[-empyre-] from 5th Avenue New York City

Monika Weiss gniewna at monika-weiss.com
Sat Dec 6 12:34:45 EST 2014

Dear Renate and Tim — 
Thank you for your post. How strange the mixing of the writing address in my response. Apologies. But I feel, to my only excuse, we are all in this together, you, Tim and Johannes and all of us regardless of our geographic locations.
Nevertheless please forgive the mix -up of names in my note.
To all of you, the empyre list members who are protesting now in New York City and elsewhere  - please stay safe and thank you,
On Dec 5, 2014, at 7:27 PM, Monika Weiss <gniewna at monika-weiss.com> wrote:

> Dear Johannes,
> It feels like it’s raining around the world recently, not only in New York City. The holiday music so disturbing anyway becomes almost apocalyptic when faced with beautiful austerity of hand written protest signs. ’I can’t breathe’ said the man who was choked and sat on, by a police officer, as he was being filmed… Seeing my city lie down like this, at Grand Central Station, I have a strange feeling as if my own work — the once relatively poetic and only gently-political projects, involving prostrate body, body lying down in public space, as a way to oppose the heroic verticality, works involving large groups of people lying down in historical sites—is now becoming more and more intertwined with real protests, assuming there is any difference left between ‘real’ and performed protest. Our collective postmemory is so fast now that it becomes concurrent with history. Postmemory unfolds as history happens. It is taking place now/towards and no longer ‘after’. If postmemory is a form of trauma that we inhabit even though we did not lived through it, current protests are a form of postmemory that leaks through time and space, through race especially, responding to ‘not being able to breathe' which we did not experience directly yet we are all part of. His death lives through us, inhabits our bodies and inhabits the architecture of the Grand Central Station. Protests in cities are symbolic, perhaps even poetic — and it is their symbolic/poetic and not military power that Saskia Sassen calls the “weak regime” — the kind that nevertheless causes dark, loud clouds of helicopters to appear over our city’s skies, with their surveying eye, the helicopters’ collective eye informed by the fear of the symbolic/poetic power of lying down.
> Monika 
> On Dec 5, 2014, at 6:59 PM, Renate Ferro <renateferro at gmail.com> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> It is raining here in New York City.  Tim Murray and I just joined
>> hundreds of protestors who marched down 5th Avenue, one of the most
>> tourist, commodified streets in the world.  Past the Rockefeller
>> Center Christmas tree decorated in lights galore hundreds of tourists
>> stood in line to watch on one side the lit tree and the other side a
>> light/video show on the facade of Saks Fifth Avenue.  Loud speakers
>> filled the block and adjacent streets with holiday music.  Disrupting
>> that scene hundreds of what I noted as young activists marched
>> directly down the side walks of this holiday scene shouting "Hands Up,
>> Don't Shoot,"  "I can't breathe," and other chants to stop shoppers in
>> their tracks.  Shoppers had two choices:  to clear out of the way for
>> protestors or to join.
>> Right now in Macy's protestors move into the inside of the shopping
>> season, lay down and conduct a "die in."
>> I find it stunning (has to be another word) that reflects the
>> confusion of the  junta-postion between a commodity driven season and
>> a politically driven movement that collides head to head.  How crazy
>> is it that just moments before when I opened my email via the smart
>> phone I was using to video the moment, the White House sent out this
>> message:
>> "We've been watching the economy steadily improve for years, but today
>> there's new reason to really zoom in on that progress. Consider this:
>> Last month, American businesses created 314,000 jobs, extending the
>> longest streak of job growth on record. That's 10.9 million jobs added
>> over the last 57 straight months.
>> Let's put that in perspective: With 2.6 million jobs created in the
>> first 11 months of the year, we've already added more jobs in 2014
>> than in any entire year since the late 1990s.
>> It's been a long road to recovery since the Great Recession. And while
>> there's more work to do, America is outpacing much of the world in
>> putting people back to work.
>> Take a look at how far our economy has come since President Obama took
>> office -- then share the facts with everyone who needs to know:"
>> HELLO?  What about the thousands of young and dis-engranchised who for
>> the past three nights around the US  have been shouting out to be
>> heard about the injustices that have manifested themselves over the
>> past several weeks.
>> World-wide ordinary people from Hong Kong to Mexico to the US are
>> shouting out as well about other injustices.  Can we take a moment to
>> reflect on how these movements may be organically generating?  How
>> does social media, list serves, networked media enable movements such
>> as these? What else may be inspiring these gestures of resistance.  I
>> am looking forward to speaking to all of you now but for now I have to
>> run.
>> Renate Ferro (and Tim Murray from NYC)
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

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