*A textual product of a time thus far*
Subjects: Digi-tools, 35mm image, employed fingers, and Sevdaliza
I am introspectively swiping and selecting the subjects from my memory, including those from the future I anticipate. I want them to suck my full attention and be the leaders of my consciousness. I pretend to have a digital bin in my brain called atm. I drag the selected subjects towards it, and I drop them. As soon as they vanish, the bin immediately starts processing and injecting the flashbacks of the content it has been given, straight into my thoughts. Although the selected subjects were born in the moments shaped by the current social construct of time as we know it (they’ve either happened or are expected to happen), I intend not to wrap them with a layer of time belonging to linearity in which things/events/concepts/dots grow exponentially. (All things linear remind me of Sarajevo’s infrastructure).
A confusion so specific got me. I’m sitting next to it and looking at it sitting next to me. We look at each other. I like my confusions, I think to myself. Compared to the often nonchalant ones, this one is different because it’s dead silent,
almost starting to look sexy. I’m trying to understand where it’s coming from and why it is still comfortably sitting next to me like there’s no tomorrow. I look at my desktop. The confusion starts making weird sounds as if deliberately challenging me to read between the lines. I know what that means. What this confusion mirrors is my hardship to passionately relate to ‘alternative’ digital tools I’ve recently discovered [insert your examples]. It’s true, I’ve not been feeling myself on the internet lately, as if its infinite depth suddenly decided to grow its walls. Everything I e-touch is followed by a monetary applause, I think to myself. Tools/technologies/frameworks I’ve been lately mingling with have mainly been used for serious commercial purposes and less for serious fun. I am not used to belonging only like this.
Hmmmmmm. I don’t think that intentionally trappy design decisions made to build social media platforms are the only digital traps to get trapped in. I also don’t think that they’re the only reason why we (?who is we?) fall for such traps. Sometimes, how one gets digitally trapped can be reasoned beyond the platform’s obvious design and with a greater personal touch to the ambush. When I think of exemplary digitraps today, I first think of Instagram and music as the two main ones. Instagram as a meetup place for digital culture, and music as a private medium to consume. Some people don’t have Instagram, I know. But it’s hard for me to imagine someone who generally doesn’t listen to music (unless it’s a phase).
Do you know someone who goes through a day without consuming the two/either?
My thumb finger feels like a lil’ engine brought to me by Instagram. My mind says reload reload reload, but my heart says slow. Knowing that my eyes have not yet been employed by the Instagram Story makes me zen. I am zen now.
What is expected of me to think about Instagram? Instagram is a platform widely used as a tool to document one’s life. All my friends are there. There’s always someone grammin’ in the background. Lately, however, I’m starting to think of it as an archive of personal pasts undisturbed by the user’s hyperactivity. When I’m on Instagram, I don’t feel like I’m missing out like I used to. When one feels like one is missing out, one is reacting to a live happening of an event that will later be missed. How I feel on Instagram now is that I have already missed everything. By default, I’m reacting to a past I didn’t score/achieve enough to call it my present.
And then I feel nothing. There’s a little hole in time and I can see its bottom. Nothing can be done about it atm. There is no hero to fill up the hole, remove it, clean it. I am not sure whether anything should be done about it. I don’t feel trapped. I’m bored.
I just remembered the #throwbackthursday digitrend. Instagram is a platform for preservation, as much as it is a platform for instant broadcasting. The fact that no thought can go unshared slash preserved is becoming a default experience of daily life. What feels like most of the work right now is the framing of a shared slash preserved thought. The time it takes for a thought to be framed can last from one minute to a week, depending on a thought’s user. Although I like to think that it is deeply precious to preserve a thought, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the framing administration which fills the frame’s void. To simplify, I don’t know how I feel about building a void just to fill up the void. I need to think about it once or twice again.
I need to think more about how we(?who is we?) live our present moments while maintaining our active presence on Instagram.
I also need to think about the fear of watching movies.
I’m on a ferry towards Amsterdam Noord. I’m looking at, not another confusion of mine, but some cute youngsters taking pics with a single-use camera. 35mm from Kruidvat is what I think I recognize. I’m trying to guess the final destination of this image they just took of them confidently smiling as youngsters do. Facebook or Instagram? And what will the image have to go through before it reaches its hood? How will it be described?
Posted 5s ago.
Pasts are fast.
A sound file; music. Its life begins with an employed thumb or employed index finger. The format of a sound file is the closest to the concept of a present moment as I know it. It kills mental counting of one second, two seconds, two minutes, two hours, basically time, for as long as the sound lasts. A sound file triggers moods from the past and builds future ones at the moment of listening. In the image culture, in which I’m almost getting comfortable, I’m happy to be reminded that I can be deeply triggered by a creative format and in the moment of experiencing it. Whatever (known or unknown) sound file activates seems untraceable. Compared to a life of an image, which is always tied to its past, the life of a sound file is tied to a personal present of the listener.
Music is one safe consumption.
This intraceability of moods mixed when listening to personally defined ‘good’ music is where its power lies: in its mystery and unpredictability. Writing about how my favorite song makes me feel right now might be the opposite of how it will make me feel when I listen to it the week after. And I know I will come back to a dear song, exactly because it makes me feel something. Dksdjnflas. Of course, similar logic can be applied to an image file. I can keep going back to the same image and it can make me feel something different each time I revisit it. However, the concrete past tied to an image rather makes me feel like I want to create a better image. Wait, I’m going somewhere else…And I know I will come back to a dear song, exactly because it makes me feel something. Right. Even though music, like everything else, is a highly capitalized medium, it’s hard for me to imagine a person consciously deciding not to consume the sonic material. I like to think that a person would rather lose a relationship with an algorithm, a platform, than kill the urge to listen to music.
Note that I was comparing the making of (Insta)images and listening to music here, not making music. I wish.
Let’s dive closer to the corals. I have a superpower to revive how Sevdaliza made me feel, doesn’t matter when. When I got hooked on her, I remember my finger feeling happily employed as a Looper(is that a position?) on evil music platforms, and on one record player.
This is a song called Amandine Sensible. Heart condition: kinda numb. My brain is hyperactive and flirting 19/7 with multiple professional possibilities to help me not pay attention to the condition of my heart. Sevdaliza is opening the scene with a lil’ arm flex. This is a visual memory, enhancing my listening memory. The drums sound like my insides when I’m performing my professional choreography called repetition – focused and sharp behind the screen; one would say there’s nothing turbulent about how I feel. Sevdaliza is trapped in a repetition too. She’s lip singing her own voice.
It looks like her body doesn’t fully recognize the voice it carries. It is too busy flexing and getting better at it. As if her body and her voice are two separate entities, collaborating. Having prioritized the physical work it has to do, her body became a channel of a voice that should belong to it.
A different version of Sevdaliza appears, the relaxed one. She’s laying on the floor covered with a red silk blanket (I’m assuming it’s made of silk), performing a state of being relaxed. Then another version, in which she’s wearing a full leather outfit to hide in, an umbrella to hide under. Another version: she’s a call person (this link is interesting); another version: she’s wearing a white fur coat and playing the piano – enjoying a hobby; another version: white tracksuit – standing still, just doing it. She drinks Red Bull at some point.. Maybe it will produce more of her.
The versions start taking turns in a white setting. The channeling bodies tell me a story of Sevdaliza’s scattered reality, but not identity. As if asked to perform multiples of herself for various demands, she rejects none of her shifts. She delivers them in an unlively, bored fashion. I admire her boredom because it sounds loud to my ears. It persists as long as she keeps producing the images meant for others’ realities. The demand seems high; and because the demand seems high, I wonder if she’s ever going to have a chance to settle for one version of herself? And if she had time to do so, would she? It’s unlikely.
I focus on the lyrics I’m hearing. She wishes for a different kind of performance. To feel something. She wishes to perform herself feeling something. I normally sing and wish along, but this time I decide to think along. It makes me wonder like I often do: If I choose to mute the noise of that numbness wrapping my lil heart, whose visual reality would I dwell in? If I choose to compensate for this numbness with a professional workout, how loud would my boredom sound? The song ends, Sevdaliza didn’t settle.
There is a song called Martyr. Please listen to it.
This is a song called The Language of Limbo. Although it’s been a while, I’m still kinda numb in my heart. The sound of drums and Sevdaliza’s vocal intro make me alive in my numbness. I don’t want to push myself to best describe how the song makes me feel. I just feel. Without translation, would I be limited, in aim? I find this question chronically relevant, not just in the state of personal numbness, or their numbness. I’ve been to others as untranslatable as I’ve found them untranslatable towards me. So many things I meant didn’t come across as a meaning. I think it’s all because I didn’t do the right thing of accepting the fact that following linguistic rules for being clear will make me clear. Sometimes I don’t want to do the right thing. Sometimes I don’t know what I mean, nor what my aim is. Despite the personal, yes, I think I would be limited in my aim, was I to let the finely selected words represent it. My aim would be dancing with the ceiling.
Not everything grows exponentially like Google Analytics graphs. I am a mixture of all the misianterpretants I’ve met. I must admit, I want(ed) to hear in a specific way. Brings me to question: When feeling and listening are accompanied by words which translate them, is feeling still felt? Is noise still heard? The cigarette burns nicely, the hills are finally before me.
I can’t wait to meet you on the other side and record your voice reading to me.
Openness is an unruly concept; it asks for standardization, civilization, exponential growth. → We don’t live in a world of The computer, but in a world of computers: myriad, incompatible, specific machines talking to each other and customizing themselves to particular markets. Sometimes two machines are not technically designed to talk to each other. Sometimes a machine is not designed to communicate, crack open. Sometimes specific machines are excluded from the graph.
There is a song called Gole Bi Goldoon. I google search lyrics, hesitant to type english after it. I don’t. Caged in her outfit, a tamed voice starts singing. Sevdaliza sings and moves strategically, showing how controlled she can be in her saying and feeling at the same time.
Tamed enough to acknowledge her progress.
Tamed enough to deliver perfection.
And not only in her musical aim.
There is a performance of Sevdaliza I’ve been lucky to witness during the pandemic. Darkest Hour in real life sounds better than Darkest Hour on Spotify or Youtube. Is that what you wanted to hear? Sevdaliza relives her senses through the performance. Yet again, she feels everything.
I remember talking to you about her and even though we both hate piling names on top of one another, we agreed that she’s the Portishead of our times. Don’t get me wrong, for both of us acknowledge the differences between the two operations. The comparison we agreed on does not praise the replication of one another, because there is none. We equally admire how they materialize their ability to experience time and within their context. The works of Portishead + Sevdaliza throw back at the industry the strongest of collectively felt human emotions, and something the music industry keeps on trying to kill. Through their work, they chose what matters the most to them, and how fast it matters. At the same time, their acknowledgment of different expectations from the market (to settle for what the market defines should matter the most and how fast it should matter) doesn’t stop their machines from operating within the same market.
In my opinion*
I’m certain that examples in the same direction are numerous. The grass is green on both sides.
Ok, I thought about how proactive existence on Instagram affects the experience of a present moment. There is an invisible empty square in my head anticipating a future moment that will fill the square’s void. I don’t trust that any upcoming moments will be worth filling this strongly felt emptiness. I know that there are aesthetically different tricks for everyone to ensure that the future moment worth being documented will happen. Searching for that moment, finding it, selecting the best angle in which it has been documented, is the invisible work of an invisible worker. Depending on the success of my aesthetic standards, sometimes I work less, sometimes more. So, living the present for Instagram means living its history already.
This text too, has become an image. Written in two different countries, it has been in the making since the 20th of July.