I would like to claim then sculptural representation of the human as substitutes and possible candidates for sacrificial rituals. After all, they follow the here pointed out condition that all victims, even the animal ones, bear a certain resemblance to the object they replace.
All methods to use to make a sculpture.
Noli me tangere. Stones used for stoning a victim are thus comparable. Collect and present.
There is here a possible thinking path to tackle contemporary environmental or biological issues through a display of and regulatory behaviour with ‘infected’ stones. See pathology of stones.
So, in this case, disorder is associated with violence. Thus Chaos, Entropy, the subversion of the status quo can be perceived as violence.
Another case of “removal” in this case of distinctions or differences. Thus, the removal of differences can also be accounted as a sculptural act. Provokingly, are the patricide and incest to be perceived as a sculptural practice? Or the breaking of familial or social ‘degrees’? Can this be anti-authoritarian, i.e. revolutionary or rather anarchic behaviour? Is the removal of laws, order and conventions then sculptural?
The sculptural representations of deformities and teratomas thus can be perceived as manifestations of this crisis. This interpretation reactivates my previous works, linking them with the current research.
Misplacement of things as a possible artistic intervention. For example, with and within a museal collection.
What is the mysterious mechanism in direct carving technique that determines what sculpture will ‘appear’ or come out of the marble block? Can this analogy be used to associate the resulting sculpture with the charge of guilt and the scapegoat?
Can this be applied to the unanimous declaration of a timeless work of art? Is this how icons are generated (the sphinx, crucifixion, mother and child, van Gogh’s shoes and chair?).
Just as infinite possibilities are contained in one block of marble, at the end one alone takes shape and all the other possibilities fade out.
While in the making, the infinite possibilities are all competing against each other, while when finished or defined, all the fading possibilities revolt against the one that will finally appear. This is thus the sacrificial figure, the scapegoat, against which all other possible sculptures are fighting. The disappearance of their possibility to exist becomes the electing act of the scapegoat that remains alone.
A single figure/sculpture is simultaneously the negation and the substitution for all the unrealised figures/sculptures.
This is how icons are created. The appearing sculpture becomes the ultimate sacrificial victim.
The figure hat emerges from the stone.
See Hanna Arendt discussion of the threat of nuclear war and the implicit danger of the total annihilation of both parties.
Again, getting rid, removal of material (a malign disease). Sculpture by means of removal as a cure to the sacrificial crisis.
The sculpture is then also identified as the cause of the illness and becomes thus the surrogate victim.
If the sculpture is the surrogate victim then the sculptor becomes the shaman, the curative agent.
Just as the hidden desire and menace of destruction that resides within the sculptor is diverted by the appearance of the sculpture itself.
Just as the artist’s figure is often marginalized but adored and deemed necessary by the community.
As Jesus who accepted the role of a scapegoat. Likewise, the artist must engage and come to terms with aspects of life that common people are not willing to be confronted with. The artist becomes the bearer of reflections on uncomfortable topics such as death and violence.
This is what I am trying to do through in this current project through my artistic practice.
Isn’t this a valid description of the creative artistic act? The artist channels his destructive force into the creation of an artefact that subsequently attains positive connotations and becomes a representative/symbol of a specific culture.
Indeed, a generative violence is needed for the creation of a work of art that is subsequently venerated by one or more cultures and is preserved in temples that we now call museums. Therefore, the destruction of a work of art is so shocking, probably more shocking that the destruction of a human life.
On sport as a ‘non-violent / civilised’ continuation of violence.
Material for a performance.
Can be linked to the parading of saints through a city at a specific festival.
Idea for a performance.
The sculpture takes all the violence that is initially intended for someone else. It becomes the surrogate victim and the ritual victim.
On the role of the artist as a sacerdotal figure. The creating act can be compared to a sacred, mystical ritual.
Violence as the main driving force of the universe.
Again, the artefact, sculpture, as a scapegoat.Maybe, in future performances addressing this issue, the public should be participating in the action.
Just as a sculpture, having been endlessly beaten with hammer and chisel to be created (it is almost the condition sine qua non to come to exist and be regarded as a sculpture), it is then highly respected and venerated by the art community.
I personally am more attached to those sculptures of mine which I have “mistreated” the most.
Just like the most violent creative process in sculpting is intended to exorcise the violent present in the real world.
Cathartic function of the creative/destructive process.
or an object/stone to carry the symbolic resemblance between the two as far as possible.
This is important to consider when preparing a performance.
Might this be the principle behind all iconoclastic practices?
Extremists, overwhelmed by the abundant and unnecessary objects of worship, and guided by a desire for order, peace and tranquillity commit horrendous acts of violence against artefacts that are considered disturbing the achievement of this goal.
Man does not hide behind religion, this would imply a consciousness of the crisis, he is blind to see his own crisis and is compelled to attribute them to an external force. He is not aware of the real nature – his own – of the sacrificial rituals/festivals.
Just like the spectators during a performance. Inviting the spectators to participate in the performance could refer either to a ritual practice where a unanimous, liberatory, sacrificial and violent) act takes place or to the abolishment of differences as a reference to the “crisis”.
Reminds the story of the camel forced to hear the negative talk of its owner. Idea for a performance. Lithostichomytia.
Reinforcing my claim that violence is a disruption of the status quo.
All perfect inspirations for new sculptures.
On the use of masks during performances and their significance.
Desire is often accompanied by a feeling of guilt.
A claim that sacrificial rites plays also a healing role and allow us to function “adequately” in a violent and hypocrite society that would drive one into madness, if not channelled through rituals.
In the arts, when the creative/generative/destructive deed is one the resulting artwork is praised and venerated.
Necessity to represent the creative act as a violent, murderous one. Within the realm of art, transgression of the norm is usually the norm. Unculpable and obligatory. Every new “ism” is a transformation generated by the rebellious metamorphosis of the previous one.
An interesting point as it defines the difference between a generative act and a criminal one. One of the main questions of my research: where is the line between artistic creative act and criminality?
Is he referring to human society or humanity in general? I suspect the first but am interested in the second as well.
Humanity will eventually vanish as an ultimate, self-destroying sacrifice, generating from a total crisis. Globalisation, political correctness, overpopulation, gender and racial issues will ultimately result in a complete destruction of differences and the creation of a grey mass that will implode resolving in one final sacrificial rite/festival.
The non-violent theory of W. Benjamin assesses otherwise.
Not too relevant for my personal (current) research.
This is exactly Hanna Arendt’s claim.
Equal to art theory and intellectual analysis of art works. They do a god job in describing satisfactorily the meaning of a work of art but cannot fully convey it’s mystic/metaphysical power”.
Contextualizes furthermore my previous and current sculptures of deformed figures.
The torso of a young child, whose gender is unintelligible given an ambiguous rendition of the sexual organs and of an age where anatomical differences between boy and girl are still not clear.
Another instance of stone throwing practice. Alongside many others such as Haji ritual, death by stoning (“He who is without sin…”), Palestinian stone throwing etc.
Might be an interesting point to further develop the theme of sexual mutilation on women. As another act of “removal”.
On borders. This explains the fear of the foreigner.
To consider when planning a performance or sacrificial ritual. The objects or products sacrificed might first need to be prepared in a specific manner. Always consider why and build a strong argument for its explanation.
In this sense today, the foreigner, the immigrant, is the sacrificial victim, the scapegoat pointed at by the community in order to divert its own internal conflict. The current politics of foreign war, which is triggered by hate and fear and not anymore guided by colonialism and/or material gain, can also be referred to this vision. E.g. The “bad” guy or people in distant countries endanger the local, internal peace and are the reason for disquiet. They need to be sacrificed.
Can this be seen also in the way different socio-ethnological communities often inhabit cities at their outskirts?
This is way many performances are perceived as shocking by the general public. Important guideline to keep in mind for the creation of new rituals/performances.
Therefore, many rituals relate to the change of moons, seasons and years.
Exactly just like most art performances, where the elements of physical and psychological endurance as well as time length are key aspects.
On the relevance of performance within the art world and its ambiguous status: is it art or is it something that is much more deeply rooted in human society?
This is the general plot of every play, film, performance. Where at first the narrative starts out as a normal case. A crisis needs to happen for the event to become interesting and worth looking at, but the protagonist/hero of the plot will assume somewhat an unnatural behaviour. In music this can be clearly seen with the sonata form which opens with normality and descends into uncertain territory during the development of the themes by means of “change”. Rhythm, dissonance, tonalities, etc. etc.
The climax often happens here before everything returns to normality.
To keep in mind regarding lapidation/stoning performances.
Visible today in conservative communities where the foreigner is the scapegoat that people easily point out to as the cause of societal illness.
This is also true in artistic, in this case sculptural, aesthetic, where the “truth” can be found by looking for common details in the manner in which determinate motifs are worked out throughout different cultures all around the world. E.g. flower motifs, details of eyes and mouths etc.
This can be done also with modern regimes and their head of state such as Saddam Hussein and Gheddafi who were originally idolized (even if this was faked under threat of enforced violence), and then sacrificed in the name of a new order.
Thus, the artefacts that function as memorials to heroes are memorials to their role as redeeming sacrificial victim (prophets, martyrs, leaders etc.) and the city is the symbol of societal unity.
Revolutions, Coups d’état etc. all enforced change of the status quo by means of violence. Or because they enforced a change, this is regarded as violence to the preceding situation. “To do one violence” is to change, for an undefined time, someone’s status.