Tania Bruguera 
February 2010 


From: Bruguera, Tania "Policía por cuenta propia," Factographies,Trouble's 8th issue, Ed. Trouble, february 2010, France, pp. 163 - 172.


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Free-Lance Police Officer

by Tania Bruguera 



The only way to be a hero after the victory of socialism is by being anonymous.  Collective effort concentrates in giving a sense to everyday life. Access to eternity is gained by being reflected in the infrastructures. Infrastructures are not visible because they are the landscape we go by day by day, a landscape that we see decaying almost simultaneously with the aging of our body. As if virility would be directly reflected in what we have built and not in its permanence. What we build are always past urgencies. As if the times for revolutions were part of a history we were not allowed to repeat. Urgencies supersede one another constantly in a controlled effort to replace and prevent the desire that leads to revolutionize. A revolution becomes a machine to do away with the desire of doing. Desires to continue what is already made are encouraged, because what belongs to others is ours. What belongs to others cannot be touched, accumulated, acquired. The heroism of others is instructed. Inertia takes care of giving a deliberately alien meaning to the desire of putting things on an equal footing. As if inertia did not have a historical memory. As if inertia came only with its sense of infinite task, a task that at times is felt as an inherent repetition that does not even suggest a declaration of principles. Every new generation acquires its meaning when it does not question the former one. Every new generation focuses in avoiding even an inch of destructibility. A society that does not allow specific adoration. There is no dissemination of the desire of appropriating an object that may contain or replace an idea. Hedonism is reserved for action and never contemplation. Everything becomes temporary. Everything disappears to emphasize our work as re-tellers of history. As permanent continuators. What is not ours becomes alien. The early years of revolutions decide what to do with incentives, define in what currency they will turn them into. The currency of passivity. Limits are visible, but never mentioned. The privilege is to question. The privilege is to suggest. Privilege is gained with denunciation or with reliability. There is a maximum of conceivablequestionings. To question too much is seen as a danger and doubts have consequences. Only collaborators can complain. Public and secret collaborators. Public collaborators because they are temporarily in their positions as implementors of enforced orders. Secret collaborators because their work is to incite the desire to complain. State security. Everything is clear to us. A security corps goes after desires. The desire of not owning anything, the strength to depend on nothing, the conviction of being anonymous is the price of not being vulnerable. Austerity, the right of every revolutionary, is imposed, is monitored. As if the concept of property would be constantly in danger. Self-examination never ends. Desire is always placed between having and being ethical. How do you enjoy heroism? The only way to be a hero is to be anonymous. The only way to be a hero is by renouncing heroism. The only way is not having the right to be heroic. As if the function of the generations emerging after the Revolution is to exist as an audience, a venerating audience: an audience that understands that the Revolution has already been made. Where can we place utopias? How can we canalize the need to believe? How can we give space for one to feel pride? Where can we create idealism? How can we be impeccable? How can we speak of utopias without building them? Sharing Revolution? What is the moment in which revolutions lose their space for self-sabotage? When does a person have the right to Revolution? How can a person win the right to Revolution? Which are the qualities of a hero? Where should force be placed and where gentleness? How can you be a believable hero if you do not have the right to be pure at 16, 18, 20, 22, 25 years of age? How can you be credible if you don’t have the right to be pure? How can you be an example to follow if there is nothing new to create? What purpose does creativity have? What spaces can be created to feel pride? How to maintain alive the ideas of those who die of old age and not of a shot? How can you engage in a dialogue with an icon? How can you negotiate the distance of someone who is already set at a distance? How can you share a unique moment with a hero when there is not even a battlefield in everyday life? Who decides and nominates what is heroic? Can being a hero be updated? Who evaluates what you do not to be seen? How do you arrive at a consensus? Who should we admire? Why can’t I admire myself? What are heroes needed for? Why can’t we trust? What is the space to feel proud? Heroism is a memory, a memory you learn. Heroism is relegated to the lyrics of a song used to endow with an emotional value a reality that is not communicated, a value covering the impossibility of its materialization. Heroism expressed in words learned by rote, words that learn to be felt, to be honest… up to the point words that can be honest. Actions are reduced to conclusions. Actions take place but cannot be clearly explained. Actions are replaced by words. Words containing all possible meanings. Words that, in their enthusiasm, replace the possibility to act. The space to feel is in the representation. There is the demand for us to be useful. The time in which we live is always the past, because the future belongs to the past. What is the price of sacrifice? Sacrifice, the aspect that is allowed. The sense of sacrifice is incomprehensible, but always makes sense. Words are a presence. Anonymous heroism is vox populi. We all belong to an army of collaborators. Lifelong collaborators, because it is impossible to escape a Revolution. It is an army, because fight is distributed through secrets. Because a Revolution is accuracy in the midst of chaos. Information is the visualization of what is stated as fair. Words are commissioned. A passion commissioned by the book. Enthusiasm supports the truthfulness of information. A truthfulness that must be confirmed by other a little more accurate enthusiasms. A passion replacing the only possibility of imagining yourself heroic and avoiding the fact that it is work, a work that transforms you.  Work also performed by those sitting on the sidewalk seeing time go by. Work where you can pose as being unemployed, idle, lumpen. Work that is a loss in labor force we regret. Work that you pay and that is paid. You pay it with paranoia and it is paid with the chance of saying whatever you want. A process in which paranoia offers you the freedom to doubt. Work that is paid by allowing you to think you are part of a project. Work for which they make you feel you were chosen. Work that allows you to see your exceptional conditions, while the others, also exceptional, wait outside to undergo the same process of exclusivity shared by an entire people. It is a process in which there is the intention to convince you that everything is the piece that may bring a solution. Work in which, although you know nobody is indispensable, it is possible to be an individual, it is possible to think things have a value, a connection. Work that may do great harm when not properly understood. The harm that distrust may cause in a country where the only landscape is faith, or the awarding of faith. We are all guilty, we all talk, the difference is in those who keep their collaboration silent and pretend not to know what is being said. The difference is whom we talk to, who listens to us. Who listens to us is the way to the privilege of being free although in restraint. How to participate? What does it mean to be a participant? What does it mean to be a hero? What spaces are there, then, to be heroes? What spaces are there to imagine the future? How to negotiate with self-induced lack of memory intending not to harm? How to convince the officer before you that you do not remember, without actually deciding that you are not going to remember and not really remembering and turning into a useless absentminded person, into someone unable to connect data, not giving importance to anything so as not to be you yourself important because heroism is wrong? Heroism is sacrificing memory, sacrificing the possibility of sharing. How can you become a blind person in a society demanding accuracy and where the only way out is dementia? How can you walk through life leaving an ever widening space between what you live and what you want to live so as not to know and therefore not betray and not having to live with the unknown-to-all betrayal on your shoulders? How to decide to renounce to friendship so as not having to know? How to make sure that you do not love anyone so as not to be vulnerable? How not to inflict an unauthorized or undesired change in another’s life? How to know the limits of deciding for others? How to consider yourself pure when polluted by what you know you have done? The only way to be heroes is by disseminating suspicion. Heroism to order. There are two platforms: both offer privileges, both are an access to freedom. One is direct denunciation, something rather difficult to exhibit; the other is trying to enter into some of the places in which higher reliability is deposited, a place that allows a hierarchical leap into reliability. A reliability that, as an operating principle, is always in doubt, There are rites of passage in socialist countries that bear no relation to age or maturity, but to the way in which you believe in a society and imagine yourself making a future. There are two ways to be controlled. One is direct denunciation and the other is the privilege of being reliable or necessary for something that has nothing to do with information, but with image. Some have the privilege of saying what they want because they are protected by their contribution to the image of the Revolution, a protection that must be renewed with public commitment. Free access keys to flirting. Or keys that open the door to doubts that will later be hunted. The freedom of ambiguity. The privilege of saying what you really think is maintained by learning to be cautious and knowing that you can talk, but never do. Doing is the turf of the state. The others, the ones who must produce sustainable information, acquire their privileges by acquiring paranoia. Some by defending their freedom without overstepping limits, others by developing psychological malformations. Some by saying openly and publicly what they think; others by hiding what they say. Both are states of temporary freedom, because they are being watched by others, because suspicion is the state of institutional restraint. If there is no future, you do not have to prove yourself. If there are no urgencies, there are no comparisons. And death is something you do not feel. Death is the inertia of information revolving in what is anticipated, once and again going by always with the same intention. Information is the currency of freedom of action and its dissemination is freedom of thinking differently. Rumor is the institution. Those who collaborate are authorized to think differently in exchange for certainty. What happens when you are no longer interested in what is heroic? When you are no longer interested in being part of a society? When what is expected from you is now not so clear? Revolutions which turn into societies are a rhetorical army of the survival of their own negation. Social contract models are not models of revolutions. They are a proposal for the eternity of the gesture and not of what that gesture once meant. They have nothing to do with constructing, but with disseminating. They are not the challenge of what is impossibly possible. It is the heroism of nostalgia. It is a mental state to choose. We know that revolutions are ethical statements, but after a revolution is in place, the purest heroism can only be exported. And it can be exported because of the immense desire you have for the chance to prove yourself as a revolutionary.