Jamila Prowse, Guest Editor of the next Photoworks Annual has written from her living room, to ours, and now to yours, with some thoughts and personal observations about the times we are currently living through.
Prior to the government lockdown, I’d been home for several weeks already due to ongoing mental illness, so since the world went into self isolation seemingly overnight I’ve been thinking a lot about those disabled and chronically ill people for whom staying home and being cut off from the outside world may be very much the norm. I’ve been reading Abi Palmer’s beautiful book Sanatorium which was released a couple of weeks ago by Penned in the Margins: a fragmentary memoir exploring Abi’s rehabilitation for her chronic illness at thermal baths in Budapest, Gabrielle de la Puente of The White Pube‘s honest and tender text on life under Quarantine as someone living with an elderly relative who requires regular care work and Johanna Hedva’s writing, who has done lots of thinking about the private revolutions of sick people from their beds, including Sick Woman Theory and their recent text for Get Well Soon! on COVID-19. A line from the latter stood out particularly:
“Many thought the revolution, when it came, would look how it’s looked before: a protest in the streets, some good looting and riots, a coup, a mutiny. […] Now might be a good time to rethink what a revolution can look like. Perhaps it doesn’t look like a march of angry, abled bodies in the street. Perhaps it looks something more like the world standing still because all the bodies in it are exhausted—because care has to be prioritized before it’s too late.”
When I need some respite and distraction from these anxious times, I’ve been turning to the Literary Friction podcast, where co-hosts Octavia Butler and Carrie Plitt discuss books they’re reading and interview writers, their minisode around Quarantine recorded from their respective bedrooms was a particular delight. Also, Cairo Clarke’s open submission library of sound and text works, in.oscillation, created as a way of uplifting people’s spirits during these uncertain times.
Look out for more news about the upcoming Annual in the coming weeks and make sure to sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear more about the launch, which is coming later in Spring.