Last night I stumbled upon knots and suspensions in the most unlikely of places (a bit like how after having left Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle years ago, only to return when I discovered Genesis P-Orridge was now Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and all that went with that). It’s an infrequent thing for an artist I admire at one time of my life to return again with a new moment of inspiration. With William Forsythe, I’m accustomed to this, but Shibari? That was unexpected.
For some reason, I’d saved a link to his site, and while cleaning my folders, and seeing what all the links were, ended up there. A list of works. One caught my attention: Knotunknot.
“Knoten sind gut, sie halten Dinge fest, damit sie nicht wegschwimmen. Knoten sind schlecht, denn sie fixieren Gedanken, die weiterlaufen sollten, oder sie bedeuten Krebs.”
Further looking … Suspense. An work from a couple of years ago. Forsythe bound and suspended in film.
I was talking with Gala last night about the messy tying Dasniya and I have been doing lately, so thought also to make some small notes about what is interesting for me at the moment in this. A question that occurs immediately is, where is shibari in all this? I think about formal tying figures, the social and gender aspects of traditional shibari and BDSM, the tropes they engage, how does my interest tangle with that?
No clear answer, these things are still there (I tried to remember Hojo Hishinawa a couple of nights ago), but not ascendent. Well perhaps formal figures are, as I’m certainly thinking about everything else in relation to this. In its simplest manifestation, this would be a question of: what constitutes a formal figure (any or one) that could be said to be understood as an expression (part-expression?) of the set of all possible figures?
From topology, the first obvious stop is knot theory, which goes to physical knot theory, being more practical in the real world – though ideas about knot description, (also invariants, and groups), equivalence and so on are at some point I think necessary to apply. Also adding knots together (or subtracting), particularly when knot tabulation is incorporated. I’ve been thinking about this in relation to messy tying, which I’ll come to later.
Braid theory turned out to be especially applicable in messy tying. Though I have nowhere near an even simplistic idea of how to formalise these theories in not just an analysis of what we do, but in some kind of system to determine what comes next.
On a somewhat unrelated side, there is a couple of words Lewis said recently about wabi-sabi. I can’t remember when the ideas of messy tying began, but by Parsifal, with the tying of Tamara, and around the same time with what I was thinking of for abjection, there was a definite point of clarification.
Messy tying seems a unsatisfactory name, but it suffices. Some of this was about needing a line of flight from the hegemony of traditional shibari; some of it was practical – tie and untie quickly, what’s the minimum necessary to do with a rope and be able to hang from it?, what can be found to be pleasing in playing with rope so? Starting to read about wabi-sabi, I also find aspects of Chuangzi’s Taoism.
Then also the practicality of rope as an object of use, its history and philosophy (on which I don’t think much has been written; history yes, maybe some anthropological studies on rope use …). Around a workshop recently, where I wrote on this briefly, I read someone interviewed who’d been in Guantanamo, who said, “… but every time I see a rope I remember …”
Physiology of pain and suspension also. Something about the the inner life of a rope. Yes, also in the play of rope the erotic, sex, relationships between people; the visual too, which is necessary in regarding this, not just thinking about it.
Merely some thoughts, nothing especially coherent, my interests at the moment in rope. Some images to break the monotony.