border action-with(/out)-reaction

by //bernardo giorgi//helen grace//brett neilson//ned rossiter//

action-with(/out)-reaction on the trans-siberian train, from moscow to beijing, for the conference "capturing the moving mind" 09/2005

Moving between a here and a there, crossing a border, a frontier leads inevitably to the undoing of institutional and imposed limits through the introduction of a 'beyond'. Referring to the other side of a physical and imagined locality is immediately to relativise that locality and its claims on time and space, on history and becoming. To cross a border opens up the prospect of mutual translation. For it is not simply a question of a culture, a history, an identity, experiencing the impact of an other. It is rather how both the stranger and the host experience the effects of translation, experience the effects of being transported elsewhere so that their respective 'origins' are viewed under a new and altogether less obvious or secure light.
Art, in revealing what both sustains us and sends us on our way, has custody for this elsewhere that deposits us beyond our 'selves'. As neither transitory sensation nor superficial decoration, the art work, in asking us to think again, proposes an ontological question, an unfolding interrogation of our being and becoming in the world.
Along the border line there open up further lines that simultaneously overflows both sides of the previous frontier, rendering complex, problematic, even impossible, the initial polarities that established that very same border. Borders invite us to consider how a territory, a space, a language, an identity, is enframed, set apart, separated. It creates a barrier between the known and the unknown. The abstract imposition of a border is, of course, ignored by many forces: rivers, fish and animals move across bodies without passports; the weather travels without a national identity; time passes irrespective of frontier legislation. Much human and cultural activity is also difficult to arrest at the frontier: music journeys in the ontological space of sound; the visual arts are rarely restricted by national confines - they are already works in translation, in transit...(1)

In this sense, we are forced to acknowledge that borders both divide and unify...(1)

The art work disturbs, even upsets, the local coordinates of sense. Sense, itself, is transformed from a seemingly stable reference, protected by tradition and proposed by custom, into a a direction, a transit, an opening, a sens, that goes elswhere, crossing the line between the everyday and the irruption of an event, between the ordinary and the extra-ordinary.... (1)

This could be one of the meaning of the undemanding "border action-with(/out)-reaction", where on the platform between Russia and Mongolia, at the station Nauschki, some of the people travelling in the "ephemera conference" had been walking in a line, in curve, making different patterns //cutting patters.

Here frontiers evaporate for a second, prior to their revisiting in an altogether different manner. Here both public and private spaces come to be framed as sites of transit, of continual translation, in the ongoing insistence of the right to narrate, to signify...(1)

1) Iain Chambers, between dresden and prague, (artout-maschietto&ditore, Florence, 2003) p. 11



Capturing the Moving Mind is a conference which brings together artists, economists, researchers, philosophers and activists exploring the new logics of economics, the war against terror and cooperative modes of creation and resistance. The group travels from Helsinki to Beijing trough 9 time zones, from Moscow to Beijing on the Transsiberian Express.

Is this project an economic process, a political activity, or a work of art? While the documentarists, photographers, artists and researchers produce discussions, ideas, interviews, images and videos along the route, online audiences are invited to follow the journey via the mobicast or access an archive of moments captured in this collective mobile documentary as it makes it's way from Finland to China.

11-20 SEP 2005