Shenmu

Have you ever closely witnessed a loved one suffer, on their deathbed, in silence, furiously under their skin? If you look them into the eyes they must look like Shenmuers. This time around they refuse to be understood. They may say or do things to confuse and deceive you, as if they feel urged to get rid of you. They are different now but you are in denial. They can see things that you don’t, they know things you can’t see. They are snatched up by what they are looking at, nothing is more important than their new engagement. Why are you suffering alone without me? 

You are thinking about abandonment, as if you are excluded, expelled, and they are the chosen ones. This time around they are more generous than ever, as if they are more than happy to take off their earthly form, as if it’s a worthless bag of meat and bone, their skin is a sheet of paper, their face swollen, they tear off their hair, lost their teeth, their form is disintegrating, and they don’t seem to care. They are half of a citizen elsewhere. They are half of a citizen elsewhere, it is gradually becoming ceremonial. Everything about them is hard for you to let go of, but their intention is not to hold their shape in your eyes, but to chase those visions. It severely activates you, you call it deterioration, insanity, cancer, coma, you try to reverse, defend, suspend, extend, to get a chance to plug back in, you find yourself cursing. Sometimes it is a one-way street, things don’t come about politely.

You look to the direction that they are staring at, hoping to gain vision, but you are not looking deep enough, you see what’s ordinary. When they look at you, you wonder what’s there about you that only they could see, why they look so ponderous and amused. You wonder what it takes to gain that penetrating look, if it’s deprivation, isolation or pain, you might be able to afford it. You start to question yourself, since when do we start to assume that we know things? There’s a limit right there. You are not humble enough to look at things unselfishly. Our vision is so insufficient that we with our dearest ones.

You will be frustrated how our pain is not any more productive when the rest of the world is evolving. Now it’s even harder to associate our pain with the problem itself, the way we associate with eternity is through helplessness. So when did we start to assume that we knew things? When we were young it was those loved ones that taught us what they knew, including how to kill, how to farm, how to sex, how to hide, how to prey, and they are gone, and we are still left with the myth of death, unequipped to live with loss, to address the hurt of the world, to view our limits with benevolence.

 

Macalline Art Center is a practice-oriented site focused on contemporary visual inventions. The Center engages with artists and art groups by building physical and online communities through events and research. The Center is guided by the working processes of artists, constantly re-defining and testing itself and renewing perceptual and cognitive systems in contemporary situations and contexts.