With such stubborn adherence to so-called “justice” and “peace”, they've killed another man. The fifth in four months. There's just grief and anger, which reinforce further how we must move past (think past, plan past, make past) the nation state and capital for other, better ways of collective life. On the housing blocks, council-installed flags line the corridors pretending everything's fine.
[Originally published as a series of slides on instagram, we reproduce it here verbatim, each image slide accompanied by transcribed text, with image descriptions at the end of the post.]
A quick and short post, sharing some of the notes visitors left for us and each other before we closed the library, and also to say:
Just in time, we made it, we've found a new home!
We've been resting, feeling out this space, understanding its new surroundings, and are excited to get it ready to welcome visitors again.
[Originally published as a series of slides on instagram, we reproduce it here verbatim, each image slide accompanied by transcribed texts, with image descriptions at the end of the post.]
As with searching for a new space, this has been another big step to take. Between that, choosing and learning the platform, life and work, and everything urgent or distracting in this broken burning world, it's taken longer than expected to get things ready.
For four years, wares has been a self-funded project, its physical site afforded by larger creative groups sharing most of the heavy burden of rent. Such arrangements are now past and has been difficult to find again, perhaps a symptom of the times, or just obscured by this rushed situation we didn't choose.
While we have thought of alternatives to getting a new space, they still need major reorientation and will dampen momentum and desires for sure. It's been difficult to know truly whether such a space is needed and wanted by community, if only because this “community” hasn't quite come into form yet – and even if in our guts and hearts, through what we've experienced here and elsewhere with each other, or from what dozens of you have said while visiting over these past weeks, it is something we want – and want to share with more.
Bad news hits hard. About a week after announcing that we're open again, we heard from the landlord that they would not be putting the space back up for rent. Somehow, after four years here we didn't expect that this might happen. Perhaps complacently, continuance was assumed to be a done deal, with friction more likely to be with our co-tenants. Yes, probably rent negotiations, but not an outright non-renewal of the lease, and with such short notice too.
It's upsetting to say the least, if also absurdly ironic after that look back on the work and recovery of the last year. Indeed facing the dilemma of plans in crisis normal, do you laugh or cry? But isn't that just the reality of things, power held over us by those who get to decide, regardless of how “nice” they may be? As we wrote in December, along with preparing for a whole bunch of other desires, finding a more accessible site and crowdfunding were already in the plans, we just have to push them to the fore now.
The infoshop remains open, but sadly only till the end of March. Following from the last post, a new appointment form is now up (also on linktree) for both library visits and space bookings. Hours are on the website and instagram story highlights. Please use the space. We will try our best to fill as many dates as possible, and hope to see you around this last month.
The stakes are different going forward, ripe for reorientation. If you believe in this project and what potentials space can cultivate, we want to hear and honour your ideas:
What do you need or want in a space? What could help your organising or social life? What would make you want to be around more? Do you want to help fund a new space, or to contribute in other ways? Do you have a project that needs space? How far are you willing to travel, if a desired space and community can meet you there? Share your thoughts by email, when you visit, or with a comment or DM on instagram.
In the coming week(s) we will be launching a Patreon, which would help gauge what sort of recurring support is possible, and guide the search for a new place to rent. If you have any leads, or want to share a space, or even host us, your help would be greatly appreciated!
Looking back through the years to when this started, it can be surprising just how much has changed, even in the gap of more than a year where nothing was supposedly happening. Of course, life goes on, it has to. Nothing is static. Breaths taken at rest still has air flowing; still are connected to entire worlds.
These months were given to the slow steps of moving books, repairing a flaking ceiling, rearranging furniture, moving and almost completely re-shelving those books, keeping plants watered, and rethinking the project and how it is presented. Still with full awareness of ongoing crisis normal, its violent push to "reopen", what should this mean amidst it all?
This small thing has evolved across the time, addresses, and rooms it has occupied, but it has always gestured towards more than what appears on the surface. Beginning as something personal, it was a way to connect, always attempting to grow, to change, always becoming. There's nothing “professional” here, just inspiration, desires, and opportunities meeting and pursued as experiments. Possibility is not static: always adjusted, added onto, subtracted from, put on pause, or repositioned – jostling with fear, anxiety, energy, and will of the individual and collective alike. And although a library, wares has never been just about books and zines, some category of form like “print” or action like “reading”. Thus an infoshop, concerned with content and practice too. What are they saying, how are we reading (listening; feeling)? How do we act with the ideas that move us to feel (even frustration), in the here and now? Can we find others acting and feeling along similar lines and what might we make (write, grow, fight, dismantle, care) together?
There's more work to be done, but let's call this open. Yes, friends, we're open again! Visits are appointment only, just email or instagram DM us for now to arrange a day. The plan is for hours to be announced weekly like in the past, coupled to a registration form for visits and to book space for use, updates will come in due time. We ask that you read and understand our community principles and pandemic measures, and hope to see you around soon!
How have you been?
It's taken a while to get back to this. This past year and a half has been a lot, with so much being so overwhelming, and still it piles on – anxieties sustained, isolation intensified, precarity multiplied, segregations reinforced, complacency entrenched, struggles pacified, horizons obscured… all entangled between infinitely scrolling news cycles of inescapable doom, rehashed political theatre, and spectacular ecological catastrophe. None of this needs reminding, and yet at the same time, it all seems so easily hidden from view as things return to normal.
If you haven't been able to be present, to be “of value”, to “contribute”, to either “resist” nor “see the positive”, to know and speak and be heard amidst all this, you're most surely not alone. Even this has taken months to write. An even longer journey to realise: It's alright. You're enough.
There is no denying the palpable feeling of fatigue and grief all around, a feedback loop of powerlessness that may have us each turning to distractions while toiling, waiting for things to get… better. Those of us who can anyway.
Help and empathy run up against the limits of uncaring structures. It almost seems like the closest thing desirable and imaginable is indeed “return” to familiarity which some would call “normal” – even if normal was always twisted, punishing, and blanketed by atomised hopelessness. And as if the lasting effects of living through all this could simply be brushed off later, always later, as the “new” normal they decided on is once again forcefully instituted from the top down.
What is or should normal be? Could its understanding and experience still be changed now, be dissolved into myriad divergences, when it's easier than ever to conflate nation-state, capital, and authority with expertise, ability, and possibility? Does the urgency for response to climate crisis make it seem like these systems of rule could magically start working differently? When they haven’t for the crises normal of pandemic or everyday harms? How could we possibly break expectations of peace, joy, and comfort away from this colonialist reality moulded by extraction and death? What is “safety” predicated on the border, on exclusion, on hierarchy, but violence?
Hello, and welcome, we hope everyone's been as well as can be through these long months of the (first) plague year. We had this blog registered some time ago but we're just now getting to doing something with it, in part because we had contributed some materials to the library section of the Queer Zine Room at SGABF in March to help raise funds (wonderfully put together by the folks of Queer Zinefest Singapore), and had then updated our presence a little with changes in social media handles (now @waresinfoshop across the main three) and making public this site, so why not add a short post to properly mark a beginning.