"Performing Art e Utopia Concreta"
beyond multimediality

Nicola Frangione


Nowadays, as in the past, we are aware that "art" performers, including the keenest, find it hard to prescind from the models and materials that make up their work; the characteristics and disciplines of the various forms of expressions are often constrained, as their projects evolve within art objects.

In music, as in visual arts, in theatre as in poetry, purpose-designed media have urged artists to become committed to corporative self-defence, on the basis of a manneristic approach - that is, dramatic identification. Media, disciplines and techniques develop - as the result of an attitude carried to extremes - into "philosophical truths" related to existential identification, like an eternal, immutable mother who is willing to answer the human need for changes.

A performance means just attributing the knowledge of one's own experimentation to the medium, 'unmarried', performative transferability, where the artist is involved in his or her own work as well as in overall action, dialectics harmonizing with critics; to sum up: poetic detachment where form is duly taken into account, although it is not exalted.

Within the design-related process, for thirty years multimediality has been connected with critical/operating research, making new technologies and, consequently, new media feasible; nevertheless, it has not done away with experiments closely related to "amazing appearances"; it has often resulted in art forms technically similar to each other. Such uniformity epitomizes the opportunity to connect technical/practical know-how with art-related, ideational know-how on the same aesthetic level.

Although technology allows the artist to rely on increased opportunities, new "amazing appearances" come out again; freed from any critical relationship, it causes the medium to look morbid in a different way, as if it were the name for a new ideology, while being aware of its programmatic limits in both space and time.

The eternal process of "putting to death" stands out, an attempt to provide the art world with clear-cut certainties unrelated to one's memory, unpredictability as lacking risk ethics, a type of modernity where nobody falls, nobody gets hurt, but everybody can quickly become connected with an immature world which puts itself in an unfavourable position as early as tomorrow, as the result of the latest technologies as synonymous with opportunities, possibilities, interactivity, virtuality and multisensorial factors.

In my opinion, expressive media should no longer be distinguished from technology. You just have to look at the media, to realize that they mean the sum of extremely useful functions in terms of both comfort and spectacularization. Nevertheless, we are witnessing perceptive polarization among artists (odourless), as if abstract personalization were involved, an artist who is looking forward to new technological updates, forgetting any circumstances connected with old delight, where life time prevailed over production time.

The artist goes beyond multimediality, in a detached way, if art is to be understood dramatically and "performing art" is to be produced; the work means the artist as the name for interdisciplinary synergy; the artist belongs to common memories as sole maker of his or her own artistic process; a performance means a course running between the language/conceptuality and emotionality/impulsiveness, as thought/action.

Whereas technology as related to more general factors tends to amaze both consumers, who are often unaware of technical mechanisms, and artists, who are aware of the medium but are tied to the growth and causality of the latest finds. The capability of new technologies to deceive the central nervous system results in two sellers who do not know each other, two buyers who get to know each other as consumers interacting within a new, exclusive game which has a major impact. If synthetic space is also synonymous with real space, man will be the maker and the one responsible for his own control. Art understood as "comprehensive dramaturgy" arises from the individual's virtuous existential characteristic, and the performance may contain both "itself" and "what lies out of itself".

"Performing art" may develop in parallel with technical know-how and experimentation with languages. However, a sign - a foreign one, an extroverted energy connected with "amazing appearances" - always prevails, whether the body is there or not. Although the performer may be steadily pursuing new experiences and languages in his or her project, he or she will rely on the "rebellious", psychological action of reaction as art of life.

"The origin is the goal, because I look at you when you are aware of it".

According to this short phrase, utopia is real rather than abstract; what is more, real utopia is the mainstay of the "extra-action" of the performer, as traveller of first an inner world and than an outer one; he or she does not depend on any disciplines, techniques or definitions. A performance always epitomizes an original character connected with drama though not with theatre; initially, it takes place in the awareness of one's existence; later, as a synthesis, it is "put into the field". The scope of action is changed as the result of inner originality, and the performance translates into a delivery, a birth, an existential event involving "bringing something into the world", because in all that happens during the performances we acknowledge ourselves as anthropologically lively within the contents.

Nicola Frangione