My Bittersweet Frankenstein Body
Eike Eplik (EE) | Edith Karlson (EE) | Kristina Õllek (EE) | Laura Põld (EE) | Kristel Saan (EE) | Krišs Salmanis (LV) | Jaanus Samma (EE) | Līga Spunde (LV) | Rūta Spelskytė (LT) | Sabīne Vernere (LV)
Kuraattori: Šelda Puķīte
Text by Antti-Juhani Manninen
I would never
What would even be a reason to
We have a reservation at nine thirty.
I choose a table by the garden, the window is open and a soft breeze slithers slowly and pleasantly in.
I will stay
I will die
I don’t see her come in.
She touches my arm, her skin is freezing. I feel a tiny tingly sensation, and I start to laugh, a warm, hollow laugh, like a face with nothing else recognizable but a mouth stripped of teeth, or the absence of presence in the eyes of a young fluffy hunting pussycat. A stinging laugh, the kind that hurts the ear, and makes you doubt if it even is human. You dive into a void, and just listen to yourself laugh, but from a distance, not recognizing your voice. A laugh that creeps in your ear canal, like a gondola, stops by an authentic Italian restaurant with red and white checkered tablecloths and the perfect Fettuccine Alfredo and candles, and candles, and even the house wine is perfect and refreshing like sprinkling sea water on your face after a very long day on the yacht reading some totally divine comedy, then looking around and realizing the restaurant itself is situated in a 1800 year old palazzo by the plaza with the fountain, you know, and then even deeper, touching something primitive inside, like ice-cream, the taste of blood, freezing everything on its way as it crawls towards your frontal lobe, a Harry Potter ghastly thingy, you know, the dumb black smokey flying ones. Yes. Those, and
Somebody has written on the wall: “The world is a burrito, flat bread rolled around the yummies”
I’m obsolete. I will die. My heart will go on. My love will stay
If a group show, then every group show
What is not reaching out. When not, even more
She sits across the table, and drops a tiny smile. A shy but very conscious smile, with a finish full of secrets and ripe yellow fruit and minerals and tiny white teeth and petrol and toast and butter. She says something, but I can’t hear her at all. I lean forward, closer and closer, and start to crawl towards her.
I crawl between a bottle of 1990 Chateau Pétrus (a tinge of sadness there, tho, as this spectacular vintage had not yet fully hit its plateau of maturity, and as it was opened without much care it has this layer of cork dust. And you know, this exact vintage matures just beautifully like Charles Arnaud Comté or Britney, and when you have saved the bottle for years for the right occasion and finally open the bottle a tiny spectacular scent lingers out, and takes you back to the gardens of Le Petit Trianon) and a banana peel and a pile of biennale catalogs and some magic artefact like a ring of power or a cursed cloak of invisibility or something like that. It’s not too late to turn away.
When is it too late? I mean, in general: when late is too late? And what comes after too late?
As apricots and democracy were just about to reach their first overripe form
I can’t even begin to imagine
All the people
It’s not the years that pass faster, it’s the minutes
She orders slow steamed sea bass with baby asparagus, egg yolk, fresh black pepper and capers, with beurre blanc, turns to me and says:
“I look you in the eye, but can’t find any life in you, not in the sense that i’m used to know it, nothing familiar, maybe an imitation, cold as ice, or an actor.
Reanimated, and not born, not grown from a scratch into this live body, into this living being, through every second since conception, growing every cell one by one, into your self, an individual, a natural habitat called a human, in its natural habitat. And you? No history, no habitat, nothing natural.
You’re more like a no-being, no-being-at-all. And because of your manufactured, non-grown nature, you are completely different from anyone else in the world, thus also completely alone.
No self, but a patchwork of other selves, random pieces, random residue of other selves, other dead histories, other lost memories, other body-minds once alive but then dead, decomposed and fragmented. Existing only as others, with no self of your own.
Yet, you’re the main character, that’s obvious, your story is by far the most tragic of all, you have the most to win, and to lose. All of it.
Not alive in the sense of all the others live, but dead, manufactured, dead chunks of flesh and bone sewn flimsily together, walking dead, but even more, a walking image of ugliness, ugliest thing imaginable, the opposite of beauty. A monster, both because you’re an abomination, you shouldn’t ever exist, and because you’re the opposite of life, with no signs of health, youth, symmetry. Everything in your character, in your figure, points towards death itself, and death itself only.
So, as the image of death, and as the image of complete otherness, everyone will always be afraid of you, and hate you for that. There is no escape, there is only loneliness.”
The clock strikes a quarter to ten.
She pays for the meal, stands up, smiles again, and walks away. I start to write a story, because the one who controls the stories also controls the way we see. The head of the sea bass stares at me. It doesn’t say anything, it doesn’t have to.
Antti-Juhani Manninen on kirjoittanut tekstin vierailtuaan My Bitter Sweet Frankenstein Body -näyttelyssä, joka toteutettiin yhteistyössä Kogo Gallerian kanssa. Lue lisää näyttelystä.
Teksti on viides osa vuoden 2022 TITANIK julkaisua, joka toteutetaan uudessa muodossa. Kokeellisia kirjoittajia pyydetään tuottamaan teksti, joka resonoi kunkin näyttelyn kanssa. Tekstit julkaistaan näyttelyn aikana Titanikin nettisivuilla ja koottuna vuoden lopussa painettavana kirjasena. Sarjan aiemmat tekstit voi lukea täältä, täältä, täältä ja täältä.
Antti-Juhani Manninen wrote the text after visiting the exhibition My Bitter Sweet Frankenstein Body curated in collaboration with Kogo Gallery. More info.
This text is the fifth contribution to this year’s TITANIK publication. Authors working with various forms of experimental writing are invited to produce a text responding to each exhibition. The contributions will be published on the website during the show, and later on as a booklet. Here, here, here, and here you can read the earlier contributions.