Editorial 47: Loss

Welcome to #47: this is the LOSS issue.

LOSS, as in:

– The fact or process of losing something or someone

– Uncertain as to how to proceed

– Unable to produce what is needed

– Destruction, ruin

– The state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something


In this issue:

Cover photographer Jah Grey is a self-taught photographic artist primarily focused on portraiture, whose work, as the artist explains, seeks to educate and encourage society to unlearn the teachings that act to separate us in order to advocate for a more fluid and diverse world. Grey’s digital portraits remind us of the similarities we share, despite our differences.

Safiya Umoja Noble offers us a powerful reflection on intersectional Black feminism, the loss of Black life, and the need for recovery. On Losing Black Lives, Noble lays bare the despair that is felt when the powerful entrenchments of racism and sexism at both structural and personal levels engulf one’s daily encounters. “Grief is a holding pattern” writes Noble, “a place we keep circulating through, with each new headline of violence or loss of life.” The burden of intersectional Black feminism is to seek out a love that might start to define the terms of Black feminist struggle for lives that are rich with joy and gratitude for the experience of life itself.

Sarah T. Roberts and Ryan P. Adserias share an intimate conversation about their long-term friendship in the face of the loss of a generation of their community, and the looming presence of HIV/AIDS. In Dancing with the Survivors: A Conversation Between Two Friends, Roberts and Adserias articulate the grief of HIV/AIDS, what they describe as “the people who aren’t here and haven’t been for you, and for me, in our adult gay lives.” Roberts and Adserias describe a constant state of loss that foregrounds their lives and interests.

In A Heart beyond Cure, Mark Ambrose Harris contemplates dying, familial homophobia, and pronounced feelings of intimacy that are only possible in the first moments after death. Harris ruminates on the effects of caregiving on mental health, and the ways in which we navigate loss, regret, and other stark reminders of our own and others’ mortality.

Dina Georgis explores Morehshin Allahyari’s recent exhibit, Material Speculation: ISIS shown at Trinity Square Video in March 2016 in Toronto. Georgis consider how in this work, technology offers speculative possibilities in the aftermath of environmental and cultural destruction. In reading reparation through a psychoanalytic perspective, Georgis reflects on what it might mean to create life not against destruction or aggression but by noticing it, understanding its place, and by negotiating its impulses.

In Open to Television – Can television open us to ourselves? Lisa Henderson juxtaposes clips from “Louie” (2013) and “Freaks and Geeks” (1999) to invite us into sweetness and recognition, a usually suspect accomplishment of television on any platform. Henderson’s video essay provokes us to consider longingly missed opportunities and solitude, and in a way that derives a kind of pleasure from absence.

In Always Already? Queer Cultural Production and the Subject of Marriage, Vincent Doyle draws inspiration from the question posed by Judith Butler’s essay: “Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?” It asks: How is the subject to whom same-sex marriage is addressed produced? By what affective means? Drawing on which cultural resources? By exploring these questions in the video essay, Doyle excavates his own and others’ subjective investments in marriage and its associated representational strategies at a time when, as Butler argues, it is becoming increasingly difficult to think of and represent coupling and kinship outside of the narrow norms that legitimated and legalized marriage makes.

As always, huge thank-you to Tamara Shepherd (our amazing copy editor), to all the NMP regulars, contributors past and future, and to readers and supporters of the project in so many ways.

Andrea Zeffiro, Mél Hogan and M-C MacPhee