A training exercise in nihilism. The basic actions of picking up and putting down are stripped of meaning. They are detached from the material world. They resemble nothing other than themselves. They have no identity, no goal; they communicate nothing. They have nothing to say. Because they have no value, their value is infinite. Because they cannot speak, they say everything.

YEAR: 2016
RUNTIME: 20:00
INTERVIEW: Prosper Musama Mumba
VOICE: Sharday Mosurinjohn


“God savors himself, “says Eckhart.
This is possible, but what he savors is, it seems to me,
the hatred which he has for himself, to which none,
here on earth, can be compared …
– Georges Bataille

Part 1: self knowledge

of course
you have a choice
it’s more convenient
to savor yourself

if hating yourself
is appropriate
you have a moral obligation
to do so

2. Prosper Musama Mumba

I answer to the name Prosper Musama Mumba. I am from the Nande tribe and my wife
was a Congolese Tutsi. We were married in 1985. We were living peacefully
in Ikuku. Ikuku is north of Kivu in the province of Kivu, district Rhutshuru in RDC (The Democratic
Republic of the) Congo. So, with the events of the war, when the war started, there were groups,
groups of rebels, indigenous people, the Mayi-Mayi, who were defending against the intrusion… the
entry of rebels…My tribe is one of the tribes who opposed the hegemony of the Tutsi who wanted to
invade, seize, and dominate the entire East of the DCR. There were Mayi-Mayi who had opposed
their hegemonic expansion. It’s from there that everything began – all of the problems… Me, being
Nande, and my wife, Tutsi… There is rivalry between the Nande and the Tutsi because the Nande
opposed the invasion of the Tutsi. They didn’t want the Tutsi to extend their hegemony, their
domination. Now, there have been problems in my family… in my family… with the members … my
wife… because of our tribes… our two different tribes. In 2006 toward the end of that year the Mayi-

Mayi, accusing me of being a traitor… They came to take my wif They tortured and killed her, and
they took also my daughter… My daughter… They went into the bush… They killed my wife. There
were others also. My daughter was alive; they did not kill her because she is the one who returned
to the house to tell us. And since I have not seen my daughter. Since she left with the Mayi-Mayi
she has never returned. I had to leave Ikuku and settled in Rhutshuru. I was like a teacher. I taught
commercial arithmetic, political economy, business skills. The rebels of Nkundabatware (General
Laurent Nkunda) … to kidnap children for military service. They came to recruit young people,
young boys, and girls also, especially the Tutsi. They came to the school armed. Children also came
to the school armed. Seeing this it was really unsafe for us teachers as well as for the children. We
wrote… we said to the authorities at MONUC – MONUC is the United Nations Organization Mission
in the Congo. It was called MONUC. At that time… so we wrote to MONUC we wrote to the human
rights NGO to stop the forced recruitment of children, of minors, for the rebellion, for military service.
It was November 2, 2008 when we did a march to oppose the forced recruitment of children the
same day at 9pm. I was kidnapped by the rebels. There were also other teachers and other human
rights activists. We found ourselves in the Virunga National Park. There were about 35 of us. They
tortured us. It was November 2, 2008. They beat me and I lost consciousness. There was a boy
who knew me quite well whom I had taught. He was among the rebels, a child soldier. The boy
helped me to escape. After some days… the fifth, I fled with him. He accompanied me
to Bunangana. We were 2 days en route to Bunangana. It isn’t really
a great distance from Virunga Park to Bunangana. It’s about 8 to 10 kilometers. When we arrived
we were in bad shape. It took us 2 days. We arrived on the 8 th in Bunangana. Bunangana is on the
border between the RDC Congo and Uganda. In Bunangana there was Red Cross service. The Red
Cross received people who were wounded or sick. They received first aid. I presented myself to the
Red Cross. They treated me. There was a friend who worked for the OCC. The OCC is the Congo
Office of Control for the border. A friend
gave me some money. He paid my transport to cross. I arrived Nov. 8, and on the 10 th I crossed the
border. And so I took the bus. It’s called The Pass -The Horizon Pass – to Uganda. I arrived in
Kampala the 10 th , the same day in Kampala. I was received by
a pastor from a church in Makindye. I stayed for 2 days in the church. Church members
helped me find a house a little room. They found me a house in Massaja B in Kampala in the district
they call Massaja B. They settled me there. At present I am still there in the same neighborhood. My
family, the children – the children of my older sister – stayed in the house when I was kidnapped by
the soldiers, the rebels. It was at 9pm. They started
to beat me u. My children were crying, crying. I don’t know, I don’t know what happened to them,
after me. I have no information about them. When I think about it it demoralizes me a little. Here in
Kampala we live by the grace of God. We have no work. We are sick because with the torture we
suffer from depression. Sometimes I am up all night. I get no sleep. I wonder how I can find a
normal life as a human being. There are
human rights organizations, there are international organizations who try to help us by providing
medical care and treatment but it is still difficult. Because
we are Christians, we believe in God, we believe in people of good will and the international
organizations which help us. That’s why we don’t lose hope. We know that God gives life.
God helps us.
And there are
people of good will
who help us
and that is why
we are still living

3. Impossible Creatures

(voice and on-screen)

If Jack hadn’t left suddenly for his new job out West, Catherine wouldn’t have had to sell her car to
cover the rent, and if Madeleine hadn’t bought that car, she might never have spontaneously made
a trip to the coast, and if she had not been so tired after driving all night, she might never have had
that expansive feeling that one sometimes has while gazing vacantly at the ocean’s horizon, and
without that oceanic feeling, she might never have been in the appropriate frame of mind to notice
the beguiling characteristics of the man next to her, and without the relationship that eventually
resulted from that encounter, she would never have reached the point of bitter disappointment that
compelled her to throw all of his belongings out of the window, and to give all his records to her
friend Karen, who would not have played that old Smiths song so loud, in which case she would not
have had the opportunity to meet her neighbour, and had that meeting not taken place, they would
not eventually have had a child, and had Karen not had an aunt that she loved dearly named
Audrey, it is very unlikely that she would have thought to name her own child Audrey, and if the
child Audrey had been given another name, she might not have been given a desk right beside
Amelia on the first day of school, and if there had not been several mildly traumatic experiences on
that first day of school which they both helped each other through, they might not have become life-
long friends, and without that friendship, they might not have ever realized that they both were
impossible creatures not well suited for this world.

And had they not both understood that they were impossible creatures not well suited for this world,
they would not have been in a position to see that the world correspondingly did not believe in them,
and they would not have designated an old suitcase as a sign of their non-existence, which they
filled with letters, texts, maps, an old, impenetrable book, and various small objects, all of which
were well beyond the reach of day-to-day belief.

And had Audrey not decided to explore the nature of her non-existence, she might not have
embarked on a tour of the world’s natural history museums, and if she had not left so suddenly, she
might not have abandoned all her belongings, and her friend Amelia would not have had to salvage
them and store them in her basement while longing for Audrey’s eventual return; for even though
hers was an impossible life not made for this world, with the help of her friend she was at least able
to live in it, and had she thought that she could, at the very least, live in this world, she might not
have thought it necessary to join her friend, without whom her impossible life would likely devolve
into a series of false possibilities, which would eventually undermine her capacity to see that
Amelia, too, was a creature as approximately impossible as herself, and that the path she chose
was perhaps not in any meaningful sense a path at all, but something more like a container, whose
walls pretended to infinite space, like a diorama, with those charmingly false horizons receding into
an artificial distance, which reminded her that Audrey, the one who could never tolerate pointless
ornamentation, – that Audrey, even though an impossible creature not made for this world, and even
though herself made up of impossible attributes, she knew, would never have forsaken her own

… and Amelia might not then have found herself packing her suitcase, the same suitcase that had
been the focus of their unbelievability years earlier, now with a new purpose, the new purpose and
the old purpose orbiting each other like twin stars, mirroring a halting cycle of attraction and
repulsion for this world for which neither woman was well suited, this world which doesn’t believe in
them, a mirroring and an orbiting which they both would have recognized as one more sign of the
ceaseless lending and borrowing between them, the one making the world livable for the other, as if
that precarious livability in this otherwise inescapable world was the only real sign of its worth.