how does the world breathe now?

Eine Filmreihe in 52 Wochen, die Künstler*innen, Denker*innen, Aktivist*innen, Dichter*innen, Wissenschaftler*innen, Kurator*innen und andere Kulturschaffende dazu einlädt, Filme für unser Jetzt zu präsentieren. 

In his seminal poem Sebuah Dunia Yang Marah (An Angry World) [see below], written in 1960 and since then proofing its sad truth and profoundness, Indonesian poet, playwright and activist Raden Mas Willibrordus Surendra Broto aka Rendra laments in utter awe the inscrutable state of the world today. The term “today” in its relativity and endless elasticity is that day, week, month, that moment in 1960 when the poem was written, as well as that point in time today, when you notice that the today of 1960 and the today of now could easily step in as a surrogate for the today of 1960. Rendra points at the hypocrisy and senselessness of speeches, conferences, institutions that offer lip service while the world crumbles under greed, betrayal, megalomania and kleptocracy. He writes of despair, viciousness and empty lives. Of impotent bitterness. Of forlornness on the face of the earth inhabited by hopelessness, hate, murder. Of a world haunted by lies, confusion and, for lack of a better term, sin. At some point he breaks down, breaks it down and asks in a state of desolation – “how does the world breathe now?”

That this question forces one to reminisce on Eric Garner’s “I can’t breathe” is neither a matter of haphazardness nor a footnote in a narrative, but rather the main stream in a constructed narrative of a world struggling under the burden of misused power, whiteness, manness, patriarchy, misogyny, capitalism, racism and coloniality.

The project  how does the world breathe now? is an acknowledgement of the artist’s role in society and as a reflection of his/her time as well as an acknowledgment of the fact that we are not islands. We learn from others and teach others. We exist because others exist – both the living and the non-living. This project is thus an effort to acknowledge a genealogy of artistic practice that engages with the social, the political, the bigger and smaller obstacles and beauties in the quotidian, but above all an acknowledgement of artistic practice that digs deeper beneath and beyond the visible reality.

It is to this end that the project  how does the world breathe now? invites artists, curators, and thinkers of all walks of life to propose an outstanding film/filmmaker that aptly captured/captures the Zeitgeist of his/her/its epoque – besides the work of the invited. On a weekly basis for over a year, SAVVY Contemporary will be host to an evening of presentations, screenings and discussions around the work of a filmmaker. The invited will have the chance to present why he/she chose this particular work, its relevance to the time it was made and possibly to our time, and if need be, make a relation to his/her practice.

 

Sebuah Dunia Yang Marah
(An Angry World)

After two world wars
the chatter of guns and munitions in the air,
how does the world look now?
After so many speeches and conferences
the establishment of fine institutions
merely to quarrel
through a thousand slogans
and stab each other in the back,
how does the world breathe now?

Here in this part of the Earth
there are wounded faces
in the dark night of the spirit.
We do not need a map
to show where our people are.

This is an angry world.
Full of bright vicious eyes,
cruel hopeless faces,
and trembling hands
grasping at empty life.
In which
homes, men and rubbish
are all one.
Full of impotent bitterness.

World wars and rebellion
did not change our weary earth.
Murder after murder
hatred after hatred
gave birth to nothing
but sin, doubt,
and disbelief.

Gave birth to nothing
except the sacrifice of the powerless.
The continually questioning faces!
Driven into a world
of confusion and lies
they are always alone.
They grow from sin. They give birth to sin.

Our world is always wounded.
The poor walk with their hunger.
They are like thin dead sticks.
They regret their birth
but refuse to die.
They are sterile. They produce nothing.
They cling to the earth–
for that is their mother.
The others are their enemies.

In our tattered world
the poor beat out their bloody lives
suffering sin
unconsciously. Unwillingly.
God stands amongst them
He is wounded with them.
And the world rejects Him.

God cries with them.
But they do not hear Him.
God is sad and suffering
buffeted by angry feet.
Buffeted by bitterness
And restless fear.

Father!
Avoiding death
is their main problem
not welfare or sin.
How can they understand the voice of heaven
if they have never heard the voice of life?

Father!
While the world understands only guns and deceit
stretch out Your loving hands
Your loving wounded heart.
Your wounds! Father, Your wounds!
Only through wounds
Can the world understand love.

God cries and understands.
God continually cries and understands.
He is always stabbed. Always betrayed.