Material for a collective imagination
processual installation in colaboration with Ľuboš Kotlár
commisioned work for Biennale - Matter of Art, Prague 2022
Our concept centers around sugar. Metaphorically, we explore and dissect this substance into many small parts that sugar itself contains. We discussed our own relationships with the sweet forms of love, friendship, aversion, death or survival with and without sugar. With the implementation we question the concept of collective body that builds, changes, modulates, elevates but also collapses over time in an art institution. Roma Queer Identities negotiate concepts of poverty in the capitalist system in our asymmetrically buildet societies, and the addictive attributes of sugar, intoxication, paralysis in the context of racism. We have come into play with our own bodies as a tool that absorbs, accepts, eliminates, embraces or resists its complexity. We form a collective that has emerged from individual experiences, reflecting the closeness but also the distance between us. These tensions are fields in which we will liquefy and thus define a new fluid space in between. This space is a puddle. Adaptable, hospitable, caring, healing, playful, tricky, but above all resilient.
Puddle: Transgenerational transmission, poraimos.
Puddle: Remembering means mourning work.
DIARIES OF POSSIBILITIES
We thematize a collective and individual inclusion in the different political systems, but also in ourselves. We ask from experiencing perspective: What does identity mean in different cultural relations, how much is our identity included in society? Who are we, who have we become and who do we want to be? With these questions we form a collective consciousness based on urgent communication from the inside to the outside. We can't keep it inside anymore, otherwise we don't belong in society. Inclusion is communication that should be ongoing, always renewed, and it should always be addressed to the major societies.
Puddle: For this we need Us.
Does one's identity threaten the collective? No, if collectives become more diverse and more solidary. Do we contribute with our work a surplus of unreal, unrealizable utopias? No, if we collectively free ourselves from forms of power. But what is available for us here and now? With what materials can we, queer Roma identities work? To find out, we imagine a collective entity. It has to emerge in order to be sure of our own and collective identity, because we need an imagination of the Whole. We are redefining the "we feeling." Who we want to be? To formulate this, we need to urgently imagine and create open participatory spaces of becoming.
"We have to be different with each other. We have to be a collective, we have to be communal. We have to make decisions as one. We have to think about everyones presence. We have to make space for what everyone brings, because it makes us stronger, when we all bring what we have. We all have the right to claim the future. We have to create spaces that allow us to envision beyond what we have been told is possible. To truly imagine justice. We have to go to fantastical places to do that because we haven't see that on a structural institutional level. And yet, we know this is possible because we can look into history and we have seen again and again the fact that folks had dreamt about possible justice. And they have changed the entire world to makes those dreams reality. We have the right to dream and we have the responsibility to build those dreams into better futures and into better presence". (Octavia E Buttler)
With the understanding of historical circumstances of Roma and queer history, today we push our values of dignity and social recognition to the social surface. How do we fight against a negation that makes one nothing, erases us from history and overlooks and hates us until today? How are we to stand upright when political repression queer trans non-binary Roma bodies are systematically excluded until today? We search together for thought and implementation strategies, We collect ourselves.
We formed a collective body from three different perceptions. In our process, we seek our own ways of looking at and navigating the world. We organize ourselves and form relationships with relatives, our alliances, we create our own chosen family. For this we set rules, a structure that can keep a fluid body stable. We are adaptive - able to adjust to the changes of the environment, we practice resilience. We merge into each other like a puddle of liquid sugar, absorbing the world around us. We created a puddle of our own spit on our hands that penetrates the space. Silicone molds and other tools for our hands, exhibited in the space, are fisting the institutional power, its patriarchal inner structures with radical softness and care.
Puddle: „We raise our hands against the violence of order and against all those who defend this order. Disorder is our origin, our craft and our future." (Seyda Kurt - Radical Softness)
REDEFINITION OF SAFE SPACE
One of the most important issues for us was the definition of Safe Space. An oasis, relaxation, mutual trust and a sense of belonging that we so often miss. We are sharpening a wide angle lens in a microscopic collective. At the same time, we are overwhelmed by political moments of repression that take us out of our own power structures or step into us at will. We create a space around us, a sticky puddle with our bodies to create a solid hold to survive the counter-flood. The sugar mass could hold us, but it also stuck exits that we often needed when it became unbearable.
How can we reach each other and hold each other without taking away the possibility of letting go? Can we control such processes, or is it a matter of a total loss of control? If it is, where do we learn how to endure? So is a safe space a dangerous space where you have to give up everything you have? Safe Space triggers our traumas, but also provides a surface to manage them. We congregate in free zones. Our freedom becomes a snapshot, reduced to a specific space and time in a toxic ring in which we circle because we have blocked many exits from a fear to not being protected.
There, where we don't have to behave as others demand, we become ourselves. Vulnerable, naked and at the mercy of our inner, often still unknown feelings. It is there that we allow ourselves to be negative because we feel safe. We want to allow ourselves to not have to hold back and slow down. It is a painful space, because there we no longer compromise. The mutual hurt has become its own defense mechanism to endure the world for itself. It always happens just a moment before the disaster, before the ego disintegration, as the last protective measure before falling to the ground. Maybe we shouldn't be afraid to talk about it. This is exactly why we should build caring institutions, to be able to hold each other.
Puddle: Small is good, small is all. (The large is a reflection of the small) ... Change is constant. (Be like water).
There is always enough time for the right work ... Never a failure, always a lesson. Less prep, more presence". (Adrienne Maree Brown)
What is a collective memory? Is it a standstill to undermine, or even forget, the current almost unbearable situation? Our memories of the collective processes of conflict do not necessarily have to contradict each other, but support and encourage each other. This can become our strength. We invite you to follow your own emotions rather than an idea of keeping certain collectives alive at any cost. We can lean on what we have experienced so far and imagine what it can become. I ask you to join in and share your thoughts with each other, because the loneliness is unbearable. We want to support something that has left enormous emotions in us. It was an attempt to formulate a common idea, our imaginary spaces and create a layout for them. Our space today is cast from puddles. They denote a construction and decay of our own techniques of becoming. They reflect something very valuable - our emotions and ourselves.
WHERE IS IMPOSITION, THERE IS NEED FOR REFLECTION. BUT WHERE ARE THE LIMITS OF IMPOSITION IN ART? CAN WE DEFINE THEM?
In the various processes we experienced a collapse of our collective body. The sudden attack of weakness paralyzed us and called into question all our efforts. That hurt a lot. Today we resist such an impossible end, because it means to be unproductive and not being curious. Our experience demands a lot of attention, at least as much as the creation of our physical work. It requires sensitive processing to avoid potential traumatic consequences for all of us. At the same time, I am still strongly convinced that this experience can become a beginning of an unexpected new and exciting dialogue.
Puddle: We must overcome the past in order to become sustainable for the future.
Puddle: One no longer lives in oneself - I Disintegration. The feeling of fragmenting, of falling apart into individual parts that no longer stick together but revolve around a loose center or fall apart altogether - the feeling of no longer being carried. (Donald Winnicott - The fear of collapse)
This diary does not clarify and establish things, but identify them anew and thus enrich our long-running project with something valuable. To face this task means to explore many unknown resources of knowledge. We have experienced something real that lies far beyond the boundaries of art production. We process our experiences of failure, we create new strategies and over all, we share a common secret - a need to come to terms with ourselves and with the world.
Puddle: Unjust relationships in an unjust world".
Puddle: I will never know what it means to be invisible". (Sasha Marianna Salzmann)
We seek to have a conversation through art about how we treat each other, even when we criticize. If art can hurt, does it have the power to heal us? We sharpen the view and talk about the risks of a collective existence. Art is an important mirror that should reflect exactly this, instead of just pursuing the desire to achieve a successful result of an exhibition. Failure can sensitize and challenge us. We see our field of tension as a renewable energy that can be constructively transformed if we strive again to move on instead of giving up.
Puddle: Collective identities are impossible and necessary at the same time." (Heike Delitz)
Puddle: To form a collective means the permanent work on the imagination.
A unit is a construction that tries to move homogeneously in one direction. In this way we build a clear structure, against which we actually strive - uniformity in a collective and in society. A collective must live in constant change and as a unity should always be imagined and created anew. It must be discussed what constitutes our collective identity! A collective constructs itself only in a conflict - this is the true discourse we should talk about. The search for truthfulness lies in an honest reflection of our thoughts and actions. Our experience has taught us to stop claiming the "naturally occurring connection" between us. This demands so much more than just a good intention towards ourselves and others to fulfill this desire. Our disagreements and differences are the building material of our collective. Can we imagine and create something common out of it?