So Much Depends

What’s left unsaid and undone could be a future too. — Les Wade

Last fall, Christian Hawkey invited a number of writers worldwide to participate in an experiment based on Georges Perec’s An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (trans. Marc Lowenthal, Wakefield Press, 2010, original French publication 1975). Over three days in October 1974, Perec sat in Place Saint-Sulpice, recording “everything” he saw, in an attempt to capture what he called the “infraordinary” — “what happens when nothing happens.” So, over the same three days in October of last year, less than a week before the one-year anniversary of Occupy Oakland, I made four visits to Oscar Grant Plaza, the location of the Occupy Oakland camps, General Assemblies, and many related actions. I was most interested in how one might even begin to describe/document a place (much less “exhaust” it) so laden with history and memory, not just any history, but a very raw and loaded history of violent contestations over the very public space I was now attempting to observe/record, histories increasingly under erasure as the city worked hard to remove any visible traces of Occupy’s presence in the plaza and downtown environs. Needless to say, the challenge to keep my writing aimed towards the “merely” descriptive/objective would be impossible, just as it would be difficult to document the “what’s-no-longer-there” that is still very much present and palpable in the landscape for those of us who experienced so much time, energy, and collective action at Oscar Grant Plaza.

Six months later, I typed up my notes, cut them into groups of 1-2 sentences, & then went back to Oscar Grant Plaza to “(de)compose” this report. During the middle of a “normal” downtown Oakland workday, I used my strap-on lecturn to perform a mobile site-specific “reading” of the fragments, sprinkling them on the lawn in order to re-order them, to disrupt the chronological, to further shuffle the observational notes already cut-through with all that has happened at OGP (& all it continues to represent) & yet is no longer visible to the kind of infraordinary optics Perec’s project attunes us toward. This is not to suggest that the banalities of everyday life & public space are somehow “less so” than the more extraordinary events of Occupy Oakland & its related offshoots & actions, but rather that the absence of the extraordinary — the events deemed worthy of writing about — still infuses the ‘merely’ ordinary with a kind of tangible vibration beyond what the simple practice of focused (“writerly”) attention already adds to the sensorium. In other words, there’s no longer any presence of Occupy to observe/write about at OGP, & yet I can’t not at all times write/think about Occupy at OGP.

Thus perhaps between every line — in the parataxic scissors cut between each sentence — breathes all that remains unsaid, unwritten, erased, yet still alive & potent, & in the same way, perhaps within the infraordinary of as-yet uncontested/unliberated spaces we might begin to see the potential for extraordinary possibilities.

Oakland : June 2013
[transcript of video text]

People continuing to enter Rotunda. Some big event. Somebody yelling across street in front of Rite Aid, seemingly to no one in particular. Two bikes locked up next to BART stairs. But – what kind of task – meaningless? vs. tasks with use value (cleaning dishes, serving food at the BBQs…). On screen is PDF of Perec’s “Approaches to What?” Said “Controlled burns & formally [formerly?] prohibited plant matter” then repeated it louder. One other person sitting on amphitheater steps, looks like B—, there was sound of loud voice speaking, first I thought he was on the phone, then someone further away, then kept looking around, now realize it’s him, talking to himself. Said “Controlled burns & formally [formerly] prohibited plant matter” then repeated it louder. Walk around perimeter of plaza to front steps. More trash than last night. Security car still parked on ‘stage’ but no one in it. What’s needed perhaps is finally to found our own anthropology, one that will speak about us, will look in ourselves for what so long we’ve pillaged from others… Sit on plaza steps, two people come up from BART and get on their bikes, one looks like X— from OO/FTP, he seems to recognize me too, but it’s dark, I say hey, he seems to say hey back or the other way around. Otherwise all quiet in plaza. If I turn 150 degrees to my right I can see the Frank Ogawa bust. Getting up to move locations. 8:30 pm.

Pass another guy in dark recess in front of whatever that building is, going through his things. Over to my right a few signs — tho again I know to look for them since I know they’re there, & curious why none over near where I sit. Another couple approaching, he’s white with shorts, in those awful feet-bootie shoes or whatever, in his hands a pair of what look to be climbing shoes. Black guy with black hoodie pulled tight over his head (to stay warm, it looks like) passes, asks me for a cigarette, then as he turns to walk away says, it’s not safe to have that thing out here (meaning my laptop I assume), then later, you could be the police. ‘Nothing’ going on. “Controlled burns & formally [formerly?] prohibited plant matter.” Black man walking slowly by, large green pack, 4 full plastic bags, backwards cap, sets all his shit down on bench. Guy still talking to himself, smoking cig, turns to look at me, wondering if he’s paranoid about me writing & watching. Almost stepped on dead rat, which I didn’t see til I had to turn around to pull PJ, who’d stopped to sniff it, thus pulling on her leash. Now walking behind me, towards BART. She has red hair & a shoulder bag. It’s like the crosswalk beeping never stops — since one way is always green, perhaps. Security cop texting across lawn. But where is our life? Where is our body? Where is our space? (Not what but where). (Crosswalk light beeps go). Speakers over by ‘the plaza steps’ (of all the steps those are the steps) — Now out of view so I can’t describe. Noticeable difference b/t who walks thru plaza & who hangs out here. The latter seemingly w/ nowhere else to go. I have a subjective experience. Is that the endotic? Feeling this (writing) is boring — & not ‘good boring’ — & not ‘boring enough’ to become something else — What we need to question in bricks, concrete, glass… Describe your street. Describe another street. Compare. Getting colder. 8:58 pm. Late for the reading.

Crosswalk signal beeps green. Passing woman kicks bottle cap & it registers as sound, 20+ yards away. There’s a party horn in the distance, some kids at the bus stop talking shit, bicyclist goes past. BART is closed. Writing on laptop. Rat runs across lawn to oak tree. Security cop’s car was running. Why. So much depends / on the gray / metal fence / alongside the plaza. To my left sitting on lawn steps, black man w/ plaid flannel shirt, blue cap, with black woman, her sliver bag on ground. I take them to be a couple. The oak tree is lit up from beneath. Get to that later. I ask if he wants me to let them run on lawn so he can chase them, earn his $, he sez “I’m at work, not looking for work.” Sitting on bench alongside OGP lawn / facing south / slight breeze, overcast, colder “than usual” (?), wearing two layers & AK hoodie, jeans & boots. Rat scurries beneath my feet. Emji sits down next to me. 12:55 am.

Want to write that she’s ‘non-descript’ but only cuz they’re now out of view so I can’t describe. &/or maybe ‘non-descript’ means just that – once out of view, hard to recall anything to describe — nothing ‘stands out.’ But the endotic… Partly cloudy. Cold breeze rustling leaves on ground. Maple, I think — lightly brown, gives a little taste of autumn tho not much with the min-palms & oaks. Green tea resting on large concrete planter box to my right, strong smell of piss. ‘T-money’ on bench in black markers. Lots (?) of flies nearby, makes me look for garbage/attractions. This time around, red converse hi-tops, black tights rolled up calves (gray under), red shirt, black leather bag w chain or rhinestones, looks to be either side of 18 (?), walks by me a 3rd time & around corner. (But the humanist focus here? why ANTHROpology?). One approaching me, goes under bench. More arriving — most on lawn — some pecking — sod food? grass seed? They all leave in a flurry but one, who lingers then splits after the rest. Dogs stand up, are curious. Someone walking across plaza with slight limp, walking very fast then slows down. Rat runs out from under tree. Can’t tell if flowers still there. No one has features. Sorry this is so uninteresting. 2:48 pm. Unclear what event might be. Flip side of card is ad for “fashion forward show for the community” Oct 28 @ Oak Metro Opera House $40 turn the card back again to see an OO insignia in corner, above the FB & twitter logos. How phone makes for blinders (obvs). There’s an orange cone on its side 15 yds to my left. Writing with pencil that says THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS. No idea where they are parking cars downtown Sat night. Various lights no in surrounding buildings, but most if not all appear empty of people. Clear sky, cold but not freezing. Don’t recall how crowded any of these places got pre-OO around weekday lunch times, but always shut down on weekends. Have seen 3–4 private security cops. Presume they are protecting lawn & not policing behavior/’lifestyle crimes’. Tho I knew this already so perhaps am ‘seeing’ it now as such only for knowing — & knowing that it’s off limits currently — & that the fence only recently came down — Sprinkler on in 3 corners of lawn, of course brings to mind Lake Quan. Across lawn, next to the oak tree, flowers — shrine? — basket, some sort of vase, one plastic cup w flowers, spilled onto side, maybe a candle? Can see lights on inside 6 different CH windows but no evidence of anyone inside. Wondering if Radio is bugged upstairs. At what point do paranoia jokes become possible? White woman with nametag on black jacket walks by behind me. Small prop plane flies overhead. Man goes downstairs into BART station. They’ve each finished the small rawhides I gave them, it’s 5:15 & there are 10 windows open in City Hall, 25% of total, & the crosswalk is beeping go. Immediately fighting off the objective, as well as memory. White pickup goes by, reminding me that R— called earlier, ½ moon up in SE, vertical sign that reads (vertically) “Oakland City Center” — I’ve pissed there during GA, on building next to it a For Lease sign. I thought he was on the phone, then someone further away, then kept looking around, now realize it’s him. Dogs’ ears are up & rotate to follow sounds in multiple directions. I’ve not exhausted this place. 5:30, took 5 min. break on phone.

Tweet from M— about GA/OOFC but not clear what went down. There are 3 ‘floorlights’ shining up onto the bust of Frank Ogawa. Weird effects. 2 boys on bikes. No one has features. Cloud cover thinning so a bit sunlight, find myself squinting — & thus scowling? — w/o sunglasses, which I didn’t pack. Maybe ‘non-descript’ means just that – once out of view, hard to recall anything to describe — nothing ‘stands out.’ Passed woman w pink bike, Polynesian I believe, one shoe off, black sock, pink h2o bottle that looks like a child’s. 4 different sprinklers now on. Too cold to #makenothinghappen. At least not solo, not now. The amphitheater really does amplify sound, even tho it doesn’t look like it would. He’s got black hair, pants, bubble jacket, backpack, glasses, “it’s like watching the grass grow” he sez (to himself?) — (!) Dogs tied to handrail. Woman w pink bike sitting across corner of lawn, 2 women walk by, blues sneakers maroon pants, both w h2o bottles, green shoulder bag, jeans, red back pack, too far gone, that’s it, that’s — them? Mail truck drives by. Buster yawns. They both turn heads when someone drops something. Now 3 guys at gazebo. ‘Hanging out’ & shooting shit outside door. 5:05. Going to stand & move.

The couple continues on, chatting, she’s shorter than him, red shirt, her hair’s up, he’s got a h2o bottle, she says “no” but I can’t make out the rest, someone whistling in the distance, yelling, from where I sit I count 62 lights on in the plaza, plus 4 beneath oak & one turned off/not functioning. I’ve not yet exhausted this place. Kid walking by talking on phone. “Cartoons can take you places.” Man sleeping in same spot as last night, wrapped in blanket, lying flat on back on pavement next to lawn. “Sketchy” is not an objective description. Difference between bodies in public spaces in day and at night. Walk around CH to piss, through sliver of space between City Hall and Clay St parking garage can see sliver of moon. Flowers are still there. Writing as an aid to presence? Seeing? But then — toss the writing if/since it’s just a tool? Walked to amphitheater. Maybe he’s actually white or mixed, salt-n-pepper beard, my phone vibrates in my jacket pocket. PJ’s sniffing the air. 4:55. 2:44. Feel like I’m just getting started but ‘need to’ (‘should’) split.

Next to me on bench is colorful card for “The Sophisticated Hyphy Show.” & look at that — hosted by Shake Anderson. Asian guy returns, turns out he’s the security guy, gets in his car. Then comes over & asks to pet the dogs. Suddenly pigeons, at least 30. One approaching me, goes under bench. Bright Red shirt on kid — not a kid — man in 40s? — w blue backpack & weird mismatching tie, shirt untucked, long arms, brief eye contact — he half-signs? — is this parataxis? It’s now 1:56. “Get Up, Stand Up” on radio now — does not pass my attention that we’re at OGP listening to this — (who’s ‘we’ Are ‘we’ all ‘listening’ — in the same way?). Man sleeping in sleeping bag on pavement 2 feet from lawn. 2 of the security cops just stand, the other walks around, more social. He has white earphone in one ear. Walkie talkie strapped to belt on side hip. And how to describe what’s not here. It’s 2:18. Dude stops & I turn to watch dog roll on its back, as if scratching on the ‘ground’ — cement? plaza-street? — wrong order — I turn to look, man stops — either way, no causality — Security cops have black caps that read SECURITY in big white letters. Yet resistant to categorize. Sound of bus stopping, that burst of expressed air — brakes? Brief eye contact — he half-signs? — is this parataxis?

Wrong order — I turn to look, man stops — either way, no causality. Had been putting off describing woman sitting nearest me — at 90 degree angle, in red, occasionally talking on earpiece (?) phone – mic — ‘handless mic’ (?) but now she’s gone. Black woman w black jacket, gloves, & wool cap jogs up CH steps & goes inside. It’s not just the tents & camp that are gone, but the smell. My fingers hurt from so much writing. Just realized I am sitting about 10 yards from where I was arrested, almost exactly one year ago. For everything I write — SO WHAT? Why does it matter? Security cops have black caps that read SECURITY in big white letters. Large woman on large bike, smiling. Old Asian woman ‘shuffling’ — red rain jacket, with hood pulled tight around face. Breeze picks up, smell of piss stronger. Watching myself (‘watching’?) as I ‘decide’ who is & isn’t likely homeless among folks here — ‘Nothing’ going on. Woman walks by behind me. Single small bike locked up. Woman asks two other passersby for a light. They have one. Now — ‘back to normal’ — ? No pigeons, no tents. And what counts as ‘objective’ description — or, since I obvs don’t believe in ‘objectivity’ — something approximating ‘mere’ description. Sound of crosswalk signal — ok to cross. Using gender for short hand — why not just person — since for sake of ‘record’ doesn’t matter. Want to put pen down & ‘just’ observe, though then I’d likely daydream or check out. Man walks by reading his cellphone. Security guard talking to 2 other guys outside door. Oh, Running Wolf does have his sage stick burning. Want to write ‘hate that shit.’ Am wearing the same thing I wore this afternoon, tho I did bring another layer if it gets colder. Observation & documentation requires some degree of focus & presence but it’s not like I feel more alive. Dude bikes by CH. Have to text myself or I’ll forget —

What is presence. City Hall — no sign of people. I have a flask of bourbon in my backpack. Just noticed there are 5 flags on CH, not 3. So ‘little activity’ today — compared to what? Not sure if I’m ‘present’ but focus on description — even if ‘soft focus’ — does keep my mind off other shit — the shit week, stress of to-do, fatigue, depression — even now, just making a list doesn’t necessarily trigger them — fire truck sirens approaching. Parked in garage & walked down concrete stairs where I’ve pissed during GAs & nearby #OO actions. Couple is back, woman with red shirt now has h2o bottle, she sez “dude I get you” & “I feel so good right now.” They walk across the lawn, both in short sleeves. Noise amplified by reflection of City Hall, ‘amphitheater’ — sounds reverberated somehow. Dude w red bandana, masked up. Why. Observing myself being observed. Not the same as ‘self-consciousness’ — I’m object, just information, data. As if Perec’s model is the model to work from. “After” P — Am I ‘noticing’ anything? Noting? or just ‘jotting notes’. Why write self-reflection now — it’s happening, always, but not ‘part of the project’. There’s not really shadows here. 2:36. Something approximating ‘mere’ description. Cop car on 14th in front of Walgreens — sticks out as til now been ‘ignoring’ traffic. Get to that later. 2 boys, one woman. young. Leader does the talking. Woman trails behind, seems more aware of immediate surroundings. I’m not stoned, so I’m seeing/sensing this way & not that. Doubtful that these descriptions would give any reliable ‘picture’/map. Clock tower bell tolls 12:45. Emji’s standing & taking notes. There’s not really shadows here. But it’s not like I feel more alive. If you’ve not been to OGP, doubtful that these descriptions wd give any reliable ‘picture’/map. But it’s not like I feel more alive. 3 flags on City Hall — US flag, gold/green OAKLAND flag w/ oak tree and 1838 (?) & what looks like CA state flag — not enough wind. So much I’m leaving out — but not conscious of why choosing what — other than cops, bright clothes, loud sounds, pigeons fly by again, movement. Walking back to truck, pass alley where two women in full-length saris are smoking, what appears to be a pipe or joint, but can’t tell. Someone walks in front of City Hall. Man sleeping in same spot as last night, wrapped in blanket, lying flat on back on pavement next to lawn. No pigeons. No tents. 12:25.

Need to think about why avoiding people. So much minor activity / So much to describe / yet why choose what — in what order? Security cop texting across lawn. What is presence. Am I ‘noticing’ anything? Or just ‘jotting notes’. Looks like maybe some chalkupy — going to walk by before I split. Meanwhile crazy guy split — didn’t notice. Warming up (the weather, not me). Bus on 14th heading E, stops in front of Walgreens. Today — compared to what? Something about this weather, location, guy sleeping near me, the lawn. Immediately fighting off the objective, as well as memory. Guy bikes by behind me, trailing what looks to be a ladder about 12-15’ long, resting length-wise on an apparatus w/ wheels, a large ‘ski bag,’ odd silver/metal ‘fans’ hanging off ladder in back. Polly Jean & Buster here w/ me, leashes tied to bench, we’re facing west, sitting on plaza to north of lawn, near steps where we gathered pre-2nd raid and NYE pre/post Bring the Noise/FTP. They all leave in a flurry but one, who lingers then splits after the rest. Now — ‘back to normal’ — ? Private security guy alone in car parked on amphitheater ‘stage’. Have to remember to soften my gaze. Yet resistant to categorize in writing/describing — it’s shorthand — Reflection of passing car lights on glass doors to City Hall make them appear as if opening. Pigeons back. Dog barks behind me. And how to describe what’s not here. Going to stand & move.

Overcast, w dark orange glow. Getting colder. Black guy walking by, rat runs out in front of him, guy stomps foot and laughs “did you see that?” Grass is spotty — mostly green & trimmed/cut, but some lighter almost-yellow. Otherwise all quiet in plaza. Across 14th woman in a high-waisted long skirt, looks by the way she’s walking that she’s in uncomfortable heels. 12:39 — time goes by ‘quickly’ — compared to — ? Cliché but plaza does feel stagey. The security guards look bored. 2:04. Taking break to trade texts w/ J— about X.

I don’t recall rats at the camp but there must have been? Need to think how/why Perec’s ‘isn’t’/ ‘What he leaves out makes the music’. “14th & Bway” will always signify to me in very specific ways. Is that the endotic? My phone sez Berkeley considering ban on homelessness. Double long bus drives down 14 towards Bway, stops in front of Walgreens, another behind it. Still ‘putting off’ describing people. Observing myself being observed. Not the same as ‘self-consciousness’ — I’m object, just information, data. Banner hangs over front door: Oakland Fire Dept / Salutes / Fire Prevention Week. Sorry this is so uninteresting. Brief eye contact — he half-signs? — is this parataxis? OGP only exists as a potent site after the event. The rats are always larger than I think they … ‘should be’ — ? As if life reveals itself only by way of the spectacular… W/o the camp some of the cats ‘back to’ crazy hippies. Sod is fairly new — tho I knew this already so perhaps am ‘seeing’ it now as such only for knowing — & knowing that it’s off limits currently — & that the fence only recently came down — & that it might go up again pre-#O25 — nobody knows tho that’s the word —Hella pigeons, all clustered — maybe guy sitting there just threw them something? Plane overhead. Lone Asian woman now walking other way — ‘back’? — across plaza, white plastic bag swinging from left hand. 2 guys open door to green gazebo. Somebody coughs — a ‘hacking cough.’ Continually comparing this writing to similar models/styles. 8 Asian women walk by, in clusters of 2’s & 4’s — just off work? It’s 4:48. Holding Perec booklet between left forefinger & middle finger, left thumb holding notebook open. Noticed her — or decided of all the people to ‘write about’ (v ‘describe’?) her 1st cuz she strode on grass. Thought for a sec I saw Melvyn. Wanted to go talk w/ him, get a temp check. Black woman w shorts & holding plastic bag talking w/ security cop. Pigeon wings flapping — they’re gone. There’s Running Wolf. No sign of sage. Again, feels like this is uninteresting but it’s something to focus on. Tasks. The sound of my backpack zipper reminds me of camping — opening the tent ‘door’ — very slight breeze — more like the moderate chill in the air is just letting itself be known as such — as the night air around me. Have to text myself or I’ll forget — dogs seem bored — &/or I’m projecting. Kids gone from amphitheater. 2 men exit City H while I’m describing sign & flags but in both cases I miss seeing them ‘actually’ exit. How to describe what’s not here — not just the camp, but ‘everything’ that could be but isn’t. Sadness. Or: saudadé. Still curious why OPD never staged raids from down there. Lots of folks ‘lingering’ — hanging out? On or around ‘main steps’. Person of indeterminate gender walks by, swinging arms. So much minor activity / So much to describe / yet why choose what — in what order? Sound of bird or rat nearby.

Loud car engine draws my attention — then another — it’s a truck on Bway, now a large US Food semi going south on Bway. Asian man sweeping leaves out from of (closed) Rotisserie Deli. Red light flashing slowly on top of building one block or so ‘over’ (14th & Clay?). Taking break to trade texts w/ J— about XX. Unclear what event might be. Trying to figure out how to describe the music now — I think it was the trumpets that drew my attention to it. Then he splits to go on his rounds. Why write self-reflection now — it’s happening, always, but not ‘part of the project’. Now — ‘back to normal’ — ?

 

N Ear Flowers Re Fre/nd: A Poets’ Play

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Johan Gottschalk Wallerious: Swedish chemist, mineralogist
Someone said: singer, poet, desire, child, brute, amateur
Else: Else, historical, machinic
Coltrane: philosopher
I Am (in Brooklyn, (in Berlin: a body, a vector in space, a given place
Siri: Siri
Heriberto Yepez: Heriberto Yepez
Charlotte Wolff: scientist, radical sexologist, chirologist, philosopher, wearer of men’s clothes, psychologist of gesture, lesbian identified
Via Alev Ersan: via the writer Alev Ersan, on Facebook
Public Space: Public Space
Sheena Easton: Sheena Easton
It: It
June Jordan: June Jordan
Fassbinder: Fassbinder
Minor Appearances: Orgy, Aristotle

ACT I

Johan Gottschalk Wallerious:
Else requires someone else
Someone said, to become someone else
Requires someone else
Electrically, unmeasured
Other-ness, someone said
An Allotrope of Else
Someone said, A Loosening Ampersand
Throbbing with amperes
& a bromo blue
Citi sign, someone said
Electrically To Become Someone
Else requires some structured bonds
Someone said, more & more
In a less fixed phosphorous
Someone said, Ore.

Else:
Desiring machines
some other means.

Someone said:
Sheena Easton
for example. She
Sheena Easton
is a machine
Sheena Easton
desiring some
other means.
Bromo blue. 
Watermelon red.
Wallerious serious.
I love that color.

Else:
If it moves
it’s alive.
If it’s alive
this time
but not
moving it’s
mourning.
If it’s alive
this time
and refusing
to mourn
or move it’s
probably
this time
watching
Netflix &
performing
adorability.

Someone said:
Until branded
as vernacular
speech acts, the band
in me
in every conversation
in them, yeah yeah yeah
a long-fingered tool
for climbing is, until branded
Elsewhere, a hand since
from wing or paw
whose thumbing
is the first machine,
whose thumbing
is this asks the / the
second machine

Else:
repeat the sentence
increasingly brutal
movement to dethrall.
Else’s hard intel stare.
Core. Else’s black substrate.
Core. Else under a chair lost.
Manufactured in
other country it
no longer exists
save for the objects
made in said
other country.

Someone said:
Old English thūma; related to Old Saxon
thūma, Old High German thūmo,
Old Norse thumall, thumb of a glove
from Latin tumēre, to swell.

Orgy:
Into armpit
or palm.

Wallerious:
Yeah yeah yeah
As if homophony
Wasn’t the easiest
Hard drive. More
materially, Africa.
“The granary of Empire.”
1.08 billion palms
Holding high
Capacitance Coltan.
“The ore of Empire.”

Else:
Siri, where does Coltan come from?

Siri:
Let me check that…
This might answer
your question: Collective information
for US births. Rank: 65th. Fraction:
1 in 318 people. Number: 6318 people per year.

Else:
Siri, what is Coltan.

Siri:
Would you like me to search the web for “Cole train”?

Wallerious:

Coltan, short for
Columbite-tantalite
Known industrially
As tantalite.

Someone said:
You touch the glass with yr machine.
You touch the machine with yr machine.
Glass architecture in a glass palm.
The one surfacing there, touching there.
The one swiping there, pinching there.
You touch the glass with your ear.
You make a call, out from that flesh there.

Else:
Desiring machines
by other means. In other
country. Siri,
what is the space
behind the knee?

Siri:
What is Dancoe? Let me think…
Here’s what I found: Dana Holding Company (DAN)
Latest trades: DAN $20.95 NYE.

Wallerious:
The popliteal space?

Coltrane:
Namelessl
y informatio
n swells.

Sheena Easton:
Sheena Easton.

ACT II

SCREEN 1:

I Am (in Brooklyn:
I realize, and it is not without irony, that I tell stories. I tell a certain kind of story in response to which one reaction I have witnessed is repulsion a response perhaps to what is felt as my attack on the lush ground that ‘story’ is thought to occupy.

When I tell a story it is as though I am interrupting. The room. Something is always happening. For example a sudden repulsion that seems to augur logic. I trust the interruption. I want to tell you now, not later. It won’t matter anymore. It may never again matter. I…

I am (in Berlin:
Here is a story that comes after an attack. Or rather footage of an attack. What exactly is the story when there is an attack in a public space. What exactly is the story when women are not allowed in public space. Rather than footage what was in the machine was: a double story.

Let me explain.

There was the violence of the attack and violence of the machine recording the attack and the machines which transmitted the recording of the attack and the machines which downloaded the act with ease, with a swipe of a thumb, a gesture, automated. This was all after the fact. The story begins before this. What was in the machine was. The image bundles affect, which is duplicated, doubled, becomes story, gothic. I stood up in my apartment, gagged.

My story begins with a machine in a country nowhere near the country where the footage was taken. Let me explain. I am in a country which is a story that turns me inside out, violently, suddenly nowhere and nowhere nearly as the violence which a body holding a machine witnesses, nearly commits, let alone the body suffering the fact of attack. I broke into a sweat. No lush ground. No story. No nearly, nowhere. Refuse to let the image empty you. What was in the machine was. It’s telling.

Public Space:
A bromo
blue glow
brought
to you
by Citi.

Charlotte Wolf:
Gesture of a Holding Recording Device
Gesture of a Hollow Recording Device
Gesture of a Holding Recording Device Just Above One’s Head
Gesture of a Holding Recording Device In Front of Your Head
Gesture of a Hollow Head That is Nonetheless Extremely Heavy
Gesture of a Holding Recording Device At One’s Side, Inconspicuously
Gestures and Gesticulations of Fingers as Eyes
Gesture of a Holding Recording Device Beyond One’s Head While Running Forward
Gesture of a Hollow Recording

Coltrane:
Reconstructin
g tellin
g make
s a dislocatio
n machin
e.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
Telling:
Insides without outsides.
Rudely formed viscera, unsheathed.
Precious, monstrous, starkly lush.

Coltrane:
Deser
t and tundr
a guid
e
gilde
d ancien
t wor
d.

Heriberto Yepez and Else (together):
The text will become the history of the loss of our body.
The loss will become the history of the text of our body.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
Stories are locative adverbs.
I don’t desire a visit.

Else:
Media visits
What upon us.

Someone said:
She. She was a visitor. She
Was a visitor. She was a
visitor. She was a visitor.

Else:
Two tents.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
This is an attempt at never visiting.
Press: “travel”
Lift: “migrate”

Charlotte Wolf:
Gesture of Pressing Against Travel
Gesture of Trying To Stay Put
Gesture of Failing the Gestures

Public Space:
Where you stand.
She is not a visitor.
Where you stand still.
Where you are (not) visited.

Else:
M…mourning
strange vibrations
marking these
unremarkable
leftover signals

Someone singing:
Tell me why is it so.
Don’t wanna let you go.

Coltrane:
Okay. Hold o
n for jus
t a…!
This interrupte
d line wants t
o finish bu
t can’t. Th
e animal, ever
y time it trie
s to complet
e it, or disentangl
e itself eviscerate
s further int
o.

Public Space:
Already? At the start
a space between
one or more sentences
gathered, a violence
named
by space.

Sheena Easton:
Sheena Easton.

SCREEN 2:

Someone said:
IT makes more sense
IT holds as if it were a breath
IT the very moment
IT has nothing to project protect
IT becomes extreme weather

IT:
IT suggests terrible things happening
after near escape, off the page,
in this unfriendly helicopter sky.

Someone (singing):
Up up and away
my beautiful, my beautiful.
Up up and away
my beautiful, my beautiful.
Up up and away
and away, way up HIGH
my beautiful, my beautiful.

Heriberto Yepez:
We suspected
mimesis doubled
rendered violence
visibly redundant
& so we painted
cockpit windshields
on fallen drones.

Charlotte Wolf:
Gesture of Removing Drones from the Sphere of Metaphysics!
Gesture of Removing Drones from the Logic of Speculative Finance!

Siri:
We would like to use your location.

Else:
Your thumbs know where the keys are.
It doesn’t take long to adjust.

Someone said:
Even if we are somewhere else.

Else:
As in a place other than where we desire
the footage to record our movements here.

Public Space:
A statue of a protester.
An archived space. An image
full of gestures. A public space
generating images. A public
full of gestures. An image
full of images. A film
of a still image of a protester. A film
of a still image of a
protester in public space
breaking allotropically
into a run, a fist or feint or
immanently adjacent
to image or film, the edge
in an image or screen or page
or square, an opening there
that is NOT a tear, a duct
at the base of a pear.

Heriberto Yepez:
Neo-remembering. Never mind for now: a 4 cornered body crossed by a three pointed star
tries to exceed its surface into the atmosphere by excreting.
It wants. IT historicizes herself anticipating the tragedy of submission, our sticky times.

IT:
Reaching down while getting up
subject to being fucked
by that broken head (god)
Rough and crumble over figure
Off the page IT leaves
Violent diaphanous
Fatherless imprint

Else:
IT can’t, and turns back up and
back into itself.

Heriberto Yépez:
Under power
Under powered
Under powdered

Else:
“Good upload man”

SCREEN 3:

I Am (in Brooklyn:
Walking around
peacefully enough but
taken with a persistant
incurable want.
I am attempting to leave
the never born child
behind.

Coltrane:
No, don’t cry ou
t with it! Don’
t make the imp-
recise deman
d: IT to
o wants t
o exis
t.

[exits]

I Am (in Brooklyn:
I cut off the head your encephalitic
squirming for you!
[humming tune of “Like a Virgin,”
spasmodic gestures approximating
dancing, sings]
Like an earthworm
Touched for the…

Coltrane:
[re-enters]
Stop tryin
g. To exis
t. Ther
e is onl
y squir
m o
n
th
e wa
y
t
o l
o
v
e.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
Losing the want
Though it’s good to have somewhere clean to stay
Eat and Touch more than a square foot is better,
Especially nice for one to be
Map-able Find-able Bury-able

Public Space:
The houses poorly ventilated, overcrowded,
have no chimney. In Jalazone, a Palestinian refugee camp,
dampness is present in 72.5% of the houses,
50.5% have mold, 37% have leaks, and only 41.5% were
exposed to the sun. In Jalazone, 61% of the households
have 3-5 people to a room, while 16.5% of the households
have over 5 people to a room.

ACT III

SCREEN 1:

Via Alev Ersan:
“Dear friends, currently the mainstream global media is keeping an eye on Taksim, Istanbul. Thus, the police forces have backed off and they have remarkably scaled down the number of attacks against the protesters. However, in the meantime the police terror in Ankara as it is now is on a much larger scale compared to the very beginning of Istanbul attacks. Tear gas is relentlessly being thrown inside apartments, people are suppressed by plastic bullets, illegal custody, and physical assault. Things have escalated quickly and the scale of these attacks is rapidly increasing. We need to make benefit of social media once again to show the world what’s going on in Ankara right now. Here is a message from the people of Ankara: ‘We have supported the protesters of Istanbul from the beginning, and now it is your turn to support us and the rest of Turkey. This resistance is clearly not limited to Istanbul, it has taken over all of the country. The festive atmosphere in Istanbul is just a trick to fool global media and soothe off the masses. Nothing has been accomplished yet and things have just started actually.'”

Else:
Place. As smoke and mirror.

June Jordan:
[Watching television, or in a television frame]
We USAmericans, United Statesians, USonians: love our Arabs and Muslims in the form of democratic youth, so much we are willing to watch them be slaughtered, to watch our premieres meet in gilded frames.

Else:
Who controls the smoke controls the mirrors.
Who controls the mirrors is SMOKING.

Coltrane:
What. Yo
u want m
e to say som
e thing abou
t globalizatio
n. Maybe on
e would wan
t it, if on
e hadn’t gotte
n it. To be know
n. Worl
d Recognitio
n.

I Am (in Berlin:
It’s hot. I sign off all my emails with the phrase It’s hot here. The emails I receive from friends in Brooklyn end with same phrase. It’s hot here. The emails I receive from friends in Rio end with the same phrase. It’s hot here. The emails I receive from friends in Paris end with the same phrase. It’s hot here. The emails I receive from friends in Morocco end with the same phrase. It’s hot here. The emails I receive from friends in Sweden end with the same phrase. It’s hot here. It’s hot here and the windows are open. The windows of all the neighbors in the courtyard are open and we move around with few clothes, we move around slowly wearing few clothes. Nearly everyone sees everyone else in a Berlin hinterhof. Nearly everyone sees everyone else in apartment buildings that face other apartment buildings. There is rarely any sun in Berlin and rarely are curtains needed. The neighbor across from me moves slowly through the room. We have seen each other over the years numerous times through the curtainless windows. All the neighbors have seen each other numerous times. We move together slowly and we see each other.

Charlotte Wolf:
Gesture of Sight
Gesture of Sight Among Other Gestures
Gesture of a Body Next Door Felt in the Wood of the Floorboards
Gestures Conditioned by Distinctions Between Public and Private Space

I Am (in Berlin:
The other is there, right across the air, the hinterhof. The crows on rooftops throw their voices into it and revel in the echo—hopping sideways, gleefully! Nearly deranged! As all crows are, all over the world, perhaps because for them there is no—

Charlotte Wolff:
Gesture of Delirious Harley-Rider-ish Sound in Order to Break Free From.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
Hearing from the front and back. I look to the harbor and hear the ocean. I look to ocean and hear the helicopters. Rhomb lines for airplane. Just Above My Head. I smell jet fuel. Craving.

Charlotte Wolff:
Gestures of Crows for Whom All Space is Public Space.

Heriberto Yepez:
Crow Gestus: Gesture of making big USAmerican noise without sound.

Else:
Beep. Double
Beep. Beep double
Beep. Double

I Am (in Berlin):
It’s hot here. The windows are open. Waist high. Last night a voice in the courtyard cried out, a pleasure so complete the pitch of it was genderless and everyone, in all the windows, was turned on, although the lights stayed off. Squares of open air. An image open, emptied. Architecturally intimacy occurs. We have seen each other but not recognized each other. We have not recognized that we have seen each other but we know this recognition exists, unrecognized, when we meet each other in the treppenhaus, the stairways. Here there is also air between our bodies, but less.

Fassbinder:
Ja Ja Ja
in Agnst Essen
Seele Auf
I wanted most all of it shot in courtyards
and stairways
and doorways
leading to hallways—

Charlotte Wolf:
Architectures of Recognition Gestures
Gestures of Public Touching
Overcrowding Gestures
Orgy Gesture

June Jordan:
Western expansion camps. Refugee cramps.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
between a
door and a
front door

Fassbinder:
where Ali
and Emmi
meet in a doorway
vestibule
a transitional…

June Jordan:
But not provisional
structure the outside
Impositional architectures
Racing bodies
Merging bodies
Orgy bodies
The rooftops

Coltrane:
Architectura
l ai
r.

Else:
The internet?

Someone said:
Orgies, intafadas and riots!
They must take place
In physical space.

Orgy:
If a staircase, then
carefully.

Someone said:
Right. Carefully.
There is no
tyranny of
recognition, no
way to erase
the final
distance
between bodies.

Orgy:
Step by step.
Full of objects
Of outwardness.

Via Alev Ersan:
A space however
Small for politics.
A failed anagram.
An ark.

June Jordan:
Askar
Camp #1
Jenin

SCREEN 2:

Else:
When you look up ‘gestures of location’ on Google you are directed into an Apple development site on Gesture Recognizers. Gesture Recognizers interpret touches to determine whether they correspond to a specific gesture, such as a swipe, pinch, or rotation. If they recognize their assigned gesture, they send an action message to a target object.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
They look more forgotten each time I see them. There is a man I feel like I am friends with. He must be Jewish or Arab or Armenian does it matter which? Wait…we were at “A Gesture of Location” or Gestures of Location or. I don’t know his name but I have known him for all the years that I have lived in my neighborhood. Those years a teenager between us: 17 or 18…year old teenager trans person yesterday hacked to death. My unnamed friend in Brooklyn is a cortortionist. He can bend the back of his neck so that his head is at 90 degrees.

Wallerious:
Maybe that is not so hard.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
I watched him like this for 10 years. Because he sat on my stoop. I could tell he liked me, felt kinship with me. Maybe this means he is Jewish or just relieved to not be put out to the dogs. One day after ten years he looked at me and he was standing up straight. I smiled at him until he recognized me. Today I saw him on the train. We nodded to each other. When he got off the train he went back to being hunched over, in 90 degrees.

Else:
Gestures feel real
she read, but only
when her
hand opened,
when finger and
thumb separating
widened image
to text.

Coltrane:
A relatio
n that i
s neithe
r one no
r two.

Someone said:
Flow, from one to each’s other.
Shift, from thinking to knowing.

Sheena Easton:
Sheena Easton.

Aristotle:
Recognition is as augury for catastrophic
Wreckage.
A beautiful contraction, a perfect
Cleave.

Someone said:
Recognition denied or disabled.
Unclear weather. I recognize this.
Thunder precedes. Like this.
Flow. Shift. From cathexis to

Heriberto Yepez:
Uninstalling the blind
Stupid trilogy. Anti-
Oedipal yes, but
Let’s goes further,
Condemns the binary
And the 4 winds.

Else:
The last episode brought closure and still managed to stay open-ended.

June Jordan:
“Beach Camp”

SCREEN 3:

I Am (in Berlin:
Something someone said about a partial way of looking.
Lines, electrodes, an anti-reflective coating it alone.
Tap to zoom in on king.

I am (in Berlin) holding an object, an iPhone, the screen of which functions by sensing anything having a dielectric different from air. A kind of death, or experience of death, the sudden fact that difference is gone. I was in the air when my father died. I was high up, 30,000 feet, 35,000. I was in the air and my route in the air was figured by, ironically, “ground speed.” The screen on the back of the seat in front of me was roughly the size of the head resting against the seat. Flight status map. Africa a tan desert. Iceland, white. The Labrador Sea: a kind of rippled digital basin. Dimension on a low-res flat screen seems always like sand to be collapsing. “Local time at origin.” The places we travel to in order to leave them. A head winds. Distances: the minute you have a destination you arrive. I am (in Berlin) trying to locate where my body was when my father died, since where we were when a thing happened was the memory of the thing that happened. I arrived when I found out in New York, and got home, and turned on my iPhone with a swipe of my thumb, reading the email which was written by my mother from a coast across from the coast where I had arrived, which is not where my father died. That was my thought at that time in the narrative, where was I at that time in the narrative, now that I am (in Berlin) recalling this. Without location narrative posits it, sentence by sentence. Above somewhere named Gaspe. Somewhere above No. Only later on a phone with a circuit containing a mineral named by a Swedish chemist and mined in the Congo did a message arrive from another sentence, which was opened solely with the movement of a sentence, its intimate muscles, which are the only muscles in a sentence that move the sentence. Conflict minerals us. Somewhere above Dingwall. The sentence across a page vibrates. You could say a gesture also involves when it is finished dying. Else this high capacitance in a small volume, a river over time finds its way into a circuit small enough to allow live streaming. It won’t take long to adjust. Somewhere above Riviere-de-la-Chaloupe, Baie-du-Renard, Cap-aux-Meules. Airlines always use butt-ugly fonts. I remember that sentence, thinking that. This is a view from seat 42A, from a sentence folded in a seat among other sentences on an Irish airline with a Gaelic name somewhere above Dingwall, which is nowhere near Ireland.

Charlotte Wolff:
Gestarchitecture of Invisible Strings.
Gestarchitecture of Immigration.

I Am (in Berlin:
The flight attendants on either aisle end at take off, at the origin, synchronized. One hand positioned over a face and another behind the head. Jerk to release oxygen. During the prerecorded preflight safety instructions my lips moved with the recording. I am always from the start attendant. Invisibly the machine we become we are synced to. Always, from the start, he said again, narratively. Your thumb suddenly white, like Iceland. Else this high capacitance for an electrical charge, a circuit small enough to resist breathing. The body which is not a sentence in a ritual reduced to ashes, mailed to other bodies who stand there, holding them in a posture that, like any fixed position, grief included, interrupts gesture, freezes it, violently, he said again.

Charlotte Wolff:
Living Gesture of Poses Opposed to Any Fixed Posture.

I Am (in Berlin:
The email recorded the passing of a circuit small enough to prevent grieving.

June Jordan:
Rafah
Beit Jibrim

I Am (in Berlin:
The use of the word is proof that literal affirmation neutralizes dissent: economy class. The space between bodies, increasingly infinitesimal. Within inches of every sense an ad. If we are intensely mindful in such a space not to touch anyone, even at the elbows, it is because discomfort stemming from enforced proximity extinguishes any notion the larger sentence might be, with such touch, suddenly countered, changed.

Coltrane:
Distanc
e the minut
e you hav
e a destinatio
n you arriv
e

I Am (in Berlin:
Willingly move beyond this sentence in solidarity.

IT:
where
an ethics
appears. Avant
Vanguard. All
investments subject
also to read as if
risk, both to hold
what we know as fragile
and to have that,
brokered, ingestured
with windshield,
bad porn, visibility
broken global shatterproof
materials this
common form
to struggles, despite
borders, and the
archives border
beyond a sweetness
the sunlit fur
on the backs of
bees, hidden there
it will win us
over it will
soften us with us

Siri:
I am slurring in a soft warehouse.

Heriberto Yepez:
What is a repeat—a repetition that is not conservative, conservatizing, that bleeds new life—how to name it—close to that falling storm. Sheena Easton, save us.

Sheena Easton:
Sheena Easton.

June Jordan:
Balata
Shu’fat
Nusier

I Am (in Berlin:
Sentences willingly in solidarity move beyond this.

I Am (in Brooklyn:
(spasmodically dancing again)
But the Spring…is physical, it is
difficulty, not death. Broken
trees lost branches. Cold air at my bottom
while breasts hot, humid. Slow magnolias
Bright necessity alive—shortened, stumped.
Pushing force of
collective energy out
must make
side branches.