The Constitution
by Tisa N. Herlec
masters thesis
Experimental Publishing, Piet Zwart Institute
Dear reader, before you dive into the text in front of you, I propose the
following paragraphs that will allow you to navigate it easier.
My thesis and the project that goes along with it are called "The
Constitution". To clarify, this name has nothing to do with the legislative
document, it is merely a "composition of something", each paragraph of text
that I write and works that I make are the constitutive parts of the
holistic constitution of my imaginary and praxis.
My graduation project "The Constitution" will be a physical space and also
a digital (Wikipedia) infrastructure that will (like a net) capture and
compose the totality of all of my works (past and present and future), and generate connections in-between them, as well as archive them and make them public. In my work, I am dialogical - I communicate, exchange and share with others (the public as well as my co-creators). I gather my knowledge from my actual experiences that I analyse, study and learn from.
As much as I love improvisation, I am also inclined towards the
structuralization of it all. My thesis, my written work is a reflection of that. I attempt to trace the friction points between improvisation &
composition or chaos & structure - in my thinking/writing/making process
and in the broader world.
My thesis is construed of two chapters.
The first chapter is a co-written essay that took the case of the Lyrebird, a bird that has a very specific way of singing, as a cue to establish a conversation.
With my friend Leon Holsten (current location: Leipzig, Germany) we have
established a correspondence of bi-weekly conversations that occurred
within a time span of approximately six months. Within these conversations we have wandered around psychogeographically, finding orientation points -
concepts. We have studied particulars (the Lyrebird) in order to extract
universals, to decode the coded reality. The consolidation on what the
final text will have become was gradual. In the process we have learned
from each other and the vast pool of references, examples and insights into the world around us. Both also being sound practitioners, we have taken the phenomenon of sound as our leading guide, an entry point. We were modulating, editing the constitution of our perception of the world - doing
it together, discursively. We were co-thinking, taking notes of our
conversations, writing simultaneously on an Etherpad, posing each other
questions and investigating a common interest, co-writing, inventing
methods and co-editing. Now, we have come to the point of articulating what the bird has taught us. In this chapter, we speak of the nature-culture, of breaking the hegemonic binaries (especially the one of nature-culture), and of sound as the tool to do it with. In the process of unlearning and transgressing the very existence of binaries we acknowledge them, learn about them and are sometimes also tempted to use them, as they are constantly present in our systems of thinking. Hereby, we admit that the reader might encounter inconsistencies in our text. They are there as breadcrumbs, traces of our learning and unlearning process.

The second chapter is changing and dynamic in its nature.
First, we encounter a discarded fishnet that tells us its story from her
own perspective. The story is then, in the second part, broken down -
analogies are taken from it to constitute another kind of a net.
Its materiality has inspired a research process that follows the threads, nodes, spaces and passages and observes them in parallel to other phenomena.
The act of framing that a fishnet is designed for led me towards the
infrastructuralization of my own praxis - The Constitution, improvisational in nature.
In the last part of this chapter, I speak of improvisation and the ways it has framed me as a practitioner, always with a great deal of
self-reflectivity and eagerness to learn and discover as I go and dive into the wild waters of the intangible.
Mind mapping has served me as the main strategy in building my net of
thoughts, concepts and perceptions (thinking and writing methodology). I
have viscerally felt that "The map is not the territory", a crucial insight for my mental processes. All mind-mapping pursuits sooner of later fail, or are subject to versioning. There are many thoughts that cannot be assimilated onto the map, it is not their nature to do so.
I have realized that writing and thinking always requires a net to be in
place - a net that demarcates what passes through and what stays on the
surface of the text - a mechanism that allows choices to be made, deciding on what the essential data is.
The entrypoint to the network of ideas is difficult to find. Thoughts are a rhizome, a cloud, a network. In-medias-res or a rupture in the rhizome are possible strategies.
When generating works with improvisation, a generative stream, liberated
from a predetermined form arises. Free-writing and other generative
methodologies are the paranodality in relation to the network. They do not
predeterminately fit the net - they do not have a designated spot within
the infrastructure. Only after the action of making has been done, the
subject with the compositional intent (me) analyses the material work, and
inserts it into the network (The Constitution), and finds a position for it
in the totality of other thoughts/concepts/works. (Here, I speak
simultaneously about the organization of thought (when thinking, writing)
and the organization of data within a technological system).
While doing so, a material process of disassembly into constitutive
parts/ideas/memes/paragraphs/concepts/etc. might happen, the material will
entropically fall apart, in order to be assimilated into the broader
network. By being deconstructed, parts of it get isolated and can be
studied closely. Eventually, they can reassemble, reconstitute and
reintegrate into the bigger whole, or find other ways of assembly, a newly
generated constitution.
Both chapters are tightly connected to my praxis of improvisation and my
research pursuits in the field of music (I am a vocalist and regularly play
with others), in addition to other mediums that I work with - mainly text,
performance and visual.
I wish you enjoy this experience, I look forward to hearing from you!
The Case of the Lyrebird
Written by Leon Holsten & Tisa N. Herlec
A human comes wandering into the forest looking for his lost love or his
car keys or some god-given peace of mind.
The forest is an ecosystem that is construed with natural order, an
intricate organizational principle that lives within all of its
inhabitants. Animals band together in groups and roam free in their
territories - mating, feeding, resting. The wind blows through the old
trees, humming, and waterfalls crash into clear rivers somewhere in the
distances beyond the horizon of our vision.
All of these entities assemble and sonify, together they constitute the
forest, amplifying its existence into the sonic sphere.
Traversing through the multiple utterances and iterations of sounds, the
visitor is adding grunts, sighs, whistles and occasional curses to the
soundscape, while stumbling barefoot across the earthen floor.
Does the human even listen carefully to what the forest is telling him?
The Lyrebird as The Welcoming Host
While most animals ignore the visitors' stiff language, and
disregard it as too primitive in character, some are open to
experiment with it, communicate. Some even take the sounds produced by humans into their own sonic repertoire. This kind of an animal is the Lyrebird, the host that welcomes the human into its territory.
How Does She Do That?
The Lyrebird is capable of recreating any sounds she hears. Starting off
with a sound of a shutter, produced by cameras and ranging as far as car
alarms and laser guns.
She is "captured" by the presence of machinic sounds, the sounds that are a
byproduct of technological devices that humans have made and brought into
the forest with them (a trespassing act that is).
One would think that simply taking a picture of the bird has little
consequence to the forest. Well, it does. The Lyrebird hears the shutter of the camera and includes it into her library of sounds, mixing it into her sonic output. She listens and responds by incorporating the sounds into her song. She cannot fight the changes in her environment. She herself is changing.

Watch these videos:

The Binary As a Destructive Symptom
We are making a case for the Lyrebird - she, more than us, is able to
overcome the contradictions, the binaries of (meta)-modern life: nature and culture, human and non-human.
The Lyrebird is a bridge, connecting the "bird-world" to the "human-world". While remaining a bird, possessing the ability to sing, it welcomes the uninvited visitor into its song. This creates a conjunction, opens a gate, a passage between different (natural) orders.
Her song is filled with potential meanings that are not communicated
through language. Still, we are the ones investigating the case of the
Lyrebird in an attempt to understand her - that is in our nature as humans, coding with and coded by language.
The Lyrebird engages in an act of becoming the "other", by imitating its
sounds. It is no longer merely a bird, it has become a sample machine. She communicates with her environment, in an orchestral fashion, listening and speaking at the same time, integrating the outside into her own bodily materiality. Through a spontaneous act of adaptation, she involves and
evolves herself with the alterity that is manifesting around her. A
Lyrebird does not even believe in the existence of “the outside”, or so we imagine.
Outside in this process becomes open and connective, it manifests on its
own terms, not referring to any representation nor symbol. The sounds of
cars, the mechanical, the motoristic sounds echo in the space unchanged.
Outside and Inside remain indistinct from each other. The boundary between the two is created merely through language, coded with the language-machine that adds and subtracts meaning and information from the totality of existence. We are alluding to a machine that, in the first place, created the hegemonic binary between the human and nature, that planted in our conceptual/perceptual apparatuses this disparity - language.
Communication within natural systems that are not bound to language,
happens differently. There is no fixed meaning to the sounds that the bird omits, no dictionary she could consult, no written odes to quote when she communicates her love to the others around her.
With the emergence of the signification machine, working behind and through all of our expressions, every sound that we, humans omit, turns into a readable object that has its equivalence in the abstract sphere of linguistic symbols, a signification that impatiently awaits to be
interpreted, decoded and recoded.
The lyrebird is, in its own sound production, not produced by the
signifying machine. Instead, it engages with the sounds themselves,
deterritorializing them from their technological sources and
reterritorializing them as her own mating calls.
When the Lyrebird sings, she always listens for the next new hit sample of a sound that will grant her the possibility to communicate with her
ever-changing environment and the other birds of her kind. She imitates
sounds, integrating them into her own repertoire. She is sending signals
outwards, awaiting for a response from her surroundings, possibly one that will intrigue the other into a procreative relation.
Even the birds the Lyrebird imitates are fooled, they respond to its song as if the Lyrebird was one of their own. Perhaps she awaits for the
chainsaws and shutter sounds and car alarms to answer - but they rarely do. The lyrebird is the one that initiates communication across the boundaries of signification.
Her "language" is not constructed with the hegemonic binary of
nature-culture in mind. She is the one that merges and consolidates
territories and perceptions in her song.
The sounds that she makes, don't become natural, as their reception is not
a translation, but a pragmatic usage of the sound. Alluding to the
difference between human language and "bird-pragmatics," that is engaging
with life without its perception of language. A naturalization is a process
by which something appears as natural, and therefore timeless, without
history and unchangeable. However, this process that we are observing here,
is just a bird merely doing its thing.
From our human perception, the Lyrebird can be conceptualized as the very
embodiment of the line that distinguishes the inside from the outside, the
natural from the cultural (etc.), the line that creates the binary itself.
She is also the one that is actively destroying this line, and along with
it, our own human perception of the binary that we are cultured into
A Geographical, Geological Reading
The Lyrebird makes us gain awareness of the binaries that we seemingly
bought into as a western society married to the ideas of progress and
We try to trace back the steps, to reverse-engineer the emergence of the
distinction between nature and culture, we attempt to speculate and point
at the moment in time when this antagonism came to be. This point keeps on
moving. It is dynamic and the very attempt to put a global process onto a
strictly structured timeline is impossible. Here, we rather speak of a
possible dynamic that humans have gradually deployed.
Nature had posed as a threat to humans, fragile in the face of its
In order to survive in the unpredictable conditions of the wilderness, the
intelligent and conscious animals that we are, attempted to match the power
of nature, gradually transforming it.
The wild, wild nature (of the people and of the nature herself) became
seemingly controllable and tamable. The walls around our settlements, the
dams that prevented rivers from flooding and destroying our crops, etc. the
human inventions that ordered (overcoded) nature made us believe that we
are not in her mercy anymore.
We perceived ourselves as stronger and more powerful than nature. With
linguistic and physical barriers between the natural order and our
constructs of a different, imposed order, we began perceiving nature as
subordinate, as something other than us. (That is one way to think about,
but as stated above we do not really know where exactly this distinction
occurred nor do we attempt to sketch out this abysmal diagram.)
In this process we have constructed our civilization along with the
(conceptual) binaries and borders between us and her. Even though she is
the one that enabled us to be(come), we have, with our own inventions,
damaged her and tossed her out of her striving towards an equilibrium. (To
address the history of this process has probably been undertaken already.)
We are the geological era of destruction (the Anthropocene). We are the
rude other that "emancipated" ourselves from our primal nature, we
overruled her violently. While doing so, we have created many divides
between us, humans, as well. Therefore, we must pose the difficult question
of: Who is “we” addressed here? Is there a way to sum up the scope of human
experiences and to address the challenges humans face. The Capitalocene,
the Chthulucene?
We (the writers of this text) are wary and afraid and not quite aware of
how to disengage from the attempts of universalizing humans into a single
entity. That is - the abstract, generalized and normalized "human". For now
we leave these questions unresolved.
No matter who these humans are, we impact the environment.
And Yet, Nature Fights Back!
Humans will never be able to control her fully - volcano eruptions erasing
civilizations, earthquakes crumbling ancient knowledges, tsunamis flooding
homes unpredictably, wild forest fires erasing flora and fauna ...
Mass extinctions of not only our own species, but also the multitudes of
human cultures, other species and environments, ecosystems. Destruction
happens on humungus scales.
We (addressed humankind) are - in a fact - feeble and helpless when we face
the power of nature, her forces are absolute.
Her strength is also her ability to clean up the mess that humans have
She does have mechanisms of rebuilding and change is her ally - mushrooms
grow on the ashes of burnt-down forests, organisms that dissolve plastic
particles evolve etc.
Nature will outlive humanity.
Construction of New Relations
We (humankind) used to belong to nature, be one with it. Now, we are its
nemesis, the biggest factor in the deployment of the climate crisis and the
permanent changes we have caused to nature, and ourselves, by gradual but
persistent interventions in it, while aiming for progress and development.
We are interested in the construction of a perception of nature as one that
not just includes what we now perceive as separate from us, comprehended as
nature, but also transfigures our relation to the things that we now
perceive as ours.
What we face is not merely an epistemic problem, it is also economic.
Capitalism and in its cultural expression of the dichotomous obstructs us
from this fundamental "coming to ourselves" and alienates us from ourselves
and our lifeworld. By recognizing our damaged planet, we have to recognize
the fundamental contradictions capitalism creates in many guises.
In the attempt to deconstruct the barrier between humans and non-humans
lies the construction of a new set of relations between humans, and
non-humans. We see this change as gradual, and it is material, social,
technological, scientific and infrastructural.
Houses would then be a part of this new set of relations, cities would, as
well as cars but also snails and birds and water and dirt. Becoming other,
becoming together.
A new set of relations is a transformative process that leads away from the
capitalist relations that determine us now. We see it not as an exclusively
linguistic/perceptual problem, but also as the substantial divide that
capitalism relies on today, exemplified by the exploitation of "free
What Can We Learn From The Lyrebird?
We have studied the case of the Lyrebird. Here, we halt for a moment and
reflect on what she can tell us, humans, caught up in the
linguistically-produced dichotomy between nature and culture? What
strategies can we learn from her?
She is the one that exercises the crucial point of formation of a new
relation, and she does it through sound. She is adapting, she is open to
the possibilities of new relations. To listen to her singing is a practical
exercise in the erasure of the divide, and a potentially
consciousness-changing experience.
When we imagine the possible relation and entanglement of humans in nature,
we can be inspired by the very mechanics of the natural, as it has always
been. Listening to it carefully.
Expanding our perception from viewing nature as a chaotic system,
subordinate to the human-imposed order. Granting value to the intrinsic
organizational principles, the natural order.
Deactivating language as the primary perceptual mechanism and abandoning
the sorting of categories, the linguistic dynamics that we are used to.
The Lyrebird doesn't communicate anything in particular, that is, she is
not trying to make a point but she engages with lifesounds and lifeworlds
seamlessly without communication needed to connect disparate worlds. A
different kind of communication is happening, an inter-species
communication, communication between two worlds, organisms, realities,
intentions. An other type of communication that doesn't only tell us about
the world of one singular subject (in the ecosystem), but about the whole,
as we could understand it. Respecting (the boundaries, disrespect the
divides), the multiplicity, knowing about the entanglement. Relation.
We cannot learn from her in a linguistic manner, but in a mechanic one. She
is not attempting to consolidate meaning, she is just responding to the
ecosystem (input - output, call and response).
That is precisely why she is able to express her point, she embodies it -
there is no binary between the natural and cultural, and she is a proof of
Humans create the language machine and are created in its image. It poses
as a line, a separation, an abstract world, a different world. The
machinery of nature underlies it.
The Lyrebird is singing with the natural order, which has its own
protocols, its own apparatuses, but not the one of language. Her sounds are
an expansion of her world, the same world that she creates when she sings.
We are spoken by language, she speaks together with nature, whereas we
speak about and for nature. Her song, her sounds overcome the antagonism.
How Could Humans Engage in the Practice of Becoming Lyrebirds?
In the process of becoming the other, of merging with the natural, we
believe it is necessary to be aware of the fact that we are already a part
of something that is a part of us - with our own perceptual, conceptual
apparatuses and bodies.
We think of the sonic world that the Lyrebird embodies, and a vivid
parallel to our human sound-making appears naturally. A potent(ial)
strategy of rupturing the hegemonic binary and dynamicizing language,
communication and relation: improvisation in sound.
Improvisation with sound (especially voice as a privileged medium, because
it is an instrument inherent to our body. Expanding the already-known.)
enables us to explore and learn new, other ways of communicating - without
the necessity of using language. By connecting layers of thought that were
formerly apart, language becomes a material to shape and play with, it is
being deconstructed into sounds, assembled in gibberish (a made-up
language), completely abandoned, etc.
What more can we communicate without language?
Asignifying sounds find their place in the interaction between the agents
involved in the act of improvising. Another kind of an interaction happens.
An exchange that is pure and unburdened by the language machinery. It is a
relation-building process that is not predicated on words and concepts and
thoughts. Expression and exchange.
In a sense, this action allows us to return to the time when we, as
subjects, did not yet have the knowledge of a language, before we learned
to speak and understand our mother-tongue. We are situated in the
pre-linguistic territory, where attempts at interaction are constant, but
not regulated, consolidated and trapped in a system of thought. We
communicate freely - listening and singing, just like the Lyrebird does.
Lyrebirds are ancient Australian animals, the fossils of these birds date
back to about 15 million years ago. They have been sampling sounds and
sonifying their environments for a long time. They are the archivers of the
past time, and soothsayers for the future - their song amplifies the world
around them, and as the world changes, so does their song.
The fishnet spoke to me. I made her an agent in my network of relations. I
spoke to the net, observed it, studied it. The discarded fishnet got a new
function, a generative one, when she was applied to my own systems of
thought. It told me something about the material relations and
interconnections of things.
I could say that I have empowered the net, granted her agency to teach me
something about the world. Intuitively, I knew that she knows something and
that she is willing to teach me, if I listen attentively and carefully, if
I trust and believe her guidance.
I deconstructed her (as a material and as a concept), I noticed that her
constitution can always be broken down into smaller particles (the net into
ropes, ropes into threads, threads into fibers, fibers into the material of
plastic, plastic into micro particles, micro into nano, ...).
The same dynamic is undergone when one works with concepts and thoughts.
She taught me how to think things through, and aided me in the construction
of a map of it all (even if map is never a territory, and a holistic
representation of my imaginary can never be done in language or material).
I analyzed her materiality.
Nodes, lines, networks.
Systems. Ecosystems.
I understood her as a communications device.
I observed the structure of the net.
The dynamics of capture.
I thought about choice (on what to capture and what to let through).
Cybernetic loops.
The fishnet captures data and in-forms it, she passes it on,
only to be re-formed again.
We are all nets for information.
We exchange amongst ourselves.
Knowledge of humanity as a whole.
My semiotic vision:
I am here attempting to outline the dynamic, the net of the current social
order as observed from my own situated perspective - to shine a light upon
it and to, in my praxis, devise a tentative, dynamic infrastructure (along
with methodologies) that could reverse this faulty logic of individualism.
Where to start if not with a practice that is collective, and yet it
empowers the very subjects that constitute the multiplicity?
I reclaim my potentialities through the praxis of improvisation. I believe
that improvisation actively enables the subject to engage in the process of
emancipation that happens in real-time, through the act of improvising
together with others - interacting and communicating in an open space,
loose from all predetermined structures, power dynamics, rules, in a way
suspended from the mundane reality. A space that is open to play and filled
with possibilities for the enjoyment of collectively constructed
I consider improvisation as a strategy for emancipation and the training
ground for interacting and communicating, empowering our spirits, agencies
and potentialities.
I find myself the most lively and emancipated when I improvise together
with others, and when I find myself in situations that are built upon the
principle of improvisation. I mostly do that in the medium of sound with my
voice, in an improvised music genre that is known as free improvisation or
instant composition. I also do it while I paint and write, and more.
Actually, improvisation does not pertain to any media or material, it is a
structural dynamic that can be applied to any medium of expression.
In fact, the only times we don't improvise is when we strictly follow the
prescripted social contracts and bureaucratic processes. Apart from that,
every interaction, conversation and movement is done in an improvisatory
fashion, in real-time.
Improvisation is an intrinsic capacity of every human being (of nature as
The ones that know this the most are children, free in the ways they
express, interact and disobey the social contract (without even knowing
there is one in place).
One of the works that belong to The Constitution of my praxis is "The Side
Entrance", a radio show in which I have been making interviews with
practitioners of improvisation. Radio Worm has provided me with the
technical infrastructure and a temporal frame. From January 2021 to X, I
have interviewed X guests in my weekly radio show. We spoke about the
backstage of their work, entered into their conceptual worlds as well as
listened to its sound materializations - music pieces. The archive of the
show is accessible here:
Together with them, discursively, I was investigating the field of
improvisation and some crucial concepts that pertain to it: flow,
methodologies and infrastructures, archiving, the conception of mistakes,
fear, empowerment, agency and interactive potentials, listening.
I believe that my own praxis of improvisation teaches me how to overcome
fear and be courageous, to locate my own liminalities, to let go of
It allows me to make choices in real-time and to explore the state of flow
- a state where potentialities are being manifested without a predetermined
goal of arrival.
With it, I am becoming a friend of ever-present change. Nothing is a
mistake. I embody the flow of change. I consider change as the only
I exercise my own agency, explore my imaginary and non-conscious, and
oftentimes surprise myself with new thoughts, ideas and sensations that I
have never felt before. The state that I reach when I improvise is a
generative one.
I encounter different versions of myself when I improvise, actualize my
hunches and strive towards fulfilling my interactive and communicative
potentials. This requires sensibility and awareness to internal and
external impulses/triggers, to which I react and act upon.
I am unlearning, dynamicizing my knowledge and my habitual, normalized
behavior, granting myself new perspectives on myself and others involved.
I observed the framing structures of the fishnet, which afforded me to
understand my own praxis of improvisation as an infrastructure that allows
my works and thoughts and actions to emerge.
I have, in this time, composed the net in which the substances can be
captured in - an infrastructure of my praxis that is fluid and changes,
mutates and recomposes with time. I have established an array of little
compositions or protocols that allow me to conduct experiments in order to
get data to further analyse, loop back into the practice, learn and expand.
I believe that in the instances when improvisation is exercised can teach
anyone about themselves, the interaction potentials and the world. It is a
safe space, a space for prototyping and testing, generating content and
realizations that can be resynchronized and invited into the everyday, as
soon as they happen and enter into our perception.
A passage occurs, a dynamic of movement from one system to the other.
A potent branch of my research (that could deserve to have many more pages
written about) is the very notion of communication within improvisation.
When I improvise in the medium of sound, I use my voice. Voices are
inherently linked to communication and language. Voice is the primal
instrument that everybody has. Just as it is with the human brain - the
capacity of the voice is much higher than the ways that we use it for
I experiment with its potentialities of making sounds that my vocal
apparatus is not habituated to. Extended vocal techniques allow me to
express more and differently. Meaning-making is enabled with and without
language and logos. When I improvise with my voice, I often make up poetry
on the spot, or read, or speak in a made-up language (gibberish), or have a
fluid language schema in which I shift between the languages that I speak
(Slovenian, English and French), or make sounds that do not carry a
consolidated meaning. Sometimes I sing nicely and melodically, other times
I scream or whisper or chant. All of these modalities are permitted, and
mostly the decision on which one to use are made in the moment of
vocalizing, oftentimes non-consciously.
My voice does not function as an extension of my body, but rather as an
amplification device of my internality, something that reaches beyond the
constraints of my material boundaries (my surface, my skin) and that echoes
out into the open space, reaching others. I think a lot about the
empowerment of the human voices. Of the possibilities for communicating
beyond language and logos. Of opening up and exploring our voices and
training them to sound loud and clear and confident, able to express our
own subjectivities and communicate (with language or without it).
Mostly I improvise together with others. I believe that improvisation,
unbound by language is the purest expression of interaction. The structural
dynamics that happen within sound can be applied to other instances of
relating to each other, especially conversing and also relating to each
other while working together (team/group dynamics).
Emphasis is put on multiplicity, the beauty of difference (equality in
difference), communication and interaction. Improvisation in sound is
merely a net that captures potentialities onto its surface. The substance
is always under-construction, a continuous (re)arrangement of
subjectivities is happening, knowledges and oculuses are brought to
attention, exchanging with and within the environment that enables it.
(Remember what the Lyrebird has taught us?)
I observed how she constitutes and enables material passages.
Water, fluidity.
The net, the sea, the in-between, a sieve.
Borders, liminalities.
In my research, I have utilized the "parallelization principle" (as I like
to call it) and compared the constitution of a fishnet to a collection of
other phenomena (material and imaginary).
Those were: neural networks, technological networks, rhizomes,
communications theory, cybernetics (feedback loops), spider webs,
transportation infrastructure ...
My motivation has always been to recognize and get to know myself within
the network of the world, to situate myself as a node within the network
(of relations), a node that actively shapes its surroundings, investigates
them, looking for cracks and gaps, advising strategies of making the
network stronger.
In my praxis these connections are created by communication (acts of
interaction) that enables relation.
There is an intimate side to this dynamic of figuring out one's own
imaginary, a possible world that we envision with our integrally human
capacities to imagine and to create.
Creating in any medium - whether with material that belongs to physical
reality (matter), with thoughts and concepts and language, with sound,
interaction and relation, curation, organization - makes possible the act
of communication.
Sometimes, we speak only to ourselves. The works that we make as a lonely
riders offer us a possible point of reflection of ourselves. A dialogue is
established between the work and our realities that would otherwise exist
only as hunches lost somewhere in the abundance of (non)conscious thoughts,
and other, at times impossible to grasp, intangible phenomena. Studying
one's own creation equals studying ones' self.
This kind of practice (free and improvisational in nature) can only happen
under the condition of the integrity of creation. That is, when one is not
under the influence of expectations and goals that are predetermined and
given from the outside - as for example a designer creating for a
commissioner, or an artist driven by the force of the art market - its
aesthetic and conceptual guidelines and methodologies.
The self is always already entangled into the world.
Therefore, when studying oneself one always already studies the world, the
workings of the world, the full reality that blasts into our vision on
every step that we take (are we courageous enough to investigate it
further? To understand and perceive reality from a situated perspective, a
localized understanding, a partial knowledge. Our subjective vision clashes
into commonly accepted truths and facts and objective reasoning that our
society grants more value than any subjective hunch or vision.
My own investigation sprouts from the observation of how strongly I am
influenced by the bias that understands rationally acquired knowledge as
more favorable and valid than other knowledges, grants it more influence
and in general considers certain truths to be more truthful than others.
I am, in my own praxis, deconstructing these notions and attempting to
empower my own and others' knowledges in addition to those that preceded
us, in addition to the lineage of thought that shaped our society.
All is in balance, all is in perspective.
Each one of us is a node inside the complex network of the world that is
constituted out of other nodes, subjects. Each of us has their own unique
capacity to experience this network.
I like to call this experiential potentiality
"an oculus".
An oculus is a little analogical gadget that you
hold up in front of your eye, look through it and
observe the world.
It is created by a subjects' experience of the
world and a specific discipline that one decides
to study.
A geologist will have different sets of knowledges, fields of reference and
methodologies to understand the world through than, for example, a
physician, a philosopher, a doctor, a mother, a taxi driver, a cook, etc.
Particular disciplines that we engage in expand our fields of vision,
enhance the functions of the oculus that was given to us by our lived
In the case of an artist, the methodologies of working are not broadly
consolidated. Precarious, shifting and experimental methods pertain to
artists. I therefore believe that it is a role of each one to
infrastructuralize own methodologies of creating, as well as fields of
references and sources and materials, combining the knowledges of a
multitude of disciplines into an infrastructure for conceptual and material
Infrastructuralizing one's own praxis is a continuous process, a
conversation among the materials that one works with, the self, and the
world in which one is situated in, observing it with a specific subjective
We interact and communicate.
Following the metaphor from before - each one of us is a node in the
network of the world. Our ability to recognize each other, exchange
information and relate is the one that connects our singular nodes into a
network (of relations). Even more, this does not only apply to humans. All
that is living and non-living relates and influences each other,
The lines that connect us into a network are relations that are possible
because of communication (with language or without it). By communicating we
relate, by relating we ground our awareness that reality is shared and that
every singular oculus among the others constitutes the totality that we all
belong to. The only way to experience reality is collectively. A collection
of oculuses is desired to be able to form a realistic conceptualization of
the real (and mostly the real is also the imaginary, for what we can
imagine, we can experience).
"γνῶθι σ(ε)αυτόν"
Getting to know oneself means getting to know the workings of the world,
and the relation between the two. Nodes and lines and networks. The world
itself is networked.
A plethora of different realities form a complex constellation of truths
and knowledges, all interconnected. There are many possible pathways to
take from one chunk of data to the other. How we connect them to form our
own understanding of the world, is up to each one of us, and goes in
accordance to our own sets of methodologies, of infrastructure.
I believe that my mission, as I have managed to locate it so far, is the
one of: creating infrastructures that enable the exchange between singular
nodes (subjects) within a network of relationality.
Communication can take many different forms.
I have always been the catalyst of social interactions - I have organized
and curated and composed situations (and works) in which people were
encouraged and free to be themselves and to explore what it means when one
is granted the permission to exercise their own agency.
When one's oculus constructively constitutes the bigger picture fully, when
subjective desires, needs and interests are being supported.
Emancipation is the word I was looking for.
I have also, in my own praxis, sought for my own empowerment, investigating
to find out what is "my thing" to do, ingrained in my identity.
I have never done it only for myself, I have always been thinking about
others - the communication that could sprout from the actions that I
carried out (sometimes materialized in a physical form), about the possible
impacts that my existence has on others and on the networked reality that
we belong to.
I imagine a reality where everybody is empowered to be themselves and
exercise their own agency, where communication amongst people is supported
and where learning about the workings of the world is done collectively.
I understand subjective as already political, precisely because of the
potential force of interaction and communication, the power to overcome the
merely-subjective and through it world-build collectively.
All of this is difficult to achieve, as the system that produced us planted
normalization, individualism and competition into our beings. Perhaps we do
not even imagine the possibility of constituting ourselves, of granting
ourselves emancipation and agency. Perhaps we don't consciously acknowledge
that we are the ones that can have an impact on the network that we belong
Imagining a possible world of constructive networking that operates with a
heightened sense of relation and communication is a response to it.
That kind of a world would be fairer and multiplicity in it would be
acknowledged and welcomed. An assembly of oculuses would grant a
multi-perspective collective understanding of the entanglements of the
world, and our place in it.
Currently accepted social contracts shape the ways that humans want to "fit
in" the average, with the promise of being accepted, cherished and loved.
In a constant battle to belong, we often do not investigate ourselves, we
merely construct an image of ourselves by the worlds' faulty standards.
This dynamic is something to avoid, and rather the focus must shift towards
the constitution of our own unique being, informed by the world and the
ways we are relationally entangled in it.
Power that propagates the social order (machinic, capitalist order based in
the acts of: consumption and production and procreation) is dispersed.
There is not one tyrant to blame for our personal miseries. The power is
ingrained into our own systems of thinking, believing and being.
Each one of us is a soldier of the machinery, in the war against agency -
we experience it daily, as violence that pops up in micro injustices.
I am entangled in a net of hegemonic systems that disable my potentialities
as an agent in our networked reality of relations.
When something is captured, their agency is put on hold. They can attempt to
escape, free themselves.
How tight is the net? The invisible net that captures humans? The
infrastructure of governance?
Why doesn't the world want empowered subjects to inhabit it? Why isn't
empowerment and agency mainstream? Why do we, as humanity, sign the social
contract that does not enable us and the multiplicity of our identities?
Would we, as an aware and empowered society manage to break the bad habit,
to overcode the system with another, emancipatory one? Even further - if we
are aware that we do have a choice - do we take it? Or are we simply afraid?
Afraid of change, of instability, of the unknown?
Her letter:
I thought that I would, in this thesis, explore the friction between
composition and improvisation. In the course of my research, it had
occurred to me that these types of hegemonic binaries are useless to work
with. The Lyrebird is the one responsible for this insight, as well as my
experiences of conversations with all the people I have encountered this
year. I have shifted my gaze towards other dynamics, the ones that do not
know the bit computing-like binary.
I have, after the outraged letter from the fishnet, submerged into my
improvisational praxis more. It allows me to generate and practically
assess and test my hunches about the structures that I have located within
it. My response to the fishnet's letter is my work. Dear reader, you can
float around it here, on my wiki page, where more and more works that I
have made will be archived, a totality of my praxis that is, sometimes even
for myself impossible to grasp.