"!" [Hollywood Blues] July 2013 - Page 22

STAGING AN EMERGENCY II. Video and photographic imagery anchor discourses on disaster. Their looped reiteration and iconic reproduction provide an objective basis grounding the more speculative analyses and commentaries they almost always accompany. The blatant disregard for visual representations within “!” [Hollywood Blues] already signals a radical departure from contemporary treatments – in both the media and the arts – of major events. The basic constitutive element of this performance is the statement. These statements do not attempt to represent the event. They neither describe it nor are they an account of anyone’s experience of it. They are more reactions: expressions of fear and alarm, orders, consolations. This communication thus arises from a zone located between an objective happening and a subjective register. These are not the statements of individual characters. Rather, they are the collective enunciation of what disaster researchers would term a crowd: an amorphous assemblage of bodies displaying a unity of behaviour and intention despite the heterogeneity of its parts. Crowds do not pre-exist crises. They are formed in and through them. The statements that comprise “!” [Hollywood Blues] allow us to trace the constitution of crowd and event through a process of symbiotic evolution and creative destruction. I WAS SWEPT UP AND CARRIED ALONG AUDIENCE 22