Welcome back to Sensibilities! Here's some of the far-ranging resources, ideas, and inspirations that have been bouncing around in our heads this month, in the hopes that they pique your interest, jumpstart your creativity, or simply add a little intrigue to your day. Happy exploring!
1 is the Interference Archive, a Brooklyn organization dedicated to "exploring the relationship between cultural production and social movements":
From their mission statement:
"The archive contains many kinds of objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts and buttons, moving images, audio recordings, and other materials.
Through our programming, we use this cultural ephemera to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation. We consider the use of our collection to be a way of preserving and honoring histories and material culture that is often marginalized in mainstream institutions.
As an all-volunteer organization, all members of our community are welcome and encouraged to shape our collection and programming; we are a space for all volunteers to learn from each other and develop new skills. We work in collaboration with like-minded projects, and encourage critical as well as creative engagement with our own histories and current struggles.
As an archive from below, we are a collectively run space that is people powered, with open stacks and accessibility for all. We are supported by the community that believes in what we’re doing."
(image from their exhibition, "Resistance Across Time")
2 is the ingenuity of California's Department of Fish & Wildlife in using tilapia skin and corn husks to help heal bears wounded in last December's wildfires:
"So far, the fish skins seem to be the most helpful form of treatment for the bears, vets said.
'We made little spring rolls with their feet,' Peyton said.
The California vets stitched the fish skins to the animals’ burned paws, then wrapped the treated feet with bandages of rice paper and corn husks.
Animals often eat ordinary cloth bandages, which can block their intestines. This was the case with the 5-month-old mountain lion, who kept eating his fish-skin and corn-husk bandages.
Peyton recalls the improvement she’s seen with the treatment. She said one of the bears at first laid down continuously to spare her burned paws, not wanting to stand or walk at all.
'After the first time we put the bandages on, she woke up, she stood up' and showed interest in her surroundings, she said."
more about the team behind this
3 is the New Yorker's recent deep dive into how, amazingly, science still doesn't have an explanation for what puts the curl in curling:
"Take a beer bottle or an upturned glass and send it spinning down a table: if it rotates to the right, clockwise, it will curl to the left; if it rotates to the left, it will curl to the right. That’s because the bottle, as it moves forward, also tips forward slightly, adding weight to the leading edge. More weight means more friction. As the leading edge turns to the right, it meets with greater resistance than the back edge, turning to the left, does. So the clockwise-spinning bottle follows the path of least resistance, curling to the left.
"Weirdly, a curling stone on ice does exactly the opposite: if it rotates to the right, it curls right, and vice versa. [physicist Mark] Shegelski said that, at the bar after a game ('Drinking beer after curling is absolutely required; it’s a must'), he sometimes blows the minds of fellow-curlers by sending an upturned glass spinning across the table. 'To their horror, the drinking glass curls the wrong way,' he said. 'All the curlers would be, like, ‘Whoa, how’d you do that?!’ ”
more on this phenomenon
4 is musician Lorde's feature on the podcast Song Exploder, where she takes her song Sober apart piece by piece and talks about the many collaborating people and ideas that made it possible:
On working with producer Malay midway through the writing process:
"He was like, yeah, I had to sacrifice your perfect chords. I was like, it's okay, because it worked so well, and that was really exciting to me, so. It really needed to be pushed off the edge by him. Yeah, which is so funny that that didn't come from me, but you know, sometimes even when you do know what something deserves to be, it takes somebody else's good idea to get it there."
5 is this talk by Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo, made as a part of the event "Interrupting Whiteness":
"To investigate whiteness is a threat to identity, to comfort, to privilege, to status.
But what is the alternative? Is the alternative then to back off? People are dying.
You just keep pushing. You keep going. People push back when they are threatened. And I would love to say that this is not a threat. I would love to say that it is a win-win to address whiteness, but it's not.
Some of what you have, you don't deserve. But when you can see your identity clearly as it is, the good and the bad; when you can see where your whiteness is more than your heritage, more than just culture, but also a system of oppression, you then have the power to do the work to redefine it to something that you can be proud of."
You can't fake it. You cannot just pick up the positive and say that that's all that there is. This will be uncomfortable and it will be painful.
But if you continue to do the work, you will have a sense of authenticity in yourself that you have never known. You will stop having to steal all of our stuff. You will have your own stuff!
And that's really what I need you to do. I don't need someone standing right next to me doing what I'm doing. If black people could end racism, we would have ended racism. We have died trying to end systemic racism. I need you to do the work in your community. And it starts with looking at the day-to-day things.
What will kill me may not be a cop. It will be my lack of access to quality medical care. It will be my lack of access to quality education. It will be the loans that I am denied. It will be all of the thousands of cuts that people of color endure every single day in white supremacist society. And that is where your life intersects with it."
full transcription / her Twitter / her bestselling book, So You Want To Talk About Race