Cruising the End Times
School of Harms
Ariel Efraim Ashbel and Friends
Young Boy Dancing Group
Curated by: Christopher Weickenmeier
And we are back. Starting at the end, but then staying there, one scene, one movement and one dance long. Entering the first scene: The School of Extinction & Ephemeral Harms. They think about the end of humanity and the many ends of the Anthropocene. They want to do an opera and most of them are my friends, so I know it will be dark and precise.
»As you know. Apocalypse means Revelation, of Truth, Un-veiling.«, wrote Jaques Derrida and I am not sure I know. The end of the world is as old as the name itself. The real apocalypse, according to Derrida, is the »naked name« aka the name that stands for nothing but itself. [Derrida 28] When there is no one left to tell the story, its symbolic meaning can’t be symbolically salvaged. Death in contrast leaves traces.
And yet the end of the world too has left traces. It endures as an endless story, raising the question, why we are so attached to it, if it does not do what it says it does? What if this is not even interesting and simply bad form? Maybe the end as the end has to...end?
One problem is the implicit assumption that the end is synonymous with our end. I believe this is what Ariel meant when he said he and his friends were wondering how to get rid of – imagine here their arms pushing something to the side – the figure of Man, in all its ancient anthropocentric nuisance. The apocalypse is supposed to reveal the truth, and now winter is here and all we have is whatever all of us felt halfway during Episode 3. In the midst of a very real mass extinction, we are stuck with obsessively retelling exhausted stories with the same old dramaturgies and useless heroes.
Another problem is that apocalypse has rendered survival a high-stakes game of live or die and as such has become a favored pastime of edge-lords and, who are we kidding, -lords. But then I think of a scene in Deep Impact, and how here survival is Elijah Wood saving himself, his girlfriend and her baby brother from the almost-Apocalypse by driving up a mid-Western mountain just high enough to escape a colossal tsunami that has seconds before eradicated the entire American East coast. The profanity of their survival is incredible. It is completely contingent on many things and a mountain – it is borderline meaningless. Or it is meaningful, yes, but in a way that escapes our tired terms and the integrity of being human. And that makes surviving the quiet and unrecognizable achievement that it so often is. After all, while the end is forever near, *takes a breath*, »anything is discredited which refers to how one survives the rigors of enslavement to the vacuous money making world.« [Notely in Boyer, 204]
We‘re only particles of change I know, I know
Orbiting around the sun
But how can I have that point of view
When I‘m always bound and tied to someone*
At the end, just before the end of summer, the young boy dancing group will perform at the ruins. I invited them because their dances make me think of the end times. And how to maybe live in them by finding something you like in what has irreducibly been broken. And what is probably lost, yes.