NOW is a tangle of

Ilenia Caleo

{tangle n.0 (prototype) – legislative decree 25 March 2020 n.19}
They appear like they do in your hair, or in the drainpipes, maybe NOW is like this, the          tangles are unfinished – uncertain- unsteady thoughts. Thoughts that understand very little.

{tangle n. 2 – legislative decree 25th March n. 19}
Smart working is shit. It is neither clever nor intelligent, it is not smart at all. Above all it “is” work- literally shit-work.  It says you must not go to your workplace, but that space is an area of negotiation, a place where problems, hardships and solutions are also shared. It says that you work from home, but in this way the shit-work gets everywhere, in your intimacy, in your own damn business, and time gets confused, you must be available for anything and everything is transformed into work time. It is said to be light, but the hours pile up, out of control, summing up above all depends on how efficient you are. Shit-work is the obvious dream of capitalism, everybody always at work, hyper-connected and separate. NOW try organising a strike or a protest among shit-work workers. Very difficult. Certainly the shit-work of these days can teach us that: shorter hours and less time is needed, most of the work we do is hardly necessary or superfluous. Fuck smart-work, less working hours for the same salary and earn, earn, earn.

{tangle n. 3 – legislative decree 25th March 2020 n. 19}
I am not what I produce; or: perhaps I am what I produce? Reducing production, reducing production is not lessening growth or poverty but becoming aware that it’s not necessary to produce so much, the same income can be available, the same resources doing less. Overexposition of the self, the performance of self – from making art to being an artist –  one passes from the field of action to one of reality, of being, of identity.  Slippery ground. Dangerous. I love what I do, therefore I continue doing it, however, even without pay, without conditions, without safety nets. Continuous unpaid performance. Like Pirelli tyres. (google the word “performance”.)

{tangle n. 6 – legislative decree 25th March 2020 n.19}
Thinking, that happens just a little.  Thinking is something that happens by itself, while you are walking, when you are in the middle of things. Thinking is an involuntary action. However an action, not a contemplation. It is an expression, as Spinoza intends, a birth from a body from a substance from a composition of elements for what they are able to do, not what derives from them. It has nothing to do with the supremacy of will, that is why it belongs to matter, not only human. Eruptive activity of the volcano, which is closely followed by co-causes, or better still with intra-actions of substances, which co-generate it.

tangle n. 12 – legislative decree 25th March 2020 n.19}
Look at an object. Any object, if possible a useless one. A stopper. A plastic clothes peg. A fridge magnet. A mobile phone carrier. Each of these objects requires a certain amount of work-time to be made. How many hours were necessary to manufacture this key ring in the shape of an owl whose eyes light up blue? Count in hours, not in money. Change unit of measurement. Convert. Now it means time, the life of a living person. Every object therefore is condensed time. It is condensed life. NOW visualize a decorative articles shop, the shelves and aisles full to the brim. Ok this is Marx, but doing the exercise reactivates thinking and makes things real for me. Imagine the time, the hours, the life contained in the shop. It is an alchemical act. Or a Faustian one. One euro seventy – how much life have I bought?

{tangle n.27 – legislative decree 25th March 2020 n.19}
NOW is the name of a project that Silvia and I have been working on for a while, with several other men and women. The Valle theatre had just closed and we desired some open spaces. It seemed to us that the words “Square” and “NOW” went well together. In Shakespeare’s works the squares are always bustling.  In the opening pages of Chronic city by Jonathan Lethem, a gigantic abyss opens up in the heart of the city, in the far foothills of Uptown. An urban crater created by the “too late – modernist” artist Laird Noteless, an isolationist author of gigantic works consisting in abysses, holes, ditches, fjords. Obstinate Hole is a hole. An empty space. The square attracts the multitudes, it alludes to them. An empty square is a square without bodies.

{tangle n.29 – legislative decree 25th March 2020 n.19}
What will we do when the theatres and the festivals reopen? We should keep them closed an extra day. Take this time for a collective exercise in going on strike. Interruption. Shutdown. To renegotiate the conditions. It is not possible to give advice to the world. Moreover, it hardly ever takes any notice.

{tangle n.29 – legislative decree 25th March 2020 n.19}
An artist possesses nothing special. I deny the status of exceptionality of the artist’s work. I use my body, I create images, relationships, care, sensations- in the same way as a sex-worker, a carer,  a teacher, those who work assisting others or in social contexts. Certainly, different levels of exposition, of bodily wear, of safeguards. But with a high degree of insecurity, I also see the many affinities with which we could build alliances and thoughts.  There is something very toxic, and very patriarchal, in thinking of creative  and artistic activity as being separate, hermetically sealed, outside of the reality of its production. It is necessary to mix with reality.  The smaller it is, the more important it is to learn to recognise it.

{tangle n.29 – legislative decree 25th March 2020 n.19}
One more exercise from those we proposed in NOW: imagine an empty square. And now imagine: make something happen. Describe it.

photo: from the project ORA by Silvia Calderoni + Ilenia Caleo | 2015 | a low tech technique for writing on walls and on the world.


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