affective
affinities
33bienal/sp

7 sep - 9 dec, 2018
free admission

Events


Symposium • Practices of Attention


Commissioned by the Bienal de São Paulo in partnership with Sesc-SP, this three-day international, public symposium brings together artists, scientists, critics, writers, and scholars for a ranging, interdisciplinary inquiry into one of the major issues of our time: attention. The program is conceived by D. Graham Burnett and Stefanie Hessler.

At the heart of the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo is a commitment to “reaffirm the power of art as a unique place to focus attention in, to, and for the world.” This distinctive vision—placing economies of attention at the center of our relationship to works of art—marks the urgency of the question of attention in our moment. Attention lies at the nexus of perception and action, aesthetics and ethics, wealth and power. Whose eyes (and minds) are where, why, and for how long? These are central questions driving the evolution of “surveillance capitalism,” not to mention social life itself. New technologies and practices are reshaping our understanding of the attentional subject—with consequences for learning, politics, and collective existence.

With an eye on these pressing issues, this public symposium of talks, workshops, and performances entitled Practices of Attention draws on recent theoretical work, historical recoveries, and experimental investigations. It brings together key thinkers of our time in a varied and engaging program to dive deeper into and investigate from different angles the modes, conditions, and challenges to attention today.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED

      

November 16, Sesc Vila Mariana

9 a.m – 9.30 a.m OPENING

9.30 a.m – 9.45 a.m OPENING REMARKS 
Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and Sesc-SP

9.45 a.m – 10.30 a.m INTRODUCTION 
Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, D. Graham Burnett and Stefanie Hessler

10.30 a.m – 11.30 a.m LECTURE
Kasia Katarzyna: Attention and Its Enemy

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What are the crucial components of aesthetic experience? First of all, we could think about an object and about subjective interest. Is it necessary for an object to be physical? No, it can be imaginary or conceptual; it is just a starting point of experience, indicating a place or a moment of focus. Then, there is the interest that leads towards the thing, making us capable of concentrating and paying attention. According to the Polish phenomenologist Roman Ingarden, the very moment of being interested, called “preliminary emotion,” is an inevitable condition of the constitution of the aesthetic object and, therefore, of aesthetic experience. That is the moment when from the multiplicity of things, the viewer chooses or is chosen by one in particular, in order to build a special form of relation. There is always a danger that the process of experience will be inhibited or will not start at all. One of the most important enemies of attention is boredom. This emotion can be defined as an aversive state of not being able to engage attention in any external or internal stimuli. It can be also described as a total loss of interest, dissolution of focus, tiredness resulting from the constant noise in which we are immersed. When we are bored, nothing looks attractive, and the “preliminary emotion” can’t be experienced. How could we try to fight boredom in order to restore attention? Starting from Ingarden’s analysis of aesthetic experience, I will evoke his protocol of practicing attention, beginning with the first moment of attraction and bringing a subject to the highest level of contemplation. This particular kind of experience offers a unique possibility of intersubjective agreement of the agents meeting each other in the space of an aesthetic object. Aesthetic involvement founded upon attention opens up a possibility of togetherness and, maybe, consequentially could bring about real social change.

11.30 a.m – 12.30 p.m LECTURE 
Virginia Kastrup: Attention in the Aesthetic Experience and in the Work of the Cartographer

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Contemporary subjectivity is marked by hyperattention, rapid response to stimuli and multitasking. Concentrated and lasting attention, which is accompanied by the suspension of action, is increasingly rare and difficult. In a time in which studies on the economics of attention predominate, this talk takes another direction. It discusses the functioning of attention in the aesthetic experience and how it differs from the one that prevails in the accomplishment of tasks and in the solution of problems. Attention is not limited to the binarism of attention-inattention, but it holds different gestures that can be cultivated. Taking as a reference the concept of inventive cognition and drawing on authors like James, Bergson, Freud, Varela, Stern and Citton, this talk points to the central role of attention to understanding the relationship between art and the production of subjectivity. Taking cartography as a reference, it describes how attention operates in enquiries that aim to follow processes, instead of representing objects. Cartography, defined as a method by Deleuze and Guattari, requires a special quality of attention, in addition to the selection of information and the focus on the representation of forms. It occurs through the detection of signs, affects and circulating forces, that is, of points in progress. The detection and apprehension of material, in principle disconnected and fragmented, of moments and discourses, requires a concentration without focusing and an opening that does not evade distraction.

12.30 p.m – 1 p.m PERFORMANCE
Tamar Guimarães: The Rehearsal

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Tamar Guimarães’s fiction film The Rehearsal (2018) in the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo focuses on a young black woman who is invited to propose a project for a contemporary art exhibition. She decides to stage an adaptation of the novel The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas by the Brazilian 19th-century mixed-race writer Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. Writing in 1880, eight years before the abolition of slavery in Brazil, de Assis stated “here will be the abolition of slavery, but the basic structure of society will not change.” In the film, the director is subjected to various forms of discrimination; the viewer has to decide if these are stances of racism, sexism, a combination of both, or simply the difficulties anyone else might also encounter. The performance, developed specifically for this symposium, questions the idea of progress based on de Assis’s sharp critical reading about Brazilian society. Like the script of the film, which was written to include sections by the crew and the cast of professional and non-professional actors, the score for the performance was developed in collaboration with curator and writer Stefanie Hessler. It attempts to touch on the politics of attention by pointing to naturalized underlying social, cultural, and legal structures, which often go unnoticed, and their commonly intangible effects, which define everyday experience as much as institutions including their repeated and ingrained consequences. The script is performed by the actors who also appear in the film.

2.30 p.m – 3.15 p.m PERFORMATIVE TALK 
Stefanie Hessler: Attention as Curatorial Tool and the Politics of Attention

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Exhibitions guide our attention to art, and artworks can attune our perception of the world. Curatorial knowledge can be a tool to navigate layers of meaning and to act at the interfaces of the sensory and the cognitive, the imaginative and the rational. In recent years, curatorial work has reached out more and more to other disciplines, and art has become an arena in which anthropology, history, science and ecological questions, among others, are researched, negotiated and reappraised. This performative talk hones in on specific modes of attention created in and by exhibitions, and places these within a larger historical framework of art’s guiding of our attention to aesthetics as well as to social and political issues.

3.15 p.m – 3.45 p.m SCREENING 
Aki Sasamoto: Delicate Cycle

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Delicate Cycle is based on a performance/installation of the same title, involving modified laundry machines, a giant ball of sheets, hundreds of shoeboxes with light sculptures embedded, video works linked to CCTV systems and moving wooden stalls with magnetized walls. The video documents the performance shot in the exhibition space without audience. Each performance lasts for the duration of a washing cycle. Inspired by the relentless attitude of dung beetles, Aki Sasamoto scratches her washboard belt, reads The Book of Insects inside the rotating washing machine, pushes the 6-ft sheets ball with her hands and rotates the magnetized stall sculptures, while reminiscing over the dirt that could not be removed from memory. The video hones our attention in on repetitive, everyday actions, mundane objects surrounding us and dividing up our days, calling for our engagement, entertaining and distracting us.

3.45 p.m – 4.30 p.m LECTURE
Maria Cristina Franco Ferraz: For a Politics of Rumination in Times of Hyperconnected Dispersion

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Contrary to the current tendency of our attention, which is increasingly driven to disperse and fragment—thereby scarcening desires—this talk will summon the time and concentration required for critical reflection. In order to delineate the problematic aspects of the current regime of hyperconnected dispersion, I will reference various thinkers. By drawing on Jonathan Crary, I will highlight the implications of increasingly online, non-stop and on-demand lifestyles. This perspective will be put in dialogue with José Gil’s discussions on the ruling of frenetic movement, which causes a closing of skins and bodies. By revisiting the Greek myths of Eros and Poros, I will articulate the closure of skin porosity in current “Teflon lifestyles,” which are both slippery and impermeable. A critical counterpoint will come from 19th-century thinkers, especially Nietzsche and Bergson. With Bergson, I will return to the play between perception, memory and attention, emphasizing the importance of bodily attentive perception in the sense of access to the unknown, to that which has not yet been “familiarized” by a perception that only recognizes. With Nietzsche, I will emphasize the philosopher’s criticism of the absence of filtering in the reception of information at the end of the 19th-century, and above all the Nietzschean proposal of reading and thinking as rumination. Nietzschean rumination, a political practice of resisting unwanted adherence to “opinion,” requires the invention of several stomachs and therefore calls for a paradoxical temporality in which elaborate digestion—a certain digestive concentration—aligns with the vivacity of “cold baths,” which one enters and exits quickly. It would then be necessary to practice this paradox: the laborious slowness of ruminating allied with the energizing speed of icy baths in cold climates.

November 16, Bienal Pavilion

5.30 p.m – 7 p.m WORKSHOP
ESTAR(SER): All Senses on the Qui Vive

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An Introduction to the Work of ESTAR(SER) – The Esthetical Society for Transcendental and Applied Realization (now incorporating the Society for Esthetic Realizers). We invite you to join visiting research associates of ESTAR(SER) for an afternoon of close attention to matters of attention—and more particularly to the history of the attentional activities of that ever-fugitive body of attentional adepts known as the Tertia Avis or “Order of the Third Bird.” Attendees will have an opportunity to examine unusual objects and documents from the remarkable “W-Cache” of Bird-related sources, and a brief presentation will inform the interested public about the progress of current research into the history of the Order. A number of recent ESTAR(SER) publications will be on hand, and several Birdish “protocols” for sustained attention available. Experimentation will be encouraged.

  

November 17, Pavilhão da Bienal

9 a.m – 9.30 a.m OPENING

9.30 a.m – 10.30 a.m LECTURE
D. Graham Burnett: What is the Work of Attention?

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It will be the aim of this presentation to sketch the shifting disciplines of attention across the modern period. Who has “paid” attention when and where? How have they done so? What has it looked like? And, crucially, how have these attentional practices been acquired and transmitted, maintained and defended? At stake, ultimately, are the questions of human will, agency, and cognitive-sensory activity—perhaps even of “personhood” as such. Drawing on the history of technology and science, anthropological treatments of a variety of spiritual practices, and critical inquiries into aesthetics (a domain particularly preoccupied with the way the mind, eye, and ear engage their objects), I will endeavor to catalogue a set of significant attentional modes or forms, and evoke their epistemic and ethical implications. What choreographies of body, heart, and head have indexed the attentive subject under the changing psychosocial conditions of the 20th century? For whom? And to whose benefit? Finally, is it possible to activate this history of attentional modes as we look to the future? My central concern, ultimately, lies with the “fracking” of human attentional resources in our time—which is to say, with the increasingly sophisticated mechanisms by which the money-value residing deep within our eyes and minds is sourced, surfaced, and expropriated.

10.30 a.m – 11.30 a.m ARTIST TALK
Rafael Sánchez Mateos Paniagua and Autoescola Insular of Atenta

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The “progress” we have achieved has made the possibility of a sensitive, free and emancipated experience difficult. We are exposed to modes of perception that attack our imagination, weaken our memory, brutalize our spirit, repress our desire and, therefore, our action. However, the fact that countless devices have been activated to favor our isolation, numbness and indifference will not prevent the day when something snatches and captivates us. Hence everything can be expected, for it is through attention to phenomena in general, and their sensitive qualities, that they will become a real potentiality. The Autoescola Insular (Insular Self-School) is a collective self-learning space integrated into the public programming of the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo. It is composed of a team of people from different fields (art, ecology, science, spirituality, education, among others) who are invited to contribute to an experimentation dedicated to composing new perceptions and meanings of the world and of ourselves.

11.30 a.m – 1 p.m PERFORMANCE
Raimundas Malašauskas and Marcos Lutyens: The Hypnotic Show

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A hypnosis induction expanding on the way-finding node devised by the artists, with the intent of shifting attention into the poetic, the infinite, the paradoxical: achieving perhaps a sustained superposition of awareness.

2.30 p.m – 3.30 p.m PERFORMANCE
Kapwani Kiwanga: Deep Space Scrolls

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Kapwani Kiwanga’s lecture performance, accompanied by images, video, and sound extracts, offers a speculative approach to history. In drawing on the extraterrestrial and turning towards the alien and the unknown, Kiwanga questions the writing of history, the motivations that propel it, and the attention granted to select events. Taking on the demeanor of a scholar or an academic, Kiwanga’s lecture revisits the archeological ruins of Great Zimbabwe, a medieval city which was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country’s Late Iron Age. Great Zimbabwe has been subject to research by European archeologists and geographers, who developed numerous theories to deny Africans authorship of these settlements. Kiwanga ruminates on memory, its erasure and volatility, as well as blind spots of attention. Drawing on Afrofuturism, she points to how the politics of attention of the past affect the present, and asks how we might imagine different African and other futures.

3h30 p.m – 4.15 p.m SCREENING + TALK
Thiago Rocha Pitta: Temporal Map of an Undefined Coastline

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Thiago Rocha Pitta’s work directs our attention to processes and paces of nature. His sculptural interventions are often directly affected by the environment in which they are shown. For instance, in applying iron particles to suspended linen cloths, he creates abstract paintings that change with the passing of time as the iron oxidizes in response to conditions such as humidity. His videos, similarly, center on particular details in natural processes, sometimes caused directly by human actions, and evoke a curious sense of introspection. On this occasion, Rocha Pitta presents the video Temporal Map of an Undefined Coastline and introduces his Abyss Foundation, a project he is currently developing outside of Rio de Janeiro. The outdoor space is dedicated to housing artworks in nature for long periods of time, allowing them to change and eventually become ruins. The foundation intends to defy the practice of constantly changing temporal exhibitions that are required to satisfy the economy of attention, submit to the “tyranny of time,” and are prone to commodification and conservation.

4.15 p.m – 5 p.m LECTURE
Ivone Gebara: Beyond Patriarchal Christianity: A Brief Outline for an Eco-feminist Ethics for Human Coexistence

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The contribution of Christianity to the historical and cultural construction of the Americas is indisputable. However, as the processes of universalization of theological concepts gradually established and solidified, this universalism became the key maintainer of the masculine power and order of the world. The 20th and 21st centuries witnessed an epistemological leap of construction of new senses, above all due to the undeniable contribution of feminisms. In this talk, I want to emphasize the efforts of theological feminism in the search for new meanings for the Christian ethical tradition in view of a world of greater respect and justice for those living on this planet.

5.15 p.m – 6 p.m PERFORMATIVE TALK
Yasemin Nur Toksoy: Kat’ı: Craft of Cutting Paper in Ottoman Period

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This performative talk invites viewers to participate in the ancient Ottoman tradition of paper cuts. Kat’ı in Turkish means to cut. Kat’ı is a craft of cutting paper deriving from the Ottoman period. It was frequently used in book ornaments, peaking during the 15th century. The cuts often depict nature—mostly gardens, various flowers and birds. One of the main subjects of this traditional craft is the “tree of life,” depicting the rebirth of nature. Trees blossom. During springtime, an abundance of birds hides in their leaves. Trees are drawn with their roots to convey the circulation of life. These cuts are extremely detailed and very small in scale. The artisan needs a different time, pace and attention to cut a “tree of life.” It could take a year to finish one cut. The process has many delicate steps to attend. Attention and to be one with the cut while one practices is part and ritual of the craft. One has to slow down to attend to the moments of every cut. The drawing is made on tracing paper. After the drawing is finished, it is transferred to a different paper for cutting. From behind the tracing paper, the artist follows the lines with a pencil, applying pressure from behind. It is important to choose the right paper, and to know its water line so as to follow it while cutting. It takes patience and time to cut one tree of life. It takes a great deal of concentration and calmness. The craft demands manual discipline.

6 p.m – 7 p.m PERFORMATIVE TALK
Catherine Hansen and Joanna Fiduccia: Surrealism and Attention, a Collaborative Talk

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Leonardo’s Wall: Creative Attention: This talk and collaborative event explores how certain forms of “creative attention” both register and generate the objects and events they anticipate. Among the 20th-century Surrealists, “Leonardo’s wall” was shorthand for a passage in Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th-century Treatise on Painting where students are urged to study and stare at an old wall, and copy the forms that seem to emerge from its cracks and stains, in a dialogue between chance and the imagination. In the section titled “A way of developing and arousing the mind to various inventions,” da Vinci writes: “when you look at a wall spotted with stains […] you may discover a resemblance to various landscapes […] or again you may see battles and figures in action; or strange faces and costumes, and an endless variety of objects, which you could reduce to complete and well drawn forms.” In 1937, André Breton (L’Amour Fou) comments that Leonardo’s lesson to his students here is “far from being understood. The whole problem of the passage from subjectivity to objectivity is here implicitly resolved.” An influential text for Breton was Paul Valéry’s 1919 Introduction à la méthode de Léonard da Vinci. For Valéry, the artist’s divinatory gaze upon both wall and world is simultaneously projective and receptive, simultaneously the creative origin and passive vessel of an image, just as the wall both reshapes and is reshaped by this gaze. Valéry argues that all of thought’s “combinations,” among a great “cloud of combinations,” are equally possible and legitimate. Leonardo’s titular “method” is precisely that of arousing, kickstarting, such untried combinations. Involuntary Sculpture: (In)attention and Inscription in the Surrealist Object: In 1933, Brassaï and Salvador Dalí collaborated on a page for the Surrealist journal Minotaure: a set of close-ups by Brassaï of small and enigmatic objects, captioned by Dalí, in which the flotsam of modern life—bus tickets, globs of toothpaste, soap scraps—assumed monumental proportions in the photographer’s raking light. Fashioned by the workings of absentminded or anxious hands, these castoff objects paradoxically suggested a pure sculptural model, a direct inscription of the psyche on matter that was discoverable by the camera lens not despite, but because of their abjection or negligibility. Automatism and inscription interfaced in Surrealism through the mediation and metaphor of the camera lens. The lens served as a proxy for a peculiar mode of scrutiny, one that lavishes attention precisely where it seems to have been absented.

7 p.m – 7.45 p.m LECTURE
Yael Geller: Obsession as an Attention Phenomenon

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While obsession is rarely formalized as a problem of attention, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)—a shortcoming of attention by definition—stars in any critical conversation about the demands of modern capitalist society, and is often marked as either a failure to meet these demands, or a potential source of resistance. I find this odd. Analytically, historically, culturally and phenomenologically, a consideration of obsession as an attention phenomenon is called for. Recall William James’s definition of attention: “localization and concentration of consciousness,” he said, “are of its essence.” If ADD marks the thwarting of attention by the scattering of consciousness, obsession must undermine attention by perfecting it. Where can you find a mind more “localized and concentrated” than the one of the obsessed? The two pathologies are polarized in many other ways as well: ADD is classically assigned to childhood; obsession to adulthood. ADD seems to open up the world (too much?); obsession shuts most of it down. The assumptions about the etiology of ADD are almost cleared of sexuality, and so are its representations; the discourse about obsession is flooded with sex, and more. I want to place and inspect attention between these two coordinates (ADD, obsession), and firstly pose the question how it is that obsession gets so little attention when attention is at issue. Upon the failure to figure it out, I will lay out an allegedly straightforward argument with which to fiddle: In the “economy of attention,” for an ardent capitalist, the line that joins these two coordinates must seem way too long. Obsession is in congruence with what industrialism values the most, i.e. precision, repetition, mechanization; but ADD offers quite a lot of what consumerism incalculably enjoys—distraction, impulsivity, fragmentation, carelessness, absent-mindedness. Where will we direct ourselves? This will only be the starting point of a much messier deliberation.

7.45 p.m – 8 p.m CLOSING REMARKS 
D. Graham Burnett and Stefanie Hessler

9.30 p.m – 10 p.m PERFORMANCE
Isabel Lewis: Occasions

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Considered a celebratory gathering of things, people, plants, dances and scents, occasions hosted by Isabel Lewis typically take place in a decorated environment where visitors can come and go as they please. Lewis unfolds a specific dramaturgy attuned to her guests and their energies shaping a live experience using choreography, music, spoken address and storytelling in ways that allow for conversation, contemplation, dancing, listening or just simply being. Easing the formalities of distanced observation typically found within the theatre and exhibition contexts, Lewis is interested in situations that generate relaxation where the entire human sensorium is addressed. Visitors encounter smells made in collaboration with Norwegian smell researcher Sissel Tolaas. Lewis’s hosted occasions conjure the ancient Greek symposium, where philosophizing, drinking and the erotic were inseparable. Her spoken discourse often engages the questions of how to live a eudaemonic life in the 21st century and how to cultivate a sensibility that is more deeply attuned to the web of interrelations we live within.

+ ONGOING ACTIVITIES: 

Helen Singh-Miller: A Memory, Which Can Always Be Fished Out (workshop)

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Over the course of a day, we will move through eight of the thousands of movement lessons choreographed by somatics pioneer Moshé Pinchas Feldenkrais (1904-1984). This particular sequence of lessons has been selected for its resonance with the work and context of the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo and Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion in the Parque Ibirapuera. Lessons will take participants from lying on their backs to sitting sideways, crawling cross-legged and walking backwards, improvising a path around developmental and evolutionary movement milestones. The next morning, over the course of an hour, participants will be invited to collectively recall and perform the same choreography with increasing fluency and agency, stepping in and dropping out as they feel ready and inspired.

Helen Singh-Miller: Grand Union (screening)

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Single-channel video, 2018, running time 35 minutes Director’s Statement: “We agreed, if not to be curious, then to see nonetheless what might happen on account of timing, quiet time, and a level of attention I don’t recall being there when we were young.” Over the course of a long weekend in August, nestled behind the remnants of a tall white picket fence, a family performs routine household tasks such as making coffee, reading the newspaper and washing their hair in the sink. They sometimes follow each other, do things together and occasionally act as one big nuclear family. Increasingly, they practice 60s and 70s avant-garde dance. This diurnal structure explores modeling, copying and other feats of representation involved in both art practice and growing up. Director: Helen Singh-Miller; Camera: Alex Auriema, Helen Singh-Miller, Deniz Tortum; Sound: Ernst Karel, Jerry McDonald; Post-production: HAOS Film

Raimundas Malašauskas and Marcos Lutyens: The Hypnotic Show (installation)

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This “way-finding” node consists of an ongoing lying down area for attendees with some cushions for comfort. At the center of the area is a pedestal with a model boat that acts both as a focal point and also a visual trigger to begin a counter-practice of drifting into the unconscious. A sound design that includes deep reverie-like triggers and maritime way-finding cues such as fog horns will allow visitors to reorient their attention away from their Default Mode Network and into the mind at large.

  

November 18, Bienal Pavilion

9 a.m – 9.30 a.m OPENING

9.30 a.m – 10.30 a.m LECTURE
Justin E. H. Smith: The Attentional Practices of Some Common Invertebrates

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G. W. Leibniz (1646-1716) long sought to promote the silk industry in Germany, and all reports suggest that this project brought him into frequent, attentive contact with larval and adult members of the Bombyx genus. At the same time, the philosopher was busy articulating a theory according to which perceptual activity, or representation of the multiplicity of the world within the simple subject, is equivalent to being itself. Perception and attention are cousins, related but different; perception may be, and generally is, ‘petite’, that is, occurring well below the level of conscious awareness, while only very rarely attaining the status of “apperception:” perceiving, and at the same time knowing that you perceive. Now, may there also be something like “petite attention?” Or is attention different from perception in that it is always, so to speak, “apattention?” Representation of the multiplicity may be dumb or faint, in other words, but mental focus, or locking of the mind upon an object, typically seems to be the province of a small number of exceptional creatures. But is this correct? In this talk I will survey certain key moments in the history of philosophy, in the aim of drawing out some general recurrent features of a classical philosophical theory of attention, with special scrutiny of Aristotle’s account of φροντίς, and of the peculiar boundary-straddling work that the concept of attention has often done: both as the power of mental focus upon an object, but also as something, more morally weighted, having to do with care or concern. I will next move towards an analysis of what I take to be an implicit theory of attention in the work of Leibniz, a theory moreover that might enable us to start to think of this faculty as vastly more widespread than it typically has been, and as present, indeed present par excellence, in non-human life forms. I will close with a consideration of certain salient elements of the science of insect cognition, and will attempt to read back from these elements what we might cautiously presume Leibniz also observed when tending, and attending, to the silk worms of the Herrenhäuser Gardens.

10.30 a.m – 11.30 a.m PERFORMANCE
Helen Singh-Miller: A Memory, Which Can Always Be Fished Out

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This performance comes out of a workshop the previous day in which participants moved through eight of the thousands of movement lessons choreographed by somatics pioneer Moshé Pinchas Feldenkrais (1904-1984). The particular sequence of lessons has been selected for its resonance with the work and context of the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo and Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion in the Parque Ibirapuera. Over the course of an hour, participants will be invited to collectively recall and perform the same choreography with increasing fluency and agency, stepping in and dropping out as they feel ready and inspired.

11.30 a.m – 12 p.m SCREENING
Tamara Henderson: What’s Up Doc?

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Tamara Henderson’s sculptures, paintings and 16mm films are inspired by lucid dreaming and other procedures, bordering on the unconscious, such as hypnosis. Her films are edited in-camera and often result in surrealist sequences, in which objects seem to take on a life of their own, reverse gravity appears to rule things as they break and release colorful liquids, and a tug on a string can trigger an offshoot of unexpected events. Henderson’s film What’s Up Doc (2014) takes its title from Bugs Bunny’s most well-known catch phrase. The work is sited in an old-school travel agency, while also referencing esoteric practices of self-healing and alternative medicines, such as reflexology. The non-sequitur narrative is inspired by the artist’s experience of visiting a peculiar doctor’s office with a friend, and references care, the relationship between conscious and unconscious attention and communication between objects as well as between humans and other species, including plants.

12 p.m – 1 p.m PERFORMATIVE TALK
Vivian Caccuri: The Mosquito Shrine

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The Mosquito Shrine is a lecture performance that proposes delirious ways to rebond with mosquitoes—challenging the repulsion humans automatically feel at their sound—in order to achieve new modes of attention and understanding. The lecture is told from the fictitious and hallucinogenic perspective of a woman in fever, stating that the mosquito sound used to be a language understood by humans in the past. Mosquitoes buzz to each other as a love call: males and females have a slightly different frequency, a tuning made by nature so that they can recognize each other. For the mating ritual, they harmonize themselves in a similar frequency, which also helps them to fly together while having their organs attached. However, their connection with humans is different. Mosquitoes love the human ear; they have a genetic-mythical attachment to it. They buzz in the ears of humans to speak to their unconscious, affect their decisions and dreams. Nowadays, the majority of people hate their sound because humanity was taught to do so. We will investigate why this is so, in history as well as in our bodies and hearts, while deadly diseases are thriving as one of the many unfortunate consequences of this lack of communication between mosquitoes and humans.

2.30 p.m – 2.45 p.m SCREENING
Luiza Crosman: Diagrammatic Spells

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This visual essay explores, through diagramming lines, projections and references, the possibility of shaping our cognitive possibilities and scales our attention to the infrastructural, systemic and potential issues surrounding the spaces of art. Drawing from contemporary art, design and media theory on systemic thinking, accidental planetary megastructures and the post-contemporary time complex, the visual essay favors a speculative approach. Would this reshaping of our attention enable us to imagine different kinds of operations within the institutional art field? Would it make possible to see through new connections and thus reorient our interests and ideas of what art is and what it can do?

2.45 p.m – 3.30 p.m ARTIST TALK
Bruno Moreschi: Another 33rd São Paulo Biennial—Actions, Results and Experimental Presentation

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While the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo builds what will remain as history in its official archive, artist Bruno Moreschi coordinates a team in search of other possibilities of understanding the exhibition. Departing from four purposely broad questions that are the basis of the project (What is presence today? What do non-experts have to say? What reverberates? And what remains?), Moreschi will present the results of his actions and what they show about the Bienal, in addition to the official speeches of this edition’s curatorship and the institution. His participation at the symposium is one of the actions of Moreschi’s project, since part of it will be composed of official Bienal contents transformed by the use of AI and methods of article spinning.

3.30 p.m – 4.15 p.m PERFORMANCE 
Sal Randolph: The Sharawadji Effect

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Certain sounds request or demand attention: sirens, church bells, a baby’s wail, a phone’s beeps and ring tones; others slip below awareness, technically perceptible but excluded from consciousness: the rush of traffic, the hum of air conditioners, the murmur of distant conversations, wind in the trees. Daily life in urban centers brings us into acoustic relation with innumerable sound sources we can only partly identify. How can we relate to this disordered order? As described by Jean-François Augoyard and Henry Torgue, the “sharawadji effect” is a feeling of plenitude created by the contemplation of a soundscape of inexplicable beauty, in particular an aesthetic experience of the sublime of everyday cacophonies and unexpected silences that defy classification. Across the performance of the The Sharawadji Effect, specific elements of acoustic attention and sonic rhetoric will unfold. What counts as foreground and background, signal and noise? How much can we hear simultaneously? Beginning with simple sounds and periods of silence, the audience will be led towards an experience of the sharawadji effect in relation to the hyper-complex acoustic environments we all live with daily.

4.15 p.m – 5 p.m LECTURE
Jeff Dolven: All at Once Now

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We have the intuition that it is only possible to pay attention to one thing at a time. But what makes a thing one thing? Like so many of the interesting questions, this one lies at the boundary between ontology and epistemology, between the structure of the world and of the sensory intelligence. Drawing on examples from music and the visual arts, this talk will explore how attention parses and confuses experience, including the experience of attending a talk at a symposium. The arts of ear and eye will ultimately prepare for a question about poetry, a hypothesis to test: that the characteristic and indeed definitive ambition of a poem is to happen simultaneously with itself, or all at once.

5 p.m – 5.45 p.m PANEL DISCUSSION

5.45 p.m – 6 p.m CLOSING REMARKS 
Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, D. Graham Burnett and Stefanie Hessler

+ ONGOING ACTIVITIES: 

Helen Singh-Miller: Grand Union (screening)

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Single-channel video, 2018, running time 35 minutes Director’s Statement: “We agreed, if not to be curious, then to see nonetheless what might happen on account of timing, quiet time, and a level of attention I don’t recall being there when we were young.” Over the course of a long weekend in August, nestled behind the remnants of a tall white picket fence, a family performs routine household tasks such as making coffee, reading the newspaper and washing their hair in the sink. They sometimes follow each other, do things together and occasionally act as one big nuclear family. Increasingly, they practice 60s and 70s avant-garde dance. This diurnal structure explores modeling, copying and other feats of representation involved in both art practice and growing up. Director: Helen Singh-Miller; Camera: Alex Auriema, Helen Singh-Miller, Deniz Tortum; Sound: Ernst Karel, Jerry McDonald; Post-production: HAOS Film

Raimundas Malašauskas and Marcos Lutyens: The Hypnotic Show (installation)

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This “way-finding” node consists of an ongoing lying down area for attendees with some cushions for comfort. At the center of the area is a pedestal with a model boat that acts both as a focal point and also a visual trigger to begin a counter-practice of drifting into the unconscious. A sound design that includes deep reverie-like triggers and maritime way-finding cues such as fog horns will allow visitors to reorient their attention away from their Default Mode Network and into the mind at large.

Image: Isabel Lewis, Occasion ©Joanna Seitz, 2014 / Courtesy of the artist

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