On plans, on the future

I am thinking about redesigning guerrillasemiotics.com, and quite possible merging it with my other, currently unused, domain, feminaludens.com. Femina ludens (the feminine to homo ludens, the woman who plays), was always tentatively conceived as a folio website, personal website, something along the lines.

I am happy to hear ideas, while I’m thinking about how to approach the task.

What’s made me think about this has been the combination of inspiration and necessity; or, as life often is, a combination. On the one hand, I need a lighter website so deal with, something I can wire more easily into Facebook, something appable, something clouder, something with a more elastic spine. I’ve been on a very slow server for some years now, mainly out of being too busy to move, and I feel GS.com like an obese child under my custody, a being I need to take places and make do things, but who is just hard to move.

On the other hand, I would really like a website that reflects my life, not one that distracts me from it. I have been quite fatigued, definitely this year, and for the larger part of last year, from the enormously wide horizon of my life. As I get older – this happens to everyone – I have become increasingly more qualified to do a wider range of things. But since I started off as a multitasker, that range has been slightly wider to begin with. Keeping specialised websites of this sort, hence, has become a project, not an outlet. I cannot quite reconcile a website that is essentially a long list of Melbourne theatre reviews with the fact that I spend large parts of my life

  • writing scholarly articles on cultural policy
  • researching connections between psychogeography and Situationist Internationale, performance art, flashmobs, Judith Butler, and non-representational theory
  • diagramming urban spaces
  • play-making and play-testing
  • devising participatory performance
  • travelling to Bangkok, Istanbul, and Japan, in order to study their urban environments
  • taking photos
  • making maps of demographic and other data
  • doing web-design, both commercial and of an artistic (goalless) sort
  • researching children’s independent mobility in Australia
  • writing on live art and performance for RealTime, being a member of Green Room Awards for hybrid (etc) performance, and generally being involved in an increasingly specialised part of theatre
  • teaching
  • writing comic book scripts
  • writing fiction and non-fiction that is neither on theatre, nor academic
  • playing piano, and learning to edit sound for radio production
  • spending most of my leisure internet time reading through websites such as cityofsound.com.

This is not necessarily as psychotic as it sounds. In fact, when I don’t worry about fulfilling my obligations to each and every context, there is great harmony and (ouch!) synergy between the different activities. Thinking about space is also thinking about body. Because my discipline puts a lot of emphasis on direct experience as a method of learning (fieldwork etc), having to teach space means structuring information as exercises, which has led me quite naturally into participatory performance-making. And writing about dance and physical performance is about as good an exercise for writing about life in general as one can imagine.

In other words, I basically design experiences, and analyse experiences in order to design them better, for a living. My interest, while reasonably cerebral in style, is largely directed towards physical, non-verbal aspects of life. There is nothing hugely incongruent about any of this…

Except when I get invited to yet another local opening of a recent American play about the middle classes.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy something like that – but it has little real, living interest for me. Quite simply, I am finding myself with less and less energy to go see theatre that isn’t movement-based, that isn’t somehow related to either performer’s live presence or to audience. I actually am more interested in certain kinds of experience design, these days, than I am in many works of theatre. And, having cut that type of activity down to the nth degree by the end of 2009, once I realised I was going to kill myself with having bronchitis, breaking up with my boyfriend, writing up a thesis and teaching young people how to notate space, all the same time, I haven’t gone back.

I have, instead, naturally become more interested in a different kind of work: the kind Mimi Zeiger writes about; I have also become more focused in my explorations of the empirical world, of the sort Dan Hill writes about.

And I keep thinking about how this website needs to reflect this a bit more.

I have recently returned from a fantastic trip around the world (well, almost), which took me to Istanbul and Bangkok, and gave me much to think about. I want the next Guerrilla Semiotics to be a website where I can organically skip between musings on the workings of such cities and the writing on performance and dance that I publish in RealTime. Otherwise, I feel like I’m heading for a major sort of identity crisis, and it really doesn’t need to be that way.

6 thoughts on “On plans, on the future

  1. Sounds like fertile musings to me, Jana. From someone else heading who’s been hitting the wall lately…

    We should do coffee soon. That’s my suggestion.

  2. Coincidently I’ve recently been trying to improve my (trebly inferior) web design skills so that i can do something similar to what you’re describing here. The neandellus platform, or plateau, has mostly become “an exhasted ground of thought” for me–I find the blog reflects an evershrinking sliver of what I actually spend my time thinking about and doing. Meanwhile, I’m somewhat restless for not having an outlet for those other areas of interest and investigation. The problem is of course imagining a format where (frinstance) notes on conservation studies can “organically” sit with extended theatre reviews. It’s a problem I’ve been avoiding for at least 9 months, but there’s nothing like winter for exacerbation.

  3. Jana says:

    Hey Andrew,

    maybe we can compare notes as we move along? Or maybe we can pool resources.

  4. Daniele says:

    (Hi Jana, and sorry for the nitpicking, but didn’t “homo” mean “human being”, rather than “man-as-opposed-to-woman”? That would be “vir”, I think.)

    • Jana says:

      Hi Daniele,

      Being Italian (I am assuming that your lack of introduction means you are the one Daniele know, my neighbour), you would know Latin much better than I can remember from high school – I remember vir meaning ‘man’, and if you say that ‘homo’ has the connotation of ‘essere umano’, rather than of ‘uomo’, I won’t argue. I didn’t think that it did, but I really don’t know enough about the finer points of Latin.

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