Subjects and subjects
If you didn’t read the previous blog post, then please do it first. I mean: before this one. … . Did you read it? Ok.
Can you imagine a time in history when there was not such a division between what we call ‘subjects’ and ‘objects’? What if we would call subjects ‘subjects’ and objects ‘subjects’ as well? Would it affect the way we perceive ‘things’? Would it affect the way we live?
Of course: much depends on linguistic choices which differ from region to region and from culture to culture. And language is shaping reality just as reality is affecting the evolution of our language. But maybe even more than it depending on language, it surely depends on the way we deal with others, the environment and with ourselves.
It is since the industrial revolution that a clear -and somehow superficial- distinction between subjects and objects has been installed. People like Descartes were trying to give an explanation to an industrial need. The subject-subject sharing just couldn’t continue in the same way. So Descartes was talking about ‘object-subject’ because he had to give a sustentation for the big industrial system to divide the body in two.
And what does this have to do with researching theatre for example? Or with the arts in general?
Apart from the fact that theatre-makers like Enrique Vargas are working in a way to treat an object like a subject (he, in a way, is the writer of this page), as a public we perceive a theatre-piece or any other artistic work totally different depending on the way the relation subject-to-object is constructed. This starts with the question whether we manipulate an object or animate it. And how we do that. Animating an object is referring to a state of listening: how to listen to a teaspoon or to a little stone on the ground? When we touch, we are also touched. When we listen to music, the music is also listening to us. If an actor or in fact anybody is able to listen to objects and realize that they are also subjects, then perhaps that person is also able to listen to him- or herself.
Somehow it might seem just another point of view… though it changes a spectators perception completely. It is this difference where the doors to imagination are opening… .