‘Love is Not a Place’ by Mary Ocher featuring Your Government | New Charity EP, ‘Power and Exclusion from Power’

Uncategorized February 23, 2023

‘Love is Not a Place’ by Mary Ocher featuring Your Government | New Charity EP, ‘Power and Exclusion from Power’

Exclusive video premiere of ‘Love is Not a Place’ by Mary Ocher featuring Your Government, taken from the upcoming charity EP ‘Power and Exclusion from Power,’ out February 24th via Underground Institute.

The EP is released to mark a year since the war began. The profits will go to Repair Together (Ukraine), who are doing an incredible job restoring damaged homes and cultural spaces, among other humanitarian tasks. The tracks were recorded at Palazzo Stabile with Peder Simonsen, mixed with Mike Lindsay and mastered by Ale Sportelli and Antonio Passacantilli of Wolvesinsound (2019-2023, Italy, Germany, UK). Video of ‘Love is Not a Place’ was directed by David Debris.

‘The Occupation”‘ features Serafina Steer on harp, and Mats Folkesson on drums (plus Tempest analog drum machine), and ‘Love is Not A Place’ features Mats Folkesson and Theo Taylor on drums.

Pre-order ”Power and Exclusion from Power’ here!

Essay by Mary Ocher 

I’d been following the Russian armament for three weeks or so prior to February 24 2022, as it was laid out day by day in The Guardian. I couldn’t stop, the sheer horror of it, something truly vile was brewing. My grandparents’ generation knew war all too well, oh, but we did too. Some of my earliest memories are of colorful plastic gas masks, sirens, running to the shelter at 2AM “to play” as parents would dub it. Living with the ghostly terror of bombs for years thereafter. In the past 150 years, at least, no generation of my family lived in the same place, we tend to seek our luck elsewhere… from the pogroms of today’s Ukraine to Moscow, to Tel Aviv, to Berlin… and before that, possibly – no, probably, elsewhere.

My parents did not live in the country that is Russia, they lived in the Soviet Union. Those across the southern border – they were one and the same, in our, as in many other cases, they were family; it is ironic that a mere generation away and a new kind of distinguishability is plastered together from dubious bits and pieces, attempting to create a new nationalistic narrative; More ironic yet, that the the dinosaurs who are perhaps nostalgic for the cold war, who remember the time before the “westernization”, a vision of a megalomaniac past – now long for it, determined to reverse the clock and bring back the iron curtain – the wall of lies, the economic divide… they cling to absolute power all the same, power shifts from one beast to another, and nothing really does change…

My generation – those who were born in the mid to late 1980s don’t remember a time before McDonnald’s, the infamous queues around the block (Youtube offers an exceptional documentation) – the eager embrace of consumerism, was it all but a facade to them? Are they secretly nostalgic for a past they never did know themselves? No, they are terrified, facing a bleak future, devoid of international brands, which more than anything meant acceptance, belonging, to the rest of the world.

They know there is nothing to be nostalgic about the soviet time, in being nostalgic one would be forgetting the prosecution, the disappearances, the labor camps, the murders, the denunciations, the anonymity. Not the corruption though, the corruption persisted, and so does the poverty of the common individual.

On Freedom of Speech

Last year, at Ukrainian refugee welcome centers in Berlin and Hamburg, Germans would gawk and ask: “If you were born in Moscow, shouldn’t you be supporting the war?” That’s a flat, uneducated assumption, and I never did respond, what different would it make?

My grandmother was born in Kharkiv, where most of the maternal family line comes from, my father’s side is from Vinnytsia. I was born in Moscow, admittedly a Jew, a Ukrainian Jew. Not that it even matters, right and wrong have no nation to their name.

And now I am the wretched owner of two passports, both of which bring nothing but shame.

Yet I can openly state my opposition; not everyone has such privilege; It is our responsibility to voice our resistance ever louder. Uproot the hate from the core. It is the culmination of everything truly horrific which we deluded ourselves to believe was long gone, left in the 20th century to rot, and yet, here we are within a regression into a state of absolute panic.

Power which rules by force and terror, never lets go of power. Glorifies power, glorifies terror, resorts to notions of masculinity, suppresses everything that isn’t in line with such notions, easily hurt, easily shamed. Forgetful of previous ideologies, rewrites its own history in chalk, to be erased again.

It is a tiresome, grisly task to carry a moral obligation for a constant readjustment of the narrative of truth, That which perhaps grants me a certain, if somewhat pathological, relation to the city in which I reside since my early 20s (Berlin), with its gruesome past, and its looming shadow into the present. A persistent, lingering memento of war, marked on the stones by nearly each and every building, and in the minds of all inhabitants alike. By moving here, you are unwittingly be-gifted the souvenir of the past.

The atrocities make a war, yet a collective ancestral guilt makes a nation.

Entire generations raised on deterministic abandonment, complete and utter lack of agency or belief in one’s ability to control one’s future. An idea entirely foreign to an individualistic post-soviet youth.

In autocratic dictatorships, the press and public are to be censored for “posing a threat” by criticizing the government.

In new liberal democracies, members of the government are to be censured (by social media) for “posing a threat” to the general public.

On The Nature of Change

War is not a metaphysical state, it is a concrete pursuit that covets annihilation.

How transient life is, how unpredictable. We must allow it to take its course, take agency, but not without possible diversions.

Adaptability is most important above all things, the realization that comforts and all earthly goods can perish, be taken away by war or natural disaster; That cannot be undermined, and must above all be passed on to future generations, who must not take anything for granted, not be deterred by effort, everything worth fighting for, which will certainly not manifest itself by the sheer power of thought. It requires a stern will and determined collected effort. An entire generation of spoiled European – often well-off, well educated men, is mentally unwilling to exert effort, and remains docile in anticipation for things to sort themselves out, for outside forces to magically align all of life’s variables in neat parallels. I have true admiration for those who come from hardship.

Places change without us, they turn and morph and expand; We view them continuously if present, and sporadically if absent; We either change with them, or remain standing in one place, left behind to contemplate the very nature of change, mourn the loss of the present, the loss of youth itself.

People around become smaller, they start occupying less space.

And we in turn, too, became smaller. Our thoughts are unable to push further…

These are dark times, and possibly yet darker times still ahead.

On a positive note, they will likely be 1.5 degrees warmer…

Headline photo: Gloria de Oliveira

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