Survivance - Nick Axel, Nikolaus Hirsch, and Troy Conrad Therrien - Editorial—“Survivance”


Nick Axel, Nikolaus Hirsch, and Troy Conrad Therrien

Timur Si-Qin, Untitled (Viburnum lantanoides), digital rendering, 2020.

May 2021

Survivance is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, with guest editors Natchee Blu Barnd, Black Quantum Futurism, Lindsay Bremner, Lesley Lokko, and Amba J. Sepie. It features contributions by Emanuel Admassu and Jen Wood; Adjoa Armah; Kaya Barry and Samid Suliman; Black Quantum Futurism; Loren Cahill; Maria Chavez; Mique’l Dangeli; Cushla Dares; Kelly Dombroski and Bailey Peryman; Cristina Geros; Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds; Carl Hyatt; Nityanand Jayaraman; Caroline Jones; Willem Larsen; Dominic Leong and Sean Connelly; Thandi Loewenson; Mae-ling Lokko; Alice McSherry, Paul Moss, and Amba J. Sepie; Erin Moore; Joar Nango and Axel Wieder; Gloria Pavita; Ainslee Alem Robson; Vishwas Satgar; Jenna Sutela and Markus J. Buehler; Huda Tayob; Michelle Westerlaken; Gordon White; Betty Yu; Tyson Yunkaporta; Kathryn Yusoff; Sarover Zaidi; and more…

At face value, the term “survivance” invokes, but suggests something more than mere survival or subsistence. Deconstructed, sur-vivance divulges a bursting forth of life. Sur: above and beyond, rhyming in intent with hyper, meta, super. Vivance: the French take on the Latin root for vitality, vigor, and vivaciousness. Thus, survivance: hyper vitality, super vigor. Surviving as thriving. Thriving as surviving.

Beyond etymology, survivance offers a kaleidoscope of potential interpretations. Some see glimmers of endurance, others resistance. This generosity is by design. As a polyvalent cipher to make sense of the active survival of Native American cultures under colonization in defiance of victimhood, the Anishinaabe cultural theorist Gerald Vizenor who popularized the term left it open. He kept survivance alive, allowing it to continue to make kin in meaning and application.

It is in this protean spirit that we have opened our space and extended our agency to guest editors Natchee Blu Barnd, Black Quantum Futurism, Lindsay Bremner, Lesley Lokko, and Amba J. Sepie, who have in turn welcomed those making sense of active survivals today, both Indigenous and immigrant, marginalized and mainstream, urban and remote, human and more-than-human. From direct experience, they tell us of encounters with seemingly indomitable legal structures, unstable weather patterns, ignorant infrastructures, unconscious epistemologies, inarticulate species, and unrelenting hegemonies. Herein are stories born of grounded intelligence that are universally relevant. Surviving as thriving. Thriving as surviving.

Survivance is a collaboration between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and e-flux Architecture.

Language & Linguistics, Colonialism & Imperialism, Indigenous Issues & Indigeneity, Migration & Immigration
Editorial, Blackness
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