Stephanie Young lives and works in Oakland. She is a full-time administrator of graduate programs and part-time teacher of poetry at Mills College. Previously she could be found executive assisting, sales analyzing, shelving mass market paperbacks, cleaning houses, and selling cookies. Her most recent book, with Juliana Spahr, is A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism.
Something about Sheila de Bretteville crying about money in Lynn Hershman Leeson’s documentary film Women Art Revolution.
Something about Sheila de Bretteville crying about the feminist art movement’s focus on women’s exclusion from systems of power, rather than identification with others who also lacked power, also lacked money.
Something about the moment when several of us started crying about student loan debt at the Department retreat.
Something about how I started crying in therapy about everything I seem as yet unable to give up, and couldn’t stop.
Something about willingly giving up the individual body’s privilege: as white, of a moderate income which both allows and requires that I travel most days with moderate docility the paths laid out by ATM machines, highways, places of business and institutions. Something about willingly placing that individual body in the way of arrest or even direct injury by the state, as an experiment in identification with bodies marked otherwise, bodies vulnerable to regular interruption, harassment, arrest, detainment, imprisonment and murder by the state.
Something about heroic regard for this particular experiment in identification.
Something about militancy in the U.S. right now as an art project, acts of imagination in the wake of state repression, in the wake of COINTELPRO, something about imagining a future of being on the street together, if not yet on the street together as in Chile, if still outnumbered by riot cops and cameras.
Something about the swagger of one art project’s dismissal of other art projects.
Something about splitting off material from emotional care.
Something about something Wendy Trevino said at the Durruti Free Skool meetup a few weeks ago, something about being able to work with and care for people who one dislikes, or feels irritated by, or ambivalence towards. I remembered this as being able to work with and care for people who one hates. Probably because I have been obsessed with that Tiqqun book The Terrible Community: “…a post-authoritarian power apparatus. It apparently does not have a bureaucracy nor some constraining form. But to produce so much verticality within the informal, it must resort to archaic configurations, roles handed down that still survive in crowded caves of the collective unconscious. Thus the family is not the organizational model but its direct antecedent in the production of informal constraint and the indissoluble living bond of hatred and love.” The euro family euro critique.
Something about the family Wendy talked about, the family that extends, on a plain, without so much verticality. Working with and caring for others who one dislikes, or feels irritated by, or ambivalence towards. I need to say that the family Wendy talked about is a specific example located near or on or beyond the U.S. Mexico border.
Something about Etel Adnan’s To Be In A time of War.
To be the panic of constant information.
To be hurt, distrustful, competitive, envious, angry.
To be singing in the car, my heart’s a stereo, it beats for you, so listen close
To be THEN YOU ARE STILL THE ENEMY. To be unsure of everything, unable to ask for or take it back with force. Are the wetlands everything? To wish the wetlands back as difficult as anything else, necessarily my own death and yours.
To somewhat falsely oppose decomposition and insurrection.
To be post-camp messianism on the one hand, labeling everything else reform or collaboration with existing structures on the other, just, dangling there. Unsure of everything.
To be intimidated by the debt collector. To seek assistance from a non-profit.
To be ashamed of one’s self.
To be full of desire and fear.
To be making art projects. To be making art projects together.
“Every miscarriage is a work accident.”
To be Claire Fontaine, to be dismissive of Claire Fontaine, to find Claire Fontaine somehow useful. To pivot and grind. To frottage with Claire Fontaine.
“The return of the repressed threatens all my projects of work, research, politics. Does it threaten them or is it the truly political thing in myself, to which I should give relief and room? (…) The silence failed this part of myself that desired to make politics, but it affirmed something new. There has been a change, I have started to speak out, but during these days I have felt that the affirmative part of myself was occupying all the space again. I convinced myself of the fact that the mute woman is the most fertile objection to our politics. The non-political digs tunnels that we mustn’t fill with earth.”