Nice to Meet you,T.

When you sleep I make sure
you stay breathing, make sure I’m there
when you open your eyes, as you’re slightly stricken
upon remembering the prison
your body has become.

Maggie Nelson, The Hospital for Special Care (1)

Gestures of affection are doomed to be stuck, impossible to deroot from sex. Gestures of love cannot be described as body movement (2). Intimacy, which does not always make sense, is what we fear and shift with language (3). This is the kind of friction we are trying here. Where could we place friction first? In solidarity, in fiction? We gather in speculation to test new forms of displayed affection. Even enclosed in naïveté, closeness of bodies needs justification, follow-ups and disclaimers. And what happens when we exhibit love?

Maggie Nelson talks about singularity to her mentor. When Nelson is asked in a later interview to broaden the meaning of the moment, she says that singularity is giving attention to only one person, which can also be read as an act of love. But furthermore, she complimented the explanation with a note of fragility – making a public poem rather than a private communication is different waters (4). This is the kind of friction we are trying here.

In the breeze of the urban delta Văcărești, the protected swamp of Bucharest, leaning back softly in the liminality, at the core of the shaky in-between (5), in between post-socialist bloc housing and the rest of the world, is the set of our encounter: an empty and abandoned amphitheater. Two bodies transform and transcend touching. Bilateral connections between bodies are on display, fading away long before you see them and long before you read this text. 

A gang of Eros, Philia, Storge and Agape, Ludus, Pragma with Philautia get forgotten as the Someotherlove comes in place of any known affectionate category. We are doomed to see gestures of loving as invisible – like the private; and when these gestures turn public, controversy begins (6). I and WE are explicit, fluidizing being, explicit in loving, painful and trustworthy, plausible. If only “my voice held back in my throat so that I would not make a spectacle of myself” (7). In performance, we keep stressing the real out of the imaginary, the medium out of the topic. Nice to meet you, T. invites to time friction.

“Eros and thanatos – the life drive and the death drive – can’t exist without one another and this is why we can talk so freely about ghosts: the body dispersed across time is in some sense already gone by the time you encounter its image.” (8)

As gestures send crumble messages on tables at the school of domesticity, murmurs dispose of any known association, while silence needs silence. After skins got thin, “when the surfaces of chaos aren’t deep anymore, silence emerges completely” (9).

T stands for a theorem used to explain how individuals act on the basis of their perception of the situation, and how the effects of these actions define, often retrospectively, the situation. The classical Thomas Theorem, one of the most influential pop sociological ideas of the 20th century, was formulated in 1928 by the couple Dorothy Swaine Thomas and William Isaac Thomas. This theorem states that “if men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”. Ambitiously, aiming in the mainstream of social sciences, Nice to meet you, T.  facilitates intimacy display in image and sound, as a way to re-communicate the real.

NTMYT is an artistic research project centered around gestures and movements of intimacy as specific forms of corporal and corporeal language, at the intersection of collective performance, communication and social negotiation tools in an intersectional feminist manner. Its urgency is to challenge public displays of affection between beings as a way to counterbalance common opinions on how we can read togetherness emergence of bodies.

Text by Jasmina Al-Qaisi.

1) "The Hospital for Special Care", by Maggie Nelson, available online at:

2) Full paragraph: What is strange is that the gesture of love cannot be described as a body movement at all. For if you try it, you suddenly notice that you have described the sexual gesture instead in Gestures, Vilém Flusser, Chapter: "Gestures of Loving", p. 52

3) !Intimacy: A Special Issue, Lauren Berlant!, in Critical Inquiry, Vol. 24, No. 2, “Intimacy (Winter, 1998), p. 281-28

4) "What’s Queer Form Anyway?", an Interview with Maggie Nelson, available online at:

5) Undutiful Daughters: Mobilizing Future Concepts, Bodies and Subjectivitiesin Feminist Thought and Practice, eds. Henriette Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni and Fanny Söderbäck. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; Chapter 6: Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water by Astrida Neimanis p.94

6) Gestures by Vilém Flusser, Chapter: "Gestures of Loving", p. 48

7) Days of Abandonment, Elena Ferante, Europa Editions, p. 5

8) "INTIMACY" Keynote 2/06/15, Jesse Darling, available online at:

9) "wrong connections", Andra Rotaru, available online at: