Angry Letters works with the magazine as a repository medium for collating tools that de-center the oppressor/s in conversations on freedom and liberation. The inaugural ‘issue’ is developed with Open! Platform for Art, Culture and the Public Domain and takes a text-to-workshop form for opening up and applying discussions in real time. The outcome will thus comprise of online and print components to be published in the fall of 2019
Angry Letters aims to speak to and with blackness without asking its subjects to defend or apologize for themselves. It is not a request to assume some kind of posture in order to remain vigilant, but rather asks how to avoid being crushed by oppressive forms of control still common to many social and political systems today.
Decolonizing projects frequently guide thinking away from dominating hegemonies that reinforce systemic forms of oppression in order to dismantle them, even making use of the same literature, objects, and rhetoric to do so. By reworking the way in which information is received, it is possible to move past the boundary of neoliberal conceptions of “diversity” that limit the extent of potential change. Angry Letters seeks another path: to “do our own thing”, to shift the emphasis or departure away from hegemonic forces and address what is necessary, specific to those from the different territories in which the project lands. It is neither a de-Westernization project, nor a response to whiteness. Angry Letters seeks tools for coming out from under the colonial / modernity’s matrixes of power whilst taking care not reproduce this warped accumulative logic in the process and in the quest commons for liberation, also not to thrive off of the backs of other people of color. Angry Letters is both an ancient and a contemporary project, using the magazine format as a forum for discussion, and its social life for practicing and wondering beyond the page.
Practically, the magazine project also looks to experiment with modes of circulation as to really reach the audience each issue wishes to address. As such, p/re/distribution models will be developed alongside each issue as informed by its theme and the agency of social situations.
The inaugural issue The freedoms they most desired (working title) analyzes scenarios in which the meaning of Blackness is at stake and attempts retrospective remedies. The territory of this first issue is its birth place and context, the Netherlands and its universities. Black subjecthood here is a seemingly banal topic, until we confide in one another, that identity is needed to have access. And academia in the Netherlands, and indeed elsewhere, is rife with racially contentious moments: in December 2017 at the University of Amsterdam, a lecture was put to a halt by mostly students of color of the Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender and Sexuality protesting a visiting Canadian scholar speaking on black radical thought without a local black scholar to share the stage; Sandberg Institute only this year formed the Black Student Union; a black American scholar left their tenured position for fear of being tokenized after finding out they were the only first person of color employed in their department; and finally this year in 2018, an invitation to perform at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie extended to an artist duo who use racist and misogynist language as provocation, exposed the school’s lack of position on racism, a lack symptomatic of the country’s institutions in general.
Lecture and seminar with curator Gabi Ngcobo, curator for the 10th Berlin Biennale “We Don’t Need Another Hero”, organized with De Appel and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, and part of the study line Angry Letters.