This is difficult

This is difficult to write about because the nineties cleanly bracket my twenties.

I was a curator then, a new entity in a particular sense, and writing – corresponding to the form of the work – was part of my adopted duty of care.

Life is a matter of constant adoption and re-adoption.

Then, we called each other on the phone and arranged to meet.

The only people with mobile phones were in advertising, film, or drug dealers.

Email attachments did not come in until late in the decade.

People did not customarily hug each other upon meeting or leaving.

Much of my time was spent not-quite-consciously trying to work out a language for existing in an intensely neoliberalising system.

It was clear we were in a low-rent patriarchal and post-colonial place, but it was hard to talk about.

An aesthetics of precarity was summoned by a way of life.

Our criticality felt very immature, but vital. Representation was suspect. Indeterminancy, complexity were not.

The image became political. Some read theory and radical literature long and hard and joyously. Film was electric.

All our decisions were based on what was interesting at the expense of a stability we did not value.

A great many para-chemical risks were taken with bodies, minds and spirits. With selves, relationships, subjectivity, movement, language – real and para-chemistry.

Emotions came off badly but no one wanted to know about it.

Dissonance, derangement, dilating sense. Dissensuality needs teeth.

‘Do you like your teeth?’ I was asked at the end of the decade

Being present at the point when things emerge requires constant movement.

It was not a nice time. But I still admire the enthusiasms that flared between us. Not that many would know what they are now.