Every Where Alien’s POETICS + PANDEMICS

by Brad Walrond

poetics & pandemics is conceived as a Quarterly virtual publishing & performance platform that takes seriously the role of word, voice, ideas, and semiotics in framing how pandemics like HIV & Covid-19 root themselves in cultural landscapes. We will curate a quarterly open mic that features the written and performance work of artists, poets, critical thinkers. Open mic will be a mix of performance and interview as we engage contributors work and ideas in context to the current and historical events delimited by a focus on our anticipated changing theme.

To make the most of our time our exhibitions, curated open mics, art/artist/artivist showcases will be framed among four key themes:

race: dna of disparities and underlying conditions

health disparities and co-morbidities are not new; pandemics do however occasion the re-opening of these systemic, pervasive, insistent sores and pushes them in the face of new publics in arresting uncomfortable ways.  through the voices of keen artivists and organizers whose lifework and cultural contributions make way for the artivist spaces we occupy now

we want to animate our lived and living histories and hold these in conversation with contemporary voices and movements. In the American context COVID-19 lays bare

 how these disparities structure around world historical organizing principles like race and white supremacy. The focus here hopes to hold the emergent themes surrounding this new pandemic in conversation with that of HIV/AIDS in the American and global contexts. 

[Other Countries, Colin Robinson]

desire: the 3-D & the geosocial

the logics of DNA everywhere is bio-diversity and reproduction. Human DNA is no different. Pandemics invariably change how humans weigh the temporary and long-term risk of all things conjugal. We explore here how cultures mitigate the sex, sex work, sexual acts, gender and sexual identities, and norms attendant to desire against the imagined and real-life risks of transmission, illness, and death.

We insist on being a venue that centers the voices of all bodies, gender and sex expansive identities and communities. By zooming in on desire and each its tidy and untidy manifestations we hope to place how bodies find themselves and each other in virtual and 3-D spaces in conversation with public and political norms contending with the new realities pandemic induce.

poli-cliques: political and culture war

pandemics cleave to the boundaries and fissures in society and twist them into new, often malignant nodes. The terror associated with disease, risk, exposure, and spread grab hold of our penchant for groups and induce anticipatable and unexpected realignments. In the social media age this reconfiguring is catalyzed and amplified perhaps like no other time in human history 

poisoned pill: science, faith & myth

pandemics create new worlds out of our collective and individual imaginations. These new terroires are rife with opportunities to spur scientific and cultural innovation. They are also fraught with new corrosive incentives to aggrandize and succumb to our darkest fears and genocidal inclinations.  Explore how the life of the mind push and pull societies across the beautiful and brutal provinces of science, myth, and myth.

To do this work in a way that is both exciting, engaging, interactive, and nuanced, our collaborators and cultural production will be anchored along four key axis:

generational: survivor insight & instincts

showcase the first-hand expertise, insight, and lived experience of survivors, artists, activists infected or deeply impacted by these pandemics;

context: parochial, regional, & global

common/familiar themes live very different lives as we move in, through, and out of local and region discourse and territories into global ones; our work hopes to elucidate these distinctions and explore how they engage and co-create even as they influence unique and sometimes divergent outlooks and outcomes

dimension: disciplines & praxis

we will enlist a multi-disciplinary approach as we curate the work of our collaborators across a range of academic and creative disciplines and praxis; our systems level approach understands the value-added to curating work that arises out of multiple contexts and diverse voices.

innovation: posters and PSAs:

pandemics are dynamic material and non-material environments. They create and produce language, discourse and semiotics that marshal new communities and organizing principles. We aim to explore these histories as they draw upon discipline specific jargon(s) and historical and contemporary cultural memory to deploy instrumental and transformational memes in our virtual and physical worlds both old and new.