COMMUNE: A Film About Olympia
A certain kind of perspective on [the terrible community] has to be taken up, a "thief's gaze," which from the interior of the apparatus materializes the possibility of escaping it. Sharing this gaze, the most lively bodies will bring about that which the terrible community, even in spite of itself, blindly exudes: its own dissolution.
-Tiqqun, Theses On The Terrible Community
COMMUNE is a film about Olympia, Washington, and was a gift to the denizens of that small city. It's a street-level exploration of the Olympia social commons?a shifting space that erupts on street corners and bubbles up from an underground well of potential. Through casual interviews with strangers, the film dives into the depths of desire and unveils new uses of the spaces Olympians all share. It was meant to be a looking glass, a lens, and a thief's gaze directed at Olympia's own terrible community.
A terrible community constitutes itself in opposition to an opponent and, in that opposition, closes in on itself and begins to rot. Olympia, once home to ELF cells, the diffuse network of Port Militarization Resistance, and a broad community of anarchists, has become little more than a stale, dusty closet, a cafe-to-show circuit, a green-washed, gentrifying haven of the left. In short, a terrible community. COMMUNE exposes that Olympia runs business as usual despite its high activist-per-capita ratio and radical reputation. But the film also reveals the existence of different communes, spreading on their own, outside of anarchist or radical circles.
We conducted random interviews on the sidewalks of Olympia and discovered something we had known all along: a hell of a lot of Olympians are pissed off at how the city has "developed" over the past several years and aren't buying the local boutique bluff. They don't like the fancy new city hall. Or cops. Or work. We asked folks,"Do you think people should occupy vacant buildings?" The response was quite surprising and very interesting...
We are now ready to share this film with you. Even if you do not live in Olympia, COMMUNE is a lens through which you can look at your own terrible community and what lies just outside of it. You think you're alone, but there are people all around who share your angers and desires. If you don't know that it's because you haven't yet spoken to them. Go find them.
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There is magic in Olympia.
It is bottled.
We want to shake it up.