Better to Speak Remembering

This work is inspired by “Better to Speak Remembering” in A Litany for Survival by Audre Lorde. It was part of The Creaction Series: Creative Critical Interventions for Social Justice organised at the Institute for Advanced Studies at UCL. The series brought together performers, artists, writers and academics, whose work focuses on social justice.

This is an excerpt from our reading of the ethos for the intervention:

This work implicates itself in social justice within our community. It closes in on the relationship between communal care and mental health, the practice of care in acknowledging the fear of speaking up; the fear of being silenced; the fear for surviving; the fear of surviving.

This is our response to the idea of speaking up despite the fear.

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde reminds us that fear is not an exceptional feature of our lives but rather a permanent fixture of it. She reminds us that the improbability of our existence is only defied in that particular moment when fear is pushed aside to make room for words. When our words are not consumed by anxious anticipation. Or silenced by pursuing scrutinies. 

As we started examining the art expression which would convey our thoughts, we came to find similarities in the texture of the ephemera of now and the substance of survival against all odds. Anchored in the conviction that very few things will ever be new, that everything we do, was done before, will be done again, in another time, somewhere else, we let ourselves be guided by تذكرة الموت‎, Tadhkirat al-Mawt, memento mori.