Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Experimental Television, Physiological Spasms, and the Proprioceptive Artist-Medium

In his loose, poetic, handwritten style, Nam June Paik's "Experimental Television" - now on display at the Kunsthalle-Bremen with the original art work from his first-ever 1963 video art exhibition in Wuppertal, features an excerpt that truly connects with my own recent discoveries around nomadic net art, VJ performance, hyperimprovisation, and tapping into the unconscious flow of creative composition before conscious thought steps in a derails your signifying momentum. Paik says, referring to the word (in quotes) "ecstasy"
to go out of oneself...
and then continues with:
  • completely filled time
  • the presence of eternal presence
  • unconscious, or super-conscious
  • -- some mystic forgets himself (goes out of oneself)
  • abnormal
  • the world stops for three minutes!
and the trick, I would add, for stopping the world (and this is the exact same phrase used in the Carlos Castenada books where the trickster-shaman Don Juan advises his young disciple on how to "trip"/drift through life), is to always stay a half a second ahead of the game, creating on the fly DO-IT-YOURSELF MANIPULATIONS of all of the source material you have at your disposal (the phrase DO-IT-YOURSELF MANIPULATIONS comes from the typewritten notes/theory of Paik's contemporary and Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell, whose work is exhibited in the same large gallery room at Kunsthalle Bremen with Paik's 1963 work).

After Paik tells us "the world stops for three minutes!" - he has an aside that reads:
"Dostoevsky before the spasm of Epilepsy"
which reminds me of the "physiological spasm" that Allen Ginsberg spoke about when discussing his best poetry, that is, when the body of the poet gets "lost in space" - i.e. totally immersed in other-worldly body chanting instead of just talking per se.

Speaking with students in Bremen, we discussed how one gets into this ex-static state of mind, unconsciously playing in whatever glorious field of composition we happen to be moving our bodies in...

Think of it as creating an active unconscious momentum, where the proprioceptive artist-medium "knows" where they are going without ever having been there before.

Or: imagine the artist-medium playing out their aesthetic potential via an innate body intuition, flushed with the illogic of sense (data), operating on autopilot.

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