Welcome to map of slight askew, the first issue of the new Loculus Journal!
When we founded The LOCULUS Collective in 2015 in Western Massachusetts, our early conversations revolved around our experiences as young female artists, the lack of resources within the dance community, and low visibility of dance within an otherwise vibrant DIY arts scene. From living in collective houses to booking punk shows all six of the original LOCULUS members participated in some way or another in this scene and we decided that our work as a collective would be centered around generating cross-disciplinary dialogue in our immediate community. Our very first project was the development of The Loculus Journal, which at the time was a cross between a chapbook and a zine. It was conceived as a platform for critical thinking of and around the moving body – each issue was in itself a site of creative intervention including essays, photographs, interviews, creative writing, and/or ephemera. As artists - dancers, writers, activists, choreographers, photographers – the collective felt that the perspectives of critically engaged movers are essential to all kinds of creative collaborations and that horizontality and accessibility are crucial to socially/politically relevant and responsible publishing. This remains true despite the fact that collective membership and our creative processes have changed. Now, as two artists engaging with academia, we also feel that it is important for critically engaged work to be published outside of the academy and for publication to include work by people working with and without institutional sponsorship or affiliation.
Our goals in moving the journal online were to expand the communities that we were able to connect to and to publish inter/multi-disciplinary work that was not possible before without a digital interface. The internet is amazing in that we can connect with artists all over the world; however, we also recognized during this curatorial process how important it is to us to maintain ties to our local communities--specifically: Western Massachusetts, Riverside CA, and Boulder CO.
This collection of fifteen works was curated from an open submission process with a prompt questioning somatic practices. We came to this question as practitioners of somatic practices and contemporary modern dancers, choreographers, and teachers. These practices, developed in/developing since the 1970s by contemporary choreographers, operate upon an assumption that there is a “neutral” or “natural” body underneath our training and cultural conditioning. Though these practices originally emerged and existed outside of, or at least on the fringes of, major dance institutions, today they have been systemically integrated into contemporary dance aesthetics and pedagogy. Our concern is that through systemic integration, somatics have come to be accepted as universal truth rather than flexible processes and practices fundamentally attached to the lives of the communities practicing them and are now directly tied to western systems of colonialism and whiteness. Therefore, they become alienated from other embodied practices that do similar mind-body work on their own terms.
We received submissions from all over the world that directly and indirectly responded to this prompt. It has been exciting, humbling, and a bit overwhelming. map of slight askew features work from ten countries and includes writing, visual art, sound, video, and many combinations of those mediums. We chose not to present the work in a particular order to honor the interdisciplinary nature of the content and the many connections we found and considered as we curated the work. We did develop this map below that illustrates connections between contributors; however, we encourage you to navigate the content as you please (but note that it is best viewed on a computer rather than a mobile device!). Follow your whims, desires, and curiosities.
Olana + Madison