Visiting the Battle, 2011
I can imagine the fresh and mysterious material of earth and the first humans’ attempt to understand their place through making. That is, directly handling the material question of earth and the question of the flesh that touches it, critical making has since rapidly changed to the point where these past material histories are collected knowledge and a given. The immediate material environment has been highly abstracted to a nearly entirely human altered environment where human actions and human histories become the prominent question, questions relating to human relationships distract from the great question of our being thrown into the world. I should be confused, but if I am forced into my immediate busy environment I must still treat it with the mysticism of a bare planet. The tactical impulsive response of the battle is an example of both the ultimate distraction from any greater relationship and- through the literal elimination of others, it is an attempt to simplify the long since convoluted mystery to exist beyond human conflict. The scene of war is a workshop- of conflict, resolution, and a semi absolute goal. The function of this hectic workshop, or perhaps studio is a more appropriate synonym, hovers between emotional irrationality and logical utility. Visiting The Battle is a simulation of being thrown into a situation, a set of conditions, into history. When understanding this battle scene as a form of logic: a functional, productive machine, it is critical as a tool to assist being with others. It is a studio for understanding physicality,morality, and mortality. I throw myself into the middle of this classical battle scene as a solemn observer, I look out past the battle, searching for autonomy within the greater space. “If you go into a carpentry workshop, you’ll see sawdust on the floor. Work is being done here. You may not understand the work, that’s OK, you’re not a carpenter and you don’t have to be, but you get the sense that something is being done, a skill is being exercised, a craft is being performed. And at the end of the process, which is occurring, in part because of the visibility of the craft, you appreciate the value of a chair or table, not because you can make one yourself, not because you have any specialised knowledge, but you understand that work, time and skill went into this thing.”(Richard Sennet, from The Craftsman) With the same consciousness, when being thrown into observance of this hypothetical scene: blood is on the floor. work is being done here. You understand to some extent a purpose and the possible end goal, the work and spillage is justified because of a supposed productivity.