In the film Dong (1998), the main character moves around the room with a cigarette in his hand in a pandemic stricken city, while almost everyone else has already been evacuated. He inspects the hole in the middle of the floor – a work left half done by a plumber – which connects to the apartment downstairs. He puts his leg in the hole; manages to restrictedly enter the space of the apartment under, in which the person downstairs is living, also refusing to evacuate.
To adopt an identity outside of the binary, means to enter a space in which certain physical or mental structures no longer apply. The rigid classifications, assumptions and expectations of our societies seem enforced and definite – there to serve a purpose of the general structure, which is assuming anomalies as a threat to the function of the system.
To accommodate many – to exist in a folded, layered or fluid existence, is to allow contradiction and natural movement in a dynamic flow, despite that which is imposed by the ruling social consensus. Fluidity of the body and identities inhabit the in-betweenness that exists as the binding bridge and negotiation ground between the polar opposites, it informs us that labels and categories are always a construction of a given time and place, and that experiences acquire many different names.
Bodies that fit with each other, bodies that do not conform matching as a puzzle made of jelly, flexible enough to find different fits on different sides. Let’s build relational models based on care and pleasure where art transcends and disrupts the heterosexual politic-economic regime that performes concrete violence under Institutional complicity and presents itself as apolitical. We are not just available bodies, we’re bodies with agency over our own desire. Let’s practise radical intimacy and hospitality towards one’s multitudes.
The ceiling of the other is a floor on the other side; the structure which serves as the apparent end is permeable, our need for a holistic connection seeps through. The opposites – the binaries – blend in. Who and what could we be, if the political hadn’t touched our body?
RE-NATION is a collective work between Essi Pellikka, Pierre-Yves Delannoy and Manuela Illera
created for LASSITUDE group exhibition at Goethe Institut Paris, March 2022