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PARTICIPANT INC

New York, NY

[Image: Constantina Zavitsanos, L&D Motel, 2019, installation view. A three-quarter view of a gallery space that is darkened, with black walls, wooden floor, and red light. A projector is mounted from the floor to the right in the middle ground, projecting white open captions onto the left wall. A wooden ramp curls up the back wall. Two corridors flank the back wall. A diffused red glow fills the space behind the back wall.]

In The Blur and Breathe Books, a now-published lecture by Fred Moten originally given in honor of José Esteban Muñoz, Moten develops terms that are key to our current thinking; he speaks of the blur, the slur; ‘aesthetic indiscretion’ and ‘the materiality of shade.’ These charged concepts illuminate issues and discourses key to our queer entanglements, with artists, with community, and with the city itself. Issues that might be described as ‘a queer phenomenology of perception,’ or ‘a queer kind of loitering,’ are recalled in Muñoz’s writing through the refracted mirror, prism, and lens of science fiction writer Samuel Delany; among many, many other things. Moten speaks of alterity as an‘already late-ness’ or belatedness that bears comparison to running an organization like PARTICIPANT INC. Our value system is anachronistic, modeled on another time, past or future — it’s hard to tell. Our newness is haunted by the old, and necessitates longtime political imperatives to seek out tools to create — and make claims to describe — alternative worlds. This double life of the ‘alternative space’ is perhaps aptly described by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick when she wrote: “The ability to attach to a few cultural objects, objects of high or popular culture or both, objects whose meaning seemed mysterious, excessive or oblique in relation to the codes most readily available to us, became a prime resource for survival. We needed for there to be sites where meanings didn't line up tidily with each other, and we learned to invest these sites with fascination and love.”