Immune Systems & Antibodies is an exercise in online publishing as an artistic/curatorial practice. Departing from the “state of injury”, toward a reparative “presence” and a witnessing otherwise. Conceived as a sequel to the first IOTAWIP publication, Temporal Slips, Extended Thresholds, it features contributions by the resident artists as well as guest artists/writers, speaking through and nearby the precarious bodily and visceral under the permanent/always-already existent state of emergency.
In assembly of the dispersed, Sulaïman Majali looks at the affective consequences on the internally-exiled body under white supremacy and capitalist cyberspace. Similarly to the ways in which the diasporan garden lives as a site and domain of collapse and folding, the artist gathers material that is slippery to hold and speak, asking us to consider processes of research as slips, ruptures and rifts, remembering and reinhabiting as opposed to searching or finding. Omar Adel’s Hint, hint! Do you hear me now? meditates on the current situation, the power relations between systems of control and individuals, and intimacy as a trending product in the time of social distancing. Drawing on his ongoing research on power structures’ turbulence, the work imparts an attempt to find other ways of understanding/handling emancipatory struggle. In Drawing in the Chaos, Bayan Kiwan and Juliana Fadil-Luchkiw appropriate Giulio Camillo’s memory theatre to grapple with and “organise” the chaos of the pandemic and the uprising in New York City, which they currently inhabit. Not responding to but making constellations of the multitude of stimuli of the moment, they approach the material rhizomatically to construct an opaque, subjective archive. Moving beyond the materialisations of the incumbent global moment in our everyday, Eren Ileri’s Escaping Earth: Invented Journey borrows elements from video game live streaming and Let’s Play formats in a series of performative gestures that reflect on ethics of spaceflight, critical posthumanisms, cosmonogy, mutual aid and escape narratives.
The publication ends with two essays by Amani Aburahma and Kareem Estefan. Looking at contemporary forms of necro power in light of the racial violence threatening black lives in the United States, the Palestinian context, and the global COVID-19 pandemic, Amani Abu Rahmeh’s text deconstructs Achile Mbembe’s notion of necro-politics in relation to Michel Foucault and his concept of bio-politics. Kareem Estefan writes around contesting racialized and colonizing ways of seeing, considering Édouard Glissant’s proposition of a “right to opacity,” Simone Browne’s notion of “dark sousveillance,” and various practices of repair and resistance in the arts and in social movements, responding to the way in which COVID-19 lockdowns have accelerated the intrusion into our everyday lives of technologies of telepresence.
Together, these constellations of txt. and img. engage with the recurring catastrophe engendered by hegemonic structures; its effects on the subaltern subject/body. They explore the workings of violent systems and networks, and the politics of a temporal malaise perpetuated by the digital. Unfolding against “a present where the future has disappeared”, they consider a different ontology of embodiment in online and offline spaces/publics, evoking other lines of flight, a stubborn collective presence, and an insurgent politics of repair and futurity.
With Firas Shehadeh and Reem Marji.
This project was realized as part of the Internet of Things: Another World is Possible exhibition project at Darat al Funun- The Khalid Shoman Foundation in 2020.