ARTS OF THE WORKING CLASS
Issue 23: WEAPONS OF CHOICE
This side was supposed to be on radical care. Within its annual program, titled Loops of Power, AWC looks for ways of breaking the inertia of how we consume, live, and criticize. For ways of escaping from exploitative clouds, falling into survival mode, our uncertain times make it impossible to deal with hate speech and the loss of meaning in politics and discourses. But the practice of care within the genealogy of radical politics seems to us no different than the need for help, nourishment, caresses, and friendship everywhere else. Radicality seems to manifest itself differentlyfragmented, hidden, everywhere these days. The radicality in care, or care in radicality simply the kindness people swore to each other through the lockdown seems to have vanished. Kindness, not as an imperative, but as part of a struggle. Kindness is hard within systemic inequality and power structures. Yet it can also be the way to allow us to understand the urgencies we all carry within us to coerce subjects into new forms of surveillance and unpaid labor, to make up for institutional neglect, and even to position some groups against others, ignoring the temptation to determine who is worthy of care and who is not. Allured by demolition that is not followed by forms of coercion and control, we find ourselves in the happy presence of action painters and abolitionists, interpreters of the soul and union workers. In the hold of the ship, the enslaved have organized forms of resistance, holding their voices high through mourning. This side of the issue is now, as you foresaw, on the persistence of kindness. It is determined by the series of Jonathas de Andrade With the Heart in the Mouth, the stitches of Nour Shantout and the drawings of Frederic Bruly Bouabré. It is sliced into two chapters, edited by Elisheba Fuenzalida and Senthuran Varatharajah: On systems of compassion, and on mutuality as a radical act. Both look into kindness as a choice, not as an inherent characteristic of humans, nor as religious treaties. But they are both chapters that offer empathy through spirituality and poetry, protest and rage. To that end, the texts and artworks in this first half of an issue titled Weapons of Choice remember grandmothers telling us to kill them with kindness!, while holding the knowledge that the time and labor of caring cannot endure if the conversation is canceled before we have come together to build a resilience to our own collectivity. Look for multiple solutions to this languid cry for alternatives to this dying era.
Destruction is an archaic form of creation. A form of care. Its the motor of a shitstorm. A never-ending feeling of unease. You know that you have crushed your parents dream of a good career, but you cant be bothered, since you are part of a so-called revolution. Loved ones do not call you anymore because you cant agree on some particular argument. So what? Like the children that we still are, when we ruined dinner and graced the table with the contents of our plates, we made a mess. In its making, we wished for everything to end. Wars are being televised, yet how do we listen, host, protect those affected? How do we protect ourselves from being responsible for any catastrophic event? Destructionabsence, surveillance, disobedience, control, catastrophe, nownessis the other side of Weapons of Choice, looking into what needs to be abolished, with tears in the eyes, gazing at the homogenizing loopholes constructed by social media. It is determined by the latest works of Barbara Kruger, Samaneh Moafi, Imani Jacqueline Brown and Hasan Özgur Top. Its two chapters are edited together with Ido Nahari and Dalia Maini. The words of artist Nikita Khadan in March 2022 still resonate as the clearest message: We pay the price. He meant the Ukrainian people. But its the working people, of course, not the oligarchs of this world, paying the price of inflation, one of the products of Putins occupation of crops and resources. Soon, the munitions will explode in the faces of the neoliberal captains, the obnoxious settlers, the perfectly marketed glossy interfaces on TikTok. Trans bodies will synthesize transformative hormones to bypass the humiliating gaze of the psychologist who imposes Freudian diagnosis on their dreams. In the forests usurped by deforestation, mushrooms, in the face of scarcity, will fruit in alien patches. Social texture is framed in behavioral geometry, and those who choose circles to squares are called outlaws. But lets be honest, disobedience always finds ways to pierce control. We dont own anything so its easy to ask you to give up your properties so we can reorganize wealth. But what would make you think its worth the effort? Here is a seductive landscape for growing communalizing networks: Look for chaos.
With contributions from Asset Arrest, Caterina Selva, Eliana Otta, Elizabeth López, Fabian Saul, Futurefarmers, Ido Nahari, Iliana Fokianaki, Isabel Costa & Violeta Azevedo, Julie Cho & Erin Segal, Kuba Szreder, Lena Kocutar & Teresa Hoffmann, Leonor Carrilho & inés Neto Dos Santos, Malú Cayetano, María inés Plaza Lazo, Matt Hanson & Marco Scotini, Mohammad Salemy, Oli Mould, Press Press, Ralph Tharayil, Rember Yahuarcani, Rose Higham-Stainton, Senthuran Varatharajah, Tanasgol Sabbagh, Temye Tesfu, Vail Kohnert-Yount, Valentin Golev & Lesia Prokopenko, Vladimir Safatle, Inês Tartaruga Agua & Xavier Paes, Ángeles Donoso.