foreword nY41

rape enters the scene


you read about the experiences, heard about them, saw and recognized them yet you lived on. you wrote reflections on obscure art forms and so-called left-wing philosophers. you felt bad occasionally and pointed to extreme causal connections. judith calls these ‘sophisticated rationalization’. even though we no longer want to pretend to be neutral, we too would like to live on and leave uncomfortable subjects for what they are, even if only for a moment. yet we started talking about it and devised a plan to dedicate an entire issue to it. we would like to emphasize that there was an unspoken shared recognition of this violence. it is certain that we had already attached ourselves to certain images for a long time. such as ban who lies down on the floor of the world and waits for the approaching violence. ‘is it from the street far away or from her home?’ such as ‘a gust of birds’ and ‘mines throbbing’. ‘we place ourselves tidily, like soldiers or jewels.’ we felt honored to be able to translate the fragments of ban and banlieue of bhanu and estilo/style of dolores. in fact, we didn’t have much time, just like one doesn’t have much time for the duration of a difficult subject. one that nags your body daily and restricts your freedom over and over again. for a lifetime, quite unseen by men (m/f/x), as soraya so aptly describes. we tried not to expect too much and to be as careful as possible. we had beautiful and sensible conversations with nadia and alfie and felt resolved by how they dare to make their vulnerability public. nadia challenges the means of expressing sexual violence in the visual arts: the indescribable of violence that is individual and social at the same time. alfie writes about the intersecting lines of sexual violence and colonialism, how and why communities every so often fail themselves. we are grateful for other black feminists that have been examples of resistance for generations. we felt energized by the somatic cursing and bluster of stella, who insults the president’s mother as a form of radical rudeness in her work. amber contributes a selection of fragments on sexualization, asymmetrical feelings, and brown jouissance despite phallocentrism and white supremacy; this ongoing violence. like reading the fragments, we tried to engage with this translation process in an embodied way, and involved translators with different identities and social positions. we were continuously trying to center voices of color, black voices and queer voices.  we felt a slight panic, when we saw that white voices were being disproportionately represented. we have to acknowledge that we had our expectations, parameters about what a voice/poem is, and that we felt resistant to sentiment and a purely personal account. and although we acknowledged our ambivalence and tried to write her out, she remained unresolved. we wanted to add images in color, include facts and traces of history. sometimes we talked to each other in front of others and concluded that we had become hardcore in our narratives and jokes about it. more lines of flight folded into the issue: the manifestations of transphobic violence with chrysanthemum and of physical rupture with asha and their visual poems. galina’s process made us sensitive to the possibility of a different world: ‘if the body could enter the environment as mere sound.’ support and resistance became more and more apparent. at times we wanted to be able to integrate the chats, emails and conversations into the issue, to create a contribution from recurring sighs and expressions of care and pain. thị mai thought about how rape colors a life, and what communal responsibility can be. hsiuhsuan gave us soothing circumstances: peacock feathers, tactility and bright shades. we said gentle things to each other to endure meanness. dominique created mark fisher as a girl and whispered cosmopolitical dreams to us. we got questions and comments to include topics of which we wondered why they weren’t written about elsewhere, because this is the beginning of a catch-up manoeuvre, not an end. in the same vein, this is a beginning to admit the discomfort we experience every day. how can we interact with others when we take the history of violence against women seriously, as marwin tries to investigate. we felt encouraged by sohaila’s directive for salvage work after rape and by yasmin’s practice of configuring an anti-crowd, of resolutely fighting back against sexual violence during the egyptian revolution. noushja helped us with a renewed look at our own strength when she wrote about kickboxing and taught us how to throw a left and a right Punch. there were days of silence, restrained anger and profound sorrow. we wanted to share stories that would shed a different light on the political and social sides of violence, show connections between the violation of earth and bodies, as we can read in chihiro’s text. anouk told us what to expect if we want to press charges. some didn’t have time to accept our invitation, other’s didn’t respond. it proved difficult to engage more flemish voices. there are contributions that didn’t make it to this issue, which have yet to arrive. such as correspondences with other positions, histories, unwilling bodies. we wanted new questions to be articulated. we have been careful as editors and are grateful to the writers who so very patiently prepared their contributions, and for only a pittance of their value throughout our countless edits. eva gave us the image of a calf hidden in the grass and asks whether cows are sex workers. mounir positions the white heterosexual cisgender man as the other, as a species that feels threatened and strikes back. sanne let us read along in a weave of voices that investigates the absence of the impossible place and that wants to steer the abuse into the open. all this time there have been people who turned fighting back into their daily practice, who study, provide help or devise policies. there were poets and translators, thinkers, artists and activists, publishers who cooperated and made publications possible, editors who supported us. rape enters the scene: ‘the beginning of a queer family’ … 


marwin and thị mai