I feel a little regret about picking on an academic paper in progress over at the Tremblings tumblr the other day. Not everyone needs feedback from a know-it-all like me, but sometimes this kind of language tests my patience. It engages in what a friend describes as linguistic privilege — the practice of using big words as means of ensuring the reader (and typically the author) doesn’t know the essay lacks substantiated ideas.
From my tumblr conversation with Tremblings:
Tremblings: This is the only passage that I consistently enjoy reading:
Indeed, all of the performances comprising Seven Easy Pieces seem to be Abramović's take on answering the question of how one remembers. The answer gets increasingly complicated because of the introduction of Abramović's body as a metonym for the performances that she re-performed, standing as a material marker of the interpretive act. How she remembers the performances covered in each segment of Seven Easy Pieces became marked by how she chose to stage each one. Cesare and Joy call this phenomenon “embodied documentation (a re-membering, if you will)”. By reattaching a body to the memory of a past performance, Abramović forces the audience to simultaneously engage the past and present, subsequently increasing our awareness of the impact of memory upon the future.
Me, (being an asshole): Just to be clear this is still awful. The entire paragraph can be boiled down to the following:
Abromovic's Seven Easy Pieces evoke the artist's body as a metaphor for the interpretive act of remembrance. Her arrangement of these performances demonstrates this in its re-enactment and forces the audience to engage with both its past realization and its present. It also increases our awareness of the impact of memory on the art making process (as opposed to future which is not only ambiguous but over stating the matter significantly.)
Still, in the hopes but a friend in academia pointed out last night that this still buys into the language itself. Let’s try this again:
Watching Marina’s performers remind us of her. The artist’s memory and documentation of past performances shapes its re-enactment.
In any event, how is this different from any other performative re-enactment? Response, complete with unsubstantiated arguments and excuses (sorry) here.