Paula Cobo-Guevara: Displacement: A molecular map of discomforts
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Displacement: A molecular map of discomforts
Editorial Note: The following essay was originally writen for Situating Ourselves in Displacement, a book co-edited by Paula Cobo-Guevarra, Manuela Zechner and Marc Herbst, to be co-published by Minor Compositions and the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest in late fall 2017.
These modest notes are the result of a molecular mapping working across the microcosms and effects linked to displacement –in relationship to the experience of composing politically and affectively within a new city. The context of this ‘arrival’ into this new territory is situated from my experience within the construction of a mostly precarious feminist collective. These are preliminary notes resulting from the relationships across a diagram of feelings and affects in the context of experimenting the death of this group.
These lines of text are pretty much situated from a collapsed desire in a body (‘my’body), from fatigue and exhaustion. A molecular map –of perhaps– micro symptomatologies. So, in a clumsy way, this is a very modest diagam of mostly draft-like questions and rethorical ramblings around various discomfort(s) within this process; they appear as intuitions, lines of conflict, crystallizations and dynamics of subjectivation on the notions of feeling displaced: collectivelly, individually– but also It’s as vectors of
possibility and intensity.
Inside (and but also outside the borders of the map): a constellation of diferent bodies being moved, affected, seduced by a place and by others; their ways/modes of encounters, compositions, decompositions, mutations. The body’s capacity to affect and be affected; the ecology of relationships and conversations that made me/us, me/you/we feel moved. The capacity to project a desire– but also the capacity to sustain it, and the capacity to mutate this same image into something else.
One of the molecular elements that I followed within this process was experimenting with high doses of individualism within a collectivity. Its sad passion; the maladie du siècle: anxiety, isolation, enclosure; but also within this same nodes of problematics, the capacity to re-elaborate this negative affect and mutate this collapsed desire into other machines. Hopefuly this map serves as a visualizing tool to further unfold and spur intervention strategies to deal both individually and collectively with these questions that transverse us in many different ways.
Moving and translating from different locations and subjective territories, in some cases mobilized by the force of affections, crystallizations, love, networks. Escaping those apparatuses of capture such as the nuclear family, class condition, gender, identity, etc. A flee from those dominant forms of subjectification; perhaps seduced by intense political moments, colletive endevours. The potency of experimenting ‘escape’ as a liberating practice– in straight relation to an exit of a deeply inscribed neoliberal subjectivity. In short, actively (and reactively) moving from different milieus of geography, territory, stories; institutional settings, life experiences and vital experimentations. Certainly, the most immanent to these common stories is the desire to disarticulate and re-articulate the forms that configure us creatively, emotionally, socially, politicaly. Experiment the ways in which you relate and navigate life, affects, relationships, networks, friendships, and a myriad of formal and informal vihinculations. We all carry these stories, trajectories, and knowledgess– these, deeply shaped by specific forms of subjectivities and identities existing at the core of that what you escaped or fled from, and formed under specific lines of conflict appear, out of dust, and thatactivate specific ghosts and fears.
Construct and see which are our territories, which is are our worlds, our chaos; the alterities in which we move in; where my body starts, where the other body starts, the forms of contact, of composition. Which one is my terriory? Which one is my clan? My tribe?
We can think of displacement itself as a biopolitical diagram, in which all of the spectrums of our lives are subject to specific forms of subjectifications and power relationships; from forms of citizenship/non-citizenship, to multiple forms of exclusion and discrimination; to forms of labour and precarity, mistranslations, and an infinity of power relationships. We could think of inhabiting as a very concrete strategy of orientation, a technology of situatedness within this process; we could also visualize it as an affirmative pink line, hacking along this biopolitical diagram of power. From a micropolitical perspective, the forms of being affected, bonded, articulated, our capacity of composition, of being moved –with and by other individual and collective bodies, stories, and life experiences.
Walk, fall, move.
Walk, fall, compose: reorient and find forms of (well) being between this shifting relationships, vectors and lines along this biopolitical diagram of relations. Everything feels and looks as movement, as velocity: flows of images bodies, encounters, shalow information, tweets, likes, networks, cities, continents. Inhabiting fluid lives, fluid cities, liquid societies. Gas runs through our bodies, and the shadows of our individualized lives, and neoliberal habits– these are deeply embodied in the way we act, feel, sense, percive and react. I usually feel disoriented, disturbed or overexcited by (personal) feelings and(collective) affects. How to find sences of orientation? To cross through, and experiment in embodied terms an active practice of situating oneself within a new territory –a new city? We actively encounter with new bodies, friends, loves, political processes, networks
and forms of organization. Positioning and movement in this case might relate to articulating, assemblying and weaving old stories with those things and people who are new to come. Walk, fall, move through the city and make everyday efforts to build and develop habits around a series of forms of maintaining and sustaining constituent vinculations and relationships, enabling a series of forms of well-beings.
How to collectively construct a network that is not only constituted by affect or pure affinity, neither nor a space of pure resonance; but as a dispositif– an institution that allows this same networks of affinity, of friendship, of love, of care to formalize? The lack of these dispositifs, of this form of institutions leads to states of lethargy- the sad passions. The lack of a solid time–based networks of care –from families to friends to
work– often produces a disruptive state of sensing a continuous form of vulnerability and fragility, like drifiting upon a slippery slope. Yes, this is an active line of tension– there is also a potency immanent to this moment. How to follow the molecular path of these affects, and create something out of that? Enjoying the pleasure of proximity and experimentation, encounters that are happy and joyful, desireful, sensible, disinterested. However there’s also a constant sense of tension and ambivalence within the articulation of this new relational encounters and relationships– sometime we long for a sence of belonging, sometimes a more detached forms of vinculation. There’s a phrase that has became heavily resonant for some time and it illustrates in a beautiful way this condition (and contradiction): A subjectivity that is more schizo, flowing, rhizomatic, having more to do with surroundings and resonances, or distances and encounters, than ties? Would it be possible to read from this perspective contemporary attitudes, no longer dissenting againt a disciplinary society and its rigid logic of belonging and affiliation, but rather againts a surveilance society, which its flexible mechanisms for monitoring and conjugating flows?(1)
A question and concern that constantly appears– almost as a collective symptom– is, that we constantly feel vulnerable and fragile within these practices, experimentations and laboratories of everyday life. This new becoming’s habits are produced from either individual or collective bodies operated as counter–effects to the norm and/or forms of normalization, generating mirror effects in some cases. We operate and with those sketched habits in our bodies, those normalized forms we bring out when there’s conflict or when we have to manage interpersonal, collective and or individual problems. We specially react in a myriad of selfish, individualized ways, when exposed to different forms of power dynamics and relationships. Sometimes we react, tending to flee to the normative, to the institutional, to those places the family has taught you as safe, carrying a certain production of knowings, certain affects. Sad passions. Sad passions, those affects leads us toward disempowering routes, evasiveness, and synical mechanisms of being and relating to our families, our networks, our work… our vital proyects. How to unblock these affects? Exit, move, contaminate, create, and compose a way out of the impasse of these specific forms of control over our bodies, our individual and collective capacities of taking back our lives, our worlds –without reproducing an evasive line of flight?