The first und the most important part of my workshop is located under my closed eyelids. The second is a spatial toblet, which always accompanies me, und is placed within the range of my vision, preferably about two meters in front of me und slightly above my head. What is under my eyelids is the internal sphere, und what is in Front of me is the external sphere. These spheres are spherical screens on which are produced the pictures of our memory, of our imagination, of our thoughts, und of that which no wise man dares to describe, und before which every scholor cowers, something that is the source of the conscious und unconscious creativity of Man. `Unconscious creativity' is something which may make the rationalists laugh. These are GIFTS, which we receive through our organism, und which we consciously" ignore, appropriaiting only some insignificant fraction of them, which we often call ideas".
Images projected internally und externally are only particilly subiect to our will. Just as you can turn the pages of a book using your will, but you cannot change the content of the pages, so too it may depend on us how quickly the images change; or we may even the change the whole sequence of projection, that is, exchange" the whole book (or film) for another, by getting drunk, for example, or watching a real" Film.
Work in these workshops, to continue speaking metaphorically, involves reviewing the film, although in fact this is a certain waiting in silence for the signals sent to us by the as-yet-unidentified creator inside us. Images, thoughts, image-thoughts, und finally thinking, which, supported by our knowledge, good sense, und will to exist, makes a selection und a decision: Stop! This is what I was looking for!
The projection breaks off when we return to reality, concentrate our attention on something concrete, real, tangible, when we go back to normality". Now, things und objects in my field of vision can be transformed by my physical activities; an apple can be eaten, a tree cut down, a wall raised, a board planed, a picture painted. Activities of this sort form part of the real workshop of, say, an artist. In my case, internal und external sketch books" play the dominant role. These are spherical boords, on which vorious things draw themselves, in a way I do not understand. The picture in the external sphere is more transparent" und more thoughtful", i.e. it recreates what was invented: image-thoughts", ideas of objects, blurred images of our concentration, reflections of our ego, emanations of consciousness, or phantoms, hallucinations, dreams. Whatever we call them, und without trying to understand what they are und where they came from, it is important to confirm the effectiveness of this kind of work within such a workshop, including everything which constitutes the fruit of human creativity. Civilizations und culture are the work of dreams, und not of great undertakings. I wrote about vision und projections eleven years ago (Podrecznik [Handbook, page 114), und then it was for me a revelation und a surprise. But both then and now, I write about this with fear, because I am entering fertile ground for mockery. Let's blunder along. Everyone has seen the face of a person thinking hard", a student, perhaps, or a participant in a quiz after a question has been put to him. I observed with pleasure the physicality of thinking in Stuart Brisley during his performance in Dresden, when one could `see' as he was thinking over his next action. Why does such a thinker look at the floor, the ceiling, or two meters in front of him, avoiding seeing anything, und especially meeting someone else's eyes? Projection is at the same time reception, watching what we are presenting to ourselves, by projecting something an `non-existent' screens: the internal screen of the closed eyelid, und the external one, for staring at blurred visions. We see differently, we think differendy, using our intemal or external projection apparatus. Why does a thinker have his eyes open even at night, while a dreamer keeps his eyes closed? We look into emptiness, darkness, und nothingness, until the tape of our memory or the diskette of our internal computer winds to that moment in which we can obtain an answer to the question, or see the image that has been expected und suggested by the brain mechanism, driven by the energy network of our Ego; but that Ego is only a terminal of the huge consciousness system which controls the universe. Our perceiving sight, which absorbs the images of the visible world, in turn feeds and supplements the resources of memory. And again, we feel physically, corporeally, with our whole self, such an energy load, when we experience delight; und the moments of delight are experienced und recalled later as moments of `happiness', bliss, or spiritual feast. Ugliness of life humiliates a human being. lt crushes him because it deprives him of delight.
It is sometimes said of artists that they `have imagination'. But this says nothing. Jean Paul Sartre wrote in his book, Imagination, that in our imagination there appears nothing different from what we have come across or seen in reality. I read this more than twenty years ago, and I remember that I never agreed with it. It happens both in dreams und in dream-like projections that we can see clusters of images, fragments, und collages of cut Film sequences in continuous transformation, overlopping, moving und changing focus, planes, und even various artistic conventions, from naturalism to abstract cosmo-molecular forms, beams of light, colors und spots, up to emptiness starred with the bright points of the sight atoms. And perhaps we have been allowed to see the structure of the matter of ourselves and the universe?
I do not know if I am an exception or a rare freak, having such visions. But it seems to me that this is normal, that everyone has the same possibilities, but perhaps they are not used. If, however, there are people bereft of the possibility of watching their own projections, they would be very poor in their, say, `sensual' capabilities, or perhaps spiritual or intellectual. Let me say it in my own way - they would be bereft of a creative workshop. Why do I automatically attach a creative function to this phenomenon? Because it is hard to imagine that it could be otherwise. A carpenter planes a board so that it will be as `ideally' straight und smooth as possible. A bricklayer builds a wall to be vertical. A perfectly straight line, an ideally smooth or vertical plane do not occur in nature at all. These are `ideals' of our thinking (not any abstract structures this time), und visions - that is, the inner sight have the task of imposing shapes an these ideals, giving them Forms, und projecting them in concept und image.
Let's study what is going on now, when I am writing this text. Is this the effect of the creative work of my workshop, internal or external? No. At this moment, I am speaking to somebody using my language. I am thinking about the reader, appealing to his experience, using verbal structures which are not congruent with what I would like to communicate. These verbal constructions - that is, the Polish language, as I learned it - offers resistance und entangles me in inaccuracy; there is diversity of meanings und various schools of understanding the concepts und words. And the reader at this particular moment will look for an asylum or a cage for madmen to put me in. So, when writing und speaking, I `deal with', humanness, with the negative, critical, even mocking reader of my pronouncements. And if I were to involve myself now in analyzing those sight-projection-thought spheres, the internal one upon closing my eyelids, und the external one when I stare at the ceiling `out of focus', I would detour from the subject, or put humanity aside, including especially my adversaries, und involve myself in waiting in peace und silence, until on one of spherical screens an image appears that fascinates me, or worries me; and later the only thing to do will be to decide whether what was seen in this manner can be taken, whether it can, for instance, be included to another performance, or discarded os unimportant or an illegible phantom. But this is not everything. There is yet another type of projection, perhaps even the most important one: the one we experience in ecstasy. And here, the projector is not a point deep in my brain, but the whole body, including the spirit, the brain, and the heart. Now, everything is vibrating, the muscles are trembling, the veins und nerves are getting tense, the breath is quicker, und the blood circulation is changing its rhythm. I plunge myself into the abyss which desires me! I give myself to it, crying und howling, shouting at myself deep down inside. Behind me, there is that calling ego. Now, there is no `humanity', no audience, readers, receivers, enemies, or friends. There is HE. Good, kind, as submissive as the Ocean, which I do not swim across only out of my own weakness, because I am not strong enough. Ecstasy is the highest state of retransmission. I do not want to say precisely where the message is taken from, und to whom (or what) it is passed on. I have used the word `abyss'. lt means `great" und `inscrutable', or impenetrable, und this is important for the artist: to face und to wrestle with what is great und impenetrable. How instructive it is at the moment when I am saying to myself, `Be an artist', even a `creator'!" And I want to produce works of art! Ecstasy as a state is the `workskop of measure', a realization of the proportion of one's greatness und smallness, of one's work in comparison to the rest of the world. it is a search for one's own dimension. Ecstasy over an abyss, facing the infinite, experiencing the impenetrable, tasting one's greatness und feeling one's insignificance. Ecstasy, Unification in the One. Dust, Nothingness, Loneliness, ond Return to reality enriched, und now, my brother, yes, now try to be, for instance, an artist. You have received a gift, so your task is to use it (art!) und give it out. To give it out, but not to waste it, because although we are all gifted, und each person uses these gifts in his own way, or rejects them, still, the artists effort und talent is supposed to make them gems of purification, which is to say, that which we expect from art. In my opinion, the performer-artist enters in amongst the state of ecstasy or contemplation, a transcendental suspense, und on the other hand, has a real occupation, or work, thanks to which objects are created, perhaps even works of art, which sometimes call to mind the moments of ecstasy. The more effort it takes to create such an object, the more it distances itself from the act of creation, und becomes an object of luxury, governed by different rules.
In the art of performance nothing is obvious, determined, or finite, since the most essential thing happening there is in suspension, like dust in the air, und it is still in `unreality'.
Indefinite man, dust in the space between the body of ecstasy und the reality determined by its lows. This is a tragic circumstance, in which there is no real base point, no existential doctrine, in which no one knows how to Be or Not to Be. The question arises as to what there is to be shown to people. Of what interest can it be to anyone that someone is balancing between the real und the unreal? We know very well what people demand from art. The artist always gives more than people can digest. And although nobody fights for that, art is a lesson, und as the history of mankind shows, it is only art that Man can be proud of.
My ambition, which is an the verge of fraud, is to adopt such an attitude as to program some types of ecstasy to the degree that it would possible to present them (performance) und to watch them, or rather to `participate' in them, at a predetermined place und time. And I think that we can discipline ourselves und our ecstasies or flights of imagination to that degree. We know that this is possible. Participation in great moments of improvisations given by poets, musicians, or secondory ecstasies by actors is something shocking und, unfortunately, rare, if genuine. For that reason the world is flooded with pretended und stage-directed ecstasy produced by specially trained idols. Musicians practice their instruments thousands of hours, but no practice can prepare or guarantee ecstasy. Ecstasy is a result of the attraction or recollection of feeling by the mystical body. And this requires preparation or mystical `practise'. This requires a different way of life and a different discipline, directed towards experiencing a special kind of power. This the origin of European art. In other cultures, art is an ornament, or an object of luxury. It is impersonal art.
I describe the artist-performer's work just as I can see my own life, and just as I can imagine what it should be like. I will not apologize for excessive discussion of my personal issues.
The distinctiveness and identity of the artist-performer's work justifies the recognition of performance art as a discipline. Here, I notice two trends in preparatory practice. One is a fate generated in detail, directed towords art, when one does not wonder around the world like an idiot, a tourist, or a money-monger, but rather generates one's adoptation by facing the sensations which one wishes to experience, and which connot be experienced vicariously through stories or photographs. Censoring and dividing one's life and choices, the hygiene of living for art. The extraction of signals, which either enrich or purify us, from both the near and distant world, to turn us into instruments which resonate at the call of art. This practice is familiar to us from the biographies of many artists, poets, and especially philosophers. There have been artists, the `more human' ones, so smeared with life that life won out over art, and killed the artist. I prefer those alienated and emancipated `mountain climbers' of art. What I am writing about refers to all the artistic disciplines, except public jesters.
The second trend, out of necessity, will be presented as an introspection, using my own example, because there is no `school' of performers yet. Nor do I wish to establish one. And perhaps what I want to separate out and occupy for performance art is a simple procedure for any individual involved in conceptual work or solving tasks. However, it is one thing when something is `dumped' on us, and we do not know what to do about it, or what to call it, and quite another thing, when we receive an answer to a problem we have been grappling with. The answers can be found in the questions. And a question about art is a question we ask of the Creator Himself.
Entering the state of projection (which is my real work), I `develop ` images: that is, I want to seen them. This `wanting' is important, because it recalls the projected visions and modifies them in the direction of my desire, or my `effort' to see. Once I have something, I submit it to evaluation, which is in fact self-evaluation. And so this work involves self-analysis, reviewing and verifying one's resources, and here it is difficult for me know what to call this, because it is something much more than the resources of memory. This is the building material of dreams and visions of every kind, including nightmares and delirium. If I am not interested in the images gained in this way, I `push away' the projections with my thinking and my will. They either obey me or they recur persistendy, like an evil thought which does not want to go away. The rest of me, that is, my conscious self, is waiting. When I `come back to myself' under the influence of exhaustion, the conscious mind starts to work.
I do not prepare any `technology' of projection states. This may be wrong. I think the Tibetans, who immure themselves in totally dark caves for six months, have enjoyed the greatest achievements in this respect. I am not afraid of mysticism, but being a product of European culture, I want to maintain both the rigor and the autonomy of art, without diluting it, or making it dependent on other human vocations, which have other purposes and another hierarchy. The masters and sages of the East have been and will remain the unequaled masters in the techniques of self-control. The fate of the European is to be suspended between Heaven and Earth. And the `progress' of contemporary civilization leads to bringing Man down to earth, or even to crawling und wallowing in one's own excrement.
I submit to my projections without any special ceremony, somehow on the sly, even when I am among people; but it is best during the silence of the night, or at the crack of dawn. Often, I do not understand my images, und I am even afraid of them. Perhaps these are the `visions' of my former or future incarnation. Perhaps they come from a different time-space. Perhaps I am grasping thoughts-images-lightwaves from outer space. I compare these recalled und remembered images to the real ones from my memory; I juxtapose them, und now I can see that they repel each other, they do not math, they do not correlate with each other. So they belong to different worlds. And yet, these worlds ARE inside me. How many worlds do we have inside of us? This is not a rhetorical question, for there are many things `not of this world.'
Thus, during the `projectional waiting' und immediately otherwards, i.e. when I come back to reality, I analyze whether there is something of use for art; und when I am pressed for time, I check the usefulness of some signals for my performance. And this is more or less how it comes together. My brain und nervous organism is a receiver und a transmitter at the same time; who knows, perhaps some unidentified devices located inside us participate in this, which taken together we call the `soul'. And these devices, like computers, are connected to the Center! To simplify, my ego, having filtered the resources (the tape collection) of my memory (the store of information und images) replies to my expectation with a signal, und the reply is unpredictable! I call such a signal, sign, message, an `input'. The input is the beginning of the `regular' preparation for a performance. This is a bit of energy, the given. And it sometimes happens that it must be rejected, when it does not lead us in the intended direction. (What is good for a poet need not be good for a performer.)
I am not going to dissect the course of the work as creative work, because I do not feel I have the education for this task. One should not force too much of one's own personality on people (cf. the chapter in my Handbook).I copy from my brain only those thoughts which may be usefull for someone or something.
Sobriety" means cold thought, calculation, premeditation; it means clarity of mind. Clarity suspended in darkness!? With reference to art, this clarity has a totally different spectrum of radiation. In the colors of that spectrum, a large contribution is made by the artist qua artist und his `artistic' personal filters (and there are such filters!). In addition, a certain contribution to this is made by objective (forgive the word), non-emotional, external conditions, such as our knowledge of the world, as well as time, space, und what is universal und general, i.e. the environment und space of art. The conscious mind must be an imporiant element of the performer's work (something not required from, say, a painter or a musician). The performer must know his own reality, because HE IS ALONE. Both he and the audience should know with reference to whom and to what he is alone. This is not a melancholy loneliness. This must be a monody, which is not something hidden behind the objective conditions of art. The monody of emission, in which there may be no art.
Ecstasy as work and ecstasy as a creative exaltation, and that which means to be art, must find its realization in a separate correlation with respect to art as its own history, its own theory, and so forth. Ecstasy is a response to the call from there, where we locate the essence, the sense, and the reason of art. Let's call this the heaven of art. The art of performance is a journey to heaven and back to earth. I have seen crafted performances, displays of some activity or other, in which one could follow the course of thinking, the combinations, the logic (or lack of logic), the development and the conclusion. A dead show, whose class is similar to the class of its author. In a performance that I would like to cause or to watch, I expect a `cast' of emission which is beyond my understanding, whose origin is unknown, which means that it had to go through Heaven'. In art and in creativity, the element of miracle must be present. For that reason, it is impossible to describe a performance. What I have written raises the question as to whether art in general, and especially the art that I have singled out in this text, has the right to a different way of thinking. What knowledge is indispensable, and what knowledge should be limited for hygienic reasons? Evil knowledge (there is such!), excess of knowledge - concerning art - may cause an artistic offering to serve as a message about the amount of knowledge held, an opinion, but not a personal act of creation. I agree with Ezra Pound, that it is a good thing for the artist to learn another field of art, both in theory and in practice. This opens up for him a certain space for operation; it does not demoralize him with professionalism, though there are examples to the contrary. The purpose of knowledge is for it to be used selectively. We should make constant choices and changes; but I would venture to say that knowledge is not important for creative initiation.
Art is something miraculous. What happens in the artist and with the artist, before the idea (!) of the work appears, and during its creation, is close to a miracle. It is something nobody has explained or understood. And fortunately people have stopped looking for a method and engaging the power of learning to examine it.It remains for me to consider the following subjects:
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