The Sunny Side of….
The Sunny Side of….
A grid resembles a cross – the symbol for holding ambivalences together. This pattern of streets is based on a Cartesian coordinate system which symbolizes the spirit of rationalism of that era.
The Broadway is the only street on the Manhattan Island which doesn’t follow this system of a clear grid, as this street is the only diagonal street. I had walked on this Broadway, focusing on the sunny and shady parts of the street.
In the video ‘Sunny Side Of’ I react with doubt ambivalence and hesitation to the manner of self-presentation of the people we meet, their art of telling a good story, presenting their belief, goals, mission.
Feeling uplifted before struggling
The different people contacted by the tutor and artist Reneé Ridgway share their goals, ambitions, beliefs and disbeliefs with our class. During the first week I feel uplifted by this energetic and optimistic spirit. Then the struggle started: The ambivalent feelings and thoughts are overwhelming: Feelings of repulsion, resistance and admiration are mixing up inside me.
Jimmie Durham pops up in my mind. In ‘Unpacking Europe’ he writes: “I would like to talk about this strange European concept of God, and especially the concomitant concept ( Law) of Belief. ….Belief is weird. It is to accept a kind of brain death. ….The Americans are the best Europeans because they fulfil your most secret and passionate European desires. Well, they say, “I don’t care what you believe in; but you must believe in something, “ and cross-reference it with the accusation, “He is a man who believes in nothing.”
“Whenever I go on about this stuff someone says, “But has your own society no religion, nothing sacred?”…. … in fact I think we have no religion and everything sacred. There is a Grandmother Spider spirit and a Grandfather Vulture spirit, and so on. But they are certainly understood as metaphor. They are group of stories, and to believe a story would be to miss it. One might learn form a story. “
A new insight about the connection between the term opportunistic and taking opportunities.
In the small-talk with Robert Kloos, the cultural attaché of the Dutch embassy, I get a new insight about the connection between the term opportunistic and taking opportunities.
He says: “Take your opportunities – If you have a story to tell then tell it. There are more people here, more than in the Netherland, who want to listen to you… But you have to tell your story in an excellent way and at the end you have to back it up.”
He works at the Dutch embassy for twenty years. He knows how to take the opportunities which come across, to bring up an idea and realize it. He is fed up by the typical Dutch manner of cynical-critical response towards ideas. As an example he tells about his initiative to offer a present from the Netherlands to the NYC municipality on the occasion of the celebration of 400 years of Dutch-American relationships and how he got the money for that together. He got what he fought for… He admits that he knows to play the game well and even behaves like a slut sometimes. In sake for his goal.
This practical, self-confident and optimistic approach towards the realization of ideas was striking to me. I immediately think about the format of the TED talk–the all American way of communicate Ideas worth spreading… I imagine myself appropriating this gestures for a performance lecture.
For once not being stuck in between ambivalent opinions. Stuck in the state of ‘Zaudern’. The German philosopher Vogl elaborates on the German term of ‘Zaudern’: This German term addresses a state of special hesitation. It marks the barrier between action and non-action, a moment when pure creative potentiality and contingent is opening up. …It is a break, a pause. You hesitate before you act, not yet certain which systems of values to choose. Ich zaudere mich zu entscheiden.
I am more interested in the philosophical realm of posing question than giving answers. Gregg Bordowitz during the talk about Queer politics at an e-flux evening mentions his book of 1000 questions and says it brought him nowhere. I recognize that… I can understand a lot of different opinions… I can follow a lot of thoughts and posing a lot of questions. But.. Where do I stand for, at the end?
What is the difference between ambivalence and opportunism?
I found the book “On Ambivalence – The problems and pleasures of Having It Both Ways” by Kenneth Weisbrode. The author calls the 21century the era of ambivalence, which means that in time of globalization there is “now the universal realization that there is one planet, on which we all coexist… “ Everything is interconnected and therefore complex and ambivalent….