Nieuw Babylon

DIG video

Utopia BCN

Jo-Ann With


Can you self-sabotage your work, when you think all you do is working on it?

And what about it frustrates me so much?
As a maker, a femme black body.
We’ve been here before, this isn’t a neo rodeo, we’ve done this.
What about this utopia feels so foreign to me?
This idea that we exist outside of them. We have this own world outside of them, when we create this own world outside of them, what is - them?
Don’t we exist here?

I feel like for the black queer, black straight, black artist, black maker - we don’t see utopias as a physical thing, right, this physical world that we’re gonna create.
I think utopias are the day that we decided that we weren’t here for them.
The day that we decided who to befriend, who to create with, what to watch, what to say.
The day that we stopped trying.

You see this world is an utopia already for some, but for us,
this isn’t some new age question we’re asking,
philosophical question, artistic question,
this is a real thing that black people every day think about,
how do I create this utopia, because this utopia that we’re in right now isn’t for me.

I think that’s what I found difficult about this project, this idea that we’re creating a new utopia.
That one day we stopped? We never stopped.

You see the day that they came to us, brought us to unknown lands, wasn’t the day that we stopped making utopia, but it wasn’t also the first day that we started. We had been utopic, we had been making utopias since forever.

This idea that utopia is always linked to whiteness, always linked to wanting to get away from them, when honestly?

Utopia is wherever we are. That’s it.

Jo-Ann With is een lhbt* femme die de intensiteit van Amsterdam heeft ingeruild voor een leven aan het strand in Barcelona. Ze is product designer, filmmaker, allround maker en social media specialist. Haar afkomst als marron uit Suriname is de reden voor haar drang naar vrijheid en rust. Deze zoektocht naar vrijheid vertaalt zich door in al haar werken. When can my ancestors and I rest?- is wat ze in haar makerschap bevraagt.

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