Not I, Not Here

video, sound, 3 min (loop)
Performance by Noor Abed

If initially it was imagined, especially in left-wing environments, that the Internet would have a great emancipatory potential. That it would allow a breakdown/weakening of the authority of those who speak, eventually reducing the power of manipulation of the cultural industry. The advent of the social network might actually represent a radical rupture between the transmission and reception of the message, where the reputation of the transmitter, the origin of the information, has lost relevance. If, on one side this might represent a fertile environment for fake news, the act of sharing or forwarding might be seen actually as a true act of authorship.

By mid April, I was home already for many weeks. It was clear that the work I had proposed to the ‘Artist At Work’ would not happen--I had originally proposed to open a temporary coffee shop at the Sakakini Cultural Center’s garage, where it would be possible to work without consuming. Those weeks at home actually became an endless space of receiving and forwarding messages of the current situation, as much as it became a space where different forms of interpersonal communication erupted. By looking at Samuel Becket's play Not I (1972), the work presented here takes the form of an epiphany, where different contents (texting, Whatsapp messages and emails) - that were shared privately with me -  from different sources (institutions, corporations, and friends) were collapsed into one.

Beside phrases such as  ‘I hope this finds you mentaly and physically well in those crazy times’ and ‘I want to divorce from my children’, the work incorporates parts of a scientific paper exhaustly shared with me. Originally published in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis in view of the 1929 depression, Life and death during the Great Depression, got its momentum one more time. As the paper affirms that population health tends to evolve better during recessions than in expansions, its presents incessant sharing, possibly aims to re-look at the 1929 and 2008 crisis from the eyes of 2020. As Walter Benjamin says, ‘every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably'.