METAKHÔRA: Un/Bounded

 

METAKHÔRA: Un / Bounded – [Metatopia 6.0] is a performance-installation that plays with the limits of control and indeterminacy. A body attached to a robotic sculpture moves apparently constrained by the sculpture, however the less it tries to control the robotic sculpture, the greater freedom of movement can be found, thus exposing the paradox that the less you control the greater freedom you have.

 

The piece is an installation for indoors in which a 4 meters high suspended sculpture made of translucent flexible panels conforming a sort of cocoon architecture where audience members are asked to enter one by one, attach themselves to it, move with it as well as wear sensors through which they process amorphous digital architectures and spatialised electronic sound projected on and around the sculpture creating a delicate but powerful space in constant formation, and connected to the minutest movements of the audience members. Participants will be on the one hand tied to the sculpture in a disaligned position and requested to perform both very subtle micromovements and as strange as possible torsions, yet there is no control relation with the sculpture, it moves with you and invites you to move in new ways, thus playing with ambiguous limits between new constraints and new freedoms. The sensors respond to minute microtorsions, tiltings and changes of speed, so that the more varied the micromovements the richer the result, they invite to discover hidden dimensions of proprioception, the internal sense of movement of the body. The installation thus explores the paradoxes of control, which invariably seems to reduce freedom of movement (the more you control, the less freedom you have…), while proposing to introduce a positive sense of indeterminacy o digital-physical ecologies. The question remains, control for the purpose of what?… and more importantly: are there no alternatives?

Proposal B: (semi)autonomous scultpture

The piece is an installation for indoors in which a 4 meters high suspended sculpture made of translucent flexible panels conforming a sort of cocoon architecture which moves autonomously through small motors that partly react to movements via sensors on the structures. The structure senses its own movement in a sort of proprioception, that can be extended to the audience if the participants pull it from outside, attach themselves to it or enter it. At the same time interactive lights, amorphous digital architectures and spatialised electronic sound are processed through the sensors and projected on and around the sculpture creating a delicate but powerful space in constant formation. The sculpture is itself a body sensing its own movement and creating a larger space, bound up with itself and invitinig the audience to become part of the cocoon. The audience members are invited to enter the sculpture or attach themselves and stay almost still in a disaligned position or move at superslow motion so as to feel the small subtle movements of the sculpture and feel them propagating in their own internal movement, readapting to the movements of the sculpture while discovering new subtle ranges of movement, sensation and perception. The installation thus explores the paradoxes of control, which invariably seems to reduce freedom of movement (the more you control, the less freedom you have…), while proposing to introduce a positive sense of indeterminacy o digital-physical ecologies. The question remains, control for the purpose of what?… and more importantly: are there no alternatives?

 

The installation Metakhôra creates a formless matrix, womb or receptable, a possible n-figuration of Platos khôra, a space that never aquires any form, but thich also resists to express any form or geometry, a space of nascent perceptions, an autistic space, a swarming space that sustains indeterminacy, neither concrete nor abstract, a space of pure relations, an interstitium, a proprioceptive space of the body/metabody. It’s Plato’s khôra with a difference (or différance) as in Plato Khôra is the formless receptacle of becoming where copies of the eternal forms manifest as the world of becoming and the senses, wherein khora is figures as mother, forms or the demiurg as father and the appearances as the child (a figuration that has been subject of intense feminist critique); Here instead khora is without eternal forms and its copies, its the realm of the formless, of the proprioceptive body, of formless movement, of the defeat of form: womb and mother wihtout father and child.

Khôra is an ancient greek word for space, which as different from topos (as concrete place, perhaps analogous to the latin locus) pointed to a slightly more abstract sense of extension, in particular the extension outsce the polis, perhaps analogous to the latin spatium. The history of notions of space is sometimes depiced as inbetween these two notions whereby Plato uses khôra not only identified with the receptacle of becoming but also to his theories of motion. In turn Aristotle opted for topos in defining, for the first time, a systematic account for space as immobile and external to the body, a crucial leap that has influenced common sense, science and philosophy ever since. Arguably Aristotle’s notion is not as “concrete” as it seems, for considering a topos/locus/place as fixed and distinct from any body, matter or movement seems already a great abstraction.

Building upon Derrida’s reading of khôra, but also on feminist critique, particular Butler and Irigaray, I want to propose Metakhôra as a process of spacing-bodying that resists reduction to geometry and anatomy. A space beyond the grid, emerging from movement relations, and a body withot form, without identifiable sex, irreducible to anatomical cartographies. A field that sustains high degrees of indetermincy, which implies taking out forms and their copies from platos khôra en elaborating the formless receptacle as the only reality. How does it space, how does consistency come about wihtout recourse to form and its copies, to phalogocentric phamtasies of identity and sameness, what plastic rhythms, orientations and contacts compose dynamic and open yet sustained kinds of spacing-bodying?