My second performance of Not a Séance at The Men’s Room had me reflecting on the vegetable reading part of the performance.
Although I state quite clearly that I try not to do interpretation and that their is no standard meaning for a vegetable, I find that I end up doing quite a bit of “reading” none the less. People seem to like being told something and it is a playful way of connecting. However underneath that there are more serious ideas about taking responsibility for the way we see things and an acknowledgment that we all have different maps of reality and that we cannot assume a common language for the simplest of things, even a mushroom….
At this performance I connected with the mushroom for one young man and he very clearly stated that he knew what this was about mentioning the frills (or are they gills?) underneath, an element that I had not even considered in thinking of a mushroom. So I am wondering whether It would be an idea to ask participants to describe the vegetable they pick to me and use this as a starting point for my reading. That is to say, lead them into their own interpretation by asking them to describe connections with the vegetable. Perhaps we could even attempt to find a vegetable that somehow fits the group energy for the very end of the show. I need to try this out.!
It did make me thing about one of my favourite Rancière quotes though. This is from Disagreement – Politics and Philosophy, 1999.
We should take disagreement to mean a determined kind of speech situation: one in which one of the interlocuters at once understands and does not understand what the other is saying. Disagreement is not the conflict between one who says white and another who says black. It is the conflict between one who says white and another who also says white but does not understand the same thing by it or does not understand that the other is saying the same thing in the name of whiteness.