My text “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures: Standing Still” has been published in Feminist Media Studies. Volume 17, 2017 – Issue 4: Affective Encounters: Tools of Interruption for Activist Media Practices. Contact me, if you would like a copy.Read More
This text is part of a body of textual and artistic research into how political change or upheaval affects and manifests in and between bodies, and how it persists there after such events are declared as irrelevant or failed. It looks at “standing still” as a gesture that thwarts a concept of emancipation as linear progress in time, shared by the capitalist and state-socialist modernities of the twentieth century. In the state-socialist countries of the late 1980s, a sense of stasis engendered aesthetic-political practices of slowness or standstill in which the unity of artist and worker, demanded by Socialist Realism and coveted by the avant-gardes, was seemingly achieved–but at the expense of a future that could be known. Untethered from such a future, the revolutions from 1989 onwards, too, have become practices of being together in standing still. At Gezi, the Standing Man slotted his gesture with utter precision into the context of an existing present that rendered it politically meaningful. But “to stand still” is not the opposite of “to move”. Contemporary dance (and physiological observation) reveals the two as continuous–their difference a question of size or scale. In micro-movement, that is, in vibration, a space opens between body and subjectivity. From within this gap, the potential to act and be differently becomes the property of each moment of even the most un-revolutionary everyday.