UNTIL WE MEET
with Sara Giannini and Sam Keogh
Until we can breathe the same air, let’s meet in spaces that our lonelinesses can unfold.
I dreamt that I visited my friend Sam in an old house. Outside this house a baby was caught in the branches of a tree, upside down, contemplating with discontent the world they had just fallen into. The following day, I learnt about the tarot figure of the hanged man, who is attached head down to a tree branch. This figure embodies a conscious sacrifice for a bigger cause, a suspension in time, an acceptance of an uncomfortable situation. The baby on the other hand had not chosen to surrender; their agency is to come – so is ours at the outcome of this hallucinatory period.
Sam has been isolated in his childhood village for an indefinite period, due to his unpredictable lungs. After he heard about his recent appearance in some of his friends’ dreams – including this one – he made a point to travel through other people’s dreams, in a video warning everyone of his upcoming arrival. I also shared the image with Sara, with whom I had been reflecting on active imagination practices.
This opened an exchange, co-creating scenes and projecting ourselves in these evolving virtual spaces while trying to reach a state of lucid dreaming. With Sam it became a diptych, each of us continuing what the other started. It started with a vision of uncanny peace and resulted in an experience of invasions and negotiations of sensitivities; hints of actions without fixed trajectories, a play on complementary dynamics. With Sara the exchange consisted of sending a digital collage with a question, to which she responded with short poems in a continuous unrolling, until societal urges could no longer leave space for sublimated inner sanctums.
– Naïmé Perrette
Digital collages by Sam Keogh and Naïmé Perrette, 2020
Il giorno ven 8 mag 2020 alle ore 19:50 Naïmé Perrette <firstname.lastname@example.org> ha scritto:
My dear Sara,
Discovering what is outside of the old house. What is the woman talking about?
Talking about the weather along the path that unites the house of the mother to the body of the river,
where the industrial waste is washed off into the sea, becoming frivolous psychedelic foam
The earth is hard and dry under the August sun
The crop has vanished
The nourishment stolen
I see her split self in the back. Speeding up. Trying to rejoin but always at a distance.
While the past is haunting her
A thought crosses my mind:
Am I the future?
The wings on her back are not eyes.
The wings don’t want to see
The larva on the winter tree under the August sun
A mummy without a mother
Sucking through the veins of wood
A life that is no longer there
An immature form undergoing some metamorphosis
The future from the past
A sketch too big to be sustained.
The woman tells me of a dream
She dreamed of being pregnant with the Devil
It came out as a minuscule white drop
Made of the substance of the eye
Soft and slimy.
I tell her I hate butterflies
And I slap her in her face
with all my strength
But her face is soft and slimy
as soft and slimy as the eye
My fingers are sticky with her face
no longer where it should be.
I wish the rain would fall.
Il giorno sab 16 mag 2020 alle ore 10:25 Naïmé Perrette <email@example.com> ha scritto:
Where does the sap go after the fall?
When you peel an orange
the skin just comes off
the skin sticks to the flesh
She persists in her skinniness.
you gotta rip her off with your fingers
while one hand grips the body.
Your mouth will loose a lot of juice
’cause the juice
will spring on your belly
I’m sorry, but your hands will stink.
Il giorno sab 23 mag 2020 alle ore 14:55 Naïmé Perrette <firstname.lastname@example.org> ha scritto:
Have you felt that vertigo, when you no longer know what is close?
I can’t write what I was supposed to write.
The intestinal womb underneath. The hole I came from, my roots, what roots? Italy, this blurry dream of my childhood, the crap TV I watch like a migrant from the 1920s, the feeling of impotence and guilt, of not fitting, of being inadequate, what the fuck, the virus, the deaths, the spectral body of my mother who doesn’t speak, the lack of breath, the murder of George Floyd by white police in the US, the systemic exploitation of bodies to make my survival possible, the lack of courage. You see I’m not sad because I don’t belong per se, I’m sad cause I feel like I have no political voice. I fucking hate posting political stuff on social media to just show the rest of the art world how radical and good I am. But then sometimes I do. Oh yes I’m a feminist, oh yes I’m so interseeeectional, I’m such a good white (am I so white??) girl! I read Dutch news with google translate, I read Dutch news as a visitor, I read Italian news everyday, Why? this place that has just become as real as a soap-opera. What do I know? I have to learn Dutch. how can i be useful. what makes you think that you can be useful to anything or anyone in the first place.
I want to honour the incredible work of Italian/Ivorian activist Aboubakar Soumahoro, a former farm worker and now trade union leader who fights for the rights of all those workers who harvest our food, take care of our elderly, build our cities and yet have no documents, rights, proper housing, and political representation. Italy, and as a consequence the entire European Union, is based on the enslaved labour of these people, who are purposively kept in clandestinity. And we know it. A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a stupid Italian talk show in which journalists and politicians from a wide spectrum were sharing their opinions on a bill that was being discussed by the government. The issue at stake was the temporary regularisation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented essential workers who have been living in Italy for decades, because you know now with Corona how would the poor cute Italians eat their delicious caprese? They were commenting cruel absurd footage showing how these people have been forced to live and work: In the grip of criminal land-owners. Stuck in the soil of illegality, capitalist exploitation and mafia. All these dickheads could say was “We can’t leave all our precious produce to rotten in the fields! What a pity!” “It’s in our interest to give them a permit!” “Yes, but just a for a little bit.” I thought they should all die, they should all be wiped out from the face of the earth. A land-owner who was interviewed said: “They don’t even get the virus. They are beasts”. Nobody in the studio has responded anything. You should have listened to their language.
The bill has eventually passed, but with malicious limitations. Most of the workers will be kept outside of the regularisations, and the regularisations themselves will only last for a temporary timeframe. After that said period, in which the workers are “of service”, they will be thrown back into the loophole of illegality and exploitation. On 21 May Aboubakar Soumahoro organised the “strike of the arms”, the arms of the workers that keep this society alive. For one day that they didn’t harvest any food and invited the rest of the country to join them in their struggle, and not purchase any food from supermarket chains and big distributions.
He, and his companions, has also organised a fund raiser. I feel stupid to share it here, but I’ll do it nonetheless. Hopefully it will help the cause, or maybe it will only be a document from this revolting time.
We are Paola, Abdul, Michele, Mamy, Patrizia and many other invisible workers. We are the ones who plant and pick the fruits and vegetables you find on your tables. Our sweat is one of the ingredients in your daily diet. Every morning, we wake up at dawn, break our backs in the fields all day and go back to sleep at night in our slums, shacks or ruined farms.
Today we need you and your generosity. We are human beings, not just arms to be exploited, and our stomachs are almost always empty.
In the midst of today’s global scourge – with the daily drama of contagion and the silent slaughter that takes away our loved ones every day without being able to greet and embrace them – we discover that we are all the same and united by the same anguish, the same fear, the same pain and the same grief.
Money and technology had fooled humanity, which believed itself invincible, capable of mastering space and taming time. However, death, which knocks daily on our doors, destroying entire families, reminds us that we cross the frontier of life, either to enter or to leave, always alone and without anything. That is why human life remains the most precious gift.
We are rightly told to stay locked up in our homes to defeat this invisible enemy. But if we do not come out, we will not feed anyone, including the doctors and nurses in the trenches. We work without gloves, masks and a safe distance between us. For many of us, there are no extra legal benefits, no leave entitlements or severance pay. For us, there are only the difficulties of work and the respiratory, osteomuscular, grastro-intestinal diseases. And now the terror of the coronavirus.
Perhaps it is in these difficult times, when human beings become aware of their own fragility, that it becomes easier to look at the slums of humanity and hear the cry of pain of the workers of the land.
That is why we are inviting you today to make a donation that will allow us to bring food.
Digital collages by Naïmé Perrette and texts by Sara Giannini, 2020