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What comes to mind when you consider kinship? The immediate associations are belonging, love, commonality. But there’s another aspect of this definition, too. At least the way we conceive of it in the United States, kinship can be a loaded term, which uses lineage as a way to transfer property, names, and power, or alternatively, to deny these things. Our current environment seems designed to only foreground the ways of belonging to one another that support the systems already in place, which too often leave our loved ones on opposite sides of borders, both invisible and visible, creating an inside and an outside.
With their attention to process and material and embodiment, these artists provide useful ways to interrogate how care and kinship intersect. What comes out of these responses is an acknowledgement of the messy but profound connections all humans have to one another, to the land we live on, and the many strategies artists have for awakening or revisiting these connections.
We can look to natural metaphors as a means to guide our care for the humans in our lives or become attuned to the body’s existence in space as a means of understanding the power dynamics at play within and around us. We can turn to materials to consider the ways human lives are stitched together, or even the material of language itself as a tool that bridges space and time.
All of these responses are another way of asking, again, what is kinship, and who are kin? What work must we do to earn the honor of being kin to one another?
Kate Blair and Jessica Ferrer
Issue 2 Editors