Ausgesetzt-Sein in Kunst. Performancekunst und 'new ontologies'

Ausgesetzt-Sein in Kunst. Performancekunst und 'new ontologies'

by Bernadett Settele

published in 'What Can Art Do?', a research project supported by Schweizerischen Nationalfond (01.02.2015 - 31.01.2018) and in «What can art do?», diaphanes Zürich 2020, only in German

roughly translated by Dorothea Rust

«Being exposed in Art. Performance Art and 'new ontologies'»

Every performance exposes the body to sight (or to the gaze), whether it is the sight (or gaze) of those present or those watching, whether live or in the media. Many performances expose the body of the performer(s) to physical forces or psychological influences, the works of Body Art even function via violence and injury. What interests me, however, is the kind of being exposed to each other, which has to do with community and can be condensed into performance.1

Theoretically, these considerations are underpinned by the conceptual cloud around vulnerability, endangerment and precarity, which has been called »new ontology« and is associated with the name of Judith Butler, as well as with Jean-Luc Nancy's »plural ontology« and its thematisation of being exposed and 'with'. Butler develops and politicises the interplay of different facets in terms of the new ontology: these include bodily, psychological and social moments, as well as sensual moments and those linked to interpretations, evaluation and meaning-making, which make up 'gendered life'. »To be a body is [...] to be exposed to social shaping forces and formations, which is why the ontology of the body is always already social ontology«, is written in Raster des Krieges.2 The »undisciplined transdisciplinarity« of these theorems, in the words of Paula-Irene Villa, is extended in this article by a level that at least Butler does not consider too much: the aesthetic dimension.3 Drawing on the notions of new critical ontologies by Butler and Nancy, I thematise performance art as a situation of being included in a shared doing and as being exposed to the others that individual subjects experience in it. Performance, the art associated with physicality, creates specific, collective aesthetic situations with its means. I use the performance Floating Gaps by Dorothea Rust (2012), in which I participated as a viewer, to illuminate different types of relatedness and conditionality. ...

full text in German   ...