Nearly a month ago, I spoke about mental illness, depression and the discontent revolving around working as an artist. Most recently, renown Chinese photography Ren Hang took his own life at the age of 29 and Mark Fisher, the author of book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? committed suicide, battling with mental illness as well. The title of his 2009 book almost desperately illustrating the pessimism, extreme hopelessness and despair of a pervasive economic order that humans of our times can’t seem to get out of. I vaguely remember Mark Fisher but it is shocking to know that Fisher was at the opening seminar called “Did You Feel It?” organized by the Dutch Art Institute on September 2016 in Eindhoven.
To experience the departure of someone is always difficult, especially if that person is valued or influential to one. I guess going/leaving is a notion that no one likes to deal with, as one would only get repeatedly hit with the actuality of nihilism. I just arrived in Brussels, will be going to Mechelen on Thursday, Mexico City the following week, Oaxaca, then New York City and Washington D.C. before returning to Amsterdam again. This is likely the last major trip during my stay in Amsterdam — the last going. I am currently trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have more or less decided (after weighing out the pros and cons) to leave Amsterdam after I graduate.
I have the assumption that I will “work full-time” as an art practitioner after I am done with my studies. Although I have pretty much gotten used to the idea of going the past couple years, I realized that leaving is a completely different ball game. I figured this will be the third “leaving”, of something/someplace/someone and leaving is never easy. Sometimes I wonder how much suffering can one take? When does a person’s mind officially leaves (the self/body)? Could madness be located? And no, I don’t mean the psychiatric clinics, asylums and mental institutions. I mean, how much madness do we have in a contemporary society where everyone tries to conform? Is arriving at madness a kind of leaving?
I am suddenly reminded of the book that greatly influenced me, Arthur Schopenhauer’s On the Suffering of the World. In addition, at moments of his life, he reflected on the relationship between genius and madness and how memory mediates the blurry line between sanity and insanity.
Is the act of constant questioning the only madness in life?