Shooting FF in Ljubljana

Of course I fell in love with you, each of you, I tell action philosopher Eva Vrtacic, intermedia new media artists and videographers Mirjana Batinic and Maja Smrekar on our very last image production of FF, yesterday evening round 11 pm.

Eva had hired Mirjana and Maja to video my every action including sleeping for a philosophy film she is making on me performing philosophy and shooting theory.

From 10am June1 to 5am June4, Maja and Mirjana shot me – doing the talk ‘Shooting Theory’ hosted by the University of Ljubljana, Academy of Theater, Radio, Film and Television and the Department of Humanities; launching Fast Feminism at the super Queer space, Café Open, and engaging in acts of guerrilla intellectual warfare by deploying various strategies of gender terrorism in the Venera sex shop, on the street, at the Avtonomna cona RogSquats, on my fabulous Grand Hotel Union Executive 9th floor balcony facing the old city center – high noon bells chiming and European anthem ‘Ode to Joy’ playing, in the hotel’s penthouse swimming pool during its closed hours, and having the iconic Fast Feminist logo (FF with lingam) tattooed on my right arm by Cult tattoo artist Darko ( and three interviews – two print (Lana Durjava @ Večer - a daily Slovenian paper and Mojca Kumerdej @ Delo - the largest daily Slovenian paper), one radio ( with Ida Hirsenfelder.

Eva, Maja and Mirjana were the best tor work with – super professional, intellectually engaging, doing interesting work, vibrant artistically and theoretically and gorgeous.

If one takes Henri Bergon’s conceptualization of the human as ‘the office of image’ which exists in feedback loop with the external world, the external images transmit movement to ‘the image I call my body’ and my body gives back movement to external images, the four of us had a great image loop going on.
I was the object.

When one puts attention, understood the way Simone Weil understands attention, on an object, the object penetrates. Attention, according to Weil, consists of ‘suspending our thought, leaving it detached, empty and ready to be penetrated by the object.’ ‘Extreme attention is what constitutes the creative faculty in human.’

We fell in love with the intensity of doing, of working.
Work for Weil is time entering into the body.

After the main events and shoot, I changed my flight to stay a couple of extra days seduced by a cave visit, mountain waterfalls and a darn good new media arts event – ‘Tactics & Practice. New Media Drivers’. Loved Skocjan Cave (which reminded Freud of Dante’s Hell), loved Rinka Waterfall at Logarska Dolina Landscape Park, loved the two fine authentic Slovenian dinners we had in the country, loved the Cirkulacija 2 improvised interactive multimedia inter-event-ion, loved Tarek Atoui’s touchless computer and electronic sound performance; especially loved the on-the-road grrl/pal friendship of Eva, Mirjana and Dr. Karmen Sterk (the perfect blend of teenage boy/searing intellectual) and her gayboy dog pal Srecko.

Were Eva, Maja and Mirjana able to capture the anamorphic in my work?
Remains to be seen.

Looking without Attachment

There are 2000 registered sinkholes at thirty different sites from Ein Feshkha on the north Dead Sea shoreline to Ein Bokek, where the hotels and Dead Sea Works are, on the south shoreline. I am staying on the north shore at Metzoke Dragot – the only hiking lodge in the mountains. The sinkholes on the video are across from the Judean Mountains behind (north-west) Metzoke.

Sinkholes are ‘a void from below, that into which we fall when we allow our natural faculties to become atrophied.’ The meditation is a constant attention, an active attention, a looking without attachment.

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth: 420 meters or 1380 feet below sea level. And Highway 90 that follows the shore is my favorite highway. The Dead Sea emerged 10,000 years ago as the remains of Lake Lisan that went from the Sea of Galilee to south of the Dead Sea today.

Extreme Attention: Shooting Dead Sea Sinkholes

Shooting Dead Sea Sinkholes is shooting theory and death.
The ground is imploding at quite rapid speed, definitely rapid ecological speed.
Sink holes are the accident of technological excessive extraction of minerals for human use and of the evaporation of water.
Shooting them is like being in the carnage of war.
I am primarily using Simone Weil’s concept of attention.

“Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.”
“Extreme attention is what constitutes the creative faculty in human.”

I am working with Weil three reasons: Weil is a disaster thinker. Weil has intensity of doing: she is all about work and force. Weil is wild – the liberal ethicist and rights thinkers are always trying to trap her in their discourse. Weil is not trappable – it is the excess, the sacred, that which can’t be contained that saves her. I am working with the Weil Bataille was in love with.

Work for Weil is time entering into the body. We turn ourselves into matter through work. Shooting sinkholes is more work than shooting caves. It requires extreme attention – one gives complete attention to the object during the 30 second shot, moving among the sinkholes one must give complete attention to the ground. I have an extreme guide – total cowboy – totally fierce; she rocks. Gundi Shachal works with Friends of the Earth.

There are endless sinkholes. The short video is a composite of a day and a half of shooting, approximately 125 sinkholes in three areas: in front of Ein Gedi along the Dead Sea shore 5 kilometers to Ein Gedi spa, along the shore immediately south of Ein Gedi spa, the old Ein Gedi camp grounds where buildings and cement walkways have fallen in as the holes broke open. There are two types of ground surrounding the sinkholes – moist mud and dry gravel; the later is more dangerous as it is more brittle. I will be shooting all next week.

Key Concepts: Attention, Conatus, Time, Accident
Attention, as Weil understands it, consists of ‘suspending our thought, leaving it detached, empty and ready to be penetrated by the object.’ Weil stresses ‘our thought should be empty, waiting, not seeking anything, but ready to receive in its naked truth the object which is to penetrate it.’

I am also using Spinoza’s concept of conatus and Heidegger’s understanding of time.
Dead Sea sinkholes come into being at the end of conatus – the inherent tendency or impulse of every extended substance toward self-preservation. Conatus is absent in sinkholes. If one used god terminology, which I can do – sinkholes are the evacuation of God from an extended substance. You can see God’s absence.

In terms of time: Time for Heidegger is what determines Being as presencing and allowing-to-presence. Time, the unity of past, present and future, is made present in terms of the now. Inherent in the present phenomenon of time is the nature and history of time. The sinkholes bring into the present the end of time in an ancient site. They also bring to present both the geological and human history of the Dead Sea area.

Of course, Virilio plays out in the project: the sinkholes are a human-made ecological accident. For Virilio, the accident, although an unintended and disturbing consequence, is inherent in, and created by the very technology or system it comes out of.

Cave Perspective

Bracketing the ego and shooting phenomenological reduction in caves in Israel is the best project I have ever envisioned. First of all, Israel/Palestine is full of caves; second I have been all over the country in caves – about 45 by now – maybe more: Flour and Sodom Cave in the Judean Desert, caves in the Golan, in the Galilee, in the Negev, Beit Guvrin caves; been in caves with some great guides in each region, caving usually involves hiking so I have seen Nature Reserves, Wadis. I have seen natural and human made caves.

I contacted Amos Frumkin and the Israel Cave Research Institute @ Ofra. Frumkin is in China but a grad student Israel Naaman called me and is taking me around –which brings me up to now, July 15, 2008. Tuesday morning we began in the cave under the Old City in Jerusalem – King Solomon’s cave – actually a maze of caves; then we headed to Ofra to go to area that is full of natural caves not yet dug out – the cave Frumkin did his Master’s is. We (the grad/guide and I) climbed down 50 meters on at first shaky ladders and then steel ladders; the permanent water seeping turned the soft limestone and the earth brought in by the water into mud – lots of mud on the bottom where we had lunch. The next and big cave of the day was Achikam, discovered two months ago by Achikam, which required snepling or rappelling in and down 30 meters to the first ledge. I have rappelled before but not into a cave. Aborted once on the first two meters and then I don’t know; took the rope off the harness D – then checked – tomorrow’s major cave requires rappelling also; so gave it another try – this time got past the rough spot and kept going, lowering myself with the hand pulley; Israel balleyed me out after I reached the ledge. Do I wish I was braver yes, however, I am willing to take what I am bruises and all – you kind of come up against the cave wall. The last cave was under a highway in Jerusalem: open a steel door, let the pigeons out and climb down a ladder. Am I afraid most of the time, absolutely. With Israel you get out of one difficult cave endeavor and on to the next, God, I love grad students – they have a will to endeavor that keeps going. Israel will cave for 12 hours. Got home to Metzoke around 23:00 to get some sleep for day two of caving with the master’s student.

Wednesday July 16 it was cave Zavit, discovered two years ago, near Fasuta (upper Galilee). Picked Israel up at the Mt. Scopus campus, we drove north to Fasuta. Cave Zavit was an open rappel after going through a small entrance. In Achikam cave the rappelling descent and ascent was body against rock wall surface. The stalactites in Zavit were amazing – did a number of blindfolded shots which can never do the cave justice nor Husserl’s concept – but then Husserl never had this much fun doing his philosophy and his philosophy discloses this. Give myself a C on rappelling – there is no exhilaration – simply gratitude that I get down okay and return to the surface on the pulley rope and climbing rope; gratitude that I have gotten to see what most people in Palestine/Israel don’t. And after being in recently discovered 30 and 50 meter underground caves, Jerusalem is a bore, the only thing worth doing in Tel Aviv is the beach and old port now a new commercial area – caught a glimpse of the young femme hanging on as the then man of her dreams drove through the water’s edge in a 1943 army jeep painted white with a black skull and cross bones; he was wild, she wasn’t. Briefly grabbed her out stretched hand catching the water’s spray – hang in there baby – it gets better, way better. You may not get braver but you do get more tolerant of fear. Out of Cave Zavit, Israel cave me three cave options – I chose the water cave in the Har Hillel Nature Reserve – maybe because it required a 45 min hike down a mountain. The water cave was spectacular – wading through a narrow passage, often crouched – the cave scholars know how to do research. Again fantastic shots - back up the mountain at pretty steady pace – because it was almost 8 pm and there was another cave on the horizon. The nature guides give you eight hours of caving, the cave scholars until you are exhausted, and then another cave. The humidity was noticeable – my t-shirt drenched in sweat as I drank a litre and a half of water on the ascent. The final cave of the day we couldn’t locate – have to go through a street manhole (or whatever these are now called) in a Haifa neighborhood on Mount Carmel – and jump down into the cave – couldn’t locate the right manhole. Got back to Metzoke at 2am – doing a night hike with Asher and a group that ends in a cave tomorrow/today Thursday, July 17. There will be lots of light because the moon is full. Am I having the time of my life – absolutely, there is nothing I would rather be doing than caving. Am I good at it – not particularly. Monday, I am doing the two longest caves in Israel, with Israel. Starting with one in Sodom (5 km) and moving onto Harkatoon (3.5 K). We are doing parts of both. Cave dust is fabulous for dreads – makes them bigger and heavier.

Caving is fabulous for perspective.

I fell in love coming up out of Achikam – terrified being pulleyed up against the wall, bruising with small rocks bouncing off the hard hat. No human ever equals it – for a time, and Gad for a very long time, but nah I will walk away from any human just to go down a cave again, or whatever the new activity is.

Achikam was the young Jewish man who discovered Achikam. He was killed while hiking two weeks ago; he discovered the cave two months ago. Solidified the struggle for me; Ramallah is a very modern, high-tech wealthy city, people were fabulously kind to me when I was there last week meeting people from the right of return.

Cave(s) are deeper, older; politics a human invention, a new activity of death and demand, contingent on perspective.

Back in the Judean Desert

The desert and Dead Sea are as exciting as ever.
Absolutely pleased to see that the sun reflects superbly on the back side of cave walls and in fact throw a shadow of the videographer (me). Shooting three times a day - to enliven Husserl's phenomenological project.

Hike about 1km out from Metzoke to a fab cave a man use to live in - it is on the cliff of the mountains facing the Dead Sea. Using two cameras - I can both shoot the alteration in the cave wall surface as light hits it (HD) and the alteration of cliff surface as the the (sun)light hits it - the change in color and density is almost made for Husserl's adumbrations.

I am hiking for about two hours in the morn; water-walking for an hour in the Dead Sea, doing yoga classes and swimming in Mitzpe Shalem's outdoor pool everyday for an hour.
Good to be in super shape in the desert. In fact, the desert is where I would go to get in shape, come up with a new thoughts, repair.

Going on a two day hike with the fab desert guide Tamir, before he leaves for Portugal.

Metzoke is as super as ever; have the staff room next to the one I had last year. Lots of space. There is no one around during the week and few on weekends now - too hot.

It is time to start reading Merleau Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception.

The plan is to image-concept a trilogy of Heidegger (stillness), Husserl (phenomenological reduction) & Spinoza (extended substances) key concepts.
This leaves Spinoza for next year.

Most Charming Photo Shoot

Did perhaps the most charming photo shoot I will ever do. Catherine, who just won photography award for her portraits photos of goddette (post-third wave) femme fatales holding taxiderm dead animals. I had two bunnies, grey/brown beaut rabbits. The aesthetic is a fate derived woanimal mix in which the woman holds the animal directly in front of her, and without smiling or sexing it up, contemplates the animals death as a forerunner of her inevitable demise.

Wearing a 1950/80/s hybrid red dress, cream pumps, false eye lashes, pantyhose, red lipstick and upsweep hair I held the heavy bunnies while the kickass grrlpower photographer whizzed through shoots with periodic throw-up breaks. The puke breaks took me back years to when I puked everyday from drinking way too much, as Katherine had done the night before. Kat got some great images: austere with black background.
Totally love a photography grrl wearing a grrlpower t-shirt and tight jeans with paint splats shooting and puking. Hey Kate is doing her doctoral thesis on post-third-wave feminism.

Post/Sub/Neo Human crawl through the Pinnacles

Sarah Jane Pell and I did a pretty visually acute crawl through the ancient phallic desert rock structures. Wearing light beige Russian gas masks, blond hair out at the back, black body suits we crawled across the pinnacle sandscape, crossing bodies, entangling and separating as it rained, as the sun briefly shone and as the sun set behind a cloud.

The masks make us look like skull creatures.

I did a nude crawl and mounted a stone phallus.
David, Sarah's pal, shot the endeavor.

I think we have something. The emptiness of the pinnacle sandscape, the skull masks, the black body suits, the back drop of the Indian Ocean, the large, medium and small phallic rock structures, yellow sand.

Yesterday I swam a kilometer in the outdoor pool in heavy rain - no lightening. The ions from the rain energized the water. And for most of the time I was the only swimmer in the 9 lane, 50 meter pool.

Rushed to shoot the sound of the Indian Ocean crashing in yesterday aft, navy sky - dropped my camera - the screen will not registered an image.

Training for de Sade

Pavarotti died; the passion of the world has lessened.

Pavarotti not only produced great art, he was a great work of art.
Yeah, we are all works of art - just some of us don't know it and fail to behave accordingly.

Once you realize that always you are your own best audience - then the fun truly begins.

Hard call - going to Raphael Cuir's talk on French women artists from the 1970s-today; really would prefer to go to Yoga. Best line by artist and pal Donna Franklin: 'you have probably slept with some of them.' It is true, I was really, really into performance artists for a while - a training ground for unleashing my own inner performance artist. Dr. Cuir is Orlan's husband - I am thinking it is probably not such a great idea to be married to a research object; yeah sure have an affair, go out, spend the night - but exit before the text emerges.

Hung from my legs & waist in ropes at yoga last night - super fab - kind of like going over a cliff.

Worked out for an hour and 50 mins - listening to DJ Shadow 'The Outsider' & 2ManyDJs: this dude walks up to me, I take a headphone out, he says 'you are one really strong lady.' The kicker was he looked like Anthony Hopkins - cross between Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and Hopkins riding the Indian (fav Hopkins movie just for the shots of him riding the Indian on Utah salt lands). Told the guy - 'I am more about endurance than strength.' 'I know I have been watching you.'

God I love gyms - never met a gym that I couldn't spend days in.

Just so happens that Milkd - very fav cafe in Perth - is right across from Motorcycle Pit - some great shots of guys pulling up in their Utes (hybrid cartruck) with a bike in the back.

At the moment I am training for de Sade. Have this hunch that you have to be in top notch shape to crack de Sade and well hey - first time ever, ever, doing de Sade in seminar and we are doing three weeks of de Sade.
When I cracked open 120 Days of Sodom before I left for OZ - the draft of the proposition that I presented to Robin slid out of the book: we did it all - everything I itemized.
The trial ended and at precisely the same moment so did my desire for him.

On To

Swam 1 kilometer again this morn - I intend to hit the gym but the 50 meter pool is so seductive.
Have a double yoga class (3 hour) this eve.
My body is reshaped - but in the reshaping it needs 8 hours sleep.

Film goddess TV - who happens to sound fannnntassssticcc on the radio - set me up with film student Tao who is doing postproduction on the three films - placing them on one dvd so they will all play simultaneously.

Sunrise, High Noon, Sunset w/ three sound tracks. Looks hot, really hot.

This means on to the next project - transcribing a one-week interview with G. in Berlin.