WHICH WAY IS SOUTH, UP OR DOWN?
by Nick Fracaro
Although the Latin root means simply to labor together, the term is usually used to signify that ideal working relationship amongst peers. Yet there is another definition that helps pinpoint the center of a certain battlefield. This notion is better encapsulated by the second definition of collaboration:
2. to cooperate as a traitor, especially with an enemy occupying one’s own country.
The suggestion being that the dominant culture is an enemy occupying something original.
So theater as collaborator as it segues seamlessly into film and television and other institutions of the dominant culture. But just as easily theater can represent the contra, the underground resistance attempting to counter globalization. The Puppetistas (that anarchic theater of giant puppets always present now at WTO meeting and other protests, named in honor of the Zapatistas. (Chiapas entered into the Mexican and world’s imagination as if poems and fables had finally escaped the prison of the mind and taken up arms.)) are meant to walk larger than life.
The Indians got screwed when they sold Manhattan to the Dutch for $26 in trinkets. But then again, when we imagine our globe we always position the north on the top and the south on the bottom. The potlatch honors the recanting of market mind in favor of the communal. So describe these strange valueless, invaluable gifts from afar? Lovers kiss and whisper “sweet nothings” in the ear.
Any two languages and/or cultures are in opposition with one another but only as opposite banks of the same river. The global market looks like the “mainstream,” that is, looks like the river itself. So that here on our little patch of riverbank, we can live as ethnocrats. Satisfied in the ethnic or national role we have imposed on ourselves and to which the dominant culture agrees, we become prisoners of our origins.
But the real river is something different. Less border and more covenant between cultures and languages. The River of No Return? And we live as a hybrid cultural embryo. NOMADMONAD. Translating, being translated, at each new shore.
This dissolving of the wall between identities is necessarily a dramatic and traumatic event. The sperm on embedding itself in the ovum releases a chemical similar in composition to other poisons. Complete and equal collaboration between peers results in the contamination of each other’s aesthetics and lives.
The resources that allow mobility belong to the north. So the NORTH should act the sperm and the SOUTH should act the ovum. Likewise, the zygote studio work, development and pregnancy should occur in the SOUTH.
So which way is south, up or down?