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ª collaboration text from João Garcia Miguel for TRY ANGLE publication
Will we succeed to think and act together?
Will we succeed living along?
Like the fumes of the automobile and of heavy industry which befoul the urban atmosphere, the effusion of interpretations of art today poisons our sensibilities.
Susan Sontag –Against Interpretation
These lines are brought up as a question mark born transparent, light-footed, a curious phantom looking outside the window, shattering, vanishing along its own fixation in writing – writing that became a broken tempered glass – a fragmented network of thoughts, daedal and brittle, whose pieces remain glued together. This text led me to reflect, in a performative and conceptual way, about the role of a ZAP visitor under an artistic residency as special as this one, as well as about the necessity of existing in a concomitant way, an interpretation ceaselessly encoding the contemporary artistic creation. The presence of a ZAP visitor is accepted and embraced by artists and organizers as a pertinent aspect of this experience named TRY ANGLE: to enable groups of artists to work together – individually or with each other – in that particular moment or in an undefined one that will come and with our without goals, talking over their artistic “universes and discourses”. Maybe this is it and it may certainly be something else.
In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.
Susan Sontag – Against Interpretation
The significance within the designation ZAP visitor holds: urgency, irony, a futurist quickness to intervene, to stop, to change, to move forward, to retreat, to look at the world? To what world? What is expected from a ZAP visitor? Is it to provide interpretations for the “text” about a world that is holding out, for works not yet possessing a visible “life”? To be a sort of “soluble fish” (André Breton) dissolving himself in the waters of artistic creation? Must he become invisible? Have several voices? Be silent? Should a ZAP visitor despise appearances and see? Dare to dig the “real reality” – destroy it, build it, rebuild it? Must he see behind the obvious content? Succeed in finding a potential content? Spread truthful meanings, profound revolutions, preaching to fishes? Would he dress himself as a fisherman or a psychoanalyst? Or just stay still behind the door? Peek through the window at the house of love? As the child aware of his parents intercourse? May he peep desire in movement? Must he be able to see within the dark through flesh and time? To sensitise or rationalise?
Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.
Susan Sontag – Against Interpretation
A ZAP visitor interferes in pathways or neutralizes himself as an Annunciation’s angel, materializing a necessity of constantly revealing the world. Must he promote a trade of revelations, changing the channel, altering the real, adding some ocus pocus powder, adversities, to give pleasure, to promise the salt of desire in the salad which is much more desired than a dish of cold meat?
Even if I speak with the language of men or angels, but have not love, it sounds like as a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, nothing, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Wondering for an image to ZAP visitor – a cloud pushed by the wind, covering the sun while pouring shadows over the landscape, came to my mind. The cloud changes the light and deforms the surface of things; it occurred to me a remote control vaguely outlined – human and alien – strange object with legs, clumsy arms, dark glasses and white hair, speaking weird languages; a techno-hybrid being, between Max brothers, messenger robots, star wars, drunken Vasco Santana1 playing tennis with a frying pan, Beatriz Costa2 singing o “ chega, chega a minha agulha, afasta, afasta o meu dedal, ó bela vem coser o amor no avental do amor” (“come, come my needle, away, away my thimble, oh beauty come and sew love in apron’s love”)3
Perhaps the way one tells how alive a particular art form is, is by the latitude it gives for making mistakes in it, and still being good.
Susan Sontag – Against Interpretation
Which is the main motivation behind these emergency visits? Visits resembling the province doctor, called to sight a weird event – played by a group of “aliens” living in a country house? How relevant can these visits be for artists, real heroes in TRY ANGLE experimental context? Those purposes of urgency and unexpected are benignant, based on the expectations of what the experience of others can bring to that closed circle. Meaning, is it expected of the ZAP visitor to work as a dynamo feeder, an opening for the bottom of a quiet sea? (like a Nietzchian white horse swimming amidst the waves of a sea on the other side of the moon)? Is he expected to uncover the veil of insanity? To turn off the pan’s heat  boiling raw rice with cross stiches inside? To bring magical herbs flaming spirits and hearts? To commit statistical errors? Perhaps an absurd scientific notation is waited; the staging of an error – what for some is an act of liberation and for others simple annoyance, a useless imposition asphyxiating their creative routines; to provoke a conversation – changing routines, being impertinent and compel to stop, just to listen and observe the world? What world?
The world, our world, is depleted, impoverished enough.
Susan Sontag – Against Interpretatio
In what concerns the close context of artistic creation and artistic processes – the introduction of an outer look is expected to work as an instrument of awareness to larger and wider situations? Can that really happen with a ZAP visitor? Just by merely introducing a “someone-error” in the system? A “someone-error” whose limited power to observe and see the reality can be refracted by himself, being himself lost in his boat sinking in reality? Behind the invitation to a ZAP visitor lie purposes to feedback artistic processes and systems that are set in motion in that specific environment – processes which are within themselves extremely complex, full of sources as well as of vast and varied impulses. To these expectations are gathered, in a very subtle way, unnoticeable opposing forces, as the banks suffocating the river, the difficulty in realising how a “non-participant ZAP observer” can dialogue and communicate with those, whose waters flow boiling, bumping in creative excitement? Involved in the ecstatic skin of their wonderful individual experiences?
If I cry out:
Ideal, ideal, ideal,
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge,
Boom boom, boom boom, boom boom,
I have given a pretty faithful version of progress, law, morality and all other fine qualities that various highly intelligent men have discussed in so many books, only to conclude that after all everyone dances to his own personal boom boom, and that the writer is entitled to his boom
Tristan Tzara, in Manifesto Dada
The dispersion of artistic projects within a space with both urban and country features – a stimulus for creativity, we may say – increases the difficulty for a ZAP visitor to get in touch with so many proposals in such a short time. Confronted with this propelling energy coming from a fast-moving group of artists – seeking the fulfillment of multiple proposals, I decided to reflect on the best way to intervene. Is it the ZAP visitor’s role to find conducting wires that can be connected with each other, the profound motivations that combine these works and these creators in that particular situation? Is he supposed to know how to relate, in a productive scale, with unclear and undefined goals, not aiming to reach answers neither solutions, to pursue the accident and the magical sob of each achievement? Must there be another kind of alchemical function to make him disappear and again appear – as someone measuring the velocity of souls colliding against each other inside the artist?
Our task is to cut back content so that we can see the thing at all.
Susan Sontag – Against Interpretation
How can we think together? How can we think with each other? A question bringing enormous difficulties to the current world and perhaps in it maybe there we can find a possible answer to this devastating crisis. Which is the role of artists – in this living and thinking together – who care and seek ways and systems to mirror, reflect and open life to art and art to life? It is stimulating to be among pairs; to understand what drives us – which propelling force in search for an undefined symbolic background? What fuel is that, working as blindness? As if we “wash our eyes inside”? Urging us to express what we see without our eyes? In that blind motion, almost religious, lies the quality of action of a “child bomb”, suspending the gesture at the moment of detonation in that enigmatic strength of explosion that moves the artists. – sensitive and measurable, clear by its pouring light – when a group is working in elaboration together, during an extended period of time, in wonder conditions that encourage, mobilize and cradle those mysterious lives.
The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible.
Allan Kaprow
in Assemblages, Environments & Happenings
Is a ZAP visitor hoped to intervene as a deviation, an empty contributor, or a magnification of infra-structures, references and connections – between artists and context – during these frantic events? Of the ZAP visitor is maybe expected the establishment as an element of awkwardness, unusual reference to the processes of art and life in progress?
Our consciousness was programmed thousands of years ago and we were conditioned, specified to be, to think as individuals, to think as separate entities, struggling, in conflict, since the moment we were born until we die. We accepted that. We were never challenged, we never questioned if it is possible to live life totally, absolutely free of conflicts. We never asked and so we never learned. We repeat ourselves. It is part of our existence to be in conflict, whole nature is in conflict, that is our argument: progress is achieved “by” conflict. That is how we were programmed along millions of years.
“Totally Absolutely Without Conflict” (2/4)
1Vasco António Rodrigues Santana – Lisbon, 28th January 1898 – 13th June 1958 – renowned Portuguese actor from Portuguese cinema classical era;
2Beatriz da Conceição – Mafra, 14th December 1907 – Lisbon, 15th 1996 – best-known actress from Portuguese cinema golden age;
3Theme immortalized with the movie “A Canção de Lisboa” (The Lisbon Song), 1933, José Cotinelli Telmo, featuring Beatriz Costa and Vasco Santana.