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Text extracts

I want to talk about falling youth (excerpt)


“Falling youth” is dressing in white on the morning of one’s thirtieth year. It’s running through the mud, through the shit, through the waste. It’s finding one of those, crossing the labyrinths of absurdity with him. It’s putting your hand down your pants. It’s trying to look at him and stay clinging to his skin, to his jeans, to his hair, to his truth. It’s like dreaming of finding yourself at one end of the world. It is making love in the awareness of violence, it is becoming violence oneself. It's wanting to stay alive. Fading youth is when all that remains is films, books, archive images. It comes after a youth who cried out. The youth who are falling are people around me. It is a community of big cities, not very visible. It’s a dislocated group of still dreamers, of relentless people. In the context and possibilities that are theirs, ours, they are those who continue to seek fulfillment, to live differently. Youth falling means not wanting to give in. »


I started writing this text in the spring. I imagined him saying, carrying, that we would have to run, shout. I thought of the faces of young people, whom I saw kissing, who at the same time as they united, fell. I saw them covered in oil, black, water, blood running from their backs, from their noses, squirting. You'd have to take off your panties, cover yourself in shit, whatever was lying around. It would be an image of daily perception, of wasted days, there, those who still lift the sheets of desire, in loss, infinitely and relentlessly, who continue to stretch it. We should try to communicate a non-lying, at the same time, a letting go, attempts always repeated not to resign ourselves, to leave the doors open, in this world, as we have inherited it. I wrote this text as a letter to those around me, whom I loved, whom I saw falling.


Then it was summer.


I had seen him rush into a café in the center, throw his glass against a window, look around, leave as he had entered. No one had moved, barely commented on his gesture, as if it was better not to notice it. Standing in the sun, on the corner of an alley, he was smoking. The next day, I saw him again in almost the same place, in my neighborhood. He played the guitar. His presence summoned the inaccessible. His face summoned the extreme, right in the middle of the smile, a broken tooth. Tourists, struck by his beauty and strangeness, threw coins and notes, wanted to talk to him. He said he was Polish. When I wrote the word youth it was his face that I thought of. A very handsome young man, who would like to die before death catches up with him. The youth who falls was this young man carried away in a devouring river. It was his struggle, his exaltations, his anger, his crossings of the desert. On his back was the burden of History and heredity. It was still his radiance and his lucidity, his face caught in the net of reality.


This text on youth was also linked to a journey of extraction, which I had taken. As I walked there appeared to me an immediately engulfed image of something like the life and artistic work of a collection of creative individuals linked in a quest for knowledge of themselves and the world, with beauty in mind. and other possibilities. Everywhere around me, it seemed, there was a common agreement that “it’s over.” It was like a disease, I carried it and everyone around me that I loved. Nothing solid enough seemed to justify putting us together. A devastation by the no had been transmitted to us, like a poison in our disordered psyches, it operated; he would kill us. “No one writes anarchy on the walls anymore. Today all revolts are solitary” Beck had written this sentence in the 80s, it remained unchanged, with the notable difference that from his time today to ours, the word revolt had joined the list of all those impossible to pronounce.


How can we distance ourselves from everyday life, from military thinking, from the greed of the market? What prospects? What path but to be swallowed up in darkness? Wasn’t that what entering into cynicism was like? And at the end of cynicism, what other than assured death? Sarah Kane, with her suicide, had not embodied this idea to the extreme. Ten years later, it seemed to me that we were the same. And after ?


The question of inheritance haunted me. I began to research the history of artistic movements of the mid-20th century. The moments of extraordinary gatherings, which took place particularly in the 50s and 60s, fascinated me. I viewed these pre-revolutionary demonstrations as extraordinary acts. I analyzed this story as the gradual formation of a circle. At the end of the 1960s, it made a splash by expanding in an unthinkable and insane way. Then from that same moment, this circle continued to disintegrate. Today, as after a rampage, only isolated aggregates remained. They remained the faces of those (ours) falling. We were linked to this history, our ways of being and thinking came from it. Destroy She Said (1969), the film by Marguerite Duras seemed like a turning point to me. In a last revolutionary breath, she dared to evoke hope again through the figure of an adolescent, animated by a force of unconditioned love. She and the small group around her represented those destroyed inside, Blanchot had written on this subject. “But you have to love to destroy,” the latter added.


In 1977, however, almost ten years later, the destruction no longer seemed to be encumbered with love or hope, but rather resoundingly embodied in the wave of punk music, notably through the emblematic figure of Jonny Rotten, the leader of the Sex Pistols. This year certainly marked a turning point in terms of dismantling. The Devil Probably, Robert Bresson's film, seemed to have precisely this theme as its target. Its main hero was a young man, whom the filmmaker defined as “lucid”. In full awareness of living in the time of an action of planetary destruction, going hand in hand with the disappearance of precious key words linked to desire and vectors of perspectives (changes, progress, resolutions, healing) – in particular the words Revolution, Love, God , Friend, Doctor… -, the young man committed suicide. In 1978, Fassbinder made a film called Despair. “A form of hidden censorship,” he said, wanted to destroy individual utopias. Julian Beck spoke of the gas of despair and the end of utopia in itself. He spoke of “betrayal of oneself in the name of survival.” Survival led to a flashback, he explained. In-depth research on the meaning of life, of being, of presence in the world, which had animated the extraordinary forms of gathering in the 50s and 60s, was replaced by the reassuring certainties of ostentatious entertainment under the control of power. and money. “The plague of industrial corporatism afflicts the theater in the same way as any other human enterprise. It is the measure of profit that creeps in, the latter wrote in his diary. Next to Mammon, the God of the rich, and Moloch, the god of Power, there is now a great Mobble. Mobble is a repulsive caricature of the sacred human face. The fact is, he continued, that the Power of Moloch and the Money of Mammon meet in Mobble. The manipulations of these two entities, Stupidity and Money create Power; the manipulation of Power and stupidity creates Money, Money and power creates stupidity. A triple image of God came of age in the twentieth century, Mobble took power[1]. » These ideas, he added again in 1983, were expressed in particular in the way in which theater festivals developed. “Famous and noble origin,” he wrote, “then the festival becomes a supermarket of culture.” “I want to talk about falling youth,” I began to write a few months later. “I want to talk about my generationI want to talk about a state of impossibility, they say nowI want to talk about what is missingHow concrete it isFaces that make you want to loveI want to talk about the inability to find around what to bring us togetherI want to talk about usIn the dark, in nothing, exhausted (…)”


This project on youth, I understood, would become generic. It would link various texts that I wrote in very different forms, all as if crossed and united by a wild, unclassifiable voice, which I defined as dramatic, in the sense of “to bear”.


I imagined young people in a trance, in love with purity. I saw them as emergences, forces in presence. Long-haired girls pregnant with dreams who ran in the blood and excrement of society, boys addicted to music and images, who drowned in the chaos of a presence in the world deprived of dignity. I saw them as vectors of energy, consuming themselves in the fire of those who only burn with real encounters. Those, driven by an insatiable desire to live, who struggle in landscapes of death received as an inheritance. Those incompatible to the point of unbearability, suicides of a given time, both dead from the start and indestructible. I saw bodies and faces dancing over the corpses. I wanted them to talk. I heard a word without veils, springing from within which would emerge like breaches or bombs, of consciousness and sensitivity, in an order of closed doors, restricted and boring, like a language of primordial necessities. I imagined rebellious figures in search of truth, in whom speaking, acting and loving meet in the dazzling and devastating brilliance of the same stroke.


Stephanie Lupo






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