on deconstruction

collaboration with
Jenni Haili during a seminar at
Berlin University of Arts
Grunewaldstraße 2-5, room 129
10.12.2007, 2-4 pm

Text about this work by:
Michael Hammerschmid in: events are points in spacetime, Performative works by students of Transmedia Art, University of Applied Arts Vienna, 2008

Closed and/or broken circles

On deconstruction’ strikes a balance between reflection and applied art. There are more or less two levels in this work, and they refer to a further third and fourth level. One level consists of the record of an event, ‘Seminar’. This record is selective, conctrating on specific relevant events, or events considered to be relevant, within the scene ‘seminar’, which provides a sort of frame. A second level interacts with this level, one could refer to it as the writing process itself, which introduces retrospection as both sign (written text) and action (performance): the act of writing. In terms of content, this relation is further elaborated in that a central moment of the scene involves the request by the seminar leader to the two performers (=seminar participants) that they make a theoretical statement, which they answer a) by announcing a delayed answer, delayed to the end of the seminar session; b) by the actual and announced repetition of this question; c) by the unexpected repetition of the question, ‘Rudi answers by repeating the question in English’, not repeated in the text itself, but only in the narrative mode, which as a result deviates from the ‘real' event; d) by providing the answer to the question in a footnote (marked in the text as an academic-reflexive level), an answer characterised as a ‘translation to another level’, a translation which is valid and given the status of an answer, e) followed in the text by the sentence ‘We distribute this handout’ in the real scene one is thus challenged to respond with the appropriate action, which can be seen as a further extension of the answer. In other words, the entire response is it-self a statement of deconstruction, as required at the outset by Anja, the seminar leader. In this way, a circle (of the hermeneutic circle) is completed, and thereupon broken or at least disturbed by the italicised, thus emphatic phrase: ‘What we expect to happen’. This phrase in a scene announces something that has al-ready happened. The text is rendered ambivalent, charged with a tension that turns into a completed performance, readable either as a statement ‘on deconstruction’, or as the subversion thereof.

The signature of the scene consists of exact data and information pertaining to the seminar. At the semantic level, a paragraph emphasises that any question may only be discussed with fellow students an an individual basis ‘one to one’. The performance thus exceeds the context of the seminar, excluding the seminar leader from the action in what could be considered a political statement. One must decide for oneself whether the final footnote, which characterises the whole as an ‘open platform’, contradicts this.