A Thing Like You and Me is a multi-authored Narrative in Progress which evolves every month with new instalments by artists, poets, writers, and activists. March 2016’s narrative features works by Jessica Borusky, Louise Anne Buchler, Sarah Crewe, j/j hastain, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Sophie Mayer, Nana Sachini, and Erica Schreiner. A Thing Like You and Me is edited by Sarah Crewe and Dimitra Ioannou. The contributors explore the guidelines for A Thing Like You and Me which are largely based on Hito Steyerl’s homonymous essay. You can read them here.
by Jessica Borusky
Reining In begins as a continued document that traces the physical, verbal, and visual accumulation of current performance work under the situational moniker of “creating a home”, with particular reference to the Anglo-American late 19th C. pioneer sod home, contemporary home-ownership, and “packers”. However, during this process, the figure (re)calls out traumatic pasts that inherently challenge normative notions of domesticity; ultimately disrupting the initial linear perspectival picture plane, and reconstructing a moving image residing between VALIE EXPORT’s Genital Panic and masculine post-coitus residue.
by Nana Sachini
by Sarah Crewe
for Pascal O’Loughlin
hannah schygulla as sandy in all its dark message in all its costume drama hoops perms bubblegum girls across europe dublin – liverpool – berlin neck on rewind eyebrows on point a blossom hill aesthetic rainer werner fassbinder as danny inside out in every danny zuko a dictator we dread to fast forward consider what is worse: a grope or a punch rhetorical not a question not a choice ingrid caven as rizzo gone is the trope of tart with a heart of which we are all bored incessantly the entire cast is second hand goods margit carstensen as jan not to be underestimated here jan is given an intellectual slant here jan is yr gay best friend here jan is rubbish at romance here jan is throwing popcorn mistaking all seabirds as generic barbara sukowa as marti barbara will play marti ensslin luxemburg this projection is a manifestation of desire sehn/eifersucht to be something someone better marti will face a fate worse than death champion cherry pie housewife choose barbara valentin as frenchie the dead sister i mean not dead but non-existent i mean not non-existent but mute i mean not mute but mind blindness drop the topic shift /camp/fun at parties irm hermann as the headmistress ventriloquism a face so ductile so pliable does not cry does not think we can see her crying it was more than a dead leg and camel bites psychological continous shredding career/ladder/tights brigitte mira as blanche brigitte as blanche is the truth of what we all become; funnier but fatter than the ones who went before keeping telling yourself reclamation keep telling yourself self definition mind the gap please mind the gap the gap mind mine
by Louise Anne Buchler
Okay. That’s it. I’m done. I don’t know what the fuck is going on here but I’m over it. You are five crackers short of a packet, lady. I’m taking my chances out there.
Sitting down on the rubbish heap
Cool. See ya – wouldn’t wanna be ya!
What does that mean?
It means good luck – SA YO NARA sunshine
Look, is there something I need to know before I leave – I mean – I don’t know this place – do I need a weapon…
Lighting a cigarette
Nah. Just wave yer dick if they come at ya. Should be fine.
Wave yer cock!
She crudely mimes it
Is that a joke?
The woman shrugs
Look – I just want an honest answer. I haven’t been here long – I’m new in town – I haven’t been around a woman in at least three years – and I thought this place was abandoned – obviously not – and then all this weird shit happens and then there’s you and…
During this interlude the woman reaches for the phone and begins dialing – the soldier shakes his head
What are you doing?
Callin’ someone who cares
Exasperated the soldier begins to leave mumbling under his breath
The woman abandons the phone and jumps up from the rubbish heap. The soldier stops but doesn’t turn around.
Please mate – don’t go out there – trust me – you don’t wanna.
Turning to face her
WHY? Jesus Christ – what could be worse than YOU?
Dropping her voice
Feminazis – those bitches be cray craaaaaaaay
Could you speak English for one sodding minute? What in bleeding vaginas name is a Feminazi?
Grabbing his arm and pulling him away from the exit
Shhhhhhh – you don’t want them to hear ya!
I still don’t know who THEY are!
They’re a DEVI ANT Faction, mate – they formed a kinda movement. They were fighting for women’s rights an’ shit – but they were HEC TIC – they all have these moustaches and they have a walk
She demonstrates a goose step
And they are fucking violent. They’ll rip yer cock off with their bare hands and they won’t even give a shit.
Staring nervously at the door
And they’re out there?
Didn’t you see that big red tent when you up the hill?
Come to think of it…
That’s their head quarters. They’re fucking OFF THE HOOK – didncha see their graffiti on the city walls – it’s kinda like Banksy if Banksy was batshit MEN TAL off his head on ketamine and acid and instead of spray paint he was using menstrual blood – coz that’s what they do – those bitches be bleedin’ and paintin’ up a storm.
Starts laughing uncontrollably he’s laughing so much he falls to the ground. The woman perplexed at first, joins in – laughing hysterically. Eventually the laughter eases off.
You really are something you know that – and that’s not a compliment. You seriously expect me to believe that rubbish – bloody, bleeding, moustached women running through the village or whatever the fuck this place is – willy nilly ripping off cocks and drawing on walls with their menstrual blood
Sometimes they use the cocks – as paintbrushes
Getting up and leaning over her threateningly
SHUT IT! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER WORD. GOT IT? You, my friend are insane –and I’m not falling for it – you hear me? You seriously believe this? Have you actually listened to yourself? I pity you and your stupid irony and your PPP and your drug taking – this place is a tip! When last did you clean? It’s fucking filthy! Where do you even come up with this stuff? Suck it out your thumb. Why should I believe a single word that comes out of your mouth?
Becoz yer fucking wanker – I used to be one.
Shaking his head incredulously
I should have guessed it. Of course you were. Well aren’t you a revelation. So what made you change your ways? Tire of the moustache? Stopped menstruating? Got tired of cock ripping and camping?
Seething with rage leaps at the soldier and wrestles him to the ground
Shut up! Just shut yer common gob!
They struggle for a time until she succeeds in pinning him to the ground straddling him
Don’t make me fucking hurt yer – I ain’t a fucking pass a FIST!
Believing in Plenty¹
by Sophie Mayer
“We decided Feminist Epistemology had less to do with gender and more with transparency, opportunity, shared resources, community. No “old boys’ club,” no acting like questions were tacky or unbecoming. That anybody can figure out how to open the door, and hold it to let everybody in. I liked that.”²
“The enormous abundance derived for these elements in the stellar atmosphere is almost certainly not real.”
—— Cecilia Payne, ‘Astrophysical Data Bearing on the Relative Abundance of the Elements,’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/3 (March 1925)³
This is the reason for the odd formulation:4
Payne was told if she wanted to get her thesis accepted she would have to recant.5
“In those days I worshiped Dr. Shapley, I would gladly have died for him,” she confessed.6
It was too incredible to be true. In her doctoral thesis, published in 1925, Payne called the result “spurious.”7
She wrote a book, Stellar Atmospheres, which began to persuade astronomers that the results were almost certainly real.8
“Later, the same scholars who had led her to weaken her thesis steered her away from continuing her work on the observatory’s spectra, the area where she had demonstrated both promise and brilliance… Four years later Russell [her supervisor] published a paper of his own announcing that the sun is made mostly of hydrogen.
Payne-Gaposchkin eventually became Harvard’s first female tenured professor and later the first female department chair but her ‘promotion’ did not come until 1956.”
Publishing Sucks, Even When You Are Good At It.
“We’ll offer insights and strategies that have worked, too, and offer plenty of time for Q&A and sympathy with audience members’ own publishing troubles.”10
Plenty: A borrowing from French.
Abundance: A borrowing from French.
Real: Partly a borrowing from French.
almost certainly not
the words for our existence
Rosanna Greenstreet: What is the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you?
Maggie Aderin-Pocock: At the offices of a contractor who was working for me, I went up to the reception desk. Someone gave me a key and said: “OK, you need to start cleaning the offices at the back and then work your way to the front.” There is nothing wrong with being a cleaner, but it’s the automatic assumption – you see a black woman, she’s a cleaner. I had a suit on and was carrying a briefcase!11
“You guys are really smart about this science stuff.”
By the ‘70s, a new crop of women, also inspired by Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols, joined NASA.12
“She used her celebrity to bring in applications – and she did it on her own,” [Mae C.] Jemison said.13
“Cynthia Payne had never experienced such kindness in a scientific setting before. This sisterhood generously shared the fruits of their labours with her, and she turned their observations into a radical new understanding of the stars.”14
“What I want to say is, there are all of us.”15
by Erica Schreiner
by j/j hastain
Ananke shares my lifetime with Orchil. Ananke’s far reach, weaving through me as I recall, as I reach toward Orchil’s deep ground from whence I came, is a connection in which I find rest. The span of threaded allegiances. The threads on which all of these clots bounce. It is possible to root in this stretch in such a way that nothing of me is outside of it. This is the pre-life, in-life and after-life. This is the Ulterior, finally finding resolve in me. Orchil: trans marvel, self-made—Ananke: you who emerged self-formed. The combination of you make in me the desire to mate again.
The Fates are to be admired in the context of the wisdom of their designs.
Orchil’s woven eye, so often fear instilling, is a heaven to me. I can’t wait to offer hir my darkest thread to eat. I can’t wait until s/he is the symbol of me complete: a symbol by which I can progress into Ananke’s forward-pointing care/constriction in preparation for what might be next.
Not unnerved by roundness. Not unnerved by angles.
In the realm of the tiles—an infinity of them upside down, the first I reach out to grab (to investigate its hidden significance) is the tile T has given to me. This tile is indicative of her vow to keep me in place as human woman by way of her high magics, by our marriage. On the side by which its mystery is revealed it glistens: purplish, bluish, shimmering. I stick this tile immediately up inside of my vagina: do so as intuition, do so without thought.
Soul commitment before consideration regarding future soul placement. Soul commitment before soul choice.
With that tile up inside of me the second one I draw is all black: no design, no sign. It is dark matter. I realize the tile has to grow by way of the work of my hands, my attending: Priest/ess incarnate. The green gore of my Covenant needs to spread across the dark face in order for me to see it. What will my answer grow to be?
The sense is that to verb all of my lived-lifetimes green, to alter them backward in time, to grow green over whatever was previously there, is to download wise-woman-Gaia’s point of view.
by Navine G. Khan-Dossos