as well as a new frame’s beginning. In all cases, brackets limit possibilities for interpretation, all the while evoking expectations. They enable participants to know what it is that will be going on and where to focus their attention. Silence’s outer bracket, i.e., its foreword, is written in the first person singular and positioned at the publication’s beginning. It directs the readers’ focus, specifies and classifies the author’s intentions, and contextualizes and authorizes his work. On account of this, the foreword does not primarily convey information regarding the content of “Lecture on nothing,” but effectively links “Lecture on nothing” to Cage’s overall questions, aims, working practice, and working methodology. Even though the foreword has a significant relationship to the publication and its content, it simultaneously brackets, i.e., draws a line between the introductory part of the book and its actual starting point. The foreword conveys that Cage has been writing articles and giving lectures for over twenty years and emphasizes the classification of Cage’s texts – primarily his lectures – within the category of the unusual. It states that the publication of lectures entails certain problems and is, at times, in need of compromises. One such compromise relates to the use of headnotes, which are, quoting Cage, a “means to be used in the event of oral delivery” (1961, x). The headnote for “Lecture on nothing” makes direct reference to the performance event – and its individual occasion. It positions itself between the event performed by Cage in 1949/50, the score that was published in 1959 or rather 1961, and the live performance performed by another artist. The headnote, again quoting Goffman, puts “into perspective what is about to be discussed” (1981, 175) and hence serves as a “text-parenthetical remark” (ibid., 176). The bracket bears “more than the text does on the situation in which the lecture is given, as opposed to the situation about which the lecture is given” (ibid., 179, italics in the original), consequently de facto linking the original event, the published score, and the performed performance. Over and above, the foreword informs the reader and specifies that not all of Cage’s texts “are unusual in form” (Cage 1961, x), but that some were indeed – in contrast to most of Cage’s lectures – “written to be printed – that is, to be seen rather than to be heard”66 (ibid.) – some even being “conventional informative lectures” (ibid.). Following on from this, the foreword clarifies that the current publication does not include all of Cage’s lectures and writings of the past twenty years, but it does reflect Cage’s crucial concerns, hence authorizing their 66 | This is especially interesting in regard to the accessibility of the audio material of “Lecture on nothing” as explicated above.

119

120

On the Threshold of Knowing

publication within Silence. Finally, the initials J. C. and the date June 1961 bring the foreword to an end (cf. ibid., xi). The initials are the placeholder for the person John Cage and are an abbreviation just as a supplement signifying: John Cage hereby declares that he has written this foreword. Alluding to Goffman, when the author of a book himself – as in the case of John Cage’s Silence – signs it with his name and date, he – in the position of the author – takes credit for the text. He presents himself as the creative individual who takes ownership of the publication and its content. His textual self obtains intellectual authority in speaking “however valid or invalid their claim to a specialized authority, their speaking presupposes” (Goffman 1981, 195). Phrased differently, the interplay of specifying, classifying, and authorizing techniques supports Cage’s “intellectual authority” (ibid.). specifying

classifiying

reference

authorizing

Figure 6. ARTISTIC LECTURE - reference

Figure 6: Artistic lecture – reference

Making reference to foreword practices allows Cage to – in the first place – emerge as originator, i.e., author, proprietor, and principal, of “Lecture on nothing.” He is the person who takes ownership of “Lecture on nothing,” he is the person who first performed it in 1949/50, and he is the person who published the score in 1959 or rather 1961. Simultaneously, as will be discussed, the techniques of measuring and voicing the text undermine Cage’s position of proprietor.

7.2.2.3 Measuring and voicing

Visual 16: (Cage 1961, 121)

Ar tistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”

As stated above, the headnote for “Lecture on nothing” links the original event, the published score, and the actual performance. The headnote distinguishes itself through specifying, classifying, and authorizing techniques, which name the journal, in which, and the date, on which, “Lecture on nothing” was first published. The techniques give clarification regarding the lecture’s compositional methodology, which is termed square-root. The structure of “Lecture on nothing” – measured and voiced as a musical form – points toward its practice of “breaking frame” (Goffman 1974). Incommensurate to conventional lectures, Cage emphasizes the lecture’s musical form. To be more precise, “Lecture on nothing” is based on a proportional number scheme consisting of 48 units, 48 bars within each unit, and 5 large parts. The large-scale scheme and the small-scale scheme mirror each other, meaning that the 48 units on the macro-level, as well as the 48 bars on the micro-level, are structured identically. Furthermore, just like the 48 bars, the 48 units are subdivided at the ratio of 7, 6, 14, 14, and 7. In addition, the headnote gives instructions and guidance on how to perform “Lecture on nothing.” Firstly, the performer is to follow occidental reading conventions and read the text from left to right and top to bottom. Secondly, the performer should not make an attempt to “be too strictly faithful to the position of the words on the page” (Cage 1961, 109) but read the text with the rubato of the everyday (cf. ibid.). The instructions for “Lecture on nothing” are so simple that others can easily perform the piece as well. This allows “Lecture on nothing” to, on the one hand, develop and unfold independently, irrespective of the artist John Cage – which is possibly another reason for the ongoing debate and response to “Lecture on nothing.” On the other hand, Cage’s act of offering his work to other performers inevitably undermines the merit principle of the art world and its art markets. Building on this, the headnote for “Lecture on nothing” conveys that the score does not function as a document in the sense that it visually preserves the event that was performed in 1949/50. Rather, the score distinguishes itself through the fact that it is situated in-between: neither does it merely document the original performance of “Lecture on nothing,” nor does it solely precede it. Instead, the score is in fact the starting point for future performers and their performances. This actuates and perpetuates “Lecture on nothing,” while simultaneously disjoining it from Cage as its proprietor. In this respect, both the lecture’s headnote as well as its score reveal that Cage emerges as the originator of “Lecture on nothing.” Nonetheless, since the lecture is not one of the “conventional informative lectures” (Cage 1961, x), but an ongoing endeavor in which the risk and the potential of transformation is endemic, its principal – and certainly also its animator (cf. Goffman 1981, 167) – remain undefined. To this effect it is not surprising that “Lecture on nothing” has been and is being reenacted in varying spaces and to different times. Cage’s choice of offering

121

122

On the Threshold of Knowing

“Lecture on nothing” to other performers still today undermines the dominant link between a lecture’s proprietor and its animator.

Visuals 17–19: (Cage 1961, 121–22) Furthermore, the measuring and voicing techniques of “Lecture on nothing” point to the fact that its score fulfills a double function. On the one hand, the score precedes the performance, as it was written prior to it. On the other hand, the performance antecedes the score, which presents itself as alterable, as each performance employs and marks it differently. All performances distinguish themselves through shifts in variation – in particular regarding the in situ orality, the actual venue where they are held, and the present audience. The score, on the contrary, relates to a written notation system fixed within four columns

Ar tistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”

and informed by two concepts: firstly, a dingbat signals a unit’s beginning and its end, meaning that the text is not hierarchically structured and regulated through an acknowledged content-based approach. Instead, solely dingbats signal a unit’s beginning and end. Secondly, multiple blanks between words trace the sound of language and transpose it into a written text. Thus, silences emerge as extended punctuational pauses that are precisely measured and voiced. Silences disjoin structural sentence relations and fracture the syntax, causing words and pauses to find themselves where the ordinary language use does not require them. In this respect, measuring and voicing techniques position themselves between modes of notation, (re)enactment, and actuality, inevitably reframing the lecture and expanding notions of its denotation. On account of this, the continual interplay of sound and silence in “Lecture on nothing” constitutes a language rhythm and poetic meter that defers writing, publishing, and reading practices. Words and punctuation (comma, period, semi-colon, and parenthesis) are strictly set into “their” column, undermining the acknowledged use of punctuation marks – segmenting sentences into subsets and phrases into single words. In this respect, Alastair Williams states, “when scores start to be appreciated as visual artifacts, then signifiers start to achieve a life of their own detached from their normal signifying function: this is to say, they are appreciated for what they look like rather than standing for something else” (Williams 2002, 235). Precisely appreciating how signifiers individually take shape, Cage centers techniques of measuring and voicing that defer the written text and its syntax. Following, the denotation of the text stands on its own, allowing words and punctuation to reveal their individual materiality. On account of this, “Lecture on nothing” preoccupies itself – in the very first instance – with its process of occurrence (cf. Cage 1961, 114). This provides a space for the renegotiation of the lecture frame and its “interactional encasement” (Goffman 1981, 173). While structural gaps and the stylistic device of repetition are temporal-spatial elements, which give speaking its space and time, speaking, just as its counterpart reading, evolves into a rhythmical interplay, a performance of words and pauses. This performance distinguishes itself through its temporal progression – in particular the interplay of sound and silence. It adverts to Cage’s performance from 1949/50 and mirrors his act of lecturing. Simultaneously, the performance does not, however, merely represent Cage’s debut performance. It also conveys a space for other performers to employ and to re-conceptualize Cage’s lecture – in particular his concept of nothing. Phrased differently, instead of putting emphasis on a lecturer’s “intellectual authority in speaking” (Goffman 1981, 195), “Lecture on nothing” undermines and annihilates the lecture as “a means of transmitting knowledge” (Goffman 1980, 170). The act of giving lecturing its space and time acknowledges process as a form of knowledge acquisition. The lecture’s discovery-led inquiry accepts

123

124

On the Threshold of Knowing

the indeterminacy linked to the process of lecturing, thus pointing toward a lecture’s “transformational vulnerability” (Goffman 1974, 83) between doing research, presenting research, and disseminating knowledge. In this respect, Cage’s inquiry supplements, defers, and displaces the concept of knowledge as linked to a lecture frame and its framing, allowing its framing to be re-viewed and re-experienced. In the course of this, “Lecture on nothing” neither relates to preservation and conversation, nor to the constative utterances (cf. Austin 1962) linked to the reproduction and dissemination of knowledge. Rather, Cage’s concept of nothing acknowledges the performative elements linked to knowing, pointing to the fact that – without the intervention of intention – the interplay of sound and silence itself encompasses the potential of bringing forth conceptual thought. Thus, “Lecture on nothing” systematically works at experiencing “nothing.” Yet inherent to “nothing” is the performative of reconfiguring “something.” Hence, even though “Lecture on nothing” is not “full of ideas, [...] at any moment an idea may come along. Then we may enjoy it” (Cage 1961, 113).

7.2.3 The performance and its experientiality 7.2.3.1 The schedule line As stated above, the practices of transcription in “Lecture on nothing” explore how (repeated) words possibly emerge as performative utterances. To advance this line of reasoning, I will now introduce two performance strips of “Lecture on nothing” that Cage performed and recorded himself and that – while listening to the entire lecture – presented themselves as dramaturgical peaks. Tape one, nine minutes and twenty-five seconds into the lecture

The performance’s sound level is of ordinary reading volume. In the background, casual sounds and humming noises are heard, even though, according to the director of the John Cage Trust, Laura Kuhn,67 most external sounds have been removed. Pursuant to Kuhn, the recording, labeled “Lecture on nothing,” was in Cage’s possession at the time of his death. Lacking more information, Kuhn assumes that Cage recorded the lecture in his apartment with a portable tape recorder and microphone, based on her understanding that Cage recorded several of his lectures, especially the ones published in Silence, in this manner. Within the recording of “Lecture on nothing,” Cage is speaking with an American accent. His reading tempo is regular and concerted without relevant tempo variations. His voice is calm and precise and has a monotonous, sonorous, and melodic tone. The flow of words is regular and not noticeably stressed. 67 | Kuhn, e-mail message to author, April 8, 2014.

Ar tistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”

Cage emphasizes a sentence’s beginning, relevant clauses, and context words, making it easy to listen to the text. Yet simultaneously, his reading rhythm is scored in beat and measure, as if being read to a metronome. It is intoned in time and does not correspond to reading practices, which distinguish themselves through techniques of variation and dynamics. On the contrary, the progression of the text is very slow, non-dynamic, and non-directional. In the beginning of the strip, at minute 9:25, Cage claims: “As you see, I can say anything. It makes very little difference what I say or even how I say it.” This statement plays the lecture off against its framing, as, according to Goffman, “through the statements of a lecturer we can be informed about the world” (1981, 195). Cage however “breaks frame” (Goffman 1974) as he emphasizes the lecture’s temporal length and its progression – instead of its content – and incessantly announces and specifies the lecture’s schedule line: “Now begins the third unit of the second part” (minute 10:37). He pauses for five seconds. “Now the second part of that third unit” (minute 10:48). He pauses for six seconds. “Now its third part” (minute 10:56). He pauses for fourteen seconds. “Now its fourth part (which, by the way, is just the same length as the third part)” (minute 11:15). He pauses for eleven seconds. “Now the fifth and last part” (minute 11:30).68 Tape one, twelve minutes and forty-four seconds into the lecture

This strip builds on techniques of measuring and voicing that advert to practices of referencing and transcribing. The announcement and specification of the lecture and its temporal progression allude to referencing academic lecturing practices. These are, however, at once undermined and transcribed as – within the primary denotation – lecturing practices adhere to a content-orientated schedule line and are not solely based on temporal components alone. Over and above, the practices point toward the musical notion that “sound is characterized by its pitch, its loudness, its timbre, and its duration, and that silence is the opposite and, therefore, the necessary partner of sound” distinguishing itself “only by its duration” (Cage 1970, 81), allowing for the lecture to actually be superseded by its performance. Instead of being content orientated, the 68 | The temporal progression can be visualized as follows: II. PART III. PART IV. PART I. PART

1st part of the 3rd unit of the 2nd part 2nd part of the 3rd unit of the 2nd part 3rd part of the 3rd unit of the 2nd part 4th part of the 3rd unit of the 2nd part 5th part of the 3rd unit of the 2nd part

V. PART

125

126

On the Threshold of Knowing

lecture exclusively builds on its temporal progression and experientiality, i.e., encountering time: following the announcement, there is nothing but silence. In crossing the thresholds and opposing an academic framing versus a musical framing, Cage’s performance re-marks the potential of the lecture frame, making it possible to de facto witness and experience the latter. To lecture on nothing, fundamentally determines nothing, as nothing is never “nothing,” but inevitably conveys more than it intends. In this regard, it is self-contradictory to lecture on nothing. The correlations between nothing and something are performative and essentially resistant to the validity endemic to the formation of knowledge and its induced regulation. Thus, the question raised by “Lecture on nothing” is related to the representational visibility linked to knowledge: in spite of acknowledged specifications and regulations, to what extent does knowledge not exist per se, but is exclusively bound to its notions of representation and reenactment? Building on this, the artistic “Lecture on nothing” emerges as the counterpart to the academic lecture “Experimental physics 1.” Within the academic lecture knowledge is linked to its visibility, i.e., its availability. Yet within “Lecture on nothing,” knowledge is inevitably linked to vagrant notions of the unavailable, advancing reflection upon the fact that knowledge unavoidably only exists as a maybe. Knowledge only emerges in and through its encounter. The second performance strip, documented on tape two, further advances and highlights this line of argument.

7.2.3.2 The stylistic component of repetition Tape two, seven minutes and eleven seconds into the lecture

“Here we are now at the middle of the fourth large part of this talk” (minute 7:11). Cage claims that – after three large parts – he has the feeling that we are getting nowhere “and that is a pleasure” (minute 7:41). He states that getting nowhere is a pleasure, since it is not irritating to be where one is, but that it is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else. “Here we are now, a little bit after the middle of the fourth large part of this talk. More and more we have the feeling that I am getting nowhere” (minute 7:59). He asserts that it is a pleasure that will continue. However, if we are irritated, that is not a pleasure. He goes on to explain that nothing is a pleasure when one is irritated, “but suddenly, it is a pleasure, and then more and more it is not irritating (and then more and more and slowly). Originally we were nowhere; and now, again, we are having the pleasure of being slowly nowhere. If anybody is sleepy, let him go to sleep” (minute 9:11). Tape two, nine minutes and thirty-one seconds into the lecture

Ar tistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”

This strip is repeated fourteen times, within which only the variation in time is adapted according to the actual temporal progression. There are frequent pauses, signifying that a pause is not a moment of intermission, but an element equal to sound. In this regard, the pausing techniques puncture the text’s coherence and allow random sounds to be part of the composition. They open the space of the text, as they do not correspond with intuitive practices of lecturing orientated to the academic framework. Rather, the moments of pausing are musically measured. Pauses emerge as an aesthetic component integral to the lecture. Following a statement there is nothing but silence. The acknowledgment of silence allows the materiality of the lecture to appear. In this respect, words and pauses are crucially bound. Simultaneously, the wording of the text is difficult to grasp because of the phrasing techniques: wording is often very similar, rendering it difficult to make out the lecture’s systematic topic development. This means there is no easily located point of perspective toward which the audience can turn to. In addition, there is a repeated address, not differentiating between the lecturer and the audience, thus blurring the boundaries between the two and suggesting that a differentiation between these opposing positions is not necessary. The position of the lecturer, as the person who knows, and the position of the audience, as the group of people who listen attentively, is entirely undermined. On account of this, the present strip does not make it possible to notice, localize, and identify the incidents as defined within the lecture frame. The lecture does not draw a border between the speaker on stage and the audience in front of the stage. Instead, the lecture poses the question if “Lecture on nothing” is in fact a matter of lecture at all, i.e., an academic form of talk, or if it wholly refuses this frame and framing. Accordingly, techniques of measuring and voicing have no reference to acknowledged lecturing practices. Rather they break frame and newly align the lecture, which is composed like a piece of music. The lecture no longer solely imparts knowledge and informs the listeners about the world, but it functions as a time-based experience. In this respect, the lecture frame stands for itself – in its own materiality – and is open to reassessment: Cage acknowledges that time has passed, that he and the audience have gotten nowhere, and invites those who have become sleepy to go to sleep. Furthermore, the nexus of speaking and pausing, i.e., the temporal progression, makes the lecture frame and its framing experiential. This allows the audience to experience the lecture’s structure “from a microcosmic point of view” (Cage 1961, 112). The lecture emerges as a rhythmical framework, which is based on the knowing how of sound and silence – rather than sound and silence’s knowing that. The lecture displays itself as an experiential venture – between reference and deferment – which provides a space to renegotiate the text as statement and to experience knowledge as possibility.

127

announcing

128

bracket

reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

On the Threshold of Knowing explicating

specifying

classifying

reference

authorizing transcription re-framing

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

concealing deferment measuring pausing voicing phrasing

Figure 7: ARTISTIC LECTURE - transcription

Figure 7: Artistic lecture – transcription

7.3 A mbiguous clarity between reference and transcription Performing “Lecture on nothing” plays on the academic lecture, while simultaneously evoking critical altercation. Even though the lecture frame stays within its wording, i.e., as specified within its title, it is in fact constantly frustrated and undermined through practices of contemporaneous reference and deferment. Thus, while the academic lecture “Experimental physics 1” rests on combinatorial clarity, combining three knowledge practices, and claiming that seeing calls for knowing, the artistic “Lecture on nothing” precisely emerges as its counterpart. “Lecture on nothing” builds on and combines practices of reference and deferment that raise the question to which extent the lecture frame and its framing render knowledge formation possible at all. To be more precise, while the academic lecture isolates knowledge linked to a specific physical phenomenon, relying on visual proof and mathematical formulae that can be reproduced at different times and within varying spaces, the artistic lecture points to the fact that the formation of knowledge exclusively builds on its individual encounter and resultant experientiality and can thus not be reproduced. By the same token, it substantiates the idea that knowledge formation inevitably incorporates a risk, i.e., an unexpected reframing. Inherent to this is the potential of transformation: the transformation of the epistemic through performance. Within, all that is certain is that nothing is certain. Knowing squarely maps onto practices of deferment and the interplay of reframing, concealing, measuring, and voicing techniques, which display

Ar tistic lecture: “Lecture on nothing”

themselves as “distance-altering alignments” (Goffman 1981, 174) that transpose content-orientated reading to text-music. The concurrence of contemporaneous referencing and deferring emerges as a practice of transcription that initiates a performative shift allowing musical elements – time and sound in particular – to encounter the academic lecture. Subsequently, the lecture frame and its framing emerge as an experiential venture between and beyond the disciplines, shifting the attention from the informative lecture to the sensation of lecturing. On account of this, “Lecture on nothing” relates to experience-resultant clarity. It expounds the problems of the impossibility of the predicable, prompting and touching upon the limits of know-ability. In the case of “Lecture on nothing,” the limits of know-ability are ambiguous, pointing to the fact that the separation between the available and the unavailable cannot de facto be bridged. Instead, ambiguous clarity conveys a space within which the ability to know derives from the tension and permeability of the lecture text as experience and its knowledge as possibility. Furthermore, ambiguous clarity – relying on the knowing how of sound and silence, rather than sound and silence’s knowing that – undermines the additive notions inherent to knowledge. It undermines that knowing relies on and reproduces frame-compliant knowledge: the latter only occurring in the afterwards and being dependent on incessant processes of interpretation and re-interpretation. “Lecture on nothing” on the contrary, displays itself as an in situ, experiential venture of the singular. On the one hand, “Lecture on nothing” references that knowing is not irrespective of its frame and framings. It references that knowledge access is necessarily situated and inevitably interwoven with the predefined parameters of the possible. Yet, on the other hand, these predefined parameters are incessantly played off against one another and transcribed. They contest recognizable knowledge formations, as Cage’s concept of nothing and “the pleasure of getting nowhere” (tape two, minute 7:41) allow “something” to reveal itself that cannot be framed accordingly. In this regard, knowing builds on ambiguous clarity that prompts, defies, and undercuts the (self)-certitude ascribed to the lecture frame and inscribed knowledge formation processes. Knowing is not communicated, but created, and emerges as an ambiguous space of experience that displays itself as “un-know-able” in the sense that it possibly spells out nothing. In this respect, ambiguous clarity rests on a conglomerate of individual experience that oscillates between being frame compliant, being frame counterproductive, and simply being. Rather than merely being a property and attribute of lectures, knowing emerges as a fleeting experience of the singular that is incessantly contested: it is abrupt, constantly on the threshold, and without superior parameters. Yet, its communicativity is coherent in the sense that it acknowledges the ephemeral temporality linked to knowing – between attribute and property. Knowing rests on ruptures and gaps that continuously

129

130

On the Threshold of Knowing

outperform assumed knowledge propositions – making the fragility and contestability of knowledge, i.e. its transformative power, experiential. Summa summarum, while both combinatorial as well as ambiguous clarity re-mark the possibilities of knowing that – allowing for clarity to supersede truth – and making it possible to de facto partake in the realm of the subject, the artistic lecture does, by no means at all, emerge as a means of transmitting knowledge. Rather, “Lecture on nothing” precisely exhibits and plays a lecture’s encasement off against itself, pointing toward the transformational vulnerability inscribed within. In this respect, ambiguous clarity serves as a catalyst, which creates a supplement that allows multiple readings for rethinking the correlations between frame compliancy and non-compliancy – between knowledge formation and induced regulation. Through pointing at the boundaries of the lecture frame and its framing – i.e., how a lecture emerges and identifies as such – ambiguous clarity gives insight into where, how, and by whom respective boundaries are drawn. It brings into focus how knowledge is bound to notions of representation and reenactment and – in the course of this – offers a space, between referencing and transcribing, for the lecture and its inherent performance to approach one another. The implications of this observation are key to this study’s research interests and shall be further elaborated drawing on the concept of performance. framing

announcing

bracket

reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

explicating

specifying ambiguous clarity classifying

reference

authorizing transcription re-framing

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

concealing deferment measuring pausing voicing phrasing

Figure 8: ARTISTIC LECTURE - ambiguous clarity Figure 8: Artistic lecture – ambiguous clarity

8. The performance frame and its framings 8.1 The concep t of performance As exemplified in the last three chapters, the lecture frame and its framing are historically positioned within the institution of academia. The act of lecturing is in the majority of cases preceded by research practices, which relate to a process of inquiry – and a state of tumult – that distinguishes itself through a discovery-led procedure that is continuously adapted. On the one side, the lecture aims to disseminate this process; on the other hand, it is especially aimed at disseminating the research results that follow. Thus, while obviously dealing with the presentation of basic findings, notions of precarious indeterminacy, which unavoidably expose and contemporaneously realign knowledge practices, also mark the lecture frame. In this way, a lecture is inevitably in need of demonstrating itself, hence being a performance par excellence. This line of argument relates to the previous analysis, i.e., Cage’s “Lecture on nothing” and to Peters’ habilitation treatise Der Vortrag als Performance (2013).69 Within this book, Peters elaborates on the interplay of knowledge presentation and knowledge production (cf. Peters 2011, 13, translation by the author). Relating to the concept of lecture performances, Peters puts forth the argument that, rather than documenting preceding research results, lecture performances distinguish themselves through exhibiting findings directly on stage: research is pursued prior to, but also in and through the performance (cf. ibid., 170 ff., translation by the author). This brings forth the question: what is the performance? When examining the concept of performance in relation to the lecture frame and its framings, lectures as well as performances present themselves in and through their mode of expression and performative manifestation. Both impose meaning and are communicated toward – and directly address – an audience. Yet while lectures present themselves as continual and reproducible, performances rather build on alternatives and potentiality. Practices of indeter69 | The title translates into the lecture as performance, translation by the author.

132

On the Threshold of Knowing

minacy and/or resistance break with the illusion of control and power in terms of meaning making. Yet simultaneously the performance frame cannot simply be denominated as being “the other” in a culture increasingly given to simplified dichotomies. Instead, performance identifies – or rather can identify – as a privileged site that is not set apart, but set directly among culture. Relating to the theater frame in particular, Michael Vanden Heuvel writes: Theater has maintained itself as an arena where potentially conflictual, even antithetical, issues and value perceptions about the world [...] are transformed into interactive energies that can be made to sustain, rather than dominate, one another. (Vanden Heuvel 1991, 6)

These “conflictual issues” relate to a concept of performance that is contested through and through. The concept comprises seemingly disparate usages as for example when describing the performance of an actor, a schoolchild, and a car (cf. Carlson 1996, 5). Thus, instead of finding an overarching definition, I will introduce three conceptions that are particularly relevant to the present effort. Firstly, the concept of performance referring to cultural performances as linked to the fields of anthropology and ritual studies. Secondly, performances comprising deeds and acts of showing, relating to everyday (self)-presentations as examined within the field of sociology. Thirdly, the performance frame and its framings alluding to the artistic, constituting an art genre that emanates from the American avant-garde of the early 1960s and that positions itself at a distance to the performing arts and its theater traditions. Building on this, I will examine underlying suppositions adhering to the concept of performance. After linking the notion of performance to the postmodernist perspective and specifying the conception within the field of performance studies, I will draw upon Goffman’s concept of performance and Fischer-Lichte’s Ästhetik des Performativen 70. I will advance Fischer-Lichte’s argument that the notion of performance can be appropriated on an interdisciplinary scale as an expedient methodological tool that allows for making different cultural practices comprehensible. To be more precise, the implementation and actualization of a concept as that of performance functions in shedding light upon the similarities and differences within distinctive social fields, e.g., the artistic and the academic. Simultaneously, it points to the present experience linked to the singularity of the performance event – that is not brought forth apart, but in and against its material and discursive denotation – and allows performances to be perceived as such in the first place. Referring to this, new

70 | The title translates into The transformative power of performance: a new aesthetics, translation by the author.

The per formance frame and its framings

analytical parameters are embedded within and result from the examination of the concept of performance. The conception exposes the basis upon which the performative dimension of knowledge reveals itself.

8.2 The concep t of performance and the postmodernist perspective A manifold amount of literature is dedicated to the interplay of performance and postmodernism and the concept of performance as a postmodern phenomenon. Within the book Postmodernism and performance (1994), Nick Kaye predominately explores the embedding of artistic performances within postmodernism and contends that the conception of performance figures twice: firstly, being a generic term that defines the field of performance per se and secondly being an operational term (cf. Kaye 1994, 183) that plays a crucial role within contemporary society as a whole. This observation links to Elin Diamond’s book Performance and cultural politics (1996), which claims that “performance discourse, and its new theoretical partner, ‘performativity’ are dominating critical discourse almost to the point of stupefaction” (Diamond 1996, 2). Related, Marvin Carlson’s book titled Performance. An introduction is specifically centered on the conclusion that the concept of performance “circulates through an enormous variety of specialized usages” (Carlson 1996, 2). Carlson picks out the concept’s major approaches and aims to put into focus what – to borrow his words – “issues are raised by the contested concept of performance and what sorts of theatrical and theoretical strategies have been developed to deal with these issues” (ibid.). Carlson addresses these general themes asserting that the concept is “applied to an almost unlimited range of human activities” and reasons that “theatrical” performances and that sort of contemporary activity generally designated as ‘performance’ or ‘performance art’ which characterized performance studies conferences and collections of essays in the early 1970s has clearly given way [...] to a bewildering variety of studies, covering almost every aspect of human activity. (Ibid., 211)

Michel Benamou also points toward the conspicuous link between postmodernity and the conception of performance. Within his book Performance in postmodern culture: theories of contemporary culture (1977), he factually denominates the concept of performance as a “unifying mode of the postmodern” (Benamou 1977, 3) and recognizes that performances determine postmodernity relating to three aspects in particular. Firstly, performances depict “the dramatization of life by the media.” Secondly, they circumscribe “the theatrical playfulness of art.” Finally, they enable “a focus on performance in the sense of

133

134

On the Threshold of Knowing

technological efficiency” (ibid., 3–4). Building on the last aspect in particular, Benamou argues that performances prevail in the sense of process, as they are effectively embedded within “post-industrial culture, where services and information rather than material products” (ibid.) dominate. Jon McKenzie also recognizes that the concept of performance has moved to a central position within postmodern thinking. Within Perform or else (2001), he suggests that while prominent scholars, as for example Richard Schechner, Dell Hymes, and Victor Turner, developed a theory of performance on the basis of different cultural practices that were observed, his interest is based on how performances are framed and applied within different areas of everyday life. His focus does not lie upon identifying new practices and terming them as performances, but upon questioning the term per se in order to be able to understand which types of practices – within the frame of the term – already exist as such. In the course of his analysis, he particularly specifies the concept as being an onto-historical formation of knowledge and power (cf. McKenzie 2001, 12ff.). From this he infers that while performances determine the production, presentation, and evaluation of institutions, the concept of performance cannot allow for capitalist strategies and practices embedded within (cf. ibid., 241). Taking on a similar line of argument and particularly reviewing the concept of performance during the 1970s, Sally Banes suggests that every performance is ultimately too manifold and heterogeneous to be comprehended and grasped by essential definitions. She construes that the concept of performance can only be reckoned as a “mediumless genre” and proposes developing its “historical narratives” – particularly its genealogy or rather “genetic codes” (Banes 1998, 1–7). Carlson’s book titled Performance. An introduction also reflects on the consequences and implications of attempting to capture the concept of performance within descriptive and historical terms. He addresses the concept of performance as a “complex, conflicted, and protean phenomenon” (Carlson 1996, 205) and quotes the Vietnamese-American writer Trinh Thi Minh-ha who recognizes: “despite our desperate, eternal attempt to separate, contain, and mend, categories always leak” (ibid., 206, citing Thi Minh-ha 1989, 94). From this, Carlson contends that postmodernism does not relate to coherent structures and stable identities but to a praxis that is constructed, relational, and in constant flux. Building on this, he argues that the concept of performance necessarily “resists the sort of definitions, boundaries, and limits so useful to traditional academic writing and academic structures” (ibid., 206). While pinpointing its “illocutionary and perlocutionary implications” (ibid., 207), he enjoins performance studies theorists to not only “consider how knowledge is created, shared, and legitimized,” but also to reflect upon “how fields of study are created, developed, and their boundaries protected,” and in the course of

The per formance frame and its framings

this, “how social, cultural, and personal identity is involved in every sort of performative behavior” (ibid.). Concerning this very matter, it is conspicuous that definitions are not “innocent,” but inevitably embedded within “specific historical relations of dominance and dialogue” (Clifford 1988, 25). Yet, as I will reveal, definitions are not in need of being interpreted as stable identities. Rather, definitions effectively point toward their porous boundaries that are continuously contested. They broach the issue that meaning is continually brought forth and negotiated within and against acknowledged understanding. The conception of definitions is contemporary and porous, yet at the same time meaningful and significant. This can be demonstrated when examining the concept of performance within the field of performance studies.

8.3 The concep t of performance within the field of performance studies In the simplest sense and as Milton Singer recognized within his publication of When a great tradition modernizes: an anthropological approach to Indian civilization (1972), performances relate to “a definitely limited time span, a beginning and an end, an organized program of activity, a set of performers, an audience, and a place and occasion of performance” (Singer 1972, 71). Ingrained within this definition are the following questions: Firstly, who are the performers and who is the audience? Secondly, where does the stepping in and stepping out of the consciousness of representation and reality start and where, or rather how, does it stop? And thirdly, how is meaning making ingrained within the encounter and interaction of the performers and their audience? These questions point to the fact that a performance’s spatial, temporal, and discursive stability is – in the first instance – dependent on its participants. They de facto bring forth the performance. On account of this, the concept of performance as embedded within the field of performance studies, is, to quote Carlson, “heavily indebted to terminology and theoretical strategies developed during the 1960s and 1970s in the social sciences, and particularly in anthropology and sociology” (Carlson 1996, 11). Concurrently, the concept of performance has moved to a central position within postmodern thinking and is simultaneously deployed in a – for all intents and purposes – discriminative manner. The concept is highly visible and emblematic regarding contemporaneity, which Carlson attributes to the fact that practices of self-conscious reflexivity mark “theatricalizations in every aspect of [...] social awareness” (ibid., 6.). Performances are no longer merely ascribed to theater as such. Instead, the conception has spread to the field of art expanding “into every branch of the human sciences – sociology, anthropology,

135

136

On the Threshold of Knowing

ethnography, psychology, linguistics” (ibid.) in the attempt to understand the conditions and activities of everyday life. Building on this, performance studies constitutes a research field that – while inwardly refusing to become a traditional academic discipline – has, especially within the last thirty years, evolved into a field that deals with the interdisciplinary nature – and particularly the interplay – of performance practice and performance theory. It distinguishes itself through its transitional, i.e., liminal, mediation between theory and practice. Referring to this, the dramatist and performance studies scholar Richard Schechner suggests that performances “occur in many different instances and kinds” (Schechner 2002, 2). Performances embrace a range of everyday activities that reveal themselves as flexible and non-definable constructions that in turn adhere to a “broad spectrum” or “continuum” of actions ranging from ritual, play, sports, popular entertainments, the performing arts (theater, dance, music), and everyday life performances to the enactment of social, professional, gender, race, and class roles, and on to healing (from shamanism to surgery), the media, and the internet. (Ibid.)

This spectrum points to the fact that performances are predicated on notions of plurality, heterogeneity, and difference. These devise and put performances into effect while at the same time linking them to the field of study where they were first termed as such. Referring to this, Barbara Kirstenblatt-Gimblett (1999) proposes that performance studies took its lead from “the historical avant-garde [...], which have long questioned the boundaries between modalities and gone about blurring them, whether those boundaries mark off media, genres, or cultural traditions” (Schechner 2002, 3, citing Kirstenblatt-Gimblett 1999). To this effect, notions of the marginal, the off beat, the minority, and the subversive are pivotal to the concept of performance within the field of performance studies. Resistance, alteration, and transgression are deeply ingrained within, prompting an invitation to infer that the conceptualization of performance within the field of performance studies is itself performative, i.e., co-creating and co-legitimating itself as such. McKenzie advances this line of argument positing that notions of “the liminal as radical” constitute what he specifies as being the liminal norm (McKenzie 2001, 36ff.). This norm causes the field of performance studies to totter, as its theory effectively shaped itself around the transformational potential of performance as liminal activity – deriving from Schechner’s notion of efficacy. Thus, liminal rites of passage are not only titled as being representative to the field of performance studies and its addressed objects of research, but liminal activity is de facto pivotal to processes of theorizing performance studies as a whole. From this, McKenzie infers that even though many perfor-

The per formance frame and its framings

mance scholars see themselves as operating within “the interstices of academia as well as the margins of social structure,” seeking transformations in both spheres, the liminal rite of passage has as a matter of fact become “an emblem of the [performance studies] paradigm itself” (ibid., 36). Referring to this, it suggests itself that the paradigm shift from theater studies to performance studies is not as clear-cut as often supposed (cf. Schechner 2002). Rather, theater studies are inevitably part of the paradigm, which distinguishes itself through continuity rather than rupture (cf. Auslander 1997, 1). Philip Auslander recognizes that the paradigm of theater is not invalidated but remains deeply ingrained in both the practice and discourse of Western performance (cf. ibid., 4). He states: the evolution of performance studies out of theater studies, speech communication, and anthropology has the character of what Kuhn calls the articulation of a paradigm. By articulation, Kuhn means the application and extension of a paradigm to new areas of research. (Ibid., 3, italics in the original)

This quotation points to the fact that processes of application and extension are pivotal to the concept of performance. This can be exemplified with the concept of cultural performances as discussed in the subchapter that is to follow.

8.3.1 Cultural performances The understanding that everyday practices can be termed as performances is an observation that is nowadays widely accepted. As a matter of fact, Phillip Zarrilli recognizes performances as being “a fact of culture” (Zarrilli 1986, I, 372). Yet, the term “cultural performance” is historically linked to the fields of anthropology and ritual studies recognizing that performances are circumscribed in space and time with a disposition of their own. The concept derives from the recognition that social behavior is, to a certain extent, inevitably always performed. In retrospect, the terminology can be traced back to Singer’s edited introduction of Traditional India: structure and change (1959). Within this collection of essays on Indian culture, Singer coined the terminology through employing the concept of cultural performances to describe a selection of everyday practices and patterns within human behavior. His observations allow him to assert: Through analysis and comparison of these cultural performances and their constituents [...] it is possible to construct the structure and organization of particular kinds of performances. Then by tracing the linkages among these structures and organizations it is possible to arrive at the more comprehensive and abstract constructs of cultural structure, cultural value system, and Great Tradition. (Singer 1959, 145)

137

138

On the Threshold of Knowing

Hence, while it is certainly not a recent idea that social behavior is performed, Singer’s approach particularly distinguishes itself through specifying the actual implications of viewing social practices as performative. Relating to this very issue, Victor Turner was influenced by Singer’s conception. He is interested in introducing a model that stems from theater and that can be applied to a manifold repertoire of cultural practices. Turner however emphasizes the reflexive nature of cultural performances, which drawing on the performance situation of theater in a very direct sense, encompass the potential to effectively critique the everyday from which the performance stems. Thus, rather than addressing notions of structure, Turner inherently attends to the process of performances and describes their physical dynamics, i.e., the enactment, within the everyday. While broaching notions of the normative as well as the transformational, he coins the term “social drama,” which Goffman in turn pursues from a sociological point of view. Goffman recognizes that performances comprise deeds and acts of showing, relating to everyday (self)-presentations as examined within the field of sociology. Within his publication The Presentation of self in everyday life (1959), Goffman discusses the operations of role-playing in social situations, contributing to the convergence of sociological and theatrical theory. Building on Gregory Bateson’s essay “A theory of play and fantasy” (1955), within which Bateson examines how living organisms distinguish between “seriousness” and “play,” Goffman further develops Bateson’s concept, in particular regarding existent frames and framings. To this effect, Goffman applies and extends Turner’s concept of social drama. On the basis of a manifold repertoire of case studies that mirror social interactions and cultural behavior, Goffman recognizes that play always represents an antecedent event that exists in its own right. The latter precedes and grounds the event of play. On account of this, play – and in the course of this also drama and performance – distinguish themselves through being concerned with an alternate reality, which applies and simultaneously extends practices that are ascribed to what can be termed as being “real.” Over and above, Goffman employs the concept of frames to examine social constraints that act upon reality. Yet rather than focusing on the performer and their actions, performances, in Goffman’s understanding, are particularly influenced by their context and the inherent dynamics of reception. His frame analytical argument particularly emphasizes that the concept of performance – irrespective of, as will be dwelt upon in what is to follow, being cultural or artistic – is necessarily keyed, i.e., set apart in time, place, and occasion.

The per formance frame and its framings

8.3.2 Artistic performances Artistic performances are embedded within the field of performance art, which emanates from the American avant-garde of the early 1960s and positions itself at a distance to the field of performing arts and its theater traditions. Within performance art, the performative of theater is of primary interest, defying the theater text as such. Instead, a participatory – in the broadest sense – reflexive, and presentational mode is key to the genre, highlighting the actual here and now of the encounter. Artistic performances challenge the traditional distance between the position of the performer and their audience, inviting the audience to be participants rather than spectators. Performances relate to the 1960s utopian urge, as Nöel Carroll suggests in his article “Performance,” to break down existing barriers and traditions (cf. Carroll 1986, 72). For the artistic, the conception of cultural performances is downright productive since, to borrow the words of Simon Shephard, it offers “the possibility of situating aesthetic performance alongside a range of other human performances” (Shephard 2006, 117). In exploring the interplay of artistic and cultural frameworks, the artist retrieves the concept of performance from the theater institution and – through the act of retrieving it – rediscovers the concept’s core characteristics. This is of particular interest and relevance, since, as of the 1960s, theater institutions no longer function as “empty,” or rather unbiased spaces, which allow for creative work to evolve without restrictions on its own terms. Baz Kershaw for example, with reference to Foucault, criticizes theater institutions as not being a “democratic institution of free speech,” but a “social engine that helps to drive an unfair system of privilege” (Kershaw 1999, 31). As Foucault held that power is everywhere, not necessarily being repressive, however inhabiting praxis per se and intimately being interlaced with knowledge, Kershaw infers that theater institutions are synonymous with Foucault’s disciplinary systems: they ensnare their participants, who – often in an unconscious sense – accept this repressiveness. Taking this as his starting point, Kershaw firstly examines the interplay between the audience role and modes of consumerism; secondly, the shaping of social difference as ingrained within cultural policy; and thirdly, how institutions’ hierarchical and spatial indoctrination induce, this being Kershaw’s argument, disciplinary systems (cf. ibid., 31–33). Yet while Kershaw’s argument is constructed around institutions and their cultural and social practices, he simultaneously resists denominations that draw a straight line between theater and performance. He proposes that (postmodernist) performances, which unilaterally separate themselves from the essentialism of (modernist) theater, are themselves trapped within an irreconcilable quest for essence (cf. ibid., 60–1). In what is to follow, I will argue that Frame analysis’s sociological perspective displays itself as insightful and revealing regarding every

139

140

On the Threshold of Knowing

performance’s irreconcilable quest for essence. This is particularly the case as its theory explicitly addresses everyday (self)-presentations, positioning itself between and beyond cultural and artistic performances.

8.4 A fr ame analy tical perspective on the concep t of performance Goffman’s frame analytical perspective bases itself on the supposition that everyday activities are outright structured and allude to a repertoire of practices that are socially acknowledged. It broaches the issue that all human activity can be classified and denominated using the concept of performance. According to Goffman, the difference between doing and performing, or rather between cultural and artistic performances, lies within the frame alone, thus neither separating nor privileging one above the other. Instead, both frames distinguish themselves through shifting practices that effectively and continually condition one another. This perspective gives insight into how meaning making manifests itself within diverging historically and culturally based contexts. To this effect, it suggests itself that Goffman opts for a broad definition that entitles a performance as: that arrangement which transforms an individual into a stage performer, the latter, in turn, being an object that can be looked at in the round and at length without offense, and looked to for engaging behavior, by persons in an ‘audience’ role (Goffman 1974, 124).

This very general definition points toward two assumptions regarding the concept of performance. Firstly, Goffman does not acknowledge the conscious production of performance. Instead, the individual might – and this can especially be accounted for with a praxeological argument – be engaged in a performance without de facto being aware of this very matter. Building on this, Goffman’s core focus reinforces the relationship between the performer and their audience, i.e., how performances are recognized and how they perform themselves – and with what effect – within society. Goffman’s frame analytical perspective emphasizes that even if an action within everyday life is identical to an action on stage, the theatrical frame alone effectively denominates the action as being “performed” rather than being “done.” Secondly, Goffman recognizes that performances deal with preexisting texts and/or patterns of actions accounting for – to borrow the words of John MacAloon, who also focuses his research on the notion of cultural performances

The per formance frame and its framings

– that “there is no performance without pre-formance” (MacAloon 1984, 9).71 Yet simultaneously, Goffman argues that the preexisting is not prescriptive over its actual being, but that performances are continually improvised and re-performed by means of doings and sayings. This supposition corresponds to a praxeological perspective and advances reflection relating to the scope and significance of acts of framings: they encompass the potential of dissolving – in any case temporarily – the prescriptive quality of the preexisting. Building on this, Goffman’s study neither relies on an exclusive preoccupation with the performer and their intentions, nor upon that, which is, in the run-up, framed as de facto being the performance. Instead, Goffman’s concept of performance calls for reflection regarding the denomination of performance and its sociopolitical implications in relation to its individual audience – while the audience inevitably reveals itself as performance participants. Goffman’s approach investigates the individual systematics of singular cases – be they cultural or artistic – and entitles the performance each time anew. On account of this, the frame analytical perspective renders possible to focus upon the unique juxtaposition between the performer and their audience – although in Goffmanian terms, this distinction solely refers to the official face of the activity and not to underlying intent (cf. Goffman 1974, 126). In order to be able to demonstrate how Goffman’s concept calls for reflection regarding the performance’s sociopolitical implications, I will now discuss a performance’s inherent traits – as addressed within Frame analysis fifth chapter. Within this chapter, Goffman determines eight transcription practices, which squarely characterize the concept of performance.

8.5 Tr anscribing performances from offstage to onstage Key to the frame analytical perspective is that performances are closely patterned after an event that signals meaning in its own terms. A performance does not, however, follow the antecedent fully but systematically alters it in certain respects. Viewed from this angle, stage activities are conducted similarly to those of everyday life, allowing the performance framing to display itself as “something less than a benign construction and something more than a simple keying” (ibid., 138). Performances relate to eight transcription practices, which transcribe “a strip of offstage, real activity into a strip of staged being” (ibid.). To start 71 | John MacAloon is an anthropologist and historian. His research also focuses on the theory of cultural performances. MacAloon acknowledges the influence of Goffman’s approach on his own work.

141

142

On the Threshold of Knowing

with, the frame itself steadily renders the staged interaction and places it one lamination “behind” reality, as the theater’s spatial boundaries (1) sharply and arbitrarily cut off “the depicted world from what lies beyond the stage line” (ibid., 139). In this regard, the availability and actual entering of the theater space prompts the performance and – in the first place – brings forth the performer and its audience. Its frame draws attention toward specific actions taking place, while at the same time deflecting attention away from simultaneous but frame-irrelevant actions. Furthermore, the frame (2) exposes the spatial setting – as well as – (3) the text so that the audience can fully see and hear the encounter. Generally, (4) only one person at a time is given the center of attention, but – if there is more than one person on stage – (5) turns at speaking are taken. Concurrently when transcribed from offstage to performance, (6) the staged interaction is systematically managed aiming to incidentally inform the audience. This displays itself (7) through the performer’s utterances, their tone, elocutionary manner, and their positioning. In these terms, the performance frame postulates that (8) all actions within are, in one way or another, portentous and significant (cf. ibid., 139–43). open interaction center of attention

open rooms

spatial boundaries

transcription from ‘off stage’ to ‘on stage’

turns at talking

availability of the significant

informing manner systematic management

Figure 1. PERFORMANCES

Figure 9: Performances

Yet, it is not the performer’s consciousness that gives an event the quality of performance. Rather, performances allude to the interpretation of the observer, emphasizing the relationship between the participants “on the stage” and the participants “in front of the stage.” During the time of the performance, the person on stage incorporates a “dual self” (ibid., 129). This becomes evident when for example the final applause sets in and suddenly the individual person – and no longer the performer – wears the costume, yet no longer fills it characterologically (cf. ibid., 132). While Goffman relates to the field of performing arts in general, the notion of the dual self is particularly part and parcel in postmodern performances, i.e., where the dual self and its form of make-believe

The per formance frame and its framings

are – to all intents and purposes – thoroughly contested. On account of this, even though the fictional systematics of theater structures are exposed as well as undermined, the primary theater framework and its performance frame are sufficient to equip the performer with a dual self. While theater structures inevitably codify meaning, postmodern performances particularly distinguish themselves through notions of continual movement, displacement, repositioning, and the refusal to be placed (cf. Pontbriand 1982, 155–58). Postmodern performances most notably emphasize the attempt to “provoke synaesthetic relationships between subjects” (Féral 1982, 179), rather than merely speaking about these relationships. Yet in every case, the theater framework and its framing draw a line between the participants on stage and the participants seated in front of the stage. Thus, during the time of the performance, the seated participants are not private onlookers, but theatergoers, who, ideally, give themselves over to the performance entirely. Whereas they mostly neither interact with nor participate in the performance directly, they may openly show approval or disapproval, for example in form of applause, booing, or leaving in the middle of the performance. As soon as the performance comes to an end, the theatergoers once again morph into private spectators, this time possibly being more reserved in indicating their disapproval toward the performance and its performers. In this sense, both the performer as well as the audience find themselves between notions of double consciousness. Goffman explores these notions of double consciousness through putting the investigation of play – linked to Bateson’s essay “A theory of play and fantasy” (1955) – into focus. On the one side, his examination points toward the confinements of frames. On the other side, his frame analytical perspective advances reflection on the status of play as a counter-frame-activity. This activity is primarily – and in the first instance – “productive of culture” (cf. also Huizinga 1949, 75). Thus, a play presents itself as a mimetic (re)framing arrangement that not only renders possible reflection upon the rules of interaction between participants, but – within the act of keying – effectively opens up an available space for choice. In this respect, Goffman’s frame analytical view serves as a useful tool to recognize that it is not continuative to arrive at supposedly secure denominations and attendant relations, but instead to be conscious of what is at stake when entitling performances as such. This awareness relates to the field of social constructionism – even though Goffman does not ostensibly mention this – as it recognizes that performances are not socially or culturally pre-scripted, but are constantly constructed, negotiated, transformed, and renewed. Over and above, the deconstructionist approach discloses practices that constitute and regulate meaning making while at the same time pointing toward their continual impetus for change. Building on this, Goffman’s frame analytical perspective highlights the concept

143

144

On the Threshold of Knowing

of performance as defiant to unalterable and invariant circumstances. Instead, alluding to continuous acts of framing and acts of keying, it accentuates that “givens” are never given, but subject to processes of negotiation and change. Viewed from this sociological viewpoint, the concept of performance effectively broaches the issue of actuality with far-reaching implications toward sociality as a whole. This is similarly the case regarding Fischer-Lichte’s concept of performance, which is embedded within the field of dramatics. In what is to follow, I will draw parallels between Goffman’s and Fischer-Lichte’s conceptions and highlight how Fischer-Lichte’s concept, regarding the transformative power of performance, succeeds in extending Goffman’s argument – in particular regarding the concept’s sociopolitical implications. This is of particular significance relating to my study’s research interests as the transformative power of performance plays out a link between conceptual frameworks and respective praxis. It points toward the two-way relationship of existing structure and everyday practices and links the two accordingly. In this regard, a concept of performance based on Goffman and Fischer-Lichte recognizes that performances are not simply credited as performances, but that performances map on to a setting that counts as being the performance. Phrased differently, counting as a performance is first and foremost ingrained within the materiality and performances of respective frameworks, frames, and framings allowing that what is supposed to count as a performance to necessarily outperform itself.

8.6 The tr ansformative power of performance Fischer-Lichte’s study regarding the transformative power of performance centers on the observation that the aesthetics of performance provoke expansive connotations, allowing for parallel realities of performance to exist. Similar to Goffman, she recognizes that a performance needs an institutional and discursive frame within which certain acknowledged practices and conventions are echoed and reenacted so that the performance is – and can be – perceived as such. She remarks that performances occur within a framework and frame that constitutes the performance, causing the reenactment of the institutional and discursive context to inevitably be embedded and inscribed within the performance. Simultaneously, she contends that performances necessarily also actualize and/ or constitute their framework and frames, pointing toward a performance’s established – yet alterable – spatiotemporal, historical-, and cultural-bound context. Fischer-Lichte introduces two opposing forms of organization regarding the perception of performance, which she terms as being the order of representation and the order of presence. She recognizes that both of these forms

The per formance frame and its framings

of organization constitute meaning depending on different principles, which come to the fore when one or the other stabilizes itself. Building on this, she examines structural patterns that participants de facto use for interpreting and making sense of an individual situation, which – in the first instance – is inevitably plurivalent. Thus, respective interpretation patterns regarding the concept of performance allude to a social, spatiotemporal-bound repertoire, underscoring the supposition that both the order of representation as well as the order of presence encompass the potential to organize and structure the ambiguity of each and every situation – despite the fact that the order of representation and presence may occur simultaneously and be interrelated in a complex manner. Specifying the order of representation, practices within this order are perceived in relation to a specific figure, its individual and fictive reality, and its symbolic order, implying that the particular meaning that reveals itself squarely constitutes the figure. This order structures actions taking place, marks positions, channels the participants’ perception, and defines the acceptable – or rather non-acceptable. It countermands the ambiguity of a situation and serves as the ultimate reference point for understanding. Simultaneously it entitles certain practices as significant or rather non-significant, allowing the former to come to the fore while the latter remain in the background and are perceived as not belonging to the process of meaning making. Relating to this line of argument, the process of perception identifies itself as purposeful and goal-orientated and – to a certain extent – predictable (cf. Fischer-Lichte 2004, 20, translation by the author). This is not the case, however, regarding the order of presence, as processes of perception and meaning making within this framework are neither determinable nor predictable but distinguish themselves as wholly chaotic. In this very case, the arrangement’s stability alludes to a maximum of unpredictability allowing for the process of perception to be emergent through and through without the participants’ power of control. Yet both the order of representation as well as the order of presence takes on a political verve. Both prompt understanding upon representational and presence-orientated practices that regulate legitimacy regarding acknowledged entitlement and actions or rather reactions. Both comprise practices that are generally known to the participants, precisely perceived as such, and performed accordingly – mindless of being aware of this or not. Viewed from this angle, Fischer-Lichte’s aesthetics of performance, on the one side, refers to processes of ordering within prevailing hierarchies, operating with historically, politically, and culturally constructed categorizations in particular regarding “given” and “made.” On the other side, while representational arrangements are pre-structured and historically and culturally developed, these arrangements are consistently reassessed and

145

146

On the Threshold of Knowing

reapplied as well: every participant actively recurs to their cultural repertoire that builds on common and individual knowledge structures. Building on this, Fischer-Lichte examines the transformative power of performance – in particular its scope – and specifies the following. Firstly, she recognizes that performances are predicated on – as well as result from – the encounter between the performers and the audience. Both gather to a specific time within a specific place and share a common understanding of what is going on. Fischer-Lichte then infers that performances only emerge within the confrontation and direct interaction of each and every encounter (cf. ibid., 11, translation by the author). She specifies that both the performers as well as the audience participants act the role of “co-creator.” Both – to a very individually positioned extent – participate, i.e., partake within the performance – without, and this is core to Fischer-Lichte’s line of argument, being able to fully set the performance’s course. Rather, the participants co-determine the performance just as the performance co-determines its participants (cf. ibid., translation by the author). On account of this, processes of production and reception both occur contemporaneously and impact on one another. This is the reason why Fischer-Lichte concludes that participating within a performance necessarily implies assenting to the performance and – to a certain extent – taking on and having responsibility toward this very encounter. She foregrounds it is not possible to be manipulated by a performance that one participates in. Secondly, Fischer-Lichte points to the fact that performances are squarely spatiotemporally bound and perceived at present within a particular manner. From this, she construes that performances are necessarily ephemeral and transitory, putting into focus that the materiality of the performance is always only brought forth within a limited time span. Hence, Fischer-Lichte addresses conceptions of “production” and “performance” putting into focus that notions of production build on an intentional bringing forth of materiality, while notions of performance relegate to the materiality that is effectively brought forth as such (cf. ibid., 15, translation by the author). The performance studies theorist David Román shares a similar line of thought stating: A performance stands in and of itself as an event; it is part of the process of production. A performance is not an entity that exists atemporally for the spectator; rather, the spectator intersects in a trajectory of continuous production. A production is generally composed of a series of performances. (Román 1998, xvii)

Thirdly, regarding the continuous production, Fischer-Lichte proposes that performances cannot convey preexisting meaning. Instead she accentuates that meaning is directly linked to its actual process of occurrence. This implies that the process of perception reveals and creates meaning (cf. Fischer-Lichte 2004, 18, translation by the author). She recognizes that performances relate

The per formance frame and its framings

to and constitute a reality of instability, vagueness, ambiguity, transition, and delimitation. She concludes that performances distinguish themselves through continuously destabilizing dichotomic definitions and inherent conceptions (cf. ibid., 304, translation by the author). Fourthly, Fischer-Lichte infers that the concept of performance distinguishes itself through notions of “event-ness”: performances only occur in and through the process of performing. She contends that performances can only exist as singular events, implying that none of the participants have power of control over the performance. Rather, the performance occurs to, i.e., befalls, both the performers as well as the audience. Relating to this, Fischer-Lichte is particularly interested in the performance’s “in-between-ness,” i.e., the concept of performance as being on the threshold and relating to processes of transition. She foregrounds the performance’s liminality (cf. ibid., 22, translation by the author), as the latter provides a space for renegotiating and reevaluating the performance – in-between production, interpretation, and meaning making. The performance frame triggers specific aesthetic practices regarding the performer as well as the audience. This results in increased attention both on the side of the performers as well as on the side of the audience. Following Thomas Csórdas (cf. Csórdas 1993, 138), Fischer-Lichte recognizes that the audience does not only pay close attention to the bodies on stage. Additionally, the audience also attends to their own bodies allowing for their perception to be connected to a thorough bodily engagement that is multisensory in all ranks. From this, Fischer-Lichte infers that the dualism between the body and the mind is not continuative in understanding the position of the performer and the audience. Rather, during the duration of the performance, both the performers as well as the audience find themselves within an “embodied mind” (cf. Fischer-Lichte 2004, 17, translation by the author). This perspective puts into focus that while the concept of performance exists across disciplines, it particularly reveals itself as an experimental space regarding the production and reproduction of cultural meaning making. Fischer-Lichte specifies that performances render a space possible where culture is liminal, i.e., on the threshold and compliant to continuous interventions. On account of this, performances provide a space for the participants – be they in the position of the performers or the audience – to be active and challenge the assurance that meaning making is not so much communicated, but de facto created. This implies that both the performers as well as the audience are co-creators respecting the denotation, intent, and impact that the performance brings forth. This is of particular interest regarding the concept of lecture performances as addressed in Chapter 4. The concept of lecture performances postulates permeability between dichotomic definitions, denominating the lecture as well as the performance frame as laboratories for social and cultural negotiations.

147

148

On the Threshold of Knowing

Drawing upon Fischer-Lichte’s concept of the transformative power of performance, lecture performances also distinguish themselves through notions of “as well as” rather than “either or”: oppositions collide, coincide, and collaborate with one another. The instability and borderless state of meaning making comes to the fore. Frames and framings not only term what it is that is going on, but especially reveal themselves as regulative factors regarding how to act and react acceptably. To this effect, lecture performances allow for a space between oppositions to emerge that destabilizes the participants’ perception and well-ordered knowledge of what it is that is going on. In allowing heterogeneous frames and framings to prevail simultaneously and collide with one another, frame embedded claims of validity present themselves as untenable as well as unsubstantial. This allows the participants to find themselves on the threshold – between familiar, established, and acknowledged rules, norms, and forms of order (cf. ibid., 24, translation by the author). Fischer-Lichte terms this encounter as “critical” (cf. ibid., translation by the author) and as the orderly flow of interaction is interrupted and socially and culturally acknowledged norms are breached, it bears resemblance to Goffman’s frame break. Within, the participants find themselves “in-between” the actual and the fictional without guidance relating to how to re-orientate themselves. Yet this state of “re-orientation” holds the seams and margins where the structures and relations of meaning making are negotiated, which is the reason why the concept of lecture performance in particular, and the concept of performance in general, holds the potential and necessary flexibility to examine how knowing is produced and appropriated in and through practices. By insisting on knowledge, the concept of performance opens itself in terms of choice and inherent change. It offers a space that is not only confined to present words and deeds but in particular to the relationship of act and reenactment. Thus, the concept of performance puts into focus that the present, the past, and the future are inevitably already embedded within the performance itself. In this way, the notion of performance can be appropriated on an interdisciplinary scale as an expedient methodological tool that allows for making different cultural practices comprehensible. It points toward additional analytical parameters, i.e., co-presence, co-creation, fleetingness, singularity, and event-ness, and extends the praxeological, frame analytical perspective. The concept of performance allows for a space between oppositions to emerge. This space destabilizes the participants’ well-ordered knowledge. It renders possible to actively question the legitimacy and power-knowledge relations of the performers, in particular relating to their speaking positions. This will be dwelt upon in depth in the analysis of the two case studies that are to follow.

9. Artistic performance: “Dance for nothing” 9.1 C re ating a conte x t and fr aming the strip Within the artistic “Lecture on nothing,” knowledge displayed itself as a fleeting experience of the singular, which rested on ruptures and gaps. These continuously out-performed assumed knowledge propositions and made the fragility and contestability linked to the concept of knowledge experiential. Building on this, I will now elaborate on the way in which the artistic “Lecture on nothing” relates to the artistic performance “Dance for nothing” and how knowledge practices reveal themselves within. “Dance for nothing” is choreographed and performed by the Hungarian-born Eszter Salamon. It celebrated its debut performance in 2010, in Nyon, Switzerland, at the “Festival des arts vivants.” Similar to the case studies above, the analysis of “Dance for nothing” also refers to a single audience account and relates to a multi-mode research inquiry with the following three components: 1) performance attendance and its non-participant observation at the theater venue Kampnagel on September 22, 2011; 2) gathering additional data through press releases, theater pamphlets, documentary materials, and informal conversations and e-mails with Salamon;72 and 3) conducting a video analysis based on a video that was recorded at the international dance festival “Tanz im August” at Tanzfabrik Berlin on September 2, 2010. Here the staging was very similar to Kampnagel’s, the spatiality however very different. Being conscious of this, I have nevertheless decided not to put the two venue’s stage design differences (e.g., the black dance floor versus the light wooden floor) into focus, as the staging alone, i.e., its set-up, is most important and exclusively relevant for the analysis. In addition, it is relevant to mention that in the process of choreographing “Dance for nothing,” Salamon only listened to “Lecture on nothing” – as performed by Cage – two times, while listening to Frances-Marie Uitti’s inter72 | Salamon and I have been in contact since my Master’s program Performance Studies at the University of Hamburg (2006–2008), where Salamon worked as a guest professor.

150

On the Threshold of Knowing

pretation multiple times. In the process of choreographing “Dance for nothing,” Salamon slowed down Uitti’s tempo by approximately eight percent and re-recorded the lecture accordingly. Therefore, the interpretation Salamon is listening to – while performing “Dance for nothing” – is a version of “Lecture on nothing” that is spoken by herself.73 Hence, I am focusing on two practices ingrained within “Dance for nothing”: firstly, making reference toward “Lecture on nothing” and secondly, transcribing “Lecture on nothing.” This allows the analysis to address – similar to Cage’s lecture – the issue of how the score for “Lecture on nothing” serves as a catalyst for rethinking the correlations between notation, (re)enactment, and actuality. It also raises the question of how the practice of performance emerges within the institutional framework “theater” and how this practice individually frames the artistic lecture and its artistic performance.

Please imagine the following:

“Dance for nothing” is performed at Kampnagel on the theater stage p1, which is well lit and bare, without any stage props. The audience is sitting directly on the stage, on the black dance floor, and on chairs in a square frame pattern. There are four rows of chairs – one row per side – and at each corner of the square there is a pathway. Not all of the chairs are occupied. The audience seating results in people sitting across from each other and having a good overview of the audience group as a whole. Most of the audience is middle-aged and dressed casually. The choreographer and performer, Eszter Salamon enters the stage from the back left pathway and immediately makes eye contact with the audience. She is wearing a black t-shirt, black pants, and green sneakers and is equipped with an in-ear-headphone.

73 | Salamon, e-mail message to author, May 16, 2013.

Ar tistic per formance: “Dance for nothing”

9.2 R eferencing

Visuals 20–24: Salamon “Dance for nothing” (2010), video-stills by the author. Thirty seconds into the performance

Salamon is speaking into a headpiece microphone allowing the sound level to comply with comfortable listening volume. She says “good evening” (minute 0:36), welcomes the audience to her show, and thanks everybody for coming. Her rubato is that of everyday speech and her rate of speaking is slow. She is speaking English with a recognizable accent, whereas her tone of voice is personal and fluent. While speaking, she strolls counterclockwise along three audience rows and makes direct eye contact with the people sitting there. Her arms are hanging down loosely by her side and – her arms as well as her hands – are slightly swaying back and forth. She says that she has titled her performance “Dance for nothing” and goes on to explain that the music she is listening to is John Cage’s “Lecture on nothing” from 1949. She then informs the audience that the duration of her performance will be forty-three minutes. Salamon stops for a short moment at the back left corner of the stage. She places her hands in front of her stomach, interlaces her fingers, and says that she is “not sure if it is relevant to you or not” (minute 1:07), but she has been suffering from insomnia these past months. She plays with her hands, pressing

151

152

On the Threshold of Knowing

the left hand with her right and pulling on her left fingers. Subsequently, she changes course and now strolls clockwise along the chairs. While strolling and simultaneously speaking, her hands start to gesture in front of her stomach. She says that because of having problems with insomnia she thought maybe she should try and empty her head. She goes on to explain that she thought maybe she could try and empty her dance first – and empty her head later – concluding by explaining that that is what she did (cf. minute 1:32). Salamon clarifies that the challenge for her tonight lies in simultaneously speaking and dancing “instead of putting the music on the dance” (minute 1:46). While saying this, her elbows are next to her upper-body and bent approximately at a ninety-degree angle. Her fingers are spread out. Two times, her wrists rotate alternately, first letting the palm of her right hand turn down while the palm of her left hand simultaneously turns up. Then, the palm of her right hand turns up and the palm of her left hand turns down. Salamon pauses briefly at the front left corner of the stage, before she takes up strolling and gesturing again. She requests that the audience please wait until the end of the performance to ask any questions they might have (cf. minute 1:54). Still making eye contact, but not speaking anymore, she now strolls clockwise starting at the front left corner of the stage. Two minutes into the performance

Within this strip of “Dance for nothing,” the techniques of making eye contact, framing, announcing, strolling, explicating, and gesturing converge into and make reference to an outer bracket, which functions as an introduction. This outer bracket marks the performance’s beginning spatially as well as temporally and is thus of an outer type. It limits possibilities for interpretation, all the while evoking expectations, and enables the participants to know what it is that will be going on and where to focus their attention. making eye contact

framing

bracket

reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

announcing

strolling

explicating

gesturing

Figure. 9: ARTISTIC PERFORMANCE - reference Figure 10: Artistic performance – reference

Ar tistic per formance: “Dance for nothing”

Within the performance’s outer bracket, Salamon backs up her “communicative process [...] with all due manner of gesticulatory accompaniment” (ibid., 173). The gestures, which complement her text, have a supplementary rather than signifying function, as they support Salamon’s words and do not co-create new meaning. Her tone of voice and elocutionary manner convey that the performance is systematically managed and aims to incidentally inform the audience (cf. Goffman 1974, 143). Within the performance’s outer bracket, Salamon emerges as the individual, who informs the audience about her personal problems with insomnia. In addition, she provides information regarding her working approach and offers to answer any questions the audience might have. Her outer bracket appears as a “replay,” which incidentally and empathetically allows the audience to “insert themselves into, vicariously reexperiencing what took place” (ibid., 504). This allows for the creative process of “Dance for nothing” to become apparent and gain importance. Furthermore, the techniques of making eye contact, welcoming, thanking, strolling, informing, gesturing, and announcing reveal themselves as keyed academic lecturing practices, which do not fully follow, but systematically alter and transform these academically positioned practices. On the one hand, Salamon thanks the audience for coming. She informs the audience about the title of the performance – its music, duration, and working approach – and announces a question-and-answer period. On the other hand, making reference to academic lecturing practices – in the position of the artist – inevitably exhibits how these practices are inscribed within the framework of academia. Moreover, the practices are systematically altered and transformed, as Salamon announces that the difficulty of the performance lies in simultaneously speaking and dancing, possibly failing to be able to bring the two together. Hence, the outer bracket announces a performance that alludes to a process of trial and error rather than a set presentation. In addition, the staging of “Dance for nothing” allows point-blank insight into the actions on stage, reminiscent of the performer-audience-proximity within the Shakespearian Globe Theatre. Whereas the spectators neither interact nor participate in the performance directly, the in-the-round staging broaches the issue of audience focus and perception. At the same time, the primary framework theater and its performance frame draw a line between the performer on the one side and the audience on the other (cf. ibid., 124–25): the audience are not private onlookers, but theatergoers, who ideally give themselves over to the performance. Yet, even though the primary framework theater and its performance frame entitle Salamon to be the performer of “Dance for nothing,” the audience is also confronted with the presence of the other audience members as well. The staging postulates permeability between all of the performers on stage, causing the audience members to not only listen and look at Salamon, but to also watch the other members in the audience. Accordingly, even though Salamon is –

153

154

On the Threshold of Knowing

unlike the audience – not sitting, but strolling along the audience rows inside of the square-framed-stage, she does not have the center of attention at all times. While she is the only one speaking – and speaking into a headpiece microphone that amplifies her voice – both the observed audience as well as the observing audience become part of her performance. Hence, even though the primary framework theater and its performance frame postulate that every action within is, in one way or another, portentous and significant (cf. ibid., 143), both the spatial positions of the stage line as well as the performer positions – volitional and non-volitional – are blurred. In addition, Salamon incorporates a dual self (cf. ibid., 129) – between private individual and professional performer – provoking “a somewhat changed alignment of speaker to hearer” (Goffman 1981, 177). Within, the boundary between make-believe and reality is deferred as “the depicted world from what lies beyond the stage line” (Goffman 1974, 139) is put directly on stage. In this respect, Salamon’s announcement regarding her problems with insomnia is expressed in and through the performance and pursued through the act of performing. This brings forth the individual – in the position of both the private person and the professional performer – who has in fact had problems sleeping. Precisely relating to the spatiotemporal-bound alignment of performer positions, I will now elaborate on how the practice of transcription is inscribed within “Dance for nothing.” I will examine how the artistic performance postulates permeability regarding the legitimacy and power-knowledge relations of the performers and their speaking positions.

Ar tistic per formance: “Dance for nothing”

9.3 Tr anscribing

Visuals 25–55: Salamon “Dance for nothing” (2010), video-stills by the author.

155

156

On the Threshold of Knowing Two minutes and one second into the performance 74

Salamon no longer strolls along the audience row in a relaxed manner, letting her hands gesture spontaneously while making eye contact with the audience. Instead, she now (minute 2:01) walks along the square-framed stage in a set rhythm. Her hands are placed directly in front of her stomach. Her voice is full and calm, her flow of words rhythmic, and her tone of voice factual and informative. While listening to a self-recorded audio file of “Lecture on nothing” via in-ear-headphones, Salamon recites Cage’s lecture. “I am here, and there is nothing to say.”

Her reading rhythm is scored in beat and measure, and the text is performed as being read to a metronome. Even though Salamon stresses words at a sentence’s beginning, emphasizes relevant clauses and context words, and pauses frequently between words, phrases, and sentences, the text-progression is monotonous. Her hands – which were interlaced and placed in front of her stomach – come undone and her arms begin to swing next to her upper body (minute 2:04). Subsequently, she walks clockwise along the audience row from the back left to the back right corner of the stage and makes eye contact with the people sitting there. With every step, the swinging of her arms increases. “If among you are those who wish to get somewhere, let them leave at any moment. What we require is silence;”

Salamon turns her toes inward and walks with slightly outward bent knees along the right audience row toward the front right corner of the stage. With every step, her upper body sways along with the movement. Her arms boldly double swing back and forth. “but what silence requires is that I go on talking.” Before reaching the front right corner of the stage, Salamon stops and walks backward (minute 2:24). While walking, her upper body starts slightly swaying up and down with the bold double swinging movement of her arms. Salamon’s head and neck are relaxed, letting her chin accompany the movement and alternately fall back and forth. “Give any one thought a push: it falls down easily”;

74 | I have tried to depict the unique interrelation of lecture and performance in “Dance for nothing,” i.e., speaking and simultaneously dancing. This is the reason why “Dance for nothing’s” form of description differs from the three other case studies.

Ar tistic per formance: “Dance for nothing”

Salamon’s arms continue to double swing and cross each other in front of her upper body. She back-pedals and switches to walking on the spot, shifting her weight and rolling from the balls of her feet to her outer feet, while her upper body continues to sway back and forth with the movement of her arms. “but the pusher and the pushed produce that entertainment called a discussion.”

Salamon’s arms swing back and forth as she walks counterclockwise along the back audience row with wide legs and outward bent knees. She is at times short of breath, briefly pausing between words. “Shall we have one later?” Salamon’s elbows are placed close to her upper body and bent approximately at a forty-five-degree angle. Her hands are cupped and tilted toward each other. Now (minute 2:44), she pulls both of her elbows back and forth, walking on the spot, shifting her weight, and rolling from the balls of her feet toward her outer feet. “Or, we could simply decide” Salamon walks backward and her right elbow starts to rotate in a clockwise direction. Her right wrist is loose and follows the rotation movement. “not to have a discussion.”

The speed of the elbow rotation increases and Salamon stops walking. She pauses in the back right corner of the square-framed stage, rotating her right elbow while her left arm is hanging down loosely by her side. “Whatever you like. But now there are silences”

Standing in the corner of the stage (minute 3:00), she bends her knees slightly and lets her upper body sway back and forth. Both of her arms are bent approximately at a ninety-degree angle and her hands are slightly cupped. They paddle up and down in front of her face and her upper body. The latter bends forward letting her head fall as well. Salamon’s right hand touches her right knee, which pulls toward her stomach. Her right leg is bent approximately at a ninety-degree-angle and then placed back on the ground several centimeters in front of her left leg. “and the words make help make the silences.”

157

158

On the Threshold of Knowing

Salamon stands on the spot (minute 3:08). Her arms are bent approximately at a ninety-degree-angle. She bends her upper body, letting her cupped hands tip up and down on her legs and upper body rapidly and multiple times. She pulls back her left elbow repeatedly, letting her upper body rotate toward the left. Her left arm stretches, jerking from back to front. Subsequently, her left arm alternates between being bent at a ninety-degree angle and being stretched. Salamon’s upper body and head follow the rotating movement. “I have nothing to say and I am saying it”

Her left arm jerks back and forth several times (minute 3:17) letting her upper body rotate clockwise. Her elbow flips, letting the palm of her hand show toward the ceiling. “and that is poetry as I need it.” Still standing, Salamon bends and flips her left elbow while her left hand is loosely cupped. The fingers of her left hand are pointing toward the ceiling. Her elbow flips back and she stretches her arm out, letting the palm of her hand show upward. Again in intervals, her elbow turns, bends, and jerks forward and backward. Time: three minutes and twenty-four seconds into the performance

9.3.1 Between author, principal, and animator Salamon’s performance raises the question: “who is the speaker?” This question cannot be easily answered as, referring both to the sociolinguist Hymes and sociologist Goffman, troublesome ambiguities are inherent to the term. To be more precise, a speaker is an animator, author, and principal all at the same time. Not only does the speaker perform the lecture, the speaker has also authored, formulated, and scripted it, and appears as the individual who personally believes “in what is being said and takes the position that is implied in the remarks” (Goffman 1981, 167). Even more, in the case of “Dance for nothing,” an outer bracket introduces Cage as the author and principal of “Lecture on nothing” and Salamon as its animator. Salamon prefaces her performance with the announcement that the music she is listening to is Cage’s lecture. This signifies that Cage is de facto the person speaking – inter alia in the first person singular – and that Salamon is citing his words; also the “I” originally belonging to Cage. Hence, Salamon appears as “Lecture on nothing’s” “nonauthorial speaker” (ibid., 180), as only in exceptional cases does a speaker, who is not the author, give another person’s lecture. Since this is

Ar tistic per formance: “Dance for nothing”

such a case, the audience is confronted with the contrary positions of author versus principal versus animator. On the one hand, “Dance for nothing” builds upon Cage’s textual self and his position as author as well as principal. He is the speaker standing “behind the textual statements made and which incidentally gives these statements authority. Typically, this is a self of relatively long standing, one the speaker was involved in long before the current occasion of talk” (ibid., 173). On the other hand, Salamon’s repeated use of the first person singular – the latter in fact belonging to the author and principal Cage, but through the act of speaking gradually being separated from him – incessantly challenges Cage’s standing. Salamon’s slow and thoughtful speaking suggests that Salamon is, in the act of speaking, letting her thoughts come gradually. Thus, it is possible to imagine that the lecture is her own, all the more so as she does not bracket the lecture through a different tone of voice. Furthermore, her in-ear-headphone is inconspicuous and not easy to see. Hence, as the performance progresses, the act of performing transforms Cage’s “I” into Salamon’s and a different facet of Salamon’s self appears: she now not only emerges as the animator of “Lecture on nothing” but at times also as its author and principal. Salamon’s voicing, i.e., reciting techniques, relate to “Lecture on nothing” and the context from which it originates, all the while co-creating the new performance “Dance for nothing.” Accordingly, “Dance for nothing” references Cage’s “Lecture on nothing” while simultaneously inaugurating its transformation. Salamon’s performance broaches the issue of actuality as Salamon embodies Cage’s as well as her own textual self in the position of the non-authorial as well as the authorial speaker. Referencing reveals itself as an embodied practice that underscores the fact that the score belonging to “Lecture on nothing” does not function as a document in the sense that it visually preserves the event that Cage performed. Rather, “Dance for nothing” positions itself between the event performed in 1949/50, the score that was published in 1959 or rather 1961, and the live performance. Situated in-between, the reciting techniques actuate and perpetuate “Lecture on nothing” – between artistic lecture and artistic performance.

9.3.2 Between text-music, dance, and multi-centric spatiality Salamon’s techniques of reciting, i.e., her slow, thoughtful, and rhythmic style of speaking, and her framing of “Lecture on nothing” as “the music I am listening to” (minute 0:21) re-orientate the lecture frame and its “realm of being sustained through the meaning of a discourse” (Goffman 1981, 173). Instead of alluding to speech alone, her words announce themselves as text-music. The primary focus does not lie upon meaning but upon the rhythm inscribed within the words and brought forth through the act of speaking. Phrased differ-

159

160

On the Threshold of Knowing

ently, Salamon’s voicing transcribes the lecture, allowing the denotation of the text to stand on its own and words and punctuation to reveal their individual materiality. On account of this, “Dance for nothing,” just as “Lecture on nothing,” preoccupies itself with its “process of occurrence (Cage 1961, 114), providing a space for the renegotiation of a lecture’s “interactional encasement” (Goffman 1981, 173). The technique interplay of listening, making eye contact, and reciting gives speaking its space and time allowing the text to evolve into a rhythmical interplay – into a performance of words and pauses. This performance distinguishes itself through its temporal progression and the interdependency of sound and silence. It begins at the interface of referencing and deferring, emerging in and through Salamon’s gradual change from the position of the individual to the position of the performer. The interplay progresses through Salamon’s distinct transition of elocutionary manner and change from strolling to stylized walking. Salamon no longer strolls along the audience row in a relaxed manner, letting her hands gesture spontaneously while making eye contact with the audience. Instead, Salamon moves along the square-framed stage in a set rhythm. Her voice is full and calm, her flow of words rhythmic, and her tone of voice no longer personal, but factual and informative. Thus, at the interface of referencing and deferring, “Lecture on nothing” adverts to a two folded agreement of dispossession. Firstly, the interaction of the techniques of listening to and reciting “Lecture on nothing,” making eye contact with the audience, and stylized walking function as a distance-altering alignment that does not allow the audience explicit access to Cage’s lecture. Secondly, the use and interplay of these techniques point to the fact that the lecture text has evolved into music that in turn accompanies Salamon’s dance. Both the music as well as the dance are structural principals that follow their own measure of time without illustrating, commenting, or dominating one another. Their running counterpoint advances a dialogue, which neither builds upon synchronization of sound and movement nor complementary and corresponding correlation, but simply on the possibility of approaching one another in space and time. This expands visual, auditory, and motion-based viewpoints, repeatedly confronting the audience with the frame analytical question: “What is going on?” As a consequence, watching and listening emerge as a performative exercise set within the theater’s multi-centric spatiality and ambience. Seated in a frame with four corner openings – directly on the stage – the audience makes frequent eye contact with the performer – just as they make frequent eye contact with one another. The audience’s gaze inevitably meets causing the boundaries between performer and non-performer to blur. Even more, observing and being observed has a mirroring function inherent to which are two questions:

Ar tistic per formance: “Dance for nothing”

firstly, who is the legible performer? Secondly, how do I myself appear in the position of the audience? The employed practices of transcription, inherent to which are techniques of referencing, i.e., listening to “Lecture on nothing,” making eye contact with the audience, and reciting “Lecture on nothing,” and the practice of deferring, i.e., stylized walking, gradually remove the lecture frame – yet another time – from its acknowledged framings. The techniques intersect and diverge – yet without prevalent parameters. To this effect, the possibility of approaching one another in space and time allows the materiality of Cage’s lecture, on the one side, and Salamon’s dance, on the other, to appear. listening

making eye contact

reference

transcription

reciting

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

stylized walking

deferment

Figure 10: ARTISTIC PERFORMANCE - transcription Figure 11: Artistic performance – transcription

Yet simultaneously, both the lecture’s phrases as well as the dance’s movements are difficult to grasp. This means there is no easily located point of perspective upon which the audience can turn to. Rather, the transcription inherent to “Dance for nothing” jeopardizes the partition between Cage’s lecture and Salamon’s dance. Its transcriptions points to the fact that there is no privileged point of view, nor are there hegemonic categories – such as authorial speaker versus non-authorial speaker, text versus music, lecture versus performance, and performer versus audience – to navigate these mappings. Instead, “Dance for nothing” precisely challenges the partition between reference and transcription, bringing to the fore what is happening within the performance, how it is working on the audience, and how the audience is complicit in it. Even more, the performance’s multi-centric spatiality blurs the boundaries between the volitional and the non-volitional performer, suggesting that a differentiation between these opposing positions is not necessary. Rather, the position of the performer, as the person whose interaction is systematically managed, aiming to incidentally inform the audience (cf. Goffman 1974, 143), and the position of the audience, as the group of people who merely watch and listen attentively, is undermined. As a consequence, the performance’s staging does not make it possible to easily notice, localize, and identify the incidents as defined within a lecture nor within a performance frame.

161

162

On the Threshold of Knowing

9.4 A mbiguous cl arit y be t ween reference and tr anscrip tion Salamon’s artistic performance is doubly keyed. On the one side, it references “Lecture on Nothing,” on the other side it re-casts Cage’s lecture into a performance, shifting frames of reference until new knowledge and experience emerge. Yet simultaneously, the lecture frame no longer presents itself as a means of transmitting knowledge and informing the audience. Rather, the lecture frame squarely functions as a musically-informed, time-based experience. Cage’s lecture stands for itself – in its own materiality – being open to reassessment and challenging fundamental assumptions regarding the lecture frame and its framing. Moreover, Salamon emphasizes the lecture’s temporal progression, rendering possible to de facto witness the lecture and its structure “from a microcosmic point of view” (Cage 1961, 112). Cage’s lecture emerges as a rhythmical framework, which is based on the knowing how of sound and silence – rather than sound and silence’s knowing that – causing the text to shift from statement to experience. The performance’s transition from “on nothing” to “for nothing” suggests a hollowing out of the performance itself, in that the performance is neither aimed at carrying content nor at being directed toward an end. On account of this, Salamon takes on the challenge of simultaneously speaking and dancing. She “re-tries” the concept of nothing, making it practical. To this effect, “nothing” inevitably encompasses the potential of reconfiguring “something.” Within “Dance for nothing” the encounter of lecture and performance, or rather music and dance, opens up Cage’s as well as Salamon’s lecture or rather performance, calling for shared engagement. The formative power of “nothing” derives from the permeable dialogue that is predicated neither on synchronization nor on complementary and corresponding correlation, but simply on the confrontation of music and dance in space and time. Accordingly, “Dance for nothing” relates to a productive conflict, which is not in need of being solved, but open to the unknown possibilities of encountering and knowing. This conflict shifts gridlocked perspectives regarding the lecture and the performance frame, allowing both frames to emerge as more flexible in relation to one another. Thus, “Dance for nothing” – just as “Lecture on nothing” – adverts to an interplay that oscillates between being frame conformed, being frame counterproductive, and simply being. The practices of referencing and transcribing in “Dance for nothing” undergird that knowing inevitably rests upon the tension between its notation, its actual (re)enactment, and its always-jeopardized actuality. As Cage’s concept of nothing relates to incessant and unsettled materializing possibilities, the question “where does ‘Lecture on nothing’ end and ‘Dance for nothing’ begin”

Ar tistic per formance: “Dance for nothing”

inevitably arises. Yet “nothing” can in fact not be positively known. Instead, the concept of “nothing” alludes to a discovery-led inquiry and distinguishes itself through knowing and non-knowing – possibly being one, or the other, or both. “Nothing” is ingrained within the actual performance’s (im)possibility – between being graspable, i.e., “know-able,” and elusive, i.e., “un-know-able.” Hence, acknowledging “nothing” and allowing it to effectively become practical introduces a concept of knowledge, which continuously struggles for its existence between property and attribute. Knowing is inevitably performed in the present, refers to the past, and looks toward and constitutes the future. It develops in and through ambiguous and experience-resultant clarity that prompts, defies, and undercuts the (self)-certitude linked to the concept of knowledge. On account of this, ambiguous clarity broaches the issue of how knowledge formation inevitably incorporates a risk, i.e., an unexpected reframing. Inherent to this is the potential of transformation: the transformation of the epistemic through performance. In the case of “Dance for nothing,” transformation displays itself within the interplay of multiple referencing and transcribing practices. These practices shift the attention toward encountering the performance’s actual process of occurrence, i.e., the sensation of simultaneous listening and watching, and witnessing the failure of this coalition between and beyond. In other words, referencing and transcribing practices initiate a performative shift, advancing reflection upon the fact that there is no possible dissociation between notation, (re)enactment, and actuality. Instead, “Dance for nothing” challenges this partition, allowing knowledge to emerge as an ambiguous and constantly shifting space of experience that reveals itself as “un-know-able” in the sense that it prompts and touches upon the limits of know-ability and spells out nothing: what we know is merely provisional. Now returning to this chapter’s opening question how Salamon’s performance individually frames “Dance for nothing,” it becomes apparent that the artistic framing – both of Cage’s “Lecture on nothing” as well as of Salamon’s “Dance for nothing” – succeeds in shifting the lecture frame, its framings, and its inscribed concepts of knowledge formation and dissemination. The artistic framing substantiates the fleeting experientiality of the singular, making it necessary to newly align accustomed and habitual points of view. The interplay of referencing and transcribing incessantly confronts the audience with the persistent frame analytical question of “what is going on” (Goffman 1974), making the ambiguity and limits of knowing experiential. Instead of merely representing a space for encountering Cage’s lecture and Salamon’s performance, a space of experience – based on indeterminacy and the possibility of failure – de facto reveals itself. Hence, “Dance for nothing” employs performance as a practice, which encompasses the possibility to thoroughly challenge and renegotiate existing categories relating to knowledge. The renegotiation

163

164

On the Threshold of Knowing

derives from a permeable dialogue that is predicated neither on synchronization nor on complementary and corresponding interrelations, but on additional footings and productive conflicts inscribed within the underlying frames and framings of lecture and performance. Taking this into account, the practice of performance attests that both frames offer a space to re-create and undermine the opposition between the artistic and the academic, allowing the artistic and the academic field to approach one another. making eye contact

framing

bracket

reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

announcing

strolling

explicating ambiguous clarity gesturing

listening

making eye contact

reference

transcription

reciting

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

stylized walking

deferment

Figure 11. ARTISTIC PERFORMANCE - ambiguous clarity

Figure 12: Artistic performance – ambiguous clarity

10. Academic performance: “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras” 10.1 C re ating a conte x t and fr aming the strip My last analysis draws on an academic performance that was staged within the framework of the Performing Science2-Competition, which took place on September 17, 2011. The competition distinguished itself through recognizing innovative forms of knowledge presentation, rewarding scholarly elocution and research-orientated, skilled media use across the disciplines.75 In this respect, the competition mapped onto a distinct subject-based focus and a hybrid spatial framing. On the one hand, the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen hosted and framed the presentations as socially and academically relevant. On the other hand, the directors structured and framed the competition as spectacular, addressing two questions in particular: (1) “What are the characteristic features of contemporary, experimental knowledge presentations?” (2) “How do experimental performances connect with the presentation of socially relevant research?”76 From a frame analytical perspective, these questions point toward recognition and marginalization practices, which are, highly determined through the academic setting and its tradition. At the same time, they are also determined through the competitive event and its topic-based guidelines. To be more precise, ten twenty-minute performances were staged at the Performing Science2-Competition as academic presentations as well as spectacular competitions. While both the jury members as well as the audience had the possibility to propose their favorite candidates, who, in the case of the jury awards, were granted prize money, one additional candidate was honored with the audience 75 | As indicated on the Performing Science 2-Competition website: http://english.performingscience.de/competition. [accessed Nov. 7, 2013]. 76 | Ibid.

166

On the Threshold of Knowing

award as well. The winner received a certificate and a bouquet of flowers. Alluding to this procedure, the contest and the act of awarding individual candidates evolved into a framework of its own. The competition, its dramaturgical settings, and its medial publicity – including the professional company that was hired to record the Performing Science2-Competition – steadily and continuously reframed the event and its staged performances. This is of particular interest regarding the observed phenomenon that oppositional social fields are increasingly stepping into dialogue and interacting. Taking this into consideration, I have chosen to analyze the academic performance “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras” performed by Professor Vollmer and Professor Möllmann. This performance has explicit similarities to acknowledged academic lecturing practices. Yet, it also distinguishes itself through a manifold complex of experimental practices. The latter advert to transcription practices, in which an academic presentation is staged within a competitive setting claiming to make research experiential. This setting allows for the artistic and academic lecture and performance frames and framings to emerge as permeable and constantly on the threshold. The academic performance staged at the Performing Science2-Competition is bracketed twice: firstly, by Sabine Heymann, one of the competition’s directors. Heymann introduces Professor Klaus-Peter Möllmann and Professor Michael Vollmer, announces their core areas of research, and the title of their performance. Secondly, Professor Vollmer himself brackets the performance. While standing behind the lectern in the back right corner of the stage, Professor Vollmer introduces himself and his colleague Klaus Möllmann, who he himself – throughout the whole performance – only names Klaus. In what is to follow, I am putting two practices – ingrained within the selected strip and simultaneously reoccurring throughout the entire performance – into focus. Firstly, I will examine the performance’s scientific demonstration. Secondly, I will analyze the illustration by use of video documentation. Similar to the academic lecture, both practices are significantly informed by technical know-how. This points to the fact that knowing maps onto medial-constructed clarity, just as medial-constructed clarity suggests knowledge and allows the latter to emerge. In this respect, the analysis examines how the performance’s claim of “making research experiential” succeeds in rethinking the regulative correlations between the performance’s previous notation, the live versus the recorded (re)enactment, and its apparent actuality. The analysis refers to a single audience account and builds on a multi-modal research inquiry with the following three components: 1) the performance attendance and its non-participant observation; 2) gathering additional data through press releases, the competition’s internet presence, pamphlets, and informal conversations with the organizers; and 3) conducting a subsequent video analysis of the particular video material, which is documented on the first DVD of the Performing

Academic per formance: “Making research experiential”

Science2-Competition from minute 1:22:51 to minute 1:46:13. Similar to the academic lecture, I also translated the performer’s text into English and incorporated it appropriately to facilitate the flow of reading.

Please imagine the following:

The performance is staged in the auditorium of the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen. Inside, there are rows of chairs on the right-hand side and left-hand side, divided by an aisle. Between the front half and the back half of the audience, there is a second free aisle. Approximately half of the seats are occupied. The stage is centered in the front part of the auditorium. It has black flooring and is square-shaped, elevated, and well lit. The audience rows are not illuminated. There are three projection screens on stage: one positioned horizontally on the right-hand side and one diagonally on the left. Between the two screens, there is a white double sliding door that has been pulled shut. Above this door there is another projection screen. This screen, on which the slides and high-speed videos are projected, is the largest of the three. The performance props range from kitchen utensils and balloons to various containers and technical instruments. A range of cables, extension cords, and sockets are spread across the stage. The importance of the props is strengthened by two video cameras that are directed toward them, relaying images projected onto the right- or rather left-hand screen. The video cameras are positioned on top of two tripods in the front part of the stage zooming in on objects including colorful balloons, a tennis racket, a tennis ball, an egg carton, egg cups, a pan, spaghetti noodles, a white cutting board, and kitchen roll. In the right back end corner of the stage, there is a lectern. It has four metal legs and a white top, on which a glass of water, several pieces of paper, and black-and-yellow earmuffs are positioned. Professor Vollmer is standing behind this lectern. He is wearing a shiny turquoise colored sack coat over a white-collar shirt, with black pants and black shoes. On the ground in front of the lectern is a bottle of water. Furthermore, there are three tables with metal legs and white tops on stage. On the table on the left, there is a black laptop, multiple colored balloons, and a large white clock. Professor Möllmann is seated behind this table. He is wearing an orange-collar shirt, a light brown sack coat, black pants, and black shoes.

167

168

On the Threshold of Knowing

10.2 S cientific demonstr ation

Visuals 56–64: Vollmer and Möllmann “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras” (2011), video-stills by the author. One hour, thirty-two minutes, and fourteen seconds into the performance

Professor Vollmer is standing behind the lectern, rarely glancing at his notes. Rather, he is speaking quickly while his hands are gesturing and his upper body is slightly swaying back and forth. His words are informative and his tone of voice is entertaining while he makes the following text parenthetical remark: “We would now like to show you some more experiments”77 (minute: 1:32:13). 77 | “Wir möchten Ihnen nun einige weitere Experimente zeigen.”

Academic per formance: “Making research experiential”

Alluding to Goffman, parenthetical remarks “are of great interactional interest. On one hand, they are oriented to the text; on the other, they intimately fit the mood of the occasion and the special interest” (Goffman 1981, 177). In this respect, Professor Vollmer precisely addresses the audience and explains that he and his colleague Klaus recorded a number of high-speed videos prior to the performance. He justifies their procedure with the competition’s time limit of twenty minutes claiming that it takes too much time, which “the audience has by now surely noticed”78 (minute: 1:32:24), to repeat a live experiment 79 each time anew. Further, Professor Vollmer explains – pointing to his colleague with his right index finger – that Klaus will now try to serve a tennis ball, relatively hard, on the table’s surface. While saying the words “relatively hard” (minute 1:33:12), Professor Vollmer lifts both of his eyebrows. He makes a note that first, however, he himself will find another place for the raw egg, positioned close by the spot where the tennis ball will presumably hit. Professor Vollmer comes forth from behind the lectern and quickly walks toward the table with the raw egg. He places the egg behind the board that has been positioned upright. Klaus comments on Professor Vollmer’s action humorously (cf. Goffman 1974, 103) and places the raw egg directly on the spot on which the tennis ball will be served. He smirks and immediately puts the raw egg back in place behind the white board. Professor Vollmer does not seem to have noticed Klaus’s comment. Instead, he explains that a red line has been marked for the experiment. He announces that Klaus will now serve the ball and try to hit the red line right on. While speaking of the “red line”80 (minute 1:33:20), he stretches out his right arm and directs his right hand up and down, while his four fingers are bent and pointing downward (minute 1:33:29). He explains that the difficulty of the experiment lies within the existing uncertainty principle. To be more precise, within the occurring experiment what comes into play is the classical uncertainty principle. This means that if the red line is focused upon, the impulse becomes more inaccurate, since the angular distribution of the dispersed ball increases. As Professor Vollmer says “inaccurate” 81 (minute 1:33:30), he opens 78 | “Weil Sie haben gemerkt, es dauert ein bisschen, wenn wir hier wirklich das live jedes Mal durchführen.” 79 | As exemplified in Chapter 5, even though Professor Vollmer announces an experiment, an experiment characterizes itself through the fact that it renders possible insights that are unknown, i.e., surprising the researcher with its outcome (cf. Rheinberger 2014, 311, translation by the author). Hence, the announced experiment is de facto a scientific demonstration. 80 | “die rote Markierung.” 81 | “Ungenauigkeit.”

169

170

On the Threshold of Knowing

his arms so that his hands are no longer folded in front of his stomach, but are placed horizontally in front of his upper body. His arms are stretched out at a distance of approximately half a meter and his hands are directed toward the audience. While naming the “angular distribution”82 (minute 1:33:33), the backs of his hands touch and his elbows face the audience. Subsequently, he twists his hands outward, shortly pausing in a V-shape with the palms of his hands showing toward the ceiling. Professor Vollmer adds that he hopes that the ball will not hit anybody in the audience, but his hands calmly sway back and forth in front of his upper body as he says that this will probably not be the case, since Klaus is serving the ball upright. Next, Professor Vollmer’s “go ahead” 83 (minute 1:33:38) announces that Klaus can now serve the ball. Klaus strikes out with his right arm, turns around following the flight of the ball, and catches a glimpse of Professor Vollmer, who slightly tilts his head to the right-hand side and announces with a smirk: “missed”84 (minute 1:33:42). Professor Vollmer glances in his notes and poses the rhetoric question: now what happens if you serve a tennis ball like this85 (minute 1:33:46)? He emphasizes the word “now” and directs the palms of his v-outstretched arms downward. One hour, thirty-three minutes, and forty-six seconds into the performance

Professor Vollmer’s position as the lecturer builds on his professor status, affiliated with the University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg. In particular, his positioning and actions on stage consolidate this title, as he is standing and speaking behind the lectern, on which several pieces of paper lie and a glass of water stand. Without cease, his speech melody, tempo, and volume are steady and his words are informative. He occasionally glances at his notes, yet most of the time he alludes to fresh talk. While he directs the audience’s attention toward Klaus multiple times by referring to and pointing toward him, his gaze is alternately directed toward the audience, his colleague, or the projection screens. In this respect, Professor Vollmer – unlike his colleague Professor Möllmann – attests to his “intellectual authority in speaking” (Goffman 1981, 195) standing in the name of the experimental physicist. Professor Vollmer informs the audience that he will be responsible for giving the lecture and that he himself will guide the audience through the performance. Klaus will be responsible for the projections and the carrying

82 | “Winkelverteilung.” 83 | “bitte sehr.” 84 | “nicht getroffen.” 85 | “Was passiert nun, wenn Sie einen solchen Tennisaufschlag machen?”

Academic per formance: “Making research experiential”

out of the experiments86 (minute 1:26:17). To be more precise, this means that Professor Vollmer is standing behind the lectern, speaking into a head set microphone, and only leaving his position behind the lectern once, while Klaus is not equipped with a microphone, but either sitting behind his laptop, projecting announced slides and videos, or moving back and forth on the stage, preparing and carrying out the scientific demonstrations or rather illustrations. Accordingly, even though Heymann announces Klaus as Professor Möllmann and Klaus is wearing a nametag with Professor Möllmann written on it, the division as performed by Professor Vollmer and Klaus signals a professor– assistant relationship. Only Professor Vollmer emerges as the performance’s author, its principal, and its animator – holding all three positions at once. His “evident scholarship and fluent delivery” of speech, his positioning on stage, and his bodily actions demonstrate “that such claims to authority as his office, reputation, and auspices imply are warranted” (ibid., 191). Professor Vollmer’s intellectual authority reveals itself in and through the performance. Within the performance, a transformed sports action, i.e., a tennis serve, emerges as a scientific demonstration. The demonstration brings forth a frame change in which a specific spatial-visual order implies an alteration of perception and action. This allows the audience to notice, localize, and identify the incidents as defined within the frame, giving information and establishing a guideline of which proceedings may possibly follow. Hence, from a frame analytical perspective, the scientific demonstration is a redoing, in which an action, i.e., Klaus’s tennis serve, is transformed because it is contextualized differently. The new context, i.e., the performance at the Performing Science2-Competition, changes the meaning of the action, transforming it into another recognizable action, which is perceived differently than the original and implies a different function. Thus, not the action itself, but a scientific demonstration of the action is taking place. It is successful if the procedure is carried out by an expert and watched by an audience – both of whom emerge as such in and through the performance – and in terms of Goffman “provides an ideal running through of an activity for learning or evidential purposes” (ibid., 69). The tennis serve emerges as a scientific demonstration as its functional context, i.e., the tennis match, has been abandoned. The scientific demonstration distinguishes itself through its specific spatial alignment, which allows most of the audience to see what is going on. Once this spatial order is established, the scientific demonstration is able to begin. It is brought about through 86 | “Normalerweise präsentieren wir im Duett – im frei improvisierten Wechsel. Aufgrund der strengen Zeitvorgabe von zwanzig Minuten haben wir uns heute eine Arbeitsteilung vorgenommen. Klaus Möllmann kümmert sich um die Präsentationen, die Kameras und einige Instrumente und ich werde Sie durch die Präsentation leiten.”

171

172

On the Threshold of Knowing

the attention and focus of the audience, who realize that a scientific demonstration is about to happen, and who direct their attention toward the following action. In this regard, the act of showing makes an attempt to visualize and give access to the respective action with the help of two techniques. Firstly, there is a verbal announcement, which produces a specific spatial structure and directs the gaze of the audience. Secondly, the performer comments on the action, thus verbally supporting the act of practically re-applying and showing. However, as language is sequence-based, only one step of the action can be commented on at a time. Therefore, the verbal statements cannot fully describe, reconstruct, nor clarify how the action is performed. Instead, these statements can only give individual reference points. Thus, just as in the case of the academic lecture, the performance’s scientific demonstration also builds on the indexical showing quality of the movement and its movement sequences. It conveys knowledge about the performer, their performance, and scientific demonstrations per se. Yet at the same time, even though it also rests on the alignment of bracketing and practical consolidation, the performance’s demonstration does not succeed in giving access to the interrelations and inner logics of a tennis ball rebound. Instead, Professor Vollmer’s research question “what happens if you serve a tennis ball like this?” is left unanswered. framing

announcing

bracket

scientific demonstration

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

performing a tennis serve

practical consolidation

Figure 12. ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE - scientific demonstration Figure 13: Academic performance – scientific demonstration

In contrast to the academic lecture, the performance’s scientific demonstration cannot build on visual proof. On account of this, Professor Vollmer and Klaus must draw on an illustration by use of video documentation and the technical know-how of a high-speed video.

Academic per formance: “Making research experiential”

10.3 I llustr ation by use of video documentation

Visuals 65–71: Vollmer and Möllmann “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras” (2011), video-stills by the author.

173

174

On the Threshold of Knowing One hour, thirty-three minutes, and forty-seven seconds into the performance

Professor Vollmer turns the page in his notes and simultaneously reads and announces – slightly stuttering – that he and his colleague have recorded another high-speed video, which will visualize the preceding demonstration. He turns around to the big screen above the double sliding door and watches the video that Klaus has started to play. The video is subtitled 25.01.2011 and illustrates a tennis ball rebound in slow motion. There is no sound. While watching the video, Professor Vollmer explains that when serving a tennis ball, the ball of an amateur can reach the speed of 100 kilometers per hour – depending on the individual. He adds by way of explanation that a professional’s ball can be as fast as 250 kilometers per hour. Then, while strolling back and forth behind his lectern, he adds that an amateur is certainly a long way away from being able to reach that speed and Klaus nods. While Professor Vollmer is speaking, Klaus is sitting behind his laptop, supporting his head with his left hand, and holding the computer mouse with his right. While watching the high-speed video on his computer screen, he is tipping his left ring finger on his upper lip. Meanwhile, Professor Vollmer explains that, already at an amateur speed of 100 kilometers per hour, the ball deforms to half of its original diameter. Saying this, he turns to look at the audience and moves the stretched out palms of his hands toward one another. Accordingly, the distance between his hands minimizes. In addition, he slightly tilts his head to the left and pulls his right elbow upward. Professor Vollmer steps closer to the lectern and says that normally this deformation is not visible to the naked eye and phrases the question: what happens in the case of such a deformation?87 (minute 1:34:16). While stressing the word “happens,” his hands are V-shaped and his wrists rotate outward multiple times. He guides his slightly bent hands to the front of his face and then downward, while his fingers are showing toward one another. Subsequently, Professor Vollmer explains that when a tennis ball is served, a large part of the kinetic energy is transformed into deformation energy. While speaking of deformation energy, his hands are slightly cupped and his wrists rotate outward as his fingertips shortly touch the lectern. Next, Professor Vollmer explains that the deformation energy transforms yet again so that three quarters of the total energy fades into the ball and the surface. As his arms are V-shaped, he subsequently stretches his hands slightly and places them in front of his upper body, allowing his fingertips to be directed toward the audience. Simultaneously, Professor Vollmer’s upper body slightly sways back and forth, while his fingers are pointing toward his notes and his wrists twist outward. 87 | “Was passiert wenn Sie eine solche Deformation haben?”

Academic per formance: “Making research experiential”

Again, Professor Vollmer turns to the projection screen and points toward it and the projected video with his right hand. Following, he turns back toward the audience and concludes that with the help of the video and the subsequent slide of the video-still – in which red and blue arrows mark the distance between the height of the ball and the touched surface – it is in fact possible to see that the tennis ball does not reach its original height. He explains that this is due to the loss of energy through transformation. Simultaneously, Professor Vollmer bends his knees and places the palms of his hands together so that they are firmly pushing toward one another in front of his upper body. His hands shoot up dynamically and Klaus projects the announced slide, on which the tennis ball’s height is marked with red and blue arrows – the height of the red arrow, i.e., the starting height, being larger than that of the blue, i.e., the end height. One hour, thirty-four minutes, and forty-five seconds into the performance

The present strip points to the fact that the performance “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras” is based on an incident that occurs within a micro-second time frame and can neither be seen with the naked eye nor – as commented on by Professor Vollmer – with conventional video cameras. On account of this, Professor Vollmer and Klaus make use of the practice of illustration by use of video documentation that is dependent on the following devices: a high-speed camera, a pre-recorded video, a decelerated movement sequence, and a subsequent video-still. As the to-be-investigated physical phenomenon is not visibly representable, the performance – very similar to the academic lecture “Experimental physics 1” – is contingent on the technical alignment of bracketing and consolidating on the basis of video material. framing

announcing

bracket

explicating illustration by use of video documentation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

replaying

retarding

video-based consolidation

pausing

Figure 13. ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE - illustration by use of video documentation Figure 14: Academic performance – illustration by use of video documentation

175

176

On the Threshold of Knowing

The illustration by use of video documentation maps onto the “actual remains of something that once appeared in the actual (in the sense of less transformed) world” (ibid., 69, italics added), revealing that “the original outcome of the activity will not occur” (ibid., 58–59), as it is too ephemeral for the naked eye to see. Only the physical phenomenon’s remains can be made visible – and this only with the technical know-how of a high-speed camera. Its recording identifies as a key that transforms and therefore facilitates the illustration of the tennis ball rebound in the first place. The illustration rests on video-assisted proof that functions as a framework for seeing and encompasses the potential of constructing the invisible remains and, in the course of this, de facto clarifying the rebound’s spatiotemporal principles and making them visible. On account of this, the illustration discloses the physical phenomenon, while simultaneously revealing how technical know-how is employed in the reconstruction of the ephemeral. Techniques of replaying, retarding, and pausing are predicated on a “technical redoing” (ibid., 58) with documentary intent that facilitates conclusive, media actuality. This actuality builds on coherent communicativity, as it conveys a space for the observer to de facto see the ball moving toward the surface, deforming to half of its size, and finally bouncing back up to half of its original height. In this respect, even though the documentation distorts the rebound into a media set of two-dimensional images, the video alone succeeds in illustrating the rebound’s ephemeral – but actually existing – course of action. It makes the systematics inherent to the phenomenon “know-able.” Yet in contrast to the academic lecture, the performance’s illustration does not represent the antecedent demonstration: it is neither conducive to the illustration’s clarity nor to its credibility. Rather, the illustration and its technical know-how alone encompass the potential of making the rebound’s knowledge-in-action, i.e., its interrelations, practical. In the course of this, the video’s mechanization gains significant importance, as the interplay of the high-speed camera, the pre-recorded video, the decelerated movement sequence, and the projected video-still de facto procure, store, convert, and disseminate praxis-bound knowledge of the singular. Professor Vollmer’s question “what happens if you serve a tennis ball like this?” can only be answered with the help of this very specific technical know-how. Only the interplay of procuring, storing, and converting allows the phenomenon’s praxis-bound knowledge to become experiential. Within, the observer sees a transformed, alternative reality, in which the invisible is constructed as visible. To this effect, the high-speed camera’s technical know-how succeeds in out-performing the visible – i.e., the vis-able – pointing to the fact that knowing, first and foremost, builds on a very specific, technical (re)construction.

Academic per formance: “Making research experiential”

10.4 V ideo - based cl arit y The academic performance “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras” is doubly embedded within a correlated complex of integrative practices. Within a university and a competition framework, practices of scientific demonstration and illustration by use of video documentation function as keys that reframe the announced experiment. This experiment – in its primary denotation – does not correspond to the indeterminacy of the research process, but builds on the interplay of technical redoings, consequential medial actuality, and scientific explanations. Knowing is exclusively predicated on a prepared experiment and the medial-constructed clarity of a high-speed video. Knowing comes into being through first watching and listening – and then seeing. Hence, similarly to the academic lecture, the performance’s knowledge emerges in the fragmentariness of its transcription – between immediacy and documentation. But, unlike the academic lecture, the performance exclusively rests on medial-constructed, i.e., video-based, visibility and its consequential traceability. To be more precise, unlike the academic lecture, in the performance, knowing is not won through a methodologically ordered procedure linked to practices of visibility, reason, and proof but through video-based clarity alone, which undermines the separation of the visible and the invisible. The performance and its practices rely on and attest to the systematics inherent to the illustration by use of video documentation, acknowledging the illustration’s potential to document the phenomenon’s inner coherence accordingly. The performance’s knowledge practices rest on the axiomatic link between seeing and knowing, i.e., the claim that what one can see is in every way related to what one can know. One can know what one’s eye can de facto witness. To this effect, the illustration by use of video documentation, to borrow the words of Phelan, moves the subjunctive “as if” into the indicative “is” (Phelan 1993, 165), thus re-plotting the relationship between the immediate and the documented or between that which can really be known and that which can apparently be known. Knowing oscillates between its previous notation, practical and medial (re)enactment, and positive actuality. It exclusively emerges within the realm of the visible. The scientific demonstration precedes the illustration by use of video documentation, but it is the consolidating alignment of medial storage, conversion, retardation, and respective video-still that actually warrants and validates the scientific demonstration and Professor Vollmer’s explanatory remarks. Alone the transcription, i.e., from actual occurrence to documentary intent, in which the antecedent is borrowed, but altered as it is played in slow-motion, or rather captured in a video-still, succeeds in making the invisible “know-able.” While video-based clarity, on the one hand, negates the inability to document, i.e.,

177

178

On the Threshold of Knowing

to secure, space and time, it, on the other hand, cannot deny the obvious fact that the invisible can only appear with the help of a respective supplement. To this effect, video-based clarity does not merely represent the invisible scientific principles but allows the principles to emerge in the first place. What this means is twofold. Firstly, video-based clarity relates to conclusive clarification, allowing technical know-how to encompass the potential to bring about acknowledged, intersubjective, and communicable know-that. Yet notions of knowing how do not represent notions of knowing that, but allow the latter to emerge in and through the actual encounter in the first place. Knowing how builds on successful accomplishments, while knowing that alludes to coherent propositions. This allows for knowledge to emerge in and through integrative practices and change respectively pursuant to these. On account of this, the performance’s knowledge practices can de facto rely on the technical know-how of a high-speed camera to broaden understanding and give access to the unknown. Yet secondly, while video-based clarity provides the framework for seeing – making it possible to make the invisible visible – it simultaneously points to the fact that what we know is “only” a technical construction, connected to processes of media storage, conversion, retardation, and a video-still. Processes of transcription, supplement, differ, and displace the actual principles, consequently and partially undermining claims of validity endemic to the discourse of knowledge. In this regard, the academic performance particularly connects to “innovative forms of knowledge presentations [...] and the presentation of socially relevant research” (Performing Science2-Competition 2011) in the sense that it deepens understanding regarding the fragility of knowledge, i.e., its varying forms of emergence, and the (im)-possible limits between “real” and “apparent.” The act of exhibiting the transition between the invisible, i.e., the tennis serve demonstration, and the visible, i.e., the illustration by use of video documentation, points toward the interrelations regarding attributes and properties relating to knowledge. As a result, a performative knowledge concept emerges within which the potential of transformation is inscribed: the transformation of the epistemic through performance. Similar to the other three case studies, the performance’s lecture text is superseded by its actual performance: only the performance actually warrants and validates Professor Vollmer’s verbal and gestural explanations; only the performance makes it possible to de facto partake within and beyond. While the performance’s video-based clarity re-marks the possibilities of knowing that – allowing for clarity to supersede truth – and making it possible to de facto partake in the realm of the subject, the academic performance also points toward the transformational vulnerability inscribed within knowing and non-knowing. In this respect, video-based clarity serves as a catalyst, which

Academic per formance: “Making research experiential”

creates a supplement that allows multiple readings for rethinking the correlations between knowledge formation and induced regulation. Through pointing at the boundaries of the visible and the invisible, the performance reveals where, how, and by whom respective boundaries are being drawn. It brings into focus how knowledge is bound to notions of representation and reenactment, offering a space to undermine the opposition between the “know-able” and the “un-know-able.” The performance builds on a conglomerate of practical conclusiveness that supplements and re-orientates knowing’s denotation – between preliminary notation, recorded (re)enactment, and ephemeral actuality. Its claim of “vis-ability” expands auditory, visual, and motion-based viewpoints and allows the ephemerality, i.e., the phenomenon’s fleeting but actual process of occurrence, to gain significant importance. The interplay and actual crossing of the thresholds – between performed demonstration, pre-recorded, played, and decelerated video sequence, and projected video-still – de facto procures invisible, praxis-bound knowledge of the singular. framing

announcing

bracket

scientific demonstration

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

performing a tennis serve

practical consolidation

framing video-based clarity announcing

bracket

explicating illustration by use of video documentation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

replaying

retarding

video-based consolidation

pausing

Figure 14. ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE - video-based clarity

Figure 15: Academic performance – video-based clarity

179

11. Overriding knowledge practices The preceding analysis built on the hypothesis that field-dependent boundaries and institutional frames and framings are increasingly emerging as multifaceted and interactive. The question came to the fore of how knowledge practices are intricately embedded between frame-dependency and coalition within academic and artistic lectures and performances. Building on this, the findings of the analysis pinpointed that all four case studies attest to validity, which – in turn – presented itself in and through the encounter of making available, between knowing how and knowing that. The findings brought into focus that all four case studies are informed by Goffman’s concept of “the lecture as performance,” since, quoting Goffman, it is not “the textual stance that is projected [...], but the additional footings that can be managed at the same time, footings whose whole point is the contrast they provide to what the text itself might otherwise generate” (Goffman 1981, 174). Thus, within all four case studies, the lecture’s or rather the performance’s footings re-marked the text, i.e., knowing that, and conveyed a space for the audience to de facto partake within the subject matter. The gap between knowing how and knowing that exhibited the lecture’s or rather performance’s text, pointing toward the transformational vulnerability ingrained within this very gap. In this respect, practices of reference and transcription, i.e., their particular composition, unfolded as combinatorial, ambiguous, or video-based clarity. In every case, clarity created a supplement that provoked multiple readings for rethinking the correlations between lecture and performance. Through pointing at the boundaries of frame compliancy and non-compliancy – to be more precise how a frame emerges and identifies as such – notions of clarity pointed toward where, how, and by whom respective boundaries are being drawn. Viewed from this angle, Goffman’s concept of the lecture as performance encompasses the potential to reflect upon the mechanics of knowledge formation within a particular occasion and setting (cf. ibid., 174). The concept of lecture as performance emerges as flexible regarding the lecture and performance frame and framing, raising the question what qualifies as academic or rather artistic. Over and above, the concept brings into focus that the lecture frame does not, first and foremost, constitutes constraint. Instead, it offers

182

On the Threshold of Knowing

an “infrastructure” that can be employed, appropriated, supplemented, and displaced. In the case of the academic as well as the artistic, the interplay of the lecture’s or rather performance’s knowledge practices provided a space for the renegotiation of the “know-able.” On the one side, “know-ability” was informed by the position of the lecturer or rather performer and the individual framing that pre-configured the audience’s understanding of “what was going on.” On the other side, “know-ability” only de facto emerged within the performance and its additional footings, i.e., the genuine act of making available, only then allowing the performer and the audience to encounter the subject matter. Thus, not merely the artistic, but also the academic lectures and performances were linked to consolidating juxtapositions, which inevitably and continuously challenged implicit assumptions regarding the lecture as well as the performance frame and framing. On account of this, all of the four case studies related to three overriding practices that I termed (1) voicing, (2) transcription, and (3) clarity-based alignment. All four provided a space for (re)negotiating the pre-framed circumstances and constraints under which the lecturer, the performer, and the audience take action and produce, i.e., disseminate, and consume knowledge. This broadened notions of knowledge formation as well as knowledge regulation. Relating to this, I will – using the examples of the present case studies – now summarize how these three overriding practices reveal themselves: how they position themselves in-between art and academia, shifting the two fields toward one another. In addition, irrespective of the artistic or the academic frame and framing, I will argue that knowledge is inevitably performative as it testifies to, but is simultaneously displaced by the practices and their acts of voicing, transcribing, and clarity-based aligning – regardless of their contrasting or conclusive qualities.

11.1 V oicing Throughout the artistic as well as the academic lectures and performances, voicing practices addressed the correlations of notation, (re)enactment, and actuality. Dialogical modes of address between lecture and performance, or to borrow the words of Goffman, between the text and its additional footings, advanced. This allowed for the act of speaking to coincide with a vagrant venture that expanded notions of denotation. In the case of the academic lecture “Experimental physics 1,” voicing practices alluded to mastering the abstraction process from observing a physical-technical incident to being able to describe its procedure. Voicing practices assigned the actual occurrence to scientific explanations, making it possible

Overriding knowledge practices

to scientifically demonstrate and mathematically illustrate and explain the physical phenomenon. Professor Vollmer’s “evident scholarship and fluent delivery” of speech (ibid., 191) demonstrated “that such claims to authority as his office, reputation, and auspices imply are warranted” (ibid.), allowing him to emerge as the lecture’s author, principal, and animator. Yet by the same token, Professor Vollmer’s voicing practices were superseded by practices relating to a scientific demonstration, mathematical validation, and illustration by use of video documentation. All three connected to the correlations of the pre-written script and its spoken text, yet simultaneously addressed questions regarding the properties of knowing – between the actual and the symbolic. Thus, even though voicing practices aimed at closing the gap between that what is announced and done, that what is explained and allocated, and that what is, in the course of this, made visible at the interface of audio-visual and mathematical proof, knowledge formation processes were incessantly informed by knowing how, i.e., compliant to continuous interventions. “Lecture on nothing’s” voicing practices were also compliant to continuous interventions, yet in a different manner. They distinguished themselves through the interplay of referencing and transcribing. On the one side, techniques of bracketing, i.e., framing, announcing, and explicating, allowed Cage to emerge as the lecture’s author, principal, and performer. On the other side, the technique interplay of specifying, classifying, authorizing, reframing, concealing, measuring, and voicing shifted Cage’s positioning. To be more precise, the techniques emerged as performative in the sense that they supplemented and displaced acknowledged lecturing and publishing practices. Deferment shifted writing, reading, lecturing, and listening practices, allowing Cage’s lecture to advance as a musical form, i.e., a piece of music. Moreover, the interplay of informing and giving instructions to further performers – within the lecture’s headnote – linked the original event, the published score, and the to be performed performance. To this effect, practices of voicing actuated and perpetuated “Lecture on nothing” all the while detaching it from the lecture’s originator and proprietor. Over and above, the practices’ stylistic device of repetition and the structural gaps ingrained within provided a space to renegotiate the text as statement and to experience knowledge as (non)-possibility. The voicing practices of “Dance for nothing” related to “Lecture on nothing” and the context from which it originated. In this respect, practices of voicing alluded to a (re)enactment in the sense that it referenced Cage’s “Lecture on nothing” while simultaneously inaugurating transformation. Salamon’s performance broached the issue of actuality, as Salamon embodied Cage’s as well as her own textual self in the position of the authorial as well as the non-authorial speaker. Salamon’s repeated use of the first person singular challenged Cage’s standing. The practice suggested that Salamon was letting her own thoughts come gradually, all the more so as she did not, after her introductory remarks,

183

184

On the Threshold of Knowing

bracket Cage’s text through, for example, a different tone of voice. Hence, as Salamon’s performance progressed, the act of performing transformed Cage’s “I” into Salamon’s. In this respect, the audience was confronted with the ambiguity of the author’s, principal’s, and animator’s voice. The performance exhibited a lecturer’s denominated authority. Voicing practices transcribed the lecture text, allowing its denotation to stand on its own, i.e., words and punctuation to reveal their individual materiality, and evolve into (text)-music. The practices, similar to “Lecture on nothing,” postulated permeability between the text as statement and knowledge as possibility. Hence, practices of voicing – between referencing and transcribing – initiated a performative shift that advanced reflection upon the fact that there is no possible dissociation between notation, (re)enactment, and actuality, coevally offering a space to challenge and (re)evaluate the lecture as a mode of being “informed about the world” (ibid., 195). Within the academic performance “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high speed cameras,” voicing practices, similar to the academic lecture, also assigned the actual process of occurrence to its underlying scientific explanations, but could de facto not make the scientific, spatiotemporal principles “know-able.” On account of this, voicing practices pointed to the fact that only technical know-how encompasses the potential to bring about acknowledged, intersubjective, and communicable knowing that. Thus, while it is easy to fall back on a lecture’s text, i.e., to acknowledge the lecturer’s knowledge, and in the course of this rely on the lecture’s content, the performance’s voicing practices de facto shifted away from the stable. They re-orientated and expanded notions of denotation – between preliminary notation, recorded (re)enactment, and ephemeral actuality. The very fact that practices of voicing could not depict the physical principle’s ephemerality, i.e., the fleeting but actual process of occurrence, conveyed a space to make the constraints experiential under which one takes action and disseminates and assimilates knowledge.

11.2 Tr anscrip tion Both the artistic as well as the academic lectures and performances distinguished themselves through transcription practices that built upon consolidating techniques of reference and deferment. Transcription was closely patterned on an already existing practice, yet did not fully follow, but rather systematically altered the antecedent in certain respects (cf. Goffman 1974, 41). Hence, the parallel dimension to the precedent was borrowed, exaggerated, or broken up so that the practice was transposed, signaling meaning in its own terms. In this respect, transcription practices made the epistemic practical,

Overriding knowledge practices

postulating permeability between hegemonic categories. Firstly, in the case of the academic lecture between “real versus symbolic,” secondly, in the case of the artistic lecture regarding “text versus music” and “lecture versus performance,” thirdly, in the case of the artistic performance between “personal versus professional,” “authorial versus non-authorial,” “text versus music,” and “performer versus audience,” and fourthly, in the case of the academic performance regarding “real versus symbolic” and “authorial versus non-authorial.” While the academic transcription practices transposed the precedent in order to be able to be categorized and thus in turn bring about understanding in the first place, the reverse was true for the artistic. Neither the artistic lecture nor the artistic performance offered categorizations nor did it make an attempt to facilitate understanding. Instead, the artistic lecture and performance made the vulnerability of knowing both visible and audible, acknowledging and pursuing the unattainability linked to the concept of knowledge and proposing that knowledge can merely be sensed. In the academic lecture “Experimental physics 1,” transcription practices were based on a scientific demonstration, a mathematical-deducible validation, and a self-evident illustration by use of video documentation. Transcription practices expanded the abstraction process from observing a physical-technical incident, to being able to demonstrate its procedure, to applying appropriate formulae and equations, to – finally – transferring the physical principle with the help of technical know-how. Accordingly, three interrelated practices transcribed the physical phenomenon into a mathematical system. This explained and allocated the phenomenon and assigned the actual occurrence to scientific explanations. Practices of transcription displayed themselves as the elementary component of validating and taking evidence – between the ephemeral and the documented. They subsumed physical principles to physical rules and explanations, which in turn codified, but successfully explained the respective praxis. To this effect, knowledge emerged in the fragmentariness of its transcription, i.e., failing to be able to, ab initio, impart knowledge well and truly. This expounded the problem of the impossibility of the predicable. The practical and experiential visibility, inscribed within the lecture’s transcription practices, deferred the division between validity and truth. In the case of “Lecture on nothing,” the interplay of referencing (specifying, classifying, and authorizing) and deferring, (reframing, concealing, measuring, and voicing) surpassed and undercut the lecture frame and its framings. While the lecture frame stayed within its wording, it was in fact constantly frustrated and transcribed. The continual interplay of sound and silence in “Lecture on nothing” constituted a language rhythm and a poetic meter that set words and punctuation strictly into “their” column, segmenting sentences into subsets and phrases into single words. Text-music, and its musically-framed system of notation, gave the act of lecturing its space and time. Practices of transcription

185

186

On the Threshold of Knowing

supplemented, deferred, and displaced the concept of knowledge as linked to the lecture frame. The practices provoked multiple readings for rethinking the correlations between knowledge formation and induced regulation, raising the question of how and to what extent knowledge is intricately bound to predetermined notions of representation and reenactment. Over and above, the interplay of being frame compliant, being counterproductive, and simply being provoked a dialogue between the lecture and the performance frame that pointed to the fact that there is no privileged point of view, nor are there prevailing categories to navigate along. It made the vulnerability of knowing audible, and in the course of this visible, revealing that knowledge can merely be sensed. The transcription practices of “Dance for nothing” built on the exploration of how “Lecture on nothing” reveals itself when it is reframed as an artistic performance. Thus, Salamon’s bracket, which allowed the audience insight into the creative process inherent to the development of “Dance for nothing,” announced an opening – between notation and performance – that adverted to a two-sided agreement of dispossession. Firstly, the lecture text evolved into music that in turn accompanied Salamon’s dance: both were structural principals that followed their own measure of time while neither illustrating, commenting, or dominating one another nor giving the audience explicit access. Secondly, the performance incessantly challenged the partition between reference and deferment, confronting the audience with the question “what is going on” (Goffman 1974). This brought to the fore what is happening within the performance, how it is working on the audience, and how the audience is complicit in it. On account of this, the transcription practices inherent to “Dance for nothing” – between referencing (listening, making eye contact, and reciting) and deferring (stylized walking), jeopardized the partition between Cage’s lecture and Salamon’s dance. Their interplay pointed to the fact that there is no apparent point of view, nor are there prevailing categories – such as “authorial versus non-authorial speaker,” “text versus music,” “lecture versus dance,” and “performer versus audience” – to navigate these mappings. Accordingly, the transcription practices of “Dance for nothing” surpassed and undercut the self-certitude ascribed to the lecture and to the performance frame and framings. This was similarly the case within the academic performance “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high speed cameras.” On the one side, the performance distinguished itself through explicit similarities to acknowledged academic lecturing practices. On the other side, it also stood out due to a manifold complex of experimental practices relating to performances. Hence, the academic performance adverted to transcription practices, in which an academic presentation was staged within a competitive

Overriding knowledge practices

setting, allowing the lecture and the performance frame and their framings to emerge as permeable and constantly on the threshold. Transcription practices occurred within the performance’s scientific demonstration and illustration using high-speed video documentation, within which actions were performed out of their usual context, “for utilitarian purposes openly different from those of the original performance” (ibid., 58–59). Hence, not a tennis serve, but a scientific demonstration and furthermore an illustration by use of video documentation took place, only the latter encompassing the potential of reconstructing and thus making the physical principles and their spatiotemporal interrelations understandable. Even though the transcription distorted the rebound into a medial set of two-dimensional images, the transcription alone succeeded in illustrating the rebound’s ephemeral – but actually existing – course of action. Transcription practices made the systematics inherent to the phenomenon “know-able.” The practices exposed the basis for rethinking the regulative correlations between previous notation, live versus recorded (re)enactment, and apparent actuality. Through calling into question the boundaries of the visible and the invisible – and succeeding in exceeding these very boundaries – the performance’s transcription practices revealed where, how, and by whom respective borders are being drawn, pointing toward processes of conceptualization on the one hand, and, on the other hand, offering a space to re-conceptualize the (self)-evident.

11.3 C l arit y - based alignment Within my analysis all four case studies demanded “vis-ability” – in the sense that they rested on a clarity-based alignment – in which knowing that adverted to knowing how. Throughout the artistic as well as the academic lectures and performances, knowing how and knowing that concurred and answered back. On account of this, Ryle’s concept regarding the self-containment of knowing how, not being traceable to knowing that, can be supplemented in the sense that while knowing how is not necessarily in need of representing knowing that, it may – over and above and in the first place – allow knowing that to emerge. Phrased differently, the lectures’ as well as the performances’ alignment was continuously open to reassessment and continual (re)negotiation, causing the “vis-able” to rest upon – and between – the fractures and gaps of knowing how and knowing that. The clarity-based alignment of the academic lecture “Experimental physics 1,” related to a methodologically ordered and matching procedure of audio-visual, mathematical, and video-supported proof. Knowing was informed by conclusive negotiations that built on principles of visibility as well as logical reasoning. Both adverted to acts of making the epistemic practical and rested

187

188

On the Threshold of Knowing

upon vagrant notions of combinatorial clarity – in-between comprehensible demonstration, logically deducible validation, and self-evident illustration. The matching procedure conveyed a space to witness and employ observing, explaining, and seeing as a way of knowing. In this respect, the lecture’s clarity-based alignment rested on a conglomerate of practical conclusiveness. The lecture’s interplay of scientific demonstration, mathematical validation, and illustration by use of video documentation broached the issue that knowing how is not subordinated to knowing that, but in fact displays itself as the elementary component of validating and taking evidence. Thus, knowing how was not simply marked by praxis-bound and knowing that not merely by theory-bound knowledge. Rather, the two were interrelated in a complex manner, allowing knowing how not to be separate from knowing that, but to be absorbed ab initio, thus encompassing the potential of bringing forth knowing that in the first place. The lecture’s clarity-based alignment emerged through integrative practices, was embedded within, and changed respectively pursuant to their emergence. scientific demonstration KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

VOICING TRANSCRIPTION CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

mathematical validation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

combinatorial clarity

on the threshold of knowing

VOICING TRANSCRIPTION CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

illustration by use of video documentation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

Figure 15. ACADEMIC LECTURE - overriding knowledge practices Figure 16: Academic lecture – overriding knowledge practices

In the case of “Lecture on nothing,” clarity also depended on the actual process of occurrence, yet in an unusual interplay of sound and silence. The lecture was

Overriding knowledge practices

reframed as experiential and open to reassessment: the structural principals between a discourse’s meaning and its mechanism of discoursing followed their own measure of time without illustrating, commenting, or dominating one another. Rather, co-existence advanced a dialogue, predicated exclusively on the possibility of approaching one another in space and time. Hence, the lecture emerged as a rhythmical framework, which was based on the knowing how of sound and silence – rather than sound and silence’s knowing that – thus providing a space to renegotiate the text as statement and to experience knowledge as possibility. In crossing the thresholds and confronting the academic with the artistic framing, the clarity-based alignment of “Lecture on nothing” re-marked the potential of the lecture frame, making it possible to de facto witness and experience the latter. The alignment’s correlations between “nothing” and “something” were resistant to the validity endemic to the formation of knowledge and its induced regulation. Knowing linked to vagrant notions of the unavailable demonstrating that knowledge exists as “a maybe.” Accordingly, the ambiguous clarity-based alignment of “Lecture on nothing” conveyed a space within which the ability to know derived from the tension and permeability of claimed statements and given possibilities. The alignment rested on ruptures and gaps that continuously out-performed assumed knowledge propositions – making the fragility and contestability of knowledge experiential. Its ambiguous clarity-based alignment provoked multiple ways for rethinking the correlations between lecture and performance. reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

VOICING TRANSCRIPTION CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

ambiguous clarity

on the threshold of knowing

transcription KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

Figure 16. ARTISTIC LECTURE - overriding knowledge practices Figure 17: Artistic lecture – overriding knowledge practices

The alignment of “Dance for nothing” also built upon ambiguity, or to quote Goffman “additional footings” (Goffman 1981, 174), which transposed content-orientated lecturing to text-music. The performance re-orientated the lecture frame and its “realm of being sustained through the meaning of a

189

190

On the Threshold of Knowing

discourse” (ibid., 173). Its primary focus was on the rhythm inscribed within Cage’s words and brought forth through Salamon’s act of speaking. Hence, the sensation of listening and listening and watching came to the fore, allowing listening and watching to emerge as performative exercises set within the theater’s multi-centric spatiality and ambience. The setting blurred the spatial positions of the stage line and performer positions – between Salamon and the audience – and provoked “a somewhat changed alignment of speaker to hearer” (Goffman 1981, 177). Within this alignment, the boundary between make-believe and reality was called into question as “the depicted world from what lies beyond the stage line” (Goffman 1974, 139) was put directly on stage, repeatedly confronting the audience with one question in particular: “what is going on?” In this respect, the ambiguous clarity-based alignment of “Dance for nothing” expanded the audience’s visual and auditory viewpoints. As the performance did not make it possible to easily notice, localize, and identify the incidents as defined within a lecture nor within a performance frame, Salamon’s dance inevitably re-marked Cage’s concept of nothing, which was neither complementary nor corresponding, but wholly experience-resultant. To this effect, the performance’s ambiguous clarity-based alignment opened up Cage’s as well as Salamon’s lecture, or rather performance, and called for shared engagement. The alignment shifted gridlocked perspectives regarding the lecture and the performance frame, allowing both frames to emerge as more flexible in relation to one another and broaching the issue of how knowledge formation inevitably incorporates a risk, i.e., an unexpected reframing. On account of this, knowing emerged as an ambiguous and constantly shifting space of experience that revealed itself as “un-know-able” in the sense that it prompted and touched upon the limits of know-ability and spelled out nothing: what we know is merely provisional. In this development, an invitation surfaced to reflect and (re)evaluate.

Overriding knowledge practices

reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

VOICING TRANSCRIPTION CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

ambiguous clarity

on the threshold of knowing

transcription KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

Figure 17. ARTISTIC PERFORMANCE - overriding knowlege practices

Figure 18: Artistic performance – overriding knowledge practices The academic performance “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high speed cameras” also extended an invitation to reflect and (re)evaluate. While the performance did not build on a distance-altering, but on a conclusive alignment, knowing how nevertheless exposed and expounded knowing that. Knowing that was not only expressed, but only appeared in and through that very expression. To be more precise, as the performance’s scientific demonstration could not build on visual proof, as it did not encompass the potential of conclusively clarifying the to-be-investigated physical phenomenon, the illustration by use of video documentation identified as a key that transformed, but de facto allowed knowing that to emerge in the first place. Resting on video-assisted proof alone, the illustration functioned as a framework for seeing. It encompassed the potential of constructing the invisible and, in the course of this, de facto clarifying the phenomenon’s spatiotemporal principles and making them visible. In this respect, the performance’s clarity-based alignment dismantled the regulative correlations between previous notation, live versus recorded (re) enactment, and apparent actuality. It ascribed to “vis-ability” in the sense that it allowed knowing to come into being through first watching and listening and then seeing. The illustration, i.e., the high-speed camera’s technical know-how, out-performed the visible. It demonstrated that knowing, first and foremost, builds on this very specific, technical construction. Consequently, the performance’s knowledge practices pointed toward the axiomatic link between seeing and knowing, i.e., the postulation that what one can see is in

191

192

On the Threshold of Knowing

every way related to what one can know. On account of this, the performance’s clarity-based alignment re-plotted the relationship between the immediate and the documented. It re-marked the possibilities of knowing that, allowing for clarity to supersede truth, and pointing toward the transformational vulnerability inscribed within the concept of knowledge. scientific demonstration KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

VOICING TRANSCRIPTION CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

video-based clarity

on the threshold of Knowing

illustration by use of video documentation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

Figure 18. ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE - overriding knowledge practices

Figure 19: Academic performance – overriding knowledge practices Summa summarum, the overriding practices of my analysis termed voicing, transcription, and clarity-based alignment pointed toward the fact that knowing testifies to – and is simultaneously displaced – by numerous proposals of making “the know-able” visible, i.e., “vis-able.” Thus, knowing positioned itself between ambiguous modes of reality. Numerous proposals of making “the know-able” visible undermined the differentiation between certainty and possibility. To be more precise, in all four case studies, irrespective of the artistic or academic field, knowing did not allude to the implementation of already existing structures but to the actual emergence of the (un)known and its inherent actualization of difference. The “un-know-able” precisely positioned itself between and beyond “the real” and “the apparent” – i.e., on the threshold of knowing – between combinatorial, ambiguous, and video-based clarity.

12. On the threshold of knowing The previous chapter gave a kaleidoscopic view – in the sense that it looked at the conjunctions of practices by means of four individual shifts in focus – of how three overriding knowledge practices on the threshold of academic lectures and artistic performances are intricately embedded. I argued that all four case studies are informed by consolidating juxtapositions that point toward implicit assumptions regarding the lecture and the performance frame, reconstructing and at the same time deconstructing the boundaries between the two. Both the lectures and the performances emerged as a spatiotemporal-bound phenomenon that built on joint practices, which relate to the (re)production and appreciation of acknowledged practices and appendant techniques. Simultaneously, the practices initiate and extend what the lecture or rather performance frame ought to be. Consequently, this chapter further contours the concept of lecture performances, which – as I will argue – builds on and acuminates Goffman’s concept of the lecture as performance. The concept of lecture performances exposes how collision infiltrates contemporary practices – between lecture and performance and academia and art – and facilitates a shift in processes of knowledge formation and validation. In the course of this chapter, I will specify each individual case study regarding the concept of lecture performances. I will, relying on the findings of the present analysis, name respective characteristics – inherent to the individual case study and the particular concept – whereby the interest does not primarily rest upon entitling the four case studies as lecture performances, but on advancing reflection upon the fact that all four bear resemblance inherent to social developments that can be precisely termed and specified using the respective concept. The characteristics inherent to the four case studies point to the fact that they are not field-dependent but rather field-comprehensive, allowing the concept of lecture performances to render contemporary occurrences regarding scientific cultures comprehensible at the intersection of art and academia. In addition, considering that frames individually signal meaning and significance, and that one and the same practice may exist in different frames, but may be meaningful in very different ways, I will examine how the concept of lecture

194

On the Threshold of Knowing

performances, which is both lecture and performance – and unhinged from acknowledged frames and framings – inevitably finds itself on the threshold of knowing. I will discuss how the concept of lecture performances impacts on the concept of knowledge. The implications of this question are manifold; hence, I will begin by summarizing the knowledge concept that derived from the present analysis and its praxeological and frame analytical perspective. Further developing the present analysis, I will argue that within lecture performances, knowledge testifies to, but is simultaneously displaced by practices of voicing, transcribing, and clarity-based aligning – regardless of its contrasting or conclusive qualities. I propose that – irrespective of the artistic or academic field – knowledge emerges as a space of experience that maps onto inclusive and participatory practices of making the epistemic practical and hence varies highly according to its different points of departure.

12.1 R e - concep tualizing knowledge from a pr a xeolog ical and fr ame analy tical perspective The present praxeological frame analysis provided a theoretical framework that particularly advanced the applied-relational aspect of knowing. It systematically examined the ongoing process of how given attributes turn into knowledge properties and how knowledge properties evoke attributes. Further, starting from the assumption that social situations are “built up in accordance with principles of organization which govern events” (Goffman 1974, 10) and regulate meaning, the analysis revealed that frame-dependent notions of knowing inevitably accompanied knowledge formation processes at the juncture where frames and framings intersect. This implies that frames identified as predefined interpretation schemes, which evoked specific approaches toward and modes of knowing and meaning making. Frames pre-structured knowledge, yet simultaneously without determining it. Instead, frames abetted a particular alignment of knowledge practices. The analysis revealed that, in order to be accepted as knowledge, knowing needed to be inter-coordinated with accepted knowledge properties and attributes, which precisely allowed knowledge to reveal itself as such. Phrased differently, knowledge was emergently situated and inevitably interwoven within its predefined parameters of the possible and adhered to continuous arrangements of bodily actuation. Knowledge built on performative exercises, which were performed in the present, referred to the past, and looked toward and constituted the future. They were subject to binding norms, while contemporaneously adhering to continual (re)negotiations and resting upon fleeting experience. In this respect, knowledge displayed itself as performative as it was constantly challenged and persistently needed to prove itself.

On the threshold of knowing

On account of this, knowledge emerged as a social occurrence – a moment of inventory – that, irrespective of the social field, alluded to clarity rather than truth. Knowledge did not, to borrow the words of Goffman, identify as “something to be cultivated and developed from a distance” (Goffman 1981, 165) but emerged within its direct encounter. Knowledge displayed itself as unanswerable in the sense that it related to incessant processes of continuous debate and continuation: when something displayed itself as known, something else presented itself as unknown. Thus, the knowledge concept, which derives from a praxeological and frame analytical perspective, challenges a concept that is not linked to diversified and transitory configurations. The praxeological and frame analytical perspective postulates allocating knowledge as adhering to ambiguous and fluid modes of multiple, constantly shifting, and often contradicting meanings, depending on its contexts and modes of application. In this respect, knowing is interlocked within an iterative process of voicing, transcribing, and aligning that builds on a conglomerate of social bonding, which in turn links to practical conclusiveness and conveys a space to partake. Within the present case studies, similar knowledge practices emerged and were termed and consolidated despite diverging frames. This allowed knowing to present itself as “partial” in the sense that it was first and foremost connected to its actual encounter, i.e., its process of making available, and thus always already resisting exclusive incorporation into predetermined meta-schemes. Thus, when linking a knowledge concept, which derives from a praxeological and frame analytical perspective, to the concept of lecture performances, as an artistic research practice, the question can be negated as to whether knowledge is merely being consolidated and reasserted. Yet the question that does come to the fore is: how can processes of re-conceptualization and re-inscription in fact reveal themselves? To what extent can knowing how and knowing that correlate and to what extent must the two inevitably foreclose one another? These questions point to the fact that lecture performances exhibit the incongruity and tension of the highly contested (academic) knowledge site, while at the same time taking part in it. In what is to follow, I will spell out how the concept of lecture performances exposes the basis upon which the determinacy of knowledge is acknowledged and taken into account, as well as a space for renegotiating knowledge as possibility rather than fact is pursued. How, drawing on the present analysis, knowing how encompasses the potential to challenge knowing that: how knowing reveals itself as experiential – and hence communicable and “real” in the first place.

195

196

On the Threshold of Knowing

12.2 The impact of lecture performances on the concep t of knowledge In 1966, the journal Art in America launched the publication of artist interviews declaring: “The artist speaks” (cf. Seckler 1966, 72–84). Today, these interviews can be read as an indication for the emerging relevance that was ascribed to the artist and their words. Especially within the context of the conceptual practices of the 1960s and 1970s avant-garde artist interviews gave insight into the persona of the artist and the individual relation to their work. The artist and their process of creating an artwork gained importance, allowing the development of art to emerge as a topic of art. To date, artist talks have established themselves, giving the audience insight into the artist’s working process and accepting the articulation of the creative process and its embedment within discourse as an acknowledged practice within artistic praxis. In a very broad understanding of the term, lecture performances identify as artist talks, yet distinguish themselves from the latter as they – particularly framed as an artistic research practice – broach the issue of productive correlations between “differing ways of thinking, interacting, experiencing and of thereby creating new modes of discourse and argumentation, as well as research methods and artifacts” (Hughes 2014, 55). In this regard, lecture performances do not so much equate to a genre but to a flexible, conceptual platform that positions itself within and in-between the artists and their talks. While lecture performances utilize substantive lecture practices, i.e., reciting a pre-written text, relying on visual aids, giving demonstrations, and referencing formal lecture structures as well as spatial arrangements, they simultaneously exhibit and exploit these particular practices. Hence, pursuant to the term alone, lecture performances adhere to two frames that never entirely blend. From the outset, the concept is situated between lecture and performance without entirely being one or the other. It rests upon its productive conflicts. These conflicts expose the basis upon which the determinacy of knowledge is acknowledged and, simultaneously, the incongruity and tension of the highly contested (academic) knowledge site is exhibited. In this respect, lecture performances present themselves as compliant as well as emancipatory. Lecture performances are informed by consolidating juxtapositions, pointing toward implicit assumptions regarding the lecture and the performance frame. They reconstruct and at the same time deconstruct the boundaries between the two. Particularly three overriding knowledge practices, as exemplified using the present analysis above, distinguish lecture performances: voicing, transcription, and a clarity-based alignment. Lecture performances do not – first and foremost – inform an audience, discuss a topic, and disseminate knowledge. Instead, they link to making knowing practical through documentary, inter-

On the threshold of knowing

ventionist, and research-based approaches. Borrowing the words of Pirkko Husemann (cf. 2005, 85, translation by the author), lecture performers illustrate, exemplify, falsify, adjust, or cite questions, hypotheses, and ideas scenically so that they can speak with a topic – and not merely about it. Thus, in inviting the lecture within the performance frame, the interplay of the artistic as well as academic conceptual platform resembles a laboratory of permanent debate and definition. Within, knowledge emerges as a changing and at times ambiguous space of experience. On account of this, it becomes apparent that Cage’s seminal “Lecture on nothing” closely corresponds to these very systematics inherent to the concept of lecture performances, making it possible to, from a contemporary perspective, term “Lecture on nothing” as an early example. In the initial stages, when the conceptual framework was undergoing a process of negotiation, Cage states: My intention has been, often, to say what I had to say in a way that would exemplify it; that would conceivably, permit the listener to experience what I had to say rather than just hear about it. This means that, being as I am engaged in a variety of activities, I attempt to introduce into each one of them aspects conventionally limited to one or more of the others. (Cage 1961, ix)

This statement – as well as the present analysis of “Lecture on nothing” – point to the fact that Cage’s lecture alludes to frame breaks, which facilitate a shift from lecture to performance, surpassing and undercutting the self-certitude linked to both frames. Cage’s voicing practices build on systematically exhibiting, irritating, and dislocating academic lecturing practices and work toward the emancipation of the lecture, its performer, and its audience. While the lecture’s text-music replaces the practice of reading out content-orientated text, its transcribing practices introduce the speaking artist, who reframes the academic lecture as an artistic performance. Hence, practices of self-legitimization, on the side of the artist, defy the lecture frame and its framings. They disclose the self-certitude ascribed to the lecture as a framework of knowledge formation and dissemination, undermining the position of the lecturer as the individual who knows. Thus, categorizing “Lecture on nothing” as a lecture performance postulates permeability regarding the representational vis-ability linked to the lecture frame. To lecture on nothing, is necessarily self-contradictory and imparts more than the lecturer de facto intends. To this effect, the lecture’s ambiguous clarity rests upon the resultant supplement of “nothing” that is, in turn, resistant to the validity endemic to the formation of knowledge. “Nothing” re-marks the lecture, making it possible to actually encounter the boundaries of the “knowable” and the “un-know-able” – resting upon and between the fractures and gaps of knowing how and knowing that.

197

198

On the Threshold of Knowing

framing

announcing

bracket

reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

explicating

VOICING

specifying

TRANSCRIPTION

classifying

reference

CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

ambiguous clarity

on the threshold of knowing

authorizing transcription re-framing

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

concealing deferment measuring pausing voicing phrasing

Figure 19. ARTISTIC LECTURE - synopsis

Figure 20: Artistic lecture – synopsis “Dance for nothing” also presents itself as a lecture performance. Within, both the lecture and the performance frame and their framings are re-orientated through a transcribed alignment of lecturer and performer positions. They rotate between the involved spectator, the personal storyteller, the bodily demonstrator, and the lecture’s authorial as well as non-authorial speaker. To be more precise, Salamon’s discovery-led inquiry supplements and displaces Cage’s “Lecture on nothing,” allowing Cage’s lecture and Salamon’s dance to exist as structural principals that follow their own measure of time without illustrating, commenting, or dominating one another. Rather, their running counterpoint advances a dialogue, which neither builds upon synchronization of sound and movement, nor complementary and corresponding correlation, but simply on the possibility of approaching one another in space and time. The lecture performance’s voicing, transcribing, and aligning practices de facto use the lecture frame to rethink its inscribed framings and the relation of content and form. The precise construction of text-music and dance serves to hold “Lecture on nothing” and its progressive thought, all the while putting the boundaries between the two lecture performances into perspective. Thus, acknowledging and putting Cage’s conception of nothing into practice intro-

On the threshold of knowing

duces a performative knowledge concept, which builds on ambiguous clarity that produces ruptures and gaps regarding the “know-able” and “un-know-able.” Instead of merely representing a knowledge space, the lecture performance brings forth a space that prompts multiple as well as resistant readings. making eye contact

framing

bracket

reference KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

announcing

strolling

explicating

VOICING TRANSCRIPTION CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

gesturing

ambiguous clarity

on the threshold of knowing

listening

making eye contact

reference

transcription

reciting

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

stylized walking

deferment

Figure 20. ARTISTIC PERFORMANCE - synopsis

Figure 21: Artistic performance – synopsis Next to “Lecture on nothing” and “Dance for nothing,” the academic performance “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high speed cameras,” staged at the Performing Science2-Competition, also qualifies as a lecture performance, as it looks into and provides a space for the (re)negotiation of the (academic) institution and its concept of knowledge formation and dissemination. The lecture performance relates to a physical phenomenon, which can neither be seen with the naked eye nor with conventional video cameras. On account of this, the lecture performance broaches the limitations of representational, spatiotemporal possibilities, demonstrating that the visible is defined by the “in-vis-able:” what is being talked about is technically not observable. In this regard, practices of voicing, transcribing, and aligning provoke two realities – the visible and the invisible – and call into question how these realities emerge and possibly interact. The lecture performance distinguishes itself through re-plotting the relationship between “the real” and “the apparent,” pointing toward the transfor-

199

200

On the Threshold of Knowing

mational vulnerability of the two. While its voicing practices do not – and cannot – give an account of the performance’s subject matter, its transcription practices and their clarity-based alignment do in fact succeed in dismantling the regulative correlations between previous notation, live versus recorded (re)enactment, and apparent actuality. Hence, a parallel adumbrates between the artistic and the academic case studies, yet the decisive difference of the academic lies in the attempt of classifying the investigated phenomenon accordingly, despite the fact that the latter is de facto situated within the realm of the “in-vis-able.” framing

announcing

bracket

scientific demonstration

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

performing a tennis serve

practical consolidation

VOICING

framing

TRANSCRIPTION CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

announcing

video-based clarity

on the threshold of Knowing

bracket

explicating illustration by use of video documentation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

replaying

retarding

video-based consolidation

pausing

Figure 21. ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE - synopsis Figure 22: Academic performance – synopsis

This is also the case regarding the academic lecture “Experimental physics 1.” While the framework university eliminates the term “lecture performance,” it is nonetheless revealing to highlight the parallels between this particular lecture and the inquired concept. Within the lecture, a scientific demonstration precedes the application of mathematical formulae, while the formulae allocate and distinguish the physical incident, which, in turn – in the very first instance – rests upon practically realized understanding. On account of this, knowing how and knowing that concur and answer back – allowing knowing how to encompass the potential of mislaying and redefining knowing that. The lecture’s combinatorial practices – very similar to the three lecture performances above – make notions of knowing visible – in the sense of trans-

On the threshold of knowing

parent, coherent, and participatory – and thus communicable in the first place. Knowing emerges in and through its actual encounter. Furthermore, the academically framed lecture “Experimental physics 1” bears resemblance to the conceptual platform of lecture performances in the sense that even though its voicing practices seek to close the gap between that which is announced and done, that which is explained and allocated, and that which is audio-visually proven, alone the act of transcribing presents itself as the elementary component of validating and taking evidence. Knowing exclusively emerges in the unstable act of making available, i.e., the fragmentariness of its transcription, which is, in turn, wholly based on a conglomerate of practical conclusiveness. In this regard, “the truth” testifies to, but is simultaneously displaced by, its clarity-based alignment. framing

announcing

bracket

scientific demonstration

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

performing effective velocity

practical consolidation

VOICING TRANSCRIPTION framing

announcing

CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

bracket

mathematical validation

explicating

KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

applying mathematical formulae

mathematical consolidation

VOICING

framing

TRANSCRIPTION

announcing

CLARITY-BASED ALIGNING

bracket

explicating illustration by use of video documentation KNOWLEDGE PRACTICE

replaying

retarding

video-based consolidation

pausing

22. ACADEMIC LECTURE - synopsis Figure 23: Figure Academic lecture – synopsis

combinatorial clarity

on the threshold of knowing

201

202

On the Threshold of Knowing

Building on this tentative classification of four individual case studies, the concept of lecture performances precisely distinguishes itself through practices of reference and deferment. Inherent to the latter are eight transcription practices, which are characterized through their productive entanglements. (1) Ambiguous lecturer or rather performer positions as well as (2) independent structural principals between the lecture and performance frame as well as its framing (3) evoke a continuous interplay of exhibiting and dislocating the familiar. On account of this (4), the audience encounter and de facto experience the subject matter within and beyond (5) the lecture’s or rather performance’s notation, (re)enactment, and actuality. Following (6), an engaged dialogue, that builds on the productive entanglements of knowing how and knowing that, which in turn do not diverge in substance, but actuate (7) both the “know-able” as well as the “un-know-able” emerges. The dialogue inscribed within lecture performances attests to (8) ambivalent realities, which indicate that knowing how and knowing that do – in part – inevitably foreclose one another. exhibition and dislocation independent structural principles ambiguous lecturer/ performer positions

encounter and experience

transcription from ‘lecture’ to ‘lecture performance’

notation vs. (re)-enactment vs. actuality productive entanglements of knowing how and knowing that

ambivalent realities notions of ‘the know-able’ and ‘un-know-able’

Figure 23. LECTURE PERFORMANCES

Figure 24: Lecture performances Viewed from this angle, the conceptual platform of lecture performances is necessarily informed by notions of permanent debate and redefinition. Both newly align and continuously transform knowing and its inherent space of experience. While knowing how defies accustomed and acknowledged anticipation and coevally prompts the possibility of repositioning knowledge frames and their framings, knowing that is “un-know-able” in the sense that it succumbs to knowing how and, only then, encompasses the possibility of spelling out “something.” In this respect, knowing remains open in its reference, which – as exemplified within the present case studies – evokes knowledge that is not exclusively motivated by the performer, but in particular by the audience participant herself.

On the threshold of knowing

Lecture performances impact on contemporary occurrences at the intersection of knowledge formation and induced regulation, as they present a space in-between, in which knowing is “unhinged” from its acknowledged framework. Knowledge emerges as abrupt, vagrant, and constantly on the threshold. It appears as a moment of inventory prompting and touching on the limits of know-ability. It is performative in the sense that it is continually challenged and attested and must persistently prove itself within and between the artistic and the academic. In this respect, the concept of lecture performances, as an artistic research practice, thrives “on a proliferation of types of creative investigative difference that always-already will tend to resist the incorporation into meta-schemes or systems of knowledge” (Allegue et al. 2009, 15). Precisely the differences ingrained within the lecture, or rather performance, frame and framing allow for a space to exhibit the coalition of the artistic and the academic fields. Here, the boundary between knowing and non-knowing is most instable, undergoing processes of incessant negotiation and designation, provoking the question: “is knowledge inevitably only a product of its circumstances?” Precisely referring to this question, I will, in what is to follow, discuss the interfaces of the artistic and the academic and call their field-dependent boundaries into question.

12.3 B e t ween and be yond art and academia While the present praxeological frame analysis gave insight upon knowledge practices within exemplary academic or rather artistic lectures and performances, it also pointed to the fact that the artistic and the academic framework identify as predefined interpretation schemes, which evoke specific approaches toward particular modes of meaning making. The frameworks directed attention toward selected points of focus, while simultaneously directing attention away from others. Each framework distinguished itself through different expectations regarding its objectives, methodologies, and contributions, facilitating the denotation of its relevant questions and answers to vary to a considerable extent. At the same time, the frame analytical and praxeological perspective revealed that both the artistic as well as the academic fields distinguish themselves through preliminary and discovery-led inquiries relating to field-based specifications. Within, knowledge formation processes positively related to similar knowledge practices that interlocked in an iterative interplay of voicing, transcribing, and aligning. Similar knowledge practices revealed themselves even though they emerged within contrasting frameworks. Over and above, the underlying impetus based on giving the audience practically-applied insight was pivotal to all four case studies. This supports the claim that processes of

203

204

On the Threshold of Knowing

transfer are in fact taking place, which are re-shuffling field-dependent allocations as well as conceptions. Irrespective of the social field, its codified concepts, individual objectives, and methodologies, the analysis revealed that frameworks do not exclusively determine and reinforce individual knowledge practices. Instead, both frameworks were practice-bound through and through, i.e., both frameworks built on the tension of the antecedent notation and its factual (re)enactment – which in turn was linked to its momentary and constantly jeopardized actuality – thus revealing that a form of knowing is incessantly presupposed, at work, and at risk. In the course of this, clarity-based ventures emerged that presented themselves as performative in the sense that they impacted upon and transformed the (un)known, while simultaneously, to borrow the words of Hilary Putnam, not revealing “what the criteria are by which we know which uses of “know” in the future will be legitimate” (1995, 32). To this effect, the present analysis demonstrated that artistic and academic frameworks rest on integrative practices that – first and foremost – allude to reciprocal communicativity. Both the artistic as well as the academic mapped onto practices that provoked knowing how and knowing that to concur and answer back and – on account of this – allow knowledge to appear in and through the actual encounter. While knowing how built on successful accomplishments, it did not represent knowing that, but allowed coherent propositions – adhering to knowing that – to emerge in the first place. Thus, even though both the artistic as well as the academic lectures or rather performances were accompanied by disseminating words, the act of addressing the spatial, the temporal, the bodily, and the sensual was de facto pivotal. In these terms, all of the lectures and the performances marked the displacement from the domain of truth to that of clarity, causing intelligible-sensuous dichotomies to no longer qualify. Instead, knowing continuously emerged on the threshold – as an actual space of experience. The cross-reference of combinatorial, ambiguous, and videobased clarities revealed suspense between the predefined parameters of the “know-able” and the “un-know-able.” Particularly building on their very individually embedded state of suspense, the lectures’ or rather performances’ clarity-based alignment invited the audience in, making it possible to experience, and in the course of this, “know” on one’s own. This provoked a dialogue that demonstrated that knowing – both within the artistic as well as the academic field – is in fact a “product of circumstances” that inevitably builds on vagrant processes of redefinition and is informed by reciprocal interdependency. Sounding the interface revealed the pivotal question: if one actually makes an effort to scrutinize knowledge formation processes within scientific cultures, does an alternative space emerge that acts as an intermediary between and beyond varying modes of field-dependent perception, thinking, and knowing?

On the threshold of knowing

ambiguous clarity

video-based clarity

on the threshold of knowing

combinatorial clarity

ambiguous clarity

Figure 24. on the threshold of knowing

Figure 25: On the threshold of knowing

I propose that while this question does not negate the differences inscribed within established fields, it does acknowledge its diverging cracks for the “liminal.” These cracks are capable of cultivating productive conflicts linked to the fragility, contestability, and limits of knowing. To this effect, I claim that the precariousness linked to the concept of knowledge results from the observation, precisely regarding the realm of the artistic and the academic, of merely “borrowing across the borders,” without de facto scrutinizing the respective relationships between and beyond. With reference to the following analysis, I contend that the artistic as well as the academic lecture or rather performance can take the opportunity to rethink the array of its own praxis and offer impulses to challenge its “products” as well as its “circumstances” linked to its acknowledged field of origin.

12.4 O utlook My study started from the observation that defined boundaries between oppositional, social fields are increasingly becoming non-representative. In the course of my empirical study, my hypothesis was acknowledged that interaction between respective fields results in processes of redefinition that surpass as well as undercut apparent frames and framings and – as exemplified referring to the concept of lecture performances – entails a productive dialogue between the fields. This raises the question of “ownership,” addressing issues of where, how, and by whom boundaries are being drawn. Furthermore, my study asserts that crossing boundaries, or to borrow the words of Goffman “breaking frame” (1974), does not only provoke misunderstanding and potential disagreement, but also deepens understanding regarding contemporary knowledge societies and their mechanisms that influence and control “how we know what we know”

205

206

On the Threshold of Knowing

(Knorr Cetina 2007, 363). From this it is possible to infer that the act of breaking frame alludes to the confrontation of apparent and gridlocked presumptions of what social fields are, or rather, what they are assumed to be. It brings into focus what is de facto going on and renders it possible to act and react accordingly. Precisely regarding the artistic and the academic framework, my study was centered on the question of how knowledge practices reveal themselves between frame-dependency and frame-coalition. In the course of my analysis, three overriding knowledge practices – voicing, transcription, and clarity-based-alignment – emerged. The interplay of the three practices resulted in combinatorial, ambiguous, or rather video-based clarity and exposed the basis on which the artistic or rather academic determinacy as well as indeterminacy was acknowledged and taken into account. The interplay provided a space for (re)negotiating knowledge as possibility rather than fact – in which a space for the unknown and unexpected was inevitably existent. Concerning this matter, it appeared that the concept of lecture performances positions itself at the center of incessant crossovers and is conducive to reciprocal encounters within contemporary knowledge societies and their scientific cultures. Making its appearance to a time within which knowledge is acknowledged as downright productive and the decisive instrument regarding social development, the concept of lecture performances exhibits and cultivates the fragility, contestability, and limits ingrained within acts of knowing. Over and above, lecture performances comment on the fact that, to borrow the words of Knorr Cetina, “everyone knows what science is about,” but “no one is quite sure how scientists and other experts arrive at this knowledge” (Knorr Cetina 2007, 363). Rather, relating to a multifarious composition of transcription practices, lecture performances challenge the very fact that the concept of knowledge is “owned” by the academic field. This has consequences for artists as well as scientists. Regarding the artistic field, lecture performances reveal how the artist positions their work and working approach within the realm of existing discourse. Artists call for artistic and academic acknowledgment and legitimacy, in turn reestablishing the latter. Thus, it is not the curator or the art historian, for example, who places the artwork within its discourse. Instead, the artist herself or himself undergirds that voicing does not define a new practice, but emerges as a practice of clarity-based aligning. This practice invites and at the same time precludes certain types of content. It relates to notions of partaking and making available. To be more precise, self-reflective practices, such as open work, reflexive sampling, inquiry-led arrangements, laboratory settings, and score-based experiments, accompany the artwork, causing the latter to approximate a knowledge setting – maybe even more than an artistic setting. The latter is now connected to transparent procedures, which are concerned with participatory issues. This results in the artwork being – to some extent and phrased in lapidary style – less “artistic.”

On the threshold of knowing

A similar, yet contrary occurrence can be observed within the academic field. With reference to the UNESCO world report Towards knowledge societies, inferring that scientific knowledge formation is on trial in the sense that it is less linear, authoritarian, and discipline-bound, yet in the course of this, more complex (cf. UNESCO 2005, 115), the present analysis revealed that the scientific field pertains to notions of sharing knowledge that call for interest and debate beyond the clearly pegged scientific field. To be more precise, the interplay of voicing and clarity-based aligning, similar to the artistic field, is connected to transparent procedures, which are concerned with the issue of partaking and addressing a wider audience, possibly an audience that is not easily predictable and might not affiliate oneself with the academic framework. In these terms, practices of sharing knowledge do not only give insight – in the sense that the process linked to knowledge formation becomes transparent and thus inclusive – but in fact calls for partaking and shared engagement. This results in the scientific work being – to some extent and phrased in lapidary style – less “scientific” and more performative. These observations support the claim that the concept of lecture performances accounts for notions of transcription within and beyond the artistic, or rather academic, field, resulting in a diversification of field-specific practices. What this means is twofold. Firstly, the artistic, or rather academic praxis, is subject to processes of transformation, calling that, which counts as artistic, or rather academic, to be on trial. Secondly, and this inevitably links to the first issue, the artist’s, or rather scientist’s, status and positioning, within and beyond the social field they are affiliated to, succumbs to variation. Regarding both observations, the concept of lecture performances concisely gives insight into these joint practices of transcription that transpire within and across social fields. Precisely regarding the concept of knowledge, lecture performances advance reflection upon contemporary occurrences, pointing to the fact that intelligible-sensuous dichotomies no longer qualify. Rather, the concept of lecture performances particularly distinguishes itself through accommodating a field-comprehensive occurrence that marks the displacement from the domain of truth to that of clarity. Building on this, the analysis corroborated the hypothesis that – ingrained within the arrangements of scientific cultures – knowledge emerges as a space of experience, which rests upon the consolidating juxtaposition and cross-reference of knowing how and knowing that. My empirical findings facilitated the emergence of a knowledge concept that – alluding to Ryle – is not only a social phenomenon that produces and reproduces itself, but – in addition – builds upon continual (re)negotiations that inevitably display themselves as “partial.” Knowing touches upon the non-priori deterministic relationship of complex practices, which derive from multiple, and at times, conflicting nexus of doings and sayings, necessarily confronting the concept of

207

208

On the Threshold of Knowing

knowledge with the ingrained gap of discourse and praxis and the methodological problem of plausibility. Knowing how inevitably encompasses the potential to mislay and redefine knowing that. To this effect, my study did not, first and foremost, exemplify the application of theoretical considerations, but went further in the sense that it provided a conceptual and methodological tool to gain insight into contingent practices that are difficult to grasp. Hence, by asking what lectures or rather performances know rather than what they are, it was possible to pinpoint the displacement of knowledge from the domain of truth to that of clarity – regardless of the artistic or academic field. The conceptual and methodological tool increased recognition regarding knowledge as a matter of doings. It contributed to an understanding of how knowledge might emerge, beyond – though not excluding – verbal statements. To be more precise, the praxeological frame analysis presented itself as a tool, which elucidated socially situated ways in which knowledge becomes intelligible and manifests itself. It presented itself as a tool that encompasses the potential to unpack hermeneutic and empirical binaries between art and academia. Over and above, the praxeological and frame analytical approach sharpened the focus on the interrelated processes of redefinition. It bridged the gap between lecturing and performing, accommodating knowledge formation as subject to contestation and allowing the investigation of “know-ability” – between sustainability and transformation – to position itself between academic as well as artistic research positions and to be applied across the disciplines. Looking further, the conceptual as well as the methodological tool of a praxeological frame analysis encompasses the potential to re-evaluate the over-determined knowledge concept, as it emanates from the notion that praxis is always more than it knows itself to be. Irrespective of the artistic or academic field, the conceptual and methodological tool provides a space for examining the gradual transitions of how knowing comports itself at the interface of knowing how and knowing that, made comprehensible through knowing what (cf. Nelson 2013). In this respect, my study can be classified as a first starting point. Further research should be inspired to not neglect the dialogue between the fields, but to address – each time anew – the question of where, how, and by whom boundaries are being drawn. Crossing the boundaries, or – to borrow the words of Goffman – “breaking frame,” can reveal the mechanisms that influence and control “knowledge” versus “non-knowledge.” To this effect, breaking frame can confront apparent and gridlocked presumptions of what knowledge is, or rather, what it might be. In this context, it is worthwhile to mention that engaged dialogue does incline and predispose social fields to question the distinctions that are pertinent to the logic inherent to their praxis. Dialogue induces convergence just as it induces sharing across the fields. This interplay betwixt and between self-evident compliance and ambiguous difference can reveal itself as highly insightful and worthy of further research.

Acknowledgments Writing this dissertation has been quite an endeavor – but also a very rewarding one. It would not have been possible without the help of particular individuals and institutions. Firstly, I thank the academic committee at the Universität Hamburg, in particular my supervisor Professor Dr. Gabriele Klein for supporting and promoting this project. Her encouragement and suggestions highly enriched this dissertation. My thanks also go to Professor Dr. Annemarie Matzke for her supervision and valuable explanatory notes regarding the publication of my dissertation. I also thank Pamela Goroncy for hours of discussion and debate regarding the study’s figures and graphic design. The many points and questions raised gave the incentive to reevaluate my working process and clear up inconsistencies and ambiguities in the text. My thanks also go to Dr. Melanie Haller for generously reading and commenting on the manuscript. I am very grateful for her encouragement and suggestions. I also thank Heike Lüken and Dr. Gitta Barthel for taking the time to respond to my questions, give clarification, and discuss core concepts. My thanks also go to the other members of Gabriele Klein’s colloquia for their criticism and support. Secondly, my thanks also to the directors, mentors, and members of a.pass (advanced performance and sceneography studies), who highly inspired my research from a practically-applied point of view. My particular thanks goes to Elke van Campenhout, Ana Hoffner, and Nicolas Galeazzi. I also thank Eszter Salamon and Professor Dr. Michael Vollmer for providing me with additional information regarding their performances and lectures, and answering any questions I had. I also thank Laura Kuhn from the John Cage Trust for allowing me access to the audio recording of “Lecture on nothing.” The trust’s friendly and personal attention made my research period in situ a great pleasure. Also a big thank you to Beverly, Alan, and Dan Lipper for supporting my research in upstate New York. Thank you to the Graduate School Media and Communication, Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, and a.pass for granting me with generous research grants that allowed me to squarely focus on my subject-led inquiries.

14. Appendix 14.1 B ooks and journals Allegue, Ludivine et al., ed. 2009. Practice as research in performances and screen. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Ammon, Sabine. 2009. Wissen Verstehen: Perspektiven einer prozessualen Theorie der Erkenntnis. Weilerswist: Vellbrück. Austin, John. 1962. How to do things with words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Auslander, Philip. 1997. From acting to performance: essays in modernism and postmodernism. London/New York: Routledge. Banes, Sally. 1998. Subversive expectations: performance art and paratheater in New York 1976–85. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Barnes, Barry. 2001. “Practice as collective action.” In The practice turn in contemporary theory, ed. Theodore Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina, and Eike von Savigny, 17–28. London/New York: Routledge. Barrett, Estelle and Barbara Bolt, eds. 2010. Practice as research. Approaches to creative enquiry. London: Tauris. Bateson, Gregory. 1955. “A theory of play and fantasy: a report on theoretical aspects of the project for the study of the role of paradoxes of abstraction in communication.” In Approaches to the study of human personality, ed. American Psychiatric Association, psychiatric research reports 2, 39–51. Bell, Daniel. 1973. The coming of post-industrial society: a venture in social forecasting. New York: Basic Books. Benamou, Michel. 1977. “Presence and play.” In Performance in postmodern culture, ed. Michel Benamou and Charles Caramello, 3–7. Madison, WI: Coda Press. Benschop, Ruth, Peter Peters, and Brita Lemmens. 2014. “Artistic researching. Expositions as matters of concern.” In The exposition of artistic research. Publishing art in academia, ed. Michael Schwab and Henk Borgdorff, 39–51. Leiden: Leiden University Press. Biggs, Michael and Henrik Karlsson. 2011. The Routledge companion to research in the arts. London/New York: Routledge.

212

On the Threshold of Knowing

Bohr, Niels. 1987. The philosophical writings of Niels Bohr. Vol. 3. Ox Bow: Woodbridge. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a theory of practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. – 1990. The logic of practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Stanford: Stanford University Press. – 1993. The field of cultural production. Cambridge/Oxford: Polity Press. Borgdorff, Henk. 2008. Artistic research within the fields of science. Available at: www.utbildning.gu.se/digitalAssets/1322/1322679_artistic-research-within-the-fields-of-science.pdf [accessed May 14, 2014]. – 2009. “Die Debatte über Forschung in der Kunst.” In subTexte 03, ed. Anton Rey and Stefan Schöbi, 23–51. Zürich: Züricher Hochschule der Künste. – 2011. “The production of knowledge in artistic research.” In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, ed. Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson, 44–63. London/New York: Routledge. – 2012. The conflict of the faculties. Perspectives on artistic research and academia. Leiden: Leiden University Press. Bormann, Hans-Friedrich and Gabriele Brandstetter. 1999. “An der Schwelle. Performance als Forschungslabor.” In Schreiben auf Wasser. Performative Verfahren in Kunst, Wissenschaft und Bildung, ed. Hanne Seitz, 45–56. Essen: Klartext. Bormann, Hans-Friedrich. 2005. Verschwiegene Stille: John Cages performative Ästhetik. München: Wilhelm Fink. Brandstetter, Gabriele. 1999. “Geschichte(n) erzählen im Performance/Theater der neunziger Jahre.” In Transformationen. Theater der neunziger Jahre, ed. Erika Fischer-Lichte, Doris Kolesch und Christel Weiler, 27–42. Berlin: Theater der Zeit. – 2004. “Aufführung und Aufzeichnung – Kunst der Wissenschaft?” In Kunst der Aufführung – Aufführung der Kunst, ed. Erika Fischer-Lichte, 40–50. Berlin: Theater der Zeit. Bürger, Peter. 1984. Theory of the avant-garde. Translated by Michael Shaw. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Busch, Kathrin. 2011. “Generating knowledge in the arts – a philosophical daydream.” Texte zur Kunst 20, no. 82 (issue artistic research): 70–79. Butler, Judith. 1990. “The force of fantasy: feminism, mapplethorpe, and discursive excess.” In Differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies 2, no. 2: 105–25. – 1997. Excitable speech: a politics of the performative. London/New York: Routledge. – 2002. “What is critique. An essay on Foucault’s virtue.” In The political: readings in continental philosophy, ed. David Ingram, 212–26. London: Basil

Appendix

Blackwell. Available at: http://transform.eipcp.net/transversal/0806/butler/en/print [accessed April 1, 2015]. – 2013. “Von der Performativität zur Prekarität.” In Performing the future. Die Zukunft der Performativitätsforschung, ed. Erika Fischer-Lichte and Kristiane Hasselmann, 27–40. München: Wilhelm Fink. Cage, John. 1961. Silence: lectures and writings by John Cage. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. – 1970 [1968]. “Defense of Satie.” In John Cage, ed. Richard Kostelanetz, 77–84. New York: Praeger. Carlson, Marvin. 1996. Performance. An introduction. London/New York: Routledge. Carroll, Nöel. 1986. “Performance.” In Formations 3, no. 1: 63–79. Certeau, Michel de. 1984. The practice of everyday life. Translated by Steven Rendall. Berkeley: University of California Press. Charles, Daniel and John Cage. 1978. “For the birds.” In Semiotexte 3, no.1: 24–35. Clifford, James. 1988. The predicament of culture: twentieth-century ethnography, literature, and art. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Csórdas, Thomas. 1993. “Somatic modes of attention.” In Cultural anthropology 8: 135–56. Davey, Nicholas. 2006. “Art and theoria.” In Thinking through art, ed. Katy Macleod and Lin Holridge, 20–29. London/New York: Routledge. Denzin, Norman and Charles Keller. 1981. “Frame analysis reconsidered.” In Contemporary Sociology 10, no. 1: 52–60. Dewey, John. 1916. “An added note as to the practical.” In Essays in experimental logic, ed. John Dewey, 330–34. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. – 1929. The quest for certainty: a study on the relation of knowledge and action. New York: Milton, Balch & Co. Diamond, Elin. 1996. Performance and cultural politics. London/New York: Routledge. Dombois, Florian. 2006. “Kunst als Forschung. Ein Versuch, sich selbst eine Anleitung zu entwerfen.” In HKB/HEAB, ed. Hochschule der Künste, 23– 31. Bern: Bern University Press. Drew, Paul and Anthony Wootton, ed. 1987. Erving Goffman: exploring the interactional order. Oxford: Polity Press. Drucker, Peter. 1993. Post-capitalist society. New York: HarperCollins. Dufrêne, Thierry. 2008. “Das Institut des Hautes Études en Arts plastiques de Paris (1988–1995). Eine Utopie ohne Zukunft?” In Kunstausbildung. Aneignung und Vermittlung künstlerischer Kompetenz, ed. Peter Johannes Schneemann and Wolfgang Brückle, 21–34. München: Verlag Silke Schreiber.

213

214

On the Threshold of Knowing

Eberle, Thomas Samuel. 1991. “Rahmenanalyse und Lebensweltanalyse.” In Erving Goffman. Ein soziologischer Klassiker der zweiten Generation, ed. Karl Lenz and Robert Hettlage, 155–210. Bern: Haupt. Elo, Mika. 2014. “Notes on media sensitivity in artistic research.” In The exposition of artistic research. Publishing art in academia, ed. Michael Schwab and Henk Borgdorff, 25–38. Leiden: Leiden University Press. Ernst, Wolf-Dieter. 2003. “Die Lecture-Performance als dichte Beschreibung.” In TheorieTheaterPraxis, ed. Hajo Kurzenberger and Annemarie Matzke, 192–201. Berlin: Theater der Zeit. Etherington, Kim. 2004. Becoming a reflexive researcher. London/Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley. Féral, Josette. 1982. “Performance and theatricality: The subject demystified.” In Modern drama 25, no. 1: 170–81. Fetterman, William. 1991. John Cage’s theatre pieces: notations and performances. AnnArbor, MI: University Microfilms International. Feyerabend, Paul. 1990. Against method. London/New York: Verso. Fischer-Lichte, Erika. 2001. “Vom ‹Text› zur ‹Performance›. ‹Der performative Turn› in den Kulturwissenschaften.” In Schnittstelle: Medien und Kulturwissenschaften, ed. Georg Stanzitzek and Wilhelm Vosskamp, 111–15. Köln: DuMont. – 2004. Ästhetik des Performativen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. – 2012. Die Aufführung. Diskurs – Macht – Analyse. München: Wilhelm Fink. Foucault, Michel. 1969. L’Archéologie du savoir. Paris: Gallimard. – 1974a. Die Ordnung der Dinge: eine Archäologie der Humanwissenschaften. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. – 1974b. Die Ordnung des Diskurses. Inauguralvorlesung am Collège de France – 2. Dezember 1970. München: Hanser. – 1990. “What is critique?” In Bulletin de la société française de la philosophie 2, no. 84: 35–63. Also published in: The politics of truth, ed. Sylvère Lotringer and Lysa Hochroth, New York: Semiotext(e). – 1995 [1975]. Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage. Garfinkel, Harold. 1967. Studies in ethnomethodology. New Jersey: Engelwood Cliffs. Garfinkel, Harold and Harvey Sacks. 1970. “On formal structures of practical action.“ In Theoretical sociology, ed. John McKinney and Edward Tiryakian, 338–66. Appleton-Century-Crofts: New York. Gebhardt, Winfried, Ronald Hitzler, and Michaela Pfadenhauer. 2000. Events. Soziologie des Außergewöhnlichen. Opladen: Leske+Budrich. Gibbons, Michael. 1994. The new production of knowledge: the dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London: Thousand Oaks.

Appendix

Giddens, Anthony. 1979. Central problems in social theory: action, structure and contradiction in social analysis. London: Macmillan. – 1984. The constitution of society: outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge/Oxford: Polity Press. Goffman, Erving. 1959. The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday. – 1961. Encounters: two studies in the sociology of interaction. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company. – 1974. Frame analysis. An essay on the organization of experience. Boston: Northeastern University Press. – 1981. “The lecture.” In Forms of talk, ed. Erving Goffman, 160–95. Oxford: Blackwell. Golinski, Jan. 1992. Science as public culture. Chemistry and enlightenment in Britain 1760-1820. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Gronau, Barbara. 2012. “Ausstellen und Aufführen. Performative Dimensionen zeitgenössischer Kunsträume.” In Die Aufführung. Diskurs – Macht – Analyse, ed. Erika Fischer-Lichte et al., 35–48. München: Wilhelm Fink. Hannula, Mika, Juha Suoranta, and Tere Vadén. 2005. Artistic research: theories, methods and practices. Helsinki: Academy of Fine Arts. Haseman, Brad. 2010 [2007]. “Rupture and recognition: identifying the performative research paradigm.” In Practice as research: approaches to creative arts enquiry, ed. Estelle Barrett and Barbara Bolt, 147–58. London: Tauris. Heath, Christian. 1997. “The analysis of activities in face to face interaction using video.” In Qualitative research. Theory, method and practice, ed. David Silverman, 183–200. London: Sage. Helguera, Pablo. 2009. Theatrum anatomicum (and other performance lectures). New York: Jorge Pinto Books. Hettlage, Robert. 1991. “Goffman als Klassiker der zweiten Generation.“ In Erving Goffman. Ein soziologischer Klassiker der zweiten Generation, ed. Karl Lenz and Robert Hettlage, 385–438. Bern: Haupt. Hirschauer, Stefan. 1999. “Die Praxis der Fremdheit und die Minimierung von Anwesenheit. Eine Fahrstuhlfahrt.“ In Soziale Welt 50: 221–46. Available at: www.soziologie.uni-mainz.de/FB02/hirschauer/Dateien/Hirschauer_ Praxis_des_Fahrstuhlfahrens.pdf [accessed November 23, 2013]. – 2004. “Praktiken und ihre Körper. Über materielle Partizipanden des Tuns.” In Doing culture: neue Positionen zum Verhältnis von Kultur und sozialer Praxis, ed. Karl Hörning, 73–91. Bielefeld: transcript. – 2008. “Körper macht Wissen – Für eine Somatisierung des Wissensbegriffs.” In Die Natur der Gesellschaft. Verhandlungen des 33. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Kassel, ed. Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, 974–84. Frankfurt: Campus.

215

216

On the Threshold of Knowing

Holert, Tom. 2009. “Art in the knowledge-based polis.” e-flux journal 3. Available at www.e-flux.com/journal/view/40 [accessed February 11, 2009]. Hörning, Karl and Julia Reuter, ed. 2004. Doing culture: neue Positionen zum Verhältnis von Kultur und sozialer Praxis. Bielefeld: transcript. Hughes, Rolf. 2014. “Exposition.” In The exposition of artistic research. Publishing art in academia, ed. Michael Schwab and Henk Borgdorff, 52–64. Leiden: Leiden University Press. Huizinga, Johann. 1949. Homo ludens: a study in the play-element in culture. London/New York: Routledge. Husemann, Pirkko. 2005. “Die anwesende Abwesenheit künstlerischer Arbeitsprozesse. Zum Aufführungsformat der lecture performance.” In Maske und Kothurn: internationale Beiträge zur Theaterwissenschaft 51, no. 1: 85–97. Hymes, Dell. 1971. “Sociolinguistics and the ethnography of speaking.” In Social anthropology and language, ed. Edwin Ardener, 47–93. London: Tavistock Publications. James, William. 1950. Principles of psychology. Vol. 2. New York: Dover. Jentjens, Kathrin, et al. 2009. “Introduction.” In Lecture performance, ed. Kölnischer Kunstverein and Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, 5–7. Berlin: Revolver Publishing. Johnson-Cartee, Karen. 2005. News narratives and news framing. Constructing political reality. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Kaye, Nick. 1994. Postmodernism and performance. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Kershaw, Baz. 1999. The radical in performance. Between Brecht and Baudrillard. London/New York: Routledge. Klein, Gabriele, Gitta Barthel, and Esther Wagner. 2011. Choreografischer Baukasten/Modulheft Komposition. Bielefeld: transcript. Knoblauch, Hubert. 2004. “Video-Interaktionsanalyse”. In Sozialer Sinn 1: 123–138. Knoblauch, Hubert et al., ed. 2006. Video analysis: methodology and methods. Qualitative audiovisual data analysis in sociology. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Knorr Cetina, Karin. 1999. Epistemic cultures. How the sciences produce knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. – 2002. Wissenskulturen. Ein Vergleich naturwissenschaftlicher Wissensformen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. – 2007. “Culture in global knowledge societies: knowledge cultures and epistemic cultures.” In Interdisciplinary science reviews 32, no. 4: 361–75. Kolesch, Doris. 2013. “Stimmen Hören. Performativität und die Erforschung der auditiven Kultur.” In Performing the future. Die Zukunft der Performativitätsforschung, ed. Erika Fischer-Lichte und Kristiane Hasselmann. München: Wilhelm Fink.

Appendix

Kuhn, Thomas. 1992. The trouble with the historical philosophy of science. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Ladnar, Daniel. 2013. “The lecture performance: contexts of lecturing and performing.” PhD diss., Aberystwyth University. Lange, Barbara. 1999. Joseph Beuys – Richtkräfte einer neuen Gesellschaft. Der Mythos vom Künstler als Gesellschaftsreformer. Berlin: Reimer. Latour, Bruno. 1987. Science in action: how to follow scientists and engineers through society. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. – 2005. Reassembling the social. An introduction to actor-network theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Laurier, Eric. 2006. “Natural problems of naturalistic video data.” In Video analysis: methodology and methods. Qualitative audiovisual data analysis in sociology, ed. Hubert Knoblauch et al., 183–92. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Lenz, Karl and Robert Hettlage, ed. 1991. Erving Goffman. Ein soziologischer Klassiker der zweiten Generation. Bern: Haupt. Leonard, Dorothy and Sylvia Sensiper. 1998. “The role of tacit knowledge in group innovation.” In California management review 40: 112–32. Lynch, Michael. 2001. “Ethnomethodology and the logic of practice.” In The practice turn in contemporary theory, ed. Theodore Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina, and Eike von Savigny, 131–48. London/New York: Routledge. Lyotard, Jean-Francois. 1984. The postmodern condition: a report on knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. MacAloon, John. 1984. Rite, drama, festival, spectacle: rehearsals toward a theory of cultural performance. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues. MacLachlan, Gale and Ian Reid. 1994. Framing and interpretation. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Mahnkopf, Claus-Steffen, ed. 1999. Mythos Cage. Hofheim: Wolke. McKenzie, Jon. 2001. Perform or else: from discipline to performance. London/ New York: Routledge. McVittie, Fred. 2009. “The role of conceptual metaphor within knowledge paradigms.” PhD diss., Manchester Metropolitan University. Milder, Patricia. 2011. “Teaching as art. The contemporary lecture-performance.” In PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 97: 13–27. Müller, Klaus. 1984. Rahmenanalyse des Dialogs. Aspekte des Sprachverstehens in Alltagssituationen. Tübingen: Narr. Nelson, Robin. 2013. Practice as research in the arts. Principles, protocols, pedagogies, resistances. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Nowotny, Helga, Peter Scott, and Michael Gibbons. 2001. Rethinking science: knowledge and the public. Cambridge/Oxford: Polity Press.

217

218

On the Threshold of Knowing

Patterson, David. 2002. “Words and writings.” In The Cambridge companion to John Cage, ed. David Nicholls, 85–99. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Peters, Sibylle. 2010. “The Performance of performance research: a report from Germany.” In Contesting performance. Global sites of research, ed. Jon McKenzie, Heike Roms, and C. J. W.-L. Wee, 153–67. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. – 2011. Der Vortrag als Performance. Bielefeld: transcript. – 2013. “Das Forschen aller – Ein Vorwort.” In Das Forschen aller. Artistic Research als Wissensproduktion zwischen Kunst, Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft, ed. Sibylle Peters, 7–21. Bielefeld: transcript. – 2014. “Präsentieren = Forschen? Zur Herleitung eines experimentellen Lecture Theaters.” In ArteFakte: Wissen ist Kunst – Kunst ist Wissen. Reflektionen und Praktiken wissenschaftlich-künstlerischer Begegnungen, 489–96. Bielefeld: transcript. Phelan, Peggy. 1993. Unmarked. The politics of performance. London/New York: Routledge. Polanyi, Michael. 1958. Personal knowledge. Towards a post-critical philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. – 1966. The tacit dimension. London/New York: Routledge. Polanyi, Michael and Prosch, Harry, eds. 1975. Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pontbriand, Chantal. 1982. “The eye finds no fixed point on which to rest . . . ,” In Modern Drama 25, no. 1: 154–62. Putnam, Hilary. 1995. Pragmatism: an open question. Oxford: Blackwell. Raab, Jürgen. 2008. Erving Goffman. Konstanz: UVK. Reason, Matthew. 2006. Documentation, disappearance and the representation of live performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Reckwitz, Andreas. 2003. “Basic elements of a theory of social practices. A perspective in social theory.” In Zeitschrift für Soziologie 32, no. 4: 282–301. – 2004. “Die Reproduktion und die Subversion sozialer Praktiken. Zugleich ein Kommentar zu Pierre Bourdieu und Judith Butler.” In Doing culture: neue Positionen zum Verhältnis von Kultur und sozialer Praxis, ed. Karl Hörning, 40–54. Bielefeld: transcript. – 2008. “Praktiken und Diskurse: eine sozialtheoretische und methodologische Relation.” In Theoretische Empirie, ed. Herbert Kalthoff, Gesa Lindemann, and Stefan Hirschauer, 188–209. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Regelski, Thomas. 2006. “Music appreciation as praxis.” In Music Education Research 8, no. 2: 281–310. Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg, ed. 1997. Räume des Wissens. Repräsentation, Codierung, Spur. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

Appendix

– 2005. “Nichtverstehen und Forschen.” In Kultur nicht Verstehen. Produktives Nichtverstehen und Verstehen als Gestaltung, ed. Juerg Albrecht et al., 75–81. Zürich: Edition Voldemeer. – 2014. “Experimentalanordnungen in Wissenschaft und Kunst.” In ArteFakte: Wissen ist Kunst – Kunst ist Wissen. Reflektionen und Praktiken wissenschaftlich-künstlerischer Begegnungen, 307–19. Bielefeld: transcript. Riley, Shannon Rose. 2013. “Why performance as research? A US perspective.” In Practice as research in the arts. Principles, protocols, pedagogies, resistances, ed. Robin Nelson, 175–87, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Rogoff, Irit. 2008. “Turning”. In E-flux journal 0. Available at: www.e-flux.com/ journal/turning/ [accessed September 19, 2014]. Román, David. 1998. Acts of intervention: performance, gay culture, and AIDS. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Rye, Caroline. 2003. “Incorporating practice: a multi-viewpoint approach to performance documentation.” In Journal of media practice 3, no. 2: 115–23. Ryle, Gilbert. 1945–1946. “Knowing how and knowing that: the presidential address.” In Proceedings of the aristotelian society 46: 1–16. – 1949. “Knowing how and knowing that.” In The concept of mind, ed. Gilbert Ryle, 26-60. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Sandkühler, Hans-Jörg, ed. 2002. “Wissenskulturen, Überzeugungen und die Rechtfertigung von Wissen.” In Repräsentation und Wissenskulturen, ed. Hans-Jörg Sandkühler, 25–38. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Schatzki, Theodore. 1996. “Social practices.” In A Wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. – 2001. “Introduction: practice theory.” In The practice turn in contemporary theory, ed. Theodore Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina, and Eike von Savigny, 1–14. London/New York: Routledge. – 2001. “Practice mind-ed orders.” In The practice turn in contemporary theory, ed. Theodore Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina, and Eike von Savigny, 50–63. London/New York: Routledge. – 2014. “Art bundles.” In Artistic practices. Social interactions and cultural dynamics, ed. Tasos Zembylas, 17–31. London/New York: Routledge. Schechner, Richard. 2002. Performance studies. An introduction. London/New York: Routledge. Schmidt, Robert. 2012. Soziologie der Praktiken. Konzeptionelle Studien und empirische Analysen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Searle, John. 1969. Speech acts. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Sheikh, Simon. 2012. “Spaces for thinking. Perspectives on the art academy.” In Pavilion. Journal for politics and culture 16: 76–83. Available at: www.pavilionmagazine.org/download/pavilion_16.pdf [accessed December 15, 2014]. Shephard, Simon and Mick Wallis. 2006. Drama/theatre/performance. London/ New York: Routledge.

219

220

On the Threshold of Knowing

Schindler, Larissa. 2011. Kampffertigkeit: eine Soziologie praktischen Wissens. Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius. Seckler, Dorothy Gees. 1966. “The artist speaks: Robert Rauschenberg.” In Art in America 54: 72–84. Schwab, Michael and Henk Borgdorff (ed.). 2014. The exposition of artistic research. Publishing art in academia. Leiden: Leiden University Press. Siegmund, Gerald. 2006. Abwesenheit. Eine performative Ästhetik des Tanzes. William Forsythe, Jérôme Bel, Xavier Le Roy, Meg Stuart. Bielefeld: transcript. Singer, Milton. 1959. Traditional India: structure and change. Philadelphia: The American Folklore Society. – 1972. When a great tradition modernizes: an anthropological approach to modern civilization. New York: Praeger. Smith, Hazel and Roger Dean, ed. 2009. Practice-led-research, research-led practice in the creative arts. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Singerman, Howard. 1999. Art subjects. Making artists in the American university. Berkeley: University of California Press. Snow, David et al. 1986. “Frame alignment processes, micromobilization, and movement participation.“ In American sociological review 51: 464–81. Steyerl, Hito. 2010. “Ästhetik des Widerstands? Künstlerische Forschung als Disziplin und Konflikt.” Available at: www.eipcp.net/transversal/0311/steyerl/de [accessed August 11, 2014]. Stiles, Kristine. 1998. “Uncorrupted joy: international art actions.” In Out of actions: between performance and the object, 1949–1979, ed. Paul Schimmel, 227–329. Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art/Thames & Hudson. Tannen, Deborah, ed. 1993. Framing in discourse. New York: Oxford University Press. Taylor, Charles. 1995. “To follow a rule.” In Philosophical arguments, ed. Charles Taylor, 165–80. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Tröndle, Martin and Julia Warmers, eds. 2011. Kunstforschung als ästhetische Wissenschaft. Beiträge zur transdisziplinären Hybridisierung von Wissenschaft und Kunst. Bielefeld: transcript. UNESCSO, 2005. Towards knowledge societies. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Available at: www.unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001418/141843e.pdf [accessed June 8, 2015]. Vanden Heuvel, Michael. 1991. Performing drama/ dramatizing performance: alternative theater and the dramatic text. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Vujanovic, Ana and Jelena Vesic. 2009. “Performance as research and production of knowledge in art.” In Lecture Performance, ed. Kölnischer Kunstverein and Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, 45–56. Berlin: Revolver Publishing.

Appendix

Wagner, Marianne. 2009. “Doing lectures. Performative lectures as a framework for artistic action.” In Lecture Performance, ed. Kölnischer Kunstverein and Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, 17–30. Berlin: Revolver Publishing. – 2013. “Lecture-Performance. Sprechakte als Aufführungskunst seit 1950.” PhD diss., University of Bern. Willems, Herbert. 1997. Rahmen und Habitus. Zum theoretischen und methodischen Ansatz Erving Goffmans. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Williams, Alastair. 2002. “Cage and postmodernism.” In The Cambridge companion to John Cage, ed. David Nicholls, 227–41. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1958. Philosophical investigations. Oxford: Blackwell. Zarrilli, Phillip. 1986. “Towards a definition of performance studies, part I and II.” In Theatre Journal 10: 372–76 and Theatre Journal 11: 493–96. Zembylas, Tasos, ed. 2014. Artistic practices. Social interactions and cultural dynamics. London/New York: Routledge. – 2014. “The concept of practice and the sociology of the arts.” In Artistic practices. Social interactions and cultural dynamics, ed. Tasos Zembylas, 7–16. London/ New York: Routledge.

14.2 I nterne t sources a.pass – Advanced performance and sceneography studies website. Available at: www.apass.be/apass/index.php?cnt=31 [accessed April 24, 2013]. Journal for artistic research. Available at: www.jar-online.net/ [accessed October 23, 2014]. Kampnagel website. Available at: www.kampnagel.de/en/service/about_kampnagel. [accessed June 24, 2014]. Performing Science2- Competition. Available at: www.performingscience.de/ [accessed November 7, 2013] Xavier Le Roy website. Available at: www.xavierleroy.com/page.php?sp=5ff3b0bfa8cfe85dab0293c2ce0dd7ca7be0a037&lg=en [accessed October 23, 2014].

14.3 I ntervie ws Bernard, Paul. 2009. “Phone interview “Product of circumstances.” April 6, 2009. Available at: www.xavierleroy.com/page.php?id=21ddca3960a8c08a53 07d88908b3a8f597aea2fc&lg=fr [accessed October 23, 2014].

221

222

On the Threshold of Knowing

Chapuis, Yvane. 2011. “Création contemporaine au collège des Bernardins.” In Questions d’artistes 1. Available at: www.xavierleroy.com/page.php?id=e98d3 d6e5933206113c5ec0a728dc7696aa81f ba&lg=fr [accessed October 23, 2014]. Rainer, Lucia. 2013. “Interview with Eszter Salamon.” May 16, 2013. Rainer, Lucia. 2014. “Interview with Laura Kuhn from the John Cage Trust.” April 8, 2014.

14.4 P erformances and performance scrip ts Bel, Jérôme. 2004. “The last performance – a lecture.” – 2004. “Véronique Doisneau.” – 2006. “Pitchet Kluchun and myself.” – 2009. “Lutz Förster.” Deufert & Plischke. 2003. “Directory.” Dominguez, Juan. 2002. “All good spies are my age.” Hoffner, Ana. 2010. “Was ist Kunst – A product of circumstances?” Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Innsbruck. Husemann, Pirkko. 2004. “Die anwesende Abwesenheit künstlerischer Arbeitsprozesse. Zum Aufführungsformat der lecture-performance.” Available at: www.unfriendly-takeover.de/downloads/f14_husemann_text.pdf [accessed October 23, 2014]. Laughlin, Zoe. 2008. “The performativity of matter.” Lehmen, Thomas. 1999. “Distanzlos.” – 2002. “Schreibstück.” – 2004. “Funktionen.” Le Roy, Xavier. 1999. “Product of circumstances.” Nachbar, Martin. 2008. “Urheben Aufheben.” Roller, Jochen. 2002/2003/2004. “Perform performing trilogy.” Sabisch, Petra. 2002. “Körper, kontaminiert. Ein Versuch mit Randnoten zur Performance “Product of Circumstances.” In de figura. Rhetorik – Bewegung – Gestalt, ed. Gabriele Brandstetter and Sibylle Peters, 311–26. München: Wilhelm Fink. Salamon, Eszter. 2010. “Dance for nothing.” Sehgal, Tino. 2003. “Untitled 1997–2003.”

14.5 Table of figures Figure 1: Academic lecture – scientific demonstration Figure 2: Academic lecture – mathematical validation Figure 3: Academic lecture – illustration by use of video documentation

Appendix

Figure 4: Academic lecture – combinatorial clarity Figure 5: Artistic lecture – bracket reference Figure 6: Artistic lecture – reference Figure 7: Artistic lecture – transcription Figure 8: Artistic lecture – ambiguous clarity Figure 9: Performances Figure 10: Artistic performance – reference Figure 11: Artistic performance – transcription Figure 12: Artistic performance – ambiguous clarity Figure 13: Academic performance – scientific demonstration Figure 14: Academic performance – illustration by use of video documentation Figure 15: Academic performance – video-based clarity Figure 16: Academic lecture – overriding knowledge practices Figure 17: Artistic lecture – overriding knowledge practices Figure 18: Artistic performance – overriding knowledge practices Figure 19: Academic performance – overriding knowledge practices Figure 20: Artistic lecture– synopsis Figure 21: Artistic performance – synopsis Figure 22: Academic performance – synopsis Figure 23: Academic lecture – synopsis Figure 24: Lecture performances Figure 25: On the threshold of knowing

14.6 V isuals Visuals 1–8: Vollmer, “Experimental physics 1” (2013), video-stills by the author. Visuals 9–12: Vollmer, “Experimental physics 1” (2013), video-stills by the author. Visuals 13–15: Vollmer, “Experimental physics 1” (2013), video-stills by the author. Visual 16: Cage, John. 1961. Silence: lectures and writings by John Cage. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press: 121. Visuals 17–19: Cage, John. 1961. Silence: lectures and writings by John Cage. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press: 121-22. Visuals 20–24: Salamon, “Dance for nothing” (2010), video-stills by the author. Visuals 25–55: Salamon, “Dance for nothing” (2010), video-stills by the author. Visuals 56–64: Vollmer and Möllmann, “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras” (2011), video-stills by the author. Visuals 65–71: Vollmer and Möllmann, “Making research experiential – fascinating phenomena observed through high-speed cameras” (2011), video-stills by the author.

223

Theater- und Tanzwissenschaft Marc Wagenbach, Pina Bausch Foundation (Hg.) Tanz erben Pina lädt ein 2014, 192 S., kart., zahlr. Abb., 29,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8376-2771-8 E-Book: 26,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-2771-2

Marc Wagenbach, Pina Bausch Foundation (eds.) Inheriting Dance An Invitation from Pina 2014, 192 p., 29,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8376-2785-5 E-Book: 26,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-2785-9

Gabriele Klein (Hg.) Choreografischer Baukasten. Das Buch 2015, 280 S., kart., zahlr. Abb., 29,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8376-3186-9 E-Book: 26,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-3186-3

Leseproben, weitere Informationen und Bestellmöglichkeiten finden Sie unter www.transcript-verlag.de

Theater- und Tanzwissenschaft Milena Cairo, Moritz Hannemann, Ulrike Haß, Judith Schäfer (Hg.) Episteme des Theaters Aktuelle Kontexte von Wissenschaft, Kunst und Öffentlichkeit (unter Mitarbeit von Sarah Wessels) Oktober 2016, 664 S., kart., zahlr. Abb., 39,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8376-3603-1 E-Book: 39,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-3603-5

Katharina Kelter, Timo Skrandies (Hg.) Bewegungsmaterial Produktion und Materialität in Tanz und Performance Juni 2016, 396 S., kart., zahlr. z.T. farb. Abb., 39,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8376-3420-4 E-Book: 39,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-3420-8

Tania Meyer Gegenstimmbildung Strategien rassismuskritischer Theaterarbeit April 2016, 414 S., kart., zahlr. Abb., 39,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8376-3520-1 E-Book: 39,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-3520-5

Leseproben, weitere Informationen und Bestellmöglichkeiten finden Sie unter www.transcript-verlag.de