An Invitation Open to All Folks and Forms
a queer, distributed emergence of acts, art, events, letters, books assisted by a loose collective
Please submit all contributions through the linked Google form: https://forms.gle/JeQsA68LgvxpVDgK9.
How are you? We’ve been talking about this invitation for so long, with anticipation, excitement, confusion – and then we realized we simply had to write you. We have been thinking a lot about life-lines. The pandemic–among so many catastrophes, among constant catastrophe–was used by neoliberal states as a justification to further the dynamics of exploitation on which they depend. Given the extremity of these dynamics, the need for anticapitalist forms of mutual aid, direct action, and community care has become more and more obvious–a need that has always already been there. Extemporaneous performances, direct actions, letters, games, collaborative community efforts, streamed narratives, all pointed to massive shifts in apprehending sex, performance, movement, death, time, space, mourning, depression, the environment and the (in)human.
Life-lines imply the continuation of a life and commitments to thriving. They also imply that that continuation may be under duress. We have seen so many such life-lines, for example, from queer-trans-crip of color communities. Immigrant, Indigenous, and other excluded, minoritized, or attacked communities have (always) formed networks of life-lines that exist outside of the state. These can be resourceful, joyful, collaborative.
This project we now invite you to, “Life-lines,” is a “conference” across space and time (Latin conferre, bring together) with contributions, perhaps life-lines themselves, that explore or express life and relationships on the edges of survival. We invite works that explore, animate, enact life-lines, thinking particularly about living in the shadows of capitalism amidst overlapping questions of food, sex, temperature, succor, love, friendship, media, safety as well as race, class, gender, sexuality, inter-species relationality, and other localizations of power. We invite you to make or write, and to send on or back when ready.
To be clear: these life-lines reject deadlines. If deadlines were once the stuff of newspapers (“do/ write or die” buttressed the circulation of information), now deadlines are everywhere in production, in labor, creative life and self-cultivation alike. Deadlines capture delivery workers in time and space as a set of actions and locations determined by algorithms. This kind of capture may be a ghostly trace of deadlines’ carceral origins: In the earliest documented instance in English, the “do-not-cross” line (or the prisoner will be shot) was an actual line in the dirt at a Confederate (US civil war) prison. Deadlines don’t make sense in catastrophe. Time becomes something other than to live by. This means that we categorically refuse a due date (while recognizing in practical terms that we can only be here as long as we can, and as long as life-lines are extended to us). Rather, establishing contact means that you will read, periodically, of submissions we have received – we hope those in turn can help inspire new writings, new openings.
|Sign up to stay in touch: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Join” and we will keep you in the loop as the project proceeds.|
Or if you are ready to submit:Send us your letter-contributions (papers, photographs, short films, songs, video essays, collages, performances, other two and three dimensional art objects), which may be individually or collectively created, via the channels below. Tell us if it “stops here” or if you want us to send it on–and, if you know, to whom and how. If it stops here, how do you dream of it appearing: do you want it to be on a website? In a book?
We also extend a collaborative editorial process that invites you, the unchosen, to take part in the review and revision of contributions received. This process thereby invites your own contributions to receive editorial attention by unchosen kin. In the Google Form below, please indicate whether you would like to take up either, both, or none of these invitations. If you choose to participate, you will receive more instructions and information from us.
There is no suggested length, but note that this invitation letter is 2 pages long.
Please submit all contributions through the linked Google form: https://forms.gle/JeQsA68LgvxpVDgK9. If your submission cannot be uploaded to the form (i.e. file is too large, cannot be digitally accommodated, etc.), please send it to the following addresses:
Email Address: email@example.com (please write us first for files > 50MB)
Snail Mail Address: 608 Social Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA 94720-1070
Who are we? We are a loose collective held together by a desire to hold space. Please see cssc.berkeley.edu/life-lines for the website where we, the current facilitators, introduce ourselves, and where we will post updates as the life-lines project is enlivened and takes shape.
The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture / cssc.berkeley.edu is the current host for this project. The Center is committed to non-ownership, broad forms of access, and resource sharing.
For access requests and other questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candice Lin, Papever rhoeas, 2020. Parasitic wasp and oak gall ink on blotting paper with clay, 11.75 x 9.25 inches (30 x 23.5 cm), 13.5 x 11 (34.5 x 28 cm) [framed].
Each of the drawings records Lin’s experience after ingesting a plant tincture or flower essence and is an attempt to expand the idea of research to imagine what is missing from archives and books. Many of the plants included in the exhibition come from Lin’s research into poisons, abortifacients, medicines and drugs that were imbricated in the histories of slavery and indentured labor, or may have been used during slave and worker uprisings or for actions of resistance or healing.
The exhibition as a whole attempts “to imagine,” in the words of feminist literary scholar Saidiya Hartman, “what cannot be verified…to reckon with precarious lives which are only visible in the moment of their disappearance” –to think into being what noted theorist Lisa Lowe describes as “the matters absent, entangled and unavailable.” It does so through a recognition of the withdrawal, allure and opacity that certain materials contain, and activates these objects and histories into new orientations.
Image description: Behind a textured lectern, a multi-headed figure stands, enveloped in smoke. The figure has a deep orange body, and five or six heads. The foremost head is a lion’s with a sharp tongue. On either side, the lion is flanked by two bird-like heads; they are almost reptilian. Directly above the lion, a dark, seemingly-human head sits. It is unclear where this last head looks. In the smoke above, bold etchings stand out from the smoke, but are also of the smoke.