We’re changing vantage points in this landscape; the wind is drying skin and leaves are flying, there’s a breeze, bodies being Other, wool and milk; rain and mist fade, feathers float and yet we’re slowing down; we’ve travelled beyond (we’ve been to other sides), and listened to the echoes and reverberations, and thought of darkness and of what is not seen (how urgent this all feels).
Marches have scattered and confrontations dispersed. A different sense of time lingers. Personal memories have become public, and histories marked into public space, and bodies blended into sculptures and iconographies reworked.
[I pause, to allow the voices of those who have shaped this thinking, whilst I’ve been sat in this café, one of the thoroughfares of the festivals, and how these conversations and voices are embedded into the writing here, and how we need to give space to those voices too, the transition spaces of the festivals, the other gatherings.]
We are in the city, and the city changes (and we spoke of austerity, of gentrification, of economic and social fabrics, of ties and knots and models of sharing).
We set up some pairs, and I wonder how they sit with or versus, in relation to or against, in this expanding folkloric glossary:
Liberty / restriction
Self / collective
Public / private
Radical / radicalisation
Anonymity / accountability
Surveillance / agency
Representation / appropriation
Manipulation / confrontation
Risk / safety
Trace / imprint
Policing / self-exposure
Resistance / commodification
Social engagement / community
Continuity / neoliberalism
Distribution / regulation
And there were pauses, and we thought of where we were not, and we thought of the events that happened over the past week, of the events that happened earlier on, of the events that have led up to now, of the narratives that matter and the power of failure too.
We spoke of the risk of getting involved and the importance of scales of value
Of continuity and duration
Of sharing tools and models
Of mixed economies and governmental structures, specificity and complaints,
Of liberty to libertarianism
Of education to choice
Of barriers real and assumed
Of what holds cities together
Of who occupies the territory and where the conflict lies
Of what is happening now and where we are with it all
Of art as frame or art as form or art as intervention
Of workers and labourers and modes of intervention
Of institutionalisation and reworking value judgments
Of temporary occupations and examples
Of blame and responsibility
And asking what do we do from here
And asking how sharp our teeth are
And asking to look back as much as look forward.