Issue Nine: Relations

Wei-hsin Lee, Israt Taslim, and Mohammad Zaki Rezwan

Relations exist in both affinity and disparity. They soften and solidify; destruct and reconcile. They emerge from succession, or perhaps even isolation. They are catalysts of becoming – a process that defines the territory of our being, yet transcends it over time. The contemplation of these relations may reveal the tenuous nature of our social, cultural, and political construction, but this practice also deepens our understanding of what is possible through connection. 

This issue embarks on relational philosophies, while traversing a diverse range of disciplines. Employing Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of the rhizome, Ijeoma D. Odoh offers insight into “rhizomatic womb-space” — a term coined by the author to explore the politics of the female body and the dominance of patriarchal ideology. The author also advocates the restructuring of our social existence with respect to “migration, multiplicity, divergence, relations, and connectivity.” Edouard Glissant’s “poetics of relations” is one of the key relational frameworks that Grayson Chong incorporates to intertwine hurricanes, headpieces, and ancestral memories, while illustrating how we can contribute to ecological resilience. In their article, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson and Dr. Donald Culverson take a closer look at all the formats and adaptations of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls and use theories of intersectionality and performance analysis to examine the female experiences of women of color. Jasmine Yu-Hsing Chen’s article sheds light on Pili, a popular Taiwanese transmedia puppetry, unveiling the new becoming that characterizes Pili’s combination of traditional puppetry, CGI, and its affordances to screen.

The issue also demonstrates how relational thinking enables us to investigate political issues from different corners of the world. Alla Myzelev thoroughly looks at the activism of Pussy Riot and its feminist genealogies, also highlighting the differences in representation and reception of such political and artistic dissent. The creative investigation of Maj Ørskov and Mikkel N. Jørgensen does not only seek the connection between aesthetic and the political — two apparently distinct dimensions — but it also allows the authors’ individual thoughts and analytical perspectives to engage with each other and evolve at the same time.

The world is always in transformation, and art responds to the drastic transformations through creatively examining unfolding relations. During this critical moment of the global pandemic, a time when our freedom of physicality is restrained to less-than-ever, we speculate the existing relations with others, the environment, non-beings, beings, and even with our own mind and body. In an attempt to reformulate the traditional gallery space, Rebecca Howard interweaves photographic practice and Gilles Deleuze’s theory of “the fold” to test the limit of pictorial space through “foldness.” Finally,  Sanja Dejanovic’s three-part poem ponders how relations emerge from difference and divergence.

Perhaps the theme of this issue stemmed initially from the individual experiences of the editorial board. However, as time has progressed , we notice how our realities have intersected with what many of the contributors, if not all, have personally experienced. We are astonished and somewhat overwhelmed by the volume of works submitted from all over the world, making us realize how relations could be rethought otherwise, and could be perceived as a way of interrogating our current state during the uncertain time. While we are equally grateful to everyone for sharing their excellent works, we regret for not being able to offer space to all of them. We would like to thank our reviewers, copyeditors, and our  managing editor for helping us solidify our editorial vision.