In a greater perspective

Skogen Yearbook 2013

Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt

In a greater perspective, viruses clean up. It is healthy to have the flue once a year: letting go of old cells to make space for new growth. And this on a demographic level: quick cleaning. These diseases primarily attack sick people, weak people, like children and elders. It might even solve the question of public pension.

Distribution of viruses, through an apple = Snow White in every household. Snow White in the school. Snow White in the office. Snow White in public transportation. International Snow White in international public transportation. Every disaster has it’s own female name.

In a greater perspective, nuclear disasters have something in common with anthroposophist thinking. After a nuclear disaster a part of the earth remains untouched for centuries, left alone it begins a process of regeneration . You leave the nature on it’s own for a while. You divide time in fours. One fourth of the time, the land lies fallow, like in old farming. In the coming anthroposophy you do not calculate four months, but four thousand years. The land lies still for four hundred years. Consider land as savings for future generations. We exploit the ground. The ground where we live seems deserted. But in four thousand years the time has come to resettle exactly on this ground. New animals will grow. Researchers will improve their knowledge about immunity. The insects, for example, are immune. The radiation will not change them. In a greater perspective, the immune genes can be implanted in humans. And then a nuclear disaster is no threat anymore.

New generations of degenerated children will be born. For a while we cannot select and control everything. Prenatal tests seem irrelevant. And everybody knows. Mutation becomes a source of inspiration. How far can we mutate? What is a body? What and who define normality these days? What is a normal new born? Normality: those days are over.

In the children’s book you read about a power plant exploding. All families try to flee. It is hectic. Adults overrun children. They just want to get away. Everyone waits in line. They do not get any further. They trample each other to the ground. Then there are these two children: they flee into the yellow field of rape. And then it starts to rain.

In a greater perspective, earthquakes establish fundamental aesthetic experience. Without earthquakes, how could we employ the metaphor of being shaken and loosing ground? Earthquakes train sensitivity toward the surroundings. Earthquakes shape our empathy with non-human beings. Mountains are fragile. The life of a mountain is precarious. A new perception of nature will flourish with every earthquake. A new romanticism. And new models of living together will appear. You rediscover your neighbours. Enough about you. Enough about family as we know it. Solidarity. Solidarity beyond family. New families emerge: 4 adults, 17 kids. Maybe this will give rise to new political structures of organization.

In a greater perspective, I prefer quick disasters where everybody dies fast. That seems less unfair. Duration is the worst.

I believe future disasters lie in the disturbance of intelligent electricity supply, in the so-called smart grid.

When the electricity fails in a hospital, this is not an incidence. Future intended disasters made by humans are invisible and in no way connected to climate change. Not that these kinds of intended disasters will replace the old disasters. We just see more.

I am in a flood in New York and I cannot hold on to my newborn daughter. I see her swim away down Broadway. There is no music playing. Or my son eats one of those Snow White-apples and I hold him in my arms and watch him die. In a greater perspective, I prefer a terror attack where an airplane crashes. Everybody is hit. It happens fast. And if you’re lucky, you were just taking a nap.

After the encounter at Skogen in the frame “Kriegstheater”, Eva Meyer-Keller and Sybille Müller invited Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt in for a re-working of the text for the performance ”Cooking Catastrophes” (2011). The new version of “Cooking Catastrophes” was premiered at HAU Berlin in January 2014. This text is a conglomeration of the text work, edited for Skogens yearbook and a reading audience.

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