CROSS QUESTIONING UNKONWNS WITH KNOWING NOTS
In this paper, I will use the question of doing philosophy through
performative acts for investigating how, through crossing of seemingly
un-related elements, new entities of questioning and practices are
Diogenes was a human that was metaphorically crossed species with canine
to become “Diogenes the Dog”. I will argue that such a crossing helped
delineate who he is and how the practice of his philosophy is done, and
that the way in which Diogenes did philosophy resembles contemporary
Instead of being concerned with the performance of language, speech and
speaking, we have in Diogenes a performer of actions and activities. It is
plausible to imagine a performance artist living inside a bath, wanking in
parliament (though perhaps will be arrested), or plucking a chicken and
declaring it human. Indeed the choice of performative acts in themselves
is a constant crossing between that which is “Life” and that which is
“Performance”. That very crossing - life reflecting upon a performance
reflecting upon life etc - is what I think to be a constant energiser for
using performative elements in questioning what we know, don’t know and
have no idea about..
Dressed as a bride, the philosopher Hilan Bensusan used his crossdressing
practice to bring a murdered performer Pippa Bacca, back to life and roam
the streets of Istanbul. While a performative act, such as “Brides for
Peace”, which Bacca, performed with tragic outcomes was questioning the
lines and links between life and performance questioning what we imagine
possible - Hilan’s activity was was of a more philosophical nature,
questioning the knowledge we think we have.
Another Performance Art/Act link of Bensusan’s philosophical lexicon is
The interest in Heracletian frgments as an ongoing anarchological
performative practice. Like Beuys, Bensusan makes use of
archeological-like fragments to invent time. Acts of performative nature
are practiced to cross, at will, between invented and shared realities of
the past. Through fragments which invoke an injection of cross questions
about what might question about, what they know not, and would have liked
to know of the object/fragment.
This way, both Beuys & Bensusan use fragments to create effects of
possible information crossings that tease desire within audiences.
Like any cross, there is a point-time of contact/collision of two
different inquiry trajectories. That point-time, I will argue, helps to
light up the different trajectories. Whereas the philosophical
performative inquiry is focused on How of thinking is questioned, the
artistic sensitivity is of how the sensations of imagination are
questioned. Hence, in my view, we have different, yet constantly crossable
trajectories which feed one another.
Through the examination of Bensusan’s extensive work on cross dressing,
cross speaking, cross translation, and indeed cross speciasation - which
takes us back to the post human origins of cynicism and the unknowns such
practices question - I will illustrate how performative, embodiment acts
that do cross practices, both generate new possible lives/information and
simultaneously remain at the prison cells of their propagator’s minds.