Bluelight Transition Management
These are the blues, the double ticks and double binds that simultaneously index attachment, concern, intimacy, expectation, care, neglect, inaction, self-protection, individuals entangled by their related projects and lives. This is specific to me/us, and also shared as generic conditions.
There are several hues and kinds of blues:
Blue spray for cockroach management (inverted via negative to orange)
a photograph of the kitchen area wheatpasted on the external walls of the Cemeti Institute for Art and Society
An ectoplasmic viscera, orange hued, strikes out from the print outs of the kitchen sink like a trick of light.
During one of those lonesome nights at s/W/s (circa 2016, no-one for miles, for days), I saw a cockroach scuttle across the tiles beneath the sink. I jumped up and tried to find something to kill it. At home, my parents had developed a soap spray they spritzed at cockroaches. Cockroaches don’t have lungs, but instead possess breathing mechanisms called spiracles. Clogging those spiracles with soapy water is a way to drown them. I found the next closest spray -- a pressurised, Nippon Sky Blue. I barely hit the cockroach; slightly weakened it dropped off into a corner and was squashed a couple days later by a friend.
The lurid squiggle the spray makes is a very specific kind of blue. It is also, in its inverted, printed form, a hieroglyph to most but a punctum to me. It is an afterimage of effort. This blue is neither morose nor hopeful -- not the blue of melancholy or the romance of distance. No, it is the clinical, sharp blue of authentication, security, and maintenance. The drawing of a border. An assassinating mark. It says, I have felt this place as mine, not all the earth is your deathpit, roach, to crawl about and eat in. To spray is to show I have developed some feeling for property over this space; the cockroach may be crawling on white tiles but it might as well be crawling on my very skin. Here marks the human stain, the human strain.
Blue ticks cross and subdivide, skate infinity-eights around yourself. Herein lies the doublebind of double-agency: you do the work of both yourself and what is shared.
I am in nearly every single group chat from every project we have done for/with/around s/W/s. Two days after our opening, during brunch, I disrupt my meal and conversation with Ken (we were the last two left in Yogja) by replying to at least two of these groups. As you must: you have been marked by blue, the blue of the beginning and the blue of the present. This does not mean everyone else feels as bound by the blue markings; in fact others set boundaries, and make sure the blue ticks never register.
A mildly acquainted person texts your private facebook account about the space, asking if they can register for an event via your person, even though the event page clearly asks everyone to email. Make no mistake, while the entity exists, human bodies are the hard targets which others can register as openings. And your discernibility, your person as passageway, is what registers the labour. You have liked this intimacy before, this funny thing created between you and others. Each visitor seemed less anonymous. You could make this encounter special. But now this intimacy irrirates you and you wonder if it is intimacy at all. Because the space is read as immensely private, and perhaps it seems the only way to enter as an outsider is to pretend some kind of intimacy. You catch requests making associations to knowing some of your friends. You know it is untrue. You decide you would answer robotically, clinically, the default phrase: “Please send all requests to our shared email”.
The question: how are you made present? How are you bound to others within the space and outside of it? How have the structures of the space enabled a kind of closeness without closeness, a closeness which also means splintering, and a closeness that could wear you down and affect the sustainability of labour?
Well, you could say, these are things you could recalibrate. You can choose your labours, choose your implications. You can correct course and correct expectations. But what how can we know anything beyond the blue horizons of our binds?