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SAFEY IN NUMBERS (SIN)
Michael Dikta & Philip Markert
05.2021
publication with texts by Anna Budniewski, Michael Dikta, Philip Markert

1 When I was a kid my parents took me to this musical called „Starlight Express“, I wasn‘t into Musicals back then, and still, I‘m not.
The only thing I remember is being on the way to the musical by bus with many other people and a lady sitting to my left, talking very loudly about ... I don´t know, things and other things and what‘s worth standing up for. At one point the inside of the bus became very bright and the lady, together with all the other people, became completely quiet. Her eyes focusing on the little table in front of her, the body frozen and the knuckles of her hands white from holding onto the armrest. It was the passing of a huge bridge and the sudden silence in the bus that struck her.

Just a few years later after the starlight incident, I had a girlfriend, the first one, and she loved to watch „Westside Story“ on VHS over and over again, mostly when we came home drunk. So I passed out to a guy singing about „somethings coming“ but I never found out what he meant.

2 He had his shoes tied in a certain way and barely cleaned the kitchen and I thought it was cool how he and his flatmate would compete in who made the best frozen pizza and for all I knew he has always been a radical. In his beliefs as much as in his actions.

One day I was playing board games with him and the guys who, as I would only find out years later, were something like his black-block friends. We were hanging out in his room, smoking weed, which still felt very special at that time and we played one specific game in hour long sessions, where someone would always attempt to conquer Europe while it normally was someone else’s task to eliminate one of the other players and we talked about riot porn. (note: glorifying cut-ups of riot-video snippets)

In the now iconic video-tape recording of a gig by the band Atari Teenage Riot at the 1st of May demonstrations 1999 in Berlin we see them playing their greatest hits in a crowd that gets brutally beaten up by the police until the band gets gets arrested. The video goes on for 2 minutes and 51 seconds and is saved near the top of my YouTube favorites playlist followed by a video called „Maine Coon Cat in a Swimming Pool“.

3 Back then light wasn´t such a thing and I watched my father turning bulbs in and out just casually. His idea was to go bright, brighter, brightest. Of course, back in my teens, for me, it was somewhat dark, darker, darkest. Since I moved out it changed and got more distinguished.Today it´s 28 degrees and the hot pavement makes me sweat in fear, empty parking lots and shopfronts that seem so outdated as if they have been left behind for some time already.Then nighttime is rolling in and the low temperature of the new street lights let me think about the light spots in my parent‘s home again.Laying on their couch and looking up onto the ceiling, they look like a dwarf version of that Starlink project, where a huge number of satellites are being expelled into the sky, forming a chain and turning star signs into weird arrangements. After dusk and before dawn, when the sun has dipped just below the horizon, the satellites reflect the sun’s light back onto the ground, making them shine quite brightly as they move together through space.

4 The Rule of Production and Sales (Fifty-seventh Chapter)

The craftsman at the gallery

When craftsmen are invited to the gallery, let them practise their craft in all humility, if the artist permits it. If, however, one of them exalts himself on account of his skill in the craft because he appears to be of benefit to the artwork, such a one is to be removed from that craft and not to be let return to it unless he humbles himself and the artist specially commissions him again.But if anything is to be sold from the work of the craftsmen, those by whose hand the business is to be transacted must see that they do not presume to cheat. They should always remember Ananias and Saphira, so that they themselves and all those who have committed any fraud with the things of the gallery do not suffer in their souls the death which they endured in their bodies.In the prizes themselves, however, the evil of covetousness does not creep in, but one always gives a little cheaper than others, the worldly, can give, „so that in everything Art may be glorified“.

5 However, Atari Teenage Riot remained a constant part of my music collection up until now. Sometimes when I get upset I will put their

„60 Seconds Wipe Out“ album on my headphones and go for a walk and feel like I want to smash a window in or someone’s face and I’m trying to figure out excuses for how that would be a reasonable thing to do. I never came up with any.

Someone once told me it might be better to get bad attention instead of no attention and how much grandeur there is to causing damage and how it’s just the most arbitrary thing one could talk about as an expression of their anger.

Back in my friend’s room in what is considered the leftist district of a city where I used to live, I’ve had one of the very first panic attacks of my life, at least as far as I can remember. I started to hate every person in the room and had the strong feeling that no-one could be worthy of my presence and the other way round while sitting all huddled up in the deepest corner of the couch. I think it was summer and I was really sweating and so sure I would die of a heart attack any second. Actually I’m sure it was summer because I remember that I took my bike home later that night after I had lost all my territories to the green army and had almost lost my consciousness twice.

6 I’m not exactly having a plea for or against radicalism here, even if I’d like to, or for a specific taste in music or ways of coping with anxiety.

During the preparation of this show I came to think that something like a set of experiences that we may have acquired at one point in our 20-30 somethings is, what will be reoccurring for the rest of our lives in all different kinds of variations and that’s why things start to feel inevitably dull at times and probably that’s why people eventually want to become parents or become a part of something bigger than themselfes, but that’s just an assumption.

I have not yet considered becoming a parent.

Written by:
1,3 Michael Dikta
2,5,6 Philip Markert
4 Anna Budniewski

*SIN

***********

Philip Markert

untitled, 2021

shrug, 2021
acrylics, fiberboard
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Clubs in the Village (are usually lame), 2021
paint, graphite, fiberboard
70x70 cm

untitled, 2021
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Porch Light Left On, 2019
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untitled, 2021
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Michael Dikta

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glass, paper, crayon, nails
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wood
47x54x172 cm