“Presencing” is to make oneself present in one’s concern to the world, according to Heidegger. Presencing constitutes (1) “being” in time, (2) within the world, and (3) in action; and this denotes how Heidegger’s early emphasis of being and time developed into being in the process of becoming. Thus, being is not of a singular ground. The process of becoming embodies the trajectory of hereness to thereness, and presence towards moving beyond presence. An extension from this is that space could only be understood as narrated space, and who we are could only be presented and unfolded as narrative selves.
In many of the video essays submitted to issue #3, I experience the tenacity of asserting one’s presence which highlights the momentary, the liminal, and what is about to come (or may not come). Presencing must be understood, then, as distance, as spatiality. “Becoming” involves turning to the future; videographic acts of becoming materialize in space, and time as space.
“Presencing” is no philosophical bluffing here. The highlighted distance of becoming through presencing is laden with existential crises. Is it the same event if the voice that speaks is a different one? Why wouldn’t passion and sensations be less real because it is in a virtual, fictional/game environment? Am I conducting everyday activity or am I dwelling in an artistic moment, and where's the boundary? Is it possible to grow a story into a projectile by telling it many more times ….? In what ways do maps and image tokens enact our presence in a place? If I do not start here, will I ever be there? What kind of distance or becoming is marked by miniaturization and virtualization?
There are several pieces on dance and yet they are no ordinary dance videos. These works all highlight the choreographic moment, and the formation of a dance. 4000 Blows reminds me of Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A -- lifting the strict boundary between the professionally trained dancer and the everyday person. Using everyday activities and gestures as the raw material of dance by minimum transformation is Rainer’s anti-elitist, methodical liberation of dance from classical conventions. And how does it differ from Merce Cunningham’s attempt for a new form of abstract dance via “chance dance”? The video essays we have collected here all manifest sharp spatial awareness -- any point in space could set off the dancer’s movement; a phrase has multiple generative possibilities, or a deliberate deferral of a humanistic story.
No surprise and no coincidence, a handful of works describe, point and allude to the Covid-19 global experience. Loneliness and isolation acquire new languages. The body wakes up to new challenges. Expected or not, this issue “archives” these epoch-marking experiences.
The best works in issue #3 are shortlisted from works with the highest total scores contributed by 5 jury members, followed by a discussion of a range of merits of the individual works. In this round, we agreed to give three Best Works, and each juror also picked a Juror’s Choice to ensure a fair coverage of interest, styles and methods. Afterall, we honor the D-Normal/V-Essay’s commitment to sustain and nourish artistic experiments and freedom of expression, to engage in concerns of existence in contemporary society.