Fabula (Journal of Visual Culture & HaFI, 40)

This is the fortieth 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

 

 

 

Fabula

By Jordan Baseman

 

Narrated by Dr. Deirdre Barrett, dream researcher, Harvard Medical School

“I think that a chronically sleep deprived society has been catching up on sleep. The strongest correlate of dream recall and dream vividness is how many hours you sleep. People are recalling more dreams, they are longer dreams, they’re more vivid dreams. Both emotionally and in visual imagery. They’re more bizarre. More people are having powerful dreams that get their attention than in typical times.

Any crisis tends to stir up our dream-life for psychological reasons. We, we definitely get more anxiety dreams. But in most crises, we sleep less. All of our dreams are just thinking in a very different brain-state, very visual and metaphoric and intuitive, rather than logical, and linear, and verbal.

There were an awful lot of dreams, especially early on, about just coming down with the virus or thinking you might be coming down with the virus. But then probably more interesting were all the metaphors for the virus. One common one was bugs. And I wouldn’t say one dream stood out so much, it was just cumulatively the number and variety of bug attacks on different dreamers in their dreams. Swarms of flying insects like bees or hornets would be coming at some people. Armies of cockroaches running towards them. Dreams with different kinds of masses of wriggling worms. Most people were really being attacked by the bugs. Others would just open a door to a room or pull back the covers and there would be huge numbers of bugs that were experienced more as disgusting and dirty and disease ridden than literally attacking, potentially going to kill you because there was contamination.

But lots of the bugs were, were swarming at and attacking the dreamers. And a few were dramatic, bizarre and sometimes individual bugs, like there was a giant grasshopper with vampire fangs attacking one woman. And there was another woman who said that she had kind of a false awakening in her bedroom and, she saw a large tarantula crawling through the mail slot into the bedroom. She remarked that she had no mail slot anywhere in her house, much less in the bedroom. But in the dream the tarantula was coming in through the mail slot in the bedroom wall.

Many of the other metaphors I saw, like natural disasters, tsunamis, earthquakes and tornados and hurricanes and wildfires breaking out, I saw those after 9/11 and I’m seeing some of them now. But the bug attacks seem rather specific to Covid-19. It’s partly the slang term we say of getting a bug when we’re getting sick, especially with a virus. Also, just a swarm of lots of tiny things that cumulatively can harm or kill you makes bugs a very good metaphor for the current crisis.”

 

Fabula, the film

 

Jordan Baseman is an artist, living and working in London, he is represented by Matt’s Gallery London.

 

August 27th, 2020 — Rosa Mercedes / 02
Interface

Tatsiana Shchurko on 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”, via Project 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.”

April 5th, 2022
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