Paratext #30 by Irina Mutt

Paratext n#30
24th October 2018

by Irina Mutt

Anna Irinia Russell (Short term residence)
Lucía Egaña Rojas (Long term residence)
Tere Recarens (Kooshk Residency and Hangar Exchange Grant)

I often start texts justifying why I write them.
Like when you write about a project in a dossier to get money, residences, options. Often you start by justifying the project itself, explaining why it is interesting and deserves attention, money.
This text is due to Paratext num. 30 with Tere Recarens, Anna Irina Russel and Lucía Egaña in Hangar. I like the three artists, I’m interested in resident projects and I also need money: I write.

Perhaps a text could function as mirrors strategically placed to reflect the sun’s rays and send signals or direct light to an orchard. Those reflections and luminous signs that Anna Irina Russell spoke of.
To write as a system to send signals, flashes that indicate a position, but can also indicate danger. The lights of a lighthouse, apart from guiding warn of a possible hit against the reef.

Writing could also be a system to find holes and fill them. To overflow centers, to weave relationships and encounters. Every text is written by a body: what bodies can do, what bodies collide with. It also affects the writing.
Lucía Egaña used the ted talk format in a DIY version, more punk and precarious, but also less artificial than the official Ted talk. Same staging and rhythm as a Ted Talk, but more aimed to talk about holes and disjoints, about projects that leave you timeless, friends who are collaborators or collaborators that become friends. When projects are placed and positioned, it usually happens: you end up doing them with people you like, with whom you have something in common. Even if they are ephemeral alliances, linked by loose and thin strings.

Tere Recarens’ presentation seemed to point to knitting, textiles, stories, or knitting stories into textiles. The personal and political stories carried as skins, as clothes that explain origins and losses, struggles and defeats. At some times something goes well, the stories also speak of love and abundant feasts, of happy days and hope.
Writing could be skin, contact, what you’re trying to tell and you can’t.

In Hangar I am part of the commission, which means I participate in many juries. That weird mini power of having to decide who gets the money, the studio, the project.
Obviously one learns to see dossiers and projects of artists. But there’s the part where you say no to someone. Saying no to people you like and even like what they do. Meet everyone at an inauguration.
As a counterbalance, there’s the other side; applying the same thing to announcements, residencies and grants. When a streak of ‘saying no’ falls. When two, three, four go in a row. It’s always difficult to tell this in public because no matter how much good vibes we have, no matter how much affection and care we talk about, there’s a lot of ableism in art. And if you’re fucked you lose points. You have to be visible, do things, move, connect, apply, try, risk.
You don’t talk about the hits you get along the way, in any case they are poetized through quotes from Becket, Derrida, Coca-cola or whoever said that about fail better. (There are privileges in failure, too.)

This is an attempt to tune into other body-devices. To call, to measure distances, to desire proximity. But also to leave blood and scraped skin on the kerb, to point out places with falls; there is danger here, there’s a hole here, you can fall here.

A streak of rejections often overlaps many acceptances. Yes, I am working with you on this, yes, I am writing a text. Of course, let’s do an interview, wherever it suits you, I give you feedback, I sign up, I pass through your expo, I pass through your studio, yes.

Say yes to everything because you can’t afford not to. Whether it’s for money, or for emotional bonding: yes to everything.

Starting most emails apologizing for sending late the email and the text, the bill, whatever you had to send. Apologize for being late, for not coming, for not being able to.
Apologize for not having time, while you forget to give time to yourself.

I don’t intend to drag the projects of Anna Irina, Lucía and Tere into a narrative about discomfort, failure or bad streaks combined with lack of time.
Rather, it has to do with applying certain strategies that appeared in her works. Doing things with the help of friends, taking from experiences and conversations with them, sharing dances, parties and banquets, returning to them in moments of trembling and weakness. Doing things that you trust and feel comfortable with, that in the end, dammit, it feels good to be excited about what you’re doing (which doesn’t necessarily mean being coherent and effective).
To jump without a parachute, to occupy spaces, to crash into them, to fill their gaps.

Writing on a bad streak, when things are crooked but you have to keep going.
Writing to expose the moments of shit, collectivize them to stop being afraid of them.
To destroy the zones of security and power. To crack and break the hardness and rigidity from the unstable, the soft and fragile.

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