She would fall asleep with a taste of home on her lips (Journal of Visual Culture & HaFI, 29)

This is the twenty-ninth instalment of a collaborative effort by the Journal of Visual Culture and the Harun Farocki Institut, initiated by the COVID-19 crisis. The call sent to JVC’s editorial board, and a wide selection of previous contributors and members of its extended communities, described the task as follows: “There is a lot of spontaneous, ad hoc opinion-making and premature commentary around, as to be expected. However, the ethics and politics of artistic and theoretical practice to be pursued in this situation should oblige us to stay cautious and to intervene with care in the discussion. As one of JVC’s editors, Brooke Belisle, explains: ‘We are not looking for sensationalism, but rather, moments of reflection that: make connections between what’s happening now and the larger intellectual contexts that our readership shares; offer small ways to be reflective and to draw on tools we have and things we know instead of just feeling numb and overwhelmed; help serve as intellectual community for one another while we are isolated; support the work of being thoughtful and trying to find/make meaning…which is always a collective endeavour, even if we are forced to be apart.'” TH

 

She would fall asleep with a taste of home on her lips

A moving poem by Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, She would fall asleep with a taste of home on her lips, Moving Poem Series, iOS, 1920 × 1080, 3’ 10″

 

From the claustrophobia of domesticity to the fury of a changing world. Such passages always take place in the middle of the night. They wait till the globe moves just beyond the edge of the sun, and they dream us up, all reprogrammed and ready to accept.

The world sleeps, the axes change. The world wakes up, and the sun falls on empty streets.

There is nothing smooth about these passages: initially, the ones who had homes were all forced deeper into them, frantically attempting to reinvent a Bachelardian bourgeois berth, endlessly viewing the same tired details and hoping that our bored gaze will bring out the phenomenology of belonging. But even while we were attempting that, we knew that in this age of lost innocence, such luxuries were no longer possible: we finally became, in very real, material, architectural terms, a testing ground for Esposito’s immunological dystopia, or Sloterdijk’s bubbles of isolation.

Yet we never stopped seeking the other home. Our desire to return, our need to regress – who can tell the difference anymore.

And then, the next passage. We are ushered out by the forceps of systematic racial abuse and discrimination, we come out with a cry. We inhale the vast pillars of oxygen needed for a global breath to be heard. This breath says: we cannot breathe. Not this air anymore, even when the knees are removed from our necks. Protest as essential activity during COVID-19. There is violence in this passage, no doubt about this. The light is harsh, the air smells of rotting empires, the port waters open up their arms for Victorian statues finally to be corroded. We are out.

The dream turns with the axes of the planet.

 

The moving poem ‘She would fall asleep with a taste of home on her lips’ is one of three moving-poems/passages written, composed, videoed and recited by Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos as part of the art residency-at-home This is a Call by Eva Sajovic and Rebecca Davies of People’s Bureau, along with fiction writer Sarah Butler and film maker Shona Hamilton, in May 2020 during the UK lockdown. The pieces, along with the works of the other artists in residence, were performed on a live zoom stream on Saturday 16th of May, 2020. A film by Shona Hamilton is currently in preparation.
Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos is Professor of Law & Theory and Director of the the Westminster Law & Theory Lab // he is also an artist working with performance, installation, sculpture, photography and picpoetry // and a fiction author, with his recent The Book of Water coming out in September by ERIS; Instagram.

 

 

 

June 10th, 2020, 02 / Rosa Mercedes
Interface

Sara Ahmed on the perfomativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020, Tom

David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): “We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?”

September 7th, 2020, Tom

T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk:  “For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.”

August 21st, 2020, Tom
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