This blog is a manifestation of a performed collaborative paper I am writing with Mary Paterson.
In response to a post on the 'Performance Writing' FB account, intended to begin an exploration into "The Performance Writing Network", Mary suggested some changes and asked some questions of me. I will respond to one of them here.
MARY ASKED where does reading come into this?
Reading is indeed interesting in terms of performance writing networks - writing is only a visible manifestation of a more prevalent practice of reading, where the practitioner forms 'unseen trajectories' (de Certeau, Practice of Everyday Life)....
writing travels in the network, its contexts like so many ribbons running from its interior. A reference is only a ribbon isn't it? A decorative gesture.
We reference texts - and we can drop in links to the references - but these references take TIME to read. Too much TIME to read. Why read the 'referenced-text' when there is its inference, its shadow, in the 'referencing text' to deal with - its double. Is a cursory impression of a philosophical position a valid place to write-back from? Doesn't 'performance writing network' imply a performance reading - that is a 'pretend reading' - that this fictional reading would be a the basis for a performed writing, forming a performance network of writing - a kind of microcosm of the unknowable as the known? The unsayable as the said, the undoable as the done?
THE MORE I KNOW THE LESS I KNOW
A strange paradox exacerbated by networked learning and the time-lag (ref. comments by me on FB https://www.facebook.com/performancewriting?fref=ts&filter=2). The wealth of knowledge available at a button press throws the notion of education as the acquisition of knowledge, and therefore the status of the text as that which imparts knowledge, into disarray.
The reading then becomes a kind of impossible depth of a mirror upon a mirror - the unknown looking into the unknown. What kind of perverse network could be based on this model of infinite depths?
CHAOS and COMMUNITY
There is a meeting of the notions of 'Reading' and the limits implied by the 'boundaries of chaos and community' which we are finding in our discussions of Performance Writing Networks.
The network is defined by its limits: in our case, a limit of a definition dropped into the 'chaos' of art practices, (we have still not defined our terms - and therefore at the time of writing we can assume that we may never define them). The reading is defined by its contexts: a series of inferences which leap out of the text into the 'chaos' of the indefinite, or the 'community' of the known.
What is interesting to me, is that in collaboratively composing a paper across the network, the written text comes under the extreme, deep pressures of 'reading' . Can writing establishes a community of the shared known in this sense?
What is a community of knowns? A community of gnomes, standing around a small pool. This is not a network is it. What networks the community is the aspects of the community which aren't shared...
Neither of us has the time to acquire all the knowledge/opinion of the other - and nor should we - so the collaboration becomes a model of the shifting aspect which occurs between expert and amateur at each foray into the editing/writing moment.
The text being written changes as it enters each node of the network. Its depth of inference is occluded and exploded.