A performance demonstration of an amount
of “live-ness” Also
the subject matter of said performance. Analogue equipment is often used
in the exploration of thanatological themes because it is easier to determine
the amount of live-ness when the material is manipulated physically.
Exact transitions can be used to disguise a drop off in live-ness into
less live-ness, or an increase in “death-ness” (death
being the most acute form of "death-ness"). This is not dying. But if someone
is dead you can get a machine to trigger the manipulation of the material.
This can trick the audience. I don’t
know why you would, maybe to sell more tickets or to really fuck with
some relative in the audience, but why would you make a dead person perform
using the technology of our time? Because it may accentuate the Live-ness
of the non-dead collaborators.
Getting machines to do human things does not make the performance itself
dead, because if there is one human representing live-ness we presume that
the dead machines working in their interlocking fashion just lay the background
for quite an explosion of live-ness from the living participant. He is
free to yell and jump, to run around in a little circle and remove clothes.
He gets all sweaty and goes down on his knees, removing a rubber glove
from his pants and throwing it into the audience. Then he climbs a pole
while screaming. Then he removes the dinosaur mask. And ripps down the
cardboard from the wall. All this is a certain amount of live-ness expression,
and the audience can be sure that he is nice and alive because they saw
him live right there. The backing tracks were played by dead machines,
but he was so alive right then that the overall live-ness amount of the
preformance lands firmly on the “not dead or zombie” side of
the thanatological spectrum.
It’s the experience of the increments themselves that is the course
of any performance. The death metaphor permeates every human endevor. If
we meet someone who is not happy we talk of them being “dead inside”. “I
looked into his eyes into his soul, and there was only death there, no
light. I think you should get someone else to plan the wedding” When
we put our watching-hats on, when we wander into the flat, infinte plain
of look-space, we want to be reminded that everyone is not dead if we are
dead, or we want to see the living work it if we are alive (to feel close
to them, ourselves).