‘The first time as performance, the second time as art’

Dr Mischa Twitchin’s essay film, ‘Performance? Art?’: https://vimeo.com/240889385 combines Brecht’s poetry with Marina Abramovic’s ‘The Lips of Thomas’ (Galerie Krinzinger 1975/Guggenheim 2005).

By the Re- editors

Mischa Twitchin’s essay films engage with philosophical ideas through a carefully calibrated and playful combination of sound, pace, image, duration and text.

This essay-film performs the paradoxical simultaneities it addresses. As film-philosophy, its meaning depends on being watched several times.

Is the second time a condition for seeing something for the first time? – Mischa Twitchin

In ‘Performance? Art?’ Twitchin plays with the idea that repetition is the prerequisite of anything existing at all – because something isn’t completed, or given final definition until it is repeated. This is a thought that has famously preoccupied several philosophers, from Hegel, Benjamin, Brecht, to Theodor Adorno, whose quote he uses to introduce, and offer a frame for, this piece:

“Content and technique are both identical and non-identical because a work of art acquires its life in the tension between inner and outer; because it is a work of art only if its manifest appearance points to something beyond itself […] The unmediated identity of content and appearance would annul the idea of art. For all that, the two are also identical. For in composition, that which has been made real is all that counts.”

Theodor Adorno, “Sound Figures”, tr. Rodney Livingstone (1999) 197-8.

‘Here’, says Twitchin, ‘Adorno discusses the work of art as musical composition – but what if we were to read these lines as referring to photography, and to the composition of the essay-film?’



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