THIS TEXT OFFERS A PACT. Not the kind of pact that is made in the opera “Der Freischütz” (The Marksman) and that will inevitably lead to death and destruction. More a kind of pact that keeps the audience watching the opera until the end, fearing that there is no escape from the cruel German legend, but also feeling the pleasure of assisting to the opera until its cruel end.
THIS IS A PACT ABOUT PLEASURE. What else could it be about? There is no money or fame involved. Even a proofreader is missing to edit these words, written during a rainy evening in a Berlin apartment. This is just Word’s auto-correction program, me… and a strange voice in my head, telling me to
PASS THIS ON
MEMORIES OF A STORYTELLER
I don’t know if I already passed on this link to you:
Don’t worry; it is not a virus, though it might become contagious. Let me explain better: When I watched this video colleagues had passed on to me some time ago I felt a certain danger, a growing tension between the singer and the audience. I was to Finland a couple of times and I know these kind of community centres, that offer cultural divertissement in isolated countryside places. I once saw a drag queen performing in a back street in the city of Tampere, and I also got into trouble in another back street, when walking through in the company of an Argentinean colleague with long black hair.
So I thought: This constellation in the beginning of the video does not predict a lucky ending at all. Even when the first man starts to dance, it looks more like a kind of provocation. “Is he willing? Will he play?” asks the singer, and then suddenly the scene takes off to another place, to an old fairy tale that goes like this: Two brothers follow the spell of a strange woman to hidden place deep in the forest. The brothers lead the whole village to the strange woman’s place, where young and old lose their caution when listening to the woman’s seductive songs. They follow her invitation and start to dance; they lose themselves in their movements and in their dreams. They become somebody else. The only one, who does not enter the dance, but watches from the margin, is the brothers’ sister, who gave her voice to the woman in exchange for the promise of fame and fortune for her family. Silently, unable to speak, for her tongue belongs to somebody else now, with her eyes wide open, she keeps watching.
MEMORIES OF A SORCERER
It is the fascination of a multiplicity inside that draws one to the edge of a forest to witness the pack (of wolves, of witches, of witnesses of a ritual) and its shepherd, its leader or singer or sorcerer. Unnatural participation, as Deleuze and Guattari call it, a propagation by epidemic, by contagion. (Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus) There is always someone on the edge inviting you to make an alliance, to enter a pact. Someone defined by the liminal position of being inside and outside the pack, of slipping into it (slipping into a tune, a costume, a voice, a gender). It is a dynamic position, a movement marking the borderline of the pack, into which the human passes or inn which his or her becoming takes place, by contagion (again: Deleuze & Guattari).
In this sense, the singer does not only invite the brothers to play or to dance, but also to bring along with them the human group he has a second alliance with: the audience in the video who are watching the two dancers, just as the singer has watched them dance before (Oh, what a dance). Alongside with this group enters another group: the YouTube audience, a group most unlikely to spend time together in a community centre up north, who are caught in watching a dance that comes as a surprise. What are they doing there? How did they come together, if not secretly and always on the fringe?
You can say that this is just a summer hit of Club music, produced by Karin and Olof Dreijer aka The Knife, who appear in the video as the dancing man and the young woman in the last shot. That the drag performer Rickard Engfors, who mimes the playback version of the song “Pass this on”, simply sets up a performance by putting on the music and taking the fake microphone. A drag show. A fake song. A video online.
I say that this video is an open invitation to a pact, to an affinity with politics that are neither those of the family nor of religion nor of the State.
This video may be contagious.
Feel free to PASS THIS ON.