And… Fractured Feral Tales
by Ian Andrews, Ruark Lewis and Eric Bridgeman

View Ian Andrews's Biography

Ian Andrews is a media artist and writer based in Sydney.

View Eric Bridgeman's Biography

Eric Bridgeman is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Sydney.

View Ruark Lewis's Biography

Ruark Lewis is a visual artist and writer based in Sydney.

And… Fractured Feral Tales

IAN ANDREWS, RUARK LEWIS and ERIC BRIDGEMAN

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Synopsis:
This paper documents and provides the rationale for a performance work entitled: And… Fractured Feral Tales.  Here the artists seek to engage in the complex history of the notions of the feral, wildness, and savagery, and elucidate upon a number of works, objects, and events that they have responded to, including: Darwin’s evolutionary theory, Wittgenstein’s book on colour, King George III’s loss of articulate speech, Krao “the missing link,” Marcel Broodthaers’ painted bones, and the destruction of artefacts in the PNG Parliament in December 2013. This paper argues for a practice involving the setting of extremes into play; performing a reverse anthropology in order to utilise the notion of the feral as a tool to gain critical focus on our own culture. Rather than attempting to police the semantic boundaries of the term feral this work seeks to examine how the cultural notion of feral tends to be internally split in a number of directions. It seeks neither to celebrate or romanticise the notion of feral, nor simply denigrate it. Rather this work aims to unravel and collapse a number of oppositions that determine wildness: divine/natural, natural/artificial, domesticated/wild, and native/introduced.

This document attempts to reflect the diverse areas of research and often cross-threaded lines of thought that coalesced through the collaboration between Ian Andrews, Ruark Lewis and Eric Bridgeman, culminating in the performance And… Fractured Feral Tales. The first section consists of an essay that explores Western notions of wildness that informed the sound, and particularly the images, in the video work made by Andrews to accompany the performance. The second section reflects the concepts—and the research into Ludwig Wittgenstein, Marcel Broodthaers, King George III, and Charles Darwin—that informed the vocal text (written and read by Lewis), and the choreography and associated objects, worked out by Lewis and Bridgeman.

Part I. The Feral Imaginary

by IAN ANDREWS

The wildest dreams of wild men, even, are not the less true, though they may not recommend themselves to the sense which is most common among Englishmen and Americans to-day. - Henry David Thoreau, “Walking”

The category of feral is essentially an ontologically unstable category. Something cannot simply be feral. Rather, something becomes feral or, more often, returns to a state of wildness. Although the word feral, derives from the Latin fera, which denotes wildness and ferocity, the current usage, in its most common form, refers not simply to wild creatures in their natural habitat but, rather, animals that have returned to the wild from domestication or, in some cases, wild animals that have been introduced to a new and foreign environment—as in the example of fox, deer, and rabbit introduced for sport. There is thus a distinction to be made between 'wild' and 'feral.' 'Native' animals are rarely, if ever, considered to be 'feral,' though they might be considered—by some parties—to be pests, or to be ferocious. To be feral something must have been, at one stage, domesticated, integrated, part of a different ecosystem or society.  To be feral is to have returned to a previous mode of existence, or to have transferred to an other mode of existence: to have gone feral. There always seems to be a transition involved.

If one enters the words 'feral' and 'human' into an Internet search engine, one is immediately confronted with images and words rightly or wrongly associated with abandoned children raised by animals.  We find images of 'Daniel the Andes Goat-Boy,' the Indian 'Wolf Children' Amala and Kamala,' The Indian 'Wolf Boy' Dina Sanichar, The Syrian Gazelle-Boy.' While many of these stories are apocryphal, or outright hoaxes, they point to a fascination that has its origins in the mythological tradition of the Wild Man, of which the earliest example is the story of Enkidu in the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh. This tradition is rich and complex. 

Wildness

What concerns us here is not a concept of wildness in nature, but the wildness, the 'gone wild' that is characteristic of a certain loss of humanity—as it occurs specifically in the myth of the Wild Man in Western culture.  This notion of wildness serves to delimit the idea of civilisation by defining the conceptual limits of the self-identification and self-authentication of the concept of humanity. In short, the notion of the Wild Man, who is not quite human, and at the same time not quite animal, functions to confirm and reinforce the values of civilisation. As Hayden White observes, the question of what we are is answered by providing an example that which precisely we are not (151). The category of the feral is characterised by the loss of domestication and cultivation in animals and plants. In the human it is designated often by a loss of the attributes of civilisation, sociability, and law. That is, a loss of language and rationality. To some extent, these conceptions of wildness, embodied in a localised other—in distinction to an exotic other (the barbarian)—as they progress from antiquity through to modernity, lay the ground for European conceptions of the non-Western other, in the age of exploration and colonisation. As Edward Said observers, Western consciousness from the 18th century on tended to regard the Oriental as ‘irrational, depraved (fallen), childlike, “different”; [and] thus the European is [seen as] rational, virtuous, mature, “normal” (40). Moreover, as we shall see later, the other of so-called ‘primitive’ cultures is cast as fallen, base, animal-like, bestial, violent; or, alternately idealised as ‘at one with nature,’ innocent, virtuous, ‘the noble savage.’

Wild Men

Richard Bernheimer documents the mythology of the Wild Man as it occurs in Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages. The ubiquity of images and stories, in medieval art and literature, of wild humans as creatures that have remained or regressed to a feral state leads Bernheimer to question the Wild Man's cultural function. Rather than being a simple concept, the wildness of the Wild Man is, for Bernheimer, a concept shot through with sociological, biological and psychological connotations (20). Bernheimer maps the trajectory of Wild Man lore as it transforms from, at first, a concept that instils fear and anxiety, to a figure which engenders mirth and ridicule—as the threat is neutralised—to, finally, a mode of existence that inspires admiration.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition the Wild Man is considered to be a degenerate being that has lost its place in God's kingdom. While in those cultures influenced by Greek thought the Wild Man occupies a position that is more benevolent and even enviable. In short, one tradition thinks the Wild Man in terms of an undesirable fall from grace, while the other considers the concept more in terms of a desirable return to lost origins. As White notes, both these conceptions come together in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when the Wild Man is considered as being both good and evil. This corresponds to a secularised and renewed idea of nature. With the humanism, and access to classical texts, brought about during the Renaissance the concept of nature begins to lose the aura of evil that often accompanied it in the Early Middle Ages. For White, this leads to the myth of the Wild Man being gradually demythologised, or 'fictionalised' in the early modern period, when the image of wildness begins to be held up as preferable to the artificiality of Western civilisation.

White further contends that during the late Modern period the concept of the Wildness is interiorised, despatialised and consequently remythologised. Thus, the concept of wildness moves from myth to fiction and then back to myth again. As—from a Western perspective—more and more knowledge is gained about the least accessible parts of the world, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the locus of the Wild Man is shifted from some known or unknown exterior location to an inner mental space. The Wild Man becomes the interiorised repressed other within everyman.

The Hirsute

Since Classical times the ideas of hairiness and the feral human have been frequently associated. Two themes are noticeable here. The first concerns the possibility of the existence of a separate species of humanity: a transitional species between human and ape: a subhuman. This idea gained increasing popularity after the publication of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species.  The second notion, which is prevalent in the Middle Ages and is very much present in recent mythology of the feral human, is that the hairy Wild Man is very much a human being but one that, for whatever reason, has regressed to a natural state in the wild. Consequently, the hairy feral human physicality responds to its exposure to the elements by producing a thick covering of hair on the body in places where it would not usually grow in such profusion. Yet within the mythology of the Wild Man the two notions are rarely separated, and the idea of radically rapid physical adaption to a new environment is entangled with genetic causality. Thus, it is not uncommon to encounter stories where an essentially normal human goes feral, develops a coat of hair, and then produces an equally hairy progeny.

It is around this myth that we encounter the idea of the hairy changeling. There are many stories that tell of the abduction of babies and small children by the Wild Man (or often the wild woman), and the substitution of a hairy child. It may be that such stories may have served as an explanation for the rare conditions (congenital or acquired) known as hypertrichosis and hirsutism, that cause excessive hair growth on areas of the face and body that are normally relatively hairless. It is more than likely that the unfortunate people who developed this condition were ostracised from their communities and forced to live in the wild. Indeed, the myth of the hairy changeling might have originated in the development of the condition in small children where it had not exhibited previously.

Above all, the depiction in myth of congenital hairiness and spontaneous hirsutism must be regarded as metaphoric. They are figurative of a state that lies between human and animal. Since the Middle Ages the Wild Man's hairy covering has functioned as the outward sign of his capacity to survive in a hostile environment and as a symbol of his strength.

Krao "The Missing Link"

In the 19th century sufferers of hypertrichosis and hirsutism were often exhibited as freaks. Famous instances include Julia Pastrana "The Nondescript", Stephan "Lionel the Lion-Faced Boy" Bibrowsli, Fedor Jeftichew JoJo the "Dog-Faced Boy." Another was Krao "The Missing Link" or "The Human Monkey." As Nadja Durbach[1] informs us, Krao was an exceptionally hairy Indochinese girl who was exhibited by the showman G. A. Farini at the Westminster Aquarium in London in the late nineteenth century. She was first exhibited in 1883 when she was seven years old. The story told by Farini was that she was discovered by the adventurer Carl Bock living in Jungles of Laos with her hairy mother and father, both of whom were said to have died shortly before the girl was taken to England. But as a resident of Bangkok (“A Resident,” 579-80) at the time informs us, she was in fact born of quite ordinary, and not at all hairy, parents in Siam (Thailand) who had themselves previously exhibited the girl locally and had finally sold her to Bock.

At the time that Krao was first exhibited, Darwin's theories were being debated. One of the common but fallacious criticisms of On The Origin of the Species was that if the theory of evolution was to be verified then transitional human species should have been found in either fossilised remains or existing in the present.[2] Farini capitalised on the quest to find such evidence and went out of his way to market Krao as '"the missing link" between ape and human, A living proof of Darwin's theory of the descent of man.' A.H. Keane describes Krao's physical features in the following way:

The head and low forehead are covered down to the bushy eyebrows with the deep black, lank, and lustreless hair, characteristic of the Mongoloid races. The whole body is overgrown with a far less dense coating of soft black hair about a quarter of an inch long... The nose is extremely short and low, with excessively broad nostrils, merging in the full, pouched cheeks, into which she appears to have the habit of stuffing her food, monkey fashion (245).

Durbach argues that the phenomenon of Krao 'capitalized on late nineteenth-century preoccupations with the interrelationships among Darwinism, imperialism, and the sexuality of the "primitive" body’ (89).' As Durbach explains, the link between eroticism and female body hair is due chiefly to the correspondence between the emergence of body hair during puberty and sexual maturity. Further, when female hirsuteness is combined with racial otherness—and the racism that accompanied Victorian constructions of non-European peoples—this allows Krao's spectators to associate her with 'a primitive, excessive sexuality' (Durbach 108). The hirsute woman is thus conceived of as both monstrous and overtly sexual.

As White notes, the imperialist imagination of the nineteenth century tended to regard primitive man 'less as an ideal than as an example of arrested humanity, as that part of the species which had failed to raise itself above dependency upon nature, as atavism, as that from which civilized man, thanks to science, industry, Christianity, and racial excellence, had finally (and definitively) raised himself' (178). These ideas combine with Darwinism to spark a renewal of the myth of the Wild Man. While the association with Darwinism has dropped off in contemporary imaginary, the images of Krao (as they appear on the Internet) have been largely re-mythologised. The images are very often associated with the Mowgli: the feral child raised by animals.

The Babble

As White notes, the words 'wild' and 'feral' are closely related to the word 'barbarian' which stems from the Greek barbaros, which not only meant those peoples who were non-Greek but, further, those who did not speak the Greek language. Barbaros stems from the Proto-Indo-European root barbar an onomatopoeic word echoic of the unintelligible speech (babble) of foreigners (c.f. Sanskrit barbara, and Latin balbus - both denoting 'stammering'). Although, as White suggests, the Wild Man's lack of intelligible speech is reminiscent of the barbaroi, he determines a number of differences between the Wild Man and the barbarian. The barbarian lacks the civilised tongue but still has language. In contrast the Wild Man has no speech. The barbarian lives under some law, even if may be considered to be a degenerate law. The Wild Man, on the other hand, has no law or family structure. Where as the Wild Man is essentially asocial, the barbarian lives in a tribe or horde. And finally, while the barbarian is usually thought to occupy a region far away, the abode of the Wild Man is always situated close by, in the not so far away but relatively inaccessible areas of forests and mountains. It is in this last respect, as Bernheimer notes, that the English and German word wild, lacks the connotations of the Latinate savage (and French salvage and sauvage) which derives from the Latin silva, and thus maintains a closer connection to the forest (20). However, the point that White makes is that the threat constituted by the barbarian is essentially different from that of the Wild Man. Whereas the barbarian threatens the security of society in general, the concept of Wild Man represents a threat to the individual. The notion of the Wild Man, and the feral, must be considered, even in its interiorised modern form, in terms of an intervention at the level of the individual. Yet despite these differences the Wild Man is linked to the barbarian etymologically through his unintelligible babble. It is this entymological connection, along with the Wild Man’s loss of speech, that underscores the performance of Ruark Lewis which relates to King George III’s sudden loss of coherent language on Christmas Eve 1819 (see Appendix I).

Archaism and Primitivism

As stated earlier, a tension exists between the two radically different traditions that contribute to Western culture. The Judeo-Christian tradition regards nature and animality as, if not evil, at least a condition that man should not descend into. The natural world is seen as a fallen state which for man—who rises above it—is 'unnatural.'  The other tradition, coming to us from the Greeks, on the other hand, regards closeness to nature and the primitive as an ideal; a return to a more originary existence. It is out of this tradition that the idea of the noble savage emerges in the seventeenth century. White describes these two different concepts as archaism and primitivism respectively:

The archaists’ image of nature is shot through with violence and turbulence; it is the nature of the jungle, animal nature, nature "red in tooth and claw," of conflict and struggle, where only the strongest survive... The primitivists' nature is, by contrast, Arcadian, peaceful, a place where the lion lies down with the lamb, where the shepherdesses lie down with shepherds, innocently and frivolously; it is the world of the enclosed garden, where the virgin tames the unicorn—the world of the picnic. (172)

Whereas archaism values the divine over nature, primitivism values the natural over the artificial. The first current of thought sees Western civilisation as a state of grace from which man might fall if he followed his base instincts. The second sees this same condition of civilisation as an imposed and fallen state from which man must endeavour to return in order to regain his natural place in the world. For the Christian the Wild Man is a monstrosity.

Conclusion

Playing with the ideas of religious salvation and wildness, the And... Fractured Feral Tales video engages with the idea of rehabilitating, cultivating and civilising the feral child, dressing them neatly, clipping and combing their facial hair, providing them with a copy of the Bible, in a way which parallels the work of nineteenth century Christian missionaries among 'primitive' peoples. The video presents a number of altered appropriated evangelical Christian images. These images allude to a fictitious redeeming and reforming mission to civilise the feral child or adolescent. The caption of one of these images reads: 'The battle against unnatural cravings and sensual impulses must be fought over and over again, and divine strength is needed for victory.' The image shows a young woman praying beside her bed (Figure 1). The image has been altered so that she appears to be extremely hirsute. The implication is that sexual and animalistic cravings are from a certain perspective held to be 'unnatural.'

fracture-tales01.jpg

Figure 1. Still from And... Fractured Feral Tales performance video.

The point of utilising images such as these is to create and manipulate fictions in order to set the extremes into play, as a tactic that corresponds to White’s notion of fictionalisation. White points to the ironical textual strategies of Tacitus, Montaigne, and Lévi-Strauss, which translate the idea of wildness and savagery into a fiction, bracketing the myth of civilisation. Such images and fictions, as White contends, are not to be taken literally. Instead they provide a way of negotiating the myth, not in order to unveil it to reveal the reality it covers over, but to bring about a 'critical focus on the conditions of our own civilized existence' (White 177).

Part II. Notes on the Performance

by RUARK LEWIS

Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung. -Voltaire

In an experimental-style commentary, the curator and critic Guillaume Désanges observed:

Travel and exoticism, intermingled with colonial allusions, are recurrent themes in Broodthaers. But here, exoticism is not about faraway places: it is a metaphor for a certain way of looking at the here and now. By elevating mussels and coal into fascinating collectables, Broodthaers behaves like an anthropologist in his own country. In so doing, he anticipates post-colonial leitmotifs of reversal of the figure of "the Other" (n.p.).

Much of the "Remarks on Colour" of Wittgenstein that Eric Bridgeman has experimented with to find a transferred position with his consultative translation into Pidgin English—the hybrid language generally spoken by people in Papua New Guinea—became an important and central element in this performance in the form of a transitory action (see Appendix II). Without intending to manifest external dialectical relationships without the act of translation, it seemed certain that origin and form could itself be a motivating force, and one that might itself be rendered into an entirely third form of translation. Such a translation might be oppositional and reactionary, as though spoken in opposition to the non-sense of non-words that King George III had ‘spoken’ in his final days, or it might have been the progressive logic of the evolutionary science of Charles Darwin. As reactionary ‘actions’, and being exploited as a performance mode, the act of translation anticipates a forced correspondence with the literary artefact, one Wittgenstein might never have imagined, and one with which the artists earlier noted and described as being a 'genuine ethnographic rarity'. One might think that in a more cosmopolitan context there is no reason for anyone to isolate constituent parts that aim to make a comment on colour. The colour of flags, or the colour of the sky or skin, and we asked ourselves, “What colour is what?” With the reversal of values, were the three substances of colour. Blue red and white are painted with a brush to form stripes or wide bands on a set of Kundu drums. We deduced that these artefacts would be rendered in a form of a disguise, one taken on the authority of a flag, representative of a nation; or three nations, the French, the Australian/American and the occupied province of West Papua (resistance movement). In reverse, the meanings and clues embedded in these graphic gestures came to stand as a neo-colonial riddle. Weaving in part a section of an allegoric network that this performance-as-pantomime consistently alludes to.  Here the object is not a flag is not a drum, and the drum is not representative of any kind of accretive sense of self. The drum does not perform as such. It does not appear to emit a sound for which it was originally designed. Yet the drum sends a very distinct message or a particular signal to the audience. Elusive as these elements are to meaning and understanding of the fracture of kind-ness, a kind of flag, the kind of nation, the act of this drumming signals to other instances or regional affairs.

5 - figure2b

Figure 2. Eric Bridgeman with Kundu Drums in the performance of And... Fractured Feral Tales.

3 - figure3

Figure 3. Eric Bridgeman.

Désanges spoke about the political aspect of issues in the art of Broodthaers, conceptual art being an art that formalises knowledge with a certain aesthetic distance. At the time of the performance the artists were well aware of the destruction of public art works that had been recently removed from the national parliament chamber in Port Moresby by the Speaker of the House.[3] Our aesthetic intention was already poised to make a significant gesture, to make a kind of remark on colour which could disguise the carving designs and patterns on the surface of these beautifully crafted drums and by doing so approach the structure of design as reductive non-ethnographic signal. By translating the form into a flag yet still reacting to their authority by substituting a more violent and dramatic percussive musicalisation, the artists in a reductive gesture destroyed the drums using a large and heavy wooden mallet. One might assume that such a gesture, and the reversal of the particular and intrinsic value of the object, was an abject and a wilful corruption of intelligence, a brutish avant-garde action based on analytical reflection. Compounding the gesture of the destructive percussion, the musician/vocalist at the piano—a short distance below—improvised to the gesture of each violent hammer blow, and allowed his body to slump forward, with his head slamming onto the keys of the lower octaves. These two choreographic movements, drums and keyboards, the drummer and pianist, formed sounds in unison and counterpoint. Throughout this expansive performance no single gesture was performed in isolation, as each part was formed as a component to exist in an overlaying mirrored structure: a mirror that echoes. It was this defection from the aesthetic "distance" that Broodthaers commented on in his work of 1963 that was so striking in this performance.[4] Nothing is performed without first being first drawn in disguise. Our concern for the 'the mirror' is revealed quite early in this piece, and is meant to signal the echo of each other. To mirror and to mimic works as an abstract system by which we codified the threads of our subjects, allowed our play to be entwined as a continuous allegorical weaving. Vocal lines were presented without a shared harmony that might create a balanced relationship of the parts that could be aimed at a single perspective. If there was something or somewhere that the work might rest upon we quickly avoided that for our collective engagement was cued with an expanding set of cyclical and spiralling references.


4 - figure 4

Figure 4. Aftermath of performance. Shattered Remains of the kundu drum – one of the national symbols of Papua New Guinea

Postcolonial naturally, as King George III meets Wittgenstein in their pidgin translation of kinds. As the King performed a garbled madness, a language of extremes, on Christmas Eve of 1819, he managed to destroy the 'mother tongue' speaking nonsense nonstop for 54 hours. The tongue of the king went feral. This manifested as a product of dissociated imagination, the private mind now divorced from civic responsibility, and this moment in turn formed a libretto of improvised sounds a kind sprechstimme where ‘language’ sung is demolished, at the same time the keys of the piano are beaten into submission (see Appendix I).

The performers might be mistaken to be the echo of the King, the abject keyboard, the smashing of the four West Papuan drums, the pages from a book of missionary psalms ripped into fragments and spread across the floor  - nobody understands yet there is significance and direct correspondence armed in the service of allegorical pattern in this pantomime of parts. The layers of signifiers cast back as reflections, reversing each profile so that the characterised are submerged, disjointed and disguised.

What is it that makes Wittgenstein irresistible to this particular translation? How does the colour of things get transferred across media and removed from space and time? What is the tyranny assembled in the mother tongue of imperial intention? It is the agency, one of ‘kind-ness,’ the implications that this index of kindness bestows on people and landscapes situated in a network of language prior to the imposed European system arrives, a position of flexible and broadly understood moments of exchange and value.

Overall this performance is integrated with a number of filmic elements, and recordings that are developed in and through numerous consultative meetings, rehearsals and lengthy conversations between all three artists. As the members of the troupe each brought to the work various individual points of view. Our collective aim was to overlay and collage the various views to produce ‘a continuous through-line’, for we endeavoured to harness chaos and violence, which we felt compelled to use in this work.

Our mode of collage is concerned with fragmented motion. Images, sounds and physical gesture are overlayed as though part of a relay enmeshed in the continuum of performance. Our concern was to render a work that had no beginning, no middle or ending, in a piece we considered to constitute a non-illustrative, non-narrative, sequence of acts. Rather than create a string of impressions with a distinct dramatic meaning, we explored disorder and confusion, engaging chaos as a tool that might convey the sense of contradiction that we see as inherent in the modern state, an organisational structure that promotes a mediated national storyline.

Our strategy for making performance relied on editing and constructing the moving parts selected in related ways. Here exists a point of juxtaposition, where the multiplicity of parts represent rupture that distinctly moves against the aim proposed in the meaning of most works of art. Such obsessive interest in the mechanics of the dramatic device, we believed, allowed us to override the use of a narrative in favour of dramatic outcomes that are more concrete and enabled to deliver a non-objective kind of theatre. Here the viewer is not seeing an attempt to bring together a set of coherent story structures, for there is simply no one single perspective set-up to frame such an outcome logically. Our aesthetic structure—in contrast to what you could generally expect from a dramatic work that exhorts its message through rhetoric, poetic forms of argument and the moral tale—is essentially feral. The object of building from the start through to the centre and resolving this main course of thought and action as it reaches its coda as a scheme was alien to our anarchic cause.

We took up designated positions and maintain particular zones for the duration of the performance, but these did not represent things or locations that might relate or have an accumulative meaning in or to their relationship with the world they occupy. Engaged in such a structure the use of language intrigued us and we could see its potential and raw vitality. We played endless games together attempting to tease out with the related threads of what a thing might seem to mean, or what a thing by its meaning does not represent. We discussed the impacts and affects that the early colonial scientific investigation was to have on the languages of our region, which each brought into the rehearsal process according to our distinct lived experiences. At points such raw values were examined unmasked and without reservation.

In a direct and tangible way, we desired to play out parts around the mythicising of the idea of universal social integration, by engaging in a "missed-reading” of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. It was here that we set out to extract each turn in the force of the host text, such that directives in Darwin’s argument might be cut free, and yet maintain poetic integrity in their own right. Again, we found a structure where these tropes could form a collection of distanced meta-poetic threads, and usefully engage their rhetorical tones in nonsenses that have their origin in a somewhat archaic tongue.

For a performance aimed at creating an atmosphere of fragmented and cyclical parts we felt we need not wed our material to particular chronologies or enlist the logical of progression of language. The science of Joseph Banks and Darwin might just as happily be mashed together to form a libretto, as a line from Darwin might quite arbitrarily fuse with one taken out of context from the primary reflections of Tasman or Cook or, in turn, weave through the notes of Mathew Flinders, or function as translations in Papuan pidgin English from the chromatic riddles of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s native German. If for instance we took up a concern for the colour green we might track and scour the various source texts and in doing so form ‘an index of kinds’ of lines that are tangential in their relationships. We needed such connections, regardless of how brittle they might become or how they might be judged by an audience under the terms and expectations of a recognisable narrative logic. 

Within the filmic component are a series of carefully crafted sonic details that appear to move in unity with the computer generated animations (the animation is a form of collage). Such an array of amalgamated forms, the moving parts of visual filmic elements assisted by such dissident sounds became a powerful force of disassociation and this aspect of the work supports the kind of structure we recognised to be false narrative.

Something that seemingly sounds coherent being wedded to movements, and sounds panning across the spectrum is what an audience yearns for and they strive to establish in an anxiety those parts that form continuity (logic) continuums. The artfulness is to keep hooking their anxious being with further recognisable sounds, phrases and images, and maintain the rhythmic tempo or phases of correlation with memory. That these thought lines are synced in with the constant movement is essential in the actuality of such an illusory outcome. In this process, the performers form no characters, but rather break up selected subjects into playful parts that undergo distress and deterioration through the suppression and layering of the live elements, the filmic elements, the audio design, the cognitive mirroring and the echo.

Appendix I

[Performance element written and performed by Ruark Lewis]

c. Thrrrrrrrreeeeeee b. bliiiiii - nd a. miiiiii - ce.  

c. Three b. blind a. mice.  

c. See how  

b. th ey  

a. r un.  

c. S ee how  

b. th ey  

a. r un.

See how they run.

TTTTTh -eyyyyyy allllllllllll rannnnnn arrrrfter the far mer's wiiiiiiiii  fe

(speedy) Who cut off their tails with a carving knife

(speedy) Did you ever see such a sight in your life

c. Thrrrrrrrreeeeeee b. bliiiiii - nd a. miiiiii - ce.

As three blind mice?

On Christmas Eve King George III began speaking nonsense, which he continued to so for the next 58 hours. In a way, even the King's English if we consider that his mother tongue is capable of going feral, and if that sort of distortion represented a biological reason that a language can be made or should not the rest like a fossil does, and that all of England as a consequence should take the King's tongue like parrot speaks a mirror talk should then the voice of all the country be made feral too.

1. Or doubtful species
 
2. Several interesting lines of argument

3. Have been brought to bear

4. I will only give a single instance

5. They have a different flavour

6. They emit a different odour

7. In somewhat different stations

8. We could hardly wish for

9. According to numerous experiments

10. We could hardly wish for better

11. On the other hand

12. It is very doubtful

13. In most cases

14. It must be confessed

15. I have been struck

16. Look at the common oak, the sessile and pedunculated oak

17. He is at first perplexed

18. For he knows nothing

19. He confines his attention to one class in one country

20. He will soon make up his mind

21. His general tendency to be

22. Continually studying

23. Has little general knowledge

24. To correct his first impressions

25. He extends the range of his observations

26. He can hardly hope

27. His difficulties will rise

 

1. Paper hates|

I want to go |
about this business I
two ears |
four mouths |
no ears

28. Or doubtful species  

I want to go about this business where paper hates, of the doubtful species,
two ears, four mouths, no ears

2. Hear hear |

hear hear |
hear hear |
A CIRCUS |
A CIRCUS |
FOR ADULTS |
for adults to fix up their mess

29. Several, hear hear

Interesting, hear hear
Lines, hear hear
of argument A CIRCUS
For adults to mix-up their mess A CIRCUS

3. As we gain In history so long |

we look so long |
we might wonder |
where we have been |
seen this in history before |
in the narrow mind |
we lose
Have been brought to bear
]

4. To see what your saying |

is invisible, |
and working |
and invisible |
it is proved Trust me |
for my view |
the funny thing about is how you could know if we are doing anything |
a right to know |
so you are happy

5. A sceptic |

 with good reasons

6. We pay |

you to know |
they are for it |
for a few earless |
to not know |

7. You new blue

8. Truth is good |

a difference between what |
for example |
I don’t want to know |

9. And |

who decides |
 how can we  |
 we’re kept in the dark |
 I guess  |
 as they say |
 ignorance is bliss

6 - figure5

Figure 5. Eric Bridgeman (foreground); Ruark Lewis (background).

Appendix II

Wittgenstein Tok Pisin Translations

[The following text was used as a performance element which was sung by Eric Bridgeman. The text consists of a number of aphorisms from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Bemerkungen über die Farben (Remarks on Colour). It was translated from English and German to Pidgin English by Bridgeman in consultation with a network of Papua New Guinean highland communities.This component draws on Bridgeman’s interest in the origins and contemporary perceptions of colour spectrums and the employment of codes, design, and combinations in political visual language. Bridgeman’s work examines Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Colour, applying his theories on the relationships of colour to suggest the existence of a trans-national language inherent to the areas of visual arts, political campaigns, craft and design, and with particular interest in how people interpret, respond, and search for meaning when stimulated by individual and combinations of colour. His research responds to various examples of traditional and contemporary design and the specific treatment of colour in such modes and forms as the Papua New Guinean bilum (hand woven bag), tribal shields from the highlands region of PNG, human skin, international flags, political campaign posters, and uniforms belonging to the military and sporting codes. Working with the pre-established support of institutions such as the Australian Museum, National Film and Sound Archive, National Sports Museum, PNG National Museum, and the Musee du Quai Branley, his research aims to uncover findings relating to a universal mode of communication through colour code and language.]

176.III Ein grüner Glaswürfel sieht, wenn er vor uns liegt, grün aus. Der Gesamteindruck ist grün; so sollte also der des weißen Würfels weiß sein.

A cube of green glass grass looks green when it’s lying in front of us. The overall impression is green; thus the overall impression of the white cube should be white.

Wanpla grinpela satu bilong glas bai luk olsem grin taim em i stap klostu long yumi. Em i luk grin; olsem wanpla waitpela satu mas luk olsem wait.

231.III Erschiene mir in der Nacht ein Gespenst, so könnte es mit einem schwachen weißlichen Schein leuchten; sähe es aber grau aus, so müßte Licht von wo anders zu kommen scheinen.

If a ghost appeared to me during the night, it could glow with a weak whitish light; but if it looked grey, then the light would have to appear as though it came from somewhere else.

Sapos mi lukim wanpela masalai long nait, skin bilong en i ken lait wait liklik; tasol sapos em i luk olsem no gat kala bilong en, lait mas kam bilong narapela hap long en.

96.III Daß es mir – oder Allen – so scheint, daraus folgt nicht, daß es so ist. Also: Daraus, daß uns Allen dieser Tisch braun erscheint, folgt nicht, daß er braun ist. Aber was heißt es nur: “Dieser Tisch ist am Ende doch nicht braun”? – So folgt also doch daraus, daß er uns braun erscheint, daß er braun ist?

Because it seems so to me – or to everybody – it does not follow that it is so. Therefore: From the fact that this table seems brown to everyone, it does not follow that it is brown. But just what does it mean to say, “This table isn’t really brown after all”? – So does it then follow from its appearing brown to us, that it is brown?

Bikos long mi – o long olgeta - em i luk olsem, i no min em i tru olsem. Olsem na: Bikos tebol luk olsem braun long olgeta, i no min em i braun. Tasol em bai minim wanem long tok: “Dispela tebol i no tru tru braun”? - Olsem na yumi inap long tok em i braun yet, bikos em i luk olsem braun long yumi olgeta?

326.III Beobachten ist nicht das gleiche wie betrachten, oder anblicken. “Betrachte diese Farbe und sag, woran sie dich erinnert.” Ändert sich die Farbe, so betrachtest du nicht mehr die, welche ich meinte. Man beobachtet, um zu sehen, was man nicht sähe, wenn man nicht beobachtet.

To observe is not the same thing as to look at or to view. “Look at this colour and say what it reminds you of”. If the colour changes you are no longer looking at the one I meant. One observes in order to see what one would not see if one did not observe.

Lukim long samting i no wankain olsem lukluk long samting. “Lukim dispela kala na tokim mi wanem tingting em i kamapim long yu.” Sapos kala bai senis nau, yu no inap lo lukluk long dispela kala mi bin minim. Olsem na tru tru lukim long samting em i lukim ol samting yu no inap long lukim sapos yu no tru tru lukim long en.

39.III Meinem Gefühl nach löscht Blau das Gelb aus, - aber warum sollte ich nicht ein etwas grünliches Gelb ein “bläuliches Gelb” nennen und Grün eine Zwischenfarbe von Blau und Gelb, und ein stark bläuliches Grün ein etwas gelbliches Blau?

My feeling is that blue obliterates yellow, - but why shouldn’t I call a somewhat greenish yellow a “bluish yellow” and green an intermediary colour between blue and yellow, and a strongly bluish green a somewhat yellowish blue?

Pilim bilong mi em i olsem blu rausim yelo olgeta, - tasol bilong wanem mi no inap long kolim nem bilong wanpela grinpela yelo olsem “blupela yelo” na grin olsem wanpela kala namel long blu na yelo, na wanpela strongpela blupela grin olsem wanplela yelopela blu?

17.III Oder es ließe sich die Heimat gewisser Blumen nach der Sattheit ihrer Farben erraten. So daß man z.B sagen könnte: “Das muß eine Alpenblume sein, weil ihre Farbe so intensiv ist.”

Or you could tell where certain flowers come from by their saturated colours, e.g. you could say, “That must be an alpine flower because its colour is so intense”.

O sapos yu ken save wanpela plaua em i bilong wanem hap taim yu lukim strong bilong kala bilong en. Olsem yu inap long tok: “Em i mas plaua bilong hailans bikos kala bilong en em i strong tru."

236.III Eine glatte weiße Fläche kann spiegeln: Wie nun, wenn man sich irrte, und das, was in einer solchen Fläche gespiegelt erscheint, wirklich hinter ihr wäre und durch sie gesehen würde? Wäre sie dann weiß-durchsichtig? Auch dann entspräche, was wir sehen, nicht dem farbigen Durchsichtigen.

A smooth white surface can reflect things: But what, then, if we made a mistake and that which appeared to be reflected in such a surface were really behind it and seen through it? Would the surface then be white and transparent? Even then what we saw would not correspond to something coloured and transparent.

Wanpela samting em i stret na wait antap ken mekim tewel long ol narapela samting: Tasol wanem nau sapos tingting paulim mipela na mipela ting tewel bilong samting em i samting stap bihain long dispela samting? Olsem dispela samting em i wait na klia olgeta wantaim nau? Tasol wanem samting mipela lukim nau yet, em i no samting tru olsem em i gat kala na em i klia olgeta wantaim.

309.III Hier könnte man nun fragen, was ich denn eigentlich will, wieweit ich die Grammatik behandeln will.

Here it could now be asked what I really want, to that extent I want to deal with grammar.

Long hia ol i ken askim nau wanem samting mi laik wokim tru tru, hamas tru mi laik tok long rot bilong skruim ol lo na ol rul bilong tok o rait gut.

273.III Im Film, wie auf der Photographie, sehen Gesicht und Haare nicht grau aus, sie machen einen ganz natürlichen Eindruck; Speisen auf einer Schüssel dagegen sehen im Film oft grau und darum unappetittlich aus.

In a film, as in a photograph, face and hair do not look grey, they make a very natural impression; on the other hand, food on a plate often looks grey and therefore unappetising in a film.

Long piksa, na wankain long poto, pes na gras bilong ol manmeri no luk olsem no gat kala bilong en, em i luk orait stret. Tasol kaikai long plet insait long ol muvi na poto luk olsem no gat kala na yu no inap lo pilim hangre long lukim kaikai insait long ol piksa.

27.I “Man kann sich das nicht vorstellen,” wenn es sich um die Logik handelt, heißt: man weiß nicht, was man sich hier vorstellen soll.

When dealing with logic, “One cannot imagine that” means: one doesn’t know what one should imagine here.

Taim yu traim long tingim stret na tok “em i hat lo bilip” yu minim: yu no save wanem samting yu mas bilip lo hia nau.

Footnotes 

[1] Durbach's chapter "The Missing Link and the Hairy Belle" (pp. 89-114) remains the definitive source of information on Krao.

[2] Thomas Huxley points to the criticism of Darwin's theories by Albert von Kölliker, and Jean Pierre Flourens (103-4). 

[3] http://www.pngblogs.com/2013/12/the-sacrilege-of-parliament-demarcation.html

[4] An assemblage of 1963 by Marcel Broodthaers Le Problème noir en Belgique in which

Works Cited

“A Resident.”1883. “Krao” (Letters to Editor). Nature 27.703 (19 April 1883): 579-580. Print.

Bernheimer, Richard. Wild Men in the Middle Ages: a Study in Art, Sentiment, and Demonology. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1952. Print.

Désanges, Guillaume. “Infinite unfoldings of emptiness upon emptiness: Account of a night with Marcel Broodthaers” (published in “Marcel : Het Broodthaerskabinet : L’Inventaire,” SMAK publishing, 2011) trans. Victoria Selwyn. Web. 15 January 2014. <http://guillaumedesanges.com/spip.php?article106>.

Durbach, Nadja. Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture. Berkely: University of California Press, 2009. Print.

Huxley, Thomas. Lectures and Lay Sermons. London: J.M. Dent and Sons, 1910. Print.

Keane, A.H. 1883. "Krao, the 'Human Monkey.'" Nature 27.689 (11 January 1883): 245-246. Print.

Thoreau, Henry David, “Walking,” Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, 1997.

White, Hayden. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press, 1978. Print.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Remarks on Colour. Ed. G.E.M. Anscombe. Trans. Linda L. McAlister and Margarete Schättle. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977. Print