Teresa Maria Diaz Nerio: OF
Mentor: John Heymans
Independent reviewer: Doreen Mende
Enschede, June 2009
The character is re-worked here as a concept which focuses on appearance and which presupposes "personality", it is here our intention to deconstruct this notion of the character and the repetitivity of itself as a moment and not as a movement of the actual, the actual is also redefine as not what "reality" looks like but what reality is in itself, as the Real or Actual, that is, beyond representation. Therefore our attention to the Master-Slave dialectics described by Hegel in the Phenomenology of Mind is being discussed here as a way to understand how consciousness is divided and how self-consciousness does not recognizes the other as it recognizes itself originating the „fight for recognition‟ wherefrom one of the self-consciousness is being recognized and the other isn‟t, this text works the relation of dependency and independency with self-consciousness. The intention of this paper is to challenge this oppositional views on the Master-Slave and suggest it to be the fight of one consciousness and the finality of it to be as Hegel suggested the overcoming of itself by negation, that is, becoming Universal as a recognition of actuality and consciousness as being Universal. Our third essay deals with the speech act, that is, the relation of the voice to speech and to the relation between the speaker and the audience, also suggesting new positions wherefrom we can perceive this relation as not being oppositional, that is, gazing beyond the mere representational. Considering the „voice‟ as the ultimate relève and being with the „script‟ and the „image‟ realms beyond appearance. We have annexed another essay „The one is the condition of the other‟ which reflects on Pedro Costa‟s film „In Vanda's Room‟ 2005, as a way to reflect into a work which deals with the Real through "reality", this film was shoot in a poor neighbourhood in Lisboa, Portugal with the participation of non-actors, people living in the neighbourhood, this place is being destroyed by bulldozers. This reflection of Pedro Costa‟s film looks close at a desperate situation which is in a way going back to the claim of the first essay on Character, Actuality and Repetition which is the way in which repetition makes character and why should character be overcome all together.
The thesis Of by Teresa Maria Diaz Nerio is molded by a deconstructivist way of writing about –roughly summarized– the struggle of staging and being staged as an act of violence and oppression. The initial point of departure of the thesis seems to be situated within the artist's research around the African woman Sarah Baartman. Constitutively to her art practice, Teresa Maria Diaz Nerio complicates the most difficult and challenging aspects of her own performative work Homage á Sarah Baartman where she displays herself in an abstraction of an full length mask resembling the recorded features of the dislocated and colonially abused African woman of the early 19th century. Reviewed against this backdrop, the thesis unfolds crucial notions like 'actuality,' 'character,' and a speech act of the unsayable –how I would call it– through a work of thought as a process of problematization. Nevertheless, I am missing in the research an actualized connection to a present urgency to consult Hegel's Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness Lordship and Bondage (published in 1807). Hegel's writings stay very much with the viewpoint of the 'Master/Lord' who is put in a self-critical and self-conscious mode from which the dependency/independecy of the ʻSlave/Bondsmanʼ is articulated. Hegelʼs viewpoint is a trap for the student's thesis (see in chapter three, when she speaks about the ʻprivileged position of being speakingʼ) in relation to her research and work, which wants the opposite: the abolishment of the separating duality of ʻslaveʼ and ʻmasterʼ, ʻspeakerʼ and ʻreceiverʼ etc.
Throughout the thesis, it seems to be a search for a voice as a Derridean 'trace,ʼ i.e. which is an absent presence, a state of speaking without names –– a speech act of the unsayable as a revolting act. Teresa Maria Diaz Nerio's third chapter absorbs this problem by introducing the ʻuttering voiceʼ as a political concept of interpellation as well as of splitting of a subject through the constitutive existence of the Other (ʻpart ofʼ). This part reads as the most free, independent and self-contained writing of the student.
The three Annex' make sense in terms of extending a body of thought into the exemplification of concrete work. However, in particular the Annex II on Pedro Costa's film opened up an entirely new, though, interesting train of thoughts into media theory which leads to the question why there is an Annex. The detached but deliberated Annex' shows that Teresa Maria Diaz Nerio feels a need to connect actively her abstract investigations with exemplifications and concretions in the field of visual practice. Though, I appreciate the awareness for different ʻtypesʼ of writing and ʻEssaysʼ respectively.
Derrida is one of the most difficult philosophers to write with; or to put it in a different way: it is not possible to write about, but only through his texts. The thesis is a quite adventurous enterprise and the reader gets sometimes lost within the almost draining erasure of semiotic oppositions by phrases like 'not being and being as one,' 'can and cannot understand,' 'can or cannot ignore' etc. and within the hugely ambitious amount of philosophical strata.
Yet, the graduating student shows a good ability to think through complex layers of texts and to work on an own lʼécriture to think through historical and cultural sets of problems of her own practice.