Letter against Separation on e-flux conversations

Letter against Separation on e-flux conversations


Image via babayaga_07 on Reddit.

June 11, 2020
Letter against Separation on e-flux conversations

Dear friends,

Our correspondence project “Letters against Separation,” hosted on e-flux conversations, was launched as the Covid-19 pandemic forced most of the world to retreat into isolation. The aim was to have writers from different parts of the globe, who were facing different phases and manifestations of the pandemic, reflect on what was going on around them, in the hope of creating connections amidst the new conditions of separation. From places like Guangzhou and Tashkent, Mexico City and Moscow, our writers have posted a series of open letters describing the acute anxieties and unexpected delights of self-isolation, the structural injustices revealed by the pandemic, and the slow, fraught return to something resembling “normal” life. We hope these letters have brought some measure of relief from your own extended confinement—or at least some distraction from the constant nagging of your dog wanting to play.

As the project draws to a close, we want to highlight some of the especially moving and insightful contributions from these writers. A few of the writers will continue posting letters in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on e-flux conversations. We thank all the writers for their wisdom and courage during an uncertain time, and our readers for joining us in creating a community against separation.


Nikita Yingqian Cai in Guangzhou
“As we are all staying with the trouble, we must remind ourselves again and again that such perfect rationality does not exist, and there is always someone who is suspended in real-life uncertainties.”

Furqat Palvan-Zade in Tashkent
“The mere idea of future journeys warms my heart. I wish they would open the borders soon. I wish I could finish these endless projects that I must complete in order to build a place I can call a home.”

Irmgard Emmelhainz in Mexico City
“Art has gained relevance as a field or laboratory to envision futures and alternative life forms, and right now artists and cultural producers can and need to show solidarity outside our cultural structures in peril.”

Keti Chukhrov in Moscow
“This situation reveals that such post-humanist fantasies, such natural-philosophic and techno-utopian imaginaries—when put into practice—seem to be closer to entropy than to new forms of emancipation.”

Liu Ding, Liu Qingshuo, and Carol Yinghua Lu as a family in Beijing
“With the current closing of national borders, in the name of confining the number of inbound COVID-19 infections, both the internet and mobility are things that are gradually becoming something of the past. This is why some people suggest that we are perhaps reliving moments of the 1950s in China, when self-isolation was conceived and practiced as a way to generate national pride and subjectivity.”

Kasia Wolinska in Berlin
“Please take my address as an invitation to dance, maybe we can find each other sharing some weight.”

Pelin Tan on an Island
“A lone island is part of an endless free-thinking and lost imagination. However, an archipelago signifies relations of un-relation between each island.”

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June 11, 2020

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