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'STOP DREAMING' by Phung-Tien Phan at Schiefe Zähne, Berlin

Three’s a Crowd.
 

Sat around a table or musing in a playground one can daydream or have a nightmare. A daytime space of reflection. It can fall into predesignated hours of leisure time, or consciously cadging some hours away from the work day. Tables come in many forms as a workplace, domestic labour or a site for social reproduction of the family; socialised rituals of necessity such as eating dinner, reflecting on the day’s events (or lack thereof). One can dump one’s ontological baggage onto it, smearing it on the table, like a child playing with their food. When coming together to decide which table to furnish your flat with, there are differing possibilities, accor- ding to which tastes your background and social positioning allows you. One can aspire upwards in some Thatcherite idyll, or conversely slum it with some Vintage kleinanzeigen chic. One can choose life, to choose to reproduce your forebears, to escape from it, or even to kill everyone in a display of Oedipal rebellion.

Two’s a company, three’s a crowd. Is four a business? A gmbH?
Excuse me we are having a meeting, could you please turn your phone to silent?

If something wild, untoward or unexpected occurred which disrupted the quotidian day, my mother (and grandmother) would say “Gor blimey steve I was gonna have triplets!” to convey a sense of shock or disbe- lief. Conversely, the utter lack of stimulation in the banality of a humdrum provincial Stadt can bring ennui or shock one into action. Like Jeanne Dielman in Brussels? One can turn to the online space or the tv to turn
 on or tune out. Maybe Tatort? There is a certain ecstasy unique to watching tv, especially foreign tv in a hotel room, when one travels. It gives some fantasy of normalcy, which in turn is facilitated by getting away from it all, ein Ausflug raus aus der Stadt! That desire can also be the desire of going to a playground, letting children play amongst themselves. Going outside. Some ‘me’ time, if you will. After all, my kitchen is not a safe space! Much as “the personal is political” became synonymous with a resignation of imagining a life outside of capi- talism, one form leading outside is to escape, or snap out of social dramaturgical codes.

“You know Doc, when something bad happens, it can leave a trace of itself behind... say like if someone burns toast”, said Dick Hallorann about the Overlook Hotel. Traces like a burning mark in a shirt left by an iron, out of cruel intention or a momentary lapse of reason.

In a world of ever increasingly compressed temporal fragmentations, can one keep up?
 Can one even dream? The artist (ironically) implores you to STOP DREAMING (like the Angry Brigade?) There‘s no place like home. Oh but there’s a circular saw going through it, I wanted to butcher the family like I‘m in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. No I don‘t really. It was all just a joke, see guvnor? I was caught in the line of duty.

– Steven Warwick.

Leave it.
Sort things out.
Stop dreaming.
Clean your desk.
Throw it all away.
Everything?
Yes.
 And the desk?
 Throw it out.
 

– Cynthia Scholten

11.9.21 — 23.10.21

Schiefe Zähne

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