I thought that "A Season..." was a remarkable piece. It left me distinctly uncomfortable and affected. I have only a passing knowledge of Art Brut but your piece nonetheless started me thinking of the relation of surgery to aesthetics and of surgical aesthetics. This lead to reflection upon Orlan and, in particular, Parveen Adams' essay in her book The Emptiness of the Image [Routledge: 1996]. The performances at CeM and the transition of Judith Darger to the Trenton Group struck me as a reflection upon the efficacy or ethics of running from paranoid (self)mutilation into performance art & anamorphic expression (as with Orlan or maybe Lukas Zpira.)
A question that kept going round for me was: where does the introduction - or the excision - of ritual and performance sit with this movement towards surgico-aesthetics (stitch art). Is the excision of ritual (fragmentary, schizoid, or paranoiac practices that holds something in its rightful pattern or place) the first "snip"?
Perhaps not unsurprisingly these seem like questions about the notions of "trans-" activity (in the sense of any activity going across or through) and, of course, the development from a clinical position to a cultural/couture position. "A Season..." got me thinking that if the clinical is itself an archiving and accounting for/of practices, then a line can be charted through the thinking of Foucault (via Deleuze & Guattari) through Adams' Lacanian theory and thus the whole shebang is back to aesthetics and high theory, practice and critical thinking, praxis and theoria.
Deriving from a similar source, the birdlike journalists who attend the CeM performances put me in mind of a comment of Slavoj Zizek, that "birds function as the embodiment of a cruel and obscene superegoic agency". The merit of this comment notwithstanding, the idea of these beady-eyed, buzzardy journalists (a mode to which Schuler perhaps fears she regresses toward the end of the piece) as somehow likened to parsimonious guardians of culture and morality was a distinctly bitter one.
Also, for some reason, I couldn't but think of the random unaffected way that your characters strung up the "careless hanging sculptures" at the end of "Bela's Plot."
To my mind, Schuler and Sabit's final confrontation and the passages about Schuler's reflections upon striking Sabit, were incredibly strong. The moral weight of the past tense was acutely painful and read like a snapshot distillation of something underpinning the Niki-Daria collapse in Murder of Angels.
Hope these thoughts are of interest. As you might have gleaned, I'm currently looking at lots of psychoanalytic and critical theory. I was half tempted to hang on to these ideas until I had framed a more articulate line but came out in favour of signaling my appreciation sooner.
[I'm also attaching a link (of which you might be aware) relating to the recent addition of Emma Darwin's diaries to the online Charles Darwin archives:
Thank you, Tim. I would very much like to hear more of your ruminations along these lines.
Also, note that two of the four free signed copies of Silk I offered to new Sirenia Digest were claimed today. Two remain.
And now, an early bedtime for nixars...