by Stevan Vukoviæ
When Clement Greenberg stated that for him the whole Duchampian legacy in art appears as a kind of a noise interrupting the transfer of the message of modernism, he made a perfect metaphor for the uncanny remainder constantly disturbing the paranoid visual economy of all retinal art by haunting it with its contingent and non-abstracted particularity. A noise, as non-coded, symbolically unarticulated sound, by its bare existence in the field which is to be unified in one message representing the cultural articulation of the universal, threatens to deprive the past of the established discourse of its exclusive control over defining the parameters of the universal.
In spatial terms, a noise comes to be interpreted as a non-place, a pure distance towards the retinaly controlled common space of modernist art, avoiding the dominant zone of visibility, of visual identification and therefore of strictly defined identity. Noise production could then be interpreted as production of empty signifiers breaking apart the firm synthesis of the multitude of representational sensations and pointing towards the lack of its positive transcendental grounding or to the ultimate impossibility of either full visual presentness or accurate representation. It breaks through the domesticating veneer of the image by cutting through the layers of sedimented perceptual practices which constitute the habitual ground for visual representation, pointing to the mere existence of the silenced and made invisible, not the part of the representational filed but the very limit of it in constituting itself.
In social terms, a noise is the element interrupting the “voice of the master,” or the “voice of the people,” making problematic the whole system of adequate political representation based on the metaphysical promise inherent to the utopia of visual representation as liable to be rendered adequate to the represented without a reminder. It alludes to the existence of the non-articulated social agency not yet speaking with its own clear voice but also not wanting to join the acclaimed feature of the popular voice. The agency which is constantly silenced in its particularity yet undecided in itself, caught between the antagonism making it speechless in the dominant symbolic system and the decision to step out of “sound and fury” and act towards making its communitarian specificity, makes its way into the field of perception by the use of a noise or by producing waves of unarticulated disturbances on the screen-memory surface of the representative system, processing experiences of non - representable kind.
Noise, as part of the title of Zoran Todorovic’s work, appears to point to a kind of randomized visual-identity, feature-streaming lab or some patchwork-identity facilitating device functioning through a master interface -- the subjectifying gaze of the surveillance camera -- exposing oneself to it, constructing some image of oneself through the exposure to it. The actions recorded by the camera are based on realizing the phantasm of being able to give the camera what it really wants, to overdose it or to fulfill the desire projected onto the sterile gaze of the camera for the sake of generating one’s own desire. In that scope, what qualifies the performing characters as “marginal and deviate” is not so much their “actual” social belonging or position in the system expressed in a naturalistic way but more their response to the hailing gaze of the camera, which is not rendered by fearful confinement to one’s own structural position but mainly gets into the play with the device and the gaze of the master the camera represents. The rule of the game is to elude the semantic reach of the CCTV image, constructed for rendering the target in its focus into sign-bearer of certain communitarian belonging and to escape its effort to capture the subject in a web process of clear-cut social determinants .
One of the main reasons for putting up the typical surveillance device, that was made to be used by those it visually scans and therefore made into their toy--like an instant street photo automaton -- was to empower those deprived of recognition and the means to externalize themselves through deeds thereby forced into supporting some of the agents meant to represent them and relying on the image representing them. The whole setting was to play the role of the scenography for the enactment of different scripts of contesting role models potentially available for use in subject formation and involved in the act of linguistic positing, which then retroactively confer the necessity of the signified object through the visual signifier attached to it. The “noise production” process, accompanying the vast proliferation of acts reinterpreting different features of identity stereotypes, challenges the machine of symbolization to break up when not being able to maintain the unity that it is to produce, revealing under the surface of firm, socially acceptable (in positive or negative way) identities the “subject in process,” antagonized in itself, in constant struggle with its own belongings and identifications.
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