Illustator: Natalie Christian Tan
« In the dark times in which we live, the spaces of art and culture are, without question, the last remaining spaces of freedom and resistance. It is there, and only there, that we can breathe.
Jeremy Fernando’s brilliant manifesto, alongside Natalie Christian Tan’s striking illustrations, provides a model for breathing in a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Fernando demonstrates how to resist with ideas, and most importantly, poetry. These stimulating exercises in breathing stimulate me, move me, touch me, and illuminate me.
Resistance is possible. Breathe. »
— Alfredo Jaar
This text attempts to respond to the question of the relationship between art and resistance, to the possibility of art as resistance — that is, it is an attempt to meditate on the possible relationship between resisting and art. Whilst doing so, it also tries to attend to the notion that art is an encounter — between one and something that is brought forth in the movement from craft to something other than what is created through tekhnē. And, if so, it is always also potentially unknown, unknowable, until it happens, perhaps even after it happens. That, even as it might be experienced, felt — an encounter through aisthesis — it is quite possibly a moment beyond cognition; un pas au-delà, as it were. And if so, then perhaps all attempts to know it potentially do nothing other than to frame, to confine, its potentiality.
Thus, perhaps the very thing that one has to do — if one is to attempt to maintain the possibility of resistance in art — is to resist what one thinks art itself is.