my shadow used to have a density
these are thoughts born from exceptional days.
my shadow used to have a density focuses around the relationship that mankind has developed with technology, fuelled by perpetual dissatisfaction, by a desire for more, for better, for lighter, for faster, for newer. it is a reflection around mass production, around how our longing for ‘more of the same’ feeds an unsustainable order of addiction and exploitation of human and earthly resources.
along this ‘unstoppable’ chain of demand and supply some get lost, some feel tired and misunderstood, some feel powerful, others powerless, abused, most of us trapped, somehow addicted, a bunch would say confused, alienated and overwhelmed. after weeks of trying to dissect, to dig deeper, to get our heads around it, looking for answers in philosophy, technology and politics, an unknown virus silently started to spread throughout countries and continents, strangely enough, mostly affecting ‘developed’ ones. it happened fast, turning skepticism and light-hearted approaches into doubts, nevers into perhaps, possiblys into definitelys. some tried to ‘rebel’. signs were hung in front of clubs : ’fuck corona, party time’. the day afterwards, the care sector screaming even louder: ‘we are seeing colleagues and patients passing away at an unprecedented rate, is it such a sacrifice to temporarily avoid going to pubs and restaurants?’. not long afterwards public places were indeed shut down. some tried to resist. let’s hang out. let’s have dinners. let’s organise alterna-tive events. day by day one more restriction. day by day dozens more warnings. day by day hundreds more affected.
some that had rebelled first decided to surrender now. others had already surrendered. many struggled with their empty agendas. they tried to fill them up again, preferably ‘asap’. solidarity spread.
we had to stop. everybody had to stop.
the art panicked. the horeca panicked. the transport panicked. the education panicked. the stock exchange panicked. tourists were gone. flights were cancelled. cities were quiet. supermarkets assaulted. hospitals overwhelmed. pharmacies stripped down.
in the meantime the air was cleaner than ever. waters hadn’t been so spotless in ages. spring was coming, flowers and trees started to wake up. rain and clouds began to take off.
in these remarkable days of concern mixed with confusion, anxiety blended with wonder, doubts with re-flection, questions with silence, we couldn’t help noticing that while mankind was fighting for their breath, the lungs of our streets, our cities, our countries, our planet, could finally rest.
while we in my shadow used to have a density were trying to performatively express the need for us to stop, to take a step back, to find a moment of stillness, to revenge some time for reflection, suddenly everything and everybody was forced to do that, to observe in silence, to think of alternatives.
as clear as these spring skies and unpolluted cities’ air, our own contradictions manifested themselves in front of our faces. why are we trying to go on? didn’t we preach for a slowing down? weren’t we the ones speaking out that earth needed a break? weren’t we willing to prioritise collective interests to our own whims?
slowly but surely a deeper awareness started to settle.
we couldn’t help admitting that despite all our personal disappointments and the serious conditions that some people are undergoing these days, a part of us actually began to cherish. a part of us was encouraged to think that change is possible. where art didn’t manage this time, something else took over. fair enough. in the end this is the one and only purpose of what we are trying to do with our work. to create space for reflection. for reflecting together. moments of slowing down. opportunities for collective questioning. possibly for rethink-ing, reconsidering, exploring alternatives.
this event reminded us that not the product itself but the message is what matters in the end.
this time something else took over. perhaps more efficiently than our performance could have done. without forgetting to take care, let us use this opportunity to reconsider our norms and to contemplate transfor-mation.
as soon as the time will allow it no time for commas will go on speaking out, sharing, opening dialogues, questioning together. but for now we will stay still. step back. think. embrace the pause. embrace the silence.
looking forward to seeing you live soon,
best wishes for now,
team no time for commas
francesca, job, anna, gerben, charlotte, femke, elowise, loes, vera, manuel
 Inspiration sources:
Mark Fisher: Capital realism; Andre Lepecki: Singularities; Byung Chul-Han: Transparent Society; Jonathan Crary: 24/7 Late capital-ism and the end of sleep; Tristan Garcia: The life intense - a modern obsession; Guy Debord: The society of the spectacle; Martin Welton: Dark Visions; Tim Ingold: Bringing things to life; Shoshana Zuboff: The age of surveillance capitalism; Michael Marter: Being Dumped; Mark Dummett: This is what we die for; Chris Jordan: Intolerable Beauty; Studio Drift: Materialism.