Works by Lida Abdul, Dexter Dalwood, Tom
Ellis, Alex Hamilton, Ben Judd,
Hilary Koob-Sassen, Katrin Lock,
Wolfe Lenkiewicz, Goshka Macuga, Otto
Müehl, Sadie Murdoch, Peter Lewis & Makiko
Nagaya, Owen Oppenheimer, Brendan
Quick, Paula Roush, Rachel Reupke,
Adrien Sina, Mark Aerial Waller,
VINYL IV: As If By Proxy
Introduced by Douglas Park
Video and film works and other objects curated by Peter Lewis, Goshka Macuga and Wolfe Lenkiewicz to be screened
at ®edux amid the furnishings of a 'home' , in the context of a
house party to be held on April 8th 2005 commencing at 9.00pm till late.
At issue could be an old, universal, yet timely
question. What explains the fact that
(for example) a clone of me is not an instance of
me, but an instance of human nature? This question,
culled from the theologian-philosopher Duns Scotus,
c1265-1308, concerned the property of an
individual. Scotus proposed the 'irrational'
idea of an immaculate conception. A mediaeval kind of by proxy
G.M. human. Maybe not so far
fetched, then. John Frankenheimer's
1966 sci-fi film 'Seconds' had
similarily posed a question of the doctoring of the individual's neglect to his
'Existenz' (see Karl Jaspers;
also David Cronenberg's 1999 film of that title). Frankenheimer
anticipated flesh and blood re-modelling as the pragmatic realisation of human freedom by
technological means, as a performance of the will to alienation.
In the most generalised sense, Frankenheimer tests, from this
point, the category of 'human nature'.
A later work, 'The Boys from Brazil'
(1978, directed by Franklin J.
Schaffner, screenplay by Ira Levin) articulated a latent polemic
to be found in mimesis.
Schnaffer tested the dangers of making hard facts out of apocalyptic narratives, registered in
the story of the Nazi Rebirth, by imagining the medical cloning of 100 embryonic potential
Adolf Hitlers. Here we were presented with a re-take on Jean
Paul Sartre's short story, 'Childhood of a
Leader'.  Philosophy ceases to exist at the point where we
identify with the young, cloned A.H,
as the boy, Bobby, who has just killed the Nazi
geneticist, Dr. Josef Mengele in revenge for his own
father's murder at the close of the film, as he photographs
the admirable corpse. (He may just become an artist this time round,
as his hobby is photography). Is Bobby's delight in technology
(the magic of seeing the image of the corpse emerge in his photographic developing
tray) 'enlightened' false consciousness,
if he himself is a supreme product and total proof of the domination, and
self-domination, encrypted in the genetic Gift of
(Mengele's) innovation technology?
We are reminded in this by Andreas Huyssen, in his foreword to Peter
Sloterdijk's 'Critique of Cynical
Reason'  that:
"domination through instrumental or cynical reason can never be total, and that the masochism
of refusal or melancholy about the irrevocable loss of happiness (that was the double heritage of
Critical Theory), has today lost its offensive potential and in fact
re-enforces the enlightened false consciousness it should help to
dismantle."  Sloterdijk speaks of life as having no
name, no self, and he exploits what he
'names' as without name, the
self-conscious Nobody, who attaches names and identities only through
its social birth, as remaining the living source of freedom. Unlike
Theodor Adorno's 'Critical Theory',
where identity is based on self-denial, in a Brechtian move he praises
the discovery of 'nobodiness' in a moment of danger as a welcome
expansion of subjectivity.
The alienated heroes of both films could be imagined to think and inscrutably believe in themselves:
"I am finally freed from the ambiguity of myself by technological means."
At the call, the dead multitudes of the 20th Century loom up in allure,
as the horizon of truth and fiction finally collapses. What appears through the screen is no longer
the world, its equivocation of nearness and unfamiliarity, now
incapacitated, but its irradiance, as if it were a kind of
single, individual self-identical
cut-up for make-believe.
"I'm one of you.
You're one of me?" 
[ Events ]
Freud in his later writings argued that the death drive, the bodily instinct to return to the state
of quiescence that preceded our birth, explains why we are allured by and drawn to repeat
painful, traumatic or destructive events. We
uncover, and in horror simultaneously conceal again, the
built-in logic of the ending of messy human pluralities.
I find myself humming along with the melodic William Burroughs, when asked of his opinion of
the American flag: "Dip it in heroin, and
I'll suck it."
This is not resentment, quite the opposite. To quote Dave Beech from
his recent feature in Art Monthly, 'Art's
Debunker's', the question that he (via
E.Pfont class="small_red">. Thompson) raises is: 'We shall not ever return to a
pre-capitalist human nature, yet a reminder of its
alternative needs, expectations and codes may renew sense of our
nature's range of possibilities. Could it even
prepare us for a time when both capitalist and state communist needs and expectations may decompose,
and human nature may be made over in a new form?" 
A number of questions operate here in these films and videos shown 'at
home' at ®edux in the house of the curators,
as a task to shape down one's automatic,
utopian, affective responses, where the instantiation
of the Individual is something too utopian and beyond all conceptualising.
Nearness, the human facility, would have been
ostensibly the better tool for the common need to be 'at home'
in the world, if it had not already all but faded away.
Too late for Adorno, not for us.
" What is this nearness that surrounds
1. Jean Paul Sartre,
The Wall, and Other Stories, 1948,
2. Andreas Huyssen,
Foreword, xviii The Return of Diogenes as Postmodern Intellectual,
in Peter Sloterdijk, 'Critique of Cynical Reason',
1983, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main.
3. It is the individual split within the cynical phenomenon
itself, which, Sloterdijk suggests,
pits the cynical reason of domination and self-domination against the Kynic
(a term taken from the tradition of Greek philosophy found in Diogenes)
revolt of self-assertion and self-realization.
"It is precisely the moment of a disillusioned enlightenment in cynicism itself that
...might make it susceptible to the temptation of cynical
self-assertion... directed primarily at those who still
suffer, however subliminally, from enlightened false
consciousness." (from the Foreword to Sloterdijk, op
cit.) Sloterdijk mobilises the kynical potential of the Diogenes tradition against a
prevailing cynicism that had successfully combined enlightenment with resignation and apathy.
4. Dialogue from the film
directed by David Cronenberg.
5. Art Monthly, issue 283.
6. Hans Georg Gadamer 'On
the Contribution of Poetry to the Search for Truth', in Gadamer,
op cit, p.115.