Poetry News

Audre Lorde's Language of Self-Preservation in Era of #MeToo

By Harriet Staff
Audre Lorde

Phoebe Cripps writes for Frieze about Berlin's transmediale festival last weekend, at which, she writes, "Lisa Nakamura noted how many speakers had quoted poet, feminist and civil rights activist, Audre Lorde." The main question here: "Post-Trump and post-#metoo, where digital culture has both exposed and produced polarizing inequalities, can Lorde's vocabulary of self-preservation help us reconnect with our bodies as a political weapon?" Let's find out:

Digital media and race scholar Lisa Nakamura used Lorde to illustrate how closely 1980s 'women of colour feminism' speaks to the current era. WOC feminism shares its roots with the birth of the internet, which Nakamura argues is no coincidence: the utopian promises of both movements have differed in their success levels, yet life remains precarious for women of colour in 2018 both under Trump and on the internet. Nakamura's talk called for a 'speaking back' to the online spectacle of black pain (highlighting Google's VR 'immerse' experiences of a day in the life of their black female employees as a particularly misfired empathy device) – and for a rally against the excluding vocabulary of technologies (such as Nintendo's Game Boy and failed 1990s experiment Virtual Boy – where are the Game Girls?). Taking the internet users who compiled and disseminated a 'Lemonade Syllabus' to enable a wider understanding of Beyoncé's 2016 album as an example, Nakamura proposed that this language could open spaces for the complexities of womanhood to exist online.

Read on at Frieze.

Originally Published: February 13th, 2018