dinsdag 29 mei 2012

Reviewing TheState, Volume 1



The State is a website and magazine based in Dubai. The State's first volume 'voicings/articulations/utterances' appeared about a month ago, it's in A4, black and white with a few pages in full colour, to be read not from left to right but from top to bottom with the binding held horizontal. The writing is of a consistent good quality and all writers aspire to write about what is happening in the world now in a language that is journalistic-academic, serious but without jargon. My favourite pieces are the personal reflections on identity, politics and the prospects of life to come. There is one awful piece which is by myself and deals with some of the finer points of cryptoforestry in a globalized world. From my perspective the best thing about The State is that it offers a collection of voices I would never have come in touch with otherwise: the main connection seems to be between India, the Gulf states and the United States, with people coming from one of those places and living in one of the others. I think that the overall mood of The State is one of insecurity. Most writers are of the student age or just beyond that, and you sense that the economical and political storms (the 2008 financial crash and its consequences, the Arab spring and Occupy) have created an atmosphere in which few people know what to expect other than the conviction that the future might not be as bright as was promised. And that this feeling is felt even stronger by younger people. I hope that the editors will live up to the aim expressed in the foreword and find a way to speak about the present in terms of daily life and easily observable phenomena.  
Amidst austerity measures today, we find ourselves increasingly precarious and pixelated; atomized, alienated, and irreparably glitched. Yet rather than attempt to definitively theorise, analyse, and explicate this contemporary situation, we found ourselves returning to these few questions: How do you speak a place? How do you speak from a place, or non-place? What might the reader expect to see from a certain region, and why? Who speaks, and in whose vernacular?   

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