[-empyre-] creative powerlessness, expressive violence, performance

Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 18 02:51:21 EST 2014

I lived 32 years in a region, the North of Europe, Sweden, which was,
in the Middle Ages, one of the most violent places in Earth. The
Vikings, the ancestors of the Norwegian, Danes and Swedes, were feared
in the rest of Europe. They come down with their fast vessels and
conquered, plundered and raped. They became the kings in England and
duches in Normandy.
One thousand years later they are an example of peaceful life, they
are at peace with their neighboors (the last wars between Danmark and
Sweden were in the XVI century, etc etc.
Why could they change their uses and their values and became an
example as peace brokers and diplomatics?
(Attention, I am not using them as paradise or utopy, they use double
standards all the time, Sweden is one of the biggest weapon dealers in
the world, in despite they are preaching for peace).
But they are a proof violence CAN BE erradicated as a method if we
strenghten the civil society, the places where we speak to others, not
shout to others.
First World War was a slaughterhouse, people died as flies in Verdun,
in Belgien, in Holland, in France, in Germany. Never more, was the
discourse, Eric Maria Remarque wrote his book, the first League of
Nations was created, Berta von Suttner was awarded the newly created
Nobel prize in peace. Otto Dix did these magnificent and terrible
testimonies of his participation in the war, Der Krieg.
Twenty years later the fascism and the national socialism started
another war and the horrors of the First War was reproduced, the
Holocaust and the killing of Rome people, homosexuals and dissidents
Now we have thousands of minor wars erupting, ISIS has become the
mediatical star but before them was Boko Haram or the Children Army in
Liberia or the drugcartels in Mexico or the Dirty War in Argentina and
Uruguay. And we saw a horrible and nasty war in the middle of Europe,
in the former Yugoslavia, the craddle of the European civilization,
with old cities and oldmonasteries.
The American journalist and illustratoer Joe Sacco was in Gorazde, in
the Balcan wars and was embedded in the UN:s patrols, going in and out
from Gorazde with wounded, proviants and support to the besieged
populations in Sarajevo and elsewhere.
He made a book with his own texts and drawings portraying the banality
of the life when you are besieged, how get water to cook the dry pasta
you got in a parcel from the FN becomes a major issue since the water
and the electricity wa cut.
How can you feel yourself and your kids if you are trapped in an urban
apartament surrounded by snipers hindering you from go out to try to
get some fuel and some wood if you have the luck to live in place with
a fireplace?

Sorry if I can't offer a solution it was some thoughts only.

On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> On Mon, 17 Nov 2014, Christina Spiesel wrote:
>  As testimony to the importance of feeling and the emotions as guides to
> value -- something very much devalued at the moment as humanities and arts
> budgets are slashed and education is increasingly thought of as training.
> -- Can you elaborate on this? This, in the United States, is a crisis of
> conscience and citizenry that is ongoing and worsening; humanities, arts,
> music, and even phys ed programs are being cut out of K-12 schools - not to
> mention artschools themselves, which are increasingly becoming vocational
> feeds for the tech industries. I do think this plays into our inordinate
> fear of ebola, our magnification of crISIS in general, and our deep
> ignorance of conflict and violence (although we practice both with
> impunity). Comments appreciated, and thanks, Alan
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu


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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth
with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you
will always long to return.
— Leonardo da Vinci

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