In this paper, I will use the question of doing philosophy through performative acts for investigating how, through crossing of seemingly unrelated elements, new entities of questioning, knowledge. and practices are created.
“Diogenes the Dog”, the name of a human that metaphorically crossed species with canine, illustrates how such crossings produces a new knowledge. e.g. of who this particular Diogenes might be, is becoming, and how he questions and practices.
I will argue that crossing – like cross species, references, etc. – highlights a crossing-of-elements that’s innate for Performance Art (PA). Indeed the choice of performative acts in themselves is a constant crossing between that which is “Life” and that which is “Performance”. That very crossing – life reflecting upon a performance, reflecting upon life, etc – is what I think to be an energiser/motive for using performative elements in questioning what we know, don’t know and have no idea about..
Instead of being concerned with the performance of language, speech and speaking, we have in Diogenes a performer of actions and activities, with concerns that seem not too dissimilar from contemporary performance artists. It is plausible to imagine a performance artist living inside a bath, wanking in parliament (though perhaps arrested), or plucking a chicken and declaring it human.
Dressed as a bride, the philosopher Hilan Bensusan used his cross-dressing practice to bring a murdered performer Pippa Bacca, back to life and roam the streets of Istanbul. While a performative act, such as “Brides for Peace”, which Bacca, performed with tragic outcomes was questioning the lines and links between life, performance and what we imagine possible – Bensusan’s activity was of a more philosophical nature, questioning the knowledge we think we have.
Another Performance Art/Act link in Bensusan’s philosophical lexicon is the interest in Heracletian fragments as an ongoing anarchological performative practice. Like Beuys, Bensusan makes use of archeological-like fragments to invent & subvert time. Performative acts are practised to cross, at will, between invented and shared realities of the past.
Through fragments which invoke cross questions about what might the questioning be about, what they know not, would have liked to know of the object/fragment, and become autonomous entities.
Both Beuys and Bensusan use fragments to create ways for possible information crossings that tease out desire within audiences through materials and temporality.
Like the life crossed with performance element, crossings – as a practice – contain a point-time of contact/collision between two different inquiry trajectories. That point-time, I will argue, helps identify differences in trajectories. Whereas the philosophical performative inquiry is focused on How thinking is questioned, artistic sensitivity is of how sensations of imagination are questioned. Hence, in my view, we have different, yet constantly crossable trajectories which feed one another.
Through the examination of Bensusan’s extensive work on crossings of dressing, speaking, translation, species, and its close links with PA & histories of philosophical inquiry practices, I will elaborate upon the new inroads to think and imagine both philosophy and performance.