THE FUTURE OF DISAPPEARANCE
Curator's notes by André Lepecki
Throughout the 1990s and the 2000s, performance theory understood disappearance as one of the inexorable effects of time impacting the performed event. Performance’s disappearance reflected the live event moving into a more or less unapproachable past. In this move from present to past, appearance into disappearance, memory would become performance’s new, more or less inaccessible, site of resistance. But, what if, following some recent queer theory, particularly the writings of José Muñoz, disappearance is not aimed at memory and the past? What if disappearance is the necessary condition for the making of unanticipated futures? What if disappearance is that which reactivates performance’s potentiality? That which precipitates performance’s deviant becomings? Then, disappearance would have to be understood as something that must be catalyzed, planned, choreographed, diagrammed, composed.
But how to diagram, or to choreograph, or to perform the many futures of disappearance? How to imagine the gestures, voices, shapes, bodies, relations, forms, supports and regimes of visibility that make disappearance’s future a planned one and yet one that can resist disciplining, policing, and control? The two artists invited to be part of the project The Future of Disappearance directly address these questions by taking as a point of departure different modalities of disappearance.
Performatively linking language, memory, presence, corporeality, voice, trace, cartographies, memories and imaginations, the Norwegian Mette Edvardsen considers both the destructive and the generative forces contained in the word “Gone” in her solo piece No Title (2014). While in Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine (2010) Edvardsen and her collaborators approach memory as a collective system of transformation, a factory of sociability, an urgent mixing of language, affect, and imagination that, at every iteration, restarts time — opening it up for whatever is about to come. Also using the performativity of language, the force of tracing and drawing, and the many invisibilities that always define urban space, the Brazilian Ricardo Basbaum, has created one of his large scale diagrams exclusively for The Future of Disappearance. In it, or through it, Basbaum advances his bioconceptualism to propose to Sydney passersby a poetic-choreographic cartography for the afterlife of conditioned presence.