Forgotten Letter from The Unknown

This text is part of the artwork entitled Seriality, The Unknown, et cetera | Timoteus Anggawan Kusno, 2017 | exhibited in Arko Art Centre, Seoul, South Korea |Curator: Sunyoung Oh | Project 7 1/2

In my journey, I had once become one of the skulls crawling until death came. I was a part of the crowd. I was a troupe of the anonymous indigenous, within a body identical to numbers. We were hobbling to meet the death that was inconceivable. The coarse fibers of the damp and thick burlap wrapped out bones and skins gnawed by lice, infested by leeches. I worked to fulfill a dream that was outrageously magnificent for me, the one given by the guests who claimed to be our older brother. The overwhelming hunger and fatigue were the greatest companions of the death that was faithfully waiting. At the same time, I become a louse.

I was the son of a mistaken time. Once I also became a pile of meat covered by a uniform. Surrounded by tropical mosquito bites, I was forced to keep an eye on the miserable whites whom I didn’t recognize anymore. They were the people behind the wire fence, the former of the first class citizens who were now bowing down under a rifle’s muzzle, curling up as mourning for the end of happy days; carrying water, kicked, draining the bath, punched in the gut, washing vegetables, slapped, trying to escape, shot dead. I was the mothers separated from their children. I was a lover taken apart from the beloved. I was a father, I was a husband.

I was once a young man peeping from a distance, gleaning the same loneliness from behind the estrangement, on the war attire I was impelled to wear. The nameless young man collected the scattered rubbles of memory, to spend the time that was loaded of an intense longing; for the falling leaves of the autumn, for the merriness of the spring, for the warm laughter of his youngest sibling, for the memory of hometown. Fiction and life fused, like a remembrance and beauty that were present in a piece of portrait that stole the night before one soundly slept. No longer did I have a name, my names were too abundant. I could be anything. I did not own any land, everywhere was my house. War taught me to conquer a death with another death. My companions were my enemies. In the dark we knew each other, in malaria we were brothers.

Suddenly I remembered, the time when the guerrillas saved me from the death they had offered. I became my own enemy. The ones who accepted me were them, my enemies. With them altogether, we swam through the lake of fire, crushed the bridge, warmed up the leftovers. We exchanged memories and fantasies, we added it up with our own remembrances, then we swapped roles without restriction. War was my necessary residence. It only postponed my death, waylaid me on my way home.

Until this day came, the postponed death finally arrived. I was once a guest, and now I am standing as a host. Those guests returned with rifles and despair. I was once a guest, but I died as a host. Burry me as your family.

Solomon or anyone else,

Kerkhoff, Garut, August 10, 1949