[-empyre-] From a distance

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Nov 13 08:24:38 EST 2014

dear Yoko, dear all

I found your written response, from a distance, and from your beautiful northern Japan mountain landspace, very moving and also very audacious, as your reflection on [Does ISIS understand Cubism?], coupled now with your recounting of your response to a traumatic disaster in the land of the local people  [Slow violence], your performance response, moves us forward. 

Your pondering on religion, and homelands, or virtual kingdoms of islam or its god, I find quit clear and stunningly sensible, thus actually answering or pairing up with Alan's vexed mathematics face to face with terror and exclusion, cleansing, expulsion, " trying to come to grips with annihilation when for example beheading occurs, not only to foment terror, but as an act of piety, as part of the natural order of things."

And have you not also thus responded, in the careful description of your performance installation of slow-change, to the question raised by Pier, namely that we admit our powerlessness?  

But what is the powerless act is a profane illumination?

[The idea of fear, I'm not so sure I follow that social contract, Murat, not for me Hobbes. (<...basis of the social contract is fear. In Stalin, didn't Bukharin come face to face with a paranoiac Hobbesian?>)
I don't know whether Бух´рин/Bukharin came face to face with Stalin, but you're right, he got arrested in February 1937,  charged with conspiring to overthrow the Soviet state and executed in March 1938. He followed into his convictions.

The religious, too,  are fearless, no?  
at least, I would propose we talk about religion a little (and good wishes to Mine Kaylan, by the way, who tells me today, disturbingly, that she is "legless," both legs/feet injured, immobilized). 
But can we also address performance, and film, and alternate image practices (Pier, I watched and listended to "Gueules cassées - Men with broken faces (1918)", several times)?   What a calm, quiet indictment
of war, and homage to the theatre of prosthetics.  There is of course no solution to war against war.  I would prefer Wafffenstillstand. 

Yoko, have you felt this was possible, a stilling of time, a compression of huge force into smallest scale, space-distance,  an minimal acute awareness of ageing right there, removing all you "had"-  from there to here, then gone?


[Yoko a éscrit]

[Does ISIS understand Cubism?]

My mother’s dogs bark to ‘the others’. My local elderly people do not understand ‘the other aspects to see/gaze upon the world(s)’ - they never go out of their own perspectives and beliefs- as my colleagues in a local cake shop always complain. These humans/animals are not autistic. They are nice and pretty for the people ‘inside’. The problem is that they have their own spacial/mental territories/blocks that they seriously need to protect and also, they have the strong sense of belonging. For them, the worlds they belong to must be solid and stable, not fluid -against Bauman. Do they understand the multiple points of view of the world(s)? Can they make a step beyond their physical/mental borders? How about the people in ISIS…?

In the case of ISIS, it seems more complicated than those dogs and the local elderly people since they do not own their geographical ‘land’ or ‘state’, instead, they are bonded by a virtual reality: their virtual ‘state’ based on the ‘religion’ which is actually nothing but terror. It may be the reason why ISIS could relatively easily spread their beliefs/terror via social media such as Youtube so that they can collect the soldier candidates from all over the world. Well, in many religions, scripted words are principal. The god/guru/you-name-it’s spoken words are written, translated and spread. Now, how about belief or terror in this Internet age? You will much more easily find the way to agitate and brainwash people no matter how they are far from you by mediatising the ‘fact’ in this society of spectacle. Terror can be pervasive and penetrated into people’s mind everywhere on this planet as many of you here mentioned.

Now, I am curious about ISIS’s notion about ‘home’ or ‘their land’. Why do they continuously try to invade and occupy places? Why do they need a land? If their fundamental bond is ‘religion’, they should not necessarily have their own land (apart from Mecca…?). Are they trying to establish ‘a state’ as a physical space, following the international norm of ‘states’? Do they need any monuments or somewhere put their flag to claim their power inside -no, it shouldn’t be so because their religion bans idolatry? WHERE actually do they belong to...?

[Slow violence]


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