by Maro Pantazidou
For years, things have been kicking off everywhere. In Argentina 2001, then in France 2005, then in Greece 2008, in Iran 2009, and then like a wave in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Syria to circle back to Spain, US, New Zealand, Turkey. Occupy Everywhere.
In Athens, in December 2008 the Mayor’s Christmas tree was set ablaze with the curse/wish ‘Merry Crisis and a Happy New Year’ until the Christmas tree in Hong Kong’s shopping mall caught fire too ten years later.
To then kick off again in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Sudan, in France. Till Chile consumed it all and spit it out ‘We will not return to normality because normality was the problem’.
Six months later, maybe we crave for some normality.
Maybe we could go back to that old normality with all its contradictions, oppressions, cancellations, exploitations, misrepresentations—but where, somewhere, one can carve out a small space where there is Touch and there is Movement and therefore maybe a bit of Freedom.
So cοuld we go back? The ghost of what-is-actually-normal is haunting our cities.
The crisis is suspension.
The crisis is acceleration.
The crisis is an already-existing social condition, now mediated by viruses. Much of what was deemed impossible, invalid, invisible has been
(we are as safe as the least protected among us)
(the most important work is the work that maintains and reproduces life)
(even the market had to start washing its invisible hand).
The fairy of what-is-actually-possible is humming in between our screens.
So, the words appear again on a Hong Kong wall ‘We can’t go back to normal because normality was the problem’, only now they’ve taken on a meaning more dense yet more subtle, punctuated by all our interdependencies.
How do we move? One answer: ‘there is no need to destroy everything and to give birth to a world completely new — it suffices to change the position of this cup or this bush or this stone, and to do the same for every thing.’
Maro Pantazidou likes to work on radical education and collaborative research. She is based in Athens.