consciousness on the criterion 2017 / creator, performer
Studiobühne UHH, Hamburg

The notion of the criterion and its performative possibilities was an artistic research project by Kotka Gudmon, expressing distrust in the notion of the criterion, referring to the discourse of epistemology and the problem of the criterion as well as to the paradox of measurement (Coastline Paradox of Mandelbrot). Taken an everyday restriction, the 2 cm diameter of the vacuum-cleaner‘s tube, a central criterion is chosen: things that fit in, and those which do not. It can be associated with certain canonization and segregation processes, which actions are to be executed during the common practice of the daily routine of the vacuum cleaning.

The vacuum-cleaner as an object of stigmatized female attribute and the appearance together with it on the stage might also be read as an example of the Doing Gender (West, Zimmerman 1987): ‘individuals who „do“ gender‘, ‘a situated doing‘. At the same time the understanding of the ‘Staging Gender‘ of Brandstetter (2003) is also represented by the performance: ‘die Bühne der Geschlechterbeziehungen in der Kulturgeschichte und ihre Hierarchien‘. In the Hungarian history of socialism the relationship of women and vacuum-cleaner is carved in the memory of all Hungarian through an urban legend, related to an allegedly banned advertisement of a local vacuum cleaner, called Mónika: ‚Don’t knockout! Don’t shake out! Let Mónika to suck out!‘

Concerning the evidence, that the measured waste inside the vacuum-cleaner generates a new accumulation of things, based on a new criterion, we should also consider the findings of Winzen (1997) about the nature of collecting, as a ‘grundlegendes Bedürfnis. Und als Ergebnis der Dauerbewegung des normalen Wachbewußtseins, sammeln wir immer, wenn wir Wach sind. […] Ist es dem Sammelnden wichtiger, Vergangenes zu erinnern oder Vorräte für die Zukunft anzulegen?‘ He also mentions, that fear plays an important role among the often unconscious aims of collecting: ‘Die Sorge nicht nur dem vergangenen Verloren, sondern auch dem zukünftig Ungewissen. Deswegen soll immer die symbolische Kontinuität des sammelnden Subjekts in die Zukunft hinein sichern, wie Helden im Panthéon‘.

© Kotka Gudmon

- Gabriele Brandstetter: Staging Gender. Körperkonzepte in Kunst und Wissenschaft, In: Gerlach, Kreis-Schnick, Opitz, Ziegler [Hrsg.] Körperkonzepte, Münster: Waxmann Verlag 2003. pp.25-46.
- R.M. Chisholm: The Problem of the Criterion. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1973.
- Mandelbrot: "How Long Is the Coast of Britain." Ch. 5 in The Fractal Geometry of Nature. New York: W. H. Freeman, 1983. pp.25-33
- Kevin McCain: The Problem of the Criterion, In: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource 2014. Viewed on: 12.07.2018.
- “Populism is not irrational, and often speechful” („A populizmus nem irracionális, és gyakran beszédes”) Interview with Judith Butler, translation by Viktoria Szepvölgyi, In: Maszol 24.05.2017.
- Matthias Winzen: Sammeln – so selbstverständlich, so paradox, In: Schaffner, Winzen: Deep Storage. Arsenale der Erinnerung. Sammeln, Speichern, Archivieren in der Kunst, Münich: Prestel 1997.