English / عربي
UNSAID THEN FORGOTTEN
I sit in a studio in an old building on Othman Bin Affan Street in Jabal Amman with translucent air around me. I spent the past weeks in a circle where walking/moving has led me into reading/writing and back to moving. These actions are interwoven with stillness, and somewhere there in the margins, in the depths of darkness, a sense of otherness surfaces. Something is known in the flesh and it is hidden; it pushes one to feel and act differently. I wonder if situating my current state can create more familiarity with the reader? I spent many coffee breaks trying to verbalise what it means to be in a place that affords encounters with humans and other beings. And how it feels to experience a place living in the presence of a decaying order. I also wonder what enables the verbalisation of physical experiences?
In my attempt to search more than to make statements, my route travels between doing a bodily activity and then finding a way to leave traces about physical sensations and accompanying mental reflections. I try to begin empty handed, with no concrete outline as to how this will unfold. Somewhere where I am fully awake at the thing at hand but also having no clear thought about what will come out of it. To be sunk into a space where images, words and smells open up many routes. In the midst of words and sentences, I don’t know where I am, I find myself writing in a different direction. I am able to feel the skin, the muscles and the bones of my body while typing. I slip into a land I don’t know, something half hidden wants to be revealed. Eventually there is a touch of familiarity.
I don’t think bodily experiences are freed from the effect of language. Experiences get other rhythms by means of words that describe them (and by the silences between the lines). Despite all this, I write in a language that is strange to me; it echoes differently in my mother tongue. Maybe this air space between words and their meanings gives a particular distance to see… How can words not betray experiences? Could they reside as a residue, or an interruption, within experiences?
I recognise a continuous play with words; emerging, hiding, disappearing.
As we approach this project we ask: what happens to knowledge embedded in and around bodies (and sites) when they become irrelevant? How can we think about learning beyond its preordained structures? For us “learning” is about having a direct experience in life, while welcoming uncertainty and indeterminacy. It is about perceiving ourselves not as either autonomous or entangled, but as both in a non-dialectical way.
We try to imagine counter-narratives and spaces for somatic, social and political resistance. We think about what can support a shift towards a framework of learning that refuses to reproduce capitalistic, oppressive, hegemonic and extractive patterns. Some say that one needs to unlearn first to be able to learn. Others believe that what was once known, but has been forgotten, needs to be re-learned.
So, our entry point is recognising the multiple layers of sensing, of reasoning, of knowing. Rather than deciding in advance a learning structure that tells us the right way of facing contradictions, we focus on establishing a stamina of moving together differently. It is about listening without jutting our ideas of ends and means. By beginning with no steps, we trust that we are approaching something substantial. At the beginning it is silent, unknown, odourless and invisible but it materialises upon completion.
This publication includes a recollection of thoughts, encounters, reflections that have been experienced and produced collectively. We try to follow embodied, felt, personal ways to find knowledge (or) for knowledge to find us. Once we do this we let it unveil everyday political and social concerns. We then look for new interpretations contextualised in where we do and do not live.