“There’s this looping back and forward that is very much part of human experience. There is psychic comfort in linearity; it makes us feel like we’ve harnessed the world, that we’ve got control over the world. Linearity makes it possible for one to get caught up in a sense of inevitable social, political progress. In the moment we are living in now, I think part of the trauma of living under the raw racism, misogyny, and xenophobia of the Trump era derives from feelings of stalled progress and doused expectations. From an overinvestment in a progress narrative—particularly with regards to racial politics, issues of gender equality and equity—without sufficient attention to the fact that there’s the falling backward as much as there are leaps forward, and understanding that that is an inevitable part of the social dynamic. The great mythos of American life is the idea that we’re always improving, always moving forward. And the great story of science and technology is that it is also always leaping forward to good ends. To my mind, this political moment should be one of humility, of paying attention to looping back, and of acknowledging that sometimes looping back means failure, means going back to the woodshed, means throwing out what we thought we knew and thinking again.”
- Alondra Nelson, in “An Interview with Alondra Nelson” at The Believer Magazine (January 2020). My highlight.