1 November 2015

affect fencing

"I am living on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, working for the Fogo Island Arts Corporation. Ai Weiwei's current situation, the questions that surround his life and art, are foremost on my mind. This is a freewrite of sorts, the idea being not to get caught up in form, not to force ideas to come, but to let them flow, stream, carry experience forward. [Clarice Lispector moment] It is telling that I move to the Ai Weiwei issue so quickly, right off the bat. Yes, of late, while waiting for my coffee to perk each morning, I search the net for updates on "Ai Weiwei's situation." We don't know if he is dead or alive. We don't know if he will ever be released. We don't know what will become of his practice, his work, his story, the people he supported, the people who supported him, the other artists, intellectuals and social activists that have also disappeared. Missing. [See here Judith Butler's essay "Indefinite Detention" in Precarious Life.] Me here, working 9-5 for a contemporary arts organization in rural Newfoundland, an organization with a mandate explicitly concerned with the relationship between local and global, personal and political. What can I do about what is happening to Ai Weiwei and others right now? What can I do from so far away? In isolation. Me here, living in a small outport community, in a country that shows no will to intervene in China's human rights abuses. Economics. What am I to do, not knowing the facts? How to respond? "Give an account of oneself." [Judith Butler moment] Initiate discussion. Look to Ai Weiwei's work for signs. Pressure the state. Question discourse. Think about mediation."
- Jack Stanley in Parcel Lab