Author : Irene de Craen

Editor’s Note to Issue No. 6

Under capitalism, abstract, intangible and often unintelligible constructs have devastating effects on people and the ecosystems with which they live in relation. Debt is one such construct that permeates our lives at every level, from the geopolitical to the personal, moral and psychological. Across all layers of society and throughout our day-to-day lives, debt and the concept of indebtedness is present, pressing heavily, unevenly, and severely limiting the lives of those suffering its violence. However, first and foremost, debt is a relation, connecting us all in a complex web of hierarchies. Though despite its pervasiveness, debt eludes us. Or, as David Graeber wrote in his well-known book on the subject, ‘[t]he very fact that we don’t know what debt is, the very flexibility of the concept, is the basis of its power.’ At the same time, Graeber continues, ‘[i]f history shows anything, it is that there’s no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them in the language of debt.’[1]

This issue of Errant therefore is about the way debt and its language hold power over us. By challenging the idea that debt is something rational, natural or inevitable, this issue hopes to contribute to lifting debt out of abstraction and obscurity. Naturally, in being errant, the approaches represented are personal, fragmented, and situated. Still,many of the contributions aim to expose the deception of debt, but also how the personal is always connected to the structural, whether this is the nation state or religion. As Graeber warned, morality is often used to enforce this relation. Exemplified for instance in the text by Falke Pisano on the establishment of the Dutch Savings Bank. The founding of this bank coincided with a broader set of initiatives and attitudes in the nineteenth century that aimed to ‘civilize’ the working class. Specifically, this meant that one’s finances became an individual responsibility connected to being virtuous. In other words: a ‘good’ person doesn’t accumulate debt.

What the examples show, is that debt tempts to organize obedience, and the language of debt, of guilt, responsibility, but also of shame and morality, is deeply embedded in the ways we think and behave. This is a crucial insight, because when we start to understand debt as a way obedience is organized, then we can also see the importance of being disobedient, perhaps even against moral judgement. It is for this reason that we included contributions that are about such civil disobedience, most notably in the case of bank robbers in Lebanon who, confronted with the total failure of a system, arm themselves with toy guns in order to take back their own money. This move to illegality exposes the absurdism and impossibility of our systems, especially as they fall apart. If what is considered moral and just creates inequalities and violence, can being immoral or disobedient perhaps be a way to restore imbalances?

At the same time, it is important to remember that the Western/modern/neoliberal way of thinking and being, particular regarding property and financial debt, is just one of many, most of which are erased by Western hegemony. Although not adhered to in Egypt (let alone internationally), the Quran, so Dalia Whadan writes, offers a way out of the stranglehold the Global South finds itself in as ‘sharīʿah urges creditors to grant concessions or postpone payments to debtors in need. They must not harass or compel debtors beyond their means.’ This way, Wahdan argues, ‘debt need not be a crisis’. Going back to debt as relation, we ultimately decide its terms and value.

In the editorial approach to her topics, it is Errant’s ambition to keep exploring how knowledge can be produced within a ‘journal’, and how the limits of how knowledge is ‘officially’ and ‘properly’ produced can be stretched. With this in mind, I am very pleased with the commissioned sound piece that is part of this issue, though finds itself elsewhere in the ether. The audio monograph by Levi Masuli remoulds sounds and ideas into a dialogue on the Filipino concept of ‘utang na loob’, or ‘debt of the inside’. In this speculative approach based on the Filipino epistemological universe, reflecting on the ‘Inside’ and the ‘Outside’ of debt and the fragile relations that come with this, Masuli imagines a world animated by ‘bubbles of intimacy’, that are always leaking, and possess a vulnerability that cannot be patched through mere payment or compensation.

We start this issue however with a text that was commissioned rather late and diverts from our initial editorial plan. The long and ongoing battle for the liberation of Palestine is one of the most important anti-colonial issues of our time. At the time of this writing, it has been almost three months since the relentless bombing of the civilians of Gaza has started in retaliation to the attack and taking of hostages by Hamas on 7 October 2023. Since that day, that also saw the death of innocent people, over 21,000 people have died, many of whom children. Like many others, I have been experiencing an insurmountable sense of powerlessness. At once removed and at a distance (I have never visited Palestine), while also connected through basic human empathy, it is heartbreaking to see the daily stream of images of an ongoing genocide, making every other activity seem futile. As a journal dedicated to anti-colonial (but also the connected anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchal) struggle everywhere, I felt an obligation to respond to what is happening and offer some words of sense-making and support. There can be no business as usual.

On top of the incommensurable sense of grief that is collectively felt by many, we also live with the surreal reality that one has to defend the right to this grief, and the need to keep reaffirming that what is so plain to see, is really happening. In Germany (where Errant is partly based) specifically, people who refer to what is happening in Gaza as a genocide, or generally speak up for Palestinian human rights, are faced with harsh backlash; people of all sorts – including Jewish people – are accused of antisemitism. Awards, exhibitions, and lectures are cancelled, and entire institutions are facing defunding and closure for even attempting to facilitate conversations about and between Israelis and Palestinians.[2]Although the actions of the Israeli state are condoned and excused by states the world over, it is Germany that seems to be particularly blinded by the ‘special responsibility’ they feel they have in defending the state of Israel, no matter the horrors or human rights violations this state commits.

Because of her extensive research into memory culture, citizenship, and religious difference as race in Germany, Sultan Doughan was asked to reflect on the relation between guilt and debt; terms that are expressed by the same word in the German language.[3] In fact, in all Indo-European languages the words for debt are synonym for sin and/or guilt, indicating the links between religion, morality and different mediations, financial and otherwise. In her text, Doughan explains how this sense of guilt in Germany translates to a denial of citizenship and basic human rights for Palestinians that stems from a way they in particular – and especially in Germany – challenge European perceptions about itself.

In a second text commissioned late and that responds to the ongoing war, Bahar Noorizadeh  shows the entanglements of the continued occupation of Palestine with finance. It is unnerving how Gaza too can be viewed through the cold lens of finance and debt. ‘Should we read it with our everyday causal cognition,’ Noorizadeh writes at the start of her essay, ‘the market would be the ultimate medium of information.’ She ends her texts on the call for boycotts on Israel; another form of disobedience and tactic of non-violent resistance, which incidentally is also forbidden in Germany: ‘[i]t is in this sense that boycotts become a changing of the moral compass – a recalibration of our mutual indebtedness and a reconfiguration of the very liberal humanitarian paradigm as the telos of capital’s existent world.’

If anything, the process of making this issue of Errant showed that almost any relation can be framed in the language of debt, and that the associations with religion, morality, and culpability are endless. I am not sure what that really says about the kind of world we live in, or what we ultimately value most. Realistically, we’ll not see the end of the oppressive and harmful ways of capitalism anytime soon, but it is hopeful to see some glimpses of another kind of world that is possible.

[1] Graeber, David. Debt. The First 5,000 Years. New York and London: Melville Publishing House, 2014: p. 5.

[2] The latter example specifically refers to the cultural organisation Oyoun in Berlin whose funding has been cut after organising an evening of ‘mourning and hope’ in response to the 7 October attack and in collaboration with Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East. Based on Oyoun’s refusal to cancel the event, the Berlin Senate accused the cultural centre of ‘acting in an antisemitic manner.’ For more on this go to, for other examples of silencing in Germany see

[3] Graeber 2014: p. 59 (see note 1).

Editor’s Note to Issue No. 5

The spring/summer of 2020, as a response to the murder of George Floyd, saw many hopeful changes within the larger discourse about the colonial past and the reverberations of it in the present. I remember feeling exhilarated when I watched the statue of Edward Colston disappear into the Bristol harbour. It particularly hit home because I had been fighting for the removal of a very similar statue, also close to a harbour. This statue is that of Jan Pieterszoon Coen – known as the butcher of the Banda Islands even in his own day – in the city of Hoorn, the Netherlands. Coen murdered approximately 15,000 people on the Banda Islands in order to attain the monopoly on the trade of nutmeg for the Dutch VOC. For reasons too numerous to mention, it is appalling that this man is honoured by a statue: ‘a mass murderer doesn’t deserve a statue’, reads one of the slogans in many protests that have taken place to have the statue removed. Emboldened by what had happened in Bristol, I joined some activists in Hoorn who’ve been fighting this particular issue for far longer than I have, to organise new protests and actions.[1] Perhaps the current global wave of anti-colonial protests was the momentum for which we had been waiting. We were hopeful, we protested, the statue is still there today… and so the struggle continues. But I learned something profound in the process. During a very small guerilla action, my fellow protesters of Moluccan descent kept speaking of their ancestors. When someone who was screaming at us tripped, or the person who asked us to leave dropped something: it was all the ancestors, helping us with our task at hand. Having a ‘typical white Dutch’ background myself, I couldn’t fathom what they meant exactly, but that didn’t matter. What I realised was that, viewed from this other epistemology, we weren’t just a handful of people doing this one – seemingly hopeless – action. It was all part of something much bigger, part of a struggle that has been ongoing for four hundred years, and involving literally countless people on whose shoulders we could now stand. It puts everything in a different perspective. One that sees matters in a relational way, and with a profound continuity of the past in the present. And there is much to learn from that. 

You have in your hands what could be said to be Errant’s ‘restitution issue’, but that would only be partly right. This issue is not about restitution per se, or whether restitution of colonially looted, pillaged, and stolen heritage should occur: it is clear that it should, in full, and without hesitation. Let that be the starting point. From there, Errant wishes to go beyond the question of ‘giving back’, and ask what is given back by whom and to whom, where, and how? In this now seemingly omnipresent discussion, who is speaking, and which voices are being listened to? To do this, as is reflected in the title of this issue, Errant proposes a shift in perspective away from dominant (Western) epistemic authorities to consider other ways of sensing and experiencing the world and let this guide us in the questions we have. What if the topic is approached from the point of view of the objects themselves? From the spirits that once inhabited them? From the ancestors who created them and among whom they once lived and breathed? However, the title of this issue should also be seen as a provocation given the fundamental impossibility of really placing oneself in the shoes of the ‘ancestors’, especially of those that are not one’s own. Rather, we aim to create a space where we allow these opacities to recover their agency out of years and years of silence and learn to listen differently. This necessarily means that this issue is not just about objects and their return, not just about physical ‘things’ that can change hands and location. It is also an issue about repair, without which restitution could be meaningless.

A few years before the protest movements of 2020, the long and ongoing struggle concerning the restitution of cultural heritage housed in various museums had already seen a significant turning point with the speech by French president Emmanuel Macron in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in 2017. The last couple of years, accelerated by these two events, certainly have seen encouraging shifts in attitude, and museums all over Europe are conducting provenance research and developing programmes of return. But therein also lies a problem. Museums aren’t ‘just’ repositories of knowledge that house the bounty of colonial loot, they were created in tandem and as an essential part of the colonial project. They were formed to function as monuments to the idea of the superiority of the white European man, and through their activities of collecting, preserving, and exhibiting, firmly set those ideas in all strata of this world, while contributing to the minimising and destruction of other worlds. To conduct these researches and discussions solely from the vantage point of the museum therefore doesn’t take restitution and repair out of the coloniality of power, quite the opposite: it extends and continues the colonial project. 

The report that was commissioned by Macron and written by the Senegalese academic and writer Felwine Sarr and French art historian Bénédicte Savoy, doesn’t leave any doubt: all stolen, looted, or otherwise wrongfully acquired cultural heritage, must be returned, and sooner rather than later. It also points to the many intricacies involved, and considerations that must be made, for instance: 

‘[W]hen we reflect on the question of cultural heritage objects, we must understand that it’s not simply objects that were taken, but reserves of energy, creative resources, reservoirs of potentials, forces engendering alternative figures and forms of the real, forces of germination; and this loss is incommensurable. Simply giving back these cultural objects won’t be the proper compensation. This force arises from a relation and mode of participation in the world that has been irremediably trampled upon.’[2]

What is needed then, and what is still often lacking, is a much broader scope in the question of restitution, which also (definitely) means going beyond inviting source communities to the table (whose table?), a strategy that many museums seem to employ but which ultimately only functions to protect their own legitimacy. The subtitle to our issue Epistemic Restitution and Rematriation offers two ways of doing this that all the contributions, although not explicitly, can be said to relate to. The way this issue has taken shape was led by our contributors who write about what this means to them, and the number of answers are equal to the number of contributors we were able to include in these pages. Only some contributions are about physical objects – in museums, or those already returned in ways that are questionable to say the least – while others are about the recovery and process of reconnecting with relations that have been severed by colonialism. Another important line is the categorisations put upon that which has been taken and how these wrongly inform discussions of return. A lot of work goes into the refusal to accept these categorisations, but it is this refusal that can be a first step in creating space for another perspective, one that does justice to the past in the present.

I hope that this issue of Errant can contribute to the discourse on what a different perspective on restitution could be. The editorial approach had to – of course – be ‘errant’. This meant, for instance, to take this discussion out of the museum. Although museums are the holders of cultural heritage, for this approach, they should not be the ones leading the discussion and so no museum professional was invited to contribute. Finally, an editorial decision was made that is essential in conveying the point this issue aims to make: not a single image of cultural heritage whose restitution has not yet been completed is reproduced in these pages. This is out of respect for the objects as well as for the people and lifeworlds they were taken from. Some of the cultural heritage discussed was never meant to be seen by people outside a specific community, let alone to have images of them sold online by the very institutions who took them. Modernity has an obsession with visibility and urges to make everything ‘transparent’ in order to make sense of it and ultimately control it. I believe by not participating in this visibility, by this active refusal, we enact a small gesture of care, and hopefully, even some restorative justice. 

[1] Shout out to Marisella de Cuba, Romy Rondeltap, Sarieke de Jong, and many others.

[2] Sarr, Felwine, Bénédicte Savoy. The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics. Transl. Drew S. Burk. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2018: p. 40.

Editor’s Note to Issue No. 4

Welcome to the fourth issue of Errant Journal. With this issue we tackle the imaginary nature of the nation state, and look into alternative forms of solidarity, community and belonging that are disconnected from or even antagonistic to this form of governance and in which a migrant or otherwise marginalised position can be seen as one of power and resistance. As several contributions in this issue remark, humans are fluid beings that do not adhere to externally imposed delineations, whether those are borders, nationalities, or genders, and instead – much like water – we carve out our own ways.

Although the critique of nation states is a very common topic of discussion in books, journals and symposia, one could still forget sometimes that states and nations are not natural phenomena. But not only have nations as we understand them now been created, they have done so extremely recently – more or less from two hundred years ago onwards. In his influential book Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson asserts – as the title suggests – that nations are imagined ‘because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.’[1] Curiously, in our collective consciousness the order of the world today made up of sovereign nations and states, feels so natural and historic, their existence largely goes unquestioned. For ‘[i]f nation-states are widely conceded to be “new” and “historical,” the nations to which they give political expression always loom out of an immemorial past, and, still more important, glide into a limitless future.’[2] The fiction tells us that this is the way it has always been, and this is the way it shall always be.

Much more than just being a legal construct, there is hardly anything more decisive on how your life might unfold, the chances you will have, and mobility you can enjoy, than the passport with which you are born. To quote Anderson once more: ‘[n]ation-ness is the most universally legitimate value in the political life of our time.’ Identification with a nation is ‘conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship’ for which people are willing to die. A reality even Anderson struggles to explain as he writes that while ‘the facts [about nation-ness] are clear, their explanation remains a matter of longstanding dispute.’[3]

So what of those (twelve million according to an estimate from 2018) who find themselves without a nation or state; the stateless?[4] Here too, there is a contradiction between its supposedly clear-cut, neutral, everlasting character and the imaginary, ambiguous reality. The official definition of statelessness as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954 says that a stateless person is one ‘who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.’[5] A refugee is commonly considered a stateless person, but the narrow legal definition in fact does not automatically include them; refugees are often still considered to be part of a nation, albeit one they cannot currently reside in or that can offer them protection.[6] Yet, a person with a passport fleeing their home country by fear of persecution or death, may not be stateless in the eyes of international law, but they are politically homeless and generally without a place in this world in every other way that matters.

Similarly to the concept of the nation state, statelessness is a surprisingly novel construct: in this case only one hundred years old. Before the concept’s solidification in international law in 1921, it did however enjoy a much longer history in fiction. By the late eighteenth century the concept of statelessness was much debated. Theorists however, insisted ‘that such a figure […] could only exist in the realm of the imagination rather than real-world politics.’[7] Throughout the nineteenth century as well as in the twentieth century, such ‘creatures of the imagination’ featured in novels, usually adrift at open sea unable to port or find rest.[8] It is therefore a curious history, to say the least, that brought a long considered imaginative form into legal reality, with devastating effects.

In other words, although statelessness is defined by law and has very real and grave consequences for people – something that we do not want to diminish or deny, and is an urgency that also finds its place in this issue – the law and history of the concept offer many pathways to open up and question the delineations of notions such as ‘nation’, ‘stateless’ etc. For this reason, we emphasise the states of statelessness: the different layers, and hierarchies of barriers and ways in which people respond to them.

A first step in this, is opening up our definition of statelessness, towards one that is arguably much more consistent with the lives and experiences of people. Reflecting on the period after the first World War, during which the concept of statelessness received its accepted legal status, Hannah Arendt explains how the peace treaties wrongly created new nation states in central and eastern Europe, arbitrarily lumping very diverse groups together which effectively also created a different category of humans considered ‘minorities’ for which special regulations were now necessary. As a result, Arendt writes, ‘only nationals could be citizens, only people of the same national origin could enjoy the full protection of legal institutions.’[9] In her eyes, these newly created minorities and the stateless are interchangeable in practice, as from then on nationality became the only way to enjoy the full protection of the law, and the only way for others to enjoy these same benefits was to assimilate or leave.

This demand to ‘assimilate or leave’ resonates disturbingly with present-day racist sentiments toward how refugees, migrants but also second or third generation people with a so-called culturally diverse background should look and behave. It makes clear that in fact, citizenship is not an absolute, but rather a sliding scale that serves some people more than others. In reality, statelessness rather functions as a social spectrum that should be considered intersectionally. This is because nation states and their laws of protection and rights are made with an ‘ideal citizen’ in mind, and anyone not fitting this standard may therefore find themselves somewhere on the gamut of statelessness.

The contributions in this issue of Errant reflect this wider interpretation and the different gradations of relations to nationality or state and – more importantly – the diverse ways in which people form their own communities; whether they be as big as a country, or very small, informal and more or less spontaneously gathered around a shared struggle. We wanted to ask in what way we can learn from such communities, how they question the fiction of the nation state by their very existence, and by doing so become  voices of resistance against harmful policies and ways of being forced upon us from an invisible ‘above’.

We start this issue with a critique, or rather sidestep, to our own open call. Having both left their home country Ukraine due to the full scale invasion and attempted annexation of the country by Russia, Asia Bazdyrieva and Alevtina Kakhidze express doubt regarding the critique of the nation state because it emerges from a position of former empires and is not universally applicable. Ukraine is only now becoming a nation state, and one that is not the product of imperial power or the ethnonationalist ideas of the 18th-19th centuries, but rather one that is formed in opposition to these concepts. According to them, in the case of Ukraine, ‘the concept of a nation state – a product of European imperial imagination of romantic times – […] has morphed into something else.’ This something else, or ‘hybrid and inclusive Ukrainianness’ is ‘far more than a territory or a uniform identity. It is a social contract that includes detachment from fixed identities, circulation of resources, multitude, absence of the center, self-regulation, trust.’

From there, we consider the past and the timeless grassroot struggle for self-sufficiency and basic human rights. Republished in this issue of Errant is an 1872 piece of feuilleton writing by Max Ring that tells of a visit to ‘Barackia’. The Free State of Barackia was an informal republic in what is now the centre of Berlin, built by people facing impossible rises of rent and intolerable landlords: an eerily common story for anyone living in any big city today. But much more than a shantytown for people without homes, Barackia was said to have been very organised, filled with ‘hard-working men and women and healthy and clean children.’ It was widely looked upon with fascination as it ‘gained a reputation in all of Europe’ and served as an example of ‘working-class resistance against housing inequality’ and ‘a small utopia of freedom and solidarity.’ Writing from the present, Saskia Köbschall provides Ring’s text with more context, and shows how Barackia’s spirit still reverberates today. Her article is accompanied by photos of Nyabinghi Lab’s project Freistaat Barackia: Landscapes of Liberation, which took the history of Barackia as a starting point to explore decolonial urbanism, resistance, and solidarities in Berlin and around the world.

Arguably one of the best examples of a contemporary functioning ‘free state’, or autonomous region, is that of Rojava in north-eastern Syria. In her text, Nilüfer Koç places the lessons of Rojava within current geo-political unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East, and states that there is much to learn from Rojava’s philosophy, history and current struggle. In particular, she focuses on the role of women and the fight against patriarchy which is the source of power and exploitation. Fighting patriarchy therefore ‘means to eradicate the one-sided domination, the inequality, and intolerance towards women. Moreover, it is to kill the nation state, fascism, dictatorship, despotism, and capitalism.’ The result is a society that is horizontal, decentralised and truly pluralistic.

With right-wing sentiments on the rise, some political leaders would have us believe Europe is a homogeneous (Christian and white) community, thereby ignoring, or even attempting to erase, the presence of people that don’t fit the ‘pure European narrative´. One such group of people, and one of the largest groups of people becoming stateless after the first World War, are the Roma. Although their presence in Europe can be traced back to the twelfth century, their struggle for their way of life can be said to be equally long. Writing from the position of Polish Roma, Elżbieta Mirga-Wójtowicz and Michał P. Garapich, state that there is community in this shared suffering. To counter the injustices and the racist judgement their people face, they call for a kind of banal anti-nationalism, or counter-nationalism through which Roma, in their view, ‘have a unique, rich and still unrecognised contribution here. Their understanding and conceptualisation of the “history from below” and grand narratives seen from their unique standpoint opens a rich research potential to the exploration of diverse hidden transcripts and tactics of resistance.’

That there is also immense value to be found in very modest and informal communities, is explored by Fabian Holle as they recount their personal experience and work with LIMBO; ‘a weekly workshop series for and by queer/refugee/migrant community organizers and artists with the aim of creating a safer space for queer people with a refugee background to share stories and create content.’ Through their research into community engaged scholarship, Holle also reflects on what knowledge is produced by using creative tools to address the challenges and resilience of queer refugees and the role of community engaged scholarship. Both queerness and refugeeness can be said to represent a position of liminality, of in-betweenness, of spaces as well as societal norms. Coming together in small groups, sharing stories and creativity, and challenging dominant assumptions about refugees as ‘victims’ thus has a transformative potential.

An in-betweenness of a different kind is explored in Abdul Adan’s short story about Rupert Ray; a figure whose identity is confused by his heritage of both a settled father and a nomadic mother. For inexplicable reasons, Rupert finds himself ‘wandering randomly into other people’s homes’, unable to distinguish between the spaces that are ‘his’ and those that are not. To greater confusion, Rupert even seems to have difficulty understanding where his own body ends and other’s begin. Rupert’s predicament, and inability to make these basic distinctions, can perhaps be viewed in a positive light when we consider the topic of hospitality as explored in the conversation with Merve Bedir. Bedir’s ongoing project the Vocabulary of Hospitality explores the different layers of violence in the concept of hospitality, as it indicates a relation of power (of the host) over the other (the guest). Her project Mutfak مطبخ (Kitchen) Workshop in Gaziantep aims to reverse these roles by turning the guest into the host. Her kitchen project works with food to explore how the roles of host and guest are created by borders that cut through landscapes and communities, and how we can recover from such rifts by returning to community and re-establishing ways of living together.

The very real repercussions of being stateless are touched upon by Isshaq Albarbary. While his nationality upon arrival in the Netherlands was first recognised as being Palestinian, his current ID card states his nationality as ‘unknown’ and his place of birth the code ‘XXX’. His case, ‘shows how the Dutch authority’s bureaucratic theory that identity documents describe objective facts about people negates the performative nature of such documents. Documentation not only describes facts about people and their relationship to the nation state but also “creates” these facts.’ In fact, by giving him this status, the Dutch government has effectively positioned him out of place, out of time, and thus incapable of political agency. But considering this reality of the stateless, Albarbary asks, ‘can their social and political experiences open up a space to imagine – and perhaps realise – forms that might exist outside of what is possible or even conceivable today?’

As paper can be such a powerful bureaucratic and political tool, we wanted to think about our own format and how paper can also be used in commenting and acting on our geo-political realities. COVID, labour shortages and rising energy prices due to international conflicts have resulted in a worldwide scarcity of paper. We respond to this reality by printing this issue (and perhaps the ones to follow) on leftover paper from our very accommodating printer. Additionally, we reflect on how paper can be used to form networks and communities. Initiated in 2013 by Dominique Himmelsbach de Vries, A Paper Monument for the Paperless is a homage to undocumented people and spread guerrilla style by the (illegal) pasting of posters in the streets of cities everywhere. A Paper Monument for the Paperless is a project that is already quite well known in the Netherlands, and which I personally have enjoyed following over the years. I am therefore very happy for each copy of this issue to include a portrait from this monument, and for you – the reader – to help this monument grow.

We hope that by expanding the idea of what statelessness is that the pathways of solidarity between marginalised groups become more visible. Groups that are often played out against each other or whose voices are simply made invisible because they are inconvenient to homogenous and timeless narratives of nationness. States of Statelessness delves into the diverse manners in which people respond to this in practical, poetic and community-based ways. But more than that, this issue is a celebration of the ways in which people are able to stand their ground, to exist in fluidity, and a commemoration of those before us that have shown that other ‘states’ are possible.

[1] Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London and New York: Verso Books, 2016: p. 6.

[2] Anderson 2016: pp. 11-12 (see note 1).

[3] Anderson 2016: pp. 3 and 7 (see note 1).

[4] ‘Statelessness.’ Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 September 2022 <>.

[5] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons: Implementation within the European Union Member States and Recommendations for Harmonisation, October 2003, accessed via <>. 

[6] Siegelberg, Mira L. Statelessness. A Modern History. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2020: p. 2.

[7] Siegelberg 2020: p. 25 (see note 6).

[8] Siegelberg 2020: pp. 27-28 (referring to the novel The Man without A Country) and pp. 46-48 (referring to Das Totenschiff) (see note 6).

[9] Arendt, Hannah. ‘The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man’. Accessed via <>: pp. 270 and 275.

Editor’s Note to Issue No. 3

Welcome to the third issue of Errant Journal. With it, we feel that we have passed a long and precarious start-up phase and can say with careful confidence that Errant Journal is here to stay… at least for now.

The topic of this issue is one that has been part of our very first discussions about starting a magazine. In fact, the topic of discomfort is always present in the process of understanding structural inequalities in our societies, as well as our own role – and responsibilities – in these. Finally being able to explore the subject in full and seeing how it resonates in different ways with our contributors, has not disappointed, nor could its timing have been more fitting.

Personally, I feel that mentioning discomfort often just serves as a kind of disclaimer in discussions on ‘decolonisation’, without ever getting the attention it truly deserves – a necessary by-product that, after a brief acknowledgement (to protect who?), can be put aside again.[1] But I also think of how the term ‘quality’ – still used as the main marker in deciding whether a project is considered worthy of funding – is in fact applied to those cultural expressions that fit ever so comfortably within what we already know (while at the same time having an equally comfortable notion of being ‘controversial’, ‘experimental’ or any other term that makes us feel something is new or worthy). It therefore feels as if the work of decoloniality is being done without really addressing an important factor that runs throughout: a sense of discomfort. 

The feeling definitely sneaks up on you. When experienced, discomfort is not always something that can be easily placed or defined, even to oneself. And although discomfort should not in any way be confused with structural inequalities, racism or any form of violence, it often acts as a thin layer that hides these matters behind its façade, thereby making its ‘unspeakable’ nature a mechanism for holding inequality and systems of domination in place.

What’s more, the feeling of discomfort can be part of a productive not-knowing, in the way Édouard Glissant advocates for by claiming the ‘right to opacity’. Letting go of what we (think we) know is simultaneously a letting-go of our desire to comprehend and thereby reduce, or even assimilate, the singularities of cultural difference – something that is touched upon in several contributions to this issue.

It is with these thoughts in mind that we published our first open call, through which we received most of the contributions to this issue. The different ways people responded to the topic has been exciting to see, as they greatly expanded the initial queries we posed. It is telling how many of them deal with an imbalance or shift of power relations; whether from the view of a marginalised member of society or those who feel their comfort shaken – perhaps for the first time – and use certain mechanisms to avoid such negative emotion(s).

This is what Rebecca Glyn-Blanco dives into with her text about the role and limits of empathy, particularly in relation to the dynamics of migration politics. Glyn-Blanco asks ‘[w]hat if empathy shields us from the presence of the Other by returning us to the familiar Self, and as such, remains a deeply un-transformative act for the subject?’ By feeling sorry for others, we become reassured that we are being good citizens, and consequently ‘avoid confronting the discomfort of [our] own complicity in oppression.’

No such transposition is available when living a queer life on an island like Barbados for example. In her poetic and purposely fragmented contribution to this issue, Ada M. Patterson recounts her life on the island, what it means to leave it, and what dysphoria and other unbearable and uncomfortable conditions might mean for different species in a climate crisis-queered world. In this sometimes hostile and breathless space, what does it mean for queer and trans people to gather and ‘come up for air’?

The unspeakable nature of discomfort perhaps explains why this issue of Errant has more creative contributions than our previous ones. Aaron Schuster makes a case for this in exemplifying how Franz Kafka can be thought of as a poet of discomfort, irritation, annoyance, suffering, and complaint, and showing the relationship between writing and suffering. It is in a poetic way, M.C. Julie Yu is able to ruminate on her experience of working as a masseur, bringing together the many layers of stigmatisation of the profession, further complicated by her own identity, place, and the need to just make a living. This ambiguity and inexpressibility of discomfort is also explored in Maaike Hommes’ essay about her inability to put into words her own undiagnosed physical pain. Counter to what we are made to believe, our bodies are relational and defined by vulnerability. Drawing on Johanna Hedva and Judith Butler, Hommes states that ´capitalism’s focus on able-bodied productivity conceives of wellness as the standard mode of existence and thinks of illness or vulnerability as a temporary state.´ Being ill then becomes an individual failure, entangled with feelings of shame and guilt.

With a very different approach, Marwan Moujaes considers humiliation in his speculative essay on the consequences of a lowering of the gaze to the experience of a landscape. Since the invention of perspective in the Renaissance, our experience of a landscape can be said to be based on a man, standing and looking straight ahead. What then, does a landscape look like for those whose heads are permanently tilted in subjugation? What if, to humiliate is to obscure a landscape?

While discomfort is often something that sneaks up on us, or something we simply endure, could we instead use it consciously as a strategy, and consequently as an act of resistance? This is the starting point of my conversation with curators Amal Alhaag and Rita Ouédraogo on the project A Funeral for Street Culture that took place at Framer Framed over the summer of 2021. Partly in response to the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd, their project considers how to mourn as well as celebrate together. Ouédraogo and Alhaag talk about working with and in big institutions as Black women, about the use of anger, about safety and the value of not knowing. But most of all about creating space for those who are often overseen, and the importance of coming together.

Through the words of another conversation – this time one taking place in the nineteenth century between Sara Mazhar Makatemele, the first Black woman to live in Kalmar, Sweden, and her employer – Mmabatho Thobejane’s text offers a valuable historic reflection on the long history of mourning and manoeuvres made to ‘fit’ a worldview that is not one’s own. Although purportedly staying in Sweden and converting to Christianity by her own choice, Sara’s words resonate with a sad remembrance and a double consciousness of two cosmologies. ‘There are leaps and bounds performed by Sara to arrive here. To move, in the nineteenth century from one (dead) cosmology to the (alive and salvation-filled) other. What is the shape of those leaps? What mental and emotional manoeuvres does this movement require?’

We felt this issue could not have been complete without also addressing our built environments. In ‘The Idea of Comfort’, a text originally written in 1987, Tomás Maldonado retraces the origin of the concept of comfort as something categorically modern. Emerging alongside the capitalist societies of the Industrial Revolution, the fundamental role of comfort – according to Maldonado – is that of social control. In extension of this thesis, but to counter it with a more pluralistic approach, we read Dalle Abraham’s text about his upbringing in governmental housing in northern Kenya. Perhaps once thought of as signifiers of status or progress, they quickly have become a cliché of the postcolonial condition, functioning as a backdrop to a genre of African novels. Abraham’s very personal text recounts the dreams he had as a child, those of his parents, and what the ideas and mindsets stemming from such quarters have mutated into today.

Equally unavoidable was the presence of COVID-19 in this issue as it has been in our lives the last two years and has drastically transformed the ways we think and feel about being in close proximity to others. The case, discussed here by architectural collective m7red, of the Argentinian government’s Sanitary Park in Buenos Aires, set up to temporarily house individuals infected with the virus who were not able to remain isolated from their families at home, can be seen as an experiment with important implications. How to stay connected while being isolated? What other forms of closeness can we imagine when our zones of comfort are suddenly shattered? As we adapt to a new reality in which the urgency of the COVID crisis recedes in our memory, we can perhaps rethink some of these relations the pandemic has exposed. Let us not just slip back into our comfortable lives unthinkingly but consider how so much of what has been exposed these last years is structural, but not unchanging.

Editor’s Note to Issue No. 2

On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens and scores of other bird voices there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh.[1]

Welcome to the second issue of Errant Journal. For this issue we decided to set off from an existing term that we feel cuts to the heart of environmental politics, while at the same time opening up a space for further learning together. We use the term slow violence because we believe that the relation with violence should be front and centre in the discussions of the ‘climate crisis’ as it makes clear the uneven distribution of effects and causes. Coined by Rob Nixon, the term is generally defined by the often used quote from his book that reads: ‘By slow violence I mean a violence that occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all.’[2] It therefore is a term that aims to expand our idea of what violence is and perhaps brings the rather abstract and universal concept of ´climate change´ back in relation to the underlying necropolitics that can be understood ‘not just as an unfortunate coincidence or accident, but rather as a deliberate extension of colonial logic.’[3] This perspective also makes evident slow violence’s relation to other forms of violence, such as those that are structural, epistemic, etc., and that similarly go largely unnoticed to those it doesn’t affect. Moving away from a universal narrative and addressing the different roles people, companies, and nation states play also opens up the possibility to pose a response to the mounting call for climate justice. This is a topic addressed in the special section of this issue edited by Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal that simultaneously functions as an expanded platform for the Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes to take place at Framer Framed in Amsterdam from September 2021 onwards.

As a continuation of Errant’s first issue on the politics of time and time’s claim to universality, this issue also asks the question to whom this violence is slow. Because while (Western) scientists are busy making projections of how much time we have left before the ‘tipping point’, for many people in this world, the violence inflicted upon them through the destruction of ecosystems has been ongoing for hundreds of years. Therefore, being able to accept the current moment on the doomsday clock as a crisis waiting to happen rather than one already here, is an example of what could be called ‘climate privilege’. Dating, naming, and categorizing are deeply political acts, and the discussion on the start and speed of climate change is no different. That we live in the geological epoch called the Anthropocene is generally accepted now, but when this epoch begins is still under debate. Placing the start in the 1950s, as is being proposed by some scientists, is essentially a Eurocentric way of interpreting geological data. Conversely, there are those who place the start of this new epoch in 1610 – coinciding with the Orbis Spike: the geologically measurable global drop in carbon dioxide levels caused by the murder of between 48 and 55 million peoples in the Americas.[4]

It is a daunting task to take on this subject in such a modest and young publication. There is certainly a healthy fear of contributing to the masses of publications, exhibitions, and symposia on the subject. But defying the neoliberal tendency to only value the new and different, we want to point out again that there’s nothing new (or slow) about these issues, on the contrary they have been continuously addressed by non-western thinkers for many decades.[5] Still, Errant values amplifying voices that are not listened to enough and offer an alternative tone and attitude with the ability – as an infinitely small part of a much larger decolonial project – to seep through general and universalizing ways of thinking. Important in this endeavor is to centre ‘other’ forms of knowledge that are generally left out of (academic) discussions, such as those knowledges that are informal, lived and embodied, or those gained by poetic gestures.

We start this issue with an article on Tuvalu; one of several small island nations in the Pacific where climate change is an imminent and visible threat as portions of land and whole islands are lost due the rising sea levels.[6] People from Tuvalu have been trying to call attention to their situation for decades, but being only the fourth smallest nation in the world, with a total land area of less than 26 sq km and just 11,000 people, who is listening to them? But what is being lost is more than just land. As Maina Talia shows in his article, the loss of land also means the loss of culture and community, and threatens to turn entire nations of people not just into climate refugees but make them truly homeless. Not just losing life, but identity too.

In a very different way, curator Inga Lāce discusses in her article the relationship between nature and nation in the countries surrounding the highly polluted Baltic Sea. While environmental activism played an important role in the early nation-building processes both at the end of the 19th century, as well as during the struggle for independence from the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the same narrative has turned less progressive in attitude and politics today. Her article shows the entanglement of environmentalism with the concept of the nation state, and the military’s role in the pollution of the Baltics. But what if we could change the view and representation of nature and our climate policies towards it, she asks, would we be also able to change our nationhoods?

Besides oil spills and rising sea levels, most forms of slow violence are only visible through their effects long after the damage is done; because they literally cannot be seen, such as the case of radioactive waste poetically addressed in this issue by Inas Halabi, or because they belong to another form of knowing that is hard to truly understand from the perspective of Western epistemology. For the people of the Amazon for instance, the plant yagé, also known ayahuasca, is not just a mind-altering plant, but a technology that is essential for the connection with ecological networks that ensure balance within their environment. From this point of view, severing the relations of the plant by commodifying it as a tourist attraction erases its deep, relational meaning and importance. For this reason, we are very grateful for the permission we received from Hernando Chindoy Chindoy, AWAI Legal Representative of the Inga People of Colombia, to republish and translate the manifesto written to address this topic. Additionally, we publish an interview with Inga leader and activist Rosa Elena Jacanamijoy Jacanamijoy in which she explains how the ‘bad management of plants (by thinking they are an object) can also make us sick, can kill.’ In a similar vein, Aldo Ramos reminds us in his creative text that in order to plant a tree, you cannot sever it from its location. It needs ‘other plants, animals and people, Interwoven with a whole community, rooted in a living world’.

The logic of extraction that is at the root of much of the slow violence people face, is woven throughout this issue. Extractivist thinking not only plays a part in the cause, but also – perhaps even more disturbingly – in the envisioned ‘solution’ of climate change in projects of renewable energy. As Ivet Reyes Maturano describes, bolstered by the voices of the local people she spoke with, people of Yucatán are continuously ignored and threatened by large companies that are destroying land for the production of ‘renewable energy’. It is clear that the objective is not finding a solution to climate change at all, but to make more profit by any means necessary. It is unnerving that decades after the hegemonic powers of this world have (also) come to be aware of the inability of the Earth to sustain our destructive ways, we have learned absolutely nothing and our ‘solutions’ are still based on the same modern/colonial ways of thinking that got us here in the first place.

In order not to repeat certain set ways of addressing climate change, we have been very careful in our use of images for this issue, so as not to inadvertently frame slow violence as something beautiful or sublime. Something that happens all too often in the visualization of this topic through aerial photography or images that show the immense scale of destruction, deforestation, and industrialization of areas which previously held rich biodiversity. Connie Zheng addresses this topic specifically in her essay on the work Becoming Alluvium by Thao-Nguyen Phan that examines possible alternatives to ‘the emotional gut-punch and slick yet generic pop-apocalyptic visuality that we are all too familiar with.’

As already mentioned at the beginning of this text, the gesture this issue makes of indicating that climate change is not a global phenomenon, but one caused by certain peoples, companies, and nation states, allows for climate justice to take place. We are very happy to be able to include in this issue a section edited by activist lawyer and writer Radha D’Souza and artist Jonas Staal in which they give space to the judges of their Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes to be hosted by Framer Framed later this year. This ‘more-than-human’ tribunal for the prosecution of intergenerational climate crimes is based on the idea of a mutually dependent and intergenerational climate justice that requires not only equality between human and non-human actors, but also close interdependence between different time scales, between the past, the present and the future.

In our opinion, slow violence is not (just) a problem of making the effects of pollution and climate change visible and comprehensible, because it is not something that has not been addressed before. It has. Many times, and by many different people all over the world. Addressing slow violence is therefore a process of listening and accepting that there is also knowledge outside of what is considered as knowledge by the ruling hegemony, or outside that which we can even comprehend. Listen. Listen to the people who inhabit the geographies at stake, but also listen to the land itself, and to the birds that are growing more silent with every passing spring. It is this listening that can be at the basis of an ‘anthropological shift’, which as Rolando Vázquez phrases it: ‘has to do with moving away from the mode of consuming, of disposing of Earth and worlds, to becoming or being in disposition for Earth and others and their worlds. […] It is about becoming open to the radical diversity of Earth-worlds, as an enriching experience that remains always in excess of the self, and that should not be subsumed and reduced through forms of appropriation and representation.’[7]

Perhaps this spring/summer issue of Errant is ideally read outside, in a park or a forest, where the words and images can be supported by the sounds of your surroundings. In any case, and wherever you are, we hope you enjoy reading it.

[1] Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994: p. 2.

[2] Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, London: Harvard University Press, 2013: p. 2.

[3] Davis, Heather, Zoe Todd. ‘On the Importance of a Date, or Decolonizing the Anthropocene.’ ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, Vol. 16, No. 4 (2017): p. 771.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Todd, Zoe. ‘An Indigenous Feminist’s Take On The Ontological Turn: ‘Ontology’ Is Just Another

Word For Colonialism.’ Journal of Historical Sociology, Vol. 29, No. 1 (March 2016): p. 14.

[6] Some of the other island nations facing the same threat and featured by the drawings on the cover and throughout this issue are: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Kiribati, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Nauru.

[7] Vázquez, Rolando. Vistas of Modernity. Decolonial aesthesis and the end of the Contemporary. Amsterdam: Mondriaan Fund, 2020: p. 157.

Editor’s Note to Issue No. 1

In a museum dedicated to the state of Paraná in the southern Brazilian city Curitiba, I was struck by one of the displays in the chronologically-organized exhibition about the history of the region. Wedged between the part on ancient history showing arrowheads and flora and fauna and the part of the museum that chronicles the arrival of the Europeans from the 17th century onwards, a modest corner was allocated to represent the local indigenous people. There, behind glass stood a display of baskets made by the Guaraní and Kaingang. What struck me was the combination of older baskets yellowed with age with those that are brand new and can be bought from the indigenous people making and selling them in the streets today. In fact, during my visit to Brazil it was hard not to notice the casual omnipresence of these artefacts in every household, used as planters, hampers, a place to keep your keys. Omnipresent and yet not there. What became so apparent through the display in the museum, had in fact been there all along: the way in which we have internalised the idea of the present, of what is modern, contemporary and now, is riddled with contradictions.

At the time, the idea of starting a new magazine had not yet come to mind. But the display in the museum and the contradictions it represented lingered. Specifically, the thought of what it would mean to exhibit such objects within the context of contemporary art in the Netherlands. Would this bring these objects to the present? Establish their right of being? Perhaps, but this gesture would then only reaffirm the way the Western exhibition machine acts as a gatekeeper of validity, as the one being able to establish the relevance for our present, elevating the objects out of oblivion.

Admittedly, this is not a new observation, and yet the issue remains. As cultural institutions and universities are trying to grapple with a present that is much more diverse than the myth they are based on, the problem with the underlying structure stays comfortably in place. The idea of the modern (and equally the contemporary) is a monster that is able to eat all nonconforming voices and spit them out into a seemingly homogeneous discourse that is based on patriarchal, colonial and capitalist ideology. It is a kind of violence that is at the very root of the modern/colonial order, and of what Édouard Glissant pointed at when he observed that ‘the dominant Western conception of universality as a mechanism of ideological conformity turns difference into sameness in order to dominate it.’[1] Without the illusion that this predicament can in any way be overcome within a single project, but rather in an attempt to at least expose or open up the ongoing discourse, the ambitious project that is Errant Journal represents an attempt to address topics from multiple vantage points that do not necessarily come together into a single narrative. In this way Errant aims to share knowledges that are ‘ruled by partial sight and limited voice […] for the sake of the connections and unexpected openings situated knowledges make possible.’ Or, as Donna Haraway also notes, ‘the only way to find a larger vision is to be somewhere in particular.’[2]

As the title of this publication might have hinted those familiar with his work, Errant is motivated by Glissant´s notion of ‘errantry’ that is at the base of his philosophy of the Poetics of Relation in which ‘every identity is extended through a relationship with the Other.’[3] For him, errantry – alluding to both deviance and wandering – is a way of breaking free from the idea of identity based on rootedness and claims of being able to either sum up or possess a totality of knowledge. It is never the goal to know everything, to see something in its totality, rather, a person who is errant ‘challenges and discards the universal – this generalizing edict that summarized the world as something obvious and transparent.’[4] In Errant’s attempt at taking apart the ways in which knowledge is produced, art and other visual forms play an important part in questioning the transparencies and hierarchies that are at the base of the Western epistemological paradigm. The interplay of text and image, of cultural theory and practice, that makes up Errant’s visual form aims to critically investigate the status of the official and standard, of what is knowledge and what is not, and the hierarchies and values by which this is judged. It is for this reason that I am happy to have found a partner in Framer Framed, an Amsterdam-based platform for contemporary art, visual culture, and critical theory & practice. Not only does this collaboration provide exceptionally valuable content through their extended international network and equal investment in emphasizing situated knowledge, but it keeps Errant grounded in a diverse field of cultural practices that informs and conveys theoretical frameworks.

If Errant aims to locate itself in place in order to realize the limitations of its situated knowledge, this first issue wants to start with acknowledging the importance of locating oneself in time, and subsequently question time´s claim to universality. As the example of the representation of the Guaraní and Kaingang clearly illustrates, our notion of what is contemporary is in fact based on a mechanism of exclusion. This mechanism has been analyzed in depth by Johannes Fabian in his now canonical book Time & The Other in which he aptly ascertains that ‘[t]ime, much like language or money, is a carrier of significance, a form through which we define the content of relations between the Self and the Other.’[5] By putting the Other in a different timeframe, the anthropologist, according to Fabian, places herself in a privileged position while diminishing the Other to an inferior status. In other words, to paraphrase George Orwell, we are all contemporary, but some are more contemporary than others.

With this in mind, we can appreciate Rolando Vázquez’s call for the end of the contemporary. Not in an attempt to define yet another ‘post’, another extension disguised as an alternative that does nothing to subvert the modern/colonial order, but as a way ‘to challenge the very constitution of the “contemporary” and its notion of the present as the field of legibility and recognition.’[6] In his article on the politics of time, republished and setting the tone for this issue of Errant, Vázquez establishes the importance of looking at modern notions of time and the role it plays in injustice and violence that keeps being repeated.

Claiming one’s own history and narrative is an important countermeasure, but as A.K. Kaiza found in his research of the manuscripts of the Ugandan historian Ham Mukasa, this narrative can still get lost through unethical translations and transformations by generations of interlocutors. How then can a history be defined apart from its relation to the hegemony of the West, ask Vera Mey and Shona Mei Findlay in their text on the ambiguity of terms such as ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ in the context of Southeast Asia. It is why Black Quantum Futurism aims to overcome ‘oppressive linear time constructs’ by combining indigenous African concepts of time with quantum physics, concepts that turn out to be very similar. Other contributors find resistance to modern politics of time by considering the temporality of the body, as Season Butler does in her short story related to women’s rights, or Sophie Hoyle by recounting their personal experiences of time as someone suffering from PTSD. The excerpt from the book Sensing the Past: Seeing, Hearing, Smelling, Tasting, and Touching in History by Mark M. Smith about the introduction of the clock in South Africa also focuses our attention on how modernity’s obsession with efficiency and progress constitutes an oppressive measure of control. What does it mean then to literally turn the clock around, as local politicians have done with the clock on the main square of La Paz in Bolivia? For Narda Alvarado this action represents a form of historical and political vindication, as well as a way to question Western dominance.

Throughout this first issue of Errant there are artworks pointing to the contradictions inherent to the denial of coevalness, demonstrated by the work of Remy Jungerman and discussed with Rajkamal Kahlon in relation to her residency at the Weltmuseum in Vienna. Yazan Khalili’s work Landscape of Darkness reminds us what it means if one’s continuity of place and being are constantly disrupted. Perhaps then, as Lara Khaldi offers us in her text on the museum in resistance in relation to Palestine, if time is always controlled by the hegemonic power, the only way to resist this is to rid ourselves of any material construct or archive so we can be without time altogether.

I want to thank all the authors for putting their trust in a project that still needs to take shape, and consequently shaping it with me. Errant is not, nor meant to be, a one-size-fits-all format and with every contribution there is a necessary exchange regarding the different ways of writing and thinking. It is inherent to the challenge of Errant’s intention to contribute to the decolonisation of the ways knowledge is produced through language, art and other disciplines that there will be moments of miscommunication and misunderstanding. I deeply appreciate the patience that was sometimes required in this process, as in this respect there is still much to learn, but so much more to gain.

To conclude, I must state the obvious: starting a magazine is not an easy feat, not least because we live in a time that craves fast entertainment and spectacle, and sometimes only seems to have space for activities that are commercially viable. I am therefore even more thankful to all those who have been supportive of the idea, motivating me in moments when I lost confidence and offering valuable new insights and advice. In these last several months, during which the launch of this first issue had to be postponed, much has changed in the world as the coronavirus has exposed the extreme inequality at the foundation of our societies and has led us into a global outcry for social justice. And although we must resist the urge to frame our current reality as something entirely new, inadvertently denying the long history of resistance that precedes it, I do sincerely hope that the time has come for some long overdue structural changes. Perhaps then, as we have entered a time of reflection on how things are done and could be done differently, Errant can find its own little space to grow.

[1] Eloff, Aragorn. ‘Wandering the shoreline with Édouard Glissant’ New Frame. 7 May 2019. <>.

[2] Haraway, Donna. ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’ Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, no 13 (Autumn, 1988): p. 590.

[3] Glissant, Édouard. Poetics of Relation. Transl. Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2010: p. 11. 

[4] Ibid.: p. 20.

[5] Fabian, Johannes. Time & the Other. How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006: p. xxxvii.

[6] See also: Contemporary&. ‘Decolonial Thinking with Rolando Vázquez. The End of the Contemporary?’ Contemporary&. <>.

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