johanna hedva – my body is a prison of pain so i want to leave it like a mystic but i also love it & want it to matter politically (2015)

Event presented by the Women’s Center for Creative Work at Human Resources on October 7, 2015

Go here for a version of this speech adapted for Mask Magazine.

Johanna Hedva’s Sick Woman Theory proposes that sick bodies are the 21st century’s sites of resistance: chronic, pathologized, and historically feminized illnesses ought to be read as modes of protest against the unlivable conditions of neoliberal, imperialist, white-supremacist, capitalist cis-hetero-patriarchy. Sick Woman Theory insists that the definition of “wellness” is a capitalist one — to be well enough to go work — that needs to be rejected. SWT redefines the body with its vulnerability as the default, so therefore, we are constantly (not only sometimes) in need of care and support. Because society has eradicated such infrastructures, what are we going to do now?

From here, Hedva (herself a spoonie) has wound up at mystical anarchism, which proposes a communal politics of love, where the “self” has been obliterated in favor of the Many. This talk will try to converge the feminist mystical tradition of Marguerite Porete, Simone Weil, etc., who proposed rejecting the body for the sake of love, with an intersectional-feminist, anti-white-supremacist, queer, and crip politics, which foregrounds the body as primary matter.

A question for the audience: Are these two positions irreconcilable?

bio:
Johanna Hedva is currently a Research Fellow with “at land’s edge,” under the mentorship of Fred Moten.
#JohannaHedva (vimeo.com/user1845185)

Johanna Hedva. Photo: Mask Magazine

 

victor jara – canto libre (1970)

A verse is like a dove seeking a place to lay her eggs
It bursts out and spreads its wings, getting ready to fly away

My song is a song of freedom that I want to give away
(My song is a song of freedom)
To those who like shaking hands and to those willing to open fire
(My song is a song of freedom)

My song is like an endless chain
(My song is like an endless chain)
My song is like an endless chain without beginning and without end
In each one of its links you find the song of every man
Yes the song of every man

Let’s keep on singing together
Let’s sing to everyone on earth
(Let’s keep on singing together)
Since singing is like a dove who has yet a place to find,
It bursts out and spreads its wings to fly away

My song is a song of freedom…