Sublime Rage at French Place / London, UK

SUBLIME RAGE / Curated by Maya Shoham and Héloïse Chassepot, author Lilly Marks

Rafael Moreno, Paul Paillet, Katie Shannon, Maya Shoham, Temitayo Shonibare, Koyo

Waldorf, Tom Bull, Héloïse Chassepot, Ndayé Kouagou, Naïa Combary

27 May - 9 June 

9 French Place, E16JB London UK

They often came out at night, after putting their daytime, social public suits to sleep. After
brushing the teeth in their mouths, after kissing their partners, their children, goodnight. It
was rumoured that a great number of them embraced a vegan diet, but what they ate
during the day didn’t matter; deep down they were carnivores, for the sickness made it so
that their hearts became laced with a second, heterodont dentation, hungry for the pain
of others, and fit to consume their blood and flesh. When in active mode, a second set of
nails, small but blade-like, that is to say, razor-sharp, would also emerge from inside the
skin of their eyelids—claws camouflaging as eyelashes, ready to snatch their prey. The
majority of times, they, of course, did not do so directly. Though they did sometimes come
out in the open, they mostly preferred to dwell in the shadows—to operate from behind
the closed doors of their apartments, from the home office, or the basement, for example.
Fully immersed in the blanket of digital dualism, they searched the infrastructure called
the Internet (and which we now know was little more than an enormous market) for
potential victims. While they frequently engaged in swarming behaviour, they were not a
community but an aggregate, rather, of individuals—alienated, alone and lonely, though
rarely admittedly so. Although few ever stood in their presence, it is said that, while in
attack mode, their eyes became filled by blue-light fire to the point of blindness…
Speaking of eyes, those who contracted the disease would, in the early stages, begin to
experience a strange pull that often led them to adopt a position of voyeuristic
scopophilia—to derive pleasure, that is, from witnessing those others, mature hatevamps,
attack their victims. And the more cruel the treatment, the more complete their
satisfaction. With a little bit of help from one’s friends, family and therapist(s), one
sometimes managed to contain the curse, and to remain at that preclinical stage. Still, this
stage and role (of the silent accomplice) was not a minor one, for the hate-vamps
adoOored an audience. After leaving the scene, they, to be sure, barely ever remembered
the names of their victims. Archived for posterity as a series of lolz, their full-of-terror
laughter would turn silent. In the morning, they would get up, brush the teeth in their
mouths, wash the pain of others off their hands, and drive themselves to work.
Nobody knows exactly how their species emerged. Some say it was mask meanness, but
evidence shows they had been around long before the eruption of that last epidemic. I, for
one, speculate that they were bitten by Marx’s Vampire a.k.a. Capital a.k.a. the World.
For, let’s face it, the World was a fucked up place. Of course, the cool-headed rationals
thought all would be well if we could just keep calm and carry on—“just serve the World,
it’s gonna be alright!” they kept saying—but the truth was we were all travelling through
anger’s dominions now. And not one body was safe. Especially not theirs. Them who
documented death with steady fingers, them who read Myriam Gurba write: “Somewhere
on this planet, a man is touching a woman to death,”¹ or Jenny Holzer’s Lustmord series,
without flinching. Them who whistled while driving refugees back behind the border fence.
Them who dug deeper when the earth went dry. Nobody liked them and they were the first
to go. Yeah, you had to be a sadist or a masochist to happily partake in the ways of the
World—to feel anything other than your blood boiling and rising to suffuse your heart,
lungs, and nervous system, the way it does when you turn furious.
Ours, Not Yours
Like Solange Piaget Knowles and a great number of others, I too had a lot to be mad
about. Be mad, be mad, be mad. Losing sleep to dreams of another, better
reality, I dragged my tired body around and found myself composing funeral scores at
work, in the shower, or while waiting for the bus to arrive…Against the hate-vamps were
fighting the awake, also known as The Raging Ones, for whom “anger expressed and
translated into action in the service of vision and our future is a liberating and
strengthening act of clarification.”² I joined this army in the summer of 2022, and began to
breathe again. Up until that point I was living under the illusion, shared by many, that
rage—by definition, an unchecked intensity of anger—was something to be ashamed of,
a bad feeling.³ It had not yet occurred to me to put my rage to work. The Raging Ones
showed me how. Needless to say, the unaware and cool-headed rationals all thought we
were like those others, those vamps filled with hatred, but they couldn’t be further from
our truth. Yes, we were killjoys, mongrels “bent on eating the the ice-wormy hearts of
gringpos under the post-mercury retrograde full moon”⁴…angels of destruction. But ours
was a rage mastered, a rage carefully sculpted into arrows strong enough to pierce
through everyone’s antennas, causing interference, causing the noise that was our call to
liberation. And we didn’t hide: covered in stardust, we took to the streets, dancing the pain
away until that moment when we felt ourselves reemerge as parts of a single body,
moving in anharmonic unison.⁵ If a good look in the mirror was often enough to destroy
the hate-vamps, nothing could destroy us—one of us maybe but never us, this
Undercommons,⁶ who were never afraid of the World since we knew our joy to be so
much more contagious than its hatred. This is why the disease never got us…
In 2051, we finally managed to destroy the World, and began to make gardens of its ruins.
Our alien ancestors returned from Saturn on the Galaxy Express 999 the year after, and
the rave/age of happiness on earth began. I left my earthly body in 2072, but the pleasure
I took in the company of The then-Raging/now-Raving Ones accompanied me into the
cosmos. It made the dust I became all glowy, and I returned to adorn the bodies of our offspring only a few decades later.

Photos by: Agnese Sanvito