“The Emancipated Spectator,” by Jacques Ranciere


An English translation of the entire book “The Emancipated Spectator” has recently become available.  Here’s the article that set it off, originally delivered as a lecture.  As far as the flexible reader is concerned, the emancipated spectator is perhaps his more utopic cousin, insisting that “even when the dramaturge or the performer doesn’t know what he wants the spectator to do, he knows at least that the spectator has to do something: switch from passivity to activity.”

Ranciere begins by claiming an affinity between Brecht and Artaud’s approaches to theatre, rooted in their opposition to Plato’s dismissal of theatre.  But he goes on to claim, instead, that both sides of this polemic keep the audience and performer alike caught in a transfer of power and incapacity.   “It starts when we realize that looking is also an action that confirms or modifies that distribution, and that ‘interpreting the world’ is already a means of transforming it, of reconfiguring it.”


Jean-François Pérouse on “Deconstructing the Gecekondu”


Full French Version: http://www.ejts.org/document117.html

Although I was only able to really understand the shorter English version of this text, I was happy to find some critical distance on the term “gecekondu” as it is used to describe the shanty towns in Istanbul.  For those of you that can read French, the full french text is also linked above.

Marginal Spaces, by Güven Arif Sargın


Example of said fetishism.

Gonzo Pragmatism, by Jan Verwoert


Dexter Sinister is publishing The First / Last Newspaper twice a week for three weeks during Performa.  Though they have many great texts, here’s one from Jan Verwoert that critiques the pragmatism of “making do and getting by.”  I couldn’t help thinking of this in regards to the fetishization of vernacular architecture.  More on that subject in the following posts.

Hito Steyerl, “In Defense of the Poor Image”

"In Defense of the Poor Image" Hito Steyerl


Half-hearted apologies for posting a third article from the e-flux journal.  Half-hearted only because this article DOES really speak to my initial interest in Arcangel’s article “On Compression” (see previous post).  Also an apology because I’m partial to e-flux (they pay my bills).

On Compression, Cory Arcangel

On Compression, Arcangel


This text explains the technical end of JPEG compression.  Why is this relevant to the Flexible Reader?  I might answer that question with another question: Why do JPEGs proliferate?

On Cory Arcangel – in light of two facts about the man, I have come to appreciate his work in new light.  The first is his relative position to structural film, although this might be my partiality, since I’ve also had the same thought about Dan Graham.  The second is his extensive technical know-how mixed with slacker aesthetics.  Some part of Arcangel is looking toward Warhol.

Michel Auder, Chronicles/Morocco and Morocco 1972: The Real Chronicles with Viva

Morocco/Chronicles Auder


This was an event that I missed, very sadly, due to a late night of work.  However, I am familiar with some of the other films of Michel Auder.  This event looked particularly interesting as it includes two versions of a work edited together from the same footage 30+ years apart.  The willingness to go back into one’s oeuvre and re-edit is one of the great freedoms of working with moving images, but it is rarely ever done.  When it comes to video work especially, there is a paradox in that video never really exists in a stable format — as a film might exist in a “print” –; but by this same token this assumes that one actually has the out-dated technology, or a digitized transfer.  In Auder’s work, the effects of such re-editing seem to be particularly revealing.  If anyone saw this, I would love to hear about.