New Starts

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.

After years of relying mainly on these social networking products to connect with others, we feel a pressing need to find avenues online other than facebook, instagram, or twitter and their opaque advertising-driven algorithmic labyrinths, where we can have better control and be in more direct and secure relation, making the conversations and building the capacities necessary for life in common – within and beyond these territorial confines. Having a website, albeit a simple one for now, is something that's been dreamed about and bounced around for a while, and the desire is for it to be that "virtual" place we've always mentioned, hosting ideas and material, opening up new paths for sharing. The physical space runs parallel to this, and though in-person interaction should not and cannot be replaced with the online, these are situations and tools with their place. We've been very fortunate to have been able to experiment with space and events in the past, but clearly the pandemic has shown how uncertain things can be, and just how ill-prepared we've been at resisting the curtailment of gathering and communality in mutually care-ful, creative, and generative ways, almost forgetting to live while facing the fear and punishment which has been so slyly conflated with very real sickness and death. It's stark how the regulatory grip of the state has tightened with such ease when considering the disappearance of live venues and the like, not to mention those activities that were never licensed and permitted to exist in the first place.

From reorganising the mutual aid initiative, to regrowing collective energies to host and care for the infoshop; from establishing space for meeting and finding each other, to the work of thinking and struggling together, and the remembering, archiving, and iterating upon of action, there is a lot to be done – a lot we want to do. Yet everyone is surely tired in one way or another. But what else is there? What is there for us in their new (same old) normal? Was it not a common story even before Covid, wage labour grinding us down and escapism being all we want to indulge in if we even had "free time"? Surely we need each other more than ever, to make the conditions for care and friendship that's sorely missing amidst the isolation, despair, and violence of this world. We'll be going slow, but with a consistency and commitment, we'll be going. Let's be patient with ourselves, with knowledge that there will be others still desiring, searching for, and joining in this journey.

Photo of the wares set up at the Queer Zine Room in Singapore Art Book Fair 2021, which is directly against a dark grey carpet-lined wall. In the bottom middle are three tiers of makeshift display shelving covered in black velvet cloth, sitting on that is an assortment of books and magazines from the library standing upright and stickers on display. On the wall above and to the left are a series of notice texts for the Queer Zine Library and wares mutual aid, which proceeds from donations were going to. To the right of that are our six colourful posters hung diagonally in a grid. Scattered between all these are various sticky notes, flyers, and other publications for reading.