The Trauma of a Space and its Conflation with Loss and Anger

I have considered myself an artist for a long time now – having had a few shows here and there and making and continuing to make what would be considered “conceptual” and “contemporary” work for a while now. Despite not showing or even trying to show this work anymore I still make in my own capacity. But the making has remained in my own world as I struggle to attend ‘art world’ events but nonetheless try. A huge part of me has abandoned that world. Each anticipated attendance brings with it a new set of anxieties and much apprehension. I feel abandonment through it even though rationally I know ‘it’ has done nothing to me. The reason for all of this is a conflation of my own trauma associated with an event in my past that I have now linked to these art spaces.

It is a story of emotional trauma, sudden loss and the witnessing of violence. It has also affected others. Someone important was lost and I associate this someone with art world spaces. I mention trauma and speak of it because it is something often unheard and kept locked inside for so many – where we are expected to hide it. My anxiety returns this week because I wish to attend an event that will feature important discussion, important issues that need to surface and must be talked about within the art world.

This is a topic I would normally be enthused and fascinated by because it is an event that provides a great space for learning. My ears should be open to listen, decode, empathize, understand and engage. I worry, though, that this will be clouded by my own internal distraction with sadness, extreme guilt, resentment, anger and defiance….and more anger. What bad memories will come back? Or will they? They might not, but I don’t feel in control of them. Sometimes I don’t know when they will hit me and other times I am very good at compartmentalizing them or pushing them back even when they involve horrible visuals or even when I wake up with a dream lingering. So this week I wait with apprehension and anxiety. My determination to make myself go to this event is also attended by a faint hope that the more I do this the easier it will get.

I don’t want to give the impression that this experience is exceptional. It is not exceptional; in fact it is very common. Sharing is simply a way of feeling acknowledgment. Even though it is just a blog and even though my trauma is small when compared to the trauma of so so many others in this world. I wish to feel this acknowledgment through sharing. And through this sharing I also hope to lessen the anxiety.

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there is a freedom in violence that you don’t understand – Part 3

The video below is part of a larger series of video’s titled Nationhood. The title of this particular ‘series within a series’, which focuses on gender-based violence, is adapted from a line in the Tune Yards song Riotriot.

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there’s a freedom in violence that you don’t understand: Part 2

The video below is part of a larger series of video’s titled Nationhood. The title of this particular ‘series within a series’, which focuses on gender-based violence, is adapted from a line in the Tune Yards song Riotriot.

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there is a freedom in violence that you don’t understand: Part 1

The video below is part of a larger series of video’s titled Nationhood. The title of this particular ‘series within a series’, which focuses on gender-based violence, is adapted from a line in the Tune Yards song Riotriot.

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Colour Lines / ROYGBIV

A performance. The rainbow in this video refers to the South African “Rainbow Nation” and not the gay pride flag. Rainbow Nation is a term coined by archbishop Desmond Tutu that has since been used as a promotional tool projecting the country as diverse and inclusive. This video is a critical contemplation of “Rainbow Nation” which also references the context of the gallery space / art world. Some ambiguity, I hope, could make it open to multiple meanings and interpretation.

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Speeches From A White Cube – Thenjiwe Nkosi

Thenjiwe-1Thenjiwe-2Thenjiwe-3

THENJIWE
I cannot ask you to suspend these walls
and forget their context
those sidewalks live with you in some way

even with closed eyes
hands grasping the ledge of this doorway
to pull you into this implicitly still space
breath is held here
and you can feel it
even without eyes
it is felt
breath is closed here
so that art can exist as more than a whisper
as greater and higher than that sidewalk
but that sidewalk knows the grip of many feet

so art cannot ask you to suspend these walls
even as it tries so desperately
to float into more lives than it has felt
to float beyond its lonely breathless space

it feels that sometimes a stage is necessary
that politics wants to exist through it
to be bare
a plea for some kind of voice
it is conflicted by too many intentions
a world that dissolves its ink

and so
while I translate myself
into these rough edges
an aesthetic that speaks through its form
my voice is not always clear
or even wondering
and this translation
not always felt

in moments where presence
masters the contradiction of a gathered politics
silken, whispered and folded into fragile, loud wings of thought
in this power of presence
I hope that art could commune

chairs would be centred
for comfort in conversation
and walls would barely be traced out
oscillating into invisibility
our bodies lengthen
almost to the floor
our disagreements furious
our laughter echoes
our stories stretch out

to imagine into a space
is the most
powerful thing
about
art

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Speeches From A White Cube – Laura

Laura_DeBecker-2Laura_DeBecker-3Laura_DeBecker-2-2

LAURA
his hand like a hook pulling on all our strings
a dance that comes natural
when we lean in for the unexpected history
an anecdote that will alter our own edges
with its wise placement
through visual accountancy

his hand is only grace
ready to trace the line
through any forgone fall

this is something I could live for
to be wrapped close
like a blanket warmed by the fire
the artist’s presence pays homage to these walls
dripped in this conversation
the people they speak through
the material they possess
is a dance
with orchestral effort
we translate our words into speech
so that this conversation may last

in art
words will alter every rendition to pass
its malleable perimeter remembers each resonance
through voices that ripple in cold air

these speeches will dip their language through the streets
and once an ear is reached
like a summer lake floats its vessel
it will be held forever

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