I’m super excited to see my piece disruption on the cover of this book. They’ll be sending me a copy, which I can’t wait to read. Here’s what it’s about:
Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair
by Bonnie Honig
- Examines the rise of neoliberalism by focusing not on the demos but on the objects of democratic life.
- Asks what becomes of democracy when the things of public life–schools, parks, monuments, utlilities and services–all become privatized.
- Attends to the historically racial character of public things and how the erosion of democracy disproportionately affects on indigenous populations in particular.
I don’t usually feel comfortable being overtly political in my work, but at a private level these are the kinds of things I had in mind when I was making this work. Our society is incredibly polarized — we mostly agree that things aren’t good or getting better, but we are incapable of coming together to figure out what to do about it. The wealth gap is widening daily — the rich have more and more, while the poor and middle class are left to fight over the scraps. Resources are disappearing at a frightening rate, yet we don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.
The piece followed on from my Excavations series, which consists of found papers: books and newspapers in different languages, maps, sheet music, religious and patriotic texts, advertisements, instruction manuals, financial statements, candy wrappers, and other random bits. The papers are layered, stitched, and peeled back to reveal different surprises within the layers. The paper is a stand-in for an abstract idea of the collective knowledge of all human beings throughout time and our efforts to make sense of the world and communicate it to others. Information is selectively hidden or revealed as it is in our daily discourse, within the different media we consume.
Here’s the full piece.