[ISEA2008] Artist Talk: Margaretha Haughwout – dangerous fiction: the body, desire, and narrative

Artist Statement

my current project, the birds the bees the flowers and the trees, works as an allegory for desiring bodies and their energetic contribution to war and organized violence. i examine the interconnectedness and implication of the forces of western bodies, and how these energies feed war. in this project, the theme of desiring bodies and their energetic contribution to war is explored through an allegorical flower garden. conceptually, this garden theme is working on three levels. firstly, building from manuel delanda, i want to suggest that war might attract bodies to it in the same way flowers attract birds and bees in order to reproduce. while the flower works on this metaphoric level, the garden setting speaks to the pastoral ideal of the west, and what is required in order to maintain this ideal. the garden also works as a more general allusion to the relationship between early agriculture, the state, and war in that sedentary life, brought about by agriculture, has led to the state and its subsequent appropriation of the war machine (just as the flower can exist outside of the garden, so can the war machine exist outside of war).

for ISEA2008, i propose to present my conceptual approach to the birds the bees the flowers and the trees, and then focus specifically on my methodology. how can a “ludic interface” to use ISEA’s term, be a useful means of engaging a primarily priveleged set of educated people, who normally comprise the “art audience?” how might fiction be used to facilitate participatory scenarios, where those formerly known as audience can experiment with, and transgress scripted emotions and desires?