I lost all the writings I was doing during these days on the computer, I’ll have to start over again, writing down the quotes I’ve collected.
Or probably just write down new ones.
Mantenho uma certa rotina de limpeza da casa e de cozinhar. Leio bastante notícias que trazem uma mistura de sensações. Nem positiva, nem negativa, mas um certo peso da situação em que estamos. Prefiro isso do que ignorar o que acontece ao redor. Penso no futuro, onde A. e eu vamos morar e é claro do meu pai e família no Brasil.
O dia foi longo e cansativo.
De manhã varrendo a casa, a tarde lavando os legumes, a noite cozinhando a janta.
We made gnocchi. My father’s mother was very good at making them. That’s what my mother says. I don’t remember the food my grandmother made. I was young when she died. I remember that she used to make people laugh. She was direct. She was also swearing a lot.
While we did an etching workshop, the cat came into the studio, moving around the room, jumping from one to another printing press, as if she was introducing me to the workshop studio. I had a camera, and I started filming the cat. I decided to film other pets in the house. After some time, J. noticed this, and she wanted to do the same. J. is a 5-year-old girl who has her own camera that had a blue rubber plastic to protect it from braking and many different effects that she was an expert in applying on the image. From now we have a joint project: we will make a movie about animals in the house.
Talvez na vida preciso me esforçar mais. Porque não? Fotografar novamente as plantas do jardim de manhã ou final da tarde. Tirar fotos das janelas. (Guardar 10 rolos de Fuji 400H para o Brasil.) É provável que vamos passar aqui 3 à 4 meses. Tornar a estadia mais agradável.
S. has this habit of picking flowers every other morning and puts them in glasses with water around the house. I wanted to continue from there by collecting them before they are to throw away and make the herbarium of our time here. I put them between the pages of a book for studying Dutch, which I carried with me from Belgium. We also have many of them in the cupboard. J. helps me with collecting flowers from the garden.
Domingo. Parece que vamos ficar pelo menos um à dois meses aqui. Quando abrir uma janela A. e eu vamos embora. Tenho conseguido manter um início de rotina: trabalho, leio, limpo, cozinho e faço alguns alongamentos. Isso tem me deixado mais disposto.
Novo dia. Acordo, café, tarefas, etc.
The burden of past time.
Change. I talked to different women around Europe, and they are all talking about change.
Four golden rings to carry.
Sol se poēm
Fico pensando aqui como serão os próximos dois-três-seis meses. Vai passar, e que nada aconteça com os mais próximos.
We made green beans and potatoes. We watched the movie Kummatty (1979), all of us together. A magician that appears and dissolves from nature. The boy becomes a dog for a year.
I had two long talks with I. and my sister. More than before, I am present in the conversations, and to stay in contact with friends and family is rooting me here, where I am.
The change in the air on every level. It seems to drip down from higher up into a very personal level. I look at the people around me, friends, and they seem to face difficulties in their lives.
Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa. We, artists, and other monstrous vermins who are struggling for their existence.
I didn’t know you can repair broken plants even though I spent so much time in the countryside with my grandparents. You can reattach the broken (severed) stem of a plant, lace it around and put some clay to keep it together. I found out that these methods are borrowed from ‘tree grafting.’
Outra terça-feira. Dificuldade de fazer passar.
Dia merda. A deprimida desde ontem, consegue me empurrar para onde ela se encontra. Cansado. Tanto esforço e nada.
Pulei o dia que passou de forma tranquila, alegre e leve. Hoje acordei de saco cheio.
Ontem foi um dia bem difícil. A. recebeu uma mensagem de uma moça de Montenegro que também se encontra em Mumbai. E está tentando voltar ao seu país. Ela falou sobre a possibilidade de um voo à Frankfurt daqui. Logo em seguida entrei no site do consulado brasileiro, que informa sobre um voo na semana que vem. Liguei para o S., que disse querendo estou dentro desse vôo em direção ao Brasil. Antes disso H. me ligou de Delhi dizendo para nós irmos, não ficar aqui. Fiquei um tanto confuso.
So, there is maybe a possibility to go back to our countries, but then we will be separated. Until when? Till summer, till the end of the year, till next year? And what about my work in Belgium? I just got my professional card. I understand now how much I have risked coming here. But back then, nobody was able to predict these developments of events and that people will be stuck where they are, and that this can be decided from one day to another. I also wanted to take a risk. I was sick of my life in Belgium.
Junto à A. liguei à T. que ficou especulando a merda que será o futuro. Disse para não nos separamos agora. Pois não se sabe quando vamos poder nos re-encontrar. Depois dessa conversa fiquei bem abatido, apesar de não concordar com T.
O dia me bateu forte. Felizmente tivemos uma conversa franca sobre a possibilidade de A. e eu irmos embora.
Hoje, mais um dia mais uma montanha-russa.
Today, people from the house picked up coconuts from the tree. Then S. opened up some of them and shredded them, with this super-cool machine that was standing there in the drawer all the time, and I could just fantasize what it was for but never guess.
I keep on filming the pets in the house and collecting dry flowers and leaves.
“At the beginning of the third week in lockdown, magical materialism began to make total sense. We needed a synesthetic, physical, and emotional understanding of what was unfolding. The very tie between our bodies and the blooming plants outside was the key to not panic: as a civilization, we are behaving in ways that cause nature to be mechanically fruitful, deaf to its messages, enigmas, signals that resonate deeply with our own organisms and the ones of other species.” (Claire Fontaine in Italy)
Segunda, ontem o dia passou bem e leve. A rotina está se firmando e ajuda a me manter calmo.
I keep on working. I had two online meetings this morning. I keep working, not because I want to produce, but I want to be connected to people. Actually, for a long time, I feel like I don’t want to produce. Some time ago, I read in an essay from Bojana Cvejić, that artists today don’t want to produce but learn.
Also, I keep working because I don’t want to miss this chance to work differently. It is more clear what I want and what I can do than it was ever before. So, I keep working but not like I worked before. I just do how I would like it to be done, not so much how I am expected to do it. Or how I am expecting myself to do.
Talked to P., we went over the grades for the masterclass we led early this year. Had a difficult time recalling those days. But together, after some effort, it was nice to think of them. I felt the good energy of that week.
We also had a difficult but good talk about the misunderstanding and tension inside the house. It was necessary. It would’ve been hard to continue how it was, for God knows how long we will stay in lockdown.
L. went back to Lisbon. I am curious about her emotions and how she will experience being back in the city for a week.
Crickets. Full Moon.
I just practiced kung fu with C. and feel very good. It was nice to be only the two of us.
I feel like I am building up good relationships, also with D.
I can feel summer in the air, and it makes me melt entirely inside.
Sitting in the kitchen of the collective house writing this. The door is open, the crickets are “tsirping,” and I feel good. I could stay in this moment for a long time.
This morning, as I do every day here, I cleaned the house, wiping the dust. But this morning, I decided to close my eyes while going over the furniture, and I was exploring and touching different objects lying on the tables.
Conversei com A., sinto ela com certo medo talvez ou falta de paciência e/ou saco se for o caso de ficar mais tempo aqui do que planejado.
I was already keeping a record of my emotions during the lockdown days, but reading the daily thoughts and habits of, for example, the Russian philosopher Oxona Timoveefa gave me the energy to perhaps write my daily thoughts down in a bit more narrating or structured way as before. These notes being typed down and not only scribbled in my notebook.
To make this a routine because I like to write and I could use some more practice on it.
Today is a rainy day, monsoon-like. Water just keeps on falling from the sky. I do enjoy sitting at our table that the three of us bombarded to a shared desk space. I can lean my back against one of the shutters and read in the daylight that falls into the room. We are already at the beginning of April, so this rain brought warmth. Even though the house here in Alentejo is still colder inside than outside, I no longer freeze when I am sitting still. This weekend the temperatures will rise to 24 degrees, and a week ago, I already dived into the tank.
Life here seems like a bubble, a brilliant sphere. I take my time, though, to check the news every evening or sometime during the day. I have a terrible feeling about Belgium, and the death rates show the same, with over 200 deaths every 24 hours.
Yesterday I drove with A. to the greenhouse where we always get our vegetables. It felt nice to leave the house and move around the two of us for a little bit. Nothing particular going on in the way, and you wouldn’t have noticed any difference from ‘normal,’ although we couldn’t stop for coffee and a croquette or “bifana” on the way.
We got fresh red and yellow beats, turnip tops, mustard leaves, lettuce, and different leaves for salad from the greenhouse, a cardboard box full of good stuff.
Covid-19 kicked in again when we arrived at Estremoz to shop for groceries. We passed four supermarkets to look for the least long line of people. In the end, we chose Continente, which also still took us over an hour waiting in line, 30 people in front of us and behind us. Talking about “bifana,” I really could have one now, mmmm…
I discovered that what I initially thought would be difficult for me, which is to live together with a group of people, I quite enjoy now.
It feels good to be here in a group of eight people.
It makes me think about how I want to construct the future, and it makes me less afraid of deciding on having my own house.
Two hundred eighty-three people died in Belgium in the last 24 hours again. L.’s father is still in an emergency. L. is one of my very dear friends in Belgium that has been by my side for 20 years. I’m afraid her father might die.
I am trying to write in the same way I am writing the text for the Saturn video. My previous book was related to Pluto. Random images of Saturn appeared everywhere during the stay in the countryside, so I have decided that the next book would be related to Saturn.
I didn’t find a title yet, but there are signs of Saturn everywhere here…
The old bottle of lemonade that I found on the ground has a depiction of Saturn on it.
Days later, I discover there is a magnet on the fridge with an image of the planet.
Aby Warburg’s writings are full of Saturn.
I cleaned my hangover away. I clean with dedication and detail until everything is clear. To prepare to start reading.
There is a thin line between madness and learning-making excitement. Taking back control that circumstances are taking away from you.
Italy, Spain, UK, USA, Iran, China, … and in Belgium, 491 people have died in the last 24 hours. When I talk to friends, they say it’s stabilized…
Schools will not yet open after Easter vacation.
I wonder when I will go back, or when I need to decide on going back, or when I will be able to fly back to Belgium.
It is, to some extent, a choice of being stuck here in Portugal. For my mental health, I chose to be here, with enough nature around me to do two-hour walks and to work in the “horta” or to be able to construct a cement wall for the natural pool we are making.
I am not sure how I would have dealt with being trapped in my tiny apartment in Antwerp or even my room in Lisbon. I am quite sure I would have had a hard emotional time, if not a slide into a depression.
Today S. helped me, and we did a cyanotype on my dress. With flowers collected here. When she saw it, H. told me about Lord Hanuman and the part of the story where he turns his chest open where there were Lord Rama and Devi Sita, to show that they are part of him. I am always overwhelmed with Ramayana stories that I got to know, from the version of it written for children, a book which I sometimes read to J.
Cevada coffee, my new addiction, that I now started drinking instead of coffee because someone left a jar of it in the collective house. It turns out to have many health benefits.
Há mais de dois dias não escrevo, não sei se tenho me mantido ocupado. The Internet connection seems to be quite slow today, I am having difficulties sending mails. A rotina que segue, fico aqui pensando se ela vai passar ou ficar quando a vida voltar a normalizar-se para o que for. Não sei, não sinto falto do meu eu anterior.
It was a warm and sunny day this morning until a thunderstorm arrived in the afternoon, making us all crawl inside again behind our computers.
My rhythm changed. I go to sleep late and don’t wake up before 10 in the morning.
Todo o peso que senti a noite me acorda devagar hoje.
I will try and turn that back to normal next week.
We went for mushroom picking in the afternoon, after I had made lunch. A feeling of immense peace came over me, walking between the cork trees, between those silver-green bushes looking at the two others in that landscape. I felt completely fine and was wondering if this was the happiest time in my life.
Provavelmente o lockdown vai se estender até o início de Maio. Entramos na rotina da casa, isso tem ajudado a nos manter ativos e de certa forma produtivos. A minha publicação começa a tomar forma, em termos de conteúdo começo a enxergar algumas conexões. Hoje me encontro animado.
Quinze minutos depois de escrever a frase acima, entro em crise. Como resolver tudo isso?
A publicação tem que ter uma certa sagacidade.
Today we watched a film before lunch. In the evenings we are too tired and we get sleepy watching movies. Amma Ariyan, by Odessa Collective, and read the text Contemporaneity and the Collective. The reportage in Amma Ariyan, by Ameet Parameswaran.
“One day the apolitical intellectuals of my country will be interrogated by the simplest of our people. They will be asked what they did when their nation died out slowly, like a sweet fire small and alone.”
Há dois dias que não escrevo. Os dias passam e o tempo é pouco para fazer tudo o que gostaria de ter feito.
Talvez pensar com mais responsabilidade e um tanto de leveza como você quer viver daqui em diante. Ligar para a embaixada Belga. Para se informar de quando podemos esperar sair daqui. Dormi após o almoço. Acordei com o ânimo melhor. Antes de almoçar tive uma boa conversa com H., que me acalmou um pouco.
I started editing the movie about the animals and pets of the house. The idea is that we screen this movie while J. and I will be narrating our stories live for the people in the house. She is very good at storytelling. Every second day she performs for us one of her puppet-shows.
During the last two weeks, I got familiar with the term – implicit dramaturgy – regarding movies.
Concerning implicit dramaturgy: there is a thunderstorm outside. A. left the house today to take a plane back to Berlin.
I don’t know when we will have the opportunity to see each other again in this corona crisis, and it might take much longer than we anticipated.
Song of the day: Aphex Twin, Avril 14
I didn’t come to write. I was talking with Goda. She sent me an email:
“Poem written in 1869 by Kathleen O’Mara, reprinted during 1919 Pandemic (Spanish flu).
And people stayed at home
And read books
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visionS
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.”
I woke up this morning because C. came to get his computer in my room. Immediately I sensed that there was something wrong, which I had sensed yesterday already.
I decided to talk about it.
We talked about him feeling excluded this morning, and I have the feeling it made our friendship closer because we talked about how we felt. But C. stayed in quite a bad mood.
We made a trip to the cork tree forest and it was magical. The trees were like veins in a living body.
Fora a pandemia o controle sobre quase todos aspectos da nossa vida. Que vem aos poucos a cada dia que passa. Tentamos rebater para manter um espaço próprio. Tem sido difícil. Tem que ter paciência. Um tanto difícil entender as nuances dessa troca brusca entre o relacionamento aqui dentro da casa.
Tenho conversado com muitos amigos pelo telefone, isso tem ajudado. A. e eu conversamos diariamente e tentamos manter-nos calmos na situação que nos encontramos.
I woke up around 9.
M. as Els Endrix Trio released a song on youtube at 10:30 am.
Hoje é sábado. Ontem antes de dormir perguntei a A. que dia era, achava que era quarta ou quinta. Os dias agora são números.
It stopped raining. We haven’t been using the fire for some weeks now, the rain has already brought some warmth, but now it is time to become warmer, we are half April.
A sensação de um longo domingo. Tempo para repensar o que vêm a fazer.
I started working with D. on the natural pool or the pond we are reconstructing.
All the cement work is done, and we will be able to paint it water solid in the next coming day.
Around the middle of the day, it got pretty warm in the sun, and I feel that we are finally at the beginning of the hot days.
Summer is coming.
But will I be here? My life is turned upside down.
I went out to help C. with the construction of the “veranda” we will build in front of the collective house. In the shape of a small greenhouse made of windows.
First, I weeded in the “horta,” the vegetable garden that looks nice now after C. and A. with our help spent so much time planting, weeding, and organizing it.
We discovered “dille” in the garden that A. had planted before she left the house. I was thrilled because it was one of the herbs I was missing when preparing food, so I moved some of the still-quite-small plants to the little herb garden we are creating in front of the collective house.
All of this made me feel so peaceful again; the whole day I have worked outside. Writing about how Covid-19 is changing everything seems too stressful, and I would instead not think about it.
Also, I had some lovely message thread with A. where I feel reassured now that we are definitely on a similar level of communicating and feeling.
I knew this, but doubt creeps in when suddenly your communication is rendered only to a digital way of communicating.
A 3,5-year-old Portuguese/Italian blond little princess with dark brown eyes helped me write.
She feels very comfortable running in and out of the collective house after I gave her some attention. Actually, it’s been quite suitable for my level of speaking Portuguese.
I am on a similar level or worse than her.
She is still next to me, talking, trying to make a phone call with that small calculator-looking object I use for my banking.
“Ola prima tita, estamos en estremoz, tudo bem, tudo bem, ja ja ja….”
This day existed out of a walk in the morning, some sleeping in the sun in the afternoon, and helping C. with the construction for the “estufa” in front of the collective house.
My emotions are on the run. Sometimes, I can completely drown or escape in a dreamlike state.
Although, I can see the danger in this: romanticism in relation to nature, life, etc.
Romanticism: depicting man looking at nature, contemplating nature. (But not a woman :))
The scene is perceived and idealized, passive, and external to humans.
Looking AT nature places man outside of nature, not part of it… this makes man dominant over nature, not with nature… something to contemplate upon and extract from.
But here I am mostly talking about my own drowning in dreaming.
I applied today to make a new edition of the essay ArchivingArtisticAnxieties.me. It was not as stressful and doubtful as it is usually to write the application. Everything seems easier now.
Cronos / Saturn
Representing infinite time and malevolent finite time.
It might be interesting to link the artwork to the concept of infinite time, especially because it is and will have its origin in a lockdown period, where time and space became this vacuum. Almost everything came to a halt.
Them Changes from Thundercat on repeat, and I am also listening to the new album.
Sometimes I get scared if I hear people talking about things that might change or never go back to normal. I have this mixed feeling of excitement and fear. Excitement because I want things to change, but for the better, and I am afraid to change will only happen after a major crisis. Where everything might collapse… I find it extremely difficult to foresee.
We made a poster for our movie about animals in the house. J. and I made a drawing and we printed it in light pink color on green paper.
So Many Layers of Colour Become a Deep Purple Heart (Steve Reich)
Some time ago, A. wrote a script about a girl being completely cut off from her emotions, (…) at the end, she vomits colors and finds her feelings again. I will have to ask him about the story again to write it down correctly cause I feel now I don’t give it respect with writing it down short like this. A. connected this to her own nightly wake-ups, later on in time, when we were still tightly sleeping together in the house. She could feel this energy running through her body and couldn’t wholly place what it was and came to the realization that she had been cut off from her emotions the last years and that this energy coming out was her getting in touch again with these emotions.
The strange thing to me is how this script illustrated us both.
My first experience with ayahuasca began with vomiting the most fluorescent white flower I had ever seen in my life; colors and colors and colors followed after putting me in a deep state of acceptance and peace.
I have been here for a month. It’s almost like living here. I went for groceries with D. and drove back. Looking at the landscape, I realized that this place is magical, asking me to react to it.
I need nature. I need the sun.
I need to write down how I see my resistance to things and if this is a reality or just a romantic ideal.
The father of N. died in the hospital in Paris; he was a doctor who didn’t make it.
Yesterday, A. and I bought our tickets back to Europe. We go together to Amsterdam. From there, he goes on to Frankfurt and then Montenegro, where he stays in a 14-day quarantine organized by the government there. I go to Antwerp by train. We felt leaving would be the best to do for us. Staying was too uncertain. Hard to be apart now. We will need to resolve that soon, for the future.
We drove to the airport at night. Our plane was very late, 10:55 pm. When we were saying goodbye, I firmly tightened her hand in mine. It was like a promise that we will stay in touch. The streets of Mumbai were empty, only police vans on the road. We needed special permission from the government to allow our friend to drive us to the airport. I arrived here a bit more than a month ago, passing the same streets, driving in a rickshaw taxi. The traffic was so dense, I could almost touch the people passing by. Loud, alive. We say ‘alive’ for a dynamic movement. But we are alive now, too. We are happening.
Tonight I am going to sleep at the airport in Frankfurt. My traveling friend B. and me. B. is very young. He was also in Mumbai, working there as a model. It’s nice I am not alone tonight here, in the almost empty airport.
Today was one of the first hotter days of the year. I made lunch as on the other days. I feel like I have a bit more time because the natural pool is finished, and the construction of our “veranda” is put on hold because C. has some applications to do.
I walk into the forest of cork trees in the afternoons to find some privacy and to read.
I am starting to feel restless.
The restlessness is directly connected to the closed borders.
The uncertainty of not knowing when they will open again, the uncertainty of what will happen after this lockdown, sometimes brings me fear.
I can’t wrap my head around what is going to happen with this world and if it will turn back to a ‘normal’ state or not.
Mushroom picking seems to be over. The ground turned dry again. C. came cheering earlier tonight that we had made it through winter, that from now on, there will be six months of beach weather and no rain.
I became quite good at recognizing mushrooms and got addicted to the walks, letting my eyes scan the ground, searching for chanterelles.
They were delicious, and we were finding many, mostly chanterelles for some weeks, eating delicious pasta with chanterelles, mixed mushrooms, …
Tonight we were all on the roof terrace, playing carrom, playing music, playing with the dogs.
A. will start today his 14-day institutional quarantine. They organized like that in Montenegro. A. is in a 5-star hotel, turned into a quarantine, secured by the military. A. says it is another great metaphor. I think A. sees life only through metaphors. He would say now that it is something in the language. That’s what they always say. “Oh, sorry, we can’t translate this joke for you; it only works in our language.” And it is true, he tried translating it for me. Most of the time, I don’t find it funny at all.
The sun is out, the day seems beautiful. I took my computer to write outside in the sun. Hearing the cuckoo in the forest. I am always reluctant to call it a forest because, to me, it feels more like a gathering of cork trees…
The cuckoo is very persistent in his calling. It’s like the cuckoo clock broke down and went in overdrive.
I feel sad today. I think it was the mail from K. about work that made me feel very insecure. I feel like I will have to rethink my life completely. I am not afraid of it, though, like I said yesterday, A. gives me the strength to let go or not cling to something; I’m open for a change because I met him. Maybe it’s okay, and perhaps I will have to stop escaping. Even though I had the feeling that I wasn’t running away anymore. Being in Portugal made me stop doing that. I had the feeling, … I felt I had found a balance and was ready to take on life as a fresh start, and prepared to make some decisions. I had finally come to a place where I felt good and where I feel I want to be. But was I still avoiding my responsibilities? Am I still running away? Although I don’t think I am, and I have to accept who I am and what my limits are, I created this for myself to be able to be ok, and I feel like I am founding/finding my way to do so. Why do I keep on being in doubt about these things?
I made a path in the agroforest in the afternoon. It was the first hot day; the sun was burning.
Carnation Day or the day of the revolution
The writing exercise – as the first activity you do in the morning.
Our becoming fossils in the making.
When traveling back to Lisbon, before the lockdown, I decided to pack Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. An appropriate read during this lockdown. I would like to pack Elvia Wilk’s novel Oval which is the fictional novel of Naomi Klein’s non-fiction.
More than preservation, we need transformation.
Probably I could say the same about my life.
It is time to explore these subjects theoretically and to put them into realization. Even though I must say, I can’t completely emphasize what that means for my life, but I am willing to find out. I want the place in the countryside to start resisting.
“Right-wingers who realize that ecocide is real will not respond by redistributing means for common survival, but by doubling down on the question of who has the superior racial right to survive and who does not—which, as Sherronda J. Brown argues, is one more reason to refrain from declaring humans the “virus” in the current coronavirus pandemic.” (Humans Are Not the Virus: Don’t Be an Eco-fascist)
I talked about the fear I feel concerning changes to our daily lives, leaning much more to a high surveillance society. The rise of right-wing populism and fascism due to specific changes in our behavior and society caused by fear.
Fear of the other.
Fear of contamination. I am thinking now about this image of the world where we keep the distance, we close the borders, and we communicate without touch; I am thinking how it is a metaphor of how the world functions anyway. We live and create influenced by what we read, by what the one next to us creates, by what we have been taught together, … But we still want to profit alone.
“And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning”
(A Litany for Survival, Audre Lorde)
It’s much colder today. The market in Estremoz was on after being closed for several weeks, although they couldn’t open without measures being taken of social distancing. Resulting in the farmers wearing these plastic “stormtrooper helmets” in front of their faces. I am still astounded by the sight of this futuristic image in action. It’s like we are living in a Netflix series.
Those are the only times we come out of the house.
The natural bubble in Bailao, maybe in this place, I try to pierce that romantic ideal I have of living in the countryside, by seeing how daily life is, to experience it… For the moment, it still keeps on being this bubble, though. (also because of the exceptional circumstances of Covid-19, although it doesn’t seem to influence the life of the ones living here much)
I am not yet fed up with it in any way. I need a place like this in my life, to be able to live a different life, to be able to live a more simple life.
Collapsing ecosystems as a resource for new geo-engineering industries, a market and technology as the only way to overcome our impending extinction. Marketing future, marketing ecocide as an investment, terraforming Mars for the sake of the survival of – who?
The world is a rock, it will live with or without us. The rock I hold in my hand now.
El sol de membrillo
I keep on drawing daily the same olive tree standing next to the platform.
The future belongs to Fire
Or how portraying disasters and deconstruction esthetics don’t capture the profound circumstances of its emergence, focusing instead on the visual effects.
The pressure of success. In arts. Possibly in other professions, too. But in the arts, it is so difficult to resist the seductive idea of the talented creator. Of being given a gift, being gifted. How this can fuck us up and society as a whole. It even makes you evil while you are still a good person, a caring person.
This construction of an artist as a talented maker is still standing strong; the whole world doesn’t let it go. And it always surprises you. Just when you think you have escaped it, it appears around the corner. You are the one who makes your own luck, you are the one who is exceptional. You have to take care of yourself and you are the only one to blame if you fail. Once you get a chance – a good show, a known gallery to present your work and especially if it happens while you are young, you start to believe that you deserve it. You think you deserve the attention. You can speak up for the others, teach them what you know,… while you believe that you are sharing. Even when you put all the effort to resist, to work differently, you are still seduced.
The construction is reaffirmed by the market, by the society which glorifies the myth of the creative individual over the collective effort.
Concrete floating lemon
The days are becoming hot, so everything will slightly turn dryer and dryer. Therefore grass around the house needs to be cut short for fire prevention. I woke up and put myself to cutting the grass with the “zeis.” I love the monotonous repeating movements in doing this. It almost feels like meditation, although I was contemplating the act of destroying nature with my act of cutting down lots of small biotopes and beautiful flowers. I got so caught up in the work that I completely forgot to call the Belgian Embassy to find out if there is any way to cross the border between Germany and Belgium.
Acordei de mau humor. I am trying to write whatever comes to my mind now and have this exercise of just writing. But I am not doing well in it. Maybe that is because I put a task on myself, and I definitely have a loss of pleasure when ‘I have to,’ which is very problematic and childish behavior.
Ligar para a embaixada Belga. Para se informar de quando podemos esperar sair daqui. Dormi após o almoço.
Acordei com o ânimo melhor.
The grass I cut yesterday is still wet, which makes it this silver-green color in the sun. My olive tree is standing rooted in front of me next to the platform connected to the tank, aka swimming pool. One of the tree panther-cats sits at the end of the tank looking out over the landscape, the vegetable garden, and the meadow where the cows graze usually.
Si lo desejas lo tienes
If you wish it you have it
The sign A. put up in the “horta” always catches my eye. Maybe I do have it already.
C. and D. are leaving to work on the almond field.
I’ll pass my gaze to the other side of the house. The small greenhouse no longer stands in a colorful field due to cutting the grasses, although the lot behind it where we didn’t cut still has a range of yellow, blue, and white flowers.
The crappy small “estufa” made of old windows, the red door makes me always wonder if I want to construct my own house.
The Cuckoo is still in overdrive, desperately calling for a partner.
Love in times of cholera.
Apparently, the use of tinder and other dating sites exploded in this lockdown period.
Collaging; the different ideas and images put together.
I can’t write, and it pisses me off. I’m getting in a bad mood.
The juice from an orange that I am eating is dripping on the ground. Giant ants on every drop drinking it. How would they perceive the taste of the delicious orange juice in the morning? Meanwhile, I’m thinking about walking through the forest to that little Garden of Eden, the house for sale. My house (?) To pick some more oranges.
The ants in war, it’s a real battlefield. The giant ants kill the small ones leaving them cripple or to die. Heads will roll. How many are already rolling in this crisis? What will happen next?
I had the usual discussion about politics with my mother. She said something like – people here ARE like that and it will never change. My argument was that there isn’t something that ‘the certain people’ (people as a nation) ARE in their essence, but that what ‘people’ are is constructed and therefore it can be all the time changed in construction. She told me that what I think is a philosophy and that she speaks from her experience. She argued that she is 63, and she understands people better, so she claims more right to reality. I told her that philosophy (or the theory) or whatever I read is not separated from how I experience reality.
But then I remembered that in one interview I had for the Ph.D. position, one of the people from the committee asked me: “There are so many words in your application. What is behind those words?” I said: “There is nothing behind the words. I introduce those concepts I came up with, that I want to develop through my work.” I didn’t get a Ph.D.
From now on, I will practice for interviews with my mother.
“The Pentagon on Monday released three declassified videos that show US Navy pilots encountering what appear to be unidentified flying objects.” (The Guardian)
Aliens will be next.
There’s a stork in the field. How beautiful is this landscape, and how am I dreading to leave it behind.
I feel stressed. I feel happy. Una Vita Difficile.
I just realized that as an artist, I might feel like the protagonist of the film. Always looking for something with an ideal in mind that is not to be found or very hard to find.
This lockdown feels like such a time warp, and the emotions and feelings I have been experiencing have been transforming hours into minutes and minutes into hours.
“Time is a condition for the existence of our T. It is like a kind of culture medium that is destroyed when it is no longer needed. Once the links are severed between the individual personality, and the conditions of existence. What is known as the moment of death is also the death of individual time: the life of a human being becomes inaccessible to the feelings of those remaining alive, dead for those around him. Time is necessary to man, so that made flesh, he may be able to realize himself as a personality. But I am not thinking of linear time, meaning the possibility of getting something done, performing some action. The action is a result, and what I am considering is the cause which makes man incarnate in a moral sense. History is still not time, nor is evolution. They are both consequences. Time is a state: the flame in which there lives the salamander of the human soul.” (Andrey Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time)
I mainly got struck by “the life of a human being becomes inaccessible to the feelings of those remaining alive, dead for those around him“ because it is exactly that. It’s that time continuum where we don’t know where it stops and begins, we have life on Earth with an exact starting point and ending point, but we don’t know anything about all the rest of it.
Time is said to be irreversible. And this is true enough in the sense that ‘you can’t bring back the past’ as they say.
Some more grass cutting, the movement of the arms, the sound of the blade cutting the stems feels like choreography. I enjoy the meditative character of the repetitive movements.
“For happiness is an abstract, moral concept. Real happiness, happy happiness, consists, as we know, in the aspiration towards that happiness which cannot but be absolute: that absolute after which we thirst. Let us imagine for a moment that people have attained happiness – a state of complete human freedom of will in the widest sense: at the very instant personality is destroyed. Man becomes as solitary as Beelzebub. The connection between social beings is cut like the umbilical cord of a newborn infant. And consequently society is destroyed. With the force of gravity removed, objects go flying off into space. (of course some may say that society ought to be destroyed so that something completely new and just can be built on the debris!… I don’t know, I am not a destroyer…)” (p.53)
Elon Musk s 60 satelite trainWe walked to the small house that is for sale and back until we decided to put ourselves down between the cork trees. We climbed in a tree, and I stayed in the tree feeling very comfortable, laying down on one of the big branches like a cat, or maybe more like an ape. My legs were hanging over another big branch like the tree was holding me.
My mind wandered, going in between the details of the tree’s bark, reflecting on the dualities of my character. Or the two sides I relate to for me to balance things like the city and the countryside. Before we arrived at the open fields, where the sun was going down, the huge owl that we always hear around flew out of the tree, without noise.
Owls don’t make noise in their flight.
Each blade of grass, so articulated and clear, fluorescent green, each flower asking so much attention, being highlighted in the field. It was stunning. As if I was walking through a fluorescent jungle, I could see every little detail so clear. Therefore I also noticed the small frog jumping through the colorful grass. The thistles had a beautiful articulated form and were “appelblauwzeegroe”’ (the color translated to apple-blue-sea-green or turquoise) in a sea of green with red blades with thousands of small purple flowers beneath it, close to the soil, like heather. Blue, yellow and white flowers popped up until the bottom, close to the almond field, where the air immediately became more humid. All the white flowers took over and grew almost as high as us.
The landscape and the place we were, brought me continually back to one of the first walks with A., where we cut through to a field of “koolzaad” flowers.
I felt C.’s company on a very comfortable and quiet level.
When we arrived back in the dark at the house, we grabbed together for a toast. The soup was warmed up and eaten while talking. Should we ask D. to watch a film with us? I wasn’t sure of that and walked outside. The moment I shift my gaze to the stars, I see one falling. Immediately, it transferred me back to the night walk with A., standing next to each other for hours looking at five stars shooting through the air. I feel I am getting impatient to see her.
After seeing the shooting star, I decided to lay myself down on the platform near the tank to look at the stars. C. joined, and we talked about the satellites Elon Musk put in the air a year ago and are now in orbit around the earth. Only two minutes after, and only a few more minutes after, the first satellite appeared. Being followed by another one, and another one, and another one… We realized to our amazement that we were looking at precisely that 60 satellite train of Elon Musk. I felt like looking into the future, asking myself if that’s how the sky would look in a hundred years, full of traffic jams and trash flying around. Gazing into this once so peaceful image of the heavens.
I feel destructive. I notice that maybe dancing has always been the way to let this destructive side of me out.
In her book, My mother Laughs, Chantal Akerman is writing that she only feels herself when dancing, especially when dancing for hours.
When I talked with V. on the phone the other day, she told me that she had these liberating orgasmic moments while dancing in clubs. She always liked to dance, and we danced together. But these intense moments came now together with her changed psychological state. Now, when the time is insane, she goes to the park, puts the music on her headphones, and dances by herself, just there, in the daytime in the park.
Putting on my shoes, I felt If one of my socks or something was still stuck inside my shoe, only to discover when I turned it around – a dead mouse fell out. Rosinha gave it as a present, or the mouse escaped from her claws and jumped in my shoe to hide.
I cut S.’s hair. We do it here, for each other. I always thought cutting hair or pedicuring for someone when not a service is a bonding practice.
C. left. L. has arrived. I like L.
I’m feeling the perfect bubble changes or coming to an end by people leaving and others coming.
M. arrived, I. also.
I connect to M. Although it feels like too much of a tornado passing in the peaceful existence here, I perceive him as very invasive.
Life is a journey, literally.
I bought my ticket to go back to the north of Europe.
I am flying over Frankfurt.
My Cevada coffee under the wine vine in front of the house. D. is sitting with me. I dreamt of saying goodbye to him, hugging him even though he is not the physical type.
Today I am going. My trip starts this afternoon. Back to Lisbon, where I will enjoy the quiet city, as they say it used to be.
The last hours before I leave the house, not to return for at least some time.
Today I am returning home to stay with my mother and our dog for the next two weeks, quarantined in the house. Our apartment is in the basement, it will be difficult, but the doctor said I couldn’t even go in front of the house. At the same time, they announced opening borders for the tourists to come in.
My mother thinks that I am weird to follow what they told me. But I got the official paper, signed by the inspector, so why would I risk it? Also, I can move and push the walls down.
Messages to this chat and calls are now secured with end-to-end encryption.
hi joke, I have a working proposal for you!
hey, adrijana !!! yes ! bring it on 🙂
how are you these days?
i’m ok … a bit busy coming back. i had Tille with me quite early (didn’t do a complete quarantine)
doing the homeschooling with him etc., which i quite enjoy. a week back now.
I have a working proposal for you if you have some time these two months…
but i will have enough time. so i’m happy to hear about your working proposal!
ok, happy to hear from you! i will write to you in an email today. kisses for you and Tille
you didn’t send the email through, did you? just to check that i didn’t miss it x
no, you didn’t miss it. sorry, had to send some proposals till today. also, i get distracted by my mum 🙂 doing it now.
haha, no worries
Subject: art and life
Hello, dear Joke!
So, I have received some money, from the Montenegrin Ministry of culture, for the unemployed artist in corona times. It’s not a lot, but it will help me live these months. But I had to make something.
I don’t know if you already had a look; in February I published (together with a.pass and Royal Academy) an online publication that hosted my writings from the last three years. I had Pia, Tina, and Goda commenting on it, and Sina was designing and coding the website – ArchivingArtisticAnxieties.me
When I was applying, I was in India. I was thinking of making another essay on this same platform, looking at how the artistic anxieties changed in the corona quarantine. About precarity and rootlessness, but about everyday of the lockdown,… I put a working title Household and Care as Artistic Strategies. I proposed that I will document our routines (cooking, reading, printing, cleaning …) using the structure of co-writing as it is on the website.
The first fast references I have now in my mind is the movie of Chantal Akerman – Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), or Martha Rosler’s performance video Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975), and want to add different ideas of the domestic where the ‘minor’ is staged, but also the pleasure, the emotion, the drama …
I wrote in the proposal smth like this (I translate it roughly now):
“With this project, I propose the creation of the second edition of this visual, multimedia, collective essay, which will look at the transformation of artistic fears and insecurities at the time when anxiety is a globally primary condition.
Namely, in this situation, we feel a greater need to maintain professional friendships, and we are focused on work that stimulates a more intimate exchange.
At the same time, we, artists-housekeepers, record our activities and surroundings through various mediums (filming, printing, writing, creating recipes, watering the plants…). These can become a base for an essay and also a practical, as well as a reflective anthology and manual, which will be published, using the design structure already developed for ArchivingArtisticAnxieties.me, for those who seek passage out from the conventional system of creation in art. Because at this moment, it turns out that the skills and knowledge that have emerged on the margins of art systems are the only ones that can respond and devise the continuation of creative work.”
But the project will change since I ended up coming back home. I will still use some of the material generated there.
I am thinking about your time in the countryside, where you have also been with artists, and thinking about other different examples of sustainability.
And then about my time here, now, with my mother. And our future time back in Belgium.
Vijai will still stay as one of the editors, and if you are interested, we could be the team to organize the visual and written material.
This is the intro,
we can talk more, I don’t know how your experience was, just projecting on it, thinking how we always wanted to work on something together.
A big hug and talk to you soon,
i read the mail, and i’m gonna answer it properly later, but i just wanted to let you know that i kept a daily “registration” of thoughts and activities i was doing/reading being in the countryside… so i am very excited to share this. but like i said, i will answer mail properly later 🙂
and i also watched chantal ackerman’s jeanne dielman in this lockdown.
and yes, let’s skype soon
We are going to the sea. We called it the post-apocalyptic sea. Since the 15th of March, I haven’t been outside of our apartment.
Three weeks without writing. I have to get back in a rhythm.
Subject: art and life
Jeanne Dillman, 23, quai du commerce.
I just saw the film now during the corona quarantine, so I have it fresh in mind.
I have been confronted by the ideas that you wrote about during all these years with Tille. Still, I felt it especially now, during quarantine, when I was in the countryside, trying to see how I could integrate my practice in everyday habits/life. It felt very peaceful there.
I started writing every day after being inspired by “Letters against separation” by Oxana Timofeeva, where I felt that she was in a similar place as me during the lockdown, only in rural Russia.
I tried to bring what you are writing above in practice, by a mere registration of thoughts, to see where it would get me.
Being in Belgium, I lost that routine again, but I am missing it, craving to pick it up again…
I’m just going to edit a few things in the writings, and I will send it through to you.
I would be happy to take part in the platform/essay.
I will take some more time to go through the writings on archivingartisticanxieties. The site attracted me because of its structure (it’s beautiful); it represents a way of thinking I feel very comfortable with.
Maybe we can Skype next week. I’ll have more time in the day to work for myself.
I will write to you more and send you the writings, to have an idea about the experience I had. Curious to hear about yours in India.
A riot is the language of the unheard.