January Chronicle by Savva Dudin, Daniël van der Giessen & Till Langschied.

| tag: Lithuania

towards the angel-collective

What if a scattered multitude of people could automatically form collectives? As for the week in NIDA we were wondering what unites us and how discreet humans could transform into more interdependent organisms.

They looked at each other with suspicious tenderness: can we guess what each other had seen as the months passed? Another dramatic new year happened without changes: everything in its wrong place. Areopagus of artists introduced the agenda of the ministry of unfulfilled ambitions. Humans integrate their angels with monsters .

It is cold in NIDA, yet no ice. They come from warmer places, and want to make an Ice-Breaking collective gesture at the end of the first day, watching a film together: Asthenic Syndrome. Mixture of tiredness, apathy and late-soviet absurdist agony - ambient humor. Does cold satire make us warmer? Ice-warm break-together tool awaits being sculptured.

Kira Muratova introduces transition: film inside of the film. Spectators jump from the cinema screen into another reality. As well as us - escaping representations, searching for non-virtual presence in the room. Present is also our inability to finish the film on the first night. Postponed closure. If only ambition-less apathy can make collective happen.

We are here on the next day. Not knowing, how do we work as a collective? How to pose this question, grounding it in applied, quotidian rather than analytical theory-centered curiosity?  How should films be watched together? How should we listen to each other? Should someone keep time? Where are the borders of tutoring and learning roles? Should we spend time walking indoors or outdoors? Dozens of ambitions missed with every new iteration of discussion. Annoying ambiguity by design, should we talk more to set one intention hierarchy or stop?

Asthenic Syndrome is a monument for a mortal, nearly dead text, crucified fragmented language, which collapses in the end of film and in the end of soviet utopian project. Film was shot in Odessa, now Ukraine, where bombs fell with dreadful regularity because for some people the soviet empire was not ruined. Are those acting as a collective while supporting the bombing silently? In-between our talks the traces of ongoing war take the form of words, onomatopoeia sounds and tensions. We miss the sea roars, disputing, is a generalization that all empires are the same, really helping to understand the catastrophe. We will be back at the sea.

Roaming virtuoso artists, disembarking at the new lands seems to act as if spaces before them were passive and need to be activated only by fake collective memories of people who have never been there before. Creating in a collective we are exploring ways to surrender big ambitions of activation, imposing outsider structures towards the insider’s current worldview.

Gesamtkunstwerk-ish political artistic projects tend to activate space by fictionalizing it into something different, then violently bending others to believe it. Real could not ignite jouissance without phantasmic plane. TOO EARLY, TOO LATE, Straub–Huillet film starts with non-activated pastoral scenes in France against sterile demographic text. Being factual seems like an illusion. Voiceover essay text here serves as a background, a setting, and visual frames, soundscapes serve as a central figure on this background. Text is artificial, space is real.

How can we find tools for filmmaking that are not fake? Or fake, when fake is nor for faith, not for fact. Then fake is for fiction, collective one, when bonds without bondage are possible. Angels’s utopia is a soft one, So-fi, soft fiction, Ca-fi, careful fiction – works on the merge of comic and sincere, improvised and ritualistic. But still we need somewhere to go.

Does the group turn into a collective, when it shares one utopic vision? And how many degrees of personal deviations from collective phantasm are tolerable to keep a group collective, not independently roaming individuals. Cutting through the screens of each other's imagination and previous experiences, we explore how not to be lost in the vortex of constant reproduction of representations.

We finished watching the film. Dogs wait to be killed, language has fermented into kombucha foam. School teacher is asleep in the subway, where are we heading, she asks him? Where are we heading, we ask, what if we would not finish the film at all? Nor watching, nor the one we are filming.

Antidote to ideological bondage - never finished is our process-centered polylog, continuously evolving, evergreen conversation, transformation of thoughts flying around the roundtable format. To create together we get up to move and practice suspended Attunement - listening, letting things happen, offering help when tension is noticed, being elastic, dodging the quid-pro-quo reciprocity.

Against finished-grain, we still want to present others valuable gifts of our processes, so, what if instead of film, we create poetic infrastructures. Infra as a hidden maintenance, institutes and structures traceable only when we confront their lack. Cleanliness seen near the Dirt. We cherish unpolished, raw low-hanging fruits, some of them will be cooked using wooden tools. We make them, without instructions to follow, opening windows of possible ways to interact. Pine-made waves roll.

Aesthetics is wider and more profound than questions of style, or decorations. Aesthetical concerns are infrastructural ones. It questions emotional regimes, ways of expressing ideas, embodying them in flesh. Comedy could express the invisible, ineffable togetherness more clearly than other genres. As Rene Daumal puts it, art and religion degenerate as soon as they lose the comic element, which preserved us from believing that ‘it happened’. But only with sincere drive as a core of the comic. Not too early, not too late, just-in-time.

early evening in the future,

we shall meet again

  1. S. – Vignette 2 from Poem to Poison by Till

The Desert

Once I recovered

from the poison

I wanted to be Michael Heizer

Forcefully etching

A double negative

into the dunes

What sort of space

does the vacuum search?


The land is charged

like a silent battery

But its humming

is still treacherous

And the echos

are just our voices

ranting of yesterday

and of heartbreak

that never happened.


The softness

of this geometry

must melt in time.

Bit by bit

everything is washed

into the sea

that keeps on licking

on our home.


I wanted to

get lost in the dunes

but everywhere

was a path already


Yellow arrows

point the way

up, up, up they say.


I deactivate

this space

remove myself

from its cold embrace.

Take my shoes

and my shadows

carry everything back

to the tiny shed.


Leave no trace

or better even

just leave

Do not turn around

The morning is

so cold

like memories

that I forgot.


I wake up shivering

still sleeping

legs bend backwards

and this taste

still lingering

like an onion

that was solid

with no layers.


All this sand

outside the hourglass

reminds me

of nothing.

The ice cannot

carry me

nor can I

melt its cracks.


BACK TO INTRODUCTION: COOP study group ~ Curating Positions: A cut through the screen