Text by Jeroen Fabius
Where We Are Not
The places from which we are absent. Where we are not is not about anywhere, but about those places we carry with us in our bodies. The places that are part of us, and as well, that have made us who we are. The place where our absence is felt by the people who have known us so well, the objects we no longer touch, the trajectories we no longer pass.
The separation, the distance from the place where we are not, can be felt in our bodies, a distance in time as well as in space. Sensations that were once profound gradually sink into larger wholes over time. They increasingly contradict the experience we have in the daily life we live now. Where we are becomes where we do not have these sensations. Where we are feels more and more like what we are not, a place that excludes what we were. The sense of absence works both ways, to what we have left behind and where we find ourselves in the present. Again, where we are not.
Issa’s project plays on the feeling of absence on a number of levels, and asks how that can be shared. How can we overcome the barriers of the individual body? Her work evolves around the inevitability of exclusion from the point of view of the other, of the past. And also of a politics that divides and excludes, separating people from what their bodies know so well. The intimate, the familiar, the instance, the non-thought sensations of everyday live that are all housed in our system. Because these sensations cannot be filmed, or painted, or photographed, they can only be hinted at. They become significant when we are distant, when there is a need to overcome that distance, when we are impeded from access to these sensations.
Where we are not also poses the question: What if, if you take my place? Can you feel what I feel, can I share my body-memory with you, and can you share my body-memory with me? This project has become a hyperbole of the impossible. Sending a stranger to your intimate world to perceive the familiar can only produce misunderstandings. A ‘journalism’ into the intimate can only distort what is found. The stranger disappears into the world that is intimate to you, and thus becomes no one. Again absence. What are the moments in our society when people are reduced to disappearance?
The attempt to share ends up in creating new situations of dislocation. Even in meeting my double I find only difference, only misunderstanding. This project invites us to participate in these questions, and offers us ways to read traces, to listen, and to ask, and to meet, to receive intimations of this borderline of where we are not, of disorientation, of disappearance. It also offers an invitation to travel, to search another and other places, in space, in time. An invitation for an encounter, a meeting, an act of love.