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Obrist/Abramovic/Chaitin interview

From: Manuel Johannes Simoni <csae4529@...>

Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 21:53:12 +0100

(This is not computing related, but about bridging the grap between 
science and art, and about the interesting points of views of two 
extraordinary people, a scientist and an artist.)


Obrist/Abramovic/Chaitin interview, Kitakyushu, Japan, July 2001 

This conversation between curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist, performance artist 
Marina Abramovic and mathematician Gregory Chaitin is on pp. 29-44 of a 
collection of Obrist interviews published by Edizioni Charta in Milan, Italy, 
in 2003. 

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/CDMTCS/chaitin/abramovic.html



MA: I was arguing with a scientist that they're always observing but they 
don't make observations of themselves. I wanted the observation to be central 
in you first, so you are the first one to be observed and to be changed and 
transformed. So that was the next step that I made---the public body, the 
public as performer. So this was really important to shifting the rules of the 
game. The problems of serving art are in there somewhere. So the public became 
the art, together with the object. There was another moment, in the 
early '70s, when we had a very small number of public, say 10 or 15 people. It 
was very underground; performance was not accepted and so on, and we just made 
our performances. At one point I ended up in a very large exhibition---
documenta 6---for which, together with Ulay, I performed a piece called 
Expansion in Space, and it ended with 1500 people present, for the first time 
in my life. That was the first time that I understood the power and the energy 
of the public and how, as a performer, you can take this energy, transform it, 
and give it back to them. This was the first time that I understood what it 
means, what an energy dialogue is, and how the energy in the performance 
works. 

GC: You know that mathematical research is all energy. You have to throw 
yourself at the problem. It's like you're running up a mountain. You're not 
just going up, you're running up. And you've got to make it to the top of the 
mountain, and it's a tremendous burst of energy and concentration. So when you 
say the word ``energy,'' you know, that's a key word for me. 

HUO: Can you give me one or two examples of such situations, where you are 
``running up mountains?'' 

GC: In my research? It's so completely emotional to solve a mathematical 
problem. You have to really want to solve it. It's like adrenaline, it's like 
energizing yourself. I want to smash against the problem. I'm going to run and 
throw myself against the wall. I'm going to smash through the wall. I think of 
it as a wall, you know, my lack of understanding. And you want to just smash 
right through it. It's just a question of energy, it's energy. That's the key 
word; otherwise you can't do research. 

MA: There is a text in my last book called ``Towards the Pure Energy'' (Marina 
Abramovic: Public Body, 2001) and that's really what it's all about. And 
that's the kind of special state where you really want to be. You have to 
question everything to transform it to the same state. 




Apropos: the video of the talk from the last Chaitin message is online at
http://tinyurl.com/zizx

Manuel


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