Mount Mound Refuse – Part II

Author Bio: 

Jessika Khazrik is an indisciplinary composer, artist, technologist, writer and educatress. She works with a trans-millennial production of knowledge based on an environmental understanding of the techno-politics of voice, media and code. While tracing the history, political economy and myths of discipline, her indisciplinary practice revolves around the collective search and need for polymathic resonance, environmental remediation and healing in the 20th-21st century and long-term future. Khazrik holds BAs in Linguistics and in Theatre from the Lebanese University(LB) and a MS in Art, Culture and Technology from MIT(US) where she was awarded the Ada Lovelace prize. Her multi-channel sound installations and performances have been commissioned by Para Site(HK), Kunsthalle Wien(AT), LACE(US), Muzeum Sztuki(PL) and ar/ge kunst(IT), among others. Her essays and short stories have been published in edited anthologies and multiple publications including Bidayat Journal(LB), Zweikommasieben(CH), MadaMasr(EG), The Funambulist(FR) and Ibraaz(US). She tours internationally as a musician, performance maker and DJ and is currently a fellow at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Health(2022-23) and If I Can’t Dance(2022-23) and guest faculty at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg and the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel.

Cite This: 
Jessika Khazrik. "Mount Mound Refuse – Part II". Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research Vol. 8 No. 2 (02 January 2023): pp. 9-9. (Last accessed on 07 February 2023). Available at: https://kohljournal.press/mount-mound-refuse-ii.
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jessika_khazrik_mount_mound_refuse_-_museum_of_modern_artmsn_warsaw_2018.jpg

Jessika Khazrik_Mount Mound Refuse - Museum of Modern Art(MSN) Warsaw, 2018

In 2016, Jessika Khazrik published the first part of Mount Mound Refuse in Kohl Journal as part of her overarching project, “حقل البراميل الزرئ The Blue Barrel Grove (2013-ongoing).” Since then, the poem has been presented as a multilingual sound performance by the artist multiple times, in Lebanon, Poland, Switzerland, the UK, and Germany. It was also extensively engaged with as an ecotechnofeminist piece of literature, testimony, and historiography. It was the subject of analysis in different types of publications on the politics of waste, the environment, and the body in post-war Lebanon, such as in Sintia Issa’s “Waste You Can’t Deny: A Slow Trans-aesthetic in The Blue Barrel Grove”1 and Helene Kazan’s “An unbound critical lived-built environment.”2 We are honored to be publishing its second part in our dossier on the environment.

“حقل في أكوام القمامة Mount Mound Refuse” is a multilingual long poem that delves into the taxonomy and global economy of waste as a recursive subject of refuse. Reflecting on the experience of growing up in an area where toxic waste was secretly brought and buried through a deal between the Italian Mafia and the Lebanese Forces, Khazrik scavenges inside and outside of the limits of language, science, sound and trace in search for an active politics of remediation.

The hybrid Italian stanzas in part II were written with the endearing support of Italian writer, curator, and friend Sara Giannini. Jessika and Sara did collective translation sessions during the lockdown in 2020 where they explored translation as a compositional tool that can take non-hegemonic forms of alliance, multilingualism, and circulation.

These stanzas were a part of an 8 channel sound installation Jessika made called “Insanificazione” that was relayed on a closed down vitrine of ar/ge kunst in Italy for 5 months during lockdown. Showcased in Khazrik’s solo exhibition “Abeyance and Concurrence,” it was not the first time that she combined sound performances and installations with indisciplinary research. Taking the form of five songs, visuals, and an indisciplinary essay that deal across scales with atomic environmental history and the body, her most recent “Songs from Nano-Spectacular Space I” challenges the perception of climate change as an accidental aftermath of industrialization by investigating the role of the military and its influence on the organization of knowledge.

Besides performing, DJing, teaching and exhibiting internationally with a trans-millennial production of knowledge based on an environmental understanding of the techno-politics of voice, media, and code, Jessika has also written extensively3 on the global economy of toxic waste trade, environmental history and advocacy, as well as history of science, AI, and music.

 

 

As we sat there,
Amused by the simple pleasure of not being noticed
R__O began to sing,

My vessel flute mountain
You can never amplify one tone

Your head is side-blown
Your guts are torn
dilapidated, reconstructed and rapidly interred
With Untold matter
More permanent than us all

My vessel flute mountain
is lost with groundwater ghosts
on our streets that transpierce
And wound without lips
reneging on promises
no one could live
To keep and recall

In a fretless unison,
Little Arsonist and I joined her low,
Joined her high, joined her with
Groundwater ghosts, with groundwater ghosts
Ghosts Got Hosts Goats Got Ghosts
Did you get it!? Who got it?
Don’t go! x7
(Repeating while contagiously cracking up on yellow crackling earth caught in metal drifts of adolescent incessant laughter)

The three of us did sing as if
We knew.
We really did not know, and though we didn’t know why, we did know that
We shouldn’t be
Here.

I looked at her and ran
She ran and
Looked at me and said,
My memories were born before I was born
So… I remember the war more than ur māther does!

We all loved to play out and make-believe
Unsung reactions to our muted histories
Pains of the militias’ opera nationales
that we had prenatally been
Ordained to repress through
Just another careless series of
implicit intergenerational incitations

But we didn’t know what was secretly there
And we didn’t know how come we felt so attracted

To this place.

إنّ السلاح سمّة السموم
Tutte le armi sono tossiche

il mio villaggio è stato reso velenoso
veleno a rendere
a rendere

a rendere
arrendere
arrendersi (x2)

non arrendersi
non arrendersi prima che il veleno sia stato reso
stato velenoso
stato di villani
stato di veleni
stato tossico

arma, arma tossica
armi che sono tossiche

armistizio della tossicità
la città della tossicità
la tossicità della nostra città
la tossicità della vostra città e della nostra città
TAKE IT BACK!

It took us 7 years and 3 deaths to understand
The aetiology of your death
To whom matter, mending and words
I am still in search
For

Tutte le armi sono tossiche

It took me 7 years and a half to learn
How come in 1994 in Uyoun Al Siman,
400 goats were found dead
When militias dug trenches
Filled the earth with refilled industrial drums
Tutte le armi sono tossiche
And the poison mixed with snow
And the snow filled the well
And from there, the goats drank
Murder with inter-water ghosts

مياه وأموال بين القتل
le nostre vite sono state rese velenose
veleno a rendere
stato reso velenoso
veleno a rendere
دندنة سفّاح فلان وفلان وفلان
رندحة مجرمي معامل الخارج
في بلدتي الصغيرة
a rendere
a rendere
arrendere
arrendersi
non arrendersi
non arrendersi prima che il veleno sia stato reso
stato velenoso
stato di villain
stato di veleni
stato tossico

Out of once vast and finite forests
Sterilized with C1, sulphur and Ammonia
Mega-flailed and rocked
Since the concrete lust of 1964
Moved from extraction to intoxication
Interring drums
Kleptocratic deaths
Easy cryptobioses
Slow yet eruptive,
cryptic symbioses
appearing in our bodies
abrasive in our unseen
flesh
all senses would follow
Intra-cellular
reneging on promises
no one would keep
To live

arma tossica, armi che sono tossiche

We were born into promises of reconstruction
Myriads of promises of being reconstructed
Onsite; online; in the false city
As if our bodies were also broken congenesis
Like the broken mountain that built our home

Yet, here we reside
In between
for 33 years of circulation horrified
29 years born, 29 years phantom
Co-morbidities innumerable
Nitrified cyto-sonics screaming for a life more worthy than
The factory shit of mafias

What else circulates in us?
If only I can excise
exercise and excise
“agnostic” from “theragnostic”
And see the many deaths in me
The vibrant lives, the many bodies we share
In our bodies there are dead factories
In the phantom bodies of the fellow denizens of my town

la scoria della storia,
negli ultimi secoli,
quando il nostro mondo è diventato
un mondo immondo
il segno della scoria sul mio corpo
la scoria della storia,
le nostre storie

se solo potessi condividere con te i segni della scoria sul mio corpo, ma non sono
stati sviluppati test per questo

Our vessel flute mountain
You are the many forests we forgot
You have been when the
unfazed criminal nation
Epic’d its glib geographies
In mountains it then hid
Global run, distilled smug
Secrete heat, fire trees
To change our mind
with Cancer

Holographic caves
burying dreams
hiding cabins
beneath deaths

Holographic caves
burying dreams
haunting carriers
bequeath dread

HER COUGH BURNS DAILY

hallucinatory cremations belittled dust
IN THIS PLACE
Howling, cursing “better die”
Horrible cunning businesses destroy homes
closemouthed bequeathed denied.

Hollow cunning businesses deprecate hills
Charged billed drilled 2 charged billed drilled 2
Heedlessly Construct Beirut’s dwelling
heights her
contaminated breasts disappeared.
Hurting, carving, craving between deaths.
Heap cough break drum

Holographic caves
bequeath dread
Her
cuddle between deaths
Heap cough break drum
Heap cough break drum
cuddle between deaths
All drums heap magic

Dynamic dirty dynamites
Cut covered brooks dry dissonant dynamites, how to kill a mountain with sound
Could become deprecate hills cribbed billed drilled
Hull cull bulge dull
Home and Hell
Sell and cell
hexachlorobutadiene

If only i could count calibrate abbreviate or name the chemicals in your Body
That made you
fall
Sick.
Talk sick
Toxic
I talk sick.
We talk sick.
Heaving, crushing brief days
You are what outlives in me.

In the economic relations propagated by global toxic waste trades
Trades where highly industrialized countries secretly send their waste
Their waste to territories that neither have the facilities to treat nor produce the
unwanted matter,
Matter, we can trace a very valuable scatological endowment pertinent to
The ecocidal global economy of death.
Toxic waste trades attest
To a worldview that would accept the contamination of some places and some
bodies
more than others.
The nation-state repeats that same relation within its borders.

My land is not your borders
Borders are the only inherently wasteful taxonomic and spatial entities
Repeat the sentence ending with borders
Our land is not your borders
We are the denied exile that returns to space to levitate
We are the denied exile that returns to space to alleviate
that imaginary risk our UNDERstudied bodies pose on
your poisonous nation
Mount mound diffused.

Since millennia, we have landed
Or have we grown in land
In their new promises
Stale matter our skins would swallow
whether we wanted or not
whether we knew or not
Summations everyone knew
But no one wanted to discuss
Since words and worlds ago

Flouncy words, frilly language, cache cache
baloney dribble سم, anoxic streets
Anoxic organs, anammox in my nerves
Anammox in my wounds
Wounds in my nerves
Gods of hidden things fixed without life
Secret bodies سكر
secret body secretions
this world is changing me
this world can’t know what is in me
again and again

Our vessel flute mountain
You are the many forests we forgot
You we-re when the
unfazed criminal nation
Epic’d its glib geographies
Global run, distilled smug
Secrete heat, fire trees
To change our mind
with Cancer

Our vessel flute mountain
Gibellina
You are my forest
I remember you
Worthy life
Worthy livening
You are our remedy
And money is the only foreigner
No poison can scale to.

  • 1. Issa, Sintia. “Waste You Can’t Deny: A Slow Trans-aesthetic in The Blue Barrel Grove.” The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Art, Visual Culture, and Climate Change. Edited by T. J. Demos, Emily Eliza Scott, and Subhankar Banerjee. New York and London: Routledge, 2021.
  • 2. Kazan, Helene. “An unbound critical lived-built environment.” Journal of Visual Culture, 20(3), 2021, 575–59
  • 3. See for instance: Khazrik, Jessika. “I Am Not Your History.” The Funambulist, 14, 2017. Khazrik, Jessika. “الهيئة السكنية لفتق التحأرضى.” Hammoud Badawi. Beirut: TandemWorks, 2015. Khazrik, Jessika. “When We Were Exiled, Water Remained.” Elements: Water. Beirut: Sursock Museum, 2016.
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