RE:WRITING THE FUTURE: NEW STATES OF BEING
Feel free to envision the future together. How do you imagine the constitution of Empathia?
I write, you write...
Somaya El Sousi
The warm morning sun creeps out your window, the spring breeze blows off your hair. “How beautiful is life without masks!” This is what you keep thinking.
The file completes downloading to your tablet. You open it with eagerness and caution.
Gaza / December 1999
I open my computer trying to connect to the internet. After several attempts the status is now connected. I start getting acquainted with this new technology and the many chat programs that dazzle everyone. I don’t know why e-mail arrives in an instance and is not affected by the laws of my city, where everything is late or may not arrive at all.
I’m looking for friends I met on my first trip outside of this city, I send friend requests and wait. In the forums, everyone discusses the new millennium trying to visualize the world after the year 2000.
A new stack of books piles up on my desk, eagerly waiting to be read. I’m listening to the music that I like and the songs continue without me having to turn over the tape.
I head towards my papers and write...
Gaza, August 2014
I quickly recharge my mobile and laptop before the generator turns off again, the sounds of bombing getting closer. I have been following the latest news of the never-ending war for more than a month and I am this way. I live in anxiety and fear. The only times that bring me back to life are when I communicate via Skype with my friends in Sweden. We talk a lot about everything. They try to understand what is going on around me, they are frightened by the sounds of explosions, I smile and reassure them that they are far from reaching me. I tell them about my day, what food I prepared for my children, which books I read, and they tell me about this year's unusually hot vacation. These blue windows deliver many things and through them I pass my worst dreams.
I download new books to escape into, still some paper books next to me. I open the notebook and I write...
Norway /December 2020.
Many people thought that this year would be different and did not anticipate what would happen. Christmas decorations fill the streets, day after day people disappear, no one celebrates the New Year. I’ve been walking in the cold streets of my city – walking was my best friend this year. I am fascinated by nature, how it is taking control of the Earth, once again. No parties, bars, or nightclubs. Instead, electronic schools, zoom meetings, teleconferences, everything happening via this amazing network that is connecting the world. The world is a small village. It really is.
In my room, listening to endless music, with all the world's libraries in my laptop. But I miss my paper books. The whole world lives in this little device. And when I miss my solitude, I quietly close it and open a new page, I write...
On the wall,my picture appears in front of you. “My little granddaughter has grown far away from me.” You ask about many things and would like to know more. After reading my diaries and all my books, you reveal your desire to live at a time when life was more beautiful and less complicated. You hate masks and warnings, and you never experience how the sand of a beach feels under the warmth of sunset.
Warnings of new viruses whose sources are unknown may have come via spaceships. Fines and imprisonment for everyone who goes out without wearing a protective suit, pollution kills everything, and a new war with no clear features kills silently.
Electronic games fill your devices, virtual friends texting you all the time. But suddenly you take a white paper and a pencil.
Somaya El Sousi
THE STATE OF EMPATHIA
The autonomous region is situated in the centre between Me and You.
The microstate’s territory extends from the high mountains and vivid landscapes of Individuality to the low seaside of Unity.
Empathia is one of the smallest and less populated areas in the world with a territorial span that reaches just until the visible line of one’s own horizon.
The landscape is under constant alterations, depending on the transitions between subregions of the Individual and the Collective.
Its capital is Recipro-City; a vivid cultural area, based on the fluctuating exchange of thoughts, feelings and actions among its inhabitants.
Empathia recognizes and acknowledges multiple languages as official, including the languages of Tact, Embodiment and Resonance.
The people of Empathia believe in the deep interdependence between every sub-object member of their region and embrace ‘multuality’ over equality.
‘Multuality’ implies that an other, a stranger, is not recognized by sameness, but by means of otherness.
The constitution of Empathia is based on the belief that the acknowledgement of otherness embraces the comprehension of the “self” as plural; as a polyethnic relation.
This article is the result of an Open Call in the frame of the festival, Re:Writing the Future, taking place from February 25 to 28. It is going to be published in print in the Extrablatt of the upcoming issue of Arts of the Working Class.
This publication was made possible by the DAAD ARTISTS-IN-BERLIN PROGRAM, as part of its engagement with ICORN, the International Cities of Refuge Network.
The publication was edited by Mohamed Ashraf and Elisabeth Wellerhaus.