| I was born in
a world where adults no longer know how to say that they too are afraid of possessing
knowledge that is useless when we are confronted by life. Afraid of the conniption they
meet from the amazing amount of information exposed by the omnipresent screen, wretched
little windows through which we watch the world strip in a stench of disinfectant.
"Trip out. Take of your HTML, spread your receiver, and let me slide my
Shockwave into your S-VHS."
And it's pointless to tell us that if we unplug the world's generator this knowledge will disappear. Nobody will unplug the world, ever.
I was born in a world where adults no longer know how to apologize for not having seen, known, been able to. I don't blame them. I know they're no more guilty than victims. But they must not know...for as long as they feel guilty, they help us.
I was born in a world which is a piston smashing against its stops with monotonous hatred in a cacophony of metallic mimicry that resonates everywhere. This mind-numbing rythm is made of numbers, sums, motors, rates, deadlines, competition, and superiority. Even in my Instant Soup I hear time running out. At the sound of the tone it'll be too late.
I was born in a world where men, monkeys reeking of pride, have sought to measure everything, quantify it, divide it up... with the virile hope of controlling time just because they've managed to divide night and day into twenty-four equal parts. I know pastry chefs who do better with a lot less fuss.
I was born in a world where relations are public and crystals are liquid.
I was born in a world where everyday, at one minute to eight, I'm
given a clear and visual illustration of the vanity of my dreams. "You will not
succeed because you know it is impossible", to paraphrase the original author.
"Dream on, little prat. Dream and exhaust your imagination envisioning what you will
never see. Then pledge allegiance to the absence of questions. Or in any case to the
absence of answers. Sleep. I want you to."
I was born in a world where everything is given a value. Even the tenderest love is caught glancing at the accounts. Nothing escapes it. Commercialised to excess, our communities have succeeded in breeding their final outcome: absolute venality. Of course there are exceptions, but they survive terrorised in biding or spent by the struggle. The streets clear, and the money flows. All is well.
I was born in a world where women dare not refuse certain sexual acts for fear of beeing seen as inhibited of frigid.
I was born in a world where women are happier in their own company. A world where men have always obeyed women, but now that this is known and has been seen by all, everything comes unhinged. The mortar that held together our bulwarks has come undone. A new world may rise from its hashes. After the tears.
I was born in a world which those under twenty-five have never known without immuno-defficiency. In the most binding of intimacies, each time in the closest moments, this smell of industrial lubricant. A tenacious odour. More pornographic and sickly than all the Vatican's hells. How are you supposed to approach this issue with any ease when it involves an element of death?
I was born in a world where desire is no longer necessary. Only lust counts.
I was born in a world where, in an image of space, one's life is marked out by white, pink, yellow and blue pills. Pleasure, hunger, sleep, consciousness, strength, hair, skin, libido, sight, celebration, relaxation, oblivion; each aspect of Life can be treated and classified in its folders and subfolders. Few can resist the attractions of this life on chemical demand. Legality is not an issue. Only availability is. Beyond that, it's the cyborg syndrome. Cybernetic organism; that term says it all.
I was born in a world where the only truly expanding industries are those of illicit products, even sought after at great expense. But the excessive infantilisation of society, centuries old now, forbids any immediate return to the values of good judgement and discernement useful to the evaluation of these dangers, real or otherwise. All's well I tell you.
I was born in a world where the young dream of giving their life,
their flesh for a cause.
I was born in a western world where we don't take advantage of peace anymore because we know nothing of the horrors of war, except for what we've seen on the screen before the commercials and the main feature. Desert Storm and field hospitals in 16/9. Our wars are in pixels.
I was born in a world which is not my world. But I was born in it anyway. If you don't like it, tough. All the dark corners you've forgotten, each empty space in this structure you're so proud of, we'll fill with our utopias, those which will give us life and unite us. Despite it all.
Because nothing is said of what is truly important, nothing of that all-embracing feeling that lies upon the land at night, nothing of those lascivious vigils without purpose beyond contemplation... pinned down by the stars, talking to them of this sphere humans believe they rule. Nothing of this strong coffee drunk at five in the morning in order not to miss the sun rise, nothing of those bodies that evaporate after making love, nothing of encounters, nothing of smiles, nothing!
We were born in a world where nobody has anything to be proud of. We're going to do what we can, but for pity's sake, get off our backs. Shut up. Just give it up and let us act!
translated by Nick Calingaert
Brussels - February 1998
Written for Marie-Jo Lafontaine exhibition:
-"Pandemonium" (Site Gallery, Sheffield, England) - 1998
Also used for "Babylon Babies" (Henie Onstad Kunstsenter) - 2001
+ book (art works + texts by Paul Ardenne, Johan Pas, Gavin Jantjes, ... in a luxuous edition).
ref.: isbn 82-90955-45-6
[old version of the
[this was the 1996-2002 version]
[for new version, go to www.noctis.com first page]