January 5th, 2013 by hofkirchner

a kammeroper in 17 bildern by Kristine Tornquist and Gernot Schedlberger. the premiere of the chamber opera was performed in Vienna. (see, e.g., here.)

this piece of art is a wonderful trigger to think about the world we want to live in. the story reads like an allegory of the history of humanity. MarieLuise is a pair of conjoined twins. they are specialists of the “we”. they live in symbiosis. they share their body and are regardful to each other. it’s the best world they can think of. when confronted with single-bodied humans in the here and now – a world that is governed by farcical self-regarding individuals – they fail to mainatin their unity. Kristine Torquist calls it “the big bang of human history: the parting with symbiosis” (my translation). the dissociation is carried out by the surgical dissection of the twins. Luise can live autonomously only at the cost of Marie’s death. “how deaf and silent is the night”, says Luise then, “whom shall i tell”. “if it is only me now, it is not me anymore” (my translations).

the story plays with math and theory of swarms (not always in a correct way) to deal with an emergent whole. the whole is not the sum of parts, it can thus be broken into pieces only.

it’s true: humanity lives in one, single spaceshuttle. for good or for evil the parts have grown dependent on each other like in the case of the siamese twins. parochialism can lead to exterminism. what is needed now, however, is not a u-turn to siamese fusion, to pre-civilisational tribalism, but a transformation of civilisation into an emergent world society that takes the state of self-regardedness we have reached so far as point of departure. we need to make the most of it in that we take for granted the true and best interests of any compartment of the whole. what these true and best interests are has to be deliberated freely. and for sure, it will not work without cuts. cuts need to be made where short-sighted interests can’t be pursued in the long run because the whole is at stake and with it each single part.

i’m not sure whether or not that’s the message that the author intended. at least, that’s what came to my mind.

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