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A Recording Organism contra The Figure Signaling Through the Flames

Antonin Artaud

When we look to the new, the thing that really connects: it’s technology like a punch in the face, a figure signaling through the flames. It’s not the code, it’s the hunger, the blood, the bone and muscle. It’s the electricity that connects one human soul to another. And it’s the connectors that allow that surge of power to flow freely from one node to the next in the network.

Fragments from the introduction to Theater and its Double by Antonin Artaud:

“What is more important, it seems to me, is not so much to defend culture whose existence has never kept a man from going hungry, as to extract, from what is called culture, ideas whose compelling force is identical with that of hunger.”

“If confusion is the sign of the times, I see at the root of this confusion a rupture between things and words, between things and the ideas and signs that are their representation.”

“A protest against the idea of culture as distinct from life–as if there were culture on one side and life on the other, as if true culture were not a refined means of understanding and exercising life.”

“We must believe in a sense of life renewed by the theater, a sense of life in which man makes himself master of what does not yet exist, and brings it in to being. and everything that has not yet been born can still be brought to life if we are not satisfied to remain mere recording organisms.”

“Furthermore, when we speak the word life, it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from the surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach, and if there is one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signaling through the flames.”

Published in culture innovation network performance philosophy theater value