Issue 1: Inaugural Issue

A Letter to Whom

Nathan Witt

Why? Why are you commissioning these? What is their relevance to Palestine and your work? I know there is a wandering aspect and that you stumbled into Lebanon. That the critical framework is absent and is not as compelling for you as it was in Palestine where you were just interested in people (mainly orthodox religion) who have a long history—like conceptualists—of not trusting the material. I’m sick of people talking about that place anyway, especially those preachy sanctimonious types like me who are not doing anything but who hide from their guilt and the paranoia of the judgement of an aberrant other. I am not exempt from climbing up to that pulpit and ranting at people from my laptop with ten tabs open, six programs and my RAM creaking from Adobe and Microsoft products constantly updating themselves. Of having to make endlessly banal decisions about not replying to your emails too slowly in case it looks like I don’t give a shit or too quickly I’m too desperate. Or those messages filled with rage where I contemplate which arts-professional who has fucked me over I would choose to go to court or jail for assaulting. I have to delete one of those messages every week and stay silent to motivate myself; to bury that rage, to get back to the work I cannot find, to not incriminate myself any further in the mess that I have apparently made. The programmers exonerate themselves nicely with that one. Why on earth would I want to talk with you anyway when you don’t reply? We cannot talk. When I crawl into your space I am fucking spent from talking to myself and terrified in what way I am going to have to read your mind to realize something that cannot be. There was never anything other than just a desire to stay in the Middle East. It’s as good a place as any and I don’t have anywhere else to go. I don’t have a home, or a studio. I’m a fucking 39 year-old loser douche-bag who has been wandering around Lebanon and Palestine in between sleeping on his mother’s sofa bed in her living room with rising damp. You stupidly think I come to Lebanon because I am some kind of thrill seeker, attracted to conflict? This is not programming or curating. It might be the life of an idiot stumbling around in the dark but it fucking well does not want to be defined. By anyone. Neither does it need to be. Go tell that to those poor fictitious mute bastards inhabiting your space who you cannot get rid of.
Nothing is not critical. Nothing can not be ontological. I am not allowed to show what I cannot make. I might as well say that I haven’t made the work, or any work. You know this is my position and you still insist that I talk about the work I cannot make and if I don’t? I can expect a lecture on the notion of responsibility, thanks but no thanks. I’ve already been naming too much for nobody/ no body. I have a pile of shredded paper in a bucket of bleached water right now, ready to be pulped and called Judgement. Ready because I read an article about Stasi agents who were undone by the German Federal Republic by their cheap paper shredders.
Too much effort for an audience who has nothing to say and I am fine with that, except offering me this childishly weak hackneyed metaphor of: everything in the world. Everything of equally diminishing value. Everything that has already been stolen and bled dry by everyone else. You always refer me to people and its fucking laughable. I could set a watch by it and I am definitely not grateful or part of what you tell me over and over and over again is the wider
world. You’ll sign my best friend if they are more popular and it has nothing to do with being a nice person, or making good work, or having good ideas. “Do you really think that because you have a good idea that you own it? Being nice is weak, laboursome. You don’t want to talk. We’re too busy. Fuck existentialism. Good work is subjective. Good work can be spun.”
I want to be part of that? I don’t have to say I am part of anything and I will fucking write that on my grave. Forgive me when I am not consumed by rage I want to be learning, so stop fucking talking at me. How about you just shut the fuck up and stop giving me that spiritual bullshit about participation being more important just because there are so many poor bastards in the world who need helping? Why don’t you admit it; that you are a clerk doing endless charity work and you hate it? I need fucking help and I always will because I am working for you, who I don’t trust, I cannot trust. You, who it is my job not to trust so you carry on saying I am creating awareness towards these problems because you know I will keep making the same fucking mistakes whilst you do whatever it is the hell you do. I am a fucking recidivist interloper in your gallery and you fucking well know that. Weigh that up.