I am feeling quite emotional I guess and grateful. Now that I am at a space where I am so busy and there is no time for reflection. This happened because I wanted to open up to a speed that would prevent me from internalizing and acting out too much censorship of various kinds. I wanted things to roll and me to say yes yes yes and not have long to get too shy or too scared. I am not sure what the opposite of this would be, in this instance the opposite of yes, isn’t quite ‘no’, maybe ‘not yet’, or ‘let me think/work on it’. So there is a speed of sorts which takes me from place to place and at the same time a sense of a core to be returning to – great.
I have informed my practice with aesthetics and ideas of failure for as long as I remember making art and titling it as such but when it comes to exploring identity and desire through the apparatus and aspects of masculinity I feel resistant to consider and admit to processes, actions, images and texts of failing as critically resolving.
This may be similar with the way the words ‘I am a man’ vibrates internally for me. So how are you a man, what do you mean. I am not sure what I mean, I am just telling you something. In a way I am just using words/signs to voice an internal orchestra or sensations but actually the space I speak from when I say ‘I am a man’ can’t be challenged by language. My statement is not communication the way something stated as art is, I am not sure I need to be understood or maybe I am used of thinking that I couldn’t be. If I stay quiet for long enough (which hasn’t happened in a long long time) something rocky takes place in me, not quite like a core or a basic structure – I don’t claim masculinity in that way. And I don’t state a secret either, it is not like that. It is that it seems that I have access to gender else-like. This else-like ambiguous ontological sense of being gender was my starting point. This became action; I wanted to be action, that is why we set space and time to do things. The actions brought more actions and thoughts and processes and ideas and I didn’t want to just quietly meditate on masculinity, this is a collaboration which means that it became something like an alive moving animal between Jenny and I – we build an organism that is bouncing between both our masculine energies and questions about those.
At the instance of considering gender internally and ontologically and then through language and art I am expanded away from my history and the stories I can tell about me. I trash my collections of flowers-accessories, I am running long hair, I speak without thinking, I am exposed but I am still covered up, I am turning the inside out and it is brown and filthy like The Painter whom I may find out one day who he is and what the fuck he wants from me and it is covered in silk and promises of meaning like his paints and the paints he bought me and the amorous passion to which I wasn’t entitled to as a child, to which he was. It is repeated over and over ‘men stand proud’ so show us your chest, oh yes I will, cause I have binded all up and I look out fearless, funny, so disturbingly funny how men are never meant to appear scared, how on earth. So the first thing is you show your chest like a puffed up peacock, I initially find this posture totally irrelevant to me then again it allows me a pride which has always been relevant to me and also it doesn’t take much else, once I am puffed up and look kind of mean kind of seductive there you have it, as if being a man is just about looking tough and guy-like. Whatever, I like the trick and its effects, I can do it, there isn’t much I can do, but I can be and look serious, I am good at that. I am an unapproachable bastard, like, in a way man, being a man, is all about success. Would a failing man, a scared man look feminine? Femininity is proud also, innit, basically the performance of attractiveness, as if a pose can summarize shit. I guess Jens explored this more through The Detective character: what does it look like to struggle and what does it look like to be alone, one like no other one, what does the heart of the gender-freak desire, will they find peace when they find who killed the promises of the glamour of gender as embodied through the disappeared body of the pretty lady-movie starlet?
Something prominent in the residency for me was the first days of deconstruction and undressing of our identities. That was a powerful exercise and after I freaked out and claimed my right to occasionally wear my identity at snippets I missed feeling a non-person. Or maybe these days stand out more in my consciousness because I still held on to a place/stand where I could regard what was taking place from a relative distance that allowed me critical thought because thereon, everything became one. We both got a cold, one after the other, sleeping, waking up, tired, enthusiastic, agreeing and disagreeing with our ideas, feeling comfortable and uncomfortable, it all became one. We, I feel, even started getting used of our guy-ness and having left the girly stuff behind. The discomfort of the first few days was exceptional and exceptionally interesting, yes.
To set the record right: I am queer, so I do have some outlets for the queerness of my gender and sexuality to be played out. Am I privileged cause I don’t have the urge to transition to become a guy that looks like a guy and passes like a guy? Which are the most important privileges to consider regarding this project and would we be offensive if we didn’t consider them. To whom are these to be explained to? To whom am I trying to say what kinda man I am, in which ways etc. To other artists, to other teenagers, to other lovers, to other drag-kings, to the guys sitting next to me in the lapdancing bar, to the lapdancer, to the people reading me as queer on the streets, to my parents, to god, who is the ultimate goal-receiver?
Is Adam much of a dancer? Will you take me out dressed as your mother’s ex lover? Weren’t you supposed to be a guy 24/7? Did you labor, cause men labor, do you have a prostate, no, I have no clue what happens in my ass or my guts– I just discovered my urethra 5 years ago, I didn’t cum when masturbating till I was 23 etc.
I guess Adam will be what I make of him. The same with Volcano who has a best mate and that actually makes him more happy and alive than any other character. The same with The Painter who is the filthiest of all and still to be discovered why that is.
I d love to write about the body that doesn’t exist and what I d like to do with it and what I do with it. About each and every of my cocks: the silicon ones, the sock, my fingers, my long cunt lips and my big clit, the one that is really a ghost and which I frequently use to penetrate with and what happens when I do, to me and to the real pussies that tell me where to go. I d love to say what my prostate feels like, maybe I can do that.
Adam is ‘me’, the painter is someone else, volcano is an act. Of course I know that all these performances are of myself but these are different ways of exploring the ‘me-ness’ of me and of me/art. I think that exploring identity and non-identity both personally and as an artist mixes super well with my own sense of male-gender as a temple of silent creative agency.
Desire. He. Now we talking. So Jens and I were and are full of that. We have certain circumstances circling our present – I guess, how do you talk about perversion without saying the word? Free to go wild, whatever that means, explore sex and identity through sex and desire. How do I fuck as a man how do I fuck as a woman. How do I look, how do I flirt, how do I stand, how do I rest, how do I fall in love, how do I fall into oblivion?
Anyway, I left the residency, we left Amsterdam and the 20 days of doing just this for the first time, finished. We took night buses and went to the airport and Jens left few hours before me. I was beyond tired and sleepy and waited for hours for my gate number to appear. I went out to smoke two or three times and the last time the sun was rising and I was listening to music like I usually do and I had then a really nice moment between me and the world. And so now I am thinking about excess and exhaustion, in a positive and inspired way.
There are a set of projects we are planning and our exchange feels pretty endless at this stage.