Entanglement 2:
Bodies Bearing the Brunt

An idea has been echoed by three writers from vastly different latitudes: the concept that political (and thereby personal) trauma is physically housed in the body. This trauma can be passed down from generation to generation, especially to receptive bodies straddling the here-and-now and liminal space. The essays by these writers—Billy Ray Belcourt, Ashon Crawley, and Edgar Calel—not only address the historical violence explicitly perpetrated against subjugated groups, but also touch on the recurring instances of microagression that reinforce the self-regulatory “docile bodies” first acknowledged by Foucault. Billy-Ray Belcourt argues that the body is prone to a “critical receptivity,” which makes it susceptible to being “undone and displaced by others.” He poetically describes this haunting: “A body can only jar so many spirits and trauma before it glitches, leaks, and splits at the seams.” For Ashon Crawley, one of these seams that leak is the dream: “Dreams…produce and contain and hallucinate grief, grief that is too much to carry alone,” and it is through song that this emotional “resonance overflows and exceeds the boundaries and borders of containment.” Edgar Calel envisions these emotional connections as roots and branches that can tap into violent histories. In Calel’s conception of the body, these tendrils also connect us to the proximal abstract spaces where ancestral knowledge is available and can interact with the history of places. But while branches reach out, roots are designed to draw in and absorb, as described in Belcourt’s analysis of Tanya Lukin-Linklater’s performance video In Memorium.

The body remembers when the world broke open

Billy-Ray Belcourt, Driftpile Cree Nation 

I have said this twice before, but I will say it again:[1] I am trying to figure out how to be in this world without wanting it, and perhaps this is what it is to be Indigenous. To be Indigenous is also to be hurt on the way out, if the ‘way out’ is crowded by the past’s razor sharp...

I Dream Feeling, Otherwise

Ashon Crawley, Los Angeles 

I woke up crying. It was a January morning, the 23rd, and I missed someone. Some family member, or some acquaintance, or some stranger — it matters not — died in the dream, disrupting my slumber. I woke up, tears in my eyes, the tears carrying the material weight and texture of what was heard, felt, known, while asleep. Tears,...

I drag you with me: ancestry and contemporary practice

Edgar Calel, Guatemala City 
Raphael Daibert, São Paulo 

I drag you with me: ancestry and contemporary practice (a conversation between Raphael Daibert and Edgar Calel) Edgar Calel came to São Paulo for a three-month residency that extended to six. Through a partnership between the Latin American artist residency platform Lastro and the artist-led cultural platform Lanchonete.org, Calel was able to travel all around Brazil. During his time in...

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Barbara Kentner

Tara Williamson, Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Editor’s Note: Barbara Kentner, an Anishinaabe woman from Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation in Treaty Three territory, died on Tuesday, July 3, 2017. In January in Thunder Bay, Ontario, she was struck in the stomach by a trailer hitch thrown from a passing car in a horrific act of hate crime. Her injuries...

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Reclaiming Cartography, Photography, and Colonial Imagery

Kristine Jordan, New York

Fifty-eight years ago, the Malagasy Republic was declared an autonomous state within an association of countries known as the French Community. Much like other nations that fought for independence well into the second half of the 20th century, elements of colonial power dynamics are evident in Madagascar’s modern cultural productions....

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Boulevard: The Early History of a Cultural Movement

Ibrahim Abougendy, Cairo

Port Said is a cornerstone—a small city located at the entrance of the Suez Canal that acts as a bridge between Asia and Africa. While the city of Port Said was being built, the Suez Canal was under the control of foreign authorities. This influenced Port Said, which developed a...