As I write this text (Thursday, May 21st, 2020), I do so as a non-essential being (as determined by government re: Covid-19).
Are the words of a non-essential being non-essential? Might they grow in essence once essentialism is reassessed, re-instated ? What I do know for certain at this very time is that I know very little for certain. I have absolutely no idea how next season shall ultimately unfold. I know how it’s supposed to unfold, but we’re in the midst of a pandemic, and at the mercy of a madness without method.
Plan A morphs into plan B morphs into WTF!
Perhaps the best laid plans are sometimes unlaid plans.
Unlaid & unblessed.
The one consistent constant is pain for all of the above comes accompanied by a massive body count. 350K and counting with each loss being wholly singular.
Even so, I am meant, it would seem, to somehow draw inspiration from all this disorder, to whip myself into a frenzy and rave about how the future is in the wires; to suddenly harness technology and burgeoning digital opportunities as if they were wind; meant to plan for the new normal (because apparently normal will never again be normal).
It’s difficult to rethink, to consider post-pandemic possibilities however when discussions are tinged with panic, shaded by desperation; difficult to consider solutions when they are often about as deep as a wading pool. Yes, now more than ever, we need to scan everything anew and not from a perspective of what we use to do but rather from the perspective of what we now can do. But here’s the thing, you can’t just replace the old normal with a new normal without first making sure that the new normal has been exorcised of everything that was wrong with the old normal.
We cannot simply let the long list of unattended issues or superficial attended issues fall into abeyance just because there’s a new cataclysm in town.
For whom is this re-imagined utopia? What might be hidden in the attic?
On any given day I well-recognize normal as delusional.
On most days I cannot but think that we’re going to fuck it up. Again. Ad Infinitum.
I remember last year, when programming for 2019/2020, just how consumed I was by the climate emergency. How I had read that the extinction of the human species was predicted for in and around the same time that MAI would be marking its 50ieth anniversary. Coffin and cake anyone? Remember how I began to stutter through my day to day, oscillating between golly goshit’s not too late, we can still save the planet and motherfucking fuck, we’re absolutely fucked; between needing to set things aright versus nihilistically wishing to set something afire. The game had changed, and the hardest part was that for a good long while I no longer trusted in what I did for a living. Suddenly it felt all so decorative and, ironically enough, non-essential (existential episode # 957).
Here I am now some twelve months later, equally consumed. How can I not be? Pandemics, heatwaves, droughts, locusts, flooding, winter storms, hurricanes and wildfires.
But undoubtedly this is how things sometimes go; you sometimes appreciate the value of one thing when confronted by its opposite. In other words, you value life when you face death in some way or another.
This, I think I think, is my new normal, delusional and all. I am programming during pre-apocalyptic, post-pandemic times; programming artists with an yptic or demic art practice (it is I daresay a form); programming for a pre-apocalyptic, post-pandemic public whether awake, aware or otherwise (the joke being on them).
Not a little unlike being at a wake, is it?
Where the dead and the alive bind together.
There are those here among us who, with great diligence will attend to the body, and those among us here who, with great abandon, will simply get hammered.
Those who shall pray, those who shall party.
They who walk dead, they who walk alive.
They capture the light dispel the dark or (there’s always an or) conjure the darkness engulf light.
They dazzle, they disturb; they beguile, they bother.
*As I finished this text (May 25, 2020), I became one of the many witnesses to the murder of George Floyd (an African-American man) by police officer Derek Chauvin (a white man) who held his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds – and suddenly these words, words, words – all these words take on new meaning.