Collaboration, Violence and Difference (2014)

Because We Care, photo Benedict Johnson

Collaboration, Violence and Difference is an essay in which we discuss two key aspects of the development and performance of Because We Care, and how they relate to some thinking and writing by Salvoj Žižek.

First, what are the key contradictions of our collaboration in which we seek friction in order for difference to be revealed? We argue that friction is engendered by the impossibility of equality between us; in/equality that itself has been nourished through our conversations and studio practice. This dysfunctional approach to collaboration has involved building a suitably trustworthy container so that we might work with antagonism: to seek personal breaking points — or points of vulnerability — in a distinctly masculine approach to difference and otherness.

Second, we have sought to generate performance conditions in which the imaginations of the audience are touched by failure. The space in which audiences attempt to make sense of and fill the representational complexity created by Because We Care creates an unsettling dissonance of the imagination — an internal dialectic — that short circuits any easy solutions or responses to the performance. Can we talk and write about this without even having those others in the room? In our imaginations, the other — the audience — is not circling around us; it includes them, even in their absence. It is Colin, Simon and I.

The essay is published as a chapter in Žižek and Performance, edited by Broderick Chow and Alex Mangold.

Reference: Ellis, Simon, and Colin Poole. 2014. Collaboration, Violence and Difference.” In Žižek and Performance, edited by Alex Mangold and Broderick Chow, London: Palgrave. PDF Download

Image: Benedict Johnson