To Alina

05Feb19
SolitudeWoods

Near Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, 2014

We met at the Performing Arts Forum in 2013. After presenting for some fifteen plus hours you still had questions, many questions, questions about pessimism and nature and Schelling and nihilism and told me about the many shades of darkness. You talked about bringing me to Bucharest which sounded wonderful but far-fetched but I should not have doubted. Barely a year later I was there and we talked about wild dogs, and myths about gold, and you tolerated my bad jokes about vampires. You christened me ‘slime-heart’ and it stuck.

We met again in Berlin where in a sea of rationalism and computation you were flanked by Florin and Irina. You were the twitter spirit and foil of much seriousness and serious people and also everyone else. I remember how loud you said ‘OHH NOOOO’ when you found out how young Matt was while we were sitting by the banks of the Spree. We couldn’t stop laughing.

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HKW in Berlin, 2014

And right after Berlin we were crying-level gin-drunk underneath a baby-grand piano in Stuttgart talking about melodrama (what else?) while Irina was always the sage, the fairy godmother hovering above our puddle of tears. When I said I had not seen Written on the Wind you exclaimed ‘this is not possible!’ For a week we read about forests and philosophy and the art world and seemed to live off of polenta, boxed-tamarind, and cashews bought in bulk. At one point you laughed and said ‘ah, Ben, you are Romanian now…that is not so good for you.’ I have been trying for days to replay your laugh just right in my head, to get the shape of it just so.

It is not easy to rebuild your laugh…it started like a loud crescendoing ‘AHHH’ and then became this staccato of high squeaks and deep breaths that you could hear through at least five stone walls. Sometimes it ended in a small sigh. It fit so well to how you responded to ideas like they were a scandal or a bit of gossip that then immediately were turned into a joke: “There’s no crying in the space of reasons!” But this was just as serious as it was funny, it was the sign of some concept being digested (eternal feeding) – entering a hyper-connective research program, performance machine, and who knows what else hidden in your thin loping shadow.

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Channeling Douglas Sirk in Above the Weather

There was something (paradoxically?) exotic but minimalist about how you thought and what you said and wrote. There was no minimum safe distance between formal creatures and fleshier animals roaming between the dream world and the world dreamed to be real. The dreamer’s walk is purposeless. The purpose and her map lies within the dream. The dream only wants to dream itself.

I remember when you showed up to PAF with a dislocated rib from Danceweb with a ‘X’ shaped giant bandage that made you look like a stuffed animal a child had tried to fix and yet you still moved in your floaty way and were (as always) excited to talk about dance and abstraction and avatars and jaguars and autophagia and predation and being not quite human. We talked lit only by candles (a happy accident) in the foyer the night before you left about lovers and ex-lovers and you said ‘ah, we are closer now!’ which was so funny because it did not need to be said but you said it like it was a surprise and then it became one.

About being human…this is what I keep thinking about reading this, your last text. That in being post-human, inhuman, alien, a jaguar, still so much lies in between these figures as plans or sketches on the page and the small shifts in experience that follow from talk and experiences of thinking about them and not only thinking about them in the ‘acceptable’ quiet way. And this is a peculiar search, one that you were always doing and that we are doing with you but also now for you. We are hunting with you what is tied to our back which is also you and you are telling us about the map with your eyes closed.

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He had bought a large map representing the sea,
   Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
   A map they could all understand.
“What’s the good of Mercator’s North Poles and Equators,
   Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?”
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
   “They are merely conventional signs!
“Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
   But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank
(So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best—
   A perfect and absolute blank!”
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