Text 8 – To Give… 1) Given : The Pre-Position


‘To Give’ is divided into four sub-sections exploring contrasting aspects of contemporary making’s relation to ‘offering’ and to ‘giving’, and specifically to the ‘gift’ and the ‘given’. The questions turn around what making takes as a ‘given’ with particular reference to interpretations of art’s past (‘tradition’ and pre-positions) and future (making for, extremity, leaping-beyond).

Duchamp’s paradoxical sense of the ‘hinge’ and his recurrence on the term ‘Given…’ open onto questions of ‘source’, the ‘other’, and ‘medium’ in the performing process.

Art’s gests are considered in terms of their discernibility, difference, and unruliness, while the maker as active performer is approached via the questions of the dissolution of subjectivity and the blurring of the boundaries between ‘art’ and ‘life’.

Under representation’s rule Duchamp’s response to the logic of the machine is offered not as a model but as instructive for the performing project. This offering draws also on the relevance of both Lyotard’s discussion of Duchamp’s relation to the machine/calculation and Middleton’s valuing of ‘chance’.

Performing’s gests are offered as challenges to discourses grounding themselves on ‘potency’ and ‘power’. ‘Out’ is taken to be the hoped for destination of the way the gests ‘give themselves away’. In the process, and helped here by Celan, performing takes on the ‘vague’, the ‘shade’, ‘night vigil’, ‘de-creation’, ‘attending-to’, and the ‘threshold’. Performing’s surfacings are adrift somewhere between ‘void’, ‘place’, and ‘dwelling’.