Potlatch:

     “It is clear that the world is purely parodic, in other       

   words, that each thing seen is the parody of another,

                            or is the same thing in a deceptive form.” 

                                                            Georges Bataille


             


      There are only two things in my life that continuously give to me without any invitation: The Sun and my home television screen.  The difference between the two, however, is that my TV always carries with it an ‘expectation of return’.  This notion fuels much of my cultural farming practice: video appropriation and (C)ritical remix.  I must return in kind what I have collected in kind.  And the more I share the better my universe, for I cannot benefit from what cannot be used, expended or returned.


     According to Georges Bataille’s theory of consumption, the accursed share is that excessive and non-recuperable part of any economy -- the surpluses we hoard -- which must be destined for expenditure.  Expenditures of abundance happens two ways.  Excesses must be spent luxuriously as gifts, knowingly without return or gain; for instance, in the arts, in non-procreative sexuality, or in sumptuous events, monuments and spectacles.  If not formally expended, however, the excess is then obliviously destined to an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring of crises.  All excesses thus must be laid waste either way: give-away or destroy...as a form of social regeneration.


      Bataille, himself an excommunicated surrealist, links the idea of an ever-giving Sun to the anthropological phenomenon of the potlatch-festival of the Kwakiutl indians of the Northern Pacific coast of North America.  Marcel Mauss, too, refers to this phenomenon in his influential essay The Gift (1923), in which potlatch is translated as ‘a gift,’ typically signified through festivals of communal gatherings, where the host can show his generosity by freely dispersing his excesses, even up to the point of total bankruptcy, in a public performance displayed for gaining acceptance and establishing social standing.  (1 2 3 4 5)

      To Bataille, a society that does not develop regenerative strategies of expenditure is no longer sovereign and will suffer uncontrollable events like war, crisis and catastrophe.  Potlatch -- this destruction of the accursed share -- helps to de-fuse and re-distribute both wealth and danger through these communal performances of familial celebration and cooperative exchange. 

      If left unexpended, however, excesses lead to war, crisis and catastrophe much more by force and without control.  Our Western model of overproduction bears this kind of danger.  And so does my TV; it just gives and gives and gives to me.  Television’s streaming excesses of graven-content fill my consciousness to capacity.  I must not greedily or unthinkingly accept television’s gifts without also refunctioning and returning its excess.  I must release whatever of it I can back into its media-ether, at the very least.  This is the sacrifice of abundance... a true symbolic exchange.

      Every project found throughout Cultural Farming elicits this strategy of repayment.  I collect as much as I want, so I must also give back for free as much as I can, with interest.  I re-use this unending material to tell my version of events to the tribe.  This expenditure repayment establishes my social standing.  My honest collection and re-dispersals, regardless how meager, merit an open hearing within the community.

        “Georges Bataille argues that humans can reciprocate the

     original gift of solar energy if they enter into a potlatch with the

     sun from which they can emerge only as losers.  He insists that

     the sun provides a surplus of energy that no human civilization

     can accept, absorb, or utilize in its entirety.  Bataille interprets

     unchecked economic expansion as an attempt to absorb and

     thus to diminish the pressure of this energy surplus.”


      Like a society, the individual body also has its accursed share, which must be expended as excess.  Based on Sigmund Freud’s idea of the destructive death drive as presented in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), Bataille imagined
 Perversions, of all stripes,
 beg for these vital forms of
 response, exactly like
 pustules beg to be lanced.
http://www.peeptv.ca/Video/Young_Trump.mp4
the idea of alternating between life-drive and death-drive, as a viable method for de-circuiting our elemental lust for death.  For instance, hoarded sexuality becomes the opposite ultimate perversion of the will to live, which if left unchecked, metastasizes into its own celebration of death, and so must be countered in what Bataille calls the sacred act of transgression.  Perversions of all stripes beg for these vital forms of response exactly like infected pustules beg to be lanced.


      Audio & Visual -- I must return in kind what I have collected in kind.  Excess, Body, Media, Death, Trump, Expenditure, Waste.  Television to television, dust to dust.  This video project is no TV mash-up comedy.  This is surreal ‘science for the people’.  For I am sovereign, as is this research.


                                       

                                     



                                          

                                         

HOLLAND WILDE

An American

resident of Canada, experimenting with new forms of critical media ethnography in Cultural Farming.



                                 

                    Click to view main project & 400 videos


Preface  Premise  Project  Potlatch  Pornography  Politics  Postscript  Peroration

 

    Intro: The Dirty Presidency

                            January 2017 - January 2018



                   Click to view main project & 400 videos

                  intro  video           entry  video


Preface  Premise  Project  Potlatch  Pornography  Politics  Postscript  Peroration