The Ethics of Fly-fishing
There are so many things I don't know about. Even when I learn about them, I still don't fully understand them. I didn't know anything about Agios Sozomenos in Cyprus nor the "Traffic of the North" in Norway, and its "Telavåg tragedy ", the so called memocide. I was not aware that something as brutal as a buffer zone could be invisible in the landscape of Agios Sozomenos. When tangible and intangible heritage entangled on visible and invisible memories, is it fair to bring those events back to the present? What is the ethics behind memory and remembrance?
Over two days we, the Creative Centre for Fluid Territories, occupied the deserted, remote, ruined village of Agios Sozomenos. We invaded it with installations, Russian whispers, strings from other lands; quiet dialogues with the landscape, rituals of some sort. And food, and songs, and walks, and talks, and memories. Other memories from afar and from not so far and yet a different land, a different language, a different other that makes me reflect on myself. Does that count as co-othering?
We come and go, nomads when we walk, when we talk and when we think and remember.
Over two days we occupied the idyllic, somehow remote village of Telavåg, in the periphery of Bergen, in the middle of Norway, the North Way, straight from the south, covered by the Saharan dust. Over two days we drove slowly, we listened, we talked, we drank nice cups of tea and ate comforting pancakes. We walked up and down the hilly landscape that always takes you to the water, those temporary paths or permanent creeks (or was it the other way around?), that always facilitate the access to the sea (or the Atlantic Ocean? We couldn't find a clear boundary on the map). Walks that remind you (or make you remember) that the sea was the way to freedom, the pathway of resistance. Retaliation.
These attempted memocides to erase Agios Sozomenos and Telavåg from history by destroying their built environment have promoted another form of memocide, a narrative that adds a constant tragedy to these remote villages in the periphery. They are forced to remember their tragedies, and this makes it rather difficult to move on, to enjoy, to live, to collect happy memories. Is it ethical to make happy memories in a village of tragedy?
What is the ethics of remembrance? "All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory". What should be remembered? How and by whom? Who owns memory?
Mi case es su casa, they usually say in Mexico. I always wondered what the right translation is: my home is your home, my house is your house, or is it my home is your house? If I visit Cyprus with an Erasmus agreement, or Norway with a research grant, and I get a warm welcome, coffee and chats with friends, are you sharing your house or your home with me? Can I take part in your remembrance and support the narrative of victimhood and resilience, punishment and defiance? Am I disturbing your home with my presence, tracing back those walks that led the people to death, displacement, non-places? How do you feel when I visit, and then I go, not leaving a trace behind, just taking quite a few pictures, new friendships and ideas which will influence my teaching, research and approach to my own traumas?
The Fly Fishers’ International Code of Angling Ethics explains the importance of ethical behaviour. The catch and release philosophy is the hallmark of this federation. Catch and release. Is that the ethics behind Nomadic Dialogues? Do we catch, or even anchor for a while, certain memories, and then release? Are we demonstrating some sort of skills or techniques which can be applied to different locations, topographies, contexts? In certain lands people catch with artificial flies, but they do not release the fish afterwards. It would be cruel to let go of that damaged fish. It is more ethical to eat it for dinner.
Kant explained as part of the Categorical Imperative: do the right thing for the right reason, because it is the right thing to do. Duty based ethics. Deontological. It is our duty:
Artists are voices, the voices are a kind of freedom, with freedom comes responsibility.
Ana Souto, Bergen, 2018, Nottingham 2019.
 Nguyen, Viet Thanh. “Just Memory: War and the Ethics of Remembrance”, American Literary History, 25 (1) 144–163, https://doi.org/10.1093/alh/ajs069, 2013.
 Kant, Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals, Edited by Mary J. Gregor, Introduction by Roger J. Sullivan, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.