But Life Is Still Very Interesting
But Life is Still Very Interesting
Gott hat sich erschossen
I received an open letter from Jan Ritsema, the founder of the PAF residency, where I once stayed. In his letter he informed us that he has terminal cancer. I loved the way he talks about life and death, trauma and the Big C so I asked him if I can make a book out of his letter for I believe more people could benefit from his viewpoint. While re-reading and editing his letter I remembered walking through the residency’s attic during my stay in 2012 and the convent’s rich history which was still visible through inscriptions of names and writings on the walls. Particularly the names and a drawing made by German WW I soldiers stuck with me while the song Haus der Lüge (House of Deception) by Einstürzende Neubauten wandered through my mind.
Is war a disease? Home-grown in our bodies like cancer? Is it safer to deceive ourselves than dare to understand and release our addictions? Where but in our minds do we find safe spaces for peace and rest, and how do we regain those spaces?
The human body, the physical house of soul with the head as its attic. What if God had killed himself with a gun shot through his mouth destroying the ‘attic’ and by doing so allowing the space to grow. Like a drawing, to go further than the framed borders of what one thinks one sees. Rather to mark the journey of understanding and experiencing by going to the edges, always returning home.
About the PAF residency:
Dutch theatre maker Jan Ritsema is the founder of The Performing Arts Forum (PAF) located in St. Erme, 150km north-east of Paris, between Reims and Laon, in France. PAF has developed into a well-known meeting place for the international avant-garde in art and performance.
PAF is a place for the professional and not-yet professional practitioners and activists in the field of performing arts, visual art, literature, music, new media and internet, theory and cultural production, and scientists who seek to research and determine their own conditions of work. PAF is for people who can motorize their own artistic production and knowledge production not only responding to the opportunities given by the institutional market.
The space was originally built as a convent in the 1830s. Over the years the convent expanded before finally closing in the 1960s. It hosted wounded WW I soldiers and during WWII it was occupied by the Nazis and later served as an American hospital located just 10 kilometers from the front lines during 1944. In the 1970s a hippy commune took it over until, in the late 1980s, the group turned into a cult, and facing legal issues was forced to vacate. The place was left vacate until Jan bought it over a decade ago.
Publication Date: 2018
Artwork type: Editioned book
Medium: Ink, pencil, waxpaper
Dimensions: 21.0 cm W x 15.0 cm H 0.3 cm