Steve Roggenbuck, My Life is Going to be Over, 2016 

Opening Ceremony of Closing Time

There has always been a twisted form of a relay race among generations. We inevitably run in zig zags in intentionally opposing directions. Different paces, accelerations and escalations, occasional retreats and sometimes even abdications make the race seem both urgent and futile. The in-between gaps are filled with anxious anticipation of admittance that each one of us is other, not the same. We carefully curate our X, Y or Z attributes to show the world our shiny newness. And then those attributes fail to serve their purpose. As it turns out, objects really do have agency and intersubjectivity eventually creeps in through intertextuality. In the long run, we all get in on the joke, unwillingly smirking to each other as we pass on the torch of self-referential story-making. 

It is an inalienable human right, as most vices are, to construct stories in retrospect. Picking up the thread from the most convenient point in time to start making a kind of metaphysical sense of what has transpired. A way to assume that an abstract, moralistic higher power, unbeknownst to you, was gently guiding you along your path all along. A trajectory not towards what you desired, but what you needed. It is always an internalized story of inescapable evolution. A fable perforated by the lessons learned on your way to the inevitability of the state in which you currently are. But not every lesson is meant to be learned, nor is every lesson worth the pain that it entails.

How will we inscribe the pandemic in the construction of our narrative identity? Will we rationalize it? Will we grant it a principal role in our fate? Will it acquire the redemptive meaning of suffering? Or will we ascribe to it our new-found respect for life and others? Will it forever be the phenomenon that re-introduced us to our humanity? Or will it be the one that finally proves otherwise? Will we ever resist the urge to create stories that line the grotesque with silver? Perhaps not. But what the future holds for sure is the ringing effect of the ultimate question: 

Did you have a good world when you died?

And the deafening silence that will be our reply. 

Evita Tsokanta