Kari Rosenfeld: On the Inconvenience of Exhaustion

‘Aeroponic’ – root systems nourished by air – Acts is the name given to the nomadic Dutch Art Institute’s final & festive iteration of the two year long so-called Kitchen* trajectory. Aeroponic Acts are conversations-in-a-form. Each presenter addresses one question as a practice of engagement.

Here you will find the documentation of Kari Rosenfeld's presentation as filmed by Baha Görkem Yalım, followed  by a written report, authored by Harun Morrison, which includes a summary of the spoken comments by esteemed guest respondents Barby Asante, Lisette Lagnado and Momtaza Mehri. 

On the Inconvenience of Exhaustion

Kari's question: What happens after every possibility has been exhausted?

Kari's introduction: We desire the inconvenience of others but only in a certain way. (Berlant, 2019) We are tired by nothing but exhausted by everything. (Deleuze, 1996) Sometimes you just need a good cry to heal your insomnia. (Fight Club, 1999)

Harun's report: Two lights, perhaps stand-ins for bodies, bathed in an intense green wash and mist. Stage lights rotate, shifting position and colours as a conversation plays out via disembodied voices. It’s hard not to read the altering light states as the amorphous nuances of the conversation itself. It’s not clear who the conversation is between. There is talk of resolutions and differences. ‘We’re always a mix of things but we can work through them through commitment to something /  And then work through the conflicts / Do you have a way of measuring your desires?’ / I feel like you’re always trying to rationalise our relationship. And I hate it.’ The smoke machine’s emissions becomes metaphorical of thought, or the exhaust fumes of emotional labour. We are eavesdroppers to a compelling undecidability, uncertain if the conversation is a recollection, scripted, or fragments of other people’s conversations and so on. Kari sings Como La Flor by Selena y Los Dinos, or a techno track issued by the Russian DIY space Kisloty plays in the background. The Pina Colada Song, brings an irony and nausea to what we hear, or even variations of what we may have once said ourselves. 

Barby Asante: Whether this was an argument between a couple, or more a stand off – all of those things were raised in this circular conversation.  Devotion can make us delusional. [Fragments of a text Barby read: “Incorrect as we are -  / This is how we come here / as much as we cope with emergency.”]

Momtaza Mehri: Desire is entangled with contradiction. A life’s work can be disentangling the contradictions we live in. Resolution is an unreachable horizon. So often politics is oriented against a resolution. So this quality engaged me. The dialogue reminded me of a short film, ‘I Signed the Petition'; a conversation between two friends about the effectiveness and implications of publicly supporting the cultural boycott of Israel by Mahdi Fleifel.  When you discuss talking exhaustion this can be linked to exhaustion of choice. Questions of ‘stable labour’. How can one conceptually communicate this stuckness? To quote poet, Pat Parker,  “I’m beginning to wonder if the tactics of this revolution is to talk the enemy to death.”

Lisette Lagnado: The figure of the exhausted evoked a Beckettian scenario for me. In Brazil we have experimented with a revolution of exhaustion. We have discovered – being tired is not enough. The impossibility of grasping. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” The piece is a fantastic statement against waiting. It's not for a missionary future. It’s the end of one of the possibles. It opened up a lot of possibilities that opened up community. . .  But the real community the one we can build from failure.


Kari Rosenfeld's "On the Inconvenience of Exhaustion" was presented before live audience at the Posttheater in Arnhem on August 26th.

Find the overview of all 24 AEROPONIC ACTS 2021 here: UNDERSTORY CHANT

About Kari Leigh Rosenfeld