lunes, 19 de noviembre de 2007


The theoretical propound
by Silvio De Gracia

Firstly, it may be claimed that what is specific about the interference is its "aesthetic of disquietude". Yet, this disquietude, unlike other practices developed within the political and counter cultural turmoil of the 60s and the 70s, drifts away from "arbitrary" provocation as well as from activism. In the context of a dystopia of contemporary times, the aim of the interference is not to create artistic communicational actions meant to encourage social changes but to facilitate an utopist trend connected with the personal aesthetic experience re-editing the avant-garde idea of blinding life and art together. It is no longer the case of symbolic productions embedded in the discourse of politicized art. It is a concerned with the creation of actions that bring about a rupture or gap, no matter how minute or ephemeral in the fabric of social conditioning.

As Julien Blaine put forward in 1970 regarding the "agitators of the day and the night of poetry", the challenge would mean to "create situations that collide with people's customs, thus compelling them to take action" or "to influence in the others everyday environment so that they may become aware of the reality around them"; all in all, to "awake the others from their lethargy". The interference aims at all that but it drifts away from the implicit longing for "revolution" of Blaine's principles. Like Edgardo Antonio Vigo, who wanted to move apart from his European colleagues and introduce the word "revolt" to set it against "revolutionize", the core of interference is the inner transformation not the modification of social structures. The interference may perfectly well embody what Vigo claimed when he said he preferred the word REVOLT "because its direction implies an ATTITUDE within the boundaries of the individual inner self; on the other hand, the obsolete word REVOLUTION denotes and is linked with external deeds that produce changes of attitudes".

Let us consider the interference as a kind of revolt. A revolt produced in the artist that goes outwardly in search for an addressee who, even for a short time, might run the risk of detaching himself from the social discipline that pervades everyday life. The aim is to shake off the inertia of trivialization of the human behavior, not to transform reality but to create crevices, open gaps and "parasite" in its rational and restrictive fabric. How can this be achieved more effectively that through disquietude? Disquietude may operate through diverse paths and strategies: irreverence, irony, intromission, aggression, ludic intent, strangeness, surprise, delirium, absurd and every other form of insurgent art.

A second aspect to consider is that interference requires a body. Only the body may become the most efficient instruments to "materialize" that disquietude with its several operations of transgression; thus, we may say that interference is essentially performing given that it works with the basic dimensions of performance art: body, time, space and spectator. However, it does not retain any close link with the "classic" performance of the 70s with its show bussiness aesthetics, its narcissistic rituals and its conventional body manipulations. In the interference, the body is not bunked or offered as "vehicle of catharsis" but it reveals itself engaged in artistic interactions in which the boundaries between the artist and the spectator are blurred. What should be considered is not the body but the action, nonetheless, the action cannot be apart from the body. Unlike interventions and ephemeral installations where the body is stint or becomes absent, here the body must be present because what is attempted is the possibilitiy of real time interaction. The body is the stool that tries to interact with others bodies in an attempt to instill an active attitude in the incidental spectactor even when this may merely mean rejection or displeasure.

Interference is eminently urban. The city is the place with more intense social conditioning, producing a kind of numbness of life. Therefore, it is logical that interference aims straight at the inflection of art in the urban sphere. It is worth highlighting, however, that it moves further away from the "Urban Revolution" or from every other utopia to transform social structures. The idea is to install unexpected, strange, undermining micro elements that attempt to break and dislocate the ordinary daily life. On the city stage - embodiment of every regulatory discourse, privileged scenery of what is conventional and foresseeable - the interference tries to re-create another city where new paths and questionings are posed, new outlines where the sketches of apathy are replaced by those of random. The interference attempts to counter the passer-by, the driver, the urban inhabitant's indolent and petrified look with the danger of uncertainty, to counter the linearity of human bonds with a series of dysfunctional displacements away from the norm, to counter the symbolic enclosure of lack of reflection with the discourse of assertiveness.

The reaction is part of the interference. However, the word reaction should not be understood in terms of what may be expected from an audience in a show because here there is neither audience nor show. The one who carries out the interference only acts in a random time and space and his audience is not wooed or summoned; it is the result of a deliberate chance thus subverting all the characteristic premises of traditional performance. This separates interference from what we know as street performance or collective urban actions. The interference is strategy rather than presentation, its main aim is reaction rather than participation. Admitting that reaction is a form of participation, it should be pointed out that reaction may dangerously drift away from the empathy most participation actions encompass. Therefore, the operations within interference are more challenging than consensual, closer to offence and more clandestine than harmless and assimilated. It may happen that a person who experiences the interference might be a victim rather than an enthusiastic, fortuitous spectator. The person who interferes may seem an offender rather than an artistic operator.

Fragment of the book "La estética de la perturbación" - Aesthetic of disquietude - by Silvio De Gracia Ediciones El Candirú, 2007, Argentina.