Consider for a moment nation-building as an act of reproduction, a sort of “virgin birth” (nod here to Aarathi Prasad’s earlier investigation into the future of parthenogenesis) of capitalism that propagates like a virus. Building nations creates barriers, borders, limits.
Deficient nations present regular occasion for xenophobic categorisation: the notion of the “good immigrant” (Nikesh Shukla, we look to you), or settling on a cultural determination of which lives ought to be valued — saved! — over others. Yesterday we asked, “How can we look at the act of wishing as both an expression of desire, but also an attempt at wilful reproduction?” To extend this, to what capacity does the act of wishing play into nation-making — into the construction of a politic? A national consciousness?
Caspar Heinemann’s land-leaning poetry declares: “Repetition is an island nation.” Here on this drizzly British isle, repetition is no stranger: “leave” and “remain” within this past year have been repeated to no end, a mantra with bitter aftertaste, a nation in limbo, a tantric victory for the Brexit camp, the dogma of political evangelism heightened to a priestly screech.
Tonight in performance, Genesis P-Orridge chants, “We mutate, we change the state.” These words are a reminder that nations are not autonomous, nor automated, nations are controlled by bodies, and bodies are controlled by nations.
Demanding that nations bend to the bodies within — that is a wish worth repeating, a miracle waiting to be realised.