2015 - 2017 Sonia Kazovsky: "Are you coming?"

Sonia's 20 minute presentation for Maelstrom Slow Dance - DAI's 3 day graduation lectures marathon, June 2017

The journey towards the radical image

In collaboration with Ana Wild 


Sonia Kazovsky recruited a friend, Ana Wild, to deliver a talk about the radical image. Employing theatrical staging, deliberate timing and spotlights, Sonia confidently breezed through difficult theoretical terrain adopting the manner of an easily digestible “Ted-talk”.

Ray Brassier liked the clarity and crispness of presentation, calling it elegant, intelligent and witty. He appreciated the diagrammatic maps of the quest for the radical image, saying that the lecture performance was virtuous in its daring to be clear and unambiguous. For him, the way the problem is framed is in the theatrical or artistic deed: “how to find the trajectory toward the radical image is characterized as a theatrical deed because we are in a theater. If you could accomplish the trajectory toward the radical image (diagramming), then any kind of theatrical presentation could be adequate to its imagination.” He emphasized that the contrast between the process of imaging the radical image must be articulated. “Why this image?” he asked, “why assume that the resources of the imagination are adequate to the production of such an image?” Brassier saw the “possibilities of subversion as being already inscribed within this mappable space.” Again he asked, “why an image? Why is the trajectory towards outside imaginable?” Further clarifying, “It’s one thing to slip away and another exit stage left in the theater. You can’t substitute a stage exit for an exit.” Adding to that, he agreed that while the relationship between contemporary art and profit is plausible there are other ways to think about it. “Not everyone will be successful in selling work.” Sonia’s lecture performance reminded him of early 1970s texts about overcoming representation - Lyotard, Modernism and the problem of representation: inside and outside. We can “no longer think about an interiority contained by exteriority. Now we think about different relations on a surface. Interiority is constructed on a plain surface.” 

Gabi Ngcobo enjoyed the delivery of the work, the conversation between Sonia and Anna, and the offering of images or diagrams to this kind of stagnation.

Bassam el Baroni heartily applauded the rigor behind making these equations and appreciated Sonia’s deep relationship and engagement. The main theoretical problem, that “the radical image cannot be located in the contemporary because all contemporary time amounts to profit” seemed dangerous because of its potential to become a moral argument. He recognized the mimicry of TedX presentation, which is clearly connected to productivity and remarked that Sonia’s topic could still not escape the problem of skepticism. 

Rachel O’Reilly would have liked to have thought through the material complexity of profit more. “Stepping from the material location of the theater to the industrial situation of California was a jump”, she remarked, but there could have been more moves. This set-up does propose the idea that the critique of the political economy is sitting outside the theater somewhere, partly removed. In that sense, the theater is even more dependent on subsidies compared to California. Finally, she added that she enjoyed the variations of non-escape and had started to imagine diagrams of particular artists.