To save the world, to change the world, to save the planet, to save ourselves, to save the ones we love, to save the whales, to save the coral reef, to save the dying, to save the starving, to save the suffering, to change the world.
It seems we would like to live in a fairer, better world, where for instance art is run differently, it is taught differently, has different purposes and different operational structures. But are we ready to REALLY check out of the ever so quickly spinning art market of today and refuse to compete according to existing rules? According to what rules would we compete then? Would we not compete at all? No matter how relieving it sounds, isn’t that against human nature?
Doesn’t “the change” mean just “the exchange” of one set of powermongers to another? Isn’t it naive to expect anything else? I have been naive so many times already, I don’t think I can afford one more time, I am too traumatised, too cynical, have too much scar tissue… everywhere, basically.
The change is not only to be expected, it is first of all to be made, why should we be the ones to work for it? During what time? Not to mention that “the project does not really have a budget”, or “has a very small budget” – it seems to be another one of those.
And last but not least, taking democratic principles seriously, the change requires a radical shift in beliefs and opinions of the others and they are so many. Why should we even attempt to do it, shouldn’t it be their own responsibility? Can we really change the opinions and beliefs of the others? We cannot, cannot, cannot…
Maybe it was in the summer, maybe in the winter, maybe it was last year, or the year before, it really doesn’t matter.
I am waiting at the counter of a “late shop”, one of thousands of such shops in Berlin, to buy something for immediate use, a beer or a bio riesling in a small bottle, a mate or an orangina, cigarettes or a lighter or both, it really doesn’t matter.
There is a guy in front of me, who is also buying something like that and he is already paying. He is going through his pockets, looking for the money to finish the purchase, some money is on the counter already, it really doesn’t matter how much, but some is still missing and he is looking for that missing amount. The shop owner, me, people behind us are all waiting. After a while it becomes clear, he is not looking just for any money, he is looking for some specific coin or bill. It is important for him to finish the transaction in a predetermined, planned, designed by him manner. And that takes time. Nobody is angry or impatient, or grumpy or annoyed. We are all silently witnessing this act of searching, executed with focus, attention and a large investment of energy. Finally, he finds what he was looking for and puts a 10 euro cent coin on the counter with the loud clunk and a triumphant smile, and we all laugh – the shop owner, me, people behind me and the guy himself. We are all relieved and happy it worked. The microcosm of searching was recognizable and full of meaning to all of us, thus we all crossed our fingers for him, patiently waited for this process to end well and not as we all, knowing fully well, it may not have.
I thought to myself, what a storytelling gem, performed in seconds really, but clear, seen, heard and understood by everybody and even climaxed perfectly with the clank. In such moments, I feel this world has patterns and senses which just sit there and all I need to do as a human and as an artist is to spot and embrace them, to ride them like a surfer rides the ocean waves. And if I do just that, all will be ok…
My city, my dog, my lover, my brother, my killer, my country, my dance, my curator, my time, my values, my rules, my family, my cat, my beach, my hotel, my doctor, my dentist, my boss, my dancers, my likes and dislikes, my coffee shop, my laundry shop, my ice cream shop, my street, my park, my river, my view from the window.
Day after day, endlessly, we express our feeling of owning stuff, accompanied by the deep satisfaction drawn from that feeling. We are proud and passionate about possessing this and that,we emphasise our owning as the opposite of somebody else’s not owning: mine = not yours.
The declaration of ownership and the success of possession make us feel better, fuller, less hysterical, less lost and more found. However, all those things, places, people and concepts, ownership of which we claim, actually own us, not us them. So why do we twist it around, as if it was shameful to be owned? Is being possessed wrong? Would that make us losers if we said it the other way, as if we were parts of something, other than owners of things?
The city owns me, the dog owns me, the lover owns me, the brother owns me, the killer owns me, the country owns me, the dance owns me, the curator owns me, the time owns me, the values own me, the rules own me, the family owns me, the cat owns me, the beach owns me, the apartment owns me, the doctor owns me, the dentist owns me, the boss owns me, the dancers own me, the likes and dislikes own me, the coffee shop owns me, the laundry shop owns me, the ice cream shop owns me, the street owns me, the park owns me, the river owns me, the view from the window owns me…
Berlin, November 2020
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