Resident non-resident, down to another Southern trope for the first time now.
Now in the East Indies. I’m from a West Indie. An outcast, entitled to hereditary funds in the trusted meritocracy of blood. Blood that circulates and doesn't spill. Blood as cultural capital but not only.
Spent last two nights watching Darjeeling Limited, now my brother might join in the acting. But it will be different: blood won't be screened as flattened symmetric faces. Blood will be phased out on two sides of the mirrorless camera I’ll bring along with a Zeiss lens box with due import carnets and insured in case of actual violence. A possible visit might include Zeiss's labs in Bangalore, its military optical tech, where monkeys besiege the factory allured by lens flare.
The film might be shot in black and white to insist on shade and contrast rather than landscape or flower. Sharpness of 4K downgraded to 2. Lots of bokeh, look for moirés. And reach Nirvana. A playlist. Sublime and psytrance blow your speakers on the beach.
My West Indian companion – alias Brother Rudi – is the protagonist of a previous film called Ethics of Survival, a simulation of self-defence for daily or untimely apocalypse scenarios — bang-bang on Sao Paulo streets or a second Holocaust. The brother who embodies a foreign state's raison d'état, an assumed identity, a stable warzone for ancestral home. What about me, who lives in a foreign state of origins and has been re-naturalised? He plays me, same same but different.
Let us now de-re-naturalise, brought to you by Goethe, our East Indian Company, we’ve just been to China and South Korea on a similar navigation, then-companion was Jorge Loureiro, our first time in Asia, pitching prototypes for German inventions tested in Brazilian soil by Bayer-Monsanto, the monster re-branded, at A Better Version of You, a technology fair and not an art show.
And the film should be short, shot at Jaaga – a hub for what the city stands for (and more). A 1) simulacrum of reality show pilot 2) hosted by a defecting spy 3) posing as an optics angel investor 4) for a production company named SpottBillig Film, the IG-Farben subsidiary, so that some shots might come in colour.
Access non-access with acting non-actors, their privilege of sight and site. So to be is to be seen, and to see within, anchored on the network of startup hubs in India, out Outdia, outsourced to the Falafel Route, that Jewish Heart of Darkness, that wild heart of life, confronting Flipping Out - Israel's Drug Generation with a flash-forward dream of what might happen to us all.
To test a connection between Sao Paulo, Haifa (Technion), Berlin, Silicon Valley and Bangalore. It might be okra and tapioca. It might be information and tech. A 2-month capital venture.
From Sao Paulo (1992) to Cologne (KHM) via Paris (Sciences Po), Los Angeles (Art Center) and Berlin. Recent shows in Thessaloniki (6th Biennale), Beijing (Goethe), Seoul (Art Sonje).
My project in Bangalore is a fictional documentary about my younger brother. It's the sequel to an "actual" documentary short, Ethics of Survival, from two years ago, in which Rudi exposed his self-defense skills and intention of leaving our native Brazil to join the Israeli army as a volunteering 'lone soldier'. While this hasn't happened yet, and probably won't, my new film plays with the possibility of meeting Rudi after he's finished his military service and graduated from an elite engineering school within the Israeli Air Force. After living in Israel for 5 years, Rudi goes to India on the classical "big trip" of freshly discharged soldiers. In December 2017, while enjoying the beach and the sea of Goa, Rudi follows the astonishing growth of the bitcoin. Suddenly rich, he decides to stay in India, moves to Bangalore and becomes a startup entrepreneur. My character, who is mostly behind the camera and can be heard in diegetic and adiegetic voice-overs, is a German-based director shooting the pilot of a TV series that would systematically portray his relatives that, due to different reasons for migration — love, business, ideology or genocide — are dispersed around the globe. Its working title: "Diaspora."
During my first month in Bangalore, before Rudi comes to act in the film, I look for inspiration in Philip Roth's The Counterlife, a novel about two brothers: one is the famous novelist and Roth's alter-ego Nathan Zuckerman, the other is the accomplished dentist and "family man" Henry. Several alternate reality scenarios are intricately presented: in one of them, Henry survives a dangerous surgery to recover his sexual potency, and as an unexpected reaction, turns religious and becomes a settler in the 1970s West Bank. In the next alternative world, it is Nathan who is impotent and dies during surgery, and his unpublished drafts for the actual novel you're reading are found and destroyed by his brother. Projections of identity, smoke and mirrors, balls and dickheads, plans and places of escape.
I'm on the train to Cologne, one hour after landing in Frankfurt. I get a message from my calendar app that Rudi should be embarking on his Dubai-Sao Paulo flight in one hour. I remember when I started travelling more often, for longer periods, and the feeling of arriving in Sao Paulo, the always decaying sceneries of the riverside highways of Guarulhos, the new skyscrapers rising up. It's what Rudi will be seeing soon. He will land in a new country, with a new president. Since I broke my cellphone a day before we went to the sacred, extraterrestrial village of Hampi, I haven't followed any news. I refused to watch the president's inauguration discourse. I won't name him. Rudi and I also played a game during those days of disconnection: we referred to the girl I'd fallen for in Bangalore as "the one who cannot be named", a borrow from Harry Potter, to try and forget her. I shouldn't be mentioning her, but somehow she's part of this venture, maybe just as much as my brother's fictional apps Mapp, Scapp and Precapp, which help pedestrians find their way in an unfriendly metropolis, construction workers to build more stable wooden scaffoldings, and gig-economy workers to meet their goals by the end of the month... respectively. I already think of new episodes on the Diaspora series. Some have real-fictional characters like Rudi, others entirely fictional: the Holocaust-survivor aunt who became a CIA-screenwriter in Hollywood, the reclusive uncle who survived AIDS for twenty years before committing suicide, the former enfant terrible who was sent to Israel for reeducation and resettled in Brazil three decades later, becoming an animal rights defender as well as a supporter of the new fascist president. I'm sitting against the direction of travel, writing in the train makes me dizzy. I should stop now reminiscing and projecting, leave Bangalore's people and materials for a while, go back to my footage of California's conspiracy theorists and maybe, just maybe, finish what I started.