Kitchen Paper: I am not a Collaborator: cyberkitchen.com.
Phase One: Jess Loseby
Phase Two: (ongoing): Jess Loseby and Michael Takeo Magruder.
Sensory becoming is the action by which something or someone is ceaselessly becoming other (while continuing to be what they are), sunflower or Ahab, whereas conceptual becoming is the action by which the common event itself eludes what it is... (Deleuze and Guattari: 94:177)
Before we are beginning, we would just like to say ’cannibals prefer those that have no spines’…(link)
These pages draw on Deleuze, and Deleuze and Guattari, to sketch out the beginnings of a cyber-domestic aesthetic(s) mutating in the cyberkitchen.com. Anyone expecting the cyberkitchen.com to conform to the rules of a 'hard' gallery is already heading for a disappointment. The installation subverts any residual theological distinction between the 'sacred' space of a gallery, the 'cathedral' of high art, and the, allegedly, 'profane' space of the everyday or 'non-consecrated ground' of a fine arts tradition. Rather than 'bring the gallery to the home', the medium of the cyberkitchen is a multiplicity of ‘homes’. The cyberkitchen is not the first project to take the domestic as its privileged zone, nor will it be the last. However, it is one of the first sites to use its medium to inscribe a different kind of mobility into the static ‘object’ in a manner that is rarely achieved in the relatively flat medium of the hung painting. The cyber-kitchen has been through several changes of state and is becoming increasingly objectile, 'where fluctuation of the norm replaces the permanence of the law; where the object assumes a place in a continuum by variation' (Deleuze: 1993: 20).
The assumption behind these pages is that they are a first ‘take’ on what is going on in the cyber-collaboration and can be added to, disputed and rewritten through encounter with work(s) deploying different theoretical terms to the ones set out here. The use of 'we' throughout refers to the aggregated multiplicity of the writer. It does not presume to extend itself to the 'same' reader although it does presume that each one is a different aggregated multiplicity including those that like to think of themselves as an undivided unity. Our grammatical usage attempts to replace the inclusive pretensions of ‘we’ as a universal extension of the ‘I’ without losing all syntactical coherence. Accordingly, we have no interest in writing for aggregates we already ‘know’. We invite readers to roam the site and to make conceptual and art links to it; return or leave if enough has been said, yet we can not presume to be able to accommodate the variables of taste, attention, the ‘toast’ (link) that is burning, that modulate (a) readers’ time.
Our aim is to begin an explication of a cyber-domestic aesthetic(s) through what we will provisionally call ‘performative theory’. This is a durational approach to invention and creation that is not exclusively art or philosophy but wanders, sometimes rather aimlessly it must be said, in a fuzzy interplay between the two. Accordingly, what we want to do in these introductory pages is set out what we think are the key theoretical components to our cyber-domestic-aesthetic before moving to take a closer look at the cyberkitchen subversions. On the one hand, we wish to avoid domesticating the complexity of the issues involved in the cyberkitchen.com though pre-emptive and oversimplified conclusions. On the other, we wish to stage 'our' cyber-domestic aesthetic(s), the ones viewed from our partial perspective, as a scene for wild images of thought, a scene resonant with images of cannibalism and decay as well as images of cleanliness and purity.
Treating the cyberkitchen as a sensory work in becoming, which has also involved a series of conceptual becomings, seems an effective place to start a consideration of the complex dynamics of collaborating in cyberspace. These different orientations to action allow us to talk about the cyberkitchen as an aggregate of both kinds of becoming; conducive to the creation of new ideas and images in the indiscernible zone between them. Concomitantly, we wish to suggest that thinking of these modes of emphasis as discrete may be a residual idealism, which hybridised becoming(s) put increasingly into question. For example, in the snapshot of transition presented here, the works in the installation ‘flash up’ in so far as they are ‘made room for’ in a theoretical trajectory. Yet much of this trajectory was made actual in our participation in the cyberkitchen.com and ‘between’ works we have engaged with. This ‘between’ is not a space that could be placed by us, nor could we presume to occupy it, yet we are not now doing much more than congealing images intuitively grasped in these creative modes of expression.
The first thing we want to do is distinguish this understanding of performativity from the purely linguistic plane of development that informs Judith Butler’s approach. For Butler, performativity occurs in the temporal lag between naming and being that name (Butler: 1993). Butler’s thesis is apposite for describing an interstice that undoubtedly occurs within grammatical modes of linkage specific to historical planes of development but is not adequate for talking about modes of technical determination that do not perform grammatical movements or for languages that are predicated on non-historical understandings of temporality. To oversimplify a great deal, the kind of speculative thought that has usually ‘made it’ to ‘the philosophical canon’ has been primarily alimentary and sadistic in its emphasis. It is a style of writing that tends to parcel its problems in neat contained ‘units’, exhibiting horror towards all that flows, a hoard of trophies, reluctant to let them go out of itself or allow for decomposition as a moment of production in the relentless logic of demonstrative reason. On the subject of time, especially, philosophy has been particularly constipated. From Aristotle to Kant, time has been subordinated to movement as a means of dividing 'it' into punctual sequences. A repeated variable of Deleuze's operation is Bergson's method of stating problems in terms of time before space, where time is perceived to become volumous, or stratified in different temporal/spatial schema. Deleuze extends Bergson's insight that we are not becoming ourselves to say that the becoming of the verb should not to be conflated with its verbal representation. 'We must take literally the idea that Eros is sonorous and that the death instinct is silence' (LOS: 241). There is no verb adequate to the indifference of the world in becoming or that could plausibly fathom the bottom ground of its movements:
Movement has an essential relation to the imperceptible; it is by nature imperceptible. Perception can grasp movement only as the displacement of a moving body or the development of a form. Movements, becomings, in other words, pure relations of speed and slowness, pure affects, are below and above the threshold of perception... movement in itself continues to occur elsewhere (ATP 280-281)
What is this ‘elsewhere’? This imperceptibility of movement in extension also attests to the bottomless (un)ground of time, an intensive immateriality immanent to the actual volumes of duration(s) but by no means explicable by them. Deleuze refers to two kinds of time to explain the tendency to spatialise time and the metaphysical redundancy of so doing. There is the time of Chronos, which is the extended time of corporeal mixes, events and actual states of affairs. Given that we inhabit a small planet in a universe so vast that the only thing we can adequately hope to conceptualise is the inadequacy of our organs for grasping this vastness, we must consider the states of affairs of Chronos a limited pluralism. This limited pluralism is also too huge too grasp or stand outside and could not be considered ontologically discrete from the universe. Stardust is, after all, what all potential life forms are made of, the ultimate Body without Organs if we wanted to push the point. There just happened to be more carbon in this part of the galaxy than anything else. In so far as our biosphere has volumous limits and spins in reassuringly predictable ways, we must, in one mode of emphasis, consider volume in terms of what can be made room for in a limited economy. Death, as Bataille reminds us, is that which makes room for multiple kinds of life in this vision of a bounded space, opening onto a general economy of prodigal squandering (Bataille: 1991). We will come back to the political efficacy of this vision of prodigal squandering, particularly as it is tempered by ecological concerns regarding the speed at which some humans do consume everything around them, especially the compressed durations of other humans. Is it hoarding and niggardly to want to return something to this little spaceship called Earth? We don’t have the option of another one.
The second kind of time is the time of the Aion, an unlimited virtual multiplicity at once interior and exterior to sensible duration(s) and without discernible volume. It is the inchoate and unnameable, immobilised as the ‘place’ of God in a theological frame but expressed as a non-locatable 'difference without a concept' by Deleuze. This nomadic distribution ‘is’ a pure positivity that exceeds the anthropomorphic sedimentation of habitual images of thought. The virtuality of the Aion is the simultaneity of all durations, most operative above, below and through our thresholds of perception. Like the vastness of the universe, all that has been and is yet to come is implicated, without pre-determination, in each and every monad. It is, by definition, the non-conceptual without which thought could not continue to think. The time of the Aion also includes the ‘time’ of our death, a state of affairs, one would think, but essentially immaterial in so far as it has no substance, quality or volume. 'Nonsense functions as the zero point of thought, the aleatory point of desexualised energy or the punctual Instinct of death; Aion or empty form and pure Infinitive is the line traced by this point, that is a cerebral crack at the limits at which the event appears' (LOS: 241). To talk about the unfolding from the perspective of the ‘unfolded’ is bad philosophical news, resulting in false problems that reduce time to specific schemas. No specific kind of macro- or micro- unfolding and refolding is sufficient in principle to talk about infinite folding (1). The Aion ‘is’ a multiplicity that, as the simultaneity of all multiplicities, cannot be determined, or counted, from the terms of reference of any one kind of multiplicity.
Accordingly, we do not hold to the pedagogical assumption that we will be read in straight line, already shaping performativity as a slippage in a historical teleology. For lack of an alternative vocabulary however, we deploy writing conventions that look as if they develop in Euclidean space but, if we are certain of one thing, it is that cyberspace is neither flat nor mono-dimensional. Our metaphor is a convenient retrospective abstraction, which makes things a great deal simpler than they were and are becoming. Having spent time wandering frivolously around the sound and light images in the installation; participated in the cyberkitchen list discussion: plugged (link), amongst many distractions, into smell and flavour images made foreground in the piece; studiously avoided tackling the toxic waste in our kitchen bin-- the resident aliens of the larder fridge-- new ecosystem(s) whose burgeoning exuberance we rationalize, are the proximate border guards of our writing time----- we thought/ we thought--- we might bring ourselves together to make some (re)marks.
File to trash. Theoretical writing is rock logic, saying very little of the durational flows that make 'time enough' for its expression. Yet ‘rock logic is not that stable either, it is only made so in particular scientific methods’ (Capelin: cyberkitchen.com: 2002). Silent flows of vegetal matter, dead animals, in various states of preparation (link), digestion, defecation(s), washing, rinsing(s), (re) cycle through our text, which is their residue. Even the most delicate metonymies, if we could only produce them, would be nothing more than gross caricatures. All writing, as Artaud once famously declared, is PIGSHIT! No images of thoughts could become consistent without durational flows innumerable, here compressed to a spiny sensibility.
Before we were beginning, we would just like to say the ‘Subject’ could not have taken place…
The second thing we want to do is refuse a too rigid political distinction between paranoia and schizophrenia, especially as it has been gendered as a lived false problem. That paranoiac overcodes are damaging is not disputed. Yet paranoia also does some useful work when it comes to cutting out images and striating concepts. The production of concepts is still well worth doing, if only to find tectonic fault lines to run out in another vector, liberating larvael becomings, forgotten ‘ones’ in the indirect speech of a graphic interface. Deleuze and Guattari draw a distinction between smooth and striated space that may help to work out some terms of reference with which we can start to speak about our cyber-domestic aesthetic(s).
Striated and smooth spaces express a non-symmetrical relationship between quantitative and qualitative multiplicities, or Riemann multiplicities and loosely match the distinction between paranoia and schizophrenia. Cardinal value is concerned with the place value of a group of things, numbered numbers, and their one to one matching with the amount of another group of different or similar things. It is chiefly concerned with establishing an actual geometry that works on principles of analogy. Ordinal value is concerned with the relationship of a number to another number in a series whose order determines the value of this relationship. These are numbering numbers and are more concerned with establishing virtual relations between numbers, which ramified endlessly, place the discrete value of numbers under strain (2).
Striated spaces are metric spaces but this is not confined to number. In so far as one concept, a particular idea of the subject, for example, becomes the organizing principle of its near/far, the space is striated in metric terms. Marmite (link) attests to both the schematic potency and the ontological absurdity of a topology of cardinal values, for men as much as women. Smooth spaces, alternatively, are ordinal spaces, populated by haecceities and non-metric patterns. Deleuze and Guattari express the distinction between the smooth and the striated mathematically, developing the mutual implication of cardinal and ordinal values into fractal topologies. They also talk about it through physical, nautical, musical and technological examples. Most important, they also express it aesthetically as a distinction between the proximity of the close vision involved in making a work and the opticality of a distanced gaze.
The smooth and striated relations of close up vision and distanced opticality underpin the different temporal orientations to action that distinguish Deleuze and Guattari’s modal distinction between conceptual and sensory becomings. For Elizabeth Grosz, drawing on Henri Bergson, this distinction points to two kinds of memory speaking of different kinds of actions:
‘one bound up with bodily habits, and thus essentially forward-looking insofar as it aims and resides in the production of an action, the other inherently bound with the past’ (Grosz: 2000: 221).
The short term memory involved in making a piece of work is an immersion in smooth space whereas the long term memory involved in bringing a concept into play as a retrospective lens of analysis, a striation. The point made is that one does not stand before a work when one makes it. One is engaged in a process that is intuitively future-orientated, punctuated by pauses in which one might stand at a (relational) distance from it.
Elizabeth Grosz is well known for privileging the fluid and the volatile over the retrospective, relatively sedentary graphics of a distanced opticality. For our purposes, most artists, we suppose, are involved in both kinds of memory, in different degrees of emphasis at different parts of their process. If we object to anything it is the graphic distribution of some kinds of optics, not the action of long-term memory itself. If we think of these two modes in alteration, there is an aesthetic element to any theoretical image but (a) work of art is distinguished from the production of concepts. In so far as they start at precisely the point that the haecceities of other durations, becoming-animal, becoming-insect, becoming-child burst through the flesh that is its medium, making art involves the production of percepts and affects that do more than repeat habitual actions. Intuition as method turns and returns beyond the experientially given, bringing something genuinely new to techniques that may have been repeated, if not exactly, thousands of times. They are becoming something other while remaining what they are. Conceptual becomings can only borrow a pale memory these becomings for an individual artist. The event of this alteration eludes; it cannot be read through any one of the relations made in the space without also over-coding the 'movement' of time, a despotic reduction of what cannot be grasped to a specific plane of development.
This distinction gives us difficulty when we try to think about the short- term memory involved in writing about concepts. As one collaborator put it “ quite funny really, the impossible opens before us” (Capelin: cyberkitchen.com: 2002). Moreover, the situation becomes a good deal more complex if we consider the cyberkitchen as a collaborative act of poesis, as a function of a group. As an aggregate of intersecting percepts and effects, disparate inscriptive modes, light, text and sound are placed into continuous alteration whereas the production of concepts involves intersections between multiple planes of development. Each piece of work is ceaselessly redeployed in new relationships, not least those brought by visitors. Artists are thus involved in the exchange of percepts, affect and concepts that are not ‘just’ a pale memory of their own ‘interior’ trajectories but involve them in continuous exchange with an exteriority that erases them as authors of their works.
The implications of our remarks is that there has never been a universal Subject, it could never have ‘taken place’ despite the spatialised lived effects of a powerful political fiction. For Bergson and Deleuze, no two species members are perceived to be exactly alike, either in points of time or points of space (CE: 243). The durations of each are in minute flux, which sometimes congeal to a consistent image. Accordingly, if perceptible movements and imperceptible durations in and outside of us should not be conflated, we must assume a multiplicity of durations that could not be pinned down through anthropomorphic principles. Thought must also commit the necessary errors of selecting from the immediate datum of experience to slow it down (or speed it up) enough to move around in the world. If we could perceive all the potential durations in a coffee cup, we would not have ‘time enough’ in our life to register them. It is the manner in which this excess is imagined that is the political issue. It is indisputable that many actual bodies have been made to stand as name for the virtual expressed in negative terms. Within the codes of paranoia, large aggregates of un-individuated caricatures, The Jews, The Woman, The Black, The Terrorist, have ‘stood out’ only so far as they function as unspeakable ‘others’ to secure the false problems of a powerful few. In sum, the time images of silent majorities have been systematically discounted as the condition of having a time image that counts.
As we explicate our version of performative theory, we propose to add a cyber-domestic aesthetic(s) to the list of models Deleuze and Guattari have used to describe smooth and striated space. Our choice is strategic. As has been the topic of exhaustive commentary, all becomings must pass through 'becoming-woman' for Deleuze and Guattari, a ‘site’ that (which) has been habitually rendered a vague 'point' in the tree-like models that have dominated Western thought. We consider this arrangement tactical but historically lived. As an actual repository of what cannot be said in rock logic, 'becoming-woman' contains the potential to turn a sedimented series of metric points into a line of flight from paranoid overcodes, producing mutant becomings in these liberated schizzes and flows of desire. As with the smooth and the striated, these becomings are not discrete and cannot make do without some principles of striation, habitually coded in the molar 'masculine' for Deleuze and Guattari. The becoming ‘proper’ to becoming woman is, ultimately, becoming-child. This refers to the girl child in particular. Deleuze and Guattari insist that haecceities are first stolen from the girl to discipline the boy, a claim that makes sense only in formations, of which there are many, where the phallus is privileged as a masculine predicate. The girl, the story goes, is presumed to lack the phallus, a threat that allows the boy to worry about castration. While explicitly not the penis for Lacan, the phallus certainly seems to behave like one, never fully present and haunted by a lack at the heart of the real. The girl child, lacking nothing in actuality for Deleuze and Guattari, is thus the strategic repository of the molecular that the boy has constructed as a false paranoiac outside.
Tempting as this is, we do not believe gender relations are quite as simple as this. If we are to refute a sexed distinction between sedentary and nomadic distribution, we still need to retain the smooth and the striated as a way of talking about planes of consistency. Girls can be horrible little fascists, striating space by equally erroneous analogies. For example, we do not recall lacking a penis but we do recall something like horror and pity for our brother’s messy body, unruly and ‘improperly’ fallen outside of itself. A quite lamentable lack of muscular control we thought, and we therefore insisted that he try to tuck it up his bottom to ‘be just like us’. We exerted despotic control over our brother’s improper body, unbearably superior about our neat contours, held inside in their ‘proper’ place. They did not get caught in zips and did not require specially modified pants to accommodate. We made him pay us his pocket money for the privilege of playing with us. In sum, we viewed our brother as a defective girl, using relational ‘power over’ to rob him of his haecceities.
Although it remains the statistical case that male standpoints have striated cultural space more visibly than those of women, the molecular cannot be immanently gendered even if it has been habitually lived as such. Similarly, striation, as such, cannot be the province of men alone. To imagine otherwise is to posit a universal Man and Woman with half a brain each. Liberating the pre-singularities of the infant, becoming-child, restores a molecular mobilism to thought that has become habitually stuck in paranoiac semantic grooves, whichever ‘sex’ organises it.
The broader argument that we want to press is that a 'cyber-domestic aesthetics(s) contain the tactical potential to subvert the gendered alliance between everydayness and a feminized molecularity that underpins much of Deleuze and Guattari's work. We do not suggest, by these remarks, that the kitchen, the domestic and the everyday are one and the same thing. The kitchen is a strategic place to start freeing the domestic from the heading domestic. They are concrete spaces interior to the philosophical notions of dwelling that have traditionally supported particularly historical understandings of psychic interiority. Philosophers also have to eat after all. Yet kitchens are also 'exterior' in so far as they are one of many domains that do not usually come in to play within these discourses and are a relational outside immanent to them. While it would be a mistake to reduce the virtuality of outside thought to an actual relational outside, kitchens have traditionally been 'feminised' spaces in Western cultures 'outside' the realm of 'serious' academic discourse. Occupied, in the majority, by invisible servants, wives and slaves, it seems beyond dispute that 'the kitchen' has been a ubiquitous theatre of material support for phallocentric logic, closely followed by the toilet. If postcolonial criticism means that is no longer possible to take a complacent attitude to technology, or indeed, assume universal access to a kitchen, then it is urgent for a cyber-domestic aesthetic(s) to examine the durational politics of its approach.
We may make some mess in our procedures. Anyone who has looked at kitchen paper under a microscope will be aware that there is an incommensurable tension between strength and absorbency. To make a material strong, in the sense of durability, involves producing tightly interlocking molecules with few gaps. To make a material absorbent involves producing loosely interlocking molecules for fluid retention. Overwhelming these absorption/strength thresholds turns their composition into something else, papier maché, for instance, redistributing their properties in different assemblages. We may extend this metaphor to think of the cyberkitchen.com as a kind of poetic cento, which, at its simplest, is a patchwork joining disparate parts, styles and ideas in a way that produces a new symbiosis of aesthetic affects. Writing a cento is a violent activity, involving the dislocation of parts from their universe of reference and reassembling them in our own, changing their kind in process. Their absorbency rate is high. As the tents of the literary world, their plane of composition is parasitic and vital, their performativity a double process of selection and omnatapoeia that resists metaphor and dialectical synthesis. Centos are not responses to questions, they are the poetic act of producing them. However, a cento is not very strong, it swiftly disintegrates into undifferentiated mush, leaving only questions to find the solutions they deserve. This process inevitably involves laying out a range of components in a conceptual plane. The absorbency rate of a concept is considerably less than that of a cento but, if it is any good, it will be strong enough to striate a space and flexible enough to change assemblages. For the most part, we live in a two-ply world, attempting to get the best out of both modes in whatever arrangement we deploy them.
Before we are beginning, we would just like to say the ‘Collaborator’ did not show up…
Finally, in making this initial arrangement of theoretical marks, we are also mopping up a specific set of questions as well as explicating new ones that have emerged in the cyberkitchen.com. Concerns have been raised about is perceived to be unexamined assumptions of what a work of art 'is' in the design of the cyberkitchen, especially as it invites collaborations to occur.( link) Our critics celebrate the Internet as opening collaboration to those traditionally positioned outside the narrow enclaves of State art. We take this as read and, as we delineate, there are crossovers between this agenda and the cyber domestic aesthetic(s) we explicate here. The most pertinent criticisms are disapproval of the cyberkitchen as ‘open only to artists’; a dismissive stance to the kitchen as the ‘hub of the home’ and an alternative proposition of mobile chains of signification as the sign of what a successful collaborative work might look like.
These are valid concerns and ones that deserve a sustained engagement. Notwithstanding, we must also ask what assumptions about ‘good’ collaboration are at work in them. What ideas about the subject and individuation repeat themselves in the juxtaposition of an artistic closure with being open to everybody? While the point is thoroughly contested, the Aion is not, for us, the same kind of virtuality as that pertaining to cyberspace.  There are mutual problems of analysis; the net, as a state of affairs, is ‘placeless’ enough for us to some overlap. However, the virtuality of cyberspace is comprised of immaterial and non-locatable durations that are aggregated functions of actual material arrangements and local topographies that exceed the sum of its parts. It could not be said to ‘be’ the Aion. As a recent mode of communication, with a discernible outside of non-users, it remains a limited pluralism, despite the difficulties of talking about the net as something with edges. There is no openness that does not, at the same time, perform an operational closure. It is impossible to see one’s own blindness and a lot easier to see everyone else's, a charge these pages assume in advance. One can only see the closures of another approach from a perspective that must also actively forget most of the world to cut itself out as an image. Not being immortal, we don’t see any way out of a selective necessity in the cyberkitchen, other than for somebody else to have made something completely different.
Accordingly, while there is every difference between the degree to which the technical determinations of a piece imposes silence or performative ignorance in its articulation, the completely open artwork is a philosophical non-starter for us. All human durations impose some kind of silence through the limits of their organs. There is no mode of expression that does not also depend on such strategies at varying degrees of reflexivity. It is the case that the design of the cyberkitchen.com cannot accommodate everybody, indeed we would like to see a design that could but we do not agree that the web is open in the sense of being devoid of selective modes. What it is open to is encounter with more modes of interpretation than those that exist in the academy, opening what it means to produce a piece of art to the potential of aesthetics unregulated by dull conformity to heavily policed conventions. If unlimited openness is only something a God could pull off, defining ‘openness’ on not 'being' an Artist might risk speaking as an Anti-Kant, making unexamined aesthetic statements as the basis for an anti-aesthetic judgement. The danger of juxtaposing artists with non-artists is that it will resurrect the mythic Subject as the false ground of critique, closing the circuit (link to light switch) of difference as differing from an Identity (Widder: 2002), refusing other kinds of creativity in between.
Contributions to the cyberkitchen.com not confined to established artists or to those working in recognised traditions or institutions. However, each contribution needs to grasp the attention of the curators in its treatment of an object. This by no means constitutes such a grand claim as a definition of ‘the work of art’, but it is testimony to the aesthetic range of the curators, themselves in alteration. Falling outside that range does not constitute something so grand as the non-art of art. Something far less profound is being said. If we are not yet prepared to say everything is equal everything is different, there must still be room to say ‘we don’t like it’. Everything is not equal when it comes to the idiosyncratic disposition of different tastes. To say otherwise is, effectively, to pose the same different person, blind, dumb and indifferent as the measure of all things.
There is no innocent ground from which to take an aesthetic stance, or justify a habitual taste for one mode of inscription over another. Accordingly, we wish to avoid sinking into a vacuous relativism. Why bother to take care over producing a piece of work in the first place? If we can agree a critique of the political enclosures that surround 'good taste', we still want to find ways of talking about (a) work, which seizes our attention as distinct from undifferentiated mush. As is a problem that plagued Nietzsche, if we are no longer prepared to build monuments to eternity, how is it possible to make little monuments, a book, a painting, a web page, which, most artists, we suppose, hope will endure beyond themselves? If we support a broad politics of art for arts’ sake, irrespective of end product, we would also wish to defend the seemingly heretical view that we often find pieces uninteresting to look at without political shame. We still want to find ways of talking about having an agenda in art, itself (a) political aesthetic, that does not set out to be a universal aesthetic.
We address the questions we have raised here through analysis of differential repetition of act(s) of collaboration in the cyberkitchen.com, as they alter the understandings of site, dwelling and temporal logic playing through the site. There is, we suggest, a broad political compatibility between a cyber-domestic aesthetic and a de-centering of the political enclosures of ‘The Work of Art’ but that the experimental risk turns around a very different understanding of time and space than one that could sustain an Art/Anti Art distinction. The conditions of working in an heterogeneous aggregate, an aggregate full of different agendas, working practices and theoretical perspectives, forces a critical question mark over the convenience of the epistemological containment of collaboration within one performative model. Performative theory’ is our word for this play of contradictions without saying, for all time, what the temporal constitution or plane of development of performance might be.