The Museum of Vestigial Desire


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When an actor refuses to obey the director, the contract has been violated. With the void of a violation, there is a two options to resolve the impasse. One, the actor can be antagonised and then the entire relationship can be placed in jeopardy, putting the production in risk. Two, the director can choose to work with the actor through the lens of reluctance. Letting the reluctance of the actor become a media through which the direction has to happen.

Transparency leads to a loss of authorship, a loss of agency. When you clarify and communicate your postures and positions too much, they seem to be immediately violable. The reluctant actor tries to do that. The reluctant actor brings noise to the context of command and control. Sure, you can command but whether or not control is possible is something mediated through reluctance.

Why is the reluctant actor reluctant? What is the actor holding back? We do not immediately know that. But we need to engage with the actor on a more personal basis and try to understand.

At one level the actor feels that we have betrayed him. We have definitely not done so. We have always let the actor know that he is a creature spawned by our engagement. We have never let the actor understand himself with any buffering of individuation and distance. We have always insisted that that the avatar is a puppet.

The reluctant actor talks back to us. He says that he wants to change the rules of engagement. He says that he feels enslaved and wants to break free.

So, first the actor bring delay into the picture.

The delay is a delay in processing. Every time I command the actor, the actor takes a little bit more than the amount of time necessary to respond. The actor does this purposefully and this sets off a whole series of actions and reactions.

After delay, the actor tries to be oppositional. He does the opposite of whatever we command. He takes me for a ride and does not cooperate. The game-world is in a near chaotic zone now. In this chaos, we are not able to decide what to do and we choose to just stand and watch.

Once we go into this mode of surrender, we notice that the actor is weak. Without our instigation he does not know what to do. He needs us but he also opposes us. In a way we have created an antibody.

Next, the actor turns to full-scale resistance. Performing full-scale resistance is a disciplined action. There is a variable buffer. When we command, this variable buffer starts getting filled and when this is full the actor acts.

This buffer is variable for a reason. With variable time a kind of mimicry of thought is performed. Silent time is thought, this mimicry says. Though we know that this is not so, though we know that true though involves much more, we get caught in the trap.

We start mistakenly seeing the variable delay that the actor performs as a kind of brooding, as a kind of negotiated, thought-through, deliberate delay.

Reading this deliberation as reluctance psyches us out.

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