Disastrous Dialogue: Plastic Productions of Agency-Meaning Relationships
Abstract: In 2010 the Danish artist Søren Thilo Funder was in Cairo to produce the art film Disastrous Dialogue. As Funder set to work he had a foreboding about how politically charged the piece might be. When he cut the film, however, events had exceeded his most fateful premonitions, reshaping the interpretative context completely. The changes in Egyptian society, thus, altered the possible meaning–agency relations of the finished work. Through a close reading and a conceptually guided criticism of the text–context relationships of Disastrous Dialogue we explore interrelations of meaning and agency through the lens of the concept of plasticity. This leads us to propose a plastic understanding of agency as both formed by and formative of meaningful relationships—and able to creatively destruct and, thereby, transform configurations of meaning.