AIRPLANE MODE: WE'RE GOING ON HOLIDAY
((This text is in 2 halves, sorry bout that,,, but this is a thing we’ve been thinking about n planning for so long, our thoughts around it r so good n whole and we have so many things to say about it. sorry for the long text;/; but also not sorry, i promise it’s not that long, stick around chicken))
So, this October we celebrated 2 years of the White Pube. it’s so funny, today as we were tying up loose ends, Gab said to me “you and i have literally built our own brand new jobs from our hands for fun” n iss tru! we are endlessly proud of each other; we have built something that benefits us and (hopefully) those around us; mashallah! we are full and happy, mashallah mashallah! My grandma prays for me every night in her duas n i sleep happy n sound knowing she is whispering good fortune into the ground, to the sky. We have been working hard, dear readers. We have published a text every week since we started in 2015. We deserve a break. We often say that it’s bad to glamourise DIY life; like... we get it, it’s so tempting. But it’s not just about the passion n how much u care. It’s also about being stable, secure, and healthy. (mentally, physically, financially, emotionally etc). We put our all in and get less out than we would in a 9-5 or a gallery job. maybe(?) less $£s anyway. we both live with our parents so we can afford to put all this unpaid time and energy into TWP and it is still draining always. I used to joke that like,, i didn’t know that art was like ~70% admin when i was in uni n if i’d known i’d have gone ahead n become a dentist. but like. thas not rly funny anymore, bc the admin is my job. and the job is constant; endless; 24/7. we’re always on, we never switch off. My mum says i spend too much time w my face in my phone, and she’s right, but i have no alternative. it’s my job. She comes home from work, complains about her weird boss Carl and is able to not do work. She has a point where she clocks out, and i do not. It’s not good, reader. this is damaging. we don’t wana end up burnt out, frayed ends. we both share a weird habit of placing our phones face down while we’re eating dinner just so we can have an uninterrupted moment of respite. it’s ok bc we do it bc we want to; but it also isn’t ok bc that gets so tiring and draining and soon the well might be empty. We don’t wana test our limits like that.
Considering this; we have decided that we have accrued probably a whole month of holiday leave. We are going to take off all of December. We are not going to be on twp’s Twitter or instagram, we are going to log out. and log out of our emails too. We will not be doing any TWP jobs like lectures or general busy work. we aren’t going to write or publish reviews for the whole of December. We will have a December resident (Annabel Amin has made us a mixtape). we are going to spend our time unplugged from the TWP mainframe. we hope u miss us. We are just gonna spend December doing other things and it’s important to do that! to be able to locate ourselves outside of this; to be able to put it on hold. We should be able to turn off. It’s not ok that there’s this constant FOMO with jobs n emails when ur freelancing. That’s not ok. We’ve never regretted saying no, so why would we regret missing out. it’s ok to let things slip to take care of yourself. n that’s what we’re going to do. When we come back in January we will have 2 videos;;; vlog style;; of what we got up to, what we feel, thoughts etc,,, all of this content from our life lived in December. (a nice way to kinda spend Airplane mode,, w purpose). We would like to thank our dear friends Sophie Chapman and Kerri Jefferis for inspiring us to do this with their extraction order for themselves; and also our dearest friend HP who encouraged us to take a break when we told them we were feeling frayed and ragged. We cherish all 3 of u for putting in place a system of care to allow us this breather.
We hope u have an excellent and restful Christmas, spent with those u love. We hope u have a good new year’s eve, even if u go to bed before midnight (which is what i end up doing, highly recommend tbh). And most of all, we hope hope hope that u take some time for urself also. We will see u in the new year with our fresh faces and our very well rested eyes. Goodbye till January 2018, dear reader!
Rolling into December i have been so tired. I am empty, dear reader, i am empty of everything, i need replenishment. We are busy, and i know i know, busy is good, and it has been the most full, happy and affirming year; but so so draining. I have dry skin and large puffs under my eyes. I don’t want to say these words, i am exhausted by saying words u kno, i don’t want to speak, i want to be heard only, and it never happens. So here I am at the end of 2017, voice hoarse from shouting and teaching ppl who do not rly care about what i have to say, but only about being seen to be listening.
I was talking to a friend of mine today; we were speaking about the period feminism tweet and i got to complaining about how i feel about it all (like in short, fucking bombarded by the same opinion, the same hot take on our hot take (n this isn’t like,,, just bc of that one tweet, but that one tweet feels like the straw that broke my back. in short, i want to hide from our mentions sometimes)) n that’s fine, but at a certain point we had to mute notifications, which we’ve never had to do, and it was a weird thing... like we pride ourselves on opening up a space for level capital D discourse, championing the internet n things like twitter n instagram as a space for that; but at a certain point, how violent are we being to ourselves, how much r we opening ourselves up to ppl draining us? Like.... my friend, while empathising with me said “it’s weird, i feel like ppl rly consume u on twp’s twitter, they rly get more from u than u do from them.. ppl use u as props to perform a certain type of activism..” n i felt that w my entire fucking chest u know. like... idk... i feel like my personal twitter is very much like, a place for me to visibly think, and it’s great, it’s productive and my friends (almost all my twitter friends are poc (n if they aren’t, then they are hwite ppl i fuq with bc i know them) n they r complicit n caring in a way only poc can be to another tender person of colour that feels too much) they all pitch in to my thinking and it is full and nutritious, n i gain and learn and grow as much as i also feed others. My personal twitter is a very giving system for me, and i flourish there. i don’t know if i feel that on twp’s twitter anymore. it feels like work. i check our mentions an i sigh bc it’s constant, and yet another white person we don’t rly know is @ing us without thinking about their position n my position n it feels draining af. I feel like i am teaching white ppl all the time. I feel like i wish i had a tattoo on my forehead that says “white ppl leave me alone, don’t even look @ me”. I wrote a ranty thread about that sweet girl Lola Olufemi who wrote an open letter to cambridge’s English dept about expanding their curriculum to include writers of colour; and the thread ended in me shouting about how white ppl retweeting my tweets were fake activists,; and i felt it i felt it, i know it’s true. White ppl should be doing more than silently RTing my thoughts, nodding along and turning their fucking backs to pretend they can’t hear me when it’s time for them to take action n stand with me. I D C about u amplifying my marginalised voice, i am louder than you anyways. I want you to do some of the work so me and my brothers and sisters don’t have to. The other day, this bled over into the sanctum of my personal twitter when i quote tweeted a thread by Bridget Minnamore about white ppl talking about ‘white ppl suck’ like they also aren’t white...AND THEN TWO WHITE PPL REPLIED like “we r the worst” n i have never wanted to take my account private until then. if this was u, n u feel bad; good. never @ me again on my personal lmao.
but like... i guess the point is, i thought twp would be a nice lil foghorn. and it is and it isn’t. i cherish Gab as my art-sister and friend; and also, the countless dear friends we’ve made over the past 2 years. but we are hyper fucking visible. We are hyper visible and ppl know we are. I don’t want to shout any more, dear reader. I am taking a well deserved break bc i am done with hearing white ppl say “i tried my best to find more than one w.o.c. to go in this all female group show, but everyone turned it down n i didn’t wana make it seem like i had a quota!” i am done with having to pretend that’s ok bc i simply don’t have the energy to explain why that’s fucked up, i don’t have to words to argue why i deserve space and why my sisters deserve space and consideration/effort and to be heard! this is not ok. i am not ok with the art world as it stands.
I am taking a break bc i deserve one. my very presence in this country’s art world is fucking radical. i am here, i have always been here, my sisters were here before me. we are radical. you, my sister, you are radical (white women, i am not talking to you). when i started writing this, i was amused by my intolerance of white voices in my face all the fucking time. i am not amused anymore. i am tired. i am done with teaching, my voice is tired. i am done with you all leeching off of me and my words and thoughts and spirit, and that of my brothers & sisters, just so you can perform a wokeness so we won’t call you the fuck out. bc you are more afraid of being called racist and problematic than you are scared of actually doing or saying racist and problematic things. You don’t rly hear my words, you don’t rly listen to us, and you smile when we bow out bc speaking and words are tiring. Contorting ourselves into fucking knots to justify our presence and safety in our fucking industry.
this art world is fucked. did you fucking read the comments on Morgan’s e-flux article? he came with fucking reciepts, solutions, exact fucking blueprints of the problem and Frieze still jumped into the comments to defend their choice to absent voices of writers of colour. people were there quibbling in the comments about the validity of that fucking article like it’s theory, like it’s play- debate in a make-believe world. this is real for me, for others like me. I am here performing my fucking woes, and you don’t quite understand what i feel and i am here trying to communicate it to you like you’re here to hear it. I am taking a break bc i am done with ppl questioning words that come from my chest. I am committed to the work we do as twp, the words we put out into the world, but i am done with performing this labour of explaining, or justifying, of teaching. bc no matter what i say, how i say it; whether it’s me or anyone else, ur friend, ur teacher, ur colleague, someone you respect, someone you don’t give a fuck about, someone you don’t know,;,;, who the fuck ever. it’s not something that is heard. I am taking a break bc i don’t want to lie down and let this happen. i will come back and i will come back and fight, i just need some time. i need time with people who laugh and are caring and tender and kind. I need time with people who believe me when i tell them things with my chest. i hope you will be ready for me when i come back in January; i hope you will be ready to listen and learn. I hope we will both be different. Goodbye till January, i will not miss you.