Kitchen presentation at Dutch Art Institute, Zeeland, November 30th, 2019|
Reading on The People's microphone – spatial audio piece (11:00min)
An after echo of performative act, in the context of a workshop on queering trauma ; looking at connections between space/land, time and responses of trauma within patriarchal and capitalistic structures. This took place during Xarkis
Festival, Polystipos, Cyprus (16th,17th and 18th of August.)
Please listen with headphones
Workshop and performative act, trying to connect presence in space and
time and resisting capitalist thought, through idea's on recovery of desire related to trauma and
disconnect it from failure and reclaim ideas of experience outside of capitalist dominance and
Workshop; people from Cyprus, Romania, England, Netherlands, Poland, different gender, ages
and background and many different reasons for their political engagement, from drag to writing
about communist regimes to the hyper personal and relating it to political history.
What is queering trauma and time? Trauma itself repeats the same shit of events while being in
the present, through the senses: auditory, visual or tactile. How can we reclaim experiences without
definitions of internalised harmful corporate thought?
We are all moving around in a world with designated places, designated movement and policies of care.
Capitalist structures aim towards a heteronormative linear idea of these experiences while they
already were hurting by the experience itself. This while the body is still elsewhere in experience
via this residue of violence.
Capitalism blames the victim for not being better or to function under all circumstances, hence
But what is 'better'? Traumatised people have the unique power to re-invent time as preventative
self care; a fight flight or freeze response can make sure you are avoiding or remake the past or
From the Amygdala, a part of the brain growing to serve direct action ; often fight, flight or freeze
responses as defense mechanism – a dissociation, creating an elsewhere as necessity.
A traumatised person may experience a physical growth of the Amygdala inducing fear, but also
creating space for improvisational ways of survival.
The workshop made us reconsider patriarchal violence and heteronormativity as a dominant way of
claiming or taking over space, land and linearity of time.
The group argued we can see potential futures within this re-experience of a terrorised pasts by
letting go of dominant idea's of desire, pain and care. Many people who survive trauma are
terrorised more by nightmares of their (non) responsive surroundings then the act of violence itself.
A traumatised mind and body actually maintains many powers, that need to be explored outside of
formalistic universal concepts; there is no choice but to think outside neo-liberal capitalism as many
do not function within the normative anyway. There is a way of refusing these ideas on functioning.
Or at least in many cases the role can not be fulfilled or kept up within the cycle of
1. capitalism causing hurt by normalising ideas on desire and success
2. blaming victims not functioning within capitalism and labour, etc.
3. erasing or not recognise experiences as valuable and multiplying repetitive violent acts
A traumatised body in many ways reflects a counter-reaction to the idea of the 'natural', the way to
success and other idea's of progression as something that just 'happens'.
Being stuck in time or somewhere on the timelines made me and many with me, travel to different
places in time simultaneously; refusing the now you could say.
Here I will give some context on dissociation
Dissociative Disorder(ly) : Dissociative disorderly people have conditions that involve disruptions
or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity, or perception. People with dissociative disorderly
conditions use the blur and time skipping as a defence mechanism.
To quote Clementine Morrigan, a queer Canadian writer and activist;
“While I admit that flashbacks are exhausting, nightmares are horrifying, dissociation can be
uncomfortable, disorientation can be confusing, and hypervigilance can be extremely inconvenient,
I also must assert that I love my embodied experience of queer trauma time. Not being attached to
linear, normative time has produced a flexible, imaginative way of being in the world.”
We can see this as an improvised state of being as survival.
Queering trauma can be seen as a collective need to voice individual and collective stories and
pose them outside of terminology of capitalism. One voice becomes many to reclaim idea's on
failure and disability and desire. Not as a #metoo movement for the viral element of it, but as
rethinking trauma as thinking otherwise together, listening as a responsibility, instead of consuming
stories of victimisation. The pauses the rhythm, the repetition and the awkward silences in between,
that you are gonna here in the audio piece, are just as much part of the story. This became a
collective text, a so called remix ; an endless try out that also was very enjoyable.
The title of the workshop ; The people's microphone .... took place this time in a village, in a micro-
setting, just as a DAI week, we landed in a place. Cyprus and it's historical context, showing the
complexity of the half colonised island in everybody's daily life. From temporal housing becoming
permanent, to collective trauma by state law, gendered and obligatory military service.
It was very relevant as it depends on the personal history if the border is recognised and who
created it and who keeps on creating it by gendered repetition. As I am interested in the connotation
of home, feeling home, taking and making space, by revisitation of history and trauma and
resistance, I was honoured to work on our temporal collective writing as an audio piece.
'The people's microphone' creates alternative anthems by using voices as echo/amplification, similar
to the Occupy movement tactics. I asked them questions on how to connect space, time and gender,
through idea's of collectivity, a revisitation of history and trauma as affect using queer theory. Only
one text is my own, the rest is not written by me, I just suggested a methodology.
If personal stories relating to gender show borders, regularly connected to hurt, how can we break
those borders? Use the negative (idea's on shame, vulnerability, failure) as power tools. And
overall; how to use non-linear ways of thinking about activism?
Bits-and-pieces, coming from different moments in time, memory/thoughts on potential futures or
painful pasts can change through communication and storytelling.
Who is heard?
Borders created by gender are produced by capitalist cycles of claiming desire and reproduced by
many, through structures of shaming, victim blaming and other patriarchal constructs. While we all
want to move beyond trauma, the part of our brain that is devoted to ensuring our survival from that
is seen as negative. But we see potential in taking action, rethinking otherwise, in not finding “a
cure” as survival if this means becoming “better” in the capitalist sense of the word. We are fine
with not being fine enough.
Maybe you don't consider yourself an activist, but what your body and mind went
through creates a different way of thinking, mental disorder is a construct, a cure is an idea of
progression claimed by capitalism controlling- and functioning on harm.
By creating alternative temporary anthems, that we together amplified with our voice, we were
creating and remixing, we made value commitments in the act of saying them, just for a moment in
time, that can not be taken away within that moment.
They are not anthems relating to nation, but related to the complexity of non-linear idea's on
activism and vulnerability. To shout is to release, to change.
To conclude and connect this all to sound I want to add;
By using sound and voice, improvisation as a conceptual tools, letting other spaces resonate with
stories and different frequencies, we tried to collectively write during the residency, telling
alternative storylines in a non-linear way as form of resistance. Reflecting on hurt as way of
rethinking, fragmenting, reconsidering and reconstructing vulnerability without the capitalist
claiming of it. We should amplify all layers, let them resonate, take space to see the potential of hurt
bodies to counter the oppression by which we were hurt in the first place."
ALL AUDIO WAS MADE DURING THE WORKSHOP IN THE VILLAGE OF POLYSTIPOS
TOGETHER WITH THE LOCAL RESIDENTS.
In this audio you will find yourself in the intersections of language, culture and comfort. In
particular; English, Cypriot Greek and Romanian, we used the 3 languages, which connected and
divided the same space.