Diana Damian Martin is a writer, critic and researcher. She co-edits Critical Interruptions with Bojana Jankovic, co-hosts Something Other and the Department of Feminist Conversations with Mary Paterson and Maddy Costa, and is co-founder of Generative Constraints, a committee that practices open-ended collaborative research into art, politics and theory. She works as a Lecturer in Performance Arts at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and once appeared in an issue of Private Eye. Her writing has been described as obscure, impenetrable and unclear.
I am a writer, or rather, my practice deals with language. I am also an immigrant, and I play with a language that is both my home and my holiday. Although Live Art speaks by means of the body, it is in Live Art that I found language differently or rather, I encountered language by means of appearance and loudness, of silence and disorder, refusal and confrontation. It is in Live Art that I found the collision between bodies that speak, bodies of refusal, bodies of critique.
Do you know La biblioteca de Babel by Jorge Luis Borges, the story in which the universe is an endless library, its matter all the variations of four hundred and ten page books? Unbound reverberates with this kind of poetics: because you want to feel the materiality of a page, the nest of an idea, the unfolding of a document, the positions on a map.
I swam through the archive and whilst water was dripping I found some notes. Looking back, I remember that I never reached shore, and that half way through swimming, I realised my head hadn’t yet touched water. I turned around, ready to swim back, but the shore had touched my feet and the sand was stuck underneath my toes. I was sinking, or flying, or falling, I don’t quite know. This selection is what I found when trying to retrace my steps.
Artist Hito Steyerl writes beautifully about falling as a diagnosis of the present, a kind of productive disorientation, a moment of feeling like you are both weightless and fighting gravity. While falling, she says, ‘people may sense themselves as being things, while things may sense that they are people. Traditional modes of seeing and feeling are shattered. Any sense of balance is disrupted. Perspectives are twisted and multiplied.’
Let us do some falling, together.
The Art of Being Many - Towards a New Theory and Practice of Gathering
Eds geheimagentur, Martin Jorg Schafer, Vassilis S Tsianos
‘Always a slightly diffuse situation.’ | ‘what should the many find when the door opens?’
Live Art Almanac Vol 4
Eds Harriet Curtis, Lois Keidan and Aaron Wright
Hopeful politics of criticism | this is where you will find the kind of criticism you are looking for | forget the Guardian, its Culture section was never that good.
Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art
One of the most significant contributions to contemporary thinking about criticism |
On everything that wraps into thinking about writing about witnessing something live.
Not Just a Mirror: Looking for the Political Theatre of Today
Ed Florian Malzacher
‘the crisis of representation in democracy has hit the representation machine at its core’ | hopeful agonism.
Parallel Slalom: A Lexicon of Non-aligned poetics
Eds Bojana Cvejic and Goran Sergej
Concept as a space (or practice) for dissent.
Party for Freedom
The clean and the unclean | Cultures at odds.
Kira O’Reilly: Untitled (Bodies)
Eds Harriet Curtis & Martin Hargreaves
This book is still writing itself as you read it, keeps moving out of your hands and travelling with you | a beautiful examination of O’Reilly work, and of the body in dialogue.
The Bodies That Were Not Ours: And Other Writings
Writing the political: an education.
Extravagant Bodies: Crime and Punishment
Ed Tereza Teklic
Framing dissent | structures of legibility.
Cassils: Artist Book
David J Getsy and Julia Steinmetz
I will always remember Cassils’ body briefly burning on the stage of the National Theatre as a poetic, political, embodied confrontation with representation and violence.
Life II [In Progress]
Since the birth of my daughter two years ago I keep returning to Life II, In Progress and hope for its endless loops.
4 Boys [For Beuys]
The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home
A template of hope.