This was written rather quickly and is neither properly ‘academic’ (and as such probably doesn’t belong on my research project blog), nor a standard blog post. I could have written an awful lot more, I find the situation extremely complex and believe that Tom Milsom does not, necessarily, deserve to be branded an ‘abuser’ by a jury of bloggers and Tweeters. That such a private story has been torn apart by people who are neither experts nor directly involved is problematic. I am not ‘victim blaming’, nor am I excusing rape or abuse, I am simply criticising the way in which Tom Milsom has been treated by social media.
My little sister tells me that it is not OK to critically analyse someone’s use of language in a post detailing alleged abuse, we ought to, she argues, allow for the fact that the author was likely feeling emotional, panicked. However, I cannot help but do so when the language employed in the post in question seemingly reveals so much of the events it details. Or, rather, reveals so much of the problems associated with the ways in which the event has been discussed. Olga Breslavet’s (in)direct branding of Tom Milsom as a rapist and abuser is written in a style that is specific to an online world populated by teenagers. That the account is peppered with ‘OMG’s and NVM’s’ seems, to me, to be highly inappropriate considering the heaviness of its content, the magnitude of the allegations, and the inevitable impact that it would have on Milsom’s career, friendships and psychological wellbeing. I understand that it is perhaps ill-judged to criticise the way in which a ‘victim’ behaves following the miserable experience of sexual manipulation and abuse, however, it is precisely because a victim will be likely unable to suitably gather their thoughts that they are, in the majority of legal cases, offered the support of lawyers and police when making their official statement. Breslavet has not and, I am told, will not press charges, and, as such, did not receive such support. The first post that she wrote is highly combustible, slamming Milsom, spreading the story wide open to be picked apart by ill-informed non-experts on Tumblr, Twitter etc. She was wrong to do this, and I wonder why nobody saw it right to advise she took a more considered approach. I feel great sympathy towards Milsom for he must feel, and has indeed written that he is, frightened, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing it’s scary’. Milsom has essentially been unfairly tried, in a manner that is typical of the online-sited ‘fourth wave feminism’,
’[…] the internet has created a ‘call-out’ culture, in which sexism or misogyny can be ‘called out’ and challenged. This culture is indicative of the continuing influence of the third wave, with its focus on micropolitics and challenging sexism and misogyny insofar as they appear in everyday rhetoric, advertising, film, television and literature, the media, and so on’ (1)
This young wave (and the wider context of blogging culture generally) has been criticised for the ways in which it invites anyone (whether in possession of or, more often, lacking, knowledge and expertise) to comment upon serious social issues. This very criticism is, conflictingly, also the oft-championed aspect of Internet culture. It is, after all, thanks to the fact that we all (excluding, of course, those countries in which Internet content is subject to harsh censorship) offered the space in which to write, play music and share opinions, that artists such as Milsom rose to fame in the first place. I am all for a culture that allows anyone and everyone a voice, but sensitive subjects and the details of complex, private relationships ought not to be lightly handled within such a culture. Breslavet’s gravest mistake is her lack of clarity in explaining the age difference between her and Milsom. Although she does not say so directly, it is easy to take from her post that she was fifteen years old when she first engaged in sexual activity with him. This has now been cleared up by her second post, but not before Milsom had been removed from DFTBA records online shop and from the lineup of this years Summer in the City event by former close friends Liam Dryden and Alan Lastufka.
Memory is fallible and histories exist in a constant state of flux as we remember, re-imagine and re-tell them.
‘In […] (the kernel of Bergson’s model of memory), our perception is continually brimming with memories of the past, even though a large number of memory images are erased through habitual action. As a result of the interrelationship between these two parts, however, “an attentive perception is a reflection on the present object, of chosen images from the past.” While “the number and complexity of these images will depend on the degree of tension adapted by the mind,” the reflexive perception forms a circuit, constantly creating, or recreating, within the sequence of time’
As such, it is naturally tricky to properly perceive the past, circling as it is in a condition of constant recreation. Particularly when, I would argue, the person possessive of the memories in question has undergone significant developments in the gap between present and past. Breslavet has matured (somewhat) from a young teenager to an adult (at least in the UK, where one ‘becomes’ an adult at eighteen), and is perhaps misremembering, erasing, and recreating the past in a subjective, selective manner which has proven itself to be extremely damaging. Though she argues that ’[…] looking back on a moment and saying ‘i made a poor decision’ is not the same as looking back on a moment and saying ‘i was coerced into making a decision that i never wanted to make’, this is impossible to prove either way…and I don’t intend to do so here. I realise that this writing is slipping into unbalanced territory, I am at risk of reiterating those shameful arguments in which an abusers behaviour is excused because society refuses to believe the testimony of the ‘victim’ in question. I am no-one to judge the circumstances between Milsom and Breslavet, and nor is anyone else eagerly blogging about the pairs personal conflicts. I simply ask that we make the effort to take an objective stance on this event, that we offer Milsom his rightful respect, that we do not forget that this country, thankfully, practices a ‘presumption of innocence’ policy.
Relationships and power relations are hugely complex, it is simply not right to assume that we understand what occurred between two evidently somewhat troubled people, based on the reading of a single, one-sided account. Slinging the words ‘rape’ and ‘abuse’ about the blogosphere is a dangerous way to behave, in this case it has sadly resulted in the ostracization and potential ruination of a young man. If the power of the Internet allows us all the wonderful freedom to speak and write as we choose, then why has the right to detail and defend his version of events been denied to Milsom?
[J.B. Dazen: It goes without saying that I strongly condemn any form of abuse, force or coercion. If you find yourself in such a situation, tell the perpetrator to stop. If they won’t listen, get out of their lives. If you can’t do that alone, ask friends, family or confidants for help. If all else fails, seek professional help. I hope it has become clear through this post that I subscribe to the idea of nuance and complexity in discourse, as opposed to quick, emotional and final judgement. Please take this into consideration when you’re adding to the discussion.]
(2) Kwon, Teckyoung, ‘The Materiality of Remembering: Freud’s Wolf Man and the Biological Dimensions of Memory’ New Literary History, Volume 41, Number 1, Winter 2010, pp. 213-232
VideoBardo, founded on 1996, calls artists to participate in the V International Videopoetry Festival, which is composed by Preliminary Events along 2014 in different cities and places, and by a Central Week in November in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We understand Videopoetry as all audiovisual work where verbal language (word, letter, speech, speaking, writing, sign) is protagonist or has a special transformer treatment. Therefore these three fields: Image in movement, Sound and Verbal language, dialog with each other in order to create a fourth reality which is the Videopoetic Work. So in videopoetry the verbal language is experienced in visual, sound, corporal and physical dimensions. Download rules and regulations (pdf) Download entry form (doc)
Deadline: 25 April 2014 Vol. 20, No. 1: ‘On Poetics & Performance’ (February 2015) edited by Ric Allsopp The object of a poetics, like that of art itself, is at one and the same time knowledge, affect and action. (Laurence Louppe in The Poetics of Contemporary Dance 1998 : 3-4) We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art, as a teaching machine designed to maximize perception and to make everyday learning a process of discovery. (McLuhan & Fiore in The Medium is the Massage 1967 : 68) If McLuhan’s prescient (if slightly ominous) statement of possibility has become more of a distinct reality since the 1960s, then what forms and systems of poetics might currently provide us with a handle on such environmental ‘arrangments’ and how might such forms and systems of contemporary poetics enable us to develop radical and experimental performance and arts practices without falling into retrograde or conventional forms and flows? The usage of the term ‘poetics’ – a system or theory of the workings of literature, and by extension other forms of arts practice, under whose heading ‘questions about form, mode and genre are asked’ (1) has a vast historical range in the Western tradition stretching from classical antiquity to the present. It embraces (for example) Aristotle’s systematic categorization of the formal elements of dramatic poetry, Olson’s projectivist poetics, Showalter’s feminist poetics, the ‘well-made play’, Jakobson’s ‘formal devices that structure a message’, Cage’s ecopoetics, and Boal’s poetics of the oppressed, and produces a kind of double-helix that interweaves the conventional and methodological with the radical and experimental. More recently ‘poetics’ has been used in relation not just to established literary and dramatic forms but to performance as an expanded field, and used as a increasingly trans-disciplinary and post-disciplinary term. In his introduction to Digital Poetics (2001) Los Pequeño Glazier framed poiesis as ‘a thinking through making’ that reconciles thought with matter and time, and which supports the aphorism ‘as the poet works, the work discovers’ (2). This is echoed and extended in more recent shifts away from quasi-scientific and methodological approaches to artistic research, and towards a ‘non-aligned’ poetics as developed by Goran Sergej Pristas and Bojana Cvejic: ‘a kind of thought that arises from within, or close to, artistic practice that in turn becomes an instrument of looking past art’, using the term poetics to ‘emphasize the productive power of thought as opposed to the genre of interpretation that classifies specimens of kinds: a body, a language or an idea of this or that kind.’ (3)From a point of view of performance practice, poetics concerns itself with ‘poiesis’, or acts of making and giving form to the interplay of material and immaterial content: a poetics of dance and choreography, of theatre and performance art, of writing and poetry, of architecture and painting. More than simply a method of classification and categorization, poetics thus looks towards and draws on a wide range of resources, intuitions and techniques What then are the implications, influences and practices of a radical, experimental and expanded poetics for performance? What are the implications of a renewed (or continued) interest in indeterminacy (Cage), Fluxus, projectivism (Olson), phenomenological poetics (Bachelard), language poetics, as well as the poetics of new (social) media technologies, digital poetics, environmental and ecological poetics, conceptual writing and choreography, or cognitive poetics? These would all seem to generate examples of the ‘new types of order’ to which Olson refers in ‘Notes on Poetics’: ‘what makes it worth doing, as well as formally seeing it as a possibility, [are] the new relationships, unrealized in our experiences and unforeseen by our imaginations, which make their appearance, and thus through the poem introduce into the universe new types of order’. (4) This issue of Performance Research ‘On Poetics and Performance’ aims to open up perspectives on contemporary, cross-disciplinary and experimental poetics and poiesis deriving from or relating to current artistic practice and research, particularly with respect to areas of practical and theoretical enquiry that cross between writing and dance, theatre and performance art, choreography and architecture, and invites contributions that address, for example, any or all of the following areas: architectural poetics experimental poetics feminist poetics poetics of appearance poetics of choreography poetics of indeterminacy poetics of performance poetics of place poetics of the page spatial poetics tactical poetics visual poetics ‘On Poetics and Performance’ invites artists, poets, practitioners, theorists and writers to submit proposals for unpublished and critical articles (between 2,000 and 6,000 words), documents, texts or artist’s pages, which position poetics and poiesis in relation to the contexts and discourses of contemporary culture, in relation to expanded and open concepts of a poetics of performance and performance-making and in relation to an expanded view of what ‘poetics’ might mean now as a generative, productive or even possibly redundant term. Notes 1. John Hall (2013) On Performance Writing, Vol.1, Bristol: Shearsman Books. 2. Los Pequeño Glazier (2001) Digital Poetics: The Making of E-Poetries, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. 3. Bojana Cvejic and Goran Sergej Pristas (2013) Parallel Slalom: A Lexicon of Non-Aligned Poetics, Belgrade: TkH and Zagreb: CDU. 4. Charles Olson (2010 [c. 1958]) ‘Notes on poetics’, in Projective Verse II, ed. Joshua Hoeynck, Tucson: Chax Press. Schedule: Proposals: 25 April 2014 First Drafts: June 2014 Final Drafts: August 2014 Publication Date: February 2015 ALL proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to: Rosa Bekkenkamp: firstname.lastname@example.org Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the Issue Editor: Ric Allsopp: email@example.com General Guidelines for Submissions: •Proposals will be accepted by e-mail (MS-Word or RTF). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side. •Please DO NOT send images electronically without prior agreement. •Please note that submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere. •If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research. *******
No! You see, totally misinformed reports and utterly inaccurate information: http://www.dailydot.com/fandom/tom-milsom-underage-sex-scandal/ This is not right!
This was written rather quickly and is neither properly ‘academic’ (and as such probably doesn’t belong on my research project blog), nor a standard blog post. I could have written an awful lot more, I find the situation extremely complex and believe that Tom Milsom does not, necessarily,…