One of my favourite texts by cultural critic Sita Balani was published on The Hythe
(the blog from The 87 Press) in August 2019. The text is a personal reflection on the various disorientating transformations in queer life over the past two decades.
To be queer in 2019 is to experience a kind of vertigo. It is to not know left from right. Beneath the nod of legal protection, the showy condemnation of homophobia, and the smooth gloss of Netflix shows, something bloody and sinuous writhes. – Sita Balani
I think that reading about others’ experiences of loss and grief can really help to process our own. I love this excerpt from this celebrated UK writer and playwright’s memoir The Cost of Living (2018). The closing image – her mother writing ‘X is where I am’ on the front of a cityscape postcard – has stayed with me for some time.
Benjamin H. Bratton, the program director of The Terraforming, the post-graduate course at Moscow’s Strelka Institute states that ‘a second wave of the virus would be catastrophic, but so would another wave of its underlying causes.’ Here, Bratton sketches proposals of what we can learn from the current situation, from ‘a fast-forward experiment in comparative governance’ to ‘fully automated luxury quarantine vs. solitary confinement.’
Regular video platform Vdrome hosts a short by filmmaker Erin Espelie and an accompanying interview with writer Dorian Sagan. Centred around the theories of US biologist Lynn Margulis, Espelie cuts archival recordings with new footage in this slow-paced meditate short. It is viewable until 28 April.
Directed by the British-born Ghanaian writer and filmmaker Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Mother Tongues is a diasporic film project featuring works by Adukwei Bulley and poets Tania Nwachukwu, Theresa Lola and Belinda Zhawi. Each shares an original poem and their mothers read a translation in their native language – Ga, Igbo, Yoruba, and Shona. I like hearing Zawi explain ‘the art of speaking Shona’ and how its linguistic structure shapes how she writes and recites poetry.
The Internet Archive is a non-profit organisation conceived by the professor, engineer and luminary Brewster Lurton Kahle. This invaluable digital library of internet pages and other cultural artefacts was run as a civic movement by a community of activists. The archive provides free global access to researchers, historians, scholars and the general public with a mission to provide ‘universal access to all knowledge’. In recent weeks, they have become the target of copyright owners and the corporations that profit from them, which is endangering their important community work. Among other things, the Archive currently supports millions of kids from families unable to afford the necessary textbooks or gain access to public libraries, who now find themselves studying via video-conferencing.
Track of the Day
Well, people all over the world, people all over the world, people all over the world are starvin’ just for affection.
Well, but to me this ain’t funny
To me this is real
So I thought I’d tell everybody
How I feel
I said affection