In this issue we share work from artists and scholars at SAIC in search of the destinations to which we hope the current movements of change will bring us.
There is a popular strategic idea attributed to Sun Tzu that tells us to, in times of peace, prepare for war, and in times of war to prepare for peace.
In our moment of struggle in 2019 we see myriad levels of desperate conflict percolating into the mainstream, some of it new and some very old. What will it mean for us as a society to move beyond the fight against oppression and into the work of forging liberation?
Many are coming to face the costs incurred by the American experiment. We see the cultural mainstream of the United States beginning to reckon with the warring that oppressed communities around the world, including in the margins of the US, have been battling for all of American history:
Conflict is built into a national identity that, though framed as an experiment in democracy, has been always an experiment of empire.
Those who would stay the course are now caught in opposition to those who would reject it.
And conflict continues against the machine itself--unaltered by the good intentions poured into its apparatus--to neutralize or destroy it.
Nevertheless, as we are looking to resolve the contractions of the American experiment, in the thick of struggle and dystopian, apocalyptic premonitions descending upon us (climate disasters, nuclear holocaust, crushing wealth disparities, mass unemployment, a growing debt of justice for racialized exploitation and violence, AI takeover and surveillance, et cetera): what are the endgames we’d like? How will we get there?
We know we are at war. What is our peace?
We hope to have created with this collection not solutions, but instigations for the multi-facetedness of liberation to emerge in all of our imaginings.
Deconstruction will be a tremendous job, but still only half of the task. Re-engineering is also ahead.
Caroline K Ng . Victoria Peña . Daniel Jiménez Quiroz
Head Editor Associate Editor Visuals Editor