The Map of the Future: from the Basement to the Rooftops
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Bleak Narrative.
An invitation to a party: a line of flight from the flight of control and discipline
The metaphor drives nuts, it pushes the too-located to the limit, takes to another place what seemed to be still and was determined to remain so. Utopia or fiction are used as provisional points of reference; metaphor generates utopia and fiction. But utopias will also be displaced.¹
Holy gig. / You are missed. / Today's is rarely caught. / Superunderground, superhard, superelegant. / See you now²
History seems to be the place of time, and yet, time is made of spaces: of battlefields, of social centers, of dance floors, of borders that always end up moving. The map is not the territory³; we would have to superimpose the subjective expression of the infinite layers and the constant change of subjectivities and their temporality. The future does not exist on the map; it is the instants created almost from nothing in unknown land, enclaves of total freedom that occupy empty spaces or are simply not represented. The map of the future can help us imagine the supposedly nonexistent outside the map, to preserve the trace of what is apparently erased, excluded, condemned, suppressed, twisted or dissimulated. Gaps are needed to weave the story and resignify the dance floor that will be our future: the body and dance as a barricade of political disobedience, of sexual rebellion, of deterritorialization of heteronormative sexuality, its naturalized disciplinary regimes and its forms of subjectivation for the subsequent creation of spaces of affinity without mediating gender, destroying the foundations of heterosexuality as a political regime. That is our destiny⁴.
High on Hope (2010: Piers Sanderson).
The exact relation to the world is the detour, and that detour is only exact if it is maintained, in separation and in distance, as a pure movement of deviation⁵
The map cannot be precise. No absolute can be respectable. When a reading is already given, when an assessment becomes easy or a location in history seems predictable and simple, then there is no longer distance or discomfort, nor is there insecurity. Behind the maps hide other maps that unfold, invisible to control; in their errors we hide and play hide-and-seek: invisible territories like a kitchen where to share ourselves, where we reconstruct the story again and again, and where to organize ourselves, masked by the night, coming from the quest of perfectioning the techniques of disappearance and autonomy. Those other maps that we build at every moment are our future, and it is in our interest not to know them so as not to look for them and for them to remain uncertain; otherwise it would be a failure. To become wild is always an erotic-political act, and our territory will be the body.
It's 07.15 am: a kitchen—not just any—, this text and the waiting of the wild children—not just any—: They have gone to a gig in what we consider the best club in the city—not just any—, one of those freed enclaves that must be protected, interzones where spatial and temporal gaps open up, through which to get away until Saturday—if you have been there, you will know what I am talking about, and if not, don't bother: there is a map error—. As soon as it is named, represented, mediatized, it must disappear leaving a void to re-emerge in any other place imperceptible to the society of the spectacle that devours everything in its path. The political possibilities are always born from the sensitive terrains that threw questions to the forms of life.
We must fight for the right to party, to celebrate, and for this we need to recognize, acknowledge, “re-meet” ourselves and give up the stability of time and space, experiencing existence as instants: an intensification of everyday life where that which is wonderful seeks its place of existence in spontaneity. There is an urgent need for a festive culture: from the center to the periphery: from gigs in clubs where the party is commercialized to clandestine clubs: from cisheteropatriarchal dynamics to the nonconformity of the given narrative. From the right of admission by macho-bouncers in clubs for white, straight and beautiful people, to the dancing of dissident, crippled and sweaty bodies.
—The trick is in the high abstraction, in a semantic emptying of an everyday talk.
—as a conceptual roller that dissolves in the senses.
—Pum pum pum pum: María Salgado as Íñigo Kennedy pumping drums.
—Goosebumps: future of the revolt. The end is not an end; it is an anticlimax: from abstraction to hyperrealism. Permanent mental constructions.
—We like to play, and there we find ourselves dissociating⁶.
Our center shifts: ugliness as prettiness. Our center is many and is none: it is the periphery, radicalism; it is the south, the underground; it is the dissidents, agitation; it is techno, nonconformism; it is improvisation, error; it is desires, community; it is drugs, oxymoron; it is that which begins when opening the eyes, ends when closing them, and continues without you noticing; temporality, its contradictions and fears; it is the future of any revolt; it is the fissures and the cracks.
Our center is the everyday, not just any; we are demanding.
High on Hope (2010: Piers Sanderson).
A fat bass line and a syncopated drum rumble through the walls. A guy with a bowl cut and an open shirt twerks hard with his back against another guy in pink suspenders, shaved head and army boots. The sound is rough, dark and sinuous. At the heart of the dance floor, the only light is a fluorescent sign: fire exit⁷.
Doing politics in/with/of the party as a possible way of life: intensification, waste, excess, life consumed in living and not in surviving. A translation always in progress; a position, a distancing, a provisional response and, as such, a bet: the party as politics of the night, as an action where it’s possible to create, to desire, to feel new imaginaries that challenge, displace, question the imposed cisheterocapitalist imaginary; where we let ourselves be pierced by the music and dance—primal and wild feelings—, to dance with ferocity and asymmetry between the zigzagging and the torn, shaking the pre-established harmony with shameless gestures in search of agitation. Bodies at the service of pleasure to imagine, to build, to share new stories of resistance. Dance possesses, from the beginning, the magical power of the marginal, the excluded, and the banished. We bet, in any case, on the mythology that has almost always lost; we will always be with the losers, by strategic and almost moral principle.
Today, the problem consists in extracting a nuanced, stopped, long and slow pleasure from each body, each session, each drug, each moment. And thus avoid the highways of easy and ephemeral pleasure that are offered to calm, suffocate and domesticate us where, however, there is very little pleasure, very little joy, in culture, in art, and in the current ways of life. We should blame ourselves for enjoying little and badly. This is the distant and uncertain circumstance in which and from which we commit to ourselves, that is to say, we promise one another a different world. To recover a political space that appears today to be suffocated by mass and consumer society, where there is a shortage of distance between one another: the scarce freedom to move, to distinguish, to differentiate, to space oneself. The consumer society trivializes difference to the point of turning it into a matter of brand or fashion. The party is always open and happens by itself without submitting to an order, and from there, it makes politics. The key is not the type or level of technology, but the openness and horizontality of its structure:
"Dance music needs riot grrrls. Dance music needs Patti Smith. It needs DJ Sprinkles. Dance music needs some discomfort with its euphoria. Dance music needs salt in its wounds. Dance music needs women over the age of 40. Dance music needs breastfeeding DJs trying to get their kids to sleep before they have to play. Dance needs cranky queers and teenagers who are really tired of this shit. Dance music needs writers and critics and academics and historians. Dance music needs poor people and people who don't have the right shoes to get into the club. Dance music needs shirts without collars. Dance music needs people who struggled all week. Dance music needs people that had to come before midnight because they couldn't afford full admission. Dance music does not need more of the status quo."⁸
The dance floor displaces, declassifying and deterritorializing the bodies and everything that patriarchy—with its heteronorm—together with capitalism have imposed. Its strength lies in the abyss: to open ourselves to the overflow, to the possible surprise. Dancing helps stop the machine of interpretation and moral judgments. We think of the party as an organizing principle, a way of conquering with each beat an autonomous zone on the territory. To think of the dance floor as a form of revolutionary social change and, in its non-permanence, to transmute and relocate again. Whenever there is fiction, there is a secret or a mystery. We have no desire to define the dance floor or to elaborate dogmas about how it should be created: it has been created, it will be created, and it will continue to be created; that is what matters to us. In the meantime, keep moving and living intensely. We will get together as many times as necessary to make the revolution of daily life: if it can exist, then it exists.
There are experiences that saturate
signifiers that are not yet
determined, that do not even exist
or are not going to go exist, or that perhaps
close like one night’s flowers⁹.
The dance floor does not hesitate to contradict itself. To threshold the dancing body. Dance as a living language, a dialogue in movement with oneself, with an invisible you that acts as a mirror, as a point of tension in space and forces you to stop, to unfold, as if you had a force to penetrate, feel and defeat, and with any form of matter that surrounds the scene. The linguistics of chaos where the story makes that chaos habitable. It draws a path or an outline, a provisional way of taking charge of what is happening. It should not, even so, replace what is happening, as much as we almost always live or want to live only from stories. Questioning oneself means change; it means movement, getting uncomfortable, reaffirming oneself to then contradict oneself, doubting, saying no…
Eviction in Argumosa, 11.
Le Parody: Peligroso criminal.
The party, music, when consumed collectively, has usually been understood as an "escape valve". A brief ritual in which the conditions that govern our daily lives are suspended, only for those same norms to be accepted and reinforced when it ends. The party and excess as a machine to produce conformity. But this is only one of the possible meanings of the party. There is another conception of music, much older and present in those places where sound, rhythm, and dance are forms of communication of the first order. Music and the party as a place where one does not escape from reality, but where reality is understood from another point of view. From a dissident place where the end of the party does not mean the return to the previous order, but its transformation. Where party, music, dance, liberation, and politics form a continuum. From the invocation dance of the witches in the cave of Zugarramurdi, to the parking lot of Spook, from the medieval dances of death, which equated the servant with the lord, to the spasmodic dance of the voodoo priestesses, from the epileptic flickering of the strobe lights of a sweaty black gay club in Chicago, to the takeover of the Berliner youth autonomy in the no man’s land of East Berlin to the beat of techno. From Detroit to Carabanchel, passing through the abandoned industrial warehouses of Northern England, there beats the same emancipatory syncopated (heart)beat that does not settle for escape valves and that demands everything, starting with the self-management of the conditions in which we dance, talk, and conspire. From the Temporary Autonomous Zone to the Permanently Liberated Ranchito¹⁰.
This is an invitation to dance with a desperate attitude and not satisfied with being intransigent, constantly searching for a sensitivity that truly keeps open the tension with the unfathomable, with the non-reducible or that which does not allow itself to be conceptualized. Dancing as an attitude of non-indifference, which in itself includes the germ of any possible or impossible revolution, or of any simple possibility of change or transgression or translation or creation. Or of future. Dancing as an action to stop time in a society that consumes and devours. To stop time as a way of giving distance, so that which is lived at another speed can also be danced. To give distance as a way of listening. Dancing as active listening for the care of oneself and the surrounding community. Distance is the place of the in-between, the place of insufficiency and discomfort. Without distance, there is no possible coming together; proximity continues to leave a gap between two bodies, and it is precisely that gap that makes possible the touch, the brush, the care. With the insecurity they entail. Ritual is a way of distancing, staging grief, the homage to remembrance.
I was dancing any other night,
at any other folk festival
while Grannie died that night
In the afterparty I cried while dreaming of us
together dancing and sharing
that night already dated.
I liked getting high with her.
Since then I treat myself
with being able to dance-us
every other night,
at any other party and
let that night
be part of any other night.
That’s also the party
The party as a search for new spatial freedoms towards the dissolution of any given form, where space becomes an irregular pocket of air with the conditions for the party to take place, unfolding before it a new space of freedom won directly on the territory, forming for a few moments a kind of collective weightlessness; a horizon of potentialities that at an extreme point reaches its own disappearance to question itself and start all over again.
On the dance floor we give it all. Sometimes the all-nighter is in the sun and that's enough for us; other times it's in the kitchen, where we try to relativize our own and contemplate ourselves from the outside, in the passing of time and the experiences of others. In any case, I am an-other. Others to be part of my life like myself, that is, to make of myself what, with them, I am being: I am A when I dance to the sound of Mulero's bass with the smell of stew, I am J when I sing "come on, dance with me" and Castilla takes me by the hi-hats, I am M when I hand out water to friends who forget to hydrate themselves while D, who I also am, plays a set. The future that we propose belongs to alliance, understanding affections not only as personal feelings, but as herd powers that make the self waver.
There are parties that achieve a republic of satisfied collective desires. Joy, if it is joy, leaves a mark. It tires, even. It does not cost; it is not worth it, but it asks for attention, concentration; it asks to open and to open up to penetrations and caresses that dissociate that self and let it know that it is inhabited by others and by the other. Hollowed out. The politics of a night has more strength and reality than any institution. We are nothing more than bodies that sometimes heal wounds and sometimes do not, and that is enough. We always wish with suspicion:
The party as infinite south
as the law of the jungle made daily life
I hope the sun rises¹¹
it happened that something would change the course.
it needs... dawn leaning out from the balconies
desire sleeps in the open air
renouncing condemnation: a collective task
The Raver’s Wall (Poble Sec Festivities, 2017).
We cannot, and should not, know our future. Knowledge consists in a certain as-if, as if means as if nothing. Nothing more dangerous than a total certainty or a knowledge that is wanted or dreamed to be absolute. Better not to know in order to dignify our experience. Otherness as impertinent reality, as an open becoming, as an infinite dance, as a revolutionary dancing body. There is no experience without estrangement, transgression, maladjustment, dislocation, transit, interruption, journey. However, there are Sundays and there are not, and meaning is not mastered in both. There is only promise if there is an open, danceable and committed future, a future that questions us about what world, what other worlds, we want to search for, without allowing ourselves to be labeled and, therefore, reduced to that traditional classification by which fantasy invents and understanding knows.
We want to know, to inherit, and to give up one reading for another one, allowing the slipping of sense, to avoid so much fossilized and suffering-legitimizing sense. To read in a different way, looking ahead with uncertainty and making do with little, which is already a lot.¹²
that is our future:
to question ourselves and start again as many times as necessary.
This body that we carry is not that heavy but it feels tired
of several nights awake.
And to find pleasure in that action because we can only rest,
as ravers, dancing.
We will let reality be, and
we will never be satisfied.
like many others, so many others,
who dance so as not to be in the photo
who dance so as not to be in the photo
who dance so as not to be in the photo.¹³
love is a fiction
don't forget your fictions
don't forget that fictions are fictions
there is love because there is no absolute
or because the archive is not perfect
love is, perhaps, the pain of the archive
(Ungovernable New Year's Eve, 2018).
1 Fernando Rampérez (2018): Distancia e incertidumbre. Avarigani Editores.
2 Telegram, a las 06:45 (5 de mayo de 2019).
3 Hakim Bey (2014): TAZ. Zona Temporalmente Autónoma. Enclave de Libros.
4 Manada de Lobas (2016): Foucault para encapuchadas. Queen Ludd.
5 Maurice Blanchot (1976): La risa de los dioses. Taurus.
6 Cruce de telegrams (11 de mayo de 2019).
7 (2017): «NAAFI: la fiesta de los otros. Un grupo de dj's mexicanos no para de girar por el mundo con una explosión de sonidos bastardos», en El País, 23 de agosto.
8 Black Madonna, biografía en RA.
9 María Salgado (2016): Hacía un ruido. Ediciones Contrabando.
10 Ranchito Records, colectivo de techno (https://soundcloud.com/ranchitorecords).
11 LT22 Radio La Colifata, la radio de ls interns y ex-interns del hospital psiquiátrico Borda de Buenos Aires.
12 Ver nota a pie de página 1.
13 Mariano Blatt (2016): «Diego Bonnefoi», en Papelitos de locura. Banda Silvestre Editorial/Paisana Editorial.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MATERIA (MATTER) [feminine name]
1. Main component of the bodies, capable of all kinds of forms and of suffering changes, which are characterized by a set of physical or chemical, perceptible properties across the senses.
“Matter is neither created nor destroyed”
HACHE [non-binary name]
It's the eighth letter (8-16-32-64) of the Latin alphabet and it is not pronounced: it is the only one grapheme in Spanish that does not represent a phoneme: it is "mute"
The hache is the otherness, and that's troubling, it does not sound but it is there.
Hache of Homo - of equal, of resemblance.
Materia Hache troubles and from that troubling makes politics. It is in a permanent search of collective displacement from an individual introspection. It is a form of resistance from the dance body for an individual / collective question / displacement.
Materia Hache is that silence that opens for constant change: it is QUEER, it is TECHNO, it is HOUSE; it is what is born from fear, distance and uncertainty; it is all that is tried to be kept invisible while from the underground we answer with rhythms that displace us, that question us, that turn us into only one matter, at least for a few moments, more loudly than any given form.
Since the beginning of 2020 she has been immersed in the search for women and nonbinary producers to give visibility and voice to all those who fight for and to create a dance floor that deserves to be danced.
Dance Against the Patriarchy!
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
pamela varela is a tECkhnO* feminist artivist, dancer, performer, researcher, writer, raver, technologist, and latinx creator-creature who makes polymorphic pieces that address the oppression of the body-mind-spirit. Using an interdisciplinary and transmedia approach, diverse elements converge in pam’s creation: from the body and its relation with physical/virtual/spiritual spaces, materials and entities, to poetic forms of movement, language, sexuality and mysticism—all enhanced by the chameleonic capabilities of technology, which is both medium and subject of criticism.
*tECkhnO references techno, without diminishing eco. The (mis)spelling introduces the idea of political activism, non-conformism, DISORDER.
ABOUT THE TEXT
The original text in Spanish was published in EL LIBRO DE BUEN VMOR, SEXUALIDADES RARAS Y POLÍTICAS EXTRAÑAS edited by Fefa Vila and Javier Saez in 2019.
This is a book that questions and scrutinizes the meaning of the collective experience from sexual dissidence and from its political actors, analyzes its events and the places where their struggles, their affections, their achievements and failures, their fears, their silences, are inscribed. his rage and his desire, as well as his power. This has been the common meeting and starting place with which we started the cultural program named "El Porvenir de la Revuelta".
LGBTI-Q memory and desire. This is the recent past that partly inspires this book that never could and has never wanted to be an exhibition catalogue. In this book we have collected the voices and bodies of many friends, activists, passivists, artists, poets, theoreticians, migrants, feminists, gypsies, Afro-descendants, caring and talented people who have contributed their diverse, political, desiring approaches, to give us tools for social, political, and sexual change. To terminate the cisheterosexual contract. To question patriarchy and racism. To invent new languages, new sexualities, new bonds, new sociabilities, to try to stir everything up. And keep dancing.
El Libro del buen Vmor consists of four chapters: «Memory», «Desire», «Future» and «Counterfile». Love. Our always radical love. From him let us challenge, let us trace memory and desire in order to stir up the future, an uncertain political future, wrapped in a civilizing, climatic, and sexual crisis. The shame of the winners.