The Grid towards a Humble State of Being, de Maria Drăghici

photo credit Maria Draghici

photo credit Maria Drăghici


             „(…) the only condition for researcher-militants is a difficult one: to remain faithful to their ‘not knowing’. In this sense, it is an authentic anti-pedagogy – like what Joseph Jacopo wanted”[1]

            Drawing from Maciunas, Mekas, Beuys as well as Weill, Illich, Freire and Arendt, I will be concerned with art and philosophy as (potentially continuous / fluxus state) instances of education, where learning is understood less as a transition from non-knowledge to knowledge mediated by recognition and common sense, and more as an encounter with change, difference or the new into action. To do research without research, or a work of art without an object, in a state of radical attention. The paradoxical character of this statement resides in not having an object to investigate, something to be researched. If there is nothing to do research on, how can we talk about research? – and, at the same time, we are convinced that this character is precisely what gives potencies to the investigation.

            You’ve just to observe and wonder like a child towards places, situations and species in traditions of learning and being together that are freed from hierarchical, top-down, tutor-to-student relationships. You just need the ability to observe and to catch some of the situation. To let yourself astonished by something is an aptitude for constant reinvention within a poetic intensity. It is more-than-one-way-knowledge transmission that celebrates imperfection, considering it as a method towards new working processes and dialogues, a terrain of emancipatory practices for pedagogical-artistic innovation. It has more to do with the punctum effect of Roland Barthes who suggests that to allow experiencing such a state, the viewer must repudiate all knowledge. Barthes insists that the punctum is not simply the sum of desires projected into the photograph. Instead, it arises from details that are unintended or uncontrolled by the photographer. It speaks beyond your cultural, trained self. Punctum can be something small in a work of art (a detail) or it can be the entire work, but it is as if you have beenpunched by emotion. Punctum says something about your emotional self and it’s in the gaze of who is looking. In Gilles Clément’s definition of landscape in comparison with that of the environment, we can see how punctum is gained. The landscape is what you have under your glance. So, everything can be a landscape. It is a very subjective thing. On the other hand, the environment is completely different. It is the opposite. You can explain the landscape with the vocabulary of the environment, but it remains an objective system to describe what happened. There is no emotion in the environment.

            Art as a tool in shaping a new subjectivity transforms the artist into a constructor of site-specific situations, voluntary and involuntary traces of man on Earth. The artist is like a gardener who needs only to develop an attentive state of observing the nature: “Nothing is completely itself and its full being is realised only in that participation”[2], in which the members of a potential or real community, the common people, the places, the objects, as well as personal stories become the most valuable source and resource. Art isto do as much as possible „with” and as little as possible „against” the genius of nature, in the use of the term “art” being understood as fitting[3]. The artwork as an orientation mark for contemplation and audition of the city towards of a new philosophy of doing and undoing, learning or unlearning, knowing and unknowing starting from: „pedagogy of the oppressed” (Freire), „DE schooling society” (Pillich) and „deep listening” as a form of activism (Pauline Olivero’s), where temporary collectives were formed, driven by common curiosity and intellectual challenge, forming a new public at the horizon (a continuum). The Garden in this senseis made ofboth landscape & environment. Boththe emotional perception and the scientific composite inside.

             „The garden it is something very particular. It is an enclose and in this inside you protect what is the best… the best of the way of life, the best of the vegetables, the best of the trees and fruits, and flowers, etc. What are we protecting today? The garden is a unique situation where the meeting between nature and people is authorized with a dream. It is the place for Utopia. What is a good Utopia today? It is probably something linked to the ecology.”[4]


Maria Draghici, Dusk, Lisbon / photo credit: Florin Flueras

            But man cannot live without a grid. The grid gives him a kind of control towards life. It is just a practical system as in the scientific research which it is based on classifications. It gives you a status of existence through giving name to things that are not yet known. The act of naming things which is useful only to find again the thing you lost. When you are very young you know how to look. You see the things and you are absolutely surprised by them. You don’t need to be trained by anybody. You don’t need your parents in this surprise. You are completely alone in this adventure. It is like in punctum. It is rare, but when it hits you, you know it. I also admitted that I hadn’t experienced it from a work of art in such a visceral way for long time ago. That was true, until this month when Florin Fleras invited me in a collective work Art Opening Lisbon at Mira Douro da Sephora do Monte[5]. 12th of November was the day which brought me the departure of the idea I had in 2006. 2021 was it’s time for becoming, a time to (re)learn hope. It is necessary to comeback to this stage of childhood.

                “From the Greek word for spectators, theatai, the later philosophical term “theory” was derived, and the word “theoretical” until a few hundred years ago meant “contemplating,” looking upon something from the outside, from a position implying a view that is hidden from those who take part in the spectacle and actualize it. The inference to be drawn from this early distinction between doing and understanding is obvious: as a spectator, you may understand the “truth” of what the spectacle is about; but the price you have to pay is withdrawal from participating in it.”[6]


Maria Draghici, Dusk, Lisbon / photo credit: Florin Flueras


durational screening



Thursday, November 11, 2021

sunset in Lisbon, Portugal

situational and in situ, re-situating sunsets


an open, natural space

for a perfect screening, all you need

is the other

the landscape of soft sunsets,

the hills of hearing


for single or multiple

audiences (2m distance in between)

Sit on the grass. Group as in a cinema hall. Feel comfortable.

It is as though, but really, it is the “real” show.


Focus: the sun

Unfocused: surroundings

Hear! The city.

Expand your state of attention

Focus! Unfocused!


In silence.


Be patient till sun vanishes in the night.

The happening, haptic,

visual and aural: hands-on,

handy, handed over, re-turning sunset.

Dusking (asking?)

            Involuntary arts does not need a trained way of seeing. Art is in the gaze of who is looking at places and situations and that’s why we need more diverse people watching. And for the artist this would be an opportunity towards a humble state of being into the world. You know when you start a project, but you don’t know when it is finished. That’s why you co-sign the project together with all the beings involved. It is against authorship and it opposes the grid. You become more like a gardener and the Garden becomes a new expression of the public space understood not as the design, not as the functional part of the public space, but probably as life, the thing that is more precious and unpredictable. The Garden is the place in which intermingling was possible for a long time till today. The Garden in Motion exploits diversity in an attempt to do the most of the possible with the minimum means. The notion of the third landscape[7], resulting from the study of landscape and uncultivated land spaces, could be seen as a protected refuge for biological diversity which precious and safeguards our future.

             „You are a citizen of this planet and even if you don’t know, you are probably the gardeners of this planet. Because, everything you do, it has a consequence in the environment.”[8]


Maria Draghici, Dusk, Lisbon / photo credit: Florin Flueras

[1] For Jacopo all pedagogies are founded in an ‘explication’ of something given by someone from a superiority of intelligence, and produces, above all, ‘explicated kids’. On the contrary, ‘ignorant schoolmasters’ teach without explicating. They can teach what they do not know because they organize their experiences according to a radically different principle: the equality of intelligence. – „On the Researcher-Militant”, Colectivo Situaciones, translated by Sebastian Touza (accessed at 30.11.2021)

[2] David Bohm, On Creativity, ed. Lee Nichol, London and New York, Routledge, 1998, p. 106.

[3] as David Bohm[3] proposes in „On Creativity”. idem 2

[4] From the Garden in Motion to the Third Landscape

[5] Art Opening Lisbon Invitation: „Art Opening appears uninvited in art and non-art spaces, adding an extra layer to their ordinary function – a meeting between two types of audience, attention, situations, performers, two degrees of performing, two levels of reality. Depending on the participants’ desires, the event might go towards exhibition, performance, workshop, discussion, intervention, or, more likely, a mix of them. Measures, restrictions, explicit and implicit limitations are more and more determining what kind of art is possible, by whom, for whom, how it should be presented, how and if we can be together. Artists are professionally rewarded for compliance with pre-established perspectives, for interiorizing institutional mind-sets and unquestionable „correct stances”. In this art closure atmosphere, Art Opening aims for temporary zones of possibility, for art openings at the levels of formats, contents and aesthetics. One of art’s functions is to question the normal and to explore alternatives, to deviate from conventions, regulations, measures, restrictions, mandates and protocols. In a time when bodies are seen as sources of infection and disease, and we’re preferred as online disembodied presences, turned against each other, Art Opening is a reminder that bodies are also sources of affects, intuitions, sensibility, creativity, joy, playfulness, connection, love, presence, without which, there is no ‘life’ to be saved. *You can disagree, and still be very welcomed to the Art Opening. Against the current atmosphere, Art Opening embraces the plurality of views.”

[6] Hannah Arendt, „The Life of the Mind: The Groundbreaking Investigation on How We Think”

[7]le tiers paysage” is a concept articulated by Gilles Clément in 2002. This notion of a third landscape, which borrows its name from the “third estate,” is a term coined by the Abbé Sieyès during the French Revolution to define those who were neither the nobility nor the clergy, identifies in this case “the totality of all those places abandoned by man.”

[8] idem nota 4