Editorial: On Visions

A black and white print of a man looking through a telescope

Each year, the three of us who work on Something Other – Mary Paterson, Maddy Costa and Diana Damian Martin – plan an array of activities for this collaboration, delighting in the possible. Each year we gradually succumb to the reality of working on an unresourced project around paid work (and the freelance hustle), parenting and other forms of care. Nothing happens when we imagine it might. Significantly less happens than we intend.

And yet, each year Something Other exceeds our expectations, as new collaborators join our collective vision of a space for writing in proximity to performance, that doesn’t fit easily into established categories. Something Other continues as an act of hope because it is continually nourished by the writers and artists who contribute to it.

For our Tenth Chapter, On Visions, we invited glimpses into the future but also from the past; we invited connection across time and the immediately visible, projection and prefiguration, the mind’s eye and second sight. In My Body Finds the Signal, Karen Christopher reimagines the human body as an antenna, receiving transmission from elsewhere – or from within. Blinking to Hold, by Alexandra Baybutt, is concerned with touch, attempt and failure, and shifts perspectives on the physicality of seeing. Marianne Habeshaw’s The Scene is a wry and springy dance amid the social tensions of modern London living, while Mary Paterson writes of seeing and not-seeing, embedding prophecy in The Future Is a Pack of Lies.

Diana Damian Martin presents fragments of reluare, a 365-day writing project on migrancy, memory, grief, translocality and queer speculation. In aPeeling, Caridad Svich sends a traveller across glitches of time, peeling back layers of memory of a lover who may also be a country. And So Mayer returns to childhood with Zeus, a story that is also a stroy: an outcry about crying out in the middle of the night, and needing to destroy the stories that seek to destroy us.

An Account of a New Comet, by JR Carpenter, is based on a letter written to the Royal Society, on 2 August 1786, by Caroline Herschel, whose own search of the sky in the middle of the night led to the discovery of eight comets. Alisa Oleva returns to earth with A Walk to the Edge, an audio walk you might take as companion on any walk, real or imaginary, to or from the edgelands. In photographs as yet untaken of people who don’t exist, Maddy Costa abides with ghosts. 

In our call out for this chapter, we wrote of ancient Greeks who descended into caves in search of prophecies, depriving themselves of all sensory distraction in order to see more clearly, to hear the song of the shadows. Voidsong, by A Lyre, energes from a similar isolation, the solitude of pandemic, to circle the themes of labour and desire. 

Before each chapter is published, we present a performed version of the works, and for this Tenth Chapter we were delighted to partner with the publishers Ignota for a listening event, presenting all the above works as audio pieces. Ignota are true visionaries, publishers of spells and incantations oriented towards difference, a different future. In our call out we acknowledged that this new future requires constellations, liberating our imagination, trust in the power of fictioning or collective world-making. Something Other is part of our own movement from what is to what if, the world now to the world not-yet. We will be opening a new call out soon, for our Eleventh Chapter, On Distraction: we look forward to this constellation expanding further still.

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