walks

the possibility of a demonstration

-intro-

walking around the swimming pool park, one doesn’t fully own itself, its image belonging as well to those whom present around, and even needed to make the swimming park complete, filled with people, fulfilling the function of “park”, you walk, and your walk is shared, you run, your run is shared, you play, your play is shared, by others, as they look for miscellaneous reasons, gazing, around, any kind of attraction works.

what are the possibilities of this? why a walk can make a change? perhaps a demonstration? one is automatically demonstrating how to walk, not per se on purpose, but the image enters into people their day.

depending on the walk evoking the kind of questions, who is that funny walk? he is like thomas? never seen that before, i should do that.

with demonstration you “demonstrate”, demonstrate how you can do something, perhaps differently, proposing an alternative, to a normative condition.

-there-

we were with eight persons we gave each other directives, instructions what shifts the normative state being in a swimming pool area, creating situations for each other, in a social landscape, in relation with the swimming pool park and her visitors

not of trying to be inventive, original or creative with making the instructions but somehow shift slightly the current situation of a swimming pool park for the better or the worse, in any case we tried out some, everyone wrote one on a piece of paper, handed to the person on the left

-examples-

one gave the instruction for one to find a small girl and ask her to hold his hand, he came back unsuccesful, felt too full of guilt looking at small girls, trying to find the right one,

another had to organize a-jump-in-the-water-contest, she came back with 2 new friends

one had to speak french to a group of soccerplayers, in return they asked in english him to join the game

another had go to a spot in the park and be sexy, he ended up performing extrovert sexy, disturbing the normative social situation by a solo performance, becoming a spectacle, a change into the current situation.

-outro-

In social and site specific situations there is always the option to look for the possibilities of life, this opposed to the limitations of life and her affirmations of the social conditions and contracts, there is no passivity to the world, always part of the spectacle, in or out, with the possibility of demonstration in the times of crisis

Making the world into a better place by replacing work and entertainment through dérive and art through détournement was one of the main approaches of the Situationists and their predecessors the Letterists. These movements, unfolded after the Second World War in Paris, redefined the relation of art and politics by bringing them into one practice, referring to their social meaning and locating those in everyday life. Détournement describes the action of a misuse, following a strategy of devaluation of the produced through decontexualisation and reinstatement (like writing new speech bubbles into comic strips). This kind of artistic communication already includes the critique within its form, in its act of making, and is therefore a way of demystification, evading the strategies of capitalistic expressions. In his text “Theory of the Dérive” from 1958, the groups’ most famous representative Guy Debord explains the other term. Dérive [to drift] describes the action of ranging through the city for creating its psychogeography – “The exploration of the particular immediate effects, might they be consciously designed or not, of the geographic milieus on the emotional behavior of the individuals.” [Translation from: “Der Beginn einer Epoche. Texte der Situationisten”. Edition Nautilus, Hamburg, 1995, p.51. In: Simon Ford: „Die Situationistische Internationale. Eine Gebrauchsanleitung”. Edition Nautilus, Hamburg, 2007, p. 38]. It is a practice of strolling around the city, becoming aware of the structure of its different spaces within public, disturbing them through “détourning” their signs, finding other paths of being.

The carrying out of Tian Rotteveel’s application of the dérive practice within that very constellation of time, space, people and place of the outdoor swimming pool resulted in demonstrations of the possibilities and impossibilities inside this dispositive. So in a way the practice explored the psychogeopgraphy of the outdoor swimming pool, revealing the place’s structure by succeeding or failing on the dérives. As this happened through the usage of already available means the actions were in sense of the Situationsists anti-spectacular, who aimed an infiltration of the capitalistic production of goods and commodity by misusing what is already there. But there is also a notion of the word spectacular by Jean-Luc Nancy which differs from the Situationistic one. According to Nancy, a performance that includes the spectacular, is one that keeps the distance between depiction or representation and presence, that reveals its spectacularity through marking the characteristics of the space and our sensations towards it. As he exemplifies, dancing a dance marks the stage as a stage or an actor displaying that he is acting exposes his doing. “One could say: the theatre demands that spectacle, […] if the spectacular doesn’t mean, displaying commodities for consumption, but if it means presentation for the look, and even more than for the look, for the sensation as such, presentation of the space.” [Translation from: Jean-Luc Nancy “Gespräche über den Tanz”. In: „Allesdurchdringung. Texte, Essays, Gespräche über den Tanz”. Merve, Berlin, 2008, p.65-66] Although Nancy uses this argumentation in the context of acting and dance, his statement on the spectacle can also be applied on non artistic situations. At the latest since Evring Goffman’s in 1959 published paper “The presentation of self in everyday life”, performing is not only an art craft, but also an everyday practice in social life. The sociologist explained that with the presence of someone else, we experience immediately a possible looking at us and therefore behave in a way where the presentation of ourselves fits with the potential expectation towards us in that very situation – we play a role. Goffman claimed that the social world is a stage and the performing of self in everyday life is a necessary strategy within the reign rules and structures of society.

As the roles in social life are various, so the patterns of normal behavior differ by their constellation of place, time and people. Being a mother at home in the 1950’s, for example, demands a different performance than being a mother in the park in 2012 – the roles distinct by their psychogeography. And being a swimming pool visitor in Düsseldorf in 2012 with a circle of acquaintances implies a certain spectrum of behavior. So, not only the theatre demands a spectacle, but also “ordinary” places like an outdoor swimming pool. Exploring the psychogeopgraphy of that very place by practicing the derive was only makeable through including the spectacle of that place into the actions, through performing a presentation for the potential observers.

The instructions brought the individuals into situations, where they had to negotiate their position between common behavior patterns and their evaluation. This exercise let experience the mutual relation of “reign unwritten rules” and the individuals that perform or un-perform them. Its range of results reached from reenactments of possible performances, through marking the spectacle of the place, to the impossibilities of a taboo.