The Year 2017
A Collective Chronicle of Thoughts and Observations
Welcome to what is going to be a collective chronicle of the year 2017! This journal will follow the general change that we experience in our daily lives, in our cities, countries and beyond, in the political discourses and in our reflections on the role of artists and intellectuals. Originating from several talks and discussions with fellow artists and thinkers FFT feels the strong need to share thoughts and feelings about how we witness what is going on in the world. Week after week different writers, artists, thinkers and scientists will take the role of an observer as they contribute to this collective diary.
#14 April, 3rd - 9th
I don’t stand up. I don’t go to the toilet. I don’t make myself tea. I don’t hear news. I don’t check my emails. Not before breakfast. Nor afterwards either. I don’t shower, I don’t brush my teeth, I don’t comb my hair, I don’t put on make-up. I don’t leave the house. I don’t work. I don’t think about whether I need it. There is no production meeting. I don’t write up a budget. I don’t write up a job profile. Nor a schedule. Define no deadlines. Calculate no hourly rate. None of all that. I make no calls. I convince no one that my work is important and worth paying for. I don’t talk to myself. I don’t answer my emails. I don’t take or make calls. I don’t fret. I don’t quickly eat a kebab. I don’t work while I eat. I don’t talk on the phone while I eat. I don’t rest for ten minutes on the coach. I don’t listen to Beethoven. I don’t relax. I don’t read any articles. I don’t smoke. I don’t worry. I don’t go to the theatre. I don’t drink beer. I don’t fall asleep. I don’t dream. Not me.
A hunter isn’t condemned to a heavy fine. There is no poison gas attack in Syria. In my hometown Graz, there isn’t a right-wing populist city government being sworn in today. No. I don’t attempt to remain calm. 6.000 people aren’t setting out from southern Sudan into neighboring Uganda. The mayor doesn’t say in his inaugural speech: “Those, who know me, know that I am strongly guided by Christian values”. He isn’t getting into bed with right-wingers. He isn’t. No one is. Not in Graz. Not in Europe. I am not afraid. The fear is not vague. It is not the general atmosphere, which scares me. The Easter egg dispute isn’t escalating. I don’t rest for ten minutes on the coach. I don’t listen to Beethoven. I don’t relax. In St. Petersburg, further victims don’t die of their injuries. There isn’t a sudden change of weather. I am not pessimistic. A farmer doesn’t fall off a cliff after putting his tractor into reverse. Trump doesn’t halt payments to the UN Population Fund. The new City Councilor for Culture doesn’t say: “I am really bad when it comes to theater.” Nor: “Generally it’s good to have a relaxed relationship to earning money. It’s not completely wrong to say: the artist should think about whether he can earn money with his work.” I am missing nothing. I am untroubled. No. I ask no questions. I do not continue. The headwinds aren’t growing stronger. I don’t sleep. I don’t dream. Not me.
No one says: I am always so hungry lately. No one says: I have met mama and she’s feeling better. She’s watching a bit of TV again. Or: You look younger. Would you like a sugar bomb? Nor: They are only allowed to turn on the blue lights, when there is real danger. I could have told them that right away. And: what would I do without you? Or: But no one will pay the water damage for you. Nor: It‘s been four years now. Imagine. And: Gisi planning on marrying again. Not: How are you? Didn’t we say: Until today? Stefan, can you give me a quick hand. Or: My fungus is under control. What is taking you so long. Really not: Not now. Later, happily. No one tells me: I’ve already moved twelve times, now I’ve landed here. I often feel dizzy. Or: Have you transferred the money? Yes, of course, sure. Simply say when! Nobody says: I’m free Saturday to Sunday. That’s nice. Now, be quiet! Everything will be fine. Nobody says: We laughed our heads off. Tears. You look great. I don’t know how to thank you. Nor do I say: What a shame, that you’ll be leaving us. I’ll miss you. Nobody says anything. Not to me. Not me.
Failed to do yoga again today. Didn’t begin my tax declaration again today. Didn’t call Nadine again today. Didn’t call the plumber again today. Didn’t go for a walk with father again today. Didn’t call the osteopath again today. And not the dentist. And not the gynecologist. Didn’t go jogging again today. Didn’t water the plants on the balcony again today. Wasn’t inspired again today. Didn’t hear Beethoven again. Didn’t relax again. Didn’t read Kafka again. Didn’t stand on stage again. Didn’t passionately stand on stage again. Wasn’t the happiest person on stage again. Wasn’t happy about this privilege again. Wasn’t me again.
“We have to resume responsibility again and act like political subjects, instead of simply leaving it up to the elected representatives”, so, the curator in Athens didn’t say and I also didn’t ask myself, how often I’ve already read and heard such statements. And what the consequences of it are. Not are. Should be. Must, Could. Modal verbs aren’t the best part of the German language. Au contraire. It is not exasperating. Nothing has happened. Not today. Never. Not in Stockholm. Not in St. Petersburg. Not in Istanbul. Not in Bangladesh. Not in Bagdad. Not in London. Not in Orly. Not in Kabul. Not in New York. Not in Damascus. Not in Kiev. Not in Quebec. Not in Munich. Not on Lesbos. Not along the Balkan route. Not in the Mediterranean. Not in Southern Sudan. Not in Washington. Nowhere. Today, nothing happened again. I won’t be rushed any more. I won’t be fazed. I won’t forbid myself my need for introspection. I won’t deny my helplessness. I won’t let anything drive me crazy. I won’t conceal my weariness. “I am not an enraged citizen, I say, what’s up.” says no chief executive. No way, Mr. Mateschitz. Not you! I laugh. Aloud. I sleep. I dream. Not or not me.
A young child screaming in the train. So loudly. So strongly. So relentlessly. So tirelessly. So angry. Excessive. It’s not crying. It’s screeching. It’s unpleasant. It’s horribly annoying. It gives hope. No sleep in the train compartment. Beethoven impossible. Better that way.
I get up. Don’t be vague. Don’t be sloppy. Don’t be imprecise, unclear, in panic. I am not allowed to. Not allowed to relinquish the battlefield to the others. Not allowed to revoke the social contract. And not to be inattentive in any way. Not to lack a sense of humor, by no means. No. Accuracy. Wit. Clarity. Precision. Analysis. Honesty. The ambivalence is bearable. The pressure is bearable. I am needed. I need to be clever. Smarter. Someone know a good joke? Someone know a good song? Beethoven? Who knows, where my hiking boots are? The air is clear and fresh. Is that already bring overly dramatic or still ok? I don’t know. Tomorrow is Monday.
Translation: Elena Polzer
Monika Klengel (1966 in Austria) has worked as an actress, director and choreographer in the theater collective "Theater im Bahnhof" for over 20 years and also with other companies. Her performances focus on personal everyday experience in a socio-political context. Mostly from a feminist perspective. Humor is important to her. In addition, she has been general manager of “Theater im Bahnhof” since 2000, coaches young (female) performers and is committed to cultural policy. She has a son.
#1 January 1st - 8th Jacob Wren
#4 January 20th - 30th Alexander Karschnia & Noah Fischer
#5 January 30th - February 6th Ariel Efraim Ashbel
#6 February 6th - 12th Laila Soliman
#9 February 26th - March 5th Gina Moxley
#11 March 13th - 19th Agnieszka Jakimiak
#12 March 20th - 26th Yana Thönnes
#13 March 30th - April 2nd Geert Lovink
We are deeply saddened by the devastating news that Mark Fisher died on January 13th. He first visited the FFT in 2014 with his lecture „The Privatisation of Stress“ about how neoliberalism deliberately cultivated collective depression. Later in the year he returned with a video-lecture about „Reoccupying the Mainstream" in the frame of the symposium „Sichtungen III“ in which he talks about how to overcome the ideology of capitalist realism and start thinking about a new positive political project: „If we want to combat capitalist realism then we need to be able to articulate, to project an alternative realism.“ We were talking about further collaboration with him last year but it did not work out because Mark wasn’t well. His books „Capitalist Realism“ and „The Ghosts of my Life. Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Future“ will continue to be a very important inspiration for our work.
Podiumsgespräch im Rahmen der Veranstaltung "Die Ästhetik des Widerstands - Zum 100. Geburtstag von Peter Weiss"
A Collective Chronicle of Thoughts and Observations ist ein Projekt im Rahmen des Bündnisses internationaler Produktionshäuser, gefördert von der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.