No. 8.: Becoming

Around 500BC Heraclitus wrote: ‘As the same thing in us are living and dead, waking and sleeping, young and old. For these things having changed around are those, and those in turn having changed around are these.’


“Decay does not result in an equivocation between putrid and wholesome; it rather constructs both ideas as its gradationally proper forms, so that what is considered wholesome can in fact be seen as a rotten derivative of an initial construction that has limitropically diminished. The reverse of this scenario is not only possible but is even more prevalent: through putrefaction, the system or construction can assume forms and ideas associated with those systems or constructions which have – whether rightly or wrongly – been assumed wholesome.


The process of decay builds new states of extensity, affect, magnitude and even integrity from and out of a system or formation without nullifying or reforming it. The decaying formataion is dispossessed of its chances to die or to live wholesomely, to be abolished, reformed or delivered to its origin. For this reason, decay is an irresolute process of building that potentiates architectures which, whilst infinitely open to new syntheses and transformations, cannot undergo complete annulment or return to their original form.”

                    – Reza Negarestani, Undercover Softness, Architecture and Politics of Decay

In Siberia last winter, -40 degrees outside, Lena Sidorova talked to me over hot coffee about reincarnation cosmologies of the Tundra Yukaghir of the Lower Kolyma and the traditional songs created by parents for their newborn child, which will go with them through life and with them, into the earth, when they die.

Lena Vasilieva and Juliana Semenova shared and translated, Chuorkägha by Sakha musician, Mikhail Umanov (image also by Juliana):


Чистые песни луны

Воспеты во многих стихах

Дивные крылья северного сияния

Описанны многими словами

Но этой ночью я подумал

Что лишь мое сердце знает

Истинное звучание этой луны

Верхушки замерзжих деревьев проносятся мимо

Искры ночного неба

Мерцают над тихим лесом

Острая стрела пути

Пронзает сердце ночи

И месяц тихо тихо

Бежит передо мной

Мысли скользят мимо

Уносясь к северному сиянию

Мой олень с крыльями ветра

Несет меня к моей судьбе

Песня кончаясь сливается с тьмою

Когда нибудь я снова вернусь

На землю при такой же луне

Pure songs of the Moon

Are sung in many poems  

The wondrous wings of the Northern Lights

Are described in many words

But tonight I thought

That only my heart knows

The true sound of this Moon

The tops of the frozen trees rush by 

Sparks of the night sky 

Twinkle over the quiet forest

The sharp arrow of the path

Pierces the heart of the night

And the month is quietly quietly

Running in front of me

Thoughts slip by

Heading for the Northern Lights

My deer with the wings of the wind

Carries me to my destiny

Ending, the song merges with darkness

Someday I’ll come back again

To this earth under the same Moon

Ana Vaz, i prefer not to be but to Tupi the age of the earth
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        Ana Vaz | i prefer not to be but to Tupi: the age of the earth. Performance Lecture

“The Work in itself does not exist, there is no whole or wholesomeness, what exists is a series of gestures, a multiplicity of perspectives, an anthropophagic hunger, a savage mode of thinking, a history that is not his and which incarnates itself into a patchwork of materials and re-sources – moving or still, phrased or shot, imprinted or travelling. I want to disorganise, to dissociate through association – to bring things together in order to undo their normative state. A multiple becoming through film or otherwise, an untying of historical thinking and monolithic prose, a becoming that renders narration an art of trickery, of cheating and betraying both sight or sound only to permanently de-colonise our modes of thinking. There is no pre-determined route, no fixed identity contours, no synthesis of authority, only a shaded presence, a visible and invisible cosmology that is both relief and surface. To be ethical is to be anxious, and this is the anxiety of the ethnographer or the anthropologist, the anxiety of history, the threat of shining too much light or casting too much shade – the anxious movement of ethical thinking.

Brazilian modernist poet Oswald de Andrade cannibalizes Hamlet in his Anthropophagic Manifesto, a gesture of perspectival shift: Tupi or not not Tupi that is the question. The Amerindian Tupinambá, the Tupi, become the symbolic nexus that roots this shift. Therein, we must remember “we are all indians, expect for the ones who are not”. I Prefer Not to Be but to Tupi is a camouflaged incantation of another film, a literary expansion on and for the cinematic, an opening into a horizon of sonic and textual presences, spectres in/tangled in time and places.”

– AV