Somatic Experiments and Trainings
DISAPPEARANCE is an evolving set of strategies by which the boundaries between artistic expression and ordinary life are first examined, and secondly, dissolved. These strategies are physical and aesthetic in character, and, wholly improvisational in method.
DISAPPEARANCE removes the frame from that which is framed; and seeks to apply limits to the infinite and boundless. Such frames, conceptual in nature, continually expand and contract according to shifting conditions of site and constituent living and non-living phenomena. Because the frames applied are conceptual rather than literal, Disappearance resists documentation, and is present only in the moment of recognition.
As a conceptual modality, DISAPPEARANCE can be applied to any media or art form; but it is, at its most essential, immaterial, performative, and ephemeral. Two characteristic gestures, intrinsic and under development, are Acts of Disappearance and Interventions.
An Act of Disappearance may include a Vanishing, and an Appearance: Something is brought into being, dissolved, or relocated, often bringing, or experienced as, sudden change. Acts of Disappearance are fundamentally transformational, and although they can be very subtle, they may be attended by a sense of the cosmic— intimations of gigantic scale, or forces at work. Within space/time dynamics Acts of Disappearance are space dominant.
Less about creation or (the appearance of) destruction, Interventions are insertions into existing streams of awareness or activity, without preconceived agendas. An Intervention shifts situational trajectories in accord with any latent potentiality. They may or may not be “assisted” by non-participants, and are more or less consciously performative, encompassing a broad range of theatricality from the visible to the invisible. Interventions are time dominant.
DISAPPEARANCE asks: If beauty is the sublime manifest, and the work of art is an object or performance whose purpose it is to demonstrate or offer an experience of the beautiful; how may the sublime be experienced if there is no beautiful object directing our attention toward it? May it, or may it not, be revealed more directly if the mediating object is removed?
Note on the Objectification of Memory
In cataloguing Acts of Disappearance and their constituent elements, I attempt the aestheticization of objects of memory; the individuated memory as art-object.
Needless to say, these memory-objects are fundamentally unstable. We carry them with us, named with a clarity both crystaline and superficial. As such they are a comfort to us. Through them we locate ourselves in relation to larger scale experiential phenomena in the continuing project to formulate self. But on closer inspection, we meet only the transitional and the transitory.
Note on the Arbitrary Separation of Acts
Strictly speaking, any separation between Acts of Disappearance as defined by delimited time-frame continuums, Geographic Shifts, Appearances, Vanishings, and Events are accepted as more or less arbitrary. The exercise of delineating individual Acts of Disappearance from one another serves an intention to assign meaning, stasis, and permanence to events, relationships and movements which are transient, fluidly interconnected, and ultmately inseparable from larger constellations of experience-perception.
Acts of Disappearance, further defined
Acts of Disappearance often include the following tendencies:
1. A Chronology or time-frame which may or may not be known before completion of the Act itself.
2. A Site of Enclosure containing the topology of the Act in it’s totality, as nearly as can be determined. The Site of Enclosure includes all sub-sites, related Events, specific topographies, and Geographic Shifts.
2. A Geographic Shift, or change of place, which may be termporary or permanent. Such a shift usually includes both a Vanishing and an Appearance. It is mapped so that a pathway or traversal may be defined, if only in retrospect, with the result that a linear movement figure, or geographic narrative may be collected.
However, not all Acts are framed strictly by a technical (geographically delineated) Appearance and Vanishing. They may in some cases rather be defined by a psycho-dynamic shift or a conceptual relocation.
3. Topography: The articulated landscape, both physical and psychological, associated with a Geographical Shift.
4. Events: The key observable phenomena or individuated dramatic happenings within a topography — either intended or accidental — which lend an Act of Disappearance a distinct character or quality; or an identifiable outcome by which the Act may be distinguished in kind from other Acts.
The retrospective “filling in” of topographical details and Events are attempts to contain and hold the past; to make memories into aesthetic objects; to bring order and meaning to past experiences and thereby relive them with the benefit of retrospection; to face the impossibility of making them present; to create frames, boundaries, or membranes around them; to define the edges of Events so they may achieve a more perfect impermanence; so that topological phenomena and Events may be experienced as super real, in confrontation with the artificiality of their separation, articulation, their ultimate unreality, and their continual vanishing.
Interventions and Acts of Disappearance
To Intervene is to incise a cut in the fabric of the known; or, to otherwise pass through the membrane providing both containment and the semblance of totality.
An Act of Disappearance is to then slip between the articulated edges of the boundary, to reveal and exploit it’s permeability, and to merge with fields of expanded possibility.
What is Disappearance?
DISAPPEARANCE in concept is the very edge of form. It is the moment of passage of a form into formlessness. Conversely, it is the moment when the formless coalesces within the limits by which it is defined as a thing. It is the convergence of subject and object, self and not self, material and void.
DISAPPEARANCE in practice is an articulate gesture, an intervention by which beauty attains primacy of place in the world. An act of DISAPPEARANCE knows no performer and no audience. It is the actualized essence of the performative, but there is no performance.
The Disappearance Project
This inquiry is to serve several purposes:
To define disappearance, and the objectless art object, with precision, and with a fundamental flexibility which allows for definitions to evolve over time;
To lay out a course of action and to enter into actions and communications which will facilitate my own disappearance; and
To build a family or community which will in some measure hold my disappearance and which may also help those who wish to, if they so choose, also disappear.
Disappearance is the edge of form — the confluence of form and the formless at the moment when formlessness becomes ascendant.
Disappearance is the action of formlessness arising; it is the action of being’s desire for the void