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!
For our part, the library remains the base component, and the aim is to at least be consistent with that. It's made up of stuff, but isn't meant to be a warehouse for lifeless pretty objects on display, or offer just the appearance of “resistance”. They point to more, as catalyst, accompaniment, garnish, vessel… within themselves but also outwardly. Just take what praxis does with theory, or vice versa. It's important then that this stuff can inform more, to affect how we think and act and live, to help connect struggles, towards changing our social relations – as a social space.
It hasn't always been easy to facilitate this sort of thing and there's lots of personal obstacles like anxiety, depression, or lack of time and energy, to work at. In a way the space is as much about that – breaking, experimenting, and learning with encounters. It's also responding to a city where assembly is criminalised, where rage and hope is quelled, a city insulated and disconnected from so much, even more so with a pandemic amplifying the already isolating, violent facts of this world.
What other stuff can be here and point to fuller life? Maybe someone has things they've made, be it upcycled clothing, agitprop prints, interdependent friendships, food for nourishment, situation for joy, music for rest, cove for care, or soil for food. How might such practices meet, but importantly, be held to and in a shared emancipatory ethos?
In this sense could a space be segmented, yet entangled? Could it hold that which has been denied space? Could it show that there are other ways? We haven't been great at connecting with many existing “civil society” projects here, often frustrated by their disposition or alignments with the state and capital, but could there be more done with material consequences in mind while – not compromising but – making reminders and criticisms so that greater capacities can be grown, together?
Let this be an invitation, to share in this space on its last stretch, to sketch out some form of community, to perhaps commiserate and mourn, but also to dream of what could come next, and to have a hand in shaping it.
For each other, for another world.