—Issue 2, March 2018
Editors Letter (ii)
As such, Oldfield-Ford’s work asks us to question the government’s motivations for attacking the public housing scheme, and the significant lack of voice which is given to the residents who saw the brutalist high rise blocks as their home. Although there is good reason to rethink the high rises, reflection is not provoked by simply destroying them - this just leaves vulnerable residents without an alternative. This much is stated by theorist Owen Hatherley in his book Militant Modernism. As Hatherley states, ‘the selling off and demolition of public housing is presented as a philanthropic gesture’ - as something to be thankful for. Hatherley continues: ‘the modernist/high-rise movement was the centuries greatest public project, covered up by this pitiful excuse to get rid of it, that concrete high rise blocks are an “eyesore”.’
On the Wider and Historical Contexts Around the Withdrawal of Transmission’s RFO Status
Tiffany Boyle, for Mother Tongue
“Diversity” came up in the vocabulary of that event and its discussions many times, but was used more akin to “variety” in meaning. Whilst in written form it appears that equalities, diversity, and inclusion are fairly specific in their intended usage, in their everyday application things become slippery. Their malleability potentially allows for many aspects of programming, staffing, and audiences to be contorted and skewed in ways which help fulfill set remits. This is to the benefit of comparatively well-funded RFO organisations rather than the intended beneficiaries outlined on paper.
Poetry’s special qualities have attracted another kind of attention, leading poetry to be phagocytised by the capitalistic forces of the contemporary art world. As Latimer has noted, poetic language has been appropriated for adding value to art not only by artists, but by “those who make business around them”. This occurrence was discussed in the summer of 2012, when the website Triple Canopy published a controversial essay entitled International Art English: On the Rise - and the Space - of the Art-World Press Release by artist David Levine and Alix Rule, a sociology PhD student. In a bid to provide a scientific analysis of the linguistic quirks of what they dubbed IAE (International Art English), the pair computer-fed press releases collated from the online art journal e-flux, and discovered such IAE tics as: habitually improvising nouns, hammering out fashionable terminology, and abusing prefixes.
Definitely, the conversation about why are you here or why are you trying to do this even though this might not be great for you has come up quite a few times in the last few weeks. And it always comes back down to the fact that survival and success for people of colour, or marginalised people generally, is framed in very like traditional ways, and that has to be navigated personally and structurally. I don’t think white people understand that. It’s like “if you hate it then why do you still do this or why are you still fighting?” But it’s so much more than that. For us it’s not just a flippant decision. For me personally that decision could be the difference between being disowned by my family or not. That’s not the only way it can work, for each person of colour it’s nuanced in a different way.
I am conscious of situating my body, an Irish body, in an appropriate context. It is a process of working out the afflictions of the postcolonial personality: inferiority, helplessness and restricted identity, while embracing positivity, imagination, resilience and duality. Situating myself physically within the confines of the page on the floor, the page becomes the Fifth Province. A site of healing.
I was recently reading Étienne Balibar’s book on borders and their meaning, Politics and the Other Scene. Balibar eloquently describes how a political border is not just a line that separates two nation-states or, for that matter, that happens to cut between two neighbouring trees. Simply put, a border always is and does something more: it shapes and gives meaning to the world, and subsequently defines the ways we live in it. In Balibar’s argument, borders have no essence that stays intact; what they mean and the experiences they generate vary according to their time and place; borders reductively define (and impose) national identities, creating a sense of belonging and, accordingly, non-belonging.