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I’ll try. It’s that I’m Perceiving a Crooked Reality is a video I’ve done as my participation in the panel discussion “Theory Beyond the Regime of the Theoretical: Fun With Race, Sex, Dis/ability, and Performance” organized by Katherine Brewer Ball and Leon Hilton and presented at the American Studies Association Annual Meeting 2014 in Los Angeles on November 9th.

 

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In my attempt to dig into the unacknowledged realms of political action that lay between the poles of ideological declamation and everyday experience, I ended up thinking about the economy of ambition that operates in our process of subjectivization as socialized individuals.

Ambition is an ambiguous term, a substantive that does not always enjoy a positive interpretation. It is good to be ambitious in the right amount, but an excess of ambition can become a social problem, prompting a punitive exclusion of the ambitious subject. At the same time, there are ambitious communities, perhaps not necessarily identified as such (meaning that those communities don’t particularly perceive the term as characteristic of their identity), but where the absence of this emotion/affect is understood as an absolute handicap. In the arduous terrain of generalization, ambition is usually understood as a dubious characteristic within leftist political groupings, usually connected with greed, the desire for accumulation, and the will to power necessary to achieve it. Therefore, the space in which those desires for power-filled recognition get structured and choreographed tend to be an opaque dimension of the individual’s subjectivity––usually not fully disclosed in the social realm. The “outing” of professional/career/political ambitions is usually balanced with altruistic justifications tied to their ends that signify the transitory means as mere steps towards a larger good for a wider community. However, the power, potential and political weight of these fantasies that strive to become realities is certainly crucial.

The political signification of our ambitions opens up the dense political space of nuanced negotiation that occurs when a recognizable ideology has to confront the particularities of contingent existence, where the compromises of political claims take place in response to the incidences of a context. I am not sure yet where this is leading to; the only thing I know is that I have exhausted the available language to talk about my political feelings, and that my struggle veers towards the compilation of a vocabulary, spoken or performed, that allows me to articulate my desires and experiences. In this attempt at a more honest approach to the gap between our ideals and our actions, I recall Lee Lozano’s concept of “new honesty” as the ethos of a new era. In this era, we will finally speak honestly about how our desire for work trumps our political commitments––at the most intimate level. We will speak honestly about the conditions we are willing to perpetuate and the kind of labor relations we would willfully endure.

I’m in Brazil. I’m in São Paulo. Until the end of November. If nothing happens. If I don’t leave. If I don’t stay longer. If I don’t die first.

All that can be.

Yesterday I already cried.

I went to Pivõ, an art space in the ground floor of the Copan building. There was a talk between Cildo Meireles and Guilherme Wisnik. I couldn’t really hear the talk, it was so far and the acoustics of the space didn’t help the distance between the speakers and me. Anyways I found this piece by Mario Garcia Torres. And it made me cry.

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This is page 3 of Mario Garcia Torres Like You, I Dig…(n/d), the notes of a lecture he wrote I don’t know when or for whom. But in the moment it just reverberated in the right spot, and it brought it all through my eyes.

So here I am. Let’s see what happens.

Later yesterday my friend MPA, who is here too to do a performance at Paço das Artes, was saying:

“To show your notes is just not enough. We are passed that.

Art, an artist, YOU are making the “visible”, demarcating the limit of what is worth to be seen, thought of, considerable.

Of importance.”

How do we signify that? How do we inscribe the urgency of the issue in the formal consideration is a responsibility.

I added. Maybe only in my head.

and Mario Garcia Torre’s notes on a conference were in my head, irremediably.

I made a pdf with pictures I took of the whole lecture, if someone cares to read it. I recommend.

São Paulo feels is an ocean.

MarioGarciaTorres

NO FREUD
WEAVE MY HAIR
BRAID MY FUTURE

Fingers encircling forlorn fibers
the repiquing of the wooden trace
Rhythm of the unconscious, they say
it goes without saying. It can be done
without thinking. It has
for long.
Knots lumping, encrypting minutes,
translate them into hours
that
construct a currency
of washed chromatic kaleidoscopes.

There is a will in such undertaking
the pride, a virulent rejection.
We don’t wish to take
ourselves
so seriously.
You just make me do it
The agonistic certainty
of weaving my hates
among my pleasures.
Absorbed, playing the keys,
caressing the dampers.
the pedals, projecting taciturn
melodies.
This is for me. Or so I
wish.

A name tends to be repiqued.
It feels so unfair to be unable
to break the sequence.
Capitalizing
your misdemeanors.
Weaving
a dictionary
for all those quiet
revolts
around your knuckles.
At times it feels so good
to taste
your radiant anger.
to spin around
it
like inspiration.
Hairs in my mouth, jettisoning history.
Willful hands
drudge my thinking.
She went in, locked.
I read her story.
Us,
we are wrapped
until the future.
Now,
particular cadence of locks.
Dripping tar.
Pubic blessing.
Pudic digressing.
let my fingers go

 

Note: This text was inspired by a weaving by Ebba Fransén Waldhör, artist based in Berlin.

I am arrested                                                      

I am a tourist

I know what’s going on

I have nothing to do with this

I can’t look away

I won’t be let in again

I don’t know what happened

I don’t know what to say

I feel empty at the moment

I’m fine though I’m not

It’ll be alright

It’s fine

I love you

The concrete poem series has evolved into an embroidery project. Each poem is taken as a work day enterprise, taking 8 hours on an average. The embroidery process is done in a collective situation with other fellow artist and serves as a motive to meet, share and teach each other different embroidery techniques. It also allows to realize the time taken by handcraft, the fulfillment and socialization it entails.