Mårten Spångberg about La Substance, but in English

Foto: Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet

Mårten Spångberg, 2014
Foto: Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet

La Substance, but in English – previous works in this series or this operating system were called EPIC, The Nature, and The Ocean, and (with the exception perhaps of EPIC) like La Substance, they are capacities that are not divisible, like a clock or a life. The intention is that the performance will give an experience that is not narrated, not a line, a set of scenes or components. The performances are, as in are, and they exist like the ocean, which is one united whole – something entirely superior that encompasses everything – there are lots of things in the ocean, but the ocean is always one. As in The Nature, which is something our minds cannot grasp – we don’t have access to Nature – we can walk around in nature – but what we experience is, according to post-structuralism, nature as a representation, not Nature on its own terms. The Substance – beginning with The – or La – refers to Plato and the Greeks and their ideas on substance as the indivisible primordial matter that is one, what everything comes from – so to speak – and can be directly associated with metaphysics, transcendence, eternity and the never-changing. That is precisely what this performance is, an eternity, an infinity, the absolute security that will be there forever, in eternity, but also, in order to be that, is completely independent of humankind, time, weather and wind.

Substance has no intention, no properties, but engenders everything, perpetually. Needless to say, The Substance is always the substance, so it is rather silly to think of translating it… ehhh, and something sort of happens in translation – the substance is where it is, it is not translated. So, to call something La Substance, but in English is about demonstrating that the performance is aware of how substance communicates itself in the world, and where it is in philosophy. A show called The Substance – no – that would either sound like something you snort – something you are under the influence of – a drug. Or it sounds like a denim label and doesn’t allude to Plato etc. So, La Substance, but in English – is the title that says The Substance – yes, referring to philosophy but knowing what it’s talking about – and undermines itself. And that’s exactly the right level of pretentiousness of La Substance, no, no – very constipated – and then , but in English – that makes it a sort of joke, the kind I am fond of. And then, it’s sort of like – but in English – like when they dub children’s movies – that appeals to me. La Substance, but in English has the same title everywhere.

Mårten Spångberg

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