Dienstag, 1. März 2011

Squat the world - Tralala L.A. !

or Juulia, Jenny and Sylvie are dreaming the miracle of summer

written by Ilka Theurich

What makes winter a distant memory? Just think, summer is not only a natural phenomenon, it is also a state of mind. The world is full of possibilities, joys and pleasures. "Everything begins with longing“, as the Jewish poet Nelly Sachs once wrote. Sometimes something flashes up in our life that let us sense the fulfilment of this longing – a profound experience of joy and happiness. I find this very often even in places which I am not familiar with. New experiences while observing new conditions. These are moments, magic moments, festive moments which make us feel that life is good through and through, so good that we want to say to the moment: "Oh! Please stay a little longer." But often, a touch of melancholy descends on this elation quickly, for we have to experience painfully again and again that longing can never be soothed for good. "Longing unfolds as an emotional towards something vague. Addiction is, in contrast, a craving for something definite. Longing combines with curiosity and craving/addiction combines with fear“(Paolo Bianchi). The artist is therefore the prototype of a person addicted to longing. Mario Erdheim, a psychoanalyst and ethnologist of fine arts from Zürich, says that the artist's longing marks movement towards an object as yet unknown that still must be found or created, whereas the artist's addiction obeys a repetition compulsion. "The artist is not content with things that have already been identified," Erdheim says, "he leaves the given frame and explores the new, or he goes beyond the scope of the frame itself and puts objects in a new context." We distinguish between backwards-looking longing/nostalgia and forward-looking longing/utopia. In his main work "Das Prinzip Hoffnung" ("Principle of Hope "), the philosopher Ernst Bloch writes about longing as the only honest state all human beings have in common. He says that longing, similar to urge, is vague and general, but it is clear at least where it is directed outwards. "It does not burrow like urge, instead it roams, that, of course, also restlessly as such, cravingly. And if longing becomes obsessed with itself at the same time, it remains mere general addiction. Being blindly and emptily roaming, it cannot get to where it would be soothed." My longing forces me out into the world regularly. I want to see with my own eyes and to understand, want to experience which treasures the world out there still has in store for me. The departure happens at a point where CURIOSITY is stronger than safety thinking and stronger than my satisfaction with things achieved so far.


While entering Rajasaari, a place where berths for ships during the winter season one can discover, I entered an imaginary landscape of thousands of possibilities. For me as an artist who has the longing for the infinite possibilities of imagination it was a starting point of an intensive journey. I met Juulia, Jenny and Sylvie. I visited a military manoeuvre fall camp. I encountered sharks, whales and dolphins. I end up in an art exhibition where I got the chance to enter a just finished Installation from Yves Klein, before I by mistake stepped onto a Jackson Pollock painting. I saw sculptures made form wood, metal and assemblages from water canister, life jackets and ladders. The pleasure which I took in the world of Rajasaari opens up something of the world of travelling to me, something I cannot experience in any other way. Beyond communication by means of language or terms, beyond the need for things like food, sleep and sex, everything is abstract. Travelling opens the reflection of other worlds for us. Successful travelling leaves the usual paths and gives birth to itself in movement. Travelling is what arises from dealing with the unknown. It represents a change of one's own things by accommodating the strange. Every journey is different, every journey has its own history, and yet all journeys are based on the same rite of passage consisting of departure – passage – arrival. Departure can be seen as independence or as giving up oneself, as a start towards freedom or as estrangement – the nature of departure always remains the same: a detachment of the self from a context, a separation from a located self. Passage can change the traveller so much that the movement itself determines his experience of the world, of himself and of the other. The aim is to surrender to the state of movement. Arrival creates contact and bonds, affiliation and differentiation come into being. Arrival makes emotional thinking on the basis of the real. Everybody can live for himself, talk about the others, praise or disown them; but every time one of them rows over to the other shore, he does it in order to exchange something.

It is not the purpose of travelling to daydream about utopian goals, but to keep in motion: an outer and inner motion/emotion. The travelling aesthete banks on a subversion of the own. The more a human being knows about his inner world, the more he can perceive the unfamiliar as what it is, namely something that is located outside one's own self. "Smugglers of worlds know the art of aesthetic smuggling. They take in phenomena of the sensual perception of colours, shapes, sounds, materials, smells and rooms into the archive or their memory. Culture that is experienced through one's own body is culture in the body and it directly enriches the native cultural experience" (Paolo Bianchi). In Rasjasaari I used the open mind and my body as a tool for new memories.