ecstatic speech elective reader

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Ecstatic Speech Reader A document of reflections, exercises and references. They have been made and used by students of the willem de kooning academy, Rotterdam NL, during the Ecstatic Speech elective, run by amy pickles, with a visit from artist and researcher Angeliki Diakrousi All references have been photocopied for educational purposes, and hyperlinks throughout the text lead you to further information on our sources.

Ilya Kaminsky is a hard-of-hearing, Ukrainian-born, Russian-Jewish-American poet, critic, translator and professor.

The citizens of Deaf Republic speak with hand gestures and signs—some of which punctuate and animate the poems—as they resist a world of misunderstanding and military violence. “Our country woke up next morning and refused to hear soldiers.” Deafness, here, is an insurgency, a state of being, a rebellion against a world that sees deafness as “a contagious disease.”

collective writing

With the media artist and researcher Angeliki Diakrousi we spoke and listened to ourselves and the machine. Our speaking and listening exercises involved our voices, a microphone, a computer, the open source speech recognition engine PocketSphinx, the speech synthesizer eSpeak and a news article from Gizmodo (on the next page) After reading our conversations included the questions: can you think of times when you speak differently? when have you needed to transform your voice? what can you hide in/with your voice? how you change your voice in order to be valid? Then we performed a collective writing exercise to gather our thoughts together. Writing for ten seconds at a time we passed our notes around, trying to follow one another’s ideas or continue our personal line of enquiry. We used these text bundles as material to make an aural, spoken composition, where we experimented with different voices, different ways of speaking into the machine and ways to disguise our voice. We heard our 'echoes' in the computer.

Angeliki Diakrousi has a background in architecture, visual arts and experimental publishing. Her research focuses on the politics and structures of art, architecture and technology, and their engagement into public spheres. She is currently interested in the political and technological potentiality of voices, including their mediation and amplification in public. She has been influenced by sound art, performance art, tactical media, and recently by feminist and hacker practices, political gatherings, co-authorship, networks and the principles of free software. PocketSphinx is one of Carnegie Mellon University's open source large vocabulary, speaker-independent continuous speech recognition engine. A version of Sphinx that can be used in embedded systems (e.g., based on an ARM processor). PocketSphinx is under active development and incorporates features such as fixed-point arithmetic and efficient algorithms for GMM computation.

eSpeak is a compact open source software speech synthesizer for Linux, Windows, and other platforms. It uses a formant synthesis method, providing many languages in a small size. Much of the programming for eSpeak's languages was based on information found on Wikipedia, with some subsequent feedback from native speakers. Projects using eSpeak include NVDA, Ubuntu and OLPC, and it has also been used by Google Translate. Gizmodo is a design, technology, science and science fiction website. It was originally launched as part of the Gawker Media network run by Nick Denton, and runs on the Kinja platform. Gizmodo also includes the subsite io9, which focuses on science fiction and futurism.

Experts Worry as Germany Tests Voice Recognition Software to Screen Refugees By Rhett Jones on 3/19/17 5:48PM

Germany announced this week that it will begin testing voice recognition software in its screening of refugees seeking

asylum. The approach may help speed up the processing of hundreds of thousands of migrants, but some experts fear that the imperfect technology could cause more harm than good.

In 1998, Germany began to use speech analysis to help determine the country of origin for asylum seekers. Reportedly,

around 60 percent of refugees arrive without the required identification papers. Traditionally, if there are doubts about an applicant’s stated homeland, a recording of them having a conversation will be sent to a linguist for verification. With a major refugee crisis hitting the region, there’s now a backlog of 430,000 applications to verify.

But automated speech analysis isn’t just an altruistic effort to bring more people through the system faster. It’s also part of an initiative to detect applicants who might falsely state they are from a country like Syria in order to receive preferential treatment. The possibility of voice recognition technology being inadequate presents a problem for advocates of relaxed immigration policy who wouldn’t want someone to be wrongly turned away. And it’s a problem for hardliners who fear nefarious characters being smuggled in for the purposes of terrorism.

The system that will be tested over two weeks was designed for use by banks and insurance companies. Ideally, it should

be able to recognize where an applicant is from based on a sample of their speech. That analysis would then be paired with other “indicators” and might raise a flag for further review.

Some linguistic experts insist that the nuances of language couldn’t possibly be covered accurately with the current

software. University of Essex linguistics Professor Monika Schmid spoke to Deutsche Welle and warned that many factors go into the analysis of language like age, use of slang and human nature to adapt the way one speaks. She gave an

example of a recent study her team conducted. They asked native German speakers to identify if an audio clip came from

another native German speaker. All of the samples were, in fact, native speakers but they had lived abroad for at least five

years. Again and again, the test group did not believe the samples were from native speakers. Think about when Madonna comes back to the U.S. after spending a weekend in England.

Applicants could fake it if they are pretending to be from somewhere that gets fast-tracked. “I don’t see how automated

software can distinguish whether a person uses a certain word or pronounces it in a particular way because this is part of

their own repertoire or because they were primed to do so by the interviewer or interpreter,” Schmid says. “Identifying the region of origin for anyone based on their speech is an extremely complex task. Both humans and machines can easily be wrong, but humans are probably better at realizing this.”

Dirk Hovy, a computer scientist at the University of Copenhagen, agrees that making this sort of system accurate is a

monumental task. “Creating a perfect dataset is virtually impossible because language is constantly changing,” he told Die Welt.

Article copied from here at

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collective writing

note making with Angeliki Diakrousi

Denise Hirtenfelder

Benedikt Rittger

Exercise borrowed from Potential Wor(l)ds , a collaborative project between artists Anna Bunting-Branch and Aliyah Hussain. They draw on shared interests in feminist science fiction, embodied processes of making, and different ways of worldbuilding.

The workshop begins with an introduction to Láadan, a feminist language created by linguist and science-fiction writer Suzette Haden Elgin in 1984. Finding herself unable to express certain ideas and emotions in English, Elgin intended Láadan to make space for new words and ways of communicating. For Elgin, the idea of gaps in language offers a place to start creating change. She called these gaps ​‘potential words’. Her experiment tested the hypothesis that ​‘there are changes you could not introduce into a language without destroying it and languages you could not introduce into a culture without destroying it,’ and that ​ ‘change in language brings about social change, rather than the contrary.

Costanza Salini

Excerpt From: Silvia Federici. “Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women.” FIVE On the Meaning of ‘Gossip’ Tracing the history of the words frequently used to define and degrade women is a necessary step if we are to understand how gender oppression functions and reproduces itself. The history of ‘gossip’ is emblematic in this context. Through it we can follow two centuries of attacks on women at the dawn of modern England, when a term commonly indicating a close female friend turned into one signifying idle, backbiting talk, that is, talk potentially sowing discord, the opposite of the solidarity that female friendship implies and generates. Attaching a denigrating meaning to the term indicating friendship among women served to destroy the female sociality that had prevailed in the Middle Ages, when most of the activities women performed were of a collective nature and, in the lower classes at least, women formed a tight-knit community that was the source of a strength unmatched in the modern era. Traces of the use of the word are frequent in the literature of the period. Deriving from the Old English terms God and sibb (akin), ‘gossip’ originally meant ‘godparent,’ one who stands in a spiritual relation to the child to be baptized. “In time, however, the term was used with a broader meaning. In early modern England the word ‘gossip’ referred to companions in childbirth not limited to the midwife. It also became a term for women friends, with no necessary derogatory connotations.1 In either case, it had strong emotional connotations. We recognize it when we see the word in action, denoting the ties that bound women in premodern English society. We find a particular example of this connotation in a mystery play of the Chester Cycle, suggesting that ‘gossip’ was a term of strong attachment. Mys“tery plays were the product of guild members, who by creating and financing these representations tried to boost their social standing as part of the local power structure.2 Thus, they were committed to upholding expected forms of behavior and satirizing those to be condemned. They were critical of strong, independent women, and especially of their relations to their husbands, to whom—the accusation went—they preferred their friends. As Thomas Wright reports in A History of Domestic Manners and Sentiments in England during the Middle Ages (1862),3 they frequently depicted them as conducting a separate life, often “assembling with their ‘gossips’ in public taverns to drink and amuse themselves.” Thus, in one of the mystery plays of the Chester Cycle representing Noah urging people and animals to enter the ark, the wife is shown sitting in the tavern with her ‘gossips’ and refusing to leave when the husband calls for her, even as the waters are rising, “unless she is allowed to take her gossips with her.”4 These, as reported by Wright, are the words “that she was made to utter by the (clearly disapproving) mystery’s author:

Yes, Sir, set up your sail, And row forth with evil hail, for without fail, I will not out of this town, But I have my gossips, everyone, One foot further I will not go. They will not drown, by St. John And I may save their lives! They love me full well, by Christ! But you let them into your boat, Otherwise row now where you like And get yourself a new wife.5

In the play the scene ends with a physical fight in which the wife beats the husband. “The tavern,” Wright points out, “was the resort of women of the middle and lower orders who assembled there to drink and gossip.” He adds: “The meetings of gossips in taverns form the subjects of many of the popular songs of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, both in England and France.”6 As an example, he cites a song, possibly from the middle of the fifteenth century, that describes one of these meetings. The women here, “having met accidentally,” decide to go “where the wine is best,” two by two to not attract attention and be detected by their husbands.7 Once arrived, they praise the wine and complain about their marital situations. Then they go home, by different streets, “telling their husbands that they had been to church.”8 The literature of mysteries and morality plays belongs to a period of transition in which women still maintained a considerable degree of social power, but their social position in urban areas was increasingly under threat, as the guilds (that sponsored the production of the plays) were beginning to exclude them from their ranks and institute new boundaries between the home and public space. “Not surprisingly, then, women in them were often chastised and represented as quarrelsome, aggressive, and ready to give battle to their husbands. Typical of this trend was the representation of the ‘battle for the breeches,’ where the woman appeared as the dominatrix—whipping her husband, straddling across his back, in a reversal of roles clearly intended to shame men for allowing their wives to be ‘on the top.’9 These satirical representations, expressions of a growing misogynous sentiment, were instrumental to the politics of the guilds that were striving to become exclusively male preserves. But the representation of women as strong, self-asserting figures also captured the nature of the gender relations of the time, for neither in rural nor urban areas were women dependent on men for their survival; they had their own activities and shared much of their lives and work with other women. Women cooperated with each other in every aspect of their life. They sewed, washed their clothes, and gave birth surrounded by other women, with men rigorously “excluded from the chamber of the delivering one. Their legal status reflected this greater autonomy. In Italy in the fourteenth century they could still go independently to court to denounce a man if he assaulted or molested them.10 By the sixteenth century, however, women’s social position had begun to deteriorate, satire giving way to what without exaggeration can be described as a war on women, especially of the lower classes, reflected in the increasing number of attacks on women as ‘scolds’ and domineering wives and of witchcraft accusations.11 Along with this development, we begin to see a change in the meaning of gossip, increasingly designating a woman engaging in idle talk. The traditional meaning lingered on. In 1602, when Samuel Rowlands wrote Tis Merrie When Gossips Meete, a satirical piece describing three London women spending hours in a tavern talking about men and marriages, the word was still used to sig“nify female friendships, implying that “women could create their social networks and their own social space” and stand up to male authority.12 But as the century progressed the word’s negative connotation became the prevalent one. As mentioned, this transformation went hand in hand with the strengthening patriarchal authority in the family and women’s exclusion from the crafts and guilds,13 which, combined with the process of enclosures, led to a “feminization of poverty.”14 With the consolidation of the family and male authority within it, representing the power of the state with regard to wives and children, and with the loss of access to former means of livelihood both women’s power and female friendships were undermined. Thus, while in the Late Middle Ages a wife could still be represented as standing up to her husband and even coming to blows with him, by the end of the sixteenth century she could be severely punished for any demonstration of independence “and any criticism she made against him. Obedience—as the literature of the time constantly stressed—was a wife’s first duty, enforced by the Church, the law, public opinion, and ultimately by the cruel punishments that were introduced against the ‘scolds,’ like the ‘scold’s bridle,’ also called the ‘branks,’ a sadistic contraption made of metal and leather that would tear the woman’s tongue if she attempted to talk. This was an iron framework that enclosed the

woman’s head. A bridle bit about two inches long and one inch wide projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue; frequently it was studded with spikes so that if the offender moved her tongue it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible. First recorded in Scotland in 1567, this torture instrument was designed as a punishment for women of the lower classes deemed ‘nags’ or ‘scolds’ or riotous, who were often suspected of witchcraft. Wives who were seen as witches, shrews, and scolds were also forced to wear it “locked onto their heads.15 It was often called the ‘gossip bridle,’ testifying to the change in the meaning of the term. With such a frame locking their heads and mouth, those accused could be led through town in a cruel public humiliation that must have terrified all women, showing what one could expect if she did not remain subservient. Significantly, in the United States, it was used to control slaves, in Virginia until the eighteenth century. Another torture to which assertive/rebellious women were subjected was the ‘cucking stool,’ or ‘ducking stool,’16 also used as a punishment for prostitutes and for women taking part in antienclosure riots. This was a sort of chair to which a woman was tied and “seated to be ducked in a pond or river.” According to D.E. Underdown, “after 1560 evidence of its adoption begins to multiply.”17 Women were also brought to court and fined for ‘scolding,’ while priests in their sermons thundered against their tongues. Wives especially were expected to be quiet, “obey their husband without “question” and “stand in awe of them.” Above all they were instructed to make their husbands and their homes the centers of their attentions and not spend time at the window or at the door. They were even discouraged from paying too many visits to their families after marriage, and above all from spending time with their female friends. Then, in 1547, “a proclamation was issued forbidding women to meet together to babble and talk” and ordering husbands to “keep their wives in their houses.”18 Female friendships were one of the targets of the witch hunts, as in the course of the trials accused women were forced under torture to denounce each other, friends turning in friends, daughters turning in their mothers. It was in this context that ‘gossip’ turned from a word of friendship and affection into a word of denigration and ridicule. Even when used with the older meaning it displayed new connotations, referring in the late sixteenth century to an informal group of women who enforced socially acceptable “behavior by means of private censure or public rituals, suggesting that (as in the case of the midwives) cooperation among women was being put at the service of upholding the social order. Gossiping and the Formation of a Female Viewpoint Gossip today designates informal talk, often damaging to those that are its object. It is mostly talk that draws its satisfaction from an irresponsible disparaging of others; it is circulation of information not intended for the public ear but capable of ruining people’s reputations, and it is unequivocally ‘women’s talk.’ It is women who ‘gossip,’ presumably having nothing better to do and having less access to real knowledge and information and a structural inability to construct factually based, rational discourses. Thus, gossip is an integral part of the devaluation of women’s personality and work, especially “domestic work, reputedly the ideal terrain on which this practice flourishes. This conception of ‘gossip,’ as we have seen, emerged in a particular historical context. Viewed from the perspective of other cultural traditions, this ‘idle women’s talk’ would actually appear quite different. In many parts of the world, women have historically been seen as the weavers of memory—those who keep alive the voices of the past and the histories of the communities, who transmit them to the future generations and, in so doing, create a collective identity and profound sense of cohesion. They are also those who hand down acquired knowledges and wisdoms— concerning medical remedies, the problems of the heart, and the understanding of human behavior, starting with that of men.

Labelling all this production of knowledge ‘gossip’ is part of the degradation of women—it is a continuation of the demonologists’ construction of the stereotypical woman as prone to malignity, envious of other people’s wealth and power, and “ready to lend an ear to the Devil. It is in this way that women have been silenced and to this day excluded from many places where decisions are taken, deprived of the possibility of defining their own experience, and forced to cope with men’s misogynous or idealized portraits of them. But we are regaining our knowledge. As a woman recently put it in a meeting on the meaning of witchcraft, the magic is: “We know that we know.”

Silvia Federici is an Italian-American scholar, teacher, and activist from the radical autonomist feminist Marxist tradition. She is a professor emerita and Teaching Fellow at Hofstra University, where she was a social science professor.

Notes 1 Oxford English Dictionary: ‘A familiar acquaintance, friend, chum,’ supported by references from 1361 to 1873. 2 Nicole R. Rice and Margaret Aziza Pappano, The Civic Cycles: Artisan Drama and Identity in Premodern England (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2015). 3 Thomas Wright, A History of Domestic Manners and Sentiments in England during the Middle Ages (London: Chapman and Hall, 1862). 4 On the Noah’s play in the Chester Cycle, see Rice and Pappano, The Civic Cycles, 165–84. 5 Wright, A History of Domestic Manners and Sentiments in England during the Middle Ages, 420– 21. 6 Wright, A History, 437–38. 7 “God may send me a stripe or two,” said one, “if my husband should see me here.” “Nay,” said Alice, another, “she that is afraid had better go home; I dread no man”; Wright, 438. 8 Wright, 439. 9 On the attack on the domineering wife, see D.E. Underdown, “The Taming of the Scold: The Enforcement of Patriarchal Authority in Early Modern England,” in Order and Disorder in Early Modern England, eds. Anthony Fletcher and John Stevenson (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1986), 129. 10 Samuel K. Cohn, “Donne in piazza e donne in tribunale a Firenze nel rinascimento,” in Studi Sorici 22, no. 3 (July–September 1981): 531–32. 11 See Underdown, “The Taming of the Scold,” 116–36. 12 Bernard Capp, When Gossips Meet: Women, Family, and Neighbourhood in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 117. 13 The literature on women’s exclusion from crafts and guilds in England, as well as France, Germany, and Holland, is extensive. For England, see Alice Clark, Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982 [1919]). 14 Marianne Hester, “Patriarchal Reconstruction and Witch Hunting,” in Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Studies in Culture and Belief, eds. Jonathan Barry, Marianne Hester, and Gareth Roberts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 302. 15 See, among others, Underdown, “The Taming of the Scold,” 123. 16 Underdown, “The Taming of the Scold,” 123–25; see also S.D. Amussen, “Gender, Family and the Social Order, 1560–1725,” in Fletcher and Stevenson, Order and Disorder in Early Modern England, 215. 17 Underdown, “The Taming of the Scold,” 123. 18 Louis B. Wright, Middle-Class Culture in Elizabethan England (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1965 [1935]).

Tiffany Peyrel

Audre Lorde was an American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. As a poet, she is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as her poems that express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life.

Naomi van Kleef

Arend Verbrugh

Dafni Arvaniti

Amy Suo Wu is a cultural chimera with a hybrid practice working between art, design and research. Although not loyal to any particular media, technique or subject, the commonalities throughout her work are critical, investigative and playful approaches that often challenge dominant discourses and hegemonic paradigms. She is a tutor at Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam.

These are the chapter titles of artist, educator and researcher Brandon LaBelle’s book, Lexicon of the Mouth: Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary.

Octavia E. Butler was a writer, her books known for blending elements of science fiction and African-American spiritualism. We used this story in an exercise where you to only read one page from and piece together from other peoples memories of their different page. We hosted fractured verbal narrations.

Dafni Arvaniti

Rinke Joosten

using the loop pedal

Jack van Bambergen

Pauline Oliveros was an American composer, accordionist and a central figure in the development of experimental and post-war electronic art music.

Luuk Leeuwenburgh

Rinke Joosten

Brandon LaBelle is Professor in New Media in the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at the University of Bergen. He is the author of Lexicon of the Mouth: Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary, Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian, Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life, and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art.

Jivan Dwarkasing

Rinke Joosten

Honey Simatupang

Honey Simatupang

This book is a collection essays on popular culture. Many are from his blog, k-punk. Fisher was a British writer, critic, cultural theorist, philosopher and teacher based in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Eli Hooper

Anna Mendelssohn, who first wrote under the name Grace Lake, was a British writer, poet and political activist. She came from a left-wing political family, was inspired by the Paris student risings in May 1968, and became a political radical in Britain. In this first full-length collection of her writing she explores power, persecution and loss. Mendelssohn’s work shows the intense relationship between agency and structure in the modern world. She weaves painful lyric poetry into an ecstatic vision of our own dependencies, dreams and desires.

Lauren McCarthy is an American artist and computer programmer. McCarthy creates artworks that use a variety of media and techniques, including performance, artificial intelligence and programmed computer-based interaction.

Richard Poschmann

Risoprint handout of amy pickles sonic lecture, Ecstatic Speech. This term is a definition given to utterances and visions emitted from people under divine possession that we do not understand. It has a pre-literate, non-linguistic origin in pagan ritual, and since then the term has mostly been attached to female bodies. Like this elective, the polyvocal presentation brought together characters to discuss messages we transmit with our bodies and interrupt formal modes of literacy. The mechanism in the image is the phonautograph, the earliest known device for recording sound. The first recording was of an unknown woman singing Clair de Lune.

Jeske Maas

Tim van der Plas

Gijs Grimm

Jamie Machul

nonsense in translation: Nina Cassian and the Jabberwocky Posted on 27 May 2014 by Kate Sotejeff-Wilson

Romanian poet Nina Cassian died one month ago today. (Here she is reading her work, and here’s a great poem she wrote in New York exile). She also translated Brecht, Molière and Shakespeare, but was especially proud of her translation of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky. You can see why – this poem is in nonsense English, so how on earth can you translate it? It hasn’t stopped people from trying, as Keith Lim’s collection shows. Without speaking the language, you can see that Cassian’s Romanian Jabberwocky is very different from Frida Papadache’s. Why are they so different? The original word might sound like another word in the target language. The Germans can choose between Robert Scott’s moaning Jammerwoch and Lieselotte & Martin Remane’s babbling Brabbelback, for Finns “brillig” might mean a warm night (Kirsi Kunnas and Eeva-Liisa Manner: illanpaisto Alice Martin: kuumon aika) while Smolyński’s Dżabbersmok combines the English sound with the Polish word for dragon, smok. His is one of eight translations for Polish speakers to enjoy, including one by Stanisław Barańczak, another poet and translator of Shakespeare, who gives it the epic title Dziaberliada. The best translations play to the strengths of the target language. Becky Wright’s linguistic analysis shows that translators into American Sign Language (ASL) used new made-up words (“tulgey” has a new sign related to “rubber” or to “tree”) or emphasised different associations from the English (“frabjous” is translated as “happy” or “excited”). The ASL translations incorporate elements of mime and dance. You don’t have to be fluent in ASL to enjoy these performances, which are very much of their time: a translation by Joe Velez in 1968 and one on YouTube 40 years later. Nina Cassian should have the last word. Is it time for a Jabberwocky translation into her own invented language, Spargan? When you see one of her Spargan poems in English, you can see how the language could work for Lewis Carroll’s verse:

IMPRECAŢIE Te-mboridez, guruvă şi stelpică norangă, te-mboridez să-ţi calpeni introstul şi să-ţi gui multembilara voşcă pe-o creptiruă pangă şi să-ţi jumizi firiga lângă-un hisar mârzui. Te-mboridez, cu zarga veglină şi alteră, să-ntrauri eligenţa unui letusc aţod pe care tentezina humblidelor ţiferă şi plenturează istra în care hurge Dod. IMPRECATION (in English Spargan) I frollop you, gromanching and shaloppy intruger, I frollop you to hulper your tellymot, to ack Your multikunk entankler, your dimical, so phlooger, And cloff on many flanches, on spinch, on sminch, on swack. I frollop you, with ordle and highmischevaled orkle, To gaver a tozander, to blisk in eftic wod And to oblet your fipsy on every fallid gorkle And to remolk the spilder on which molanders DOD.

Nina Cassian was a Romanian poet, translator, journalist, educator, pianist, composer, and film critic.

Hamja Ahsan is an artist, curator and activist based in London. He is the Free Talha Ahsan campaign organiser. Drawing together communiquĂŠs, covert interviews, oral and underground history of introvert struggles (Introfada), here is detailed documentation of the political demands of shy people.

Shy Radicals are the Black Panther Party of the introvert class, and this anti-systemic manifesto is a quiet and thoughtful polemic, a satire that uses anti-colonial theory to build a critique of dominant culture and the rising tide of Islamophobia.

Gyatso Davids

James Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays and speeches explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century North America.

Stefano Harney is Professor of Strategic Management at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University. His research spans (the intersections of) social sciences, arts and humanities, as well as the fields of business and management. Fred Moten is a poet and scholar whose work explores critical theory, black studies, and performance studies. Moten is professor of Performance Studies at New York University. You can read more of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study here.

Colophon Copied and assembled by amy pickles using libre office and gimp. The cover image is a scanned handout from CoBrA Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam.


Crimson Text is an open-source, Old Style serif typeface designed by Sebastian Kosch. Hind is an Open Source typeface supporting the Devanagari and Latin scripts. Manushi Parikh designed Hind for the Indian Type Foundry.