23Oct08

 

  

The purpose of HCR is to create an experiential day, that brings together academics in a transgressive, but not prescriptive ACTION. In the words of Clifford Shultz: the HCR performance always aims to be an epiphany  – it is a small frame for collaborative research performed with some sense of radical urgency.

In that respect the HCR-day is reminiscent of past disruptions that cherish the ‘revelatory incident’ and it perpetuates the heretical disconnect from academic pursuits that prioritise the social re-production of research paradigms.

In its role of mind-expanding ‘amuse-gueule’ of ACR, the 2008 subjective heretical performance has celebrated a homecoming from the recent tradition of postmodern spectacles to the urgent intimacy of found aesthetics and everyday poetics, in visual metaphors of Waste Allocation Load Lifters Earth-class, it looks something like this:

Post-apocalyptic WALL-E in the PIXAR spectacle (year 2700)

Post-ironic WALL-E at the San Francisco Waste Dump (year 2008)

This year we have felt the sad urgency of the deeply passionate, but also desperately limited effect of recycling at the dump. The  superfluence of stuff, not in the last place caused by complicit marketing, is countered by the efforts of the local artists that work at the San Francisco Recycling facility.

In the process of making the hyperreal tangible and charging theory with sensuality, the visit to the warm, smelly and dusty dump of San Francisco led to exclamations of the immediacy of stuff over symbolic distantiation – the vengeful object in action:

 Visit to the San Francisco Dump

Garbage, this is garbage
Us living it up
When others eat out of the dump
Garbage!
Believing what many do in consumer research is meaningful
While millions live lives that are awful
Garbage!
Having a good time convening
When so many are tortured and dying
Garbage!
Thinking that garbage is only what
We ‘observe’ at the dump
Garbage!

Fuat Firat (HCR 2008)

 

This year’s concrete act of research following the tour of the waste dump involved the creation of an assemblage of consumable, consumed and consumptive objects at SCRAP studio.  A set of objects gathered according to one’s own sense of their value: expressive, monetary, moral, or otherwise. The assemblage provides the material condensation of aesthetic values of consumption, a microcosm of metaphors, an existential labyrinth of semiotic oppositions. In Maffesoli’s words, aesthetics may have been ‘the sign of post-modernity’, but that doesn’t mean that urgent aesthetic reductions have settled in the main stream of research, in the twilight of post-modernity in academia.  

As personal poetic theatres in toucheable material instead of words, they implicitly contain the researcher’s philosophy of presenting consumer culture, and illuminate a previously unknown individual penchant for expressive aesthetics. For some of the creations made during the day, see TRASHWORX in the tab at the top.

  

On a philosophical or theoretical level assemblages have been defined as lyrical samples of daily poetics and are successful in the dislocation of everyday objects. We made a small ‘photo booth’ to make stills of  evocations at SCRAP: the essence of a poetic installation is enclosure and containment. The work made by partcipants are  theatrical embodiments on the quietest of scales, at the time of the surreal imaginations of hockey mums, joe the plumber and the credit crunch. 

 

To all who have contributed their creativity and have taken the risk to show a reckless fragility of expression and made poetry without words during the HCR day of 2008: thanks for your soulful collaboration! 

 

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