Volatile geo-political alliances and polarized ideologies have been the global norm in recent history. Today, transformative processes of decolonization (of lands, minds, cultures, politics) have been pitted against the sinister counter-forces of new colonialisms. This line of inquiry explores the manifestations of new colonialisms and presents philosophical, practical, and artistic responses to (de)colonial processes regionally and globally.

Polity of Literature

Fan Fiction is What a Polity of Literature Looks Like

Juli Parrish, Denver, United States 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The twenty-third piece in our Polity of Literature series: In “fan fiction” the readers of popular stories, such as Star Trek and Harry Potter, write their own invented episodes, torquing the “original” to serve their concerns and preferred narratives. It’s not merely, as Michel de Certeau described, “reading as poaching,” but a...

When Writing is Neither Solitary nor Apolitical

Committee to Protect Jounalists, New York City, United States 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

Here is this week’s addendum to the Polity of Literature series: Because writers often compose their sentences in the relative calm and isolation of home or office, some people assume that writing is a solitary, apolitical activity. To give context to that assumption, here’s the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)’s...

Reading as Poaching

Michel de Certeau, Paris, France 
Translation: Steven Rendall, Les Barthes, France 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The twenty-second piece in our Polity of Literature series: “Reading as Poaching” is an essential text for the Polity of Literature, and a dense, word-by-word read; but flex your head, as the wise man* said, and this essay will reward you. The images are the stars! “Readers are travellers,” Michel de...

Ahmet Altan: Wood Sprites

Ahmet Altan, Istanbul, Turkey 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The twenty-first piece in our Polity of Literature series: The best libraries are often tiny, as small as a single book. A library’s value is in its use. Every book that a prisoner comes by, or that a refugee carries with her, opens onto other worlds and a realm of...

Ways of Seeing New Colonialisms

The Very Best Day

Ilya Budraitskis, Moscow, Russia 

On March 3rd, 2018, the main pre-election rally for Vladimir Putin took place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Tens of thousands of public sector workers were brought in from various regions of the country and were expected to listen to the President’s speech as well as those of actors...

Ingushetia and the Second World Woman

Jonathan Brooks Platt, Pittsburgh, United States 
Victoria Lomasko, Moscow, Russia 

Part 1, Prelude Introduction by Jonathan Brooks Platt Victoria Lomasko is one of the leading artists in Russia today. I recently invited her to mount an exhibition in Pittsburgh as part of her book tour for Other Russias (n+1 and Penguin, 2017), which collects her graphic reportages from the Russian...

Against Simple Answers: The Queer-Communist Theory of Evald Ilyenkov and Alexander Suvorov

Georgy Mamedov & Oksana Shatalova, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 

The following essay was written in today’s Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, one of the Central Asian republics of the former USSR. It was translated by Giuliano Vivaldi, and was written by our colleagues Georgy Mamedov and Oksana Shatalova. Cultural activists and organizers, Mamedov and Shatalova initiated a hub for...

The Game of Non-Distinction

Nikita Kadan, Kyiv, Ukraine 

As an ideological reaction to the ongoing invasion of Russian troops, separatist attacks in Eastern Ukraine, and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and as a gesture towards establishing a new ideology to replace the Soviet one, the so-called Decommunization Laws were approved by the president and parliament of Ukraine...

Decolonization, Otherwise

Tactics and strategies of racialized artists:
some notes on how to circumvent the art world’s terms of inclusion

Yaniya Lee, Toronto, Canada 

I have been thinking about what it means to be a racialized person in the arts, and what kinds of tactics and strategies we’ve developed to move through these spaces. We wear politics on our skin; to be racialized is to live, every day, with a myriad of projected assumptions....

From Where Do You Speak?: Locating the Possibility of Decolonization in Krista Belle Stewart’s Seraphine, Seraphine

cheyanne turions, Toronto, Canada 

Two moving-image portraits of a woman—captured nearly fifty years apart—play alongside each other, the few inches between them charged with the weight of intimate and social histories. On the left, an elaborate re-enactment presented as documentary. On the right, a simple recording of a woman speaking. Between them, the struggle...

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...

I Dream Feeling, Otherwise

Ashon Crawley, Charlottesville, United States 

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...

The American Dream

Forced Trajectories: Creating Counter-Narratives to Police Violence

Nissa Tzun, Las Vegas, United States 

Introduction Sidd Joag On June 16th, 2017, ArtsEverywhere was set to publish Nissa Tzun’s piece, “Forced Trajectories: Creating Counter-Narratives to Police Violence.” That evening, Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of the killing of Philando Castile in the outskirts of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Castile was sitting in the car with his...

Ideology On Ice

Robert Atkins, San Francisco, United States 

The American Dream, a four-ton, 30-foot-long, ice sculpture by LigoranoReese, is the most recent of the artist duo’s Melted Away series and the molten heart of its American Dream Project. It is also a Trojan Horse: Its straightforward display of a familiar concept conceals a rare capacity to elicit complex...

There’s So Much Giant Single-Word Public Artwork in New York City

Michael Anthony Farley, Baltimore, United States 

Next month, Public Art Fund is installing Martin Creed’s “Understanding,” a 50-foot rotating neon sign, on Brooklyn’s Pier Six. That’s about a 20 minute walk through the Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway from “OY/YO,” the popular public sculpture from Deborah Kass that’s on view until August. Which got us thinking: why...

Melting: the American Dream

Erica Hunt, New York City, United States 

Click here to download the PDF of Erica Hunt’s poem, “Melting: the American Dream.”