In the way of being (Journal of Visual Culture & HaFI, 3)

This is the third instalment of a collaborative effort by the Journal of Visual Culture and the Harun Farocki Institut, initiated by the COVID-19 crisis. The call sent to JVC’s editorial board, and a wide selection of previous contributors and members of its extended communities, described the task as follows: “There is a lot of spontaneous, ad hoc opinion-making and premature commentary around, as to be expected. However, the ethics and politics of artistic and theoretical practice to be pursued in this situation should oblige us to stay cautious and to intervene with care in the discussion. As one of JVC’s editors, Brooke Belisle, explains: ‘We are not looking for sensationalism, but rather, moments of reflection that: make connections between what’s happening now and the larger intellectual contexts that our readership shares; offer small ways to be reflective and to draw on tools we have and things we know instead of just feeling numb and overwhelmed; help serve as intellectual community for one another while we are isolated; support the work of being thoughtful and trying to find/make meaning…which is always a collective endeavour, even if we are forced to be apart.'” TH


in the way of being

by Teresa Cisneros


i am writing because i have no other way

to digest interactions over the last few weeks.


i have lots of questions

about what practice looks like

when my main mode of interaction is in person with people physically

not on a computer or via the post or a video.


i can see the person but i cannot feel them.


i can see their facial expressions but i cannot read them.


i can see their words but i cannot decipher them.


i can hear their voice but i cannot understand the intonations.


how and where am i supposed to read the nuances by which i understand the world

through the political

through the bodily

through the feeling

it’s like my intuition is temporarily put on hold or if it’s slightly being broken.

when you no longer use something, what becomes of it?


i can no longer tell when i upset someone or say the wrong thing.


this not physical space feels like anther form of colonising my body

my body colonised by the machine

by the separation

to dull my senses

to dull my beingness

and where does my collective feeling go when i am separated?


i guess i am grasping what this means, at this point in time, when i have to continue to labour, communicate, perform.


Teresa Cisneros, curandera/administrator, Wellcome Collection
April 18th, 2020 — Rosa Mercedes / 02