A MOVEMENT WITHIN THE CURSED SPACE OF THE MEMBERSHIP-IDEA  
performance and video 2006 / 2007
 
 

After a long experimental period of observations and explorations, not so much directed purposefully in a consciously desired direction but rather with the attitude of sauntering strolls within an environment of predefining architectural and lingual structures of membership-ideas, I slowly discovered that I’m not a member, a no-body. As such, it feels like being nowhere. From here I will tell.

First: A vision as if thick fog would creep out of my eyes, ears, mouth and nostrils. Leaking out of me in clouds. Clouds in which I see things I recognize, now they change, become alien- or secret signs, change again into something I might recognize again. I persuade myself to long without focus. Giving in to my longing, I get lost in a blur. As a human lost, I’m naturally scared. I have no clue of my past. No memory informs what I feel and think now. I hear a faith healer’s voice coming over the radio telling me to collect a mirror and wire, an apple, batteries, a light bulb, duct tape and an at least 50 cm long thread of some kind and return with all of it to the radio. The voice tells me how to combine and arrange the things to build a sort of screen on which I’m supposed to see the bodies that belong to the transformations that my being lost engenders in me. The voice speaks fevers and inflicts images of that which is visible only for the feverish. I see murderers. And I see the dead.

When I look into a mirror, I glimpse a whole and unified image of a body in clearly contoured, continuous form, a visual observation that is incongruent to the sense I have of my own body. This sensed body lacks the completeness and integration of the mirror image. The body’s shape I see forms the morphological matrix thanks to which it seems necessary to learn an idea of belonging. Belonging to a species, race, gender, class and family. When that many-layered, complex, sensual body crashes into its flat image, some mistake is unavoidable. I might believe that the appearance in the reflection represents me.

The mechanisms of recognition propose separations and territories, inclusions and exclusions. Border controls and identification papers. My self-recognition becomes my own prison; my sentence is life without parole. Trapped in my own prison of identification I start to see that the thing in the mirror is the beginning of all killings. My reflection is the murderer of my understanding of multiplicity. My reflection is one leg of a machine called Compare and Judge. To escape this mad mirror conspiracy I have to give up being a detective. I have to forget to detect my own trace, lose interest in proving my history and future by describing my present, stop making myself known, even to myself.

My self-descriptions are based on language, language that describes the differences between one and the other, the parts and the assembly. Language that creates, defines, isolates and normalizes could once–I was still a child–be destroyed by language itself. It was destroyed by cutting, mixing and dropping. Nonsense attacked the empire-making Words. But then, since nonsense is bound to sense, this nonsense simply pointed back at the normalizing institution. My nonsense was swallowed. The language I have to use to create freedom must always be a language that is not swallowed yet. For that reason language must be constantly in motion. I will rename and forget myself for as many times as it takes and then when I’m no-one from no-where, I will accept to be named MONSTER for the monster is that for which there is no name no more.

Monsters are marching across the borders of all nations. Skies are clouded from all the fog that is ascending from our midst. Vaporized memory. A wind is rising. The maps are no longer mistaken for the territories, now that territories are dissolved by the flood of migration. Traveling is the beginning of the movement whose outcome will be to give the least profit to anyone. The armies of the membership idea try to reinforce the idea of home as nation, but the sound of movement muffles their screaming advertisements. None of the perpetually moving targets get hit. No one falls. Gravitation has lost its power. A shared vibration hovers above the blanked of clouds. In the falling dark this vibration is everybody’s vision. All of us hum.
After centuries of begging for visibility, rights and freedom, fighting for it sometimes peacefully and at other times with the necessary violence, we gained and lost voice and life and faith time after time. After following the idea that one has to enter the political arena in which a majority discusses their issues, to become part of the discussion and to be finally granted to be human enough to benefit from human-ism and juridical justice, now it dawns on us in our wide-spread society of monsters that entering the arena, learning the languages and attitudes of the permanent members will enforce the arena’s idea of leading culture and therefore stabilize our non-human status. Trying to fit in,–the old game of temporarily appearing to be some-thing that one momentarily is not–we discover in this context as a backfiring gun, produced and sold to us by the united arena of membership. Reproduced, multiplied and sold to us again by ourselves. This, our monsterhood, is a creation of human-ism, which can write a name onto the map of mankind or erase it from there. Uncountable lives have been destroyed because they were labeled subhuman non-humans by definition of the ubermensch. Continents and cultures have been concurred, land has been destroyed and inhabitants have been enslaved or swept away. We have to prove to be human to profit from the benefits of human rights. The commission to decide over our status as humans or non-humans sits in the cursed spaces of the membership idea where we will have our voice heard only after we are accepted and the voice we once had will sound like it’s not our voice anymore.

One of the dynamics that made the membership idea grow for the last many years is the fact that each member is driven by the desire to imitate his fellow members by mimesis. One member’s desire becomes all members’ desires. The things that are desired are not desired for their worth or beauty but because they are desired by the other members. These things can become a matter of envy and competition, which can further develop into outright enmity. The significance of monsters as part of the membership idea becomes obvious because unlike things, which are mostly possessed individually, hatred for the monster can be shared. Thanks to the monster, people can mimic the others’ hatred and can unify as one body, mob, army, club… The conflict and difference based on envy and competition within the membership is resolved, and it is a harmonious whole again.

As monsters we’ve realized that we’re one of the foundations of all membership ideas, a collective reality fueled by mainly unconscious and unacknowledged desires of those seeking membership. Now we have to act against our own idea of reaction. This time we don’t want to become members. We will not start a revolution either. Revolution is a word in the language of the membership-idea. Even if it describes a turnover from low to high, out from under, to overcome, it uses the language of top and bottom. Revolution is an idea related to power. No revolution in history has ever gotten rid of the membership idea itself. To the contrary. The success of every business depends on the creation of new markets. New borders, new trade. Loss is future investment. Speculation is the fuel burned by the economy of waste. For us it’s time to give up the idea of names and to give up self-labeling. It’s time to be no-ones without places. Time to be free of origin and destination. Our dissipation will cause disturbance within the membership-idea for we know that they use us to describe themselves. The members lose their self-images if they can’t compare it to their image of us. The society of members, well armed and equipped to protect their territories against infiltration and penetration, doesn’t know how to react to our disappearance. They will have to create new non-members within their own ranks to regain and maintain an identity as an arena. Since the membership idea is built on exclusion the number of members will dwindle with increasing velocity. It won’t take too much time for the arena members to eat themselves alive and for the headquarters of naming and labeling to become constellations of crumbled rocks and ruins on an open field lit by the moon. And then, all of us monsters are movement and event. Then we will be by definition not human and not tied to the rules of humanness, we will not be animal, not obliged to follow those rules either. Being neither in- nor outsider, no female, no male. Being not child or parent, neither race nor class. We are both, individually and in the collective, able to be simultaneously everything everywhere at every moment and station between points and beyond that. As such, we become finally something outside of our total control. Fantastical, persuadable, instable, fluctuating, inconsequent. The real imaginary. Now we are a different idea of culture, relationships and responsibility.

I pull apart the receiver construction and with it the faith healer’s voice. I use the batteries for my flashlight, for I will wake through the night. I might eat the apple later. The wire and thread I keep. I have no use for a light bulb, since there is no electricity except in the air. The mirror is blind.

 
 
 
 
 
 

excerpts of the text were used in the performance YOU DIDN‘T SEE ME that took place in ausland, Berlin, 2006. Read a review by Diego Chamy.

Video and text were part of the exhibition No Matter How Bright The Light, The Crossing Occurs At Night at extra city Kunsthal, Antwerp, 2007