A Dinner Table without Food
Being Together is Common Imagination
- Dec 02 2019
- Dalia Mainiis a writer, editor and urban mermaid.
First of all, I need to say that these thoughts wouldn’t exist if not collectively thought. For this reason I would acknowledge at the very start some of the people who made them possible.
Federica x3, Valeria, Rosa, Angeliki, Claudia, Federica, Martina, Alessandro, Giulia, Bianca, Emilie, Giorgia, Elena, Barbara, Cristina, Martyna, Nadia, Jerome, Maria, Carmen, Marta, Lauren, Yoonhha, Claire, Kari, Alice, Dietrich, Paul, Enzo, Pier, Erik, Andrea x4, Derek, Roberto, Joana, Joao, Claudio, Oriol, Salvatore, Luca x3, Aloe, Gianmarco, Lena, Corrado, Roxanne, Isabell, Jannis, Jess, William, Adam, Fabrizio, Raffaela, Niklas, Valeria, Marco, Sabrina, Skye, Matteo, Iris, Casia, Marianna, Rocco x2, Luka, Peter, Sean, Eleno, Alessandra, Amos, Christian, Sarah, + my lovers.
The personalities bullies, the subjectivities subjugators, the imaginations torturers and the simplification defenders are winning again and again on us. But we should train and direct our critical tools to a drift that shapes humankind, using a deleuzian definition, as becoming machine. "Becoming-" is a process of change, flight, or movement within an assemblage, it serves to account for relationships between the "discrete" elements of the assemblage or society. In "becoming-" one piece of the assemblage is drawn into the territory of another piece, changing its value as an element and bringing about a new unity. As Deleuze and Guattari explain, the process of "becoming-" is not one of imitation or analogy, it is generative of a new way of being that is a function of influences rather than resemblances, we are in a continuous process of becoming together or not becoming at all. Now, we the many, are still behaving as sleeping agents, paralized by the permanent state of crisis experienced inside and outside the body and weakened by the acceleration of every process. But from where to start to avoid boring rhetoric, theoretical manifestos and generic speculations?
The loss of the common imaginary is one of the symptoms of a society of individualism, where the desire to be realized is only one's own, where there are no desires except ephemeral ones, or those of estrangement from everything. Our contemporary imagination sees us detached from each other and united by the umbilical cord of a social system that is not community, but well mitigated and grooved networking.
The amazing guys of the Invisible Committee in their book To Our Friends, define the epoch what is between us, what we experience, see, feel, perceive. The epoch, the underground space between each other is where the “We” emerges,”where the real friends are found, scattered around the globe, but walking the road together”. In an epoch of forced fractures between things, ideas, people, events, as subjects we are negotiating our position in society. The point is that the common feeling of being on the very sharp board of the abyss constricts us in the grey zone of insecurity, and we know it is the worst enemy to consolidate intimacy.
This common perception of the wounds of the contemporary, spreadness, lostness, is what has brought my friends and me together. But what keeps us together is not easy and following Paul Chan, “it takes an evolving awareness of the differences that naturally develop between people, and a commitment to allow these differences to take root, so that common connection grows into singular bonds”. Now what KEEP US BEING TOGETHER IS A CERTAIN COMMON IMAGINATION, whereby we think new fluxes of survival and of loves, unguent for the soul.
This imagination, as I would call it, provides to the materialization of an Absent Zeitgeist. It makes us visualize what isn’t around us; it’s beyond reality but inside our gaze, inside our minds and hearts and within how we treat each other.
It becomes in the betweenness.
My friends, my chosen family uprooted around the world, have taught me forms of care which differ from my blood family. Our common imagination is the one we devote to ourselves. We give each other the chance to express our worlds, to act without any force or judgment. This mutual imagination is what helps us to live the history. It’s what we need to keep alive our very frail desires, to pulse for the revolt, to find the force to face every day inside the precarity of life.
My friends also give me a new pace, no fastness is allowed in growing deep connections. We need slowness, we need time to understand, to smell each other’s fears. And I guess at this state of society we need a reason to stay still.
While society at every scale, instead of protecting us from pain, being our safety net, is betraying us at every level, we in the friendship need to form altogether a constellation, where everybody has a specific meaning of balance in the human chain and the roles are not chosen but naturally given. This structure is organic and in constant transformation, and if every layer is made up, we can change it, we can put down the first brick. This complex collectivity is self-chosen, but in the contingency of some structural impositions or forces whose aim is to divide and measure such malignancies as laws, racism, austerity, queerphobia and deteriorating ecological conditions. The process is one of removing each other from our imposed frames and functions and bringing about new ones.
This society is the act of democracy happening around the dinner table without any food. It’s my flatmate asking me if sometimes I can check on him with a cute message. It’s my friends from the studies A and C who still send me interesting articles and support me from challenging places. It’s another one who always opens the conversation quantifying the hours of sleep slept during the week as he knows I am an insomniac. It’s L homaging me with olives and a flow of words— the rare foods she eats. It’s them, sending me letters to keep my memory distracted from the screens. It’s M and N who reach me out with energies and vibes during the times I am in decline. It’s V whose passion for cakes and chat, and books, and good tastes force me out when the darkness is not only outside. It’s G and M waiting for me for Christmas so I can bright them the present of new perspectives. It’s N or E or J who think I am very beautiful, but they never touched me when I needed their hands. It’s who search in me a nest, a protest, a hug to bring in the dark future. We are good friends because we see different forms in the clouds, but with the same eyes, and we differ from each other in everything apart from the space around us. It’s the same air that we breath.
We are all broken at the core, and we give each other the glasses to see these shining fractures as openings, learning from each other, from the tattoos and the scars of our open tribe. For these reasons I praise friendship as a subversive dispositif of intimacy, as sentimental bondages of contrast, of tenderness and transgression both, to fight through the agenda of the tactile, the abstraction of cultural and emotional exchange. From this iridescent and uncertain terrain made of persons, imagination, and symbols that turn into values, and togetherness; is where I guess, the field for the future can root in the now.
Being together my dears is common imagination, without any reasons, but with many desires, many bodies, many unthinkable thoughts. Being together my dears is the dialectic of the visions of the excluded that coexist in the darkness along the daylight.
If you, like my friend Sibilla, are weary, I will take care of your visions, during these intense nights.