Reading Circle 06, curated by Malou Solfjeld
“From Paradise With Love and Greetings from the White House in Free Fall”
In this episode we start off in paradise, where two artists travelled to last year and wrote a journal on paradise studies from a post-colonial gaze. Afterwards we receive greetings from the White House in free fall: A speech read by the director of das weisse haus in Vienna, words formerly spoken out by a different director of another house with the same title, somewhere, elsewhere in the world. In free fall we investigate how things and humans are entangled, we ask what is there to fall towards and we learn how falling does not only mean falling apart, but can also be falling into place. In the letters against separation a “we” is created, followed by Bruno Latour, who reminds us that this globalized “we” comes with a responsibility to demand a change in the post-lockdown production, in order to not repeat the same mistakes again.
Reading list 06
Lisa Grosskopf and Lena Schwingshandl read
“Travel Journals (from Tropical Islands Resorts)”, written by Lisa Grosskopf and Lena Schwingshandl
In July 2019, Lena Schwingshandl and Lisa Großkopf spent 14 days traveling inside the Tropical Islands Resorts as an attempt to understand the fascination of this place, which daily has about 6.000 visitors. A five hectare big hall filled with the biggest “indoor rainforest”, pools, playgrounds and wellness. Elements of nature, culture and architecture of different parts of the world are randomly put together to create a new interpreted tropical village. Here, they take us on a “kleiner Spaziergang” to Africa, where they consume Currywurst, palm trees, airbrush tattoos, happy hour and many more artificially created ideas of the exotic, tropic all you can eat. [Watch]
Alexandra Grausam reads
“Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Conference”, issued by whitehouse.gov and
“In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective”, written by Hito Steyerl
We listen to a speech, read by the founder and director of das weisse haus in Vienna. Words formerly spoken out by a different director of another house with the same title, somewhere, elsewhere in the world. Then, we are in free fall and investigate, how things and humans entangle when there’s no gravity, and a question comes to mind: What is there to fall towards? Free fall can mean falling apart but it can also mean falling into place: “As you are falling, your sense of orientation may start to play additional tricks on you. The horizon quivers in a maze of collapsing lines and you may lose any sense of above and below, of before and after, of yourself and your boundaries. Pilots have even reported that free fall can trigger a feeling of confusion between the self and the aircraft. While falling, people may sense themselves as being things, while things may sense that they are people. Traditional modes of seeing and feeling are shattered. Any sense of balance is disrupted. Perspectives are twisted and multiplied. New types of visuality arise.”
Eva Kovac (representing our cooperation partner BLOCKFREI) reads
“Letters against separation”, written by Hanmin Kim
While we’re still free falling, we spend the time connecting with our loved ones through a broad variety of online channels. “Letters against separation” is one of them, which reveals, how universal a personal feeling of caring for a friend in times of crisis is: ”As I write this, although it’s just a monologue than a reciprocal exchange yet, I can feel a kind of ‘we’ being invented that acts against isolation and separation. The only missing part is your reply. I know you will, soon.”
Please, check out the beautiful drawings accompanying the letters here.
Sophie Erlund reads
“What protective measures can you think of so we don’t go back to the pre-crisis production model?”, written by Bruno Latour
Finally, Bruno Latour reminds us, how we are all entangled in a common challenge of how to overcome not only this crisis, but also the next: ”It is actually not just the multinationals, or the trade partnerships, or the internet or the tour operators that globalise the planet. Every entity on this same planet has its very own way of hooking up with each other and all the other elements that compose the collective at a given moment. […] When common sense asks us to ‘start production up again as quickly as possible’, we have to shout back, ‘Absolutely not!’ The last thing to do is repeat the exact same thing we were doing before.” He nods back to the tulipmania in the 17th century and asks us how we want to proceed from corona crisis to climate crisis, what we may learn from this and use to fight against the next, by suggesting that we all ask ourselves, individually and universally, what changes we wish to see in our lives and in the world, once the world starts to open up again.
We encourage you to read this article as well.