When we are visited by Force Majeure, (literally : Stronger Power), we are abandoned to our fate. Corporate insurance will neither reassure nor reimburse us. Government or other civic organizations will shrug and agree to scrounge what might be salvaged. We have 2 choices : wallow in this collapse of circumstance or accept that it was beyond our capacities to avoid, regroup, and gather the energy to rehabilitate. Force Majeure also translates to overwhelming natural forces which cannot be reasonably anticipated and even Acts of God ( or whichever transcendent power we abide). I’ve always wondered if it could be translated into Acts of Allah, Acts of Buddha, Acts of Brahma, Acts of Confucius, Acts of Odin, Acts of Zeus or even Acts of Bathala. Bathala ka na.
While this last query affords us pause, even some levity, it also hints at the factor of interpretation of perceived verities or ontologies. Who/what is to blame for Force Majeure? While we’re not spending this text on satisfying that question, it ushers us on to a variance in spelling : consider, instead, Force Maneure, an awkward neologism from a merging of manure and majeure. How would we translate this? Acts of Bullshit, Acts of Deceit, Acts of Soil Enrichment, Acts of Digestion, Acts of Scatology, Acts of Base Unacceptability, Acts of Visceral Process, Acts of Powerful Abomination?
In priveleged cases where we can choose our calamity, Force Maneure may often be last on our list. Who wishes to be inhabit a social realm defined by turgid unacceptability, particularly in the form of fabricated histories, poker-faced fraud, calm deceit, unreliability, cold and egregious falsification? And yet, that might even be a prefferable situation to clarify. What if where one was was so full of indifference, ambivalent and opportunistic friendship on all sides, devoid of distinct ethical demarcations, only pragmatic survivalism and consistent humblebrag, where the way to cope was never ever to displease with critique and honesty but to fawn, to kowtow, to fudge in front of accumulated power and be rewarded for it by inclusion in all possible groupfies? Is that like a fecal mass, both repugnant and fecund, fertilizer that repels? Have possibilities of clear fact been so muddied, so shitty, so lacking in redemption that one exists for the abundant but shallow decadence rather than the iota of nobility? Or that measured reason is all but drowned out in a blaring cacophony of blindered extremism and numbed tenacity to an emotional position, that all salvific discourse has little point to be. It’s basic, maybe, but it’s base, sadly; life’s peak ambition is to attain the least common denominator and industrial scale trolling surfaces as its prevalent evangelism.
The works in this new collection all wrestle with the quandaries I have just ranted on. They address credibility, skeptical jadedness, indifference, parrotting the sublime into the banal, self-negating extreme commitment, and somehow arrive at a state of fatigue. Crap is ussually all our nourishment exhausted of its nutrition until what we have is a small fatigued biomass that needs to re-enter the cycle of cultivation. There have been many precedents to this scatological topic making, the most beguiling of which might be Piero Manzoni’s 1961 Merda D’Artista, a suite of 90 copies of a 30 gram sealed tin can declared to be full of Manzoni’s excrement. It was a direct affront to the pretense of art society posturing then, but lately, it has been seriously asserted that some tins, which may by now command 7 figure Euro-sums at auction, actually contained plaster of paris, and not genuine poop. Ironic. How’s that for a can load of shit?
Jose Tence Ruiz