9 essays
Compiled by Alice Labor

“I’m telling you this
we needed to stop.
(…) We all felt it
that it was too furious,
our frenzy. Being inside of things.
Outside of our selves.
(…) We needed to do it together.
(…) And there is gold, I believe, in this strange time.
Perhaps there are gifts.
(…) A common fate
holds us here.
(…) we will return with expanded awareness.
(…) Our hand
will be more delicate in the doing of life.”
—Mariangela Gualtieri, “March the Ninth Twenty Twenty”

The world we left can be reborn from these words and texts.

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Dieter Roelstraete
The Way of the Shovel: On the Archeological Imaginary in Art
Originally published in March 2009

He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging.

Elvia Wilk
The Word Made Fresh: Mystical Encounter and the New Weird Divine
Originally published in June 2018

A biologist enters mysterious territory on a mission to comprehend the incomprehensible. Together with three colleagues—an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor—she crosses an imperceptible border into a region known as Area X. They are the twelfth expedition to cross the border. They are all women.

Chus Martínez
But Still, Like Air, I’ll Rise
Originally published in June 2018

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

—Maya Angelou (1928–2014)

Irmgard Emmelhainz
Shattering and Healing
Originally published in January 2019

But what does vulnerability actually mean? Is it being able to acknowledge a state of pain or insecurity, embracing the feeling of coming undone? I feel that it’s something I’ve tried to hide from others and from myself. At the cost of headaches, a bloated stomach, the inability to articulate a sentence. A mental-physical feeling of paralysis. I now suspect that people spend a lot of time and effort hiding in this way. Could I overcome my terror of falling apart if I allowed myself to rely on others, on you? Or should I be a “cruel optimist” and create hopeful and positive attachments, in full awareness that they will not work out?

Teresa Castro
The Mediated Plant
Originally published in September 2019

The mediated, sentient, and intelligent plant potentially invites us to think about nature, plants, technology, and ourselves-as-humans in different ways. As plants in particular are revealed as agentic, intentional beings, the mediated plant potentially invites us to develop more caring, attentive, and communicative attitudes toward the vegetal. In this way, the mediated plant can push us forward in the urgent “struggle to think differently” that Val Plumwood called us to join. Perhaps the mediated, sentient, intelligent plant can help us to queer nature, to queer botanics, to queer ourselves-as-humans as we “go onwards in a different mode of humanity.” But why to queer? Why not “simply” to “decolonize”?

Walter Benjamin
The Making of Americans
Originally published in October 2013

I have no desire to disparage American art, which is a child, and therefore merits being loved and protected.
—Andre Villebeuf in Gringorie, Paris

Those who have been to the United States bring back nothing from visiting American museums but memories of Italian and French works found there.
—Lucie Mazauric in Vendredi, Paris

Critic Clement Greenberg tells the story of American avant-garde art in the years since World War II—a time when New York school painting and vital sculpture made Western Europe turn at last to the United States for inspiration.
—Subhead of the article “America Takes the Lead: 1945–1965” by Clement Greenberg, Art in America, August–September 1965

Claire Fontaine
We Are All Clitoridian Women: Notes on Carla Lonzi’s Legacy
Originally published in September 2013

Through feminism I freed myself from the inferiority-culpability of being clitoridian … and I accused men of everything. Then I started to doubt myself and to defend myself through every possible thought and inquiry into the past. Then I doubted myself completely in rivers of tears … After that I was no longer innocent or guilty.
Carla Lonzi, Taci, anzi parla

Maria Lind
Originally published in September 2018

Free love and camaraderie were at the core of Kollontai’s thinking, for her novels and essays describe love as a force that frees one from bourgeois notions of property. As an influential figure, a rare woman in the Bolshevik Party leadership, and commissar for social welfare in their first government, she not only set up free childcare centers and maternity houses, but also pushed through laws and regulations that greatly expanded the rights of women: divorce, abortion, and recognition for children born out of wedlock, for example. She organized women’s congresses that were multiethnic in the way the young Soviet Union practiced controlled inclusion, following Western models. At the time, these were unique measures that were soon overhauled by Stalin, who did not appreciate any attempt at ending what Kollontai called “the universal servitude of woman.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist
Manifestos for the Future
Originally published in January 2010

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