Category: Internal Politix

Political Speech from the Inside Out

for baltimore

 

 

Collage by Naima Woods
Collage by Naima Woods

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it’s like all our bones // with their marrow and sliver // are made invisible // and our mouths are turned to hands // and instead of bodies we’re seen as shadows // and then it surprises you // when we throw our shades // throw our whole heavy weights // against the windows // and make the glass scream

 

Excerpt—Time is Not A Line: Conversations, Essays, and Images about HIV/AIDS Now

Speak, 2011, Ted Kerr

Artist Carlos Motta asked In The Flesh contributor Ted Kerr to guest edited the third issue of the We Who Feel Differently journal, which is a sporadic online publication addressing critical issues of queer culture, featuring analyses and critiques of international Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Questioning politics from queer perspectives. 

Entitled, Time is Not A Line, Kerr’s guest-edited collections of essays, conversations, stories and images explores the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic now, looking at PrEP, nostalgia, the role of women in the crisis, and the current state of activism.

Accompanying each text are images by a variety of artists, many of whom are members of the Visual AIDS Artist Registry. The images should be seen not only in relation to the text they appear with, but as artistic expressions in their own right.

Below we excerpt Kerr’s introduction and provide links to the journal’s articles. Visit the We Who Feel Differently online journal by clicking HERE

In 2010 a version of David Wojnarowicz’s video Fire In My Belly was censored as part of the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Around the world artists, activists, along with galleries, museums and other art organizations responded by screening the video for free and sharing it widely online, hosting public discussions about David’s work and career, and organizing protests. In New York there was a march that started at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with people waving placards, chanting, and creating spectacles through their manner of dress and action. Within the crowd were people wearing masks of David with his mouth sewn shut drawn from the video Fire In My Belly. As powerful as these masks were, they struck me as being counter productive. David was being silenced again—even in the grave—oppressed by a government he understood as being implicit in his death, and we were joining him by being muzzled. To truly honor David, to fight for and with him, shouldn’t we have been chanting through masks with the mouths ripped open? Talking to some of the protesters I understood that they were trying to represent what oppression felt like for them. The protest was well covered by the media and the conversation about the censorship was sustained through out the run ofHide/Seek (helped in large part by artist AA Bronson asking that his work, Felix, June 5th, 1994 be removed from the exhibition out of respect for David and his work). Continue reading

My own Private Normcore: Part 1

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This month, the writers of Private Commission were prompted by the “normcore” trend (google it if ya haven’t heard). The discussion of normcore triggered one of our members to have an intense flashback to her 12-year-old self living in suburbia.  And so we found our perfect writing prompt: the Shopping Mall. Something all suburbanites exist in relation to, and that even urbanites have at least a passing familiarity with. What follows is the first in a three-part series generated by the writing prompt. Continue reading

For Karyn Washington

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Your silence will not protect you. Your silence will not protect you. -Audre Lorde

Those words were rolling around in my mouth as I read through the several blogs posts and articles chronicling the untimely suicide of Karyn Washington, founder of For Brown Girls. Immediately, my bones stiffened like concrete and my heart began to thump briskly behind my breasts. This response is familiar; it arrives as a protective warning and physiological memory of trauma. Karyn and I had never met but in solidarity we carried a kinship of resonant armor. I was distressed by the reality that the darkness of mental health had taken another one of us. A darkness that has also visited me.

Here lies a complicated conversation surrounding silence. It truly demonstrates the abstract space of the individual, the shadow that seals the body in tight, discoloring our vision and making the world appear to exist very far away from us. A scrim used to protect and sometimes hide behind, but cannot always be removed. Her singular experience may never be able to be examined. The private qualities to mental illness. The darkest parts of vulnerability. The depth of repressed pain. These complexities are difficult to pattern or describe. They are real. Real enough that her emotional experience most likely existed like a violent, but familiar enemy lashing out unexpectedly. As we have seen. Some may believe that Karyn had the resources and belief systems she needed to rise above social naysayers and tackle the dense barriers inside of a black female body.

Is this proof of our silence not protecting us? Continue reading

How Many Feminist Bookstores Are There?

WomenWomenFirst-GenderDetectiveFor my documentary project, The Unknown Play Project, I’ve been doing some research into different spaces that have been important to queers past and present. Feminist bookstores are often at the top of many people’s lists, but, as most readers know, brick and mortar bookstores have been quickly disappearing over the past two decades.

Below are some highlights from some of my research into feminist bookstores in the US of the last twenty years. Read the full article on the project website.

And stop by your nearest feminist bookstore to give them a little love!

(Click purple icons to get name and address information. See full list of 2014 feminist bookstores with addresses and links below map.)

Feminist Bookstores in US in 1994/5 (Total: 100)

Feminist Bookstores in US in 2014 (Total: 14, as of 15 Feb 2014)

Existing US Feminist Bookstores (as of 15 Feb 2014)

For information on the sources for this information and more feminist bookstore resources, read the full article.