[Writing Under the Influence] EPISODE I: Choreographic Time Bombs

It is possible that all artworks are metaphors of life, both as models (works being alive) and as representations of “our”—the viewer’s—life (works about being alive). There are two basic conditions of life: not knowing what will happen next, and knowing it will end. The same is true for all forms of temporal arts. One experiences a continuous state of “not knowing what will happen next,” but within an artificial set-up. But these two conditions operate on a different level: the knowledge of not knowing what will happen next is about content, and the knowledge that it will end because it is an artificial set-up is about the frame (form) that contains the content. This makes it difficult to think about them at the same level. But often people confuse these levels in real life. The knowledge of ending allows one to proceed in spite of the non-knowledge of what will happen next. To paraphrase: the global knowledge that one is going to die drives one forward despite the local ignorance about what will happen next.

If your goal is to influence another being, to move another being, to remote-control another body to do something, then your profession is that of the choreographer and your product is dance. Everybody—every body—is a choreographer in this sense. One has a body in order to move other bodies (though sometimes one loses the body to attain the same exact goal (invisible deity)).

Choreography always affects future movement; choreography is futuristic. It plants seeds for future action, like time bombs. But all artworks are like that. Artworks and books are time bombs for future choreography. Or, even more generally: all things people make are time bombs for the future.

The problem with this perspective (somewhat reminiscent of Alfred Gell’s theory of art) is that it reduces what objects do to a mere mediation of human intention–i.e., choreography. But what if everything was like that? Flowers make petals as a choreographic medium. Things mediate other things (not necessarily human). Choreography over distance (a matter of influence). A flower is a choreographer for insects since semiotics are not just for human (Eduardo Kohn).

Semiotic/chemical structures are aesthetics: affects the senses, either physically (chemical, sensorial) or metaphysically (semiotics, conceptual). Semiotichemical. Choreography is necessarily aesthetic in what they do (allure) and how they do it (through allure). Metaphysical aesthetics: conceptual–but this concept includes the concept of a face, for instance. Bugs or orchids that have patterns that look like a face: has an effect on other beings (moves them in one way and not the other).

Organisms are choreographic beings, all mutually choreographing one another.