Rogue Event Agency: Teh blog that does not take (a) place.
I have just submitted my Practice Research PhD (on the 31st August) and I am fortunate to be a long-standing Senior Lecturer in the Performing Arts Department at the University Of Chichester since 2003. I am also fortunate to be part of the ASTR 2012 Bio-politics and Performance working group and before my attentions turn to my first post-thesis paper, I thought I would set-up what will be an infrequent but themed blog as host some larval and labile post-thesis thinking.
For over ten years I’ve been researching and writing on a ‘rogue-event’ (as Baudrillard came to describe such phenomena in the posthumously published Agony Of Power (2010). It is an event where there is bare perceptible difference between what is performed and what is actual, or possibly more accurately, where performance is employed as a strategic apparatus to performative ends. These ends are usually constituted in some form of violent means and ‘Our Theatre Of Cruelty’ as Baudrillard titled one of his essays on the ‘dark play’ (Schechner) between the real and representational. The rogue-event (aka ‘ghost events’ or ‘fake events’) ‘by analogy to the rogue state’ (Baudrillard 2010) is one where the ‘occurrence’ (Massumi) is comprised almost entirely of performativity or where the performed contains a significant performative agenda. A critical agency within such events is the terror of spectacle. Within The Dubrovka Theatre Siege (as the subject-event of my thesis) such agency also employed the spectacle of terror.
I have engaged in a performatory practice of durationally representing such an event through indefinite means of ‘time-travel’ and documentation of performed experiments. A representation ‘in’ time and the dramatised ‘storying’ of events through foundational questions of the potentials in who, what, where, how, why and when. overlooks the potential in the ‘Deleuzian’ differentiated dramatisation of ‘a life’ (1995/2001) asking: In whose interests? What values are being served? Whose event? When in time is the representation made? What is representing Who? (as blog kickstarters). I argue for a durational representation of such events with updates, corrections, immediate forecasts and further prediction as an antidote to cultural amnesia. This practice employs Bergson’s elan vital as ‘the global notation of possible observation’ in event representation. The documents of this research inquiry practice from my PhD are circulated on Born Rosca’s Virtual Performatory
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I’m going to be transparent and write that I’m not going to tell a fuller story yet as I am bound into working with the ASTR Bio-politics and Performance Working group ahead of the Theatre Histories conference in Nashville, Tennessee on Nov 1st-4th – here is the abstract to which the paper has been written.
‘Organic’ Performance and ‘Orgiastic’ Performativity in the Post-Orgiastic Event: Complicit, Collaborative and Colluding Agencies In The Double ‘Dark Play’ Of The Moscow Theatre Siege.
Andrew Wilford. University Of Chichester (UK)
This paper will employ Deleuze’s concept of ‘élan vital’ (Deleuze 1988:91-113) and ethics of ‘a life’ (ibid 2001:25-33) to differentiate the ‘dark play’ (Schechner 1993:36-39) of performative agency and performance contingencies within the Moscow Theatre Siege. This siege is argued as an exemplar post-orgiastic event where ‘the collapse of politics and theatre can be best identified and analyzed by scholars of performance’ (Brady 2012:xv).
Élan vital emerges as the coupled apparatus of spatio-temporal dynamisms and an insurgent ‘special kind of theatre’ (Deleuze 2004:94) in the pre-1968 interests of Deleuze’s philosophy. Where Bergson had drafted the concept of élan vital as ‘always virtuality in the process of being actualised’ (ibid 1988: 95), Deleuze schematized a role to this vital tendency as the singular ‘organic’ (Raunig 2007:80) differentiator in the ‘double aspect of differentiation’ (Deleuze 2004:94).
Reference to élan vital virtually disappears during the post-1968 difference-producing and ‘orgiastic’ (Raunig 2007:80) writings with Guattari. After this two-fold orgy, Deleuze’s vitalism re-emerges as radically reversed in his final writings of the early 1990’s. This reversed condition of Deleuze’s philosophy is represented by ‘a life’ on a vertiginous threshold in which agency is indistinguishable from contingency, actor from spectator or hostage from hostage-taker within ‘a zone of absolute indistinction’ (Agamben 1999: 235).
Survivor accounts provide evidence of ‘dark play’ and a zone of indistinction in the opening moments to the Moscow Theatre Siege in 2002. According to these testimonies, the audience engaged in two vital misinterpretations. The perception of a gunman’s mid-performance intrusion onto the stage as ‘very trendy theatre’ (Reid 2003) was coupled with the actors’ terrified reactions mistaken for accomplished virtuosic acting.
This moment of complicity between a ‘white magic’ of ‘organic’ theatre and ‘orgiastic’ (Raunig 2007:80) performativity in a ‘‘black magic’ of terrorism’ (Baudrillard 2002:30) was further redoubled in the finale solution to the siege. The counter-terror act of gassing the theatre whereby ‘hostages and terrorists were jumbled together’ (Baudrillard 2005:120) provides the conditions for a second zone of indistinction and the curtain closing tableau vivant of the bio-political indifference by the State.
This paper will further draw on the performance research inquiry of my PhD thesis in representations of contingent performance strategies in the asymmetric terror-acting, coupled with analysis of the ‘significant collusion’ (Dunlop 2005:155) made by performative counter-terror agencies in a double ‘dark play’ of the event.
Agamben G (1999) Potentialities: Collected Essays In Philosophy. Stanford. Stanford University Press.
Baudrillard, J (2002) The Spirit Of Terrorism & Requiem For The Twin Towers. New York & London. Semiotext(e).
Baudrillard, J (2005) The Intelligence Of Evil or The Lucidity Pact. Oxford & New York. Berg.
Brady, S (2012) Performance, Politics and The War On Terror – “Whatever It Takes”. New York & Basingstoke. Palgrave Macmillan.
Deleuze, G. (1988) Bergsonism. New York. Zone Books.
Deleuze, G (2001) Pure Immanence: Essays On A Life. New York. Zone Books.
Dunlop (2006) The 2002 Dubrovka and 2004 Beslan Hostage Crisis – A Critique Of Russian Counter-Terrorism. Stuttgart. Ibidem.
Raunig, G. (2007) Art and Revolution: Transversal Activism In The Long Twentieth Century. Los Angeles. Semiotext(e)
Schechner, R. (1993) The Future Of Rituals: Writing On Culture & Performance. London & New York. Routledge.
Reed, D. (2003) Terror in Moscow. Channel Four / Arte France / Mentorn Productions. First Screened in the U.K. on 12th May 2003 (Channel Four). Available to view in the U.K. at http://www.channel4.com/programmes/terror-in-moscow/4od (Last Accessed: 28.04.12)
Andrew Wilford is a Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at the University Of Chichester (UK). His PhD performance research thesis (awaiting viva on Jan 8th 2013) is entitled: Time & Terror-Acting: An elucidation of the Dubrovka Theatre Siege event through the conceptual production of élan vital and an ethics of conflict in a performance research inquiry.
Disclaiming and Positioning On What Does Not Take (a) Place Within Teh Blog:
After Kristeva’s description of modern theatre, I am going to write for what ‘doesn’t take (a) place… all the while waiting for the coming of a place.’ (1977) in Murray. T. (ed) (1997). Events don’t just happen, like facts they are made to perform. Like ideas that might make a difference, events don’t just go away but are made to disappear or simply play on in endless repetition with minimal difference.
Advocacy and Partisanship: In no way do I advocate the views and opinions expressed by organisations within linked materials or the slippery subjects of engagement. I advocate a vigilant critique of the post-political Right in what Tiqqun term a ‘MATERIALISM OF ENCHANTMENT whilst re-examining the failings, futures and reflexive renewal of post-Marxist ‘cre-active’ philosophy (to coin Nowotny’s phrase). All materials are intended for academic and cre-activist philosophical use only.
Blogging E-thic: Teh Blog will not link you to something that you cannot unsee (or equivalent) without due caution.
Counter-Terror Acting Disclaimer: Post-2008 U.K. Counter-Terror Act: Any projected actions or thought activity on teh blog does not propagate teh ideologies nor glorify acts, agents or organisations of terror, past or present and the bit about ‘teh future’ in teh legislation reads like something out of ‘Minority Report’. Teh blog does not advocate violence in any form and this includes criminal artistic representation. Where Counter-Terrorism legislation has inherited articles from teh repeal of Sedition Laws, I further refer to teh serious concerns outlined by teh United Nations regarding teh shifting sands of academic, artistic, journalistic and civic rights. Problem?
Good Intentions: according to Deleuze these are inevitably badly punished – see Twenty-Ninth Series of Logic Of Sense.
Teh Blog is clearly exploiting teh lability of teh world.
Not Taking (a) Place Again: Teh ‘Terrible’ Legacy Of Grozny.
The Stalinist style show-trial of Pussy Riot is indicative of the impunity through which Putin has consistently acted. If the claims of US Neo-Con / C.I.A. investment hold any truth (see Alex Jones’ Info Wars), then pro-globalising the Pussy Riot case only served to amplify Putin’s self-declared ‘anti-fascist’ message. Where Pussy Riot called upon their Madonna to ‘banish Putin’ and pop-stars duly lent their voice, Putin was there with his own self-sanctioning ‘Fuck You Madonna’. It is teh double of his Damascan Denial Of Service to humanitarian diplomatic efforts on Syria – ‘Fuck You United Nations’ – Vlad is back and employing a terrible retro-activation of teh kind of anti-anti-fascism that cultures resurgence within its conservative State institutions . Remember Russian ‘Terrible’ is like slang ‘Wicked!’ and ‘Bad’ in an inverted signifier. ‘Terrible’ is better than Great in recognising a leader’s achievement of White Russia’s interests and as David Graeber cogently reminds us ‘National interests are real because they can kill you’ (Graeber 2011: 45).
This was the lesson from teh Dubrovka Theatre Siege. In December 2011 teh European Court of Human Rights deemed teh Russian State negligent of its ‘positive obligations’ in relation to Article 2 of the Convention of European Human Rights Law – teh protection of teh right to life. Teh same President who was accountable for this indictment alongside a second count in teh failure to hold a proper investigation of teh Dubrovka military operation was re-elected in Russia some 4 months after teh ECHR judgment. Popularity for this 2nd & 4th President of post-Soviet Russia is unparallelled in Chechnya where his United Party gained 99.7% of the votes in Chechnya. As access to teh election results is seemingly no longer available on teh Russian Election Commission Site – then here is an XLS file of teh region’s polling figures – Chechnya Election Results 2012
This is teh quixotic terrain of teh rogue event. Somewhere on vertiginous thresholds and labilities of represent-ability, discern-ability and Lehmann’s ‘response-ability’.
In the Quiet War With Silent Weapons there has been an intensified period of activity by the Kaspersky-backed FSB cyber-war. Kaspersky are a Russian globl anti-virus corporation in the same way that Putin is ‘anti-fascist’. A coordinated DDOS assault on teh sites of Moscow-oriented independent press and protest is coupled with long-standing media-sites for both Kavkazcenter (organ of the Caucasian Emirate mujahideen) and Waynakh (pro-Chechen-Ickeria) in teh Caucasus. It is a different of ‘in this together’ from that of economic assymetry in the UK. Opportunity in this uneasy (and largely one-sided) alliance was recognised by Dokku Umarov – often called Russia’s ‘bin Laden’ – who retracted teh legitimacy of Russian civilians as targets for his Caucasus Emirate and Riyad-us Salakhin (RAS – Sabotage and Reconnaissance Brigade Of Chechen Martyrs) in February 2012.
Whilst teh DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attacks on teh Novaya-gazeta website and severed Russian services to global social-network disrupted protest organisation, teh summer campaign against Kavkazcenter engaged in a sustained 6-week blocking of the mujihadeen site. We are one click away from teh ‘global war on terror’ and Kavkazcenter is testament to this. Now teh organ of a US proscribed group associated with al-Qaeda, teh website has mapped the shifts and schisms of Chechen ‘separatism’ since 1999’s loss of Teh Chechen Times (Chechen-Ickerian Government organ of the fledging state – Akhmed Zakayev the President of a state that was never recognised as existing and now does not take (a) place has lived in the UK since 2002 having secured asylum shortly after the Dubrovka Theatre Siege.
Under various articles of the UK Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, I am not posting direct links to Kavkazcenter but if you are wanting to lurk then they are also on Twitter, YouTube and e-Blogger. Google can transgress where for me such actions are a liability.
The FSB cyber-assault may all be pre-emptive of the Kavkaz 2012 operations and exercises that are due to begin in September. Kavkaz 2009 escalated into the short conflict with Georgia and ‘liberation’ of Ossetian territories. Kavkaz 2012 promises to be more ambitious and extensive affair. Ahead of Sochi 2014 there are more than sporadic sport-shop looters facing those games. The cyber-clearing prepares teh ground on two ‘theater of conflicts’ in teh Caucasus and more directly Circassia where the Sochi resort is located.
It has been during this sustained DDOS that there has been a re-branding of the Chechen State Website – Chechnya Today – and a flotilla of linked State media channels including the President’s ‘Grozny-Terek’ branded Chechen State Broadcasting Company (http://groztrk.net/). Chechen President – Ramzan Kadyrov (35) is now in a second term and has expressed concern regarding teh results that appear for a web-search using teh word ‘Chechnya’. Of course this is something we can all see for ourselves. Go to Google type ‘Chechnya’ look on images and think about teh issues facing teh global public representation of your country. Ramzan is also working hard on his self-representation since this iconic picture was taken (dated around 2009).
MEME CAPTION: (Post in comments).
‘A joke is teh beginning of a quarrel’ according to pre-Chechen, or Nokhchi, wisdom from the Caucasus.
The problem facing teh Grozny-Terek State ‘branding’ developed by Ramzan Kadyrov namely for his football club (F.C. Grozny-Terek), luxury hotel (Hotel Grozny-Terek), website, television channel, boxing club, in fact ubiquitously teh problem facing his PR is that Grozny translates as ‘Terrible’.
And so it is a Rogue State that is transparently performed by Grozny-Terek.net or Terrible.net
Terrible State Broadcasting Company, Terrible News, Terrible Videos, Terrible Photographs, Terrible Policy, Terrible Economy, Terrible Spirituality, Terrible Crime, Terrible Construction, Terrible Sport, Terrible Culture, Terrible Health, Terrible Society, Terrible Safety, Terrible Agriculture, Terrible Education, Terrible Information, Terrible Entertainment, Terrible Talk-Shows, Terrible Publicity, Terrible Cognition, Terrible Music and a Terrible Rogue Form of Islam
Ramzan Kadyrov desires the apparel and apparatus signifying teh normalcy of State but inherits teh viral legacy of a city named after its originary status as an occupying Russian fortress built in 1818. Grozny was virtually leveled in 2000 in an act of ‘Urbanicide’ and where once there was Lenin avenue there is now Putin and Kadyrov.
Teh Live Broadcast Opening Of Grozny’s ‘Lincoln City’
Grozny’s new city was reopened last year and its spectacular launch accompanied President Ramzan Kadyrov’s 35th Birthday in October 2011. This was teh event notorious for its international guests – Jean-Claude Van Damme, Hilary Swank, Vanessa Mae and Seal ‘tops the bill’. The entire 4hr 54 minute Chechen state broadcast is available to watch on YouTube as an event that did not take (a) place.
1 hour 45mins is a great place to join teh proceedings… A great first impression of Ramzan and JCVD’s performance is swiftly followed by Hilary Swank. It is worth noting that all teh international performers were written to before teh event with Human Rights groups and Amnesty International outlining Kadyrov’s checquered history in possibly greater detail than his Wikipedia entry.
The broadcast is a must-see for those engaged with or in teh NSK State.
The opening of Grozny’s ‘Lincoln City’ presents an unprecedented contemporary view into how Chechnya has been rebuilt like a film-set state for the 21st Century and it was built on similar investment terms to that of making a movie.Teh State broadcast of teh opening is intercut with footage and documentary to form part of a programmed closure on teh traumatic past.
These virtual manifestations are symptomatic traits of teh later phases in Kadyrov’s ‘No More Traces Of War’ policy. Contrary to possible connotation is not about eradicating violence so much as removing the evidence of it ever having taken (a) place. No-one wants teh appearance of a normal state under sovereignty more than teh President.
His catalogue of Human Rights violations on Wikipedia might suggest suggest a degree of hesitancy in the Twittersphere to want to follow or possibly worse have @ramzankadyrov as a ‘follower’.
Ahead of the elections in Georgia I note teh schedule Kavkaz2012 operation. Part Olympic clean-up part showboating, teh co-incidence of these events makes for uncomfortable scenarios of both those future to come….
Teh ‘Indefinite’ Bibliography covering Rogue Agency referencing in teh blog.
Baudrillard, Jean (2010) The Agony Of Power. Semiotext(e).
Graeber, David (2011) Revolutions In Reverse: Essays In Violence
Jamouchka, (2005) The Chechens: A Handbook
Kristeva, Julia (1977) Modern Theatre Does Not Take A Place Murray, Tim (ed)
Massumi, Brian (2011) Semblance and Event: Activist Philosophy and the Occurrent Arts
Nowotny, Stefan (2007) Immanent Effects: Notes On Cre-activity (Link to Transversal)
Next Blog: It could be hackers, larval subjects or just more on the performance of this rogue state…
Here is a link to Born Rosca’s Virtual Performatory (Link to YouTube)