Grounding ourselves here, we followed the siren song of Braithewaite-Shirley’s vocaloid soundtrack past more reminders of how much of our histories are lost. Sean Fader’s images in Insufficient Memory, 2020, memorializing the victims of hate-based attacks through place-based photography, blurred out of focus as we neared them.
We found ourselves on some space of horizon, among the chimeric oracles that preside over Saya Woolfalk’s Landscape of Anticipation 2.0, 2021, wondering how we might reach towards this vision of post-cyborgian unity and Love. How might we engineer our way into such a future?
Rian Ciela Hammond’s Root Picker, 2021, busy transforming diosgenin from the roots of wild yams into progesterone and androstenedione, chimes in with us on that question, and provides a model for finding an answer: a return, with intention, to those deep connections that lie untapped. The machinery whirs as it spins something close to gold.
As part of our Sunday Insights discussion, Leah and I reflected on the ways that the youth in our programs encounter and navigate the issues brought up by the pieces in Difference Machines. While digital spaces offer new vectors for finding community and shared experience—especially in the last two years—they are nevertheless limited by the very real and often very physical barriers to equitable access and use. Online liberation is hemmed in by “real-life” factors such as unsupportive family members or unsafe school or extracurricular spaces. Moreover, in terms of both accessibility and safety, these online spaces tend to recreate, either through the hard-coding of their algorithms or the biases of the users themselves, the same obstacles our youth find in their daily lives. It seems that transformation is needed, both in our world and online.
Looking to the examples set by Woolfalk and Hammond, it is a return to the communal—to the life around us and the lives of those in community with us—that is necessary to propel us into some bright, hybrid future. It’s through the work of supporting each other in these community spaces that we are able to truly come together, listen to those who are in need, and direct ourselves toward caring for all. It’s in the spirit of this community collaboration that GLYS has begun its Youth Gender Affirmation Program, which provides support to youth and families navigating gender exploration and transition