I got all my sisters with me // We are family // Get up everybody and sing. Sister Sledge sang this cheerful disco pop song in 1979. It was the moment when the tipping point of social optimism, where family and community still played a central role in society, had already begun to wane. Living life is fun and we’ve just begun // To get our share of this world’s delights // High, high hopes we have for the future. Oh, no – what a completely false promise, Sister Sledge! We – no – we don’t get depressed. Oh yes, we will, Sister Sledge.
Lyrics released by another group in 1977 put forward a more realistic scenario. There’s no future // There’s no future // There’s no future for you, the Sex Pistols sang in a forlorn cry, announcing the outcome we’re facing today on a mass scale… When there’s no future // How can there be sin // We’re the flowers // In the dustbin // We’re the poison // In your human machine… Yes, we are, dear Sex Pistols … post-human, family-less, society-free. This is the second decade of the new millennium.
Entwining autobiographical, historical, and fictional narratives, We Are Family speaks about generational, personal, and political frictions, about rifts and entanglements unfolding in the dystopian context post-1989. The notion of family appears as an extended signifier. It overlaps with differentiated fields: social, communal, intimate, personal, and political. The relationship between four figures maintain this tension – that of the Guest, the Mother, Love, and the Other.
We Are Family is about our experience of non/motherhood in the broken domains of the art world and communal life. It is about thinking through historical and generational care and non-care, which have led to the present moment of the deregulation of everything. We Are Family is about the contemporary life of our generation: about the children of former generations of socialism-builders and welfare state beneficiaries. It reflects on the specific social and intimate care that once looked to the future, which could see us as the future at a time when the future began to dissipate.