Our approach to normality

Sat., January 29 2022

– tomorrow’s event will not take place

Message to guests who have registered for the open Lab on 1/29/22:

Our approach to normality – tomorrow’s event will not take place

Dear Guests,

As the metabolism collective, we have been intensively and transdisciplinarily engaged with normality this week – reading utopias of another world, analyzing the tension between normality as a hold and as a constraint, questioning third places in public space as a micro-utopian horizon of possibility, and examining normality as catastrophe. Gently, we also let the hottest iron on normality into our research space: the often named “new normality” uncertainty regarding Covid-19 regulations and how to deal with it in the “somehow panting on” culture scene.
For two years now, we as artists have been at the mercy of massive uncertainties and have been trying to adjust to this new and ever-changing normality for just as long. For the most part, this process of adapting to an ever-changing normality is not addressed much in public – and one simply wears a mask, moves the publication to Zoom, introduces new border regimes and thus excludes a part of the population or makes other – little artistically and aesthetically reflected or incorporated – compromises with the currently dominating conditions. An inclusive space is not the same if everyone has to wear masks (as current state policies dictate), nor is a performance or lecture the same if it is followed across the smooth surface of a display.
Where should we not address these big questions of our digitally pandemic times if not in our research context, which has chosen normality as its primary focus even before the pandemic? We had a controversial, exhausting, but at the same time very respectful and productive discussion of how to deal with this normality of covid regulia perpetuating itself as a state of exception. We no longer wanted to “pretend” and simply hold our event as if there were no implications for the social and aesthetic experiences that this pandemic situation has on cultural events.
We were ultimately unable to reach consensus over the course of the work week on a formal solution to the question of how to coherently share the results of our work process with an audience under existing regulations. The current Covid regulations, no matter what one’s political position on them, are a cultural-political phenomenon that is too often swept under the table. We want to address this phenomenon and our first step is a failure to do so. We believe that failure is a satisfying solution and part of addressing the problem of the “new normal” – and a first step towards a productive and satisfying way of dealing with a world marked by various disasters as normality. With this decision, we want to open a process that enables and fuels adaptation, compromise, and reinvention. We are therefore taking a step back as a first step. In the fall, at the 2nd part of the lab on normality, we will explore and reflect on further normalities.

We look forward to seeing you again in the fall and send you a link to the reading (starting on p 27) we engaged with. bolobolo.pdf

Thank you for your understanding
The Metabolism-Collectiv

Vienna, 28th of January, 2022