December 19th, 1989
We will all wake up together. A piece of graffiti on the Berlin Wall. I’d seen it before, but in the future, as a photograph in a bar in California. The way it makes me feel to even hear my inner voice say those words. How could it feel for someone who was experiencing it for the first time. I watched it on TV. I remember feeling something, a kind of fullness in my chest and tightening of the throat as I realized what was happening. History was crumbling. Individual citizens, students, teachers, merchants, people were responsible for the demise of seemingly untouchable rulers. The regime’s paranoia had been a potent distraction in the everyday lives of the regions’ inhabitants. Their political system was no longer tolerable.
Though at the time it felt like I’d just turned on the TV, switched the channel, this was not a sudden revolution. Hardly ever. Revolution is slow. It churns undetected, underground and at the edges, sometimes dormant, other times awake but frozen, thawing, warming, swelling. It takes so long for the heat to build. Then all it takes is a spark, one dreamer, one wild one, a dancer, a painter, a rock wall climber to initiate the first action. Against the bloody cold legacy of previous street battles between the occupiers and the artists, this time back in 89, despite, or more likely because of the the backwards power structure… the many overcame the ruling few.
They moved through the streets like a velvet serpent, collective impossible, deep maroon dreamers. The many found a common love in their Rulers’ eviction. The commons shimmered through the television pulsating with exaggerated color. The crowds were a sea of winter caps, kept warm together. As I watched alone, on the 18 inch Zenith I saw their collective exhales form a mist rising up above their heads. In the cold November night air, changing the atmosphere. Us. See what can we do if we’d only trust each other and see how we can be….
But it doesn’t all much matter. I know how this is going to end.
Give it a few decades and the new class of Rulers will surface and this brilliant triumph will seem like a dream. Give it a few more and it’s lost in a sea of cached data or long recycled printed matter. Books at the bottom of the sea. It ended like a dream, in an era of conscious unconscious, collective complacency, collective exhaustion… what do we have to love now that we’ve let our dreams end.
Love and risk are twins. One can’t exist without the other.
Last night I I took this photo with a disposable camera. A friend processed the film. I made some copies. I thought you might appreciate the sentiment.
To wake up,