My work is about the body. My figures are never engaged in dramatic physical battles, it’s about the little gestures between bodies…The imaginary interests me. Eroticism is when something hasn’t yet happened…»
I’ve now finished reading the selection of Roland Barthes’ essays published under the title Image, Music, Text. From these I can see how Barthes’ writings straddled both Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, in that they very strongly reveal systems at play in texts, while adding a definite historical context and contingency to those readings.
There were a couple of things which interested me that I’d like to write about. First I wanted to take a quick look at the last text in the book: Writers, Intellectuals, Teachers (Barthes, 1971, pp. 190–215), in which he lays out the distinct roles that these take in relation to the social production and activity of the Text.
So what does gesture tell us about Tino Sehgal’s work and what value does it have?
Sehgal’s pieces seem a good fit for Agamben’s gestic politics – they deliberately eschew a product or remnant of any kind, and implicate the audience in a perpetual game of the confusion of roles with the other participants of the piece. The pieces themselves do not live outside of memory and make the audience physically aware of their role within the institutional context of the gallery or museum and within the piece itself.