And the war has only just begun (Et la guerre est à peine commencée)

November 26, 2012

2001 Film by The Imaginary Party aka Tiqqun, with accompanying script below.

SCRIPT:
[download pdf]

to the lost children:

[Long sequence of multiple people dining at a cafe sitting on the same bar stool facing the street through a diner window. Each person is filmed from outside, unaware of the cameraperson.]

Voice 1 (masculine):

The great social body of Empire, the great big social body of Empire, which is like an enormous round jellyfish beached on all the roundness of the earth… …is implanted with electrodes.

Hundreds, thousands… such an unbelievable number of electrodes, and such a variety of different types that they don’t even seem like electrodes. There’s the TV electrode, of course, but there’s also the money electrode, the pharmaceutical electrode, and the Jeune-Fille electrode. With those thousands and millions of electrodes, so many kinds that I can’t even count them, they manage the dull encephalogram of the imperial metropolis. It’s through these mostly imperceptible channels, that they transmit, second by second, the information, the mental states, the affects and the counter-affects that prolong our universal sleep. Not to mention all the receptors that are attached to the electrodes. The journalists, sociologists, cops, intellectuals, professors and other agents who… incomprehensibly…  have been delegated with the task of supervising the activity of the electrodes.

It’s no accident that at a precise moment they transmit either a feeling of terror, of contentment, or of menace. It’s advisable to maintain the population a certain level of anxiety, in order to preserve the general availability to regression, the taste for dependence. No one must free herself from this infantile position of satisfied or quarrelsome passivity, from the numb comfort or the groaning complaints that produce the nasty drone of the imperial incubator. They say, “the time of heroes is over.” hoping to bury along with it all forms of heroism.

[sound from protest]

The sleep of our era is not a good sleep that provides rest. It’s an anxious sleep that leaves you feeling even more worn out, desiring only to go back to sleep again, to escape a little longer this irritating reality. There is a narcosis that begs for an even deeper narcosis. Those who, by luck or misfortune, awake from the prescribed sleep, come into this world as lost children. Where are words, where is the house, where are my ancestors, where are my loves and who are my friends? There are none, my child. Everything has to be built. You must build the language that you will live in. You must build the house where you’ll no longer be alone. You must find the ancestors who will make you more free, and you must invent the new sentimental education through which, once again, you will love. And all of this you must build it upon the general hostility because those who wake up are the nightmare of those who still sleep.

Text frame: suppression always comes from elsewhere

[Images of smoking World Trade Center towers in NYC on 9/11]

Here reigns the rule of non-action which expresses itself thus: the fruitfulness of true action lies within itself. I could put it another way, I could say: True action is not a project that you accomplish, but a process to which you abandon yourself. Whoever acts today, acts as a lost child. Wandering governs this abandon.  We wander.

[Model walks the runway, superimposed over image of smoking twin towers.

We wander among the ruins of civilization. And precisely because it is in ruins, this civilization, there is no need to confront it. It really is a strange war that we’ve entered into, and that requires the production of worlds and languages, the opening of places, the building of homes,

[Cut to close up of smoking twin towers]

in the midst of a disaster.

[Camera zooms out, first tower falls]

There is this old notion, Bolshevik and a little chilly for sure: building the Party. I believe that our present war is about building the Party, or rather; it’s about giving this deserted fiction a new content. We talk, we lick each other, we make a film, a party, a riot, we meet a friend, we share a meal, a bed, we love, in other words, we build the Party. Fictions are serious things; we need fiction to believe in the reality we’re living.

[Camera cuts to second tower falling rapidly]

The Party is the central fiction, the one that tells the war of our time.

[Young woman reads a magazine]

In the last centuries of the Roman Empire, everything was similarly worn-out. Bodies were tired, the gods were dying, and presence was in crisis. From every corner of a world in exile, resounded the great refrain: “Let’s be done with this.” The end of a civilization called for a new beginning. Wandering relieved the feeling of being a stranger everywhere. It was necessary to remove oneself

[Close up of popular/generic women's magazine cover]

from this business of civilization.

And while the infamous sects were experimenting with unique forms of communism, some looked to solitude for the necessary exodus.

[Fallen but still smoking twin towers]

They were called the Monachois, “the solitaries,” the “only ones.” They settled alone in the desert, miles from Alexandria,

[Close-up and thus abstracted porn filmed from a television screen superimposed over fallen twin towers]

and soon they were so many, these solitaries, these deserters,

[Fallen but still smoking twin towers with audio from porn]

that they had to invent rules for collective life; and the influence of Christian ascetism gave rise to the first monasteries.

Text frame: BUT FOR THE WITCH, ELSEWHERE IS RIGHT HERE

We can say that the first monasteries produced a civilization even more appalling than the previous one. Nevertheless, a civilization was created. This is to defend and illustrate the strategic value of “offensive retreat.” In the art of war, it is sometimes better to produce places and friendships than weapons and shields.

[Young woman reading a magazine]

Whoever goes into exile, exiles, the stranger who leaves takes with him the inhabitable city.

[Fallen but still smoking twin towers]
[Majestic music in background]

[Close-up of advertisement with woman showing her abdomen]

Text frame: This could only be the end of the world … onward!

[Music fades]

[Woman in cafe reads the New York Times]

Fathers were the first to disappear. They went to the factory, to the office. Then the mothers,

[Crowd watches a money in circus act / Women in cafe / circus monkey / Man in cafe]

they went to the factory, to the office. And each time, it wasn’t a father or a mother who disappeared; it was a symbolic order, a world. The world of the fathers vanished first, then that of the mothers,

[Ducklings follow faux 'mother' duck while on display]

…the symbolic order of the mother that nothing until then had managed to shake. And this loss was so incalculable,

[Woman in cafe]

and the mourning so total, that no one can agree to go through it. Empire is this desire for a neo-matriarchy which would automatically take over for a dead patriarchy.

[Trashed bedroom with 'Fight Kapital' painted on the wall / burning newspaper]

There is no revolt more absolute than the one that defies this benevolent domination, this warm power, this motherly embrace.

[Photograph of masked protestor in all black]

The lost children are the orphans of all known orders. So lucky are the orphans, the chaos of the world belongs to them. You cry over all that you’ve lost. Indeed, we’ve lost everything. But look around us: we’ve gained brothers and sisters, so many brothers and sisters. Now, only nostalgia separates us… from the unknown.

You go, you are lost. The measure of your value is nowhere to be found. You go, and you don’t know who you are. But this ignorance is a blessing. And you are without value, like the first man. Wander the roads… If you weren’t so lost, you wouldn’t be so destined for encounters.

[Photograph of masked protestor throwing a stone and dozens of militants in the street]

Let’s go away… it’s high time. But please, let’s go together. Look at our gestures, the rising grace within our gestures; Look at our abandon, how beautiful it is that nothing catches us. Look at our bodies, how fluidly they mix. How long it’s been since such free gestures descended on the world.

[Photographs of trashed buildings after protest]

But you know… there are still walls against our communism. There are walls within and between us, that continue to divide us. We’re still not done with this world. There’s still jealousy, stupidity, the desire to be someone, to be recognized, the desire to be worth something,

[Old photograph of men looking out of plane upon a city below]

and worse, the need for authority. These are the ruins the old world has left within us, and which remain to be demolished. Under certain lights, our fall sometimes feels like a decline.

[Screen goes to black]

Where are we going?

[Woman filmed through window of a department store, continues to shop, plays with useless toy]

There are the Cathares who hate husbands even more than lovers. There are the Gnostics who find more charm in the orgy than in solitary coupling. There is the Italian bishop in the 15th century who was excommunicated for his belief that any woman refusing her body to a man who asked for it in the name of charity … was a sinner. There are the Begards and the Beguines who live in collective houses and who devoted their extreme idleness to visiting each other. There are the Spirituals who insist that for the perfect ones, sin no longer exists; they call each other brothers and sisters, and their Valentines Day is not a celebration of the couple, but a day when the married woman can go with whomever she wants.

[Man bench-presses woman playfully with friends]

Okay… now, there is the metropolis. Appropriating what can’t be appropriated, pretending to ignore perdition, playing the man, the woman, the husband, the lover… playing the couple …keeping busy. Accommodating oneself with the utmost seriousness to the most painful of infantilisms. Forgetting… in a debauchery of feelings, the cynicism to which life in the metropolis condemns us. And talking about love… again and forever, after so many breakups. Those who say that another world is possible, and who don’t bring with them a sentimental education other than that of novels and television deserve to be spat in the face.

Text frame: ATTAC sucks!

[Filmed television screen with young people street fighting]

Voice 2 (feminine):

The most abject state I know is the state of being in love. Between loving and being in love, there is the difference of an assumed destiny and an endured condition.

[Filmed television screen with young couple making out]

Voice 1 (masculine):

The question is to know whether communism is collective property

[Filmed television screen with young people street fighting]

or absence of property.

[Filmed television screen with young couple making out / chaos in streets, man pulls cop off his horse. These two scenes alternate and repeat for several sequences.]

And then, to know what absence of property is. For us, communism is putting-in-common, free use. We decide to put in common a number of our possessions. What we do is fill the outer form of property with a content that sabotages it, In other words, absolute sharing between friends. What’s important here is not the shared object, but its contingent mode, which is always to be built.

[Famous scene in Titanic in which characters stand on the front of boat and 'fly']

Voice 2 (feminine):

The orgy only proves this: that sexuality is nothing, nothing but a certain distance between bodies.

[Titanic continues with protest and punk audio footage]

Text frame: There is no “transition to communism.” Transition is the category of communism, of communism as EXPERIMENTATION.

Voice 1 (masculine):

[Black screen with casual background noise of people chattering]

If I had to define the old world, I’d say: the old world is a certain way of linking affects and gestures, affects to words. It is a certain kind of sentimental education. And we really don’t want it anymore.

If I had to define the Orgy I’d say:

[Shaking camera movement outdoors, presumably someone running in the streets]

the orgy is what happens whenever someone disturbs these links between affects and gestures, between affects and words, …and others follow.

[Image of computer screen with the TIQQUN text "This is not a Program" being edited in layout software, document is scrolled through]

Voice 2 (feminine):

We try to extract from love all possession, all identification in order to be able to love…

Voice 1 (masculine)

In every situation there’s a certain distance between bodies. Not a spatial distance, but an ethical distance. It’s the difference between Life-Forms. The idea of love, of intimacy, and all that stuff, was invented so we could no longer assume this distance, no longer play with it.

[Man playfully bench-pressing woman with friends superimposed over "This is not a Program" document. Woman falls, they playfully roll around together on the floor]

To prevent bodies from dancing, and elaborating an art of distances. Because every distance is a proximity, and every proximity is still a distance.

[Image of computer screen with the TIQQUN text "This is not a Program" being edited in layout software, document is scrolled through]

Voice 2 (feminine):

 

A certain idea of play, combined with the certainty that we’re building the Party, puts us at an equal distance from both the couple and a sordid liberalism.

[Friends in bedroom chat]

Voice 1 (masculine):

You see, the Party, it’s bodies that circulate it’s places… and it’s bodies circulating.

[Return to people dining at a cafe in the same bar stool facing the street against the storefront window. Each person is filmed from outside, unaware of the cameraperson.]

Voice 2 (feminine):

Remember, it’s in the depths of separation that we found communism. There was nothing left to share but we wanted to share.

Voice 1 (masculine):

If you want, I’d really like to build the party with you… well… if you’re free.

One Response to “And the war has only just begun (Et la guerre est à peine commencée)”

  1. n said

    it says SUPERCESSION always comes from elsewhere…

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