This project for future children will arrive at us this summer. One or two last flashes of white, a dark turning over and then an electric jungle blue shooting through—trees or tubes, a print shop at night? the inside of this computer as it registers that last constellation of emails necessary to make the book, Bhanu Kapil’s prose document, come to nest here. (I cannot help but proceed now in questions—the curved space, my body crooked like a question mark, this is what sharing a preparatory/holding space—can this be an editor’s access to function?—has shaped for me. Book and body as interrogative elision, an opening to somewhere.)
For now, this recent interview Lisa Birman did with Bhanu for Trickhouse
I read this section of it and think of the research that Bhanu did on the wolfgirls book which started with closed eyes, a diary, a random volume beneath fingertips on the Naropa library shelf.
LB: You do a lot of research in your work, and I’m wondering, how do research and imagination inform each other in a work?
BK: Researching, you become the surface too. Your body becomes the receptor site to influences and relationships you couldn’t imagine before. In Chimp Haven or Berkeley National Laboratory or the jungles of the wolfgirls in Bengal, I collected the information that some aggregates share membranes and others have clearly defined membranes; I took notes on the exact blue of the jungle filmed at night, and then the green. I felt desire I didn’t know I had for the inhabitants of these other worlds. I saw that the garden for the Louisiana prison, which has a predominantly African-American population, abutted the fence of the colony of chimps, and that the HIV-infected chimps are free-roaming in a separate part of the woods. In the car driving home, or at night on the balcony of the jungle lodge, I wrote descriptions of the trees. I formulated new questions. And the questions carried me, they gave me passage, but they didn’t control the response of the work itself, which was the book. In this way, a book is formed from the strong desire I felt to go to those places, which my work had opened up as architectures or ecologies or hospitals. It’s formed from the risk and adventure, too, of going. Of documenting the corridor of the Institute of Health Sciences, the door of Dinesh Bhugra’s office, the lift, the London rooftops extending like a broken red crenellate across the East End as much as the subject area – Bhugra’s work on cross-cultural psychiatry – itself.
Read more at Trickhouse.
--Posted by Amber (originally at kelseyst.com blog.0