(with Louisa Minkin)
A reconstruction of a gif from: fiveyears.org.uk/between_desert_and_occupation.html
The desert is spreading / A saint oscillates / He move between two sites / The wilderness and the study / The desert / The occupation / Two sites / Two operative metaphors
To desert. To leave. To abandon. To enter into abandonment.
Ekstasis: outside of place, a ravaging of place.
Desert: shifting sands, without maps. Opaque zones.
Withered, arid. A desert without blooms.
(A desert of Bloomification, of subjects without qualities).
and here's another one / write your comment here / no future for us / police protestors / why no demands / occupation as a question of territory / occupy everything as occupy ourselves / occupy an abstraction / occupy the everyday / occupy emergence
To occupy division.
To occupy a gap.
To refuse mobilsation.
To appropriate dispossession.
We hope you are well.
We are thinking about St. Jerome. We are addressing him as a thought-image, a figure in pictures that allows us to pose our thoughts, a figure that can allow the framework of some ideas, an excuse for an articulation. A figure as a fly-trap, perhaps, a sticky surface of contiguity more than a substantial body. More than religious history and the recent revival of certain saints as figures of materialist militancy, we are interested in the places in which he is pictured and how these locations operate together; the possible movements between them. We are thinking about how Jerome oscillates between spaces of connection and disconnection, how he poses a dual practice of wandering as desertion and studied contemplation as transformation.
He is often pictured in a study at a desk, occupying the place of connection. Here he disseminates the biblical word into different languages, making it available to more general use. Here he is at work, ensuring the flow of knowledge. He is a multilingual historian who produces chronicles and hagiographies; a father of provenance and patrimony who translates the bible into the vulgate, pushing its dissemination further and further afield. He is also an ascetic anchorite who exiles himself to the Syrian desert, beating himself with a rock to assuage his erotic visions.
We are sure you are also aware about some other modes of occupation, from the occupied institutions of Greece, California and the U.K. (including finance offices and universities) to the widespread occupations of streets, public spaces and financial sectors including Occupy Wall Street and beyond. Here occupation takes on the notion of occupying public ground - perhaps attempting to re-establish the commons that have been enclosed and privatised. We observe that we need to, in the words of McKenzie Wark, learn how to occupy a space but we must also learn how to occupy an abstraction: to disrupt those vectors that have come to dominate and constitute public life. From the occupations already underway we learn more on how to occupy, how to not demand, how to explore and conduct experiments with the possible space and time of our lives in relation to buildings, institutions and vectors, sometimes through the act of formulating being itself as a territory. The correct term becomes density rather than space. The question is not to possess the territory but to be the territory: a density of communes, circulation and solidarity: the construction of a world out of the desert of current social relations. Occupy everything as occupy yourself. Occupy emergence, then.
Practising a desertion of classical political rhetoric, the call Occupy Everything, Demand Nothing is a call to make the density of world appear, a call for a density that chokes the flows necessary to the functioning of capital. To move towards immobilisation. To think of blockades, of the symbolic as well as material form of the barricade, to think of the way of immobilising, re-routing or re-using the logistical structures that service the bounty we call desert. We can then wonder aloud about the different occupations we might enact, the different functions we could operate within as we sit at our desks, the different ways to examine the entry and exits points of knowledge, exposition and appearance. Here we could dream about the different surfaces that would subsequently become accessible to inscription. Here we wonder about how we can occupy ourselves otherwise.
Beauty is in the streets, certainly.
But beauty is in the study as well. If only the labour within it doesn't fixate, if only the disseminated words don't become dogma. Beauty is also in the desert as long as we can find the densities of solidarity, the bonds of a necessary collectivity.
How can we meet again?