kthm‘in wolwol iwlwirwin (a bone-thimble length): Unshared Codes like Marsupials
Last modified: November 18, 2006
Presentation date: 11/25/2006 2:00 PM in McR 028
It is in fact the emergence of experiments, in any field, that equals to the break of a code. In fact “experimentalism” itself, as a method, dealing with the opening up of a field towards or outside canonical codes, exposes the dynamics of a system to an unsharing risk. Such emergence, with no moral issue behind, can generate a “positive” lineage, the experimentation and thus the generation of differences (which imply the shuffling of a “genetic pool”). But also a “negative” one, as this break of codes inevitably generates a subsequent stage of unshared codes and “confusion”. The relation with this fragility of a code, of a common sharing, is a condition of any system, especially of systems made up of dynamic processes. They can be handled following different strategies. They could be top down, when pre-existing codes are moulded and replicated onto different systems, or bottom up when new codes are moulded and applied onto previous systems. As it has frequently being the case in early anthropologies and ethnomusicology and new music in general. Or they can be more fluid, when codes emerge like ad hoc, temporary heuristic tools, and only those which “demonstrate” a long-term resistance and ability to generate, survive. As in the meeting of cultures, where two cultures meet, confront and perhaps collide. Then a strategy must arise: confrontation through submission or confrontation through agreement. Or confrontation within dynamic and perhaps elastic and porous codes.
The emergence of different forms of art during past centuries, eventually broke up rules and emptied existing codes from their acquired habitual meanings and status. The “natural” perception changed. As a result, this “new” emerging object of art, with almost no commonly shared codes behind, could be drawn back to old systems, by relying on “inbred” codes, interpreting the difference with old tools and translating it into the most common statements, perceived as reasonably apt to explain and systematize this “otherness”. Or it could be handled in open fields, waiting for the codes to emerge and in the meantime forging different tools, which deal with this non-habitual reality and try to lead to the possibly appropriate modes of “intervention” on it.
By analyzing this historical process, well present in other disciplines, post-colonial anthropology first, where this understanding of the difference between codes to evaluate the meaning of a fact and the construction of a reality is a long-time open and productive debate, we will hope to cast at least a dim light over the art disciplines to observe from within how such a question, the historical breaking of codes and the subsequent current phase, should be central to the challenge of which art and what and why, in relation to our history.
The real emergency then, is this emergence of a slow “new” sharing, it is in fact the emergence of a relation with the (linguistic, subjective, morphological and so on) differences stepping up from hopefully basic commonly shared anthropological codes. This emersion is a slow process of adaptation, we should somehow unfold, become aware and make use of.