Hernan Jourdan

and the megabyte horses

After Baltimore

Performed at the Godine Family Art Gallery (Boston, MA)


The audience is invited to move freely in the gallery, until they are asked to stop in their place, hold hands with those next to them, and close their eyes. The performer then reads the following text as he moves through the maze that the audience has formed:

"I've been trying hard and many times to understand what is behind the recent cases of excessive use of violence by police officers.

"I don't intend to find and weight the motives of people who one morning went on to wear a blue uniform. I don't intend to justify the actions other people did before they were held against them. But on repeated occasions, when the path of the two crossed each other, the result demanded wide-spread attention. There's a good reason for that, although the good reason might be covered by heavy velvet curtains. The good reason is indeed good in that it resonates at large, acting like a magnet for many on the streets and many on tv, and I've been trying hard to remove the heavy velvet cloth that blocks it from clear sight.

"Questions are like fingers looking for the opening between those curtains. Facts are the foldings they run through –and when eyes can't see past them, it's hard to offer proof. In times we lack experience, and don't know where to go, we can start with a guess.

"This isn't against the police force but I value common sense and sanity of the mind, and I am witnessing an alarming lack of these.
No camera will suffice if our aim is to impart these values –cameras are simply tools to monitor and offer proof of action.
Perhaps what they will record will be the lost of the same values that will allow us to live peacefully with each other.
One of them is love, another thing that seems to be lacking.
For what man locks his arm around another man's neck and chokes him to death?
What has happened to that man that made him able to do this even when not remotely threatened?
What sense whispered in his mind and told him it was allowed to jump at the other man from his back?
What made him think it was ok not to heel the words "I can't breathe"?

"Perhaps we should start giving more love to police officers –it seems like they need it, as much as we need it too.
Perhaps then it will be evident that we don't need more people in police uniforms than there already are.
Each of us is responsible for his own person
before anybody else.
Each of us is responsible for his own person
before anybody else.
The responsibility to govern oneself, lies on that same person.
The responsibility to govern oneself, lies on that same person.
This being such, we ought to realize that the police should never be bestowed upon this big task.
That would not only drive towards more surveillance, but will also remove from us the responsibility over our life, without which the power of action will end up distributed among a handful who, in turn, could easily achieve impunity –not to mention the possibility to become fully realized beings by ourselves.

"That weaponry in billions can't be coincidental. Exacerbated, it piles up; subsequently is passed down, from the national army to each state. SWAT teams are increasing throughout and house raids multiply, to stop the illegal barber and even chicken fights. That somewhat must connect the reinforcement and the line, the socio-demo-fear, "the person who's about to rob me" and justify the violence on this side. Who'll aid the store owner, who's crying on shattered glass and stolen merchandise? That's not the ones who'll hug him once the riot's passed.

"Who's watching on TV while riots rise and pass? Doesn't worry 'bout being a suspect on the street, for he's driven in his car, and the pen to sign new deals is already in his hands.

"But who's now crying at a coffin, or praying at the press? Who's got 'salvation army' written all over her dress? Or fearing for his life, or seeing devil's eyes, or can't question any orders for the mission comes right down? Who's sending out the orders and what's trying to protect? Who is above this order while cutting out the checks?


"If that one now can hear this,
does it do it for the rest?
If he does I want to point out
that discussing things is best,
if he doesn't then I ask him
to restore the lost respect
that confusing high-arm power
with democracy has brought
through authorities that now
kill, perhaps the think they can

"Where's our fear, where's our trust?
Did we value wealth over too much?
Who's in power, over whom?
What are laws for if today
justice they can override?
And does everyone outside
want to simply rules obey?
And let someone else decide
the number of weapons to be made?
What's then to be afraid of?
is it color? is it wealth?

"If I was to go somewhere
with this public debate
knowing class is here already
and the killing here too
when I answer what to do
I'll avoid speaking in tongues
If we can't get rid of the first one
I guess we can start with the guns."