I should like to be in love, she said.
Have a companion for life's travels, a real partner not a secret friend.
A lover of sense, a tender of tenderness, some brilliance and erudition.
Matched with good skills, real ones: the kind that event themselves in full like a peacock's feathers. Unafraid of physicality: the built, the building of...
not just a talker-promoter, organised but not a manager.
A someone, not just a placeholder.
-- Tracy Ann Essoglou, September 2015
Tracy Ann Essoglou and Janice Jane Gomecua Arreglado don't know each other. Janice is from the Philippines and living in London with her husband. Tracy is a philosopher, activist, artist, author. They both have a public media presence. Both exist within the virtual institution that is the Internet, a place, if you will, like a religious institution or an educational institution where the humanities enhance experience, where the arts, somewhat serendipitously, achieve a connected condition, embed themselves in the texture of our lives, enliven existence. Within this condition, they express themselves freely.
This cyber institution and it's embedded freedom of expression evoke fear in some. Think about how the FBI, Homeland Security, government officials all over the world, and those petty administrators in human resources departments spend millions of hours in the search for dark matter, in the search for terrorists, in the search for employees posting inappropriate information about the corporation, in the search for traitors to the country, in the search for threats to the homeland. Can you imagine what all those hours of searching, all those millions and millions of dollars, all those wasted moments might have accomplished had they been devoted to searching for a pathway through that dark night, searching for the thrill of expression, the joy of understanding, and the hope of collaboration? We think about such things as participants of the Critical Civitates.
We believe in liberation. Reasoning and imagination can take us anywhere. Reason and imagination allow us to achieve our greatest dreams and overcome seemingly impassable obstacles. Think about it. Connecting Tracy's poem and Janice's image works, theoretically, a lot like space travel. In placing these two works of art together on the same page, we are showing you a kind of wormhole, a shorting of the distance between two lived realities, a simple passage through space-time, a shortcut for an otherwise long, perhaps impossible, journey. And let this textual expression you now read be the dangerous exotic matter with which the hole remains open for longer than it otherwise might. We are not afraid to make connections, not fearful of thinking or theory or critical engagement. This is facilitation.
The fearful strive for domination. They fear dissent. They fear collaboration. They fear investigation. They fear imagination. They fear any kind of reasoning that might limit their power. Let those fearful leaders of nations, those corporate-sponsored officials and their corporate banks, their laws, their human resource goons, let them all search the dark matter of the universe for hints of what they fear. Let those vulgar autocrats drag their nets within the cyber seas. Let them pry and spy. Those of us within the Critical Civitates, however, are staying tuned to the actualization of theoretical possibilities. Beauty, compassion, hope, collaboration, liberation, all those things are close at hand.
It's a simple revolutionary idea: you are closer than you thought. The vast stretches of darkness that keep us apart are not unbridgeable. You are closer to each other than you ever imagined possible. Art can bridge the gap. Keep reaching out. Keep telling others about life and living. Keep communicating. Quest for the paths that bring you closer, the paths bridging difference, the paths through space and time. Let the experience of art be the catalyst for your actions. Work on the world. Make friends in lands far distant from your own. Learn about their families. Learn about their lands. Act like you are closer than all that's sold and bought.
These two living forces, Janice and Tracy, don't know each other, but their art exists. It testifies. It brings us into their minds, their lives, their hopes, their dreams. They are unified within an institutionalized space, as we are, too. We see in their art that, like all of us, that they have so much in common. It's a simple revolutionary thought: let art bridge the distance. Reach out. Let the exotic matter. Keep the bridge open longer. Find the art. Communicate and bridge the gaps of space and time.