Crediting & Privelege

Feb 06, 2019

When it comes to artistic endeavours such as for performance, we are used to seeing particular folks getting credits for contributions such as photography or costume. To me, this singling out is innately a privileging spot, which creates a divide in the endless other contributors/factors that go about every single moment of our lives.

To Deleuze and Guattari in their book A Thousand Plateaus, everything is multiple, not singular. Singling out, to me, is a double-edged sword. On one end, the credited individual is granted a communicatory link and promotion of themselves, but on the other end, it perpetuates the illusion that only one individual is responsible for a multiplicity of factors that belong to an endless network of variables both human and non-human.

So in crediting the photographer, for instance, what of the designer of the photographer’s camera? The designer of the lens? What of the possible sweat shop hands that put together individual camera pieces? Who designed the costume in the photograph? Which manual hands in which impoverished part of a country put it together? Which textile industry did the fabric originate from?

To Deleuze and Guattari, a haeeceity is like a slice of a reality that shows a glimpse of some multiples. For instance, in crediting the photographer, perhaps a Deleuzian haeeceity crediting may look something like Eyeglass-World-Joe-Shmo-Photographer-Nikkon-Chinese-Labor-Camp-Worker-Ji-Wong-with-Starbucks-caffeine-kick-Ethiopian-laborer-Abel-Habte-Choreographer-Jane-Smith-Dancer-of-Horton-Technique-in-Bob-Jones-costume-of-manual-laborer-Mario-Perez-at-Chicago-metro-stairs-designed-by-architect-Ryan-Bailey-executed-by-manual-laborer-Jake-White-at-3’o-clock-Timex-clock-designer-Roger-Jennings-and-manual-laborer-Golam-Azad….

In this way it appears that singling out one name is not unlike Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain ready-made (the urinal). Once signed, everything else is forgotten? What’s more, news has come in that Baroness Elsa was the real originator of the idea.

A name, copyright, or credit to me is like penis graffiti in a public stall. My name, Adam Koan is no different. The “A” in signature can even be shaped like a phallus (like in Aleiser Crowley’s signatures). There’s a double-edged sword-phallus. When we credit or highlight one name, we’re spotlighting a momentary organizer or perspective of endless creators not unlike a plagiarizing or sampling DJ. It’s putting a signature on an enormous multidimensional event.

This is not to say that we should not credit, but that maybe we should keep in mind that there is an enormous endless process that happens under any name. At the very least, we should not take for granted any spotlight we get at all for the things that had to happen for that event to be organized in such a way.

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Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.