Sanne Kabalt

the testing of reality

Sanne Kabalt

*

 

I ask you to move around

when I say “low” you crouch to the ground

stay there for a while, eyes closed

I then lower a blanket over one of you

tell you to open all eyes

it is up to the rest of you to say

who is missing

 

you move around

 

low

open all eyes

who is missing

move

 

low

open all eyes

move

 

low

open all eyes

move

 

*

 

while I am here in this room with you

does my house exist?

nobody is watching my table, my bed, my books, my plants

I don’t see it - nobody sees it at this moment

the door is locked

or

there is no door

 

*

 

the day after

the daughter said

photographs of her mother

had changed

 

a photograph of the living:

a (false) assumption that after this photograph, you can take another, and another, and another, and another, and another

 

a photograph of the no longer living:

knowing that’s all.

 

*

 

in each life occurs a dwindling of things you haven’t seen

 

once you have seen them

you cannot un-see them

 

*

 

they say

darkness falls

 

it rises

 

also:

 

true dark is not the darkroom, which is contaminated by red

it is not the dark room

it is the small room where you roll the film into the development tank

 

*

 

what if

dead/alive

reality/fiction

light/dark

visible/invisible

are not contradictions?

 

*

 

years ago

I attempted to photograph the way my father slips from my mind

and returns from the depths

 

using a man as a surrogate for my father

obscuring the man himself

 

*

 

22 sun on sand or snow

16 sun, sharp shadow

11 hazy sun, soft shadow

8 clouds, barely visible shadow

5.6 shade, no shadow

4 sunset, open shade, no shadow

 

*

 

a man

barely visible, so,

technically, he could be any man

he is not

 

*

 

photographic attraction

you are strongly attracted to some one in an all consuming way; you have to photograph that person, a sunken cheek, a sloping shoulder, a type of hair, you have to photograph that person, a glimmer of a pain, or something hopeful in the way this person walks - it’s not nameable, you have to photograph that person

it’s a desire crossing what you might and might not, should and should not, you have to

 

*

 

- did you see snakes before he died?

~ no

- maybe it’s your father?

~ no

   we had a deal

   he’d be a black panther

- but… in Europe…

~ no

 

*

 

the mourner goes through phases of ‘the testing of reality’ Klein writes

 

and then

reality passes its verdict – that the object no longer exists – upon each single one of the memories and hopes through which the libido was attached to the lost object

 

what if you mourn some one who is still here

convince yourself

‘the testing of fiction’

 

fiction passes its verdict - that the object no longer exists – upon each single one of the memories and hopes through which the libido was attached to the lost object

 

*

 

Protect your face.

Offer your neck.

Stay calm.

Stay put.

Lay as close to the ground as possible.

Walk backwards slowly.

Blink.

Take in as many details as you can.

Don’t turn your back.

Curl up into a ball.

Do not touch.

Do not run.

Take of your shirt and hold it above your head.

Swallow.

 

*

This text was read in a performance for The Kitchen Not the Restaurant as part of DAI Roaming Academy, September 2017, Arnhem, NL.

All words by Sanne Kabalt, except for one sentence by Melanie Klein, as referred to in the text.