On structurally induced affects in the transition from socialism to capitalism

Livia Pancu in conversation with Ovid Pop

Ovid Pop, The Council of Peace, Utopian Chronicle, direct translation from Revolutionary Language (RL), 2020, new commission in the scope of the project Conditions of Peace (Iași, Belgrade, Vienna, Helsinki), video still from recorded collective reading in Iași, © tranzit.ro/ Iasi and 1+1 space. © Conditions of Peace and the artist

Livia Pancu: Thank you for agreeing to give this interview within the framework of the Matter of Art performance festival. You present yourself as a political scientist, transnational writer, and theorist, and you are also quite involved in the activities of kollektiv sprachwechsel: Literature in Second Language in Vienna, together with Radostina Patulova and other fellow writers. This is a collective whose focus is to produce literary works in German as a second language and beyond. Most of its activities take place in Vienna. In a recent biography, you said that you are interested in modernity, coloniality, modernization, logistic capitalism, language-based imperialism, and epistemic colonialism within the European context. As far as I have read and understood, you often link these topics with experiences drawn from the socialist past that some of us shared, at the same time using samples of your biography in order to address these larger topics mentioned above from a specific perspective. Therefore, I would refer to your use of biography when asking what the limit in using biographical elements is as well as why you feel the need to do it?

Ovid Pop: I think that in visual art, biographies are a good starting point to discuss cultural and political dynamics. It is a raw material that always needs interpretation, but it is first-hand material that can reach depth and offer deep understanding when dealt with thoroughly. Eventually, biography is still always raw material that needs to be placed in a much broader perspective. In the beginning, you mentioned that I am a political scientist, and, indeed, I graduated in sociology and political science. One of the things that I have learned from my studies is that in order to understand general movements at a society level, one should never equate his/her/their own experience with the general experience. That is because the owned experience is always based, is always rooted and incorporated in a larger experience – a group, a class, gender, and so on; therefore, it is merely the starting point but never the end point. Biography is theoretically relevant when it connects with larger group dynamics. This also goes for literature, although literature reaches this wider perspective by a different road.

Livia: Recently you worked on a text that we are about to publish called Metamorphoses. About political forms of existence in socialism and in capitalism, and you do start from what appears to be your own biography with a very tangible image. It is the image of a sandwich that you never tasted, or maybe you did. I do not remember exactly. Then you start to use yourself and your colleagues and the relations built among all of you as something that signifies what was lost or what remains in place from those post-socialist times in our present time. What I do not know at this point is how to delimit post-socialism from capitalism. I am not sure when it ends, and I do not know when that human that you are talking about disappeared. In fact, did it disappear?

Ovid: First of all, let me say that when I use biographical material, it is important to see not the exception in the material but the common ground. In other words, I speak about personal events, stories, or emotions and affects, but I always keep in mind that these elements do not belong to me; in fact, they don’t have theoretical relevance unless they relate to or echo similar stories, emotions, and affects, unless they become something wider than my individual, isolated story.

Livia: Do you use individuality to build positions?

Ovid: As I said before, biography gives you a concreteness that you need in order to grasp what’s happening. Western European philosophy often lacks this, especially abstract Western European theory, which works in a kind of theoretical thin air. So, biography works for me as a way to reach concreteness, but I always keep in mind that if I speak about an emotion or about a material aspect in my life, this part of my life does not belong to me. Without a wider significance, a wider sense that goes beyond my life, there is no point in talking about my or anybody’s life. It is at this point of interference between the particular and the common where I link theory with biography.

Livia: In another project we worked on together called The Council of Peace, utopian dialogue, direct translation from Revolutionary Language (RL), one may find many characters that, for a reader like me, lack biography, yet you still understand who they are, what brought them together, and how they build what appears to be this future society. Can you connect these two approaches?

Ovid: In writing and in thinking, I am always interested in devices. Practices, literary or artistic, are organized discourses based on techniques that are acknowledged and legitimated in a certain way. When I work with autobiography – which is a device, you remember there were no autobiographies prior to the Renaissance – I place it in a theoretical framework. In this way, the biographical material gains a broader sense, non-individualistic. And theory becomes embodied and concrete. This is one device. The other device is non-biographical. One could call it fiction, political or artistic fiction.

Livia: Still, the device used for looking back is the biographical device, and the one that you used for what is to become is a fictitious one.

Ovid: Biography is also fiction, of course… Anyway, fiction for me is a powerful political and artistic tool. Fiction is something that departs from reality and comes back to check it. To haunt it. It is something that confronts reality; thus, it is very important for me to use it in artistic works. Literature allows you to use the device of fiction in a radical way. The social conventions would never allow this sort of freedom. Fiction addresses reality, and it does so, to a certain degree, in order to change reality. I think that eventually these apparently separate approaches of resorting to biography and deploying fiction have, in fact, the same goal: to change reality. For instance, in the work for the Conditions of Peace project (The Council of Peace, utopian dialogue, direct translation from Revolutionary Language (RL)), the characters meet in a very concrete post-revolutionary situation in order to discuss the conditions that bring about and consolidate peace in their post-revolutionary society. Simply the fact that you can posit this vision of a non-capitalist or anti-capitalist society as a reality – where you have these post-revolutionary people discussing ideas and ways of life that, again, are non-capitalist or anti-capitalist – means that you already have a very powerful device in place. That is because usually, in our daily reality, you are not allowed to argue like this. Because in our daily life, we are pathetic positivists. So, fiction as a device is something very powerful. And the arts or literature, as organized discourses, can give you this potential power.

Livia: I was just wondering about something. You use biography for post-socialist time talking about socialist times, and then for the future, you don’t use this device because maybe it doesn’t make sense to use it anymore. But on the other hand, when you talk about the time of your childhood in Metamorphoses. About political forms of existence in socialism and in capitalism, you say: “My childhood coincides with the last years of the socialist regimes and the first years of capitalism. It was a peaceful world, at peace with its mode of existence.” Already, when you say this, you describe a world and not individuals at peace with their existence. It is as if your biography is lost in a world where it doesn’t make sense anymore to have an individual biography precisely because it belongs to everybody, for in a way, it was created by everybody. It’s the same feeling that I have in this other piece called Council of Peace, where it is important what they do together and not really where they come from individually. Therefore, I wonder if these autobiographical moments in the socialist times (recalling socialism in a biographical manner) do not only appear in these societies between socialism and capitalism (transition) or in capitalism. I am talking here about the time a biography is produced in writing, which in this case is in retrospect.

Ovid: Okay, let’s go step by step. We should start with the present and with the need to look back on the socialist experience. It is a quest for health. For sanity. Bodily health, the healthy social body. Our society – Eastern European society – lost that. The health of the social body. Why? Because of capitalist colonization. Capitalism has instilled a specific movement in our bodies, has engraved its dynamics in our social relations. So, the need to look back is the need to act or to give an answer to this process of the colonization of social existence. You could also look into the future for answers. But for Eastern Europeans, the past is interesting, it gives hope for the present. This is why I choose to look at my past and, at the same time, to critically address my own “felt” socialist and post-socialist experience. I need to understand what happened because I live with this sense of loss. And all around me, I get this impression of people living with a strong feeling of loss. It is as if people lost something, but we don’t know for sure what. I argue that this comes from an intuitive understanding that you’ve been colonized. Of course, the answer to this feeling, although it is experienced individually, is, in fact, a structurally induced political affect. Now, the reactions to this affect are very different. One strategy to cope with the loss is the self-colonizing ideology elaborated by the petit bourgeoisie of Eastern Europe: you know very well – through a bodily recognition, so it need not be conscious – that you are a cheap global worker toiling for big capital, but you pretend to be the capitalist. Despite everything, you develop an entrepreneurial ethos, you pretend to be the boss, although you are the servant, and you look toward the West and its middle class with whom you engage in a kind of mimetic identification. This is one political response to this feeling of loss: you’ve lost something, you’ve been colonized, you sense this violence of the capitalist colonization of existence, and the response emerges. Of course, the back side of the story is that this solution is no solution – it only conceals the loss. In fact, the self-colonizer is always saying to him/herself: you are not enough. You’re not enough, you need to do more, you need to be more Western, you need to be more competitive, you need to be more educated, and so on and so forth. I think that’s been the overall ideology of the middle class in the capitalist transformation of the last three decades.

Ovid Pop, On taking Pleasure in Language, 2018, new commission, excerpt from the publication “Domeniul celor VII” / The Estate of the Living (188 pages), © tranzit.ro/ Iasi and the artist

Livia: But workers were also subjected to the same forces. Even worse, I think...

Ovid: True, but I think workers develop a different coping ideology. Let me explain. The middle class in Eastern Europe gained political power and economic wealth from the capitalist transformation. The workers were impoverished and lost political power. Workers have been subjected to an even more violent transformation than the middle class, but workers have no interest in processes of self-colonization because their reality is radically different from that of the Western middle class. I like this line from a manele song from the 2000s: “Hopa hopa am intrat in Europa” – Oops we’ve joined (or entered) Europe now. The easiness in the tone reflects hope – hope for material gains, for a better life – but also suggests the acknowledgment of exploitation. So, it is a shrewd relationship with “Europe” (that is, with capitalism), but there is no identification with “Europe” whatsoever. With the middle class, things are different. The Eastern European middle class has had an interest in identifying its political destiny with “Europe” (that is, capitalism), even if lately there has been a shift towards a nationalist, right wing orientation, like in Hungary or Poland. Now that class positions have consolidated, there is no longer a need for “Europe.”

Critical Eastern European middle-class discourses sprang out of this historical transformation. Critical art is but one of its specific manifestations. It tries to question the role and ideology of the middle class, but it is still entrenched in the field of art. The field of art is hyper-specialized and strongly class-based. So, there is a clear limit to the current artistic practice. The next logical step would be for the artists to turn to popular forms of art which speak to the people. To join forces with political activists and learn from the people. In our particular case, to learn how to get rid of the self-colonizing ideology.

But coming to the shared sense of loss, I believe all classes and all social groups live with a sense of loss. In this text of mine that you mentioned, Metamorphosis, which deals with social and political relations in socialism and capitalism as I experienced them, one of my arguments is that human relations in socialism were at the peak of the political organization of our societies in Eastern Europe. Since then, we have been in decline.

Livia: Yes, I find this very interesting. I made a note when reading the text for the first time because I understood what you were saying and also because it is partly what I believe. But then I have this problem: what happened? With what kind of instruments was this harmony fought against so that it eventually disappeared? Or has it disappeared? And then the other question is: this happened to the socialist societies, but then what kind of human relationships were built in other societies, let them be described as violent capitalist societies, while socialism reigned in Eastern Europe?

Ovid: I think I have already given some arguments in that essay. We shouldn’t consider capitalism and socialism in terms of human relations as completely separate systems. Human relations are fused by emotions, commitments, actions and deeds, ideology. All that. The range of emotions in a socialist society goes beyond what is considered to be socialist. This also included emotions that ran against the system and against what a socialist regime would have had envisioned. And you can say the same thing about capitalist relations. There are tendencies in Western capitalism that can, in terms of human relations, be related to the socialist experience. Therefore, in my opinion, these are not totally separate, and this is precisely because of this spectrum of needs, emotions, expectations, and so on that human beings project. This spectrum is wide and runs beyond the political frame or the intention of the contingent political regime. But my argument is that the political system shapes and gives form to those relations. Therefore, in capitalism in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, these relations were already instrumentalized and transformed into commodities. Human relations were commodified, and financial criteria have become the main criteria for forging human engagements and human relations in capitalism. Whereas in socialism, it was precisely the opposite. Human relations were designed in such a way that they were not commodities and were not instrumentalized. There was not an investment approach but rather a humanistic approach, and this is a strong and very important difference.

Livia: From what you are saying, I think you are implying that in socialism, the frame for human relations to take place as they were was created by people. So, was there a moment when this frame stopped being produced by a socialist state?

Ovid: In fact, the structure of ownership was at the basis of this design. Therefore, having, for a fair amount of time, collective property or state-owned property, secure jobs, the ability to plan your life, and guaranteed shelter and living conditions gave people the energy to act in a socialist manner and to engage in relations in a socialist manner. This is what we experienced. I think it’s one of the paradoxes of twentieth-century political history: in the midst of the political and economic crisis of socialism, you also experience a climax in human relations, the highest quality, if you will, of human relations. Although it’s not really the best expression one can say, the most developed stage of human relations in Eastern Europe happened at the very same moment as the political and economic crisis of socialism. This is an important contradiction for which we need to find an explanation.

Livia: Now I will put forward the fashionable question and link it with what you just said about the crisis in socialist times. You had the economic political crisis and the peak of the human relationship in socialism. Coming back to the present, for sure there is a crisis. While we speak, there are hundreds of forms of separation between people. I am talking about the medical crisis. Over the last two years, I have felt that something very serious is happening because I get challenged all the time: I have to, more consciously, decide if I want to separate from people or not. My dilemma was what to do. And I ended up separating. And it’s like this cynical situation: you’re driving a car through a village, and you see a person hitchhiking, and you simply don’t stop because she or he might have Covid. Eventually, one can cynically argue that not stopping the car is for the hitchhiker’s own safety because you came from a bigger city, and you encountered more people. And this is only one form of separation, but this is what it looks like at a larger scale: all these states that could not buy the vaccine and so on and so forth. Is this, therefore, a new crisis in capitalism?

Ovid: Your remark reminds me of a poem by Bertold Brecht, Fahrend in einem bequemen Wagen (Driving Along in a Comfortable Car), where he describes exactly the same situation. You are in the car, a ragged person waves at you, begging you to stop. It’s raining, but you drive on even though you have a free seat. Only afterwards are you awestruck by your selfishness.

Well, I think our experience and at least my approach to it is that capitalism is an induced crisis in human relations. That’s the point. And here, the Eastern European experience is very important at the global level because Eastern Europeans can still compare between socialism and capitalism, and we can observe the contrast at certain levels. At one level, it is the quality of human relations, the interpersonal level, let’s say. A further level is the human–non-human relation, animals and objects. Let me recall the fact that we grew up in an environment without commodities – socialist products were not commodities; that alluring function of the commodity was entirely absent. So, this is just one aspect. Goods didn’t compete for the attention of the consumer. This changed completely with the demise of socialism. In this sense, the Eastern European experience of how capitalism colonizes human relations is very important and has a global significance that needs to be addressed and understood. My take is that capitalism is crisis management of human relations. It is a permanent crisis in human relations. Capitalism is not interested in human relations. It’s not necessarily interested in destroying human relations, but it is interested in extracting something from human relations, and if this destroys the relations, if this separates the human beings, if this creates a toxic relation between human and object, human and nature, and nature, human, and animal, then capitalism says: Okay! That’s it! That’s not my concern! And this is what we’ve experienced. I think this feeling of loss that I was talking about comes from a very confusing view that we’ve had and that we grew up with. I’m talking about the urban, educated population, let’s say the consolidated middle class. This confusion comes from the fact that, in fact, we’ve been delivered to this notion of hope. After socialism, there is hope for something better, for something new. But with this hope, very soon came the sense of loss because this hope was not fulfilled. The dream didn’t come true. Or it turned into a nightmare. On this confusing ground, capitalism nested and started to colonize bodies and relations between humans.

Livia: Then when did this society that you are talking about become capitalist?

Ovid: My take is that there were tendencies lurking in our relations already under socialism, like germs of capitalism, and that’s the metaphor in my text – that of the bread in the sandwich. All of a sudden, a sparkling sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil shows up in a classroom where everybody eats these other, ordinary, sandwiches. The sandwich is nicely wrapped, blinding you with its neatness, but it is all a trap. The ordinary sandwiches are, in fact, better. However, the game is on. This deep desire to have something distinct from the others, this desire to come out above the others, was the sign at the end of the 1980s, the beginning of the 1990s, that capitalism is here, gnawing at the socialist foundation.

Livia: But who produced this desire?

Ovid: I don’t know. It’s a good question. I don’t have the answer. But I think it is rather what than who. In a discussion some months ago, a pensioner, a former accountant at the Ministry of Health, told me very briefly: “You know what the story of the ‘80s and ‘90s is? The people who were in charge of socialism wanted to have what they ruled over.” Something like that. Therefore, it may be the case that it was a structural problem, or maybe something happened at the level of the strategic positions in a socialist society that gave weight to these mechanisms of privatization and private ownership in the ‘90s. But, of course, this would have not happened without the involvement of global capitalism. This would be one explanation. These desires already circulated. Of course, in a controlled environment, in the ‘80s and then in the ‘90s, they exploded at the moment when state ownership was dismantled. And people engaged in this process. I remember one interview that we did some years ago with one of the workers from the Danube–Black Sea Canal in the ‘70s and ‘80s – a truck driver – who told us that in 1989, he was against Ceaușescu and for the coming of capitalism. And then we asked him why, and he said: We all wanted to become landlords, to get land and to get rich. And he was a truck driver at one of the most successful work sites in socialism.

Livia: There is this, and then there is another position: I don’t want to pay taxes to the state. The state was seen as something alien and impossible to be part of.

Ovid: In our artistic field, most of us still think and act like this, especially because the field is so destructured and so individualized. We behave like entrepreneurs, only with much less capital…

Livia: I may understand this now, after so many years of the situation, but back then we were talking about this kind of state where there were immediate and proportional relations between what you pay and what you get: free education, health care, extremely affordable housing. It was the state of the people, they said. While now maybe you don’t have this immediate and proportionate relation between taxes and the services that you get. I mean, in the case of artists, for example, you have the authorship right contract – there were years with no precise relation between taxes for health and health services, simply because you may have had the contract in a certain month and paid the taxes the next month. The question was in which of these two months one could get their health services paid for. Nobody knew. And now we are in our 40s, and we’ve started to need medical care more than before.

Ovid: Now we are in our 40s, and this is the least we can do. We have the tools to reflect and to raise questions about all of this: why do we live the way we do? What are our processes, and what do we produce as intellectuals or artists? This is the least we can do. And coming back to the beginning of the interview, when you said that I look back somehow to socialism, I think it is because of this feeling of loss that exists and which I need to understand and integrate as part of the colonization process of capitalism. I do not think it is entirely the fault of capitalism, but the result is that we become capital’s subjects, we become capital’s workers, and so on and so forth. Nevertheless, we still have this socialist trajectory that embraced capitalism – or at least, helped set it up – and indulged in the colonization processes of human relations. All of these created our self-colonized, narcissistic middle class. In this process, there are also residues of non-capitalist experience or non-capitalist elements where I think we can include this hope that I was talking about. This hope for the better, for the new, was already inscribed in socialism. So, it’s not entirely capitalistic, but capitalism came and gave it a shape saying: Okay! okay! You have this hope and I know what to do with it. I have the solution.

Livia: And there was also a lot of confusion, purely aesthetic confusion. I remember that I considered the billboards on the street to be very beautiful, in the sense that I thought that it was beautifying the city. I was very young when I saw the first advertising on the street, and I thought: Wow! This is very beautiful! As opposed to the lack of advertising industry, which I totally miss now. And this looks a bit like the glitter and misery of the middle class.

Ovid: I’m thinking of the languages I use. We are now talking in English, and we are somehow comfortable with it, which is kind of strange, but it’s also important to use the tools of the master. I am talking about language in a broader sense, and I am not referring only to English but rather to all languages as tools of expressing something that is acknowledged in a certain field, like contemporary art or theory. What I want to say is that these tools, such as specialized English or global English or German as a literary language, that we use in kollektiv sprachwechsel in Vienna have a glitter. In the beginning, the masters, the imperial tools, had an appeal similar to the advertising that you just referred to. They promise something that you want to have. And, for me, the experience of working in an imperial, dominant language in Europe, like German or English, is a way to get rid of this glitter step by step because I now know it’s fake. I have a poem in German that puns on the double meaning of the word Schein. Schein in German means both banknote and light. But it also means appearance, illusiveness. Anyway, this hope of having access to the glitter and prestige of such-and-such a language, discourse, or artistic practice, a way of life – which is also a commodity in capitalism – is the initial driving force, the original sin in the process of colonization.

Ovid Pop, Water Separator at the Agigea Lock on the Danube-Black Sea Canal, 2018-2021, Alternator Project, © Asociația Producție în Artă / Association for Production in Art

Livia: That is misery.

Ovid: Yes. That is the first stage. At this stage, one is really the master’s servant. In the second stage, which entails the first step toward liberation, you still bear the signs of that misery. You cannot shake it off like a snake’s skin. But there is already a glimpse of freedom in sight. It’s the old story of using the tools of the master. We are in a historical moment in which we are allowed, even encouraged, to use the tools of the master. Now, the master wants us to expand his house, but who knows what the servant can do with the tools? This is mainly what I see happening now. As for me, as a writer, I was attracted to German, and I have many interpretations referring to this attraction. We can talk about approaching the dominant language like in a love affair that then turns into a hierarchic experience, into an experience of dominance and subjection. But the solution is not to say: Okay! I am Romanian, and I speak Romanian, therefore I will do art in... I don’t know which nationalistic way. The answer is to stay there and use the tools acquired while being subjected. Without hope and without illusion and at the same time rejecting the first drive that you had in the beginning. Acknowledging the appeal – where it comes from – and then destroying it, but with the same tools. This is the contradiction in which we have to live today.

Livia: Should I ask you a question about the future?

Ovid: Yes, but before you do that, I prepared a poem in Romanian, and we will see if we want to use it or not. It’s called “Pierderea” (Loss), and it goes like this:


sunt ani buni de când curtea din spatele
școlii mi s-a arătat pustie dezvăluindu-mi
Mai târziu am tot revenit acolo ca un
detectiv căutând indiciile unei crime.
Am căutat, în zadar, prin smocurile
de iarbă și în rugina depusă pe barele porților.
Știam deja dinainte că n-am să găsesc
decât lucruri acolo.
Totuși, speram...
Speram ca ceva rătăcit pe terenurile
acelea de sport, mici și sordide,
să-mi redea lucrul pierdut.
Deși tot mai limpede mi se arăta, cu groază,
unde anume se produsese pierderea

The Loss

It’s been years since the school backyard
lay deserted, revealing to me
The desertedness.
Later on, I came back to that place like
A detective seeking clues at a crime scene.
I searched in vain through the patches of grass
And in the rust that had collected on the goalposts.
I knew beforehand that I wouldn’t find
Anything there except things.
Still, I hoped...
I hoped that something lost on that small
And wretched pitch would give me back
The lost thing.
Although it became ever more clear to me, with dread,
Where exactly the loss had occurred.

Ovid: That’s a past that one needs to understand in order to move into the future because this loss that I was seeking to replace through objects was in fact in the relations that I’ve lost, in the quality of the relationships, in the violence of the instrumentalization of human relations that we are living in. And then you know, I have this “curtea școlii,” the schoolyard, to go to look for something. And do I know what I am looking for? In fact, I’m looking for that common living / living in common, for that joy of playing. And this has nothing to do with childhood.

Livia: I wanted to ask you then about the social relations which you have been involved in after socialism – those which surround you and of which you are a part. How would you look at them in the future? Differently? Because they were produced now, under different conditions.

Ovid: I will say: first there is the moment of realization when you realize where the problem is – that you need relations, that you need engagements that are not profit-oriented, that are not instrumentalized, that are not based on class relations. But, of course, the solution cannot be at the individual level. What can you do? You can try to change your behavior, or you can try to engage a bit differently. But we live in the society and in the economy that we live in, and that’s the objective reality that we have to deal with. So, I don’t see a solution at an individual or personal level. I don’t see any solution other than living in this contradiction.

I’m thinking about how you described me at the beginning of the interview saying that I’m a political scientist, a writer, and a theorist. In Romania and the Romanian cultural field, over the last years, I have worked mostly with the topic of infrastructure and logistics capitalism. In Austria, I work together in a writers’ collective, engaged in writing in dominant languages, writing in German, and in English as second languages. These are very different topics. In essence, one is literature and the other one is theory; one is language, the other one is infrastructure. What I want to say is that I see the connection between what I do at the level of infrastructure. For me, language is infrastructure; it is a device, and in this way, I come back to this idea of language as a device. The goal of the infrastructure is to facilitate something. In capitalism, infrastructure facilitates the circulation of commodities in order to accumulate property and maximize profit, while in socialism (this is what we studied with the project about the canal), infrastructure was used as a logistical and political approach to forge socialist workers relations, to forge a workers’ milieu. This was one goal, and the other was to make living conditions for the general population. Language, on the other hand, is also a device, it is also infrastructure. In our literature, literature is not the personal thing that springs out of the person, the individual, and is the expression of individuality. Not at all. For me, literary language is an infrastructure built on literary genealogy, built on political experience, built on this sense of being similar through language. Both topics – the topic of infrastructure in logistic capitalism and the topic of language – share this struggle to understand mechanisms of exploitation and mechanisms of fighting against this exploitation. Therefore, for me, a poem is like a canal, like a bridge, or like a harbor. At this moment, language has an imperialistic tendency. Literature, especially literature in dominant languages, is an imperial and an imperialistic infrastructure. That’s the link. Therefore, as a literary worker and theorist, I see myself as struggling, working, politicizing these developments, this imperialistic design, dismantling it where this is possible.

Livia: I think I am done, so, if you have any other thoughts that you would like to share with the world in this interview...

Ovid: Thank you very much!

Livia: No, thank you!