Thursday, October 2, 2014

That Bad Word, That Brown Land

Sitting down again at my desk in Berlin after (yet another) wild movement across Europe, which took me from Italy to Scotland to London back to Italy and home again*, it strikes me that, having engaged in European theatre for the past 15 months now, I may be qualified to make some 'small but important' direct statements about the context in which I am currently operating, sometimes as - that bad word - 'critic'.

I resist these statements a lot. I know, for starters, how much contemporary life is about the performance of perspective, how capital is gained from I was here, or I own this idea. I resist for several reasons: I don't want to show off that I am in Europe, in perhaps its most fashionable city, that I have somehow, until now at least, managed to survive here. I know that Australians come here and take photos and say 'BERLIN, I AM IN YOU'. It is not my objective to gain power in this way, through simply being in a place, or generating a narrative through cultural assumptions. Life is just not that simple (or that successful).

But for those wondering: I have been living in Europe for the past 15 months and intend to continue doing so. I live in a small flat in Berlin, the rent is low, and it's as good a place as any to engage in struggles which, more and more, I see are important. We are moving into the time of perpetual crisis, as predicted by Orwell and others.

In this space, it is also becoming harder to write anything meaningful (and so I write less and less). Knowing, as I know, that the world is full of opinions, and seeing, as I see, that everywhere people behave in ways that support their various existences, I increasingly think the only space for change is that small gap which combines human drama and knowledge. This can be in the theatre, at a conference, or at a dinner table. This work is mainly done in person. So I generally don't write this kind of 'WHAT HAPPENED NEXT CHANGED MY LIFE' kind of structure favoured by freelance writers trying to get Facebook hits. Change - shock - is nearly always slower.