Booklet, 4 photos, 2007.
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The rules of proper conduct change over time, new rules are invented old ones forgotten. Still they are usually presented as ancient, functional and innate. To behave in an appropriate manner while traveling in other countries with other customs, books on etiquette always include a chapter containing advice. These might include information on local customs, how to behave to avoid insulting someone involuntarily. On the other hand, they help one in getting to recognize what does not belong to the community, leaving the tourists as perpetual outsiders.
to be given the opportunity in some exclusive space with some excess free time to experience the possibly sublime experience of art is not something I would necessarily be proud of. regardless of all the familiar places critiquing the exlusiveness and pathos surrounding high art but what I usually miss most in works pleading for my sophisticated instruments of reception is – retellability, that wonderful feature of works which in the moment of retelling brings me closer to my collocutor, a characteristic in which I can imagine my colocutor retelling the story to others and how that work then becomes a common thread in a small (but yet growing) community – a community that enjoys retelling works of art.
yes, our small community of retellers retells often our obsession with witticisms, but we keep these insights to ourselves. to share this destructive power with someone who has not been intitatied into retelling would be a betrayal to be punished with the worst retelling and excomunication from the community of retellers.
apart from witticisms our small community has great respect for discovering barely noticeable phenomena, barely noticeable phenomena demand very sophisticated retelling. for the story teller to be able to successfully retell a barely noticeable phenomenon he or she should be elated by the fragility of this barely visible phenomenon. sometimes it happens that this barely noticeable phenomenon is elated by the witticisms and that the retellers are on form, then this retelling becomes a festival of elation and even nonretellers from outside manage to feel the passion for retelling. then our little community becomes threatened.
the last thing we need is that some reteller attempts to retell all our secrets to nonretellers. unless it would be something nice for retelling. or god forbid witty, then we could be tricked.
text: Marcell Mars
The further we move spatially from a well defined starting point the further we move from the safety of a bounded sub- jectivity. In so doing the shift from place to displace makes a double journey – not only does the traveller move in space, but also in grammar, she moves from being situated in a noun to being activated in a verb.
To move therefore becomes an event rather than a thing.
This event of motion is what produces difference, this motion is what makes the static end points of a journey over time become dynamic. The difference is an excess of instability created through the motion and the mixing of bodies.
We could say that these days static space is no longer a valid proposition, that in ‘liquid modernity’* circulation is the condition of being. Still, for motion to occur, for circulation to flow, there must be points from which and to which the flow moves. These places are still fixed, for better of for worse. And while the cosmopolitism inherent in this circulation is limited to elite bodies and immigrant bodies, the fixity inherent in the preconditions of flow is a condition of repetition. The repetition of sameness which produces yet more of itself, safe and secure in its isolation. That is the local, as seen through geography. A locality bounded physically.
These are the places suspicious of the newcomer. Places which too easily in their proclaimed rejection of global circuits, fail to forge new networks in parallel to the corporate and 9 economic traffic of a global world, while at the same time ingesting the ‘comforting narratives’** of globalisation in its vanguard form, that of design, branding and media. The force of capital is powerful, the assimilation of its logic rapid
and its assimilation insidious, as even while thinking that you are resisting you are co-opted into a system of production and consumption. In this case what is being produced, for a technology of leisure and travel, is a display of authenticity, one equally consumed by the provider. In this case the product is the place, the fixed, the static, the (no)thing.
Symptomatic of this fixity is the language through which it is solidified. The present tense. The present simple. The everlasting present. We do this. We do that. How frighten- ing language can be. ‘We’ and everything that includes, most visible of which are those missing. ‘Do’ and everything that entails, most manifest, a time stood still.
* B. Latour ** S. Sassen
text: Nicole Hewitt