[-empyre-] Refiguring the Future, Week 4: Collectivity and World-building

dollyoko at thing.net dollyoko at thing.net
Sat Mar 30 19:37:55 AEDT 2019

Thank you Sarah and Lola for inviting us to contribute to the discussion
on Empyre this month. It's been inspiring to read first-hand what artists
are doing, and why. And the questions that emerge for them, in the process
of bringing together poetics and liberatory politics.

In this period I find that I cannot write about art and art-making, and
perhaps it might be that too much is happening "outside" art - that is, if
we think that there is an inside and outside to art.

On Friday 15th March there was a global Climate Strike by a reported 1.6
million students. In Australia around 150,000 young people (and their
supporters) took to the streets in cities, towns and villages around the
country. About 3,000 of them were in Adelaide, my hometown, and the vibe
and determination to do what they could - collectively - globally - to
"refigure the future" was palpable, exhilarating.

Different from, but sharing a trajectory with, the 15th February 2003
global day of protest against the looming war in Iraq. As we know, the
latter protest did not halt the imminent war, but it was a critical
mobilisation of all sorts of bodies and beings, and an instantiation of
"power from below".

In the context of the Empyre discussion it's worth noting that this
massive coalescing of energies of young people comes from the seed of a
very simple 1-person weekly protest by the then 15-year old Greta Thunberg
(who self-describes as having been diagnosed with "Asperger syndrome, OCD
and selective mutism").

But also on 15th March a devastating event happened in Aotearoa (New
Zealand) which has affected many in the Australasian region - the
slaughter of 50 Muslim men, women and children at prayer in 2 mosques in
Christchurch. It was an act of terror. The perpetrator is Australian who
live-streamed the shooting. His use of various social media platforms,
prior to and during the murders, is the subject of an insightful analysis
by Luke Munn, who says that from a seamless slipping between platforms
(8chan, Youtube, Twitter, Gab, etc) emerges "a kind of algorithmic hate —
a constellation of loosely connected digital media, experienced over
years, that constructs an algorithmically averaged enemy."

But from this violence around Aotearoa/NZ people have come together in
solidarity with the bereaved, embodying, literally in some instances (see
link of students performing traditional Maori haka for their murdered
classmates), the Prime Minister Jacinda Arden's words "They are us."

... So, to return to where I started from, in thinking about these events
over the past 2 weeks I have no words about art or collective art
practices, but I sense that these events, and what flows from them -
socially, politically, imaginatively - will seep into and inflect thinking
and writing and making, both personal and collective projects. For there
is no separation between art and life, it's the same thing.

warmly, to all

Francesca da Rimini

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------Week Four:
> Guests: Emmy Catedral (US); Sofía Córdova (US); Shirin Fahimi (CA); In
> Her Interior (Virginia Barratt (AUS) and Francesca da Rimini (AUS));
> PJ GUBATINA POLICARPIO (US); and Addie Wagenknecht (US, AT).
> I want to thank everyone who has participated so far this month and
> invite you all to continue these conversations over the next week as
> we wrap up this month’s topic on “Refiguring the Future.” The work you
> all do is important and I am sure your posts have stimulated questions
> and thoughts from other guests as well as –empyre– readers.
> The exhibition “Refiguring the Future” closes this Sunday, March 31 and
> this is also my and Lola's last week hosting –empyre–. As both of
> these things move towards a conclusion, I have been thinking a lot
> about collectivity and world-building. Collaborative practice and
> doing with others plays a central role in “Refiguring the Future” both
> in the work of several artists in the exhibition, but also as part of
> the larger ethos of what it might mean to “refigure” or “reimagine”
> our future. As we proposed in the introduction to this month’s topic,
> “what possibilities arise when accelerating technologies are paused
> and world-building is privileged anew?” Adding to that, what lessons can
> we learn from previous collective and community building models? And what
> frameworks are needed to support and sustain equitable and inclusive
> communal platforms today?
> Our guests this week engage in collaborative practices and in a
> liberatory, world-building politic. I am looking forward to learning
> more about their work and approaches to collectivity. I welcome
> Virginia Barratt (AUS) and Francesca da Rimini (AUS), who form the
> artist collective In Her Interior; Emmy Catedral (US) and PJ GUBATINA
> POLICARPIO (US), co-founders of P A L / Pilipinx American Library;
> Sofía Córdova (US), half of the music duo, XUXA SANTAMARIA; Shirin
> Fahimi (CA), founder of Taklif: تکلیف; and Addie Wagenknecht (US, AT),
> co-founder of REFRESH and Deep Lab.

More information about the empyre mailing list