Tuesday, June 25, 2013


First published on THE MANTLE

Untitled, found photograph and poetry on moleskin journal, 2012

“Latency is the introduction to the possible, to the state of becoming.”–Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

Photography has strange qualities. These qualities highlight, or rather, obscure the natural process of memory. What is the mediation at work between seeing and remembering? Art has always placed an emphasis on seeing, determined to collapse the natural boundaries of the eye. Seeing as representing and thus as transforming, disfiguring and interpreting. Remembering, on the other hand, is to make sense of the original, in the crudest immediacy of its unfurling; to a certain degree remembering implies to cease from seeing. Cutting a frame out of the singularity of an event and freezing it. While apparently dynamic, memories remain fixed in a timeless chamber, at the same time that the objective content of what is being remembered is in constant flux and subject to change.
One thinks always of family albums; the sacred vessel of collective memories. Photographs are about both seeing and remembering. We’re allowed to see in them things that have passed, and also those that no longer exist; things that have been long destroyed. The photographic accident is less stable than the pictorial eye. It presents truths, yes, but it is only because of that that they’re alterable and even falsifiable. One of the things I most vividly remember from my childhood was flying a kite with my father and brother. My father used to spend days making the perfect kite from scratch, with wood and string and thick plastic film. Then we drove to the highlands, between the mountains and a lake, and flew the kite for the entire day. When I grew tired, I ran into the forest, picking up pine cones and sleeping on a carpet of grass looking into the white enamel sky.
Years later, when I had forgotten about the kite, I learnt that the mountain had been the scenario of fierce gun battles while I was away, and then I suddenly wanted to remember it. In detective-like form, I scanned dozens of family albums through the years, trying to find the photographs that would match my memories. To my disappointment they were all blurred and out of focus; lacking the immensity that I thought they had. I wanted to re-arrange them in different orders and manipulate the details in such a way that my memories would come back to life. I hadn’t thought about it for several years until I saw Turkish artist Lara Ögel’s exhibition “1+1=3.” Ögel nevertheless is not a photographer, but a skilled archivist that collects not photographs but images as they’re being discarded. Her practice is not to retrieve the past but to re-stage the owner-less.
1,000 Ideas, modified found image on paper, 2012
Every discarded photograph is already a ruin, and a monument to the impermanence of the things we see. By collecting discarded photographs and re-assembling them, removing them from their emotional ecosystem, Lara Ögel is not attempting to preserve the ruin in the way one would collect the past or how an archaeologist would reconstruct the lives of others. Her practice irrupts in the cycle of memory and challenges—often with violence—the ownership not of the photograph but the original image. While materiality remains and is easily adaptable to new configurations, the original image remains remotely unavailable not only since the moment it has been discarded but since the irruption of the event itself. The labor of memory is set in motion only once the absolute extension of the instant has disappeared into a transition; only then can images really appear.
In different series, and particularly in “A Series of Reactions”, Lara Ögel is performing the task of writing, a writing inscribed at the margins of art, but this writing is not simply annotating but rather what Derrida calls “écriture” (scripture rather than writing): The time of the photograph and the spatial generosity of her drawing and painting merge into a linguistic continuum. The latent temporality of the image is showing through in such a way that the image is no longer equal to itself; hence the title of the exhibition 1+1=3. Two juxtaposed images mutate into a third, whose origin is unknown and whose referent is neither of the two images but a point in time that remains undisclosed also to the artist. From the perspective of the viewer the photograph doesn’t stand still; it opens as a question mark once its objective past has been resolutely closed by interpretations.
Lebanese artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige have articulated whatlatency means in photography: “Latency is the state of what exists in a non-apparent manner, but which can manifest itself at any given moment. It is the time elapsed between the stimuli and the corresponding response. The latent image is the invisible, yet-to-be developed image on an impressed surface. The idea is that of the ‘dormant’ – slumber, slumbering – like something asleep, which might awake at any moment.” Ögel’s latency is not present in the actual instant of the photograph but on the labor of collecting the uncollectable, for it has been already discarded and forgotten. Thus: “It is not a defined territory, but a diffused state, uncontrollable, underground, as if lurking, as if all could resurface anew.”   
1+1=3, installation view
The risk here is not having lost the original images—for these images are not original, but finding the archive of the present more true to the referents than the original. I often toyed with the idea of sending Lara Ögel photographs from my father’s kite in the hope that she would scissor the kite out of the fog and the yellowing print, and re-insert it into pristine landscapes. At other times I thought that maybe one day she would find photographs with the landscapes of Bahrain, the last place where I lived, and without knowing she would re-stage them with other memories, scissoring out the original faces or covering them with letters that another anonymous and owner-less photograph, received once. What would be the result? Perhaps it wouldn’t be truer, but most probably very loyal to the way we would like our memories to become present to ourselves.
The visual element in 1+1=3 was strong but minimal and by no means defining. The strength is derived from elsewhere than optics; here latency is based not on the objective content of images but on the possibility that they are not closed visual fields. It is not the disappearance or absence what makes her interventions latent, but rather a presence that can only be confirmed by tearing apart, scissoring, scribing over. Her notebooks are very personal, riddled with the curiosity of an onlooker that does not want to save the image from being discarded; contrariwise she is further contaminating the image and freezing it at the moment of its extinction. The extinction however is never complete and the artist is fully aware of this latency: The truth of the image is likely to be revealed at any moment. Images cannot be ultimately discarded. Sometimes they come back and haunt us.
From Internet with Love (Order), handwritten letters, framed, 2013
1+1=3 by Lara Ögel was on show at the atelier UNKNOWN, April 28-30, 2013. Images 3 & 4 courtesy of Zeynep Beler. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Soundscapes of Bahrain

First published on THE MANTLE
What is contemporaneity? The question is of easy resolution for painters and the fine arts in general. A certain periodization, albeit erratic, exists in order to separate modern from contemporary art. In the history of sound, because of itsuncollectable nature, never subject to the changes of visual cultures, the entire repertoire of sounds is always available. That is not to say that there is no history of music, but sound (just like the schism between the history of art and the history of images) exists in a somewhat timeless chamber in which it could be said, contemporary music is simply everything that is going on now in music. The conflation of art and entertainment (and later also advertising) that has fueled film and music also augments the loss of scope when attempting to arrive at the contemporary.
While this is true for Western music—in spite of loud calls for globalization coming from artists and critics alike—it is all the more so for music practices in other latitudes. The case of Bahrain is particular and also little known. The small island on the shores of the Gulf can be said to have a long history—and cultural memory—of exchanges across cultures, but the foundations for the contemporary have not been particularly strong, although not entirely absent. A first generation of painters in touch both with traditional iconography and European painting rose in the middle of the 20th century with names still remembered: Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Nasser Al Yousif or Abdulla Al Muharraqi, among others. The fate of sounds from Bahrain has been less fortunate. How is the transition effected between indigenous sounds and elaborate compositional schemes?
It would be preposterous to speak of “tradition” and “modernity”, for the idea of “tradition” already implies a modern bias. There’s the vocal music of the nahham(pearl diver singers) known as fidjeri,” accompanied by drums and a clay pot, forming the musical landscape of the Arabian Gulf; music that is largely forgotten and now in the domain of a handful of specialized ethnologists. The old master painter Nasser Al Yousif, nevertheless, documented in detail the different styles of music and dance in his linoleum prints, paradoxically executed during the last years of his life after he had lost his sight. The powerful documents (also for art history) of Al Yousif, albeit not sonic, retain the powerful grammar of an era half by-gone whose presence is now ghostly. The genesis of contemporary music in Bahrain is the result of both reflex and re-invention.
[Folkloric Dance (ElFijri), Nasser Al Yousif, 2004, linoleum print]
Without a solid ground to mediate between sound—traditionally conceived—and contemporary music, Bahraini artists began their journey with the possibilities of the contemporary (beyond Khaleeji music) in the 1980s with the appearance of progressive rock band Ossiris that has achieved some renown. This progressive rock does not really have a compositional scheme other than popular music structures and has incorporated elements from traditional Bahraini sounds into what could be called folk rock, similar in concept to the experiment of the Lebanese underground from the late 1990s but with largely different results. Surprisingly, there is also a large public for heavy metal and hard rock, with several bands performing in English. Best known bands would be Motör MilitiaSmouldering In Forgotten, and Lunacyst.
Younger projects in this genre include Rain in HellThee ProjectM.U.S.T,Bloodshel or InsideOut (on the more progressive rock side) and perhaps the most interesting, Qafas, started in 2008 and also experimenting with folk and metal sounds, singing in rather melodious Arabic inflected by far more elaborate compositions bordering on the minimal music of the 1970s but carrying a burden that as in the case of fine arts, shows how contemporary art practices in the Middle East are in permanent conversation with historical events; sometimes unwillingly. Would it be appropriate to use the label Oriental or Arab here? The question is of impossible resolution and reflects more an inadequate apparatus to describe the paradigm shifts that occur in translation of contexts—a long unresolved debate in art history.    
A number of new bands have appeared since 2011 and in September 2012 an independent label based in Bahrain, the Rabble Rouser Studios released one of the first metal music DVDs in the Middle East, "The Resurrection DVD: The Bahrain Underground Vol. 1." Classical music embedded in the use of traditional instruments but within a compositional framework is embodied in the work of Bahraini composerMohammed Haddad, trained in Cairo. He has composed film scores for several Bahraini and Arab filmmakers, and has musicalized the works of various Arab poets, medieval and modern, into compositions. Among his creations are musical renditions of poets Qassim Haddad (his father), Ali Abdulla Khalifa and Tarafa Ibn Al Abd. Although it might seem eclectic for the Gulf, Haddad’s work is deeply anchored in the classical music of Egypt and the Levant.
Another independent label emerged in 2013 as an outgrowth from the arts collectiveElham, started in 2006, as a collective of artists and platform for local artists. The new label, MuseLand, a brainchild of writer Ali Al Saeed and musician Faisal Amin, is meant to function on the grassroots level not just as a producer but also mentor of artists. Earlier in 2013 the two most established art galleries in Bahrain, Al-Riwaq Art Space and Albareh Art Gallery launched similar programs to make up for the lack of art schools in the country and provide a curated platform for artistic mentorship and development. The label builds on from previous projects of Al Saeed and Amin, including a number of musical compilations. The third volume of “MuseLand was released in March and offered a representative sample from a younger generation of more or less self-taught musicians.
Even though MuseLand v. III features international artists, such as the Lebanese band Lazzy Lung with their nostalgic rock, Kuwaiti artist +Aziz with the only Arabic track in the album, the melodious Australian artist Sui Zhen or Dubai-based songwriter Tim Hassall, the album showcases a certain stylistic evolution in the music scene, less experimental or worried about heritage and finding more accurate ways to express the daily concerns of a new generation somewhat privileged and sharing the same anxieties of their peers elsewhere: The reality of digital space, a constrained public sphere and the search for one’s identity in a dislocated world. One wouldn’t be sure to call this rock traditional, as it borders on Indie and Pop music but relies highly on improvisation. Perhaps the musical style is not wholly formed and some of these artists should be watched closely.
The Relocators is young band formed in 2012 with a fresh take on rock and blues, charged with guitar and bass and that resembles styles popularized in the 1990s and then lost to electronic music. Their cut “Love’s Never Running Away” is one of the best singles and definitely a great opener; the band has just finished a new album that is also to be released by MuseLand. Abdulla Mahmood’s “Happy Pill” brings the pop ingredient with distinctive character, and psychedelic rock band Moonshine’s cut, “Why,” plays with funk and reggae sounds. Hani Malik, a young doctor slash musician, is perhaps one of the most developed concepts in the compilation with a simple but consistent ensemble and solid vocals. His music is expressive and energetic; he also released recently a solo album, “No Remorse,” including the cut “One More Pleasure (With You)” from the compilation.
“Useless Old Palm Tree For Sale”, an instrumental piece by Bahraini artist and musicologist Hasan Hujairi, gives the compilation an experimental take, nevertheless Hujairi is not simply a musician. One of the most interesting practicing artists in Bahrain—and perhaps one of the very few serious sound-installation artists in the Middle East—he is also a researcher whose work concerns the idea of “Oriental” music in general and practically, he is at the forefront of experiments with sound and instruments in the Gulf, for example in his 2009’s Manama and Other Spices which is a sonic survey of the Old Souk in Manama. A sound-sculpture by Hujairi will be shown together with the works of photographers Ghada Khonji and Camille Zakharia in an exhibition of contemporary art from Bahrain at Edge of Arabia (London) during Shubbak Festival, curated by Latifa Al Khalifa.
[Sound installation by Hasan Hujairi, Al-Riwaq Art Space, 2011]
Hujairi has been one among few to speak about the challenges of being a sound artist in Bahrain“Fleeting, temporary sound is hardly something that seems to fit the mold of what the more traditional art collectors are after.” He speaks about the crucible of being found too “abstract” or “intellectually challenging” for Bahrain. Recently, a curator from the Ministry of Culture, reported to the author in an interview: “As you know, being an artist in Bahrain is not easy. There is no fine art school, no tradition of critique and pushing boundaries.” While she was referring to fine arts, the situation is hardly different for contemporary musicians who continuously struggle with the foundations of their music and on the performance level, with the receptivity of audiences and a rather limited interest in art forms that are not so obviously visual, such as performance and music.
With a number of festivals and privately-sponsored platforms for performing music (sometimes also including art galleries) the prospects for Bahrain’s music scene are encouraging and although remaining unknown and buried under thick fog of political clichés, the success of the arts in Bahrain has always been a combination of local talent and wide exposure to the outer world. Will these artists succeed in rooting a secure foundation for music both local and global? Perhaps it is too early to tell but this depends not only on the will of the musicians. There are also aesthetic considerations that have come hand in hand with globalization and with the standardization of “taste”: The homogenization of consumer culture has entirely dislocated the national and ethnic identity of art and produced a constant anxiety out of the dissolution of authenticity.
But there is more than meets the eye. Music, not being subject to the constraints of the history of images and the optical transformations of culture, moves in a space far more fluid and free, liberated from the ideology of history, and circulates unambiguously between the local and the global, the indigenous and the avant garde, the minimal and the elaborate. It will be interesting to see the music that will come out of this very singular island in the near future, especially as physical and cultural changes become aesthetically manifest and internalized in the practice of artists and not simply events forming reflections. The imminent conurbation of the island for example will greatly alter its sonic landscape and musicians will not be immune to this new and perplexing stage in urban history. In the meantime, the soundscapes of Bahrain will continue to shape and re-shape what it means to be contemporary, in unexpected ways.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A World of Your Own - Bahrain in Venice

First published on THE CULTURE TRIP

A World Of Your Own: Bahrain Debuts at the Venice Biennale

Despite being a relative newcomer to the Venice Biennale, the island kingdom of Bahrainhas created a compelling pavilion, entitled A World of Your Own, which presents art embedded in geo-political realities, whilst simultaneously disestablishing those selfsame geo-political realities.

Camille Zakharia
© Saji Antony
Bahrain is not a complete newcomer to either the art world or Venice. Three years ago, Bahrain appeared in Venice for the first time, at the architecture biennale, with the acclaimed project Reclaim, which took home the Golden Lion for best national pavilion. Traditional fishermen huts were brought from Bahrain, in a project which overlapped between documentary and installation, and then staged in Venice. This curious story from Bahrain’s forgotten and fading landscapes offered an introduction to the art and architecture of an otherwise little-known state.
The photographer Camille Zakharia was commissioned to document the decaying coastal areas of Bahrain, and out of this portfolio, a project was born consisting of real-life size huts, a documentary film and extensive documentation. Now Zakharia returns to Venice in the company of two young Bahraini artists, Mariam Haji and Waheeda Mallulah, for A World Of Your Own, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and curated by Melissa Enders-Bathia. The pavilion, according to the curator, was conceived in a loose curatorial framework, exploring certain practices in contemporary art with the curiosity of a newcomer, but firmly anchored in the art history of a country whose art long preceded independence. In conversation with different formats — photography, drawing and collage — the artworks do not exist in a conceptual void, but present themselves as critical enquiries.

Kingdom of Bahrain Mariam Haji The Victory
© Georgina Pope
In the brochure of the pavilion, Enders-Bathia notes how ‘domestic realities have to be negotiated and balanced with the expectations of an international art audience’. Already in 2012, Bahrain presented its second pavilion at the architecture biennial, reflecting on the ambiguity between the real landscapes of Bahrain and those transmitted through media broadcasts about the country since the 1950s. A World Of Your Own is a continuation of that journey, through which young artists from Bahrain are surveying the territory of identity and belonging, in a country defined by rapid urbanization, immigration and social diversity. Far from establishing a foundational narrative, the works in the show disestablish such possibilities and beget the question of how is it possible for art from Bahrain to navigate in the environment of global art.
Mariam Haji’s large drawing (800cmx270cm) The Victory, commissioned for the pavilion, is a personal attempt on the part of the artist to establish a dialogue both with art history (Henry Renault’s Automedon with the Horses of Achilles, 1868) and herself. The artist is depicted riding a donkey in a stampede of Arabian horses. She asserts here a sense of personal identity beyond the constraints of culture; simultaneously addressing the construction of female identity through the iconography of art history and asserting the distance between national cultures and personal identities. Haji’s works in general are conceived as dislocations of art history, sometimes resembling Artemisia Gentileschi’s bravado, but more often choosing to deconstruct the narratives associated with women in her immediate environment.

Kingdom of Bahrain_Waheeda Malullah_A Villager's Day Out
© Waheeda Malullah
In a similar vein, and somewhat experimental, Waheeda Mallulah’s photography series A Villager’s Day Out (2008) presents the contrast between traditional life and the perplexing phenomenon of modernity and urbanisation in Bahrain seen from the eyes and experiences of a woman. Perhaps Mallulah’s works articulate best not only the paradoxical position of Bahrain in a contemporary art context but also the immediacy of the country’s everyday life as it is made available to the eye. The series — no less than the entirety of her production — is conceived as a personal journey through the formless and ever so shifting landscape of Bahrain that has been extensively documented by Zakharia throughout the years. The images are almost prosaic, occurring as controlled accidents in which an otherwise sterile reality appears colorful, inviting and even risky.
Lastly, Camille Zakharia’s large-scale commissioned work, C/O (584cmx152cm, 2013), a collage whose title hints at the world as a postal system in which the final recipient of the message, ‘in care of’, is still unknown. Zakharia has obsessively photographed Bahrain through the years and his archive of mutation and change in the island functions as both a history and an art history; following traces that are almost absent and in the process of becoming extinct. This playful work — in line with Zakharia’s earlier work on Arab immigration — exalts the fragmentary and contradictory nature of memory, engulfing the works of Haji and Mallulah and acting as a container of stories. By re-configuring memories spatially, Camille Zakharia presents history and the present as an open-ended archive to which we all belong and in whose manipulation we all take part by the act of sheer living.

Kingdom of Bahrain_Waheeda Malullah_A Villager's Day
© Waheeda Malullah
These works are immediately related to Zakharia’s series ‘Belonging’, shown by Albareh Art Gallery in ArtDubai 2013 and at the center of which there is the unresolved question of identity in and of Bahrain. As a first-time pavilion, A World Of Your Own is challenging and often disconcerting, but the curatorship is here more of a mediator between three contemporary practitioners than a specific framework of reference. It remains to be seen whether other artists from Bahrain, where the format of art has remain more or less unchanged, will be encouraged and influenced by such bold artistic approaches. Rather than contesting the framework of art as is the case in other regions, these artists from Bahrain are developing their own frameworks of reference, at the core of which lies what could be the foundation of a contemporary art both local and international.

Bahrain Team

Commissioner: Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture, Kingdom of Bahrain
Curator: Melissa Enders-Bathia
Artists: Camille Zakharia, Waheeda Mallulah, Mariam Haji
Location: Arsenale

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Journey-less Destinations

First published on THE MANTLE

[Memorial for victims of Reyhanli bombing, at Gezi Park]
Violence never scares actually. Rather the opposite: It emboldens. It is something perplexing, sobering, carnal, and so objective. It is never shrouded in mystery. When it stares into you, it has reached its ultimate end, becoming identical with the means it has utilized—force. In a way, it has reached its finality and lies there, weakened and desolate. There are the obvious signs: The bruised limbs, the cries, the laughter, the sweat. The gift of this finality is to awaken the entire powers of life; to remember never to surrender. What holds little authority other than force can hardly be a vehicle of fear. It is so well known, an uncannily familiar other, something that grows out of powerlessness as the last resort; before jumping into the region of negation, absolute freedom, nothingness.
Force, it can be said, is the residue of the absence of persuasion. It knows itself to be an entirely defensive mechanism, without the power of argument and hence unable to set something in motion, to unleash a beginning, or to be creation story. Here there’s no common world, no concert to act, no paradox. The short life span of this chain reaction has been already consumed in the moment it’s been thrown into the world. I had forgotten the color of this fearless fright; the combination of animosity and paralysis, blended with humiliation. “You’re not an individual, you’re not an individual” cried the smoke from behind. The limbs were agitated, eyes tilted to and fro, the mouths dried up, but the cries of the smoke drown in affirmations.
You know what is happening to you. There’s no element of surprise. You’re not alone. I’m reminded here of Simone Weil’s thoughts: Pain is something objective only insofar as it transforms human beings from suffering subjects into objects of pain. Hence, pain must be resisted, endured, transformed into a root of knowledge. Art knows well about this process. Laughter is the clear voice, the clearance of death, screaming in the face of life, “Come and get me!” But the noise outside prevents the message from arriving. These are the basic moments of life; the inescapable transience puncturing the bones with the simplest morning breeze. Do you remember when it happened? The lust, the rage, the uncontrollable lust.
The details are less important, they’re controvertible and always falsifiable. But the intoxication remains. Such a brutal place, you would think. But you cling to it, battered as you might be, wounded, breathless, unable to move, numb from pain. The pain and the risk are not objective facts; they’re phenomena, possibilities, ambiguities. An obstruction in the biological cycle takes place; the human world it is called. And why would you want to live in such a world? Bequeath it to your children? I asked you. You may want to recall some memories buried elsewhere; the safety of possession brought by love, the beginning of the summer, a voyage out. You know well I never loved this country, I never loved anyone’s country; my needs were a lot more essential.
And yet something scared that day. It wasn’t the power of force though. We had seen it so many times before. Two countries and a half I lost that way, and put some of their ruins in a suitcase before I fled. The fire didn’t scare me, it never would. “What will be tomorrow?” I wanted to ask them. And I was fully aware that nobody knew. Not knowing the future is nothing short of a blessing, asserting in full power the thrill of living. A line from Mrs. Dalloway came to mind: “What a thrill, what a shock, to be alive on a morning in June, prosperous, scandalously privileged, with a simple errand to run.” But the thought continues: It’s not about the future disappearing, but its becoming fully conflated with the present. Undistinguishable from it, barely present, a shadowy world.
[Makeshift library at Gezi Park]
And that was the real fright. There was the American gallerist, who had told us before about liminal spaces. This city is not a crossroads but a liminal space, a boundary, something like an event horizon. Some of us went because we were hungry, or saturated from seeing, or simply unable to feel things and people around us you know. I wish I were painter, I could have then presented you the instant itself, the moment of the instant. In writing, everything is always late, and no longer necessary. A witness for a man that is mute; he is already dead. No one submitted. There was a library, made from asphalt bricks and panels, in the manner of some modern sculptures, then filled with books and covered from above with a shawl. What is this distant place? Where could these things happen?
Books have a natural tendency of living longer than people, hence in the desire of writing there’s always—for some of us at least—the desire to become books as well. Often surviving fire and water, drying out with moss under the debris of history and then re-surfacing somewhere, many kilometers away, owner-less. Our fate is a lot less graceful. Do you know what it takes to be an individual in this country? It’s a lot easier for books, censored and otherwise. Metaphors are a lot more capable than raw human existence with its constant demands for certainty. In metaphors everything can be transformed: knives, batons, clubs, they can all be transformed into illusions there. Our bodies unfortunately lack those capabilities. But there’s the gift of freedom.
Times like this often come coated in the only reason of politics to exist: To make men more free. But we often associate freedom and being free with places where we haven’t been or where we are not now, these places are always elsewhere, somewhat idealized, idealistic, ideas. Such places have never existed. If they truly were to exist, we would have never left them. At times we have mourned over things that were never such, over certainties that did not present themselves to us as fact, over times purer and better. Somehow we tend to find political consolation in a past that we know to have overcome and that faded without ruins. Perhaps because the present is always confusing, always strange. It touches us so close that we feel nothing; hence the past is always beautiful.
We no longer recognize some spaces as given to us; they’re not organic or hereditary. We want to claim them as our own, to awaken there those powers of life, to shape them, to give birth to them, to mark them. We have known the powerlessness of a half-death, because it is not even full-death. We have seen their eyes, petrified opal and jade, succumbing to the mandate of the smoke:“You’re not an individual, you’re not an individual.” Have you ever been in the open sea? The illusion of being far away while you really don’t know where you actually are, far or close, in a place or void, imagined or real, water or light, at the frontiers of knowing your true size. Did you ever want to become something else? That moment when breathing exhausts you, the skin feels on loan.
Every new day is the constant repetition of the same hours, foreign and disconcerting, that never lead to new and more invigorating hours, but rather to tired moments, connected to each other by a thread of other questions. It takes an effort to live unprotected. Did you ever laugh at your own death? You must have seen powerlessness in the face then. Who will remember you? Who will tell your story? Let go of everything, even these days, let go of everything, as if it never happened before. To whom did it belong after all? What if there was a last day? What would you want to have done? The anatomy of things will remain unchanged, we all know that, but here it’s all about the morphology of the very same things.
You have a name for this destination-less journey: Istanbul.