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Pecha Kucha during “The Infrastructures of Life: Media, Milieu, Ethics”

This is the transcript of a Pecha Kucha performance during the art symposium “The Infrastructures of Life: Media, Milieu, Ethcis” at Nordland College of Art and Film 20/04/17.

“Regarding the subject of ethics and Deleuze’s approach to ‘becoming’ I’d like to put focus on the dissonance
between my existence and yours. Now, what is mine is what is yours, in a way, as the term milieu indicates, yet in moments of bottomless desperation and anxiety I seek a mutual desire, or goal, or something soft – physical – for us both. My body is what I turn to, a medium – my carcass. I utilize its powers; stretching, compressing, flagellating, strengthening, fucking and killing in order to find clarity. But it’s solitary - only a vessel for self-sufficiency - nowhere near the solution to my dilemma. The question still remains: where does my being permeate the other? Where do I meet you?

I recall watching a movie several years ago where, in one sequence, a black girl from Harlem looks into her bedroom mirror and a white girl stares back, mimicking her movements. In that moment I remembered instances of myself looking into a mirror and seeing the exact same thing. Whilst watching this scene, in one sense, my being seemingly intertwines with another (the black girl) as a mutual experience is shared; the same self-disgust for our own skin. Unfortunately I find it’s a delusion, because simultaneously there is a paradox; the impossibility of being the white kid is what causes this identification. I identify with something because I can’t identify to something else. Therefore it’s folly to believe I can become the black girl from Harlem, as well. And whilst I acknowledge that the wish to become the white reflection has to do with an arbitrary moral value I still lament that the shimmering reflection is exactly what I desire. It’s not about becoming, but being. And isn’t being preferable what ultimately matters for an entity?

Is everything impossible to meet in a coalescing axis? Am I useless as an empathic human? Am I utterly unable to claw at the other with my being? In the case of physical contact between two entities science proclaims there is an everlasting space between the atoms, however small. You and I, despite of want and need, never achieve contact. We don’t touch. There is no fulfillment to be found in the search of the mutual. My concept of myself, down to the smallest nucleon, is inherently separate to all else.

I propose, instead, we do some exercises, since the death of mutuality means for something else to be born. I have brought a list of small tasks with me, which I predict will be rewarding in our practice during this symposium. My wish is you’ll indulge some of them:

-      Lick the feet of every mouse and/or cockroach infesting this facility
-      Seek massage therapy from an angular surface
-      Extrapolate breast milk from a supernova
-      Carve in the lines of a leaf into the palm of your knee
-      Open your mouth and swallow the radiance emanating from the sun for approximately two hours
-      Stimulate the cunt of a mountain in close proximity
-      Bathe in honey and smear it over a tarantula-like fugu-fish
-      Rip out my spinal cord and see who can come closest to hitting the projector in this room
-      Mimic hair growth for the pleasure of a family member
-      Pray to a purple rug that your death will provide nourishment for seagulls
-      Stomp on a piece of leopard printed plastic
-      Whisper words of hatred into the subwoofer
-      Inflict the force of a hammer onto the sense of privacy the person next to you has
-      Fluctuate between two blades of grass
-      Rape an iPhone
-      Make an origami flower out of flesh petals
-      Eat a camel’s eye backward
-      Scream the word “Halibut” to a squirrel and decode the verbal response
-      Beat your head against water pipes until death occurs – then, beat yourself to death with other tubular objects
-      Breathe only through your nostrils for the foreseeable future
-      Hunt water and make buns of whatever type you please
-      Do interior design to the inside of a chrysalis
-      Paint water lilies from the end of times
-      Bury your head in a puddle of pillows, placed in a ground ditch
-      Collect sea urchins and use them as softener balls in your tumble dryer
-      Etc. “

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