June 29th, 2020
The current conjuncture of quarantine and protest has highlighted the trappings of a modernist realism whose conservative solutions to social problems go back to a paucity of methods, genres and dreams. The wins that the uprisings against anti-Black police violence have put on the horizon, from the dismantling of the prison industrial complex to the creation of alternatives, have been long seeded and prepared for by social movements that dreamed big, and demanded the impossible. This includes a long line of elders and ancestors, many of whom Black, feminist, queer and abolitionist, that have prepared to take fantastic leaps, in the words of the Combahee River Collective.
This talk follows the fantastical around in order to reckon with the racism that this latest crisis once again reveals, from the Orientalist origin story of the coronavirus to a global quarantine paradigm that is haunted by the carceral institutions of racial capitalism. The dystopic crossroad of the pandemic and the uprisings gives rise to a multiracial and multi-species vision of planetary interdependence, as brought home by the hashtags #NoGoingBack #NobodyLeftBehind employed by a mutual aid movement that is resurging to norm beyond the normal. In the place of a state surveillance and a single-issue environmentalism that each erase those most vulnerable to the virus, the talk ends on an urban environmental justice politic that queerly embraces many methods.
This talk will be published as: “#NoGoingBack: Queer Leaps at the Intersection of Protest and Covid-19″ in Journal of Environmental Media 1(2) and was the opening talk to xart splitta’s reading circle on “Queer Lovers and Hateful Others” with Jin Haritaworn and Rena Onat.