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O Magazine
2015-2017

ANTI-SYSTEM REBOUND

BY

JOAN PONS

When a ball hits you like that it doesn’t hurt; least of all if you’re wearing a helmet. It’s quite absurd comparing this graceful beach ball rebound with the aggressiveness of the shooting of a rubber ball. That’s the key about the inequality of the battle, the unfair disadvantage between one side and the other. On one side there is order, confrontation, formation and weapons which, when used, can be harmful (and that’s why they should think twice before using them); and on the other there is… well, what there is. Sometimes it might be a brick, a Molotov cocktail or any other recipe extracted from the anarchist’s cookbook. In any case, these self-taught and improvised organised Davids will counteract Goliath’s potential anti-riot danger. But in some occasions, their arsenal will be willingly harmless, literally, but highly harmful, metaphorically.

Because, in the end, getting softly hit by a ball does hurt. But it’s a different kind of wound, a symbolic and intense pain that, in its retarded effect, can become rough and uncomfortable. That ball thrown with no other aim than playful provocation, with its whimsical trajectory, turns the police agents into mere ornamental resorts in a pinball. It objectifies them. It de-humanises them. They are the mass, and the one who’s kicked the ball, an individual. The system vs. the people. That’s why this anti-system joke ends up elevating itself to reach lyrical meaning. It not only reveals the huge differences between the professionalism and equipment of the contenders; it also reveals the distance between the grey and sheep-like obedience of ones, and the freethinking and creativity of the others.

Although contemplating this type of situations in a generalising black and white might be always quite Manichean and unrealistic, this GIF encapsulates a humiliating joke the rebound of which is fortuitously charged with satirical iconicity. Am I willingly overanalysing this? Maybe. But great political-poetical gestures, in any case, are always produced by the same side.