FINALLY! We can begin. Or did it already start. When did it begin? Was it before we came in or long long before...
For a moment let’s imagine we’re in a theatre and this a somehow terrible and deliberate act of arranged material designed to manipulate the senses.
Of course we must consider what power dynamics occur in this encounter.
But also, what dynamics are possible?
Who is othering who
Which side the stage?
Are you looking at me or am I looking at you?
Who’s the monkey in the zoo?
Are you aware of my arse…arse…artifice? Well, so am I! Who cares, we can all agree it’s a fabrication. Fa-bri-ca-tion. From Latin fabricatio, ‘a structure, construction, a making’. Can we be enthusiastic about this fabrication? From Greek: En – ‘in’ and theos – God, inspired or possessed by the deities! As Fred Moten says, we should not be concerned with the academic mmm, but with the UUURRGGHHH, the James Brown OW!! You gotta feel down in your kishkas! The enthusiasme of being here in this moment, together.
Whilst exploring this idea of presence, we have to ask the question what does it mean to be here? From Judith Butler, we have to find a way to ‘understand ourselves in time’.
Actors say, ‘Oy, I wasn’t there!’ Well where the hell were they!? What does it mean for a body to be there? What body is here? Is the tongue here? I mean is it there? Is it both here and there simultaneously?
Can it be said to be TRUE does it exist? As Hamlet never said:
To tongue or not to tongue, that is the question?
I Stanley Guldvasser am here to present and re-present the research of
STAHCEY SUCKS---SEX---SACKS, STAHCEY SACKS. It is my role to do a turd…third opponent critique of and commentary on this body of work and its tiny ripples in this particular pond of privilege, as well as its ruptures and ‘snaps’ as Sara Ahmed would say.
In this unique constellation of tongues and people never congregating again in this particularly secular way, in this broadcasting TV studio we encounter Sucks’ exploration of Professor Daniel Peltz’ term ‘narrowcasting’, a word bound to lead the researcher right up their own tochus.
I’d like to assure you that everything you’ve seen here so far…is just the beginning. Now the start of the beginning is nearing its end so we kick-off the middle of the opening, on the periphery of the centre of the 50%.
(walk backwards, trip over the shitfuck stick)
After Ubu Roi’s PSCHITT STICK, this is an updated for the times SHITFUCK stick! Universal symbol of power and agency, the only valid response to our current age. SHITFUCK! (throw the stick up) We have to figure out how to penetrate this white ceiling! If anyone here would like to grab the SHITFUCK stick and have their own throw, do it! Remember you are free except when you’re not.
Now the artist imagines this encounter is a conversation, so why am I doing most of the talking? First mistake! By sound of applause, who wants audience participation? Sorry for you! The researcher is shutting you up for the next half hour!
Here’s a consolation prize… a readymade from the forest…(hand out a prize or two)
Now here I hold a tongue in my hands. It’s hard FOR LIFE, a virtually indestructible jesmonite sculpture. This thing will outlive us all…think of that…you will die this will continue living. LALALALALALA….
The researcher calls it a ‘poetic object’ also an ‘emotional object’.
Send it around, feel free to finger it and know that you are the third audience ever to fondle one of the artist’s many tongues. Poke into its grooves and discover what a sculpture can do for you.
By the way what a beautiful tongue you have!
Would you like to take it home with you? I mean, it is your tongue, it has your aura - you are the original the authentic, it is undoubtedly a part of you, it’s your tongue.
Walter Benjamin said, the presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity!
Would you like to take it home? I’m offering you art for free!
(For 20 000 SEK, the artist can sign it)
Now all these tongues have been somewhat uselessly produced by Sucks as part of thinking through the sticky complex subject of whiteness and what productive disobedience could mean during supremacist times.
Whiteness is a gooey sauce stewing in the beige privilege a sense of so-called freedom, safety and power affords. A subject cloaked in denial, shame and guilt.
And that’s the positive side.
Think of the research as a 5 year shame-shower, a drenching in white complicity, full immersion into the mould-marinading gravy of inert racist muck operating unconsciously in deep recesses of collective swampy souls. It was Jung who said shame is the ‘swampland of the soul’. There is an earnest hope and real desire for purging, yet sad realization of its probable impossibility. Should this potential failure cancel the attempt? Perhaps.
What does it mean for a so-called white person in today’s particularly white landscape to interrogate whiteness within this luxurious predominantly white institution, indeed in one of the whitest and most privileged countries in the whole entire world?
What does it mean to perform whiteness in that context? What is the point, what does it produce? Is it simply a reproduction of all the tropes it imagines it’s critiquing?
What is the purpose of art in the current geo-political moment? How can we as artists be of service to the community, how can we sculpt a future worth living?
Is it vaguely possible to rewire the privileged mind, to splinter and destabilize it? SHITFUCK!
The research asks NOTHING of you, except to remember what stinks in the swamp of your own soul, to examine your own biases, prejudices and blind-spots.
Let me tell you, when you shine a light on white, you see NOTHING! By focussing on this nothing you then place it in the centre, reinforcing its invisibility and the spurious ways this invisibility seeps into the cracks of privileged complicity, perpetuating dominant ideologies. As James Baldwin said, ‘As long as you think that you are white, there is no hope for you’.
In ‘The invention of the white people’ Hamid Dabashi recently wrote:
‘There are no white people. There are no black people. There are no red, yellow, brown, blue, purple, crimson or any other colour people. These are all socially constructed delusions. Delusions though with real, frightful, murderous, and genocidal consequences.’
The academy gives the artist tabula rasa a blank slate to probe their subject, gives them the white flag you could say to wave on behalf of the institution, as if signalling to the outside world, ‘Look! We’re not afraid to look ourselves deep up the wazoo only we get this white African to do it for us!’ The work seems to become a righteous looking deeply up one’s own cultural asshole, taking Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s notion of ‘critical intimacy’ very literally!