PRE-POLITICAL SANDBOX AND POLITICS OF LOVE
The Next to Last Panda or Statics is a story about what is potentially the greatest neurosis of this generation – success. It is also about the scariest of all the manifestations of success – attending one’s graduation anniversary.
At the moment of the first encounter with those-we-have-known-all-our-lives, in a blink of an eye, the entire trauma of living in the modern society is unwound. A series of generations which were in pre-political condition during the wars on the territory of former Yugoslavia, grew up in devastated and ideologically confusing societies. This resulted in us, belonging to those generations, being introduced to politics in a number of arbitrary ways – we would change our identity politics as prom outfits. The real, political and/or personal maturing is delayed until early thirties, responsibility is postponed by financial adversities, studies and endless professional development trainings, familial and emotional rollercoasters, and a variety of existential crises. The time in The Next to Last Panda is conceived as an endless chain of present moments. Since we have landed on the radioactive junkyard of earlier concepts, values and politics, we have a diagonal view of the past and future. For us there is only present and only the present interests us, since it involves a potential for change. The history of the present is created only in the confronted visions of the four characters who fight with equal commitment to survive in this world that they do not entirely understand.
They, who grew up together, now represent four contrasting directions of the political compass, four faces of success/failure, but also complex and ambivalent characters which are simultaneously fragile and violent, active and passive, liberated and thoroughly restrained. I found it interesting to engage with the politics of emotions, i.e. the affective surplus, the unnamed residue of the feelings of belonging, love, hate, humiliation, passion, compassion, or anger – and during the process, for us to investigate together the existence and scope of the political, or even emancipatory potential of affect. I believe that we have made a shift from the rhetoric of reconciliation in which the issues of accountability are depoliticised and relativized in claiming that “we are all equally accountable”. We wished to provide an entirely new optics of friendship and solidarity from the perspective of the politics of affect and what Rosi Braidotti calls “regrounding of the subject in a materially embedded sense of responsibility and ethical accountability for the environments she or he inhabits”, which perhaps represents an inscription of the “female difference” in the text. We might never be able to fully understand Other and different, yet I wonder whether we are ever going to leave this pre-political sandbox in which we have all played for much too long. And if we are, where would we go from there? If we manage to deliver the politics of love from out of “our own four walls” we might head towards the resolution of many a conflict in the binary conceptualised world. Or maybe not?