Program: Friday, September 14, 2018, 7pm - Mirene Arsanios and Simone White: “Motherless Tongues” and “on being the other woman”
Friday, September 14, 2018, 7pm          e-flux, 311 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002, USA

Mirene Arsanios and Simone White: “Motherless Tongues” and “on being the other woman”

Graph illustrating the sine wave function. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Join us on Friday, September 14 at 7pm with authors Mirene Arsanios and Simone White. In this duo presentation, Arsanios and White draw parallels to their respective texts “E autobiography di un idioma” and “or, on being the other woman”—both of which appeared in the recent e-flux journal #92, part one of a double issue on feminism(s).

Mirene Arsanios, “Motherless Tongues”
“My father had at last died and he died not knowing me, not ever speaking to me in a language in which I could have faith, a language in which I could believe the things he said.”—Jamaica Kincaid, The Autobiography of My Mother, 1996

“Motherless Tongues” is a series of notes, reflections, and speculations on mother tongues—how the reproductive bond has been instrumentalized in the service of the nation-state, relying on the mother to perform the labor of cultural and ideological transmission. Imagining mother tongues outside biologically sanctioned bonds, beyond the labor of reproduction—languages that exist in troubled ecosystems where lacks and disconnections aren’t exclusive of repair— this presentation will rely on biographical material as it reflects on the negotiation of selfhood to find a language from which to emerge and in which to believe. 

Simone White, “on being the other woman”
I'll talk about some of the formal and material problems presented by this ongoing project. Key questions or terms that continue to occupy me: What is the work's register or key? How to reflect upon linguistic density and speed as durational challenges reflecting the theme of labor, especially various forms of uncompensated emotional labor performed by black women?

Mirene Arsanios is the author of the short story collection, The City Outside the Sentence (Ashkal Alwan, 2015). She has contributed essays and short stories to Vidae-flux journalThe Brooklyn RailThe Rumpus, and The Outpost among other places. Arsanios co-founded the collective 98weeks Research Project in Beirut and is the founding editor of Makhzin, a bilingual English/Arabic magazine for innovative writing. She teaches at Pratt Institute and holds an MFA in Writing from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. On Friday nights you can find her at the Poetry Project where she coordinates the Friday Night reading series with Rachel Valinsky.

Simone White's most recent book is Dear Angel of Death (Ugly Duckling, 2018). Her work has appeared in Frieze, BOMB, Chicago Review, and Harper's, and e-flux among other places. She teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Brooklyn with her son.

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Mirene Arsanios and Simone White: “Motherless Tongues” and “on being the other woman”
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