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
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.
Tatsiana Shchurkoon the War in Ukraine, Entangled Imperialisms, and Transnational Feminist Solidarity, via LeftEast (May 2, 2022): “[An] uneven knowledge production and the many implications of the war against Ukraine reveal the dire need to develop a feminist anti-capitalist critique of multiple imperialisms. This language should grow from within the occupied and suppressed communities of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. An anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist feminist positionality grasps that the local is part of a global in an effort to build transnational connections of mutual aid and support against state and corporate violence. For example, statements of solidarity with Ukraine expressed by the International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia and Native American communities along with the anti-war feminist march in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) on March 8, 2022, pointing out that the war in Ukraine should be of concern for a broad transnational community, may serve as instrumental examples of alternative anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist solidarities that stretch beyond state regulations and macro-politics and foreground decolonial perspectives, necessary in addressing entanglements of multiple imperialisms. Such solidarities also bring to light hidden interconnections of the past that allowed for distant communities to survive and support each other against the violence of imperialist intervention and its attendant capitalist exploitation. Thus, the march in Bishkek reminds of the socialist roots of the International Women’s Day to call for internationalist, intersectional, class solidarity against imperialism and militarism.”
Vasyl Cherepanyn on that “It’ll take more than tanks to ease Germany’s guilt” (via Politico): “Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Germany has been imposing neocolonial optics on its Eastern European ‘peripheries,’ and on the post-Soviet space in particular, where Ukraine was long considered a gray buffer zone about which the EU was ‘deeply concerned.’ Germany didn’t bother itself much with differentiating between former Soviet countries’ pasts. Even until recently, any Ukrainian agenda in Germany was often ‘balanced’ with a Russian perspective, so as to not exclude the latter by any means.”
An unnamed anarchist and art scholar, who joined the Territorial Defense Forces, quoted by Olexii Kuchanskyi in an essay on “Digital Leviathan and His Nuclear Tail” (via Your Art and e-flux notes): “At dawn, Dima and I talked about cinema. Dima believes that cinema is inferior to literature as a means of expression because you spend much more time with a book than a film. It’s a really interesting point, something to dig into. I studied at the department of art theory & history and I never thought of it. Dima served in the military after school and worked at the factory all his life. He listens to rap, smokes pot, and tries to have fun. He is thirty-eight, his child was born last year. He likes Wong Kar-wai and is a fan of Asian cinema in general. Dima communicates by quoting Omar Khayyam, Confucius, and other awesome guys.”
April 20th, 2022
Vasyl Cherepanyn (Visual Culture Research Centre, Kyiv) on Putin’s “World War Z” and the West’s deadly “foot-dragging”, viaProject Syndicate: “The main feature of this Western condition is constant belatedness. The West has always been too late, incapable of acting ahead and instead just reacting to what has already happened. As a Ukrainian joke went at the time, ‘While the European Union was taking a decision, Russia took Crimea.’ Then as now, Ukrainians wondered, ‘What is the West’s red line? What will compel the West to act instead of waiting and discussing when to intervene?’”
Barbara Wurm on Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius, killed in Mariupol, via Die Welt: “Kvedaravičius unfolded a whole spectrum of visual anthropology over a decade with only three films [Barzakh, Mariupolis, Parthenon]. It now awaits evaluation and exploration. The time will come. The films themselves make possible an infinite immersion in the matter of the world, between dream and reality, horror and everyday life, facts and phenomenal imagology.”
April 5th, 2022
Statement by #AfricansFromUA on Equal Treatment via e-flux notes: “Non-Ukrainian nationals from the war in Ukraine arriving in Germany have been facing very different terms of treatment—both in different federal states and cities but also within the very same city throughout time and different facilities. While some received so called ‘Fictitious Certificates’ for one year without further procedures others were pressured to submit an asylum application with their finger prints registered and passports seized. Again others were given a so called “Duldung” including the threat of deportation.”