PPL's Statement of Intent (Work in Progress)

Ring 1: operation in human social organization and perception at large

PPL facilitates and participates in public performances, interactions, and actions. We gather groups (symposiums, thinktanks, casts, teams) of individuals to research concepts, their genealogies, and their implications, usually through performance modes from theatre, music, performance and video art, and social arts practices.

SEE: Ring 2: operation in formal systems.

Ring 2: operation in formal systems

As the flexible body of individuals called PPL, we are a neural net, an irrationality principle, a low probability, a phenomenon, and a multiplicity of potentialities, i.e, a mise en abymici gesture, a panoply. While we (theatricallyii) recognize the simulacraticiii, the representational, the symbolic, we are uncomfortable with monolithic subject-object relationships, reflectionism, and any search for “truth” or “reality” as these modes tend to hierarchize perceptionsiv. Politically, as common-istsv, and as we are rooted in our own time, we tend to promote alternatives to capitalism as our (semi-militant) avant-garde front, aesthetically as well as formally. The politics of aesthetics are the subject and the substance of our work.

To this end, we are researching ways to develop modes of performance instead of performance objects, and performing our modes as events, experiments, and actions rather than as products.

SEE: Ring 1: operation in human social organization and perception at large AND SEE: Ring 3: development of modes.

Ring 3: development of modes (agency)

We are currently developing two primarily “families” of modes of performance, one generally “communal,” one generally “individual.” These two modes should be synchronous, co-emergent, and generatively combustive and be able to be combined formally (for function) in multiple ways:

The first family of modes includes open-access, durational platforms. The attempt with these modes is to provide formal sites for public sight, sites at which ways of seeing, opinions, needs, problems, conceptions, values, aesthetics, desires, anxieties, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of individuals and social groups may be considered, analyzed, addressed, acted upon, acted out, described, experienced, discussed, and distributed by participating individuals and groups. This attempt at responsibility of form is a microcosmic one: to make from a mode a model of and a portal to public engagement/agency/action.

The second family of modes includes subjective linguistic, musical, theatrical (vision-based) methodology. It is a family of modes which focus on specified “ways of seeing,” and attempts to consider subjective documentation/expression as artworking. This means, in the act of doing, we perceive a simultaneous effort to record experience as if it is fact, while remaining conscious of the complete subjectivity of experience, on the most concrete level possible. This means that we, as individual artists, gather and catalogue that which we see as sense, including notes, words, images, dreams, plans, desires, and objects on an equal plane with theory, memory, philosophy, experience, physics, and any other thing which may move or stimulate us. These selections cluster to construct the “self” that we bring to any common effort and in turn inform the work.

SEE: Ring 2: operation in formal systems AND SEE: Ring 4: experiences and experiments

Ring 4: experiences and experiments

Through both families of modes and combinations of them, we attempt to communicate all experiments and reasons for performing experiments clearly, but are constantly hacking through the sap-spurting vines of transcausation and chaos and relativism. Sharing of the problematics of action is the only universalism that will be tolerated, thus, we also focus on the difficulties of constructing modes through the organization of public gatherings of other artists.

Often, we ask other artists, Is your art a series of “problems” which may be addressed “scientifically” or “mathematically” or “semantically”? Or does this Modernist idea neglect the agency of attraction, attachment, and creativity? What is agency? What is method? What is a mode? What is art? What is an object? What is an aesthetic? What is a medium? And any other questions that may come to mind or to the minds of those other human beings we see.

SEE: Ring 3: development of modes AND SEE: Ring 5: values, concerns, beliefs.

Ring 5: values, concerns, beliefs

Our experiments grow out of the idea that definition and distribution of “sensevi” is an agency currently monopolized by political, corporate, academic, institutional, and other capital-driven entitiesvii. We are very emotional about wanting our performances to provide an opportunity for individuals and small groups to act directly as they see fit, to add what they feel should be considered to a public sphereviii, and to perform collective acts of protest, argument, dialogue, demonstration, pedagogy, interpretation, trade, information dissemination, and organization as equal actors in the projection of reality/the future/conception/sense/being. We don’t presume to already know how to do this, we are excruciatingly sincere, naive, we are outsiders, amateurs and we are experimenting as rigorously as we can, urged on by the sensate symptoms of concern. We often fail to do anything other than add more chaos to the chaos, yet we always attempt to react honestly and analytically to failed attempts, an attempt at which we also often fail.

Playing at being artists, we find ourselves working in service of an uncanny, emergent, creative sense which may be larger (and thus unrecognizable as a whole, appearing in pieces to each partially blind perceiver) than any of ourselvesix. With this grand ambition aiming our perceptions towards shifting points of hot sense, we attempt to describe and recordx our subjective conceptions with those held by other individuals as well as with those held by larger socio-political, cultural, and other formed groups. We are not an autonomous organization, but an intersubjective organism.

However, PPL operates as “something” most joyously when there is a common vision or common problem to be addressed. These visions and problems are often identified and narrativized through a series of interviews, conversations, and Focus Workshops with individuals, held in the public sphere by PPL’s directing artists.

SEE: Ring 4: experiences and experiments AND SEE: Ring 6: selves

Ring 6: selves

We are not against selves, we are not against identity, though we are shy and do crave a less hierarchized distribution of authority. Admittedly, Brian McCorkle and Esther Neff wrote this statement. We primarily create the platforms, the frameworks, and the parameters of the public site emergent from each PPL work and we have dedicated our lives to these efforts. The form of each PPL work emerges around the convergence/site/forum/issue (etc) identified by us, as identified individuals. We believe that as many individuals as possible should create such points of convergence in the public sphere and we participate in as many other public convergences as possible and collaborate with as many other artists and individuals as much as possible. We are forced to demonstrate the actualization that we insist we want others to pursue…

After all and of course, we have our own aesthetics and values which are as foolish as anyone’s, through which we must recognize our selves (senses of which we need to maintain our will to survive). What follows are “bylaws” for the two of us, as agents of the PPL:

1.) In terms of any performer/audience dichotomy, we shall not colonize, authoritatively organize, dictate access to, or dominate the performance experience through the “leading” of audience associations and perceptions, or through the direction of focus, prescription of action or moral attitude, or dictation of meaning.

2.) Thus, we shall remain critical/skeptical of familiar/mythological narratives, clichés, and other pre-fabricated and predictive/predictable/prescriptive sequences or mimetic symbolisms, though this criticism and skepticism does not prohibit our use of such. We are opposed to the symbolic interactionism of dramaturgy but fascinated by its functions and trained around its norms.

3.) we shall maintain a sense of our own absurdity and of the futility of our work, remain amused by hyper-didacticism, and baffled by the indeterminacy of existence. We hope this will manifest as good humor, adaptability, open-mindedness, and flexibility of creative process.

4.) We shall never create products, not will we ever define the “affectivity” of our work as being supported via a free market economy or by any system of reward and punishment, i.e. we participate in art markets, industries, and fields with trepidation.

5.) We shall instead define affectivity by the depth of engagement that our images, ideas, musical phrases, and other mimetic expressions are able to reach with the lives of project participants.

6.) Aesthetics are political, as they are clusters of sense, they that make sense, and that which is sensed. We desperately hope to offer, as agents operating in a public sphere, creative/alternative/specific/formal ways of seeing, ways of sensing, and ways of being.

7.) PPL will strive to offer a simultaneous multiplicity of sensibilities and approaches to development of individual sense. We want to make a gift but we do not want to give back that which is already known, or sensed, our work is not a mirror to be upheld, it is not a reflection. We do not have the authority, or the ability to define reality for such reflection (we do not believe that anyone or any group does, we do not believe in an empiric reality). Nor are we moral judges, demonstrating “positive” or “negative” behaviors so that spectators may “see the implications of their actions and therefore make better choices.” We leave these agencies to other interested parties.

8.) We will not enter into a paradigm of negation/accommodation, rather we shall experiment. Our beliefs and values are not permanent.

9.) We will plunge into the problematics of emergence, of consciousness, of being.

10.) We are not permanent, ecological, or sustainable in any particular way. We are not afraid of the end.

Here are some of our favorite problems/paradoxes/areas of research:

Subjective philosophy and critical theory (the philosophies of the everyday, doxa, common sense, patterns of authority)
Conceptions of ecology and sustainability (problematics of conceptions of “natural states,” binary/dualist and data-based wordviews, Darwinian evolution, and holism)
Form/Content, participation models, political theory (and the conceptions of “political science”)
Vocabulary (politics of language, dialectics converging with culture, class, and so on)
Symbolic interactionism, dramaturgy.
Participation, aleatoricism, and indetirminancy.

SEE: Ring 6: selves AND SEE: Ring 1: operation in human social organization and perception at large

iSee Bal, Mieke, Dällenbach, Lucien, and Gide, Andre.
iiEtymologically, θέατρον (théatron, “a place for viewing”) and θεάομαι (theáomai, “to see", "to watch", "to observe”). See also Pavis, Patrice, Turner, Victor, Shechner, Richard. We may see “theatre studies” “performance studies” and “dramatic theory,” as a very crude Venn diagram, the first with the encircling semiotic/linguistic lenses, the second anthropologic/ontologic, and the lattermost a philosophic/inter-theoretical lenses.
iiiJameson, Frederic
ivCixou, Helene, Kristeva, Julie, and Sennett, Richard.
vZizeck, Stanislav
viRanciere, Jacques
viireasonable concerns regarding this monopoly regard its “monolithic” vs. “systemic” characteristics (conceptions of it as one or the other), its relationship with totalitarianism, its historic and socio-political narratives, and how potential deconstruction? Rupture? Shift? Overpowering? of it could occur. Badiou, Lukacs, Zizeck confront Foucault, Ranciere, Butler, all crammed into this free-falling elevator.
viiiNegt and Kluge, Gerard Hauser, also Nancy Fraser’s conceptions of a “counter public,” Seyla Benhabib, Michael Warner, and old Habermas of course…many others.
ixBataille, Neitzsche, Kiergekaard, we do not entirely negate spirituality, the ecstatic, the ritual, the cruel, the nothingness, not everyone has as little faith as we do.
xthe Art of Memory (Frances Yates) describes the spatially mnemonic art of memorizing, documenting, synthesizing, and communicating. We balance the ideas of her book with Derrida’s treatises against mimesis, and Richard Dawkins’ ideas in The Selfish Gene. In the theatre, a “mimetic” text is meant to be re-memorized and re-performed (i.e. a playscript). Usually, the first version is also memorized and is perceived to be the re-performance of reality (i.e. a reflection), giving this mode a double repetition from the outset (Mise en abymic). Another mode is improvised, and then later re-memorized and re-performed either exactly like a documentation of the first performance, or similarly (works by John Cage, Robert Ashley, Laurie Anderson). The other combinations in this logical sequence of modes combining points of entry for mimesis (both perceived and actualized through memorization, documentation, repetition in rehearsal, and spectrums in each area, etc) can all be present (and have been) in performance works. We are interested in exploring mimetics but do not, as of yet, negate or accommodate any of these above any others in our own practice and are systematically working our way through as many possibilities as we can think of.