Research area D
1. THE PRE
Is the -
(post-industrial, postmodern, post-dance, post-industry, post-irony)
– it announces itself
a radically unpredictable beginning already
already presenting things to come
I put my hands on the horizon.
I put my hands on the horizon and I lift myself, I push myself up and lift myself so that I can peek over it –
I put my hands on the horizon and I lift myself
I push myself up and lift myself so that I can peek over it –
Just darkness.Or maybe the edge of something – white. An icecap – a sunstorm – clouds of dust
Sometimes, when I teach – I ask my students to perform the same exercise.Put your hands on the horizon – I sayand lift yourselves gently over it.What do you see? Nothing.The majority of them see nothing, and when there is something more than nothing
– the world totally covered in water totally covered in sand they see a planet engulfed by darkness.
I am blind
I cannot see
I am standing at the edge of an icy cleft and there is nothing in front of me
It is as if
– reality itself has been etched away
A picture cut open
The French philosopher Jacques Rancière states: – to be political is to imagine new possible worlds. Worlds in which things that now seem impossible, becomes possible. The slave can be free, women can vote, homosexuals can practise their sexuality etc etc.
Siri Hustvedt has said: The future is the land of our expectations, hopes, fantasies, fears and projections. The future is fiction. This fiction, she states – rests in our memories and it is what we know and remember that builds our expectations.
I close my eyes and I see
I close my eyes and see nothing.
I close my eyes and see a landscape of children.In the lush green, they devour a lizard. Their lifespan reduced to such an extent, -
A– that only few reach sexual maturity.
This is a world inhabited by children giving birth to children.
BThis is a world where children bury children. Teach other children. Kill other children.
ASurrounded by jungle, they stumble upon the hidden stones of civilization – not even realising what the word civilization means.Language lost.
B Future lost.
CMemory surrendered to a harsh and eternal present.
I hate this society, but I know I can’t change it. I fear this society – but my fear of change is greater than the fear of living in it. When I think of radical change, images appear in my mind of mass killings, of human control, of monstrous grey societies run by bureaucrats, the PARTY, the mind controllers. By totalitarian regimes. As soon as I think the thought of a society build on the idea of a common good, – the ghosts of the past comes back to haunt me, and I shy away from it, as the mere thinking about it could contaminate me. So I walk around in this make believe harmonizing system as if I am trapped in a maze. Dazed. Mobile but paralysed – inert, but filled with inertia.
I don’t know
It’s like – I can’t find my voice
I wake up, and it’s gone
I open my mouth – and it’s not there
I can’t find my voice and I don’t own my own words
but not really I don’t really own them
They are just words, so I try to speak and I just –
No voice – damned it
I think it’s psychological
Damned sure it’s psychological!
We know how you feel
It’s like that – That’s the terrible thing – like when you have the feeling that you don’t even own your own words
Not even your feelings
They are – They are not even like /
Yes – They are – They
feel even /
Made up –
the moment you say them – As you say them – As you speak
I get so frustrated sometimes
Just so fucking FRUSTRATED–
I just feel like screaming
BWhat if I can’t function
What if I’m like
Like a piece of machinery, like – just
PUFF – and then – no more
Just like scrap
You are not broken
BI mean – There is a certain kind of framework that you are supposed to fit into
CYou are not broken, Torgny
Consensus paralyses action
When the idea of what you cannot do is stronger than the ideas about what you can do
Like the sniper
What about the sniper?
When he hits
I mean – there is the voice of reason and then the will to act and then – the sniper
These are the days of the sniperThat’s what I think
It’s all about what you do and what you say
Cause and effect
Like when the link is broken then – If what you say – does not mean anything
there is no effect
And the sniper?
That’s what I mean
The link is broken, and then: The time of the sniper
Sometimes I just wish it would all explode, all of it, just so that we don’t have to worry about it any more
She keeps roaming through the fur coatsthe shoesthe filth a piece of arta piece of shit
I cannot bear it anymore
like acid – corrosion
(shouts) I hate things!
Why can’t they just self-terminate!
Why can’t they just explode!
She is leaving the bedroom
She is in the living room
She is holding a jug
a Danish statue of white children grimacing
A pair of handmade coasters
an African quilt
A dozen silver spoons
And she opens a drawer
What’s in it?
And she takes out a case
And she lifts it up and its
And she starts pointing it at things
A pair of shoes and then she
–starts to shoot
just randomly at her stuff
at her paintings
her silver wear
her pots and pans
at the leftovers
the garbage cans
her mothers jug
through the window in her living room
the window in her bedroom
one, two, three, four
Drop the gun Line
Just drop the gun!
And she goes out
She is pacing herself
She is heading for higher ground
Let go of the gun!
You get it over with
You start shooting
And then you just go on doing it
Randomly at first
then more methodically
You pace yourselves
You seek higher ground
It feels good
It feels necessary
It feels like this is all that is
The narrative, as the image and the poem has always had the potential of producing radically different realities, – but today it has become hard to imagine those other or new possible worlds. And if Siri Hustvedt is right – and those new worlds are only produced as a reaction to what is, what is might limit our capacity to come up with real and radical alternatives. We might get stuck in a mode where criticism exists for the sake of criticism, and the radical suggestions get stifled before they even float to the surface.
Today it seems that we are living surrounded by a storymaking machinery that is set on producing and repeating the dystopia. Films and television series expose us to make believe futures filled with catastrophe, loss. A relentlessly repeated end game where cities sink to the ground, epidemics spread, and the planet becomes covered in ice, in sand. In freezing cold or blazing heat. A future where viruses rage, where people eat each other. Where all that’s familiar is lost or unrecognizable, where humanism itself is being tested and societies are being unveiled as failed, cannibalistic, doomed, derailed, or as mere shams. Where democracy more often than not is portrayed as the sugar coating on a brutal state of eternal terror, only benefiting the system, the ruling class – or an imperial figure gone mad. It is as if the modern monster are the humans themselves. It is as if these monsters have become demonic and as a result, these demons are filling our minds. They have become the driving force behind and the monarchs of our fiction. We repeatedly project them into our fictional future, and there we turn our world, our habitat, into a landscape of terror and ruin, destruction and fear. We build a pyramid of negatives – of forsaken hope and chaos – and on the top of this pyramid stands the hero of our lost dreams, our new Gods of disillusionment – the lone survivor looking for revenge, for compassion, for love.
It is as if we have arrived at a place that has left us no alternatives.
The perspective has become one eyed. Brutalised. Rigid. Blunt.
But what if this perception of a post-society in crises is just that? A perception?
Maybe this existence, where we are at, in this “back loop”, at the end of the world and of society, as we know it – Is just a way of perceiving it, and that this perception of the state of post is something we have to shake off. That it is just that – a “feeling”. Maybe what we need to discover, is that this is not the age to end all ages. That if we changed the perspective we would see that we live in the time of opportunities. Opportunities for change we did not have before because we have knowledge we did not have before. If we don’t. If we continue to constantly repeat to ourselves that this is a crisis – then maybe this does not lead to action, but to fear. It awakens a need to preserve, to save. To reactionary and reactive behaviour where old prejudices reappear like nationalism, racism, misogyny, etcetera, etcetera
I close my eyes and seewhite linen.
I close my eyes and see a landscape of children.
Houses spurting out of the ground covered by green
trees and a fast running river
Oh – this need to rid oneself of the fear of simplification
Oh this need to stand in the complex
and embrace it
It’s like I am under a spell a spell in which my brain is like a huge maze
I know I entered the maze at some point, and I am desperately looking for an exit – but I cannot find it. There are more and more alleys, there are more and more walls. There are more and more problems. There are more and more meaningless actions, meaningless relationships, meaningless locations, meaningless dreams, meaningless worries.
The main question to ask, I think – is:
is this a world coming apart, or piecing itself back together?
Long silence or sound
What was that?
Something entering the room
A change in the weather
I did not hear anything
I was just thinking –
How plural we are.
Sometimes I don’t understand a word you’re saying
Wait – I mean – Just listen – think about it
Is this the enemy?
This tarmac, these walls, that weed growing at the curb, those children playing, your face, that aeroplane cutting across the sky. That puddle of rainbow-coloured oil, that first snow in November. The snow that does not come. My hands deep in my pockets, your hand reaching for the butter, birds migrating, people migrating, letters being taught, languages being forgotten, a new star being discovered.
A boy putting down his weapons deciding that he wants to grow wheat
Our telescopes reaching deeper into space, the realisation that space might not end, that this might not end, that this –
Is this the end?
Who has told me so?
– a mouse in the undergrowth, a war about to break out, the discovery that the structure of some of our cells are the same as the structures of the cells in some distant star,
the realisation that we are all matter, that matter matters, a girl showing her tits to a boy she likes –
Or – a single white man on a shooting-spree, a transportation of bread, of weapons, of grain. The heaviness of the
plain as the rain fall – all that which goes on
when all the other things go on. A writer writing his poem, a dancer stretching his arm out – a bird
dying, a day dying, a star dying – is not necessarily the
end – what if
this is only the beginning?
What if this is what we have
is this a world coming apart, or piecing itself back together?
The main question is
To see the world as it is
the radical force in a piece of wood, the brutality and voicelessness of movement.
And then –
as it is rediscovered –
turn it into song.
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