Not Being In Bratislava

All my life I have witnessed precisely what it is to be, in all my senses, thoughts and the totality of experience, someone who is not in Bratislava. I have lived in three countries on two continents, walked the streets of numerous towns, watched television programmes portraying life in foreign climes, viewed internet streams, films, audio recordings and endless hours of radio transmissions from around the globe. But nothing has ever emanated from Bratislava. The city is opaque to me; it may as well not exist.

I have met people who say they are from Bratislava, but when questioned they recall only moments from their own lives, a few place names, nothing that tells of a place of commerce, art, life and death. In fact I think they are lying: no one comes from Bratislava. Or if they do they forget effortlessly upon leaving, as though emerging from a dream.

I do not wish to visit Bratislava. Empirical knowledge would only blot out the far more intriguing Bratislava-of-the-mind. It is this I will construct here on this website, meditating daily on what it is to not be in Bratislava, compiling my own desires for an imaginary city... building, testing, forming something personal, some situational reality from the fact that I am not now nor have ever been... in Bratislava.

One half of the site will document this process from my subjective position as a resident in Limerick, Ireland. The other half will contain contributions from those who are (or claim to be) actually in Bratislava. I welcome the chance to work with specific writers, poets, journalists, photographers, artists and others as collaborators in imagination.

Bratislava, Bratislava, Bratislava... I will repeat the word like a mantra.

This was a proposal for Multiplace 2008, but it was not accepted. So it is not taking place. In Bratislava.

Born in the UK and educated in Canada, Robin Parmar resides in Ireland where he curates performance events, creates sound art, reads poetry, designs for visual media and programmes open source software. Recent credits include a lecture on Baudrillard and Doctor Who, a seven-hour concert for dance, funded research into environmental audio and sound design for theatre.