Public Thought

Speech by the Leader on the Occasion of the Future

Images of speaking leaders in an outside world that ignores those images, along with the language and tone of political speeches and their poetic disruption in slogans and subtitles.


Speech by the Leader on the Occasion of the Future

Dear Fellow Country Men,

On the occasion
of the upcoming future,
I would like to convey
my heartfelt congratulations

to you

who all have been marked by history 
but have never lost a sense of triviality,
despite the fact
that the lines of misery
have turned your faces into national scars.

History has embraced us
as ivy embraces a lean tree

Our heads are filled with history.

We should ask ourselves
what has become of our heads?

And you know the answer already, of course you do

Your heads have become containers of voracious feelings
of envy, irritation, and boredom

But I say to you
why not cherish these voracious feelings?
They invite us to be steeped in it
for a long duration—perhaps infinitely.

Where they end and begin are hard to describe
for they overtake us by small degrees.
They invite us to feel and remain the same
—only less comfortably so.

So I say to you
why not cherish these voracious feelings?

That, my fellow servants, is the right thing to do

And coming from that

let's pretend

you are as faithful to our just cause
as I pretend
to be captivated by the charm of old habits
that were meant to patronize you

This also, is the right thing to do

I tell you
do act as if you love
these statements:

A primary characteristic of pain is
its demand for an explanation.

Water's not wet
but when we touch it, we become wet

Like a fish in an aquarium,
you are
a source of distress and distraction.

Do act as if you love
these statements

This is the right thing to do

These words have stayed with me
through the days.
I repeat them to others.
I am repeating them now.

Surely a voice is made to be raised,
I have to follow this vocation

When you are hearing these words,
please remember
one thing:

that all I have said
belongs to you,
to your family,
your organizations,
and your friends,
as an evidence.

We're held together by our saliva.
Everything that struggles in it
to come out
as words
is interchangeable.

Mark my words.
You can pull emptiness out of it
by the handful
And that, my Fellow Clansmen
is the right thing to do


Fragments and paraphrases in the text originating from the New Years Address to the Nation by Vladimir Putin, delivered on 31 December 2019, Tayyip Erdogan’s message on hanukkah, M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac’s poem “A Planned Brief Documentary on a Teenage Boy in a Badjao Village”, Bùi Chát’s poem “April”, Anne Carson’s “TV Men: Artaud”, and Sueyeun Juliette Lee’s essay “Shock and Blah: Offensive Postures in ‘Conceptual’ Poetry and the Traumatic Sublime”.

Audio and video fragments originating from the annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly, by Vladimir Putin, delivered on 20 February 2019, the 2020 New Year’s speech by Xi Jinping, Speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – Democracy and Martyrs Rally, 8 August 2016, Speech by Kim Jong-un at the Inter-Korean summit, 19 September 2018, televised speech by Kim Jong-un, 1 January 2018, Boris Johnsons’s speech: “I share the optimism of President Trump”, 3 February 2020, Donald Trump Memorial Day speech at Fort McHenry, 25 May 2020, Victor Orban at government news conference, 10 January 2019.

Completed: july 2020

Duration: 00:07:09

Format: 4K video

Direction: Alfred Marseille & Jan Baeke

Screenplay: Jan Baeke & Alfred Marseille

Film & sound editing: Alfred Marseille

Text: Jan Baeke

© 2020 Public Thought, Jan Baeke & Alfred Marseille