[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.
To carry on is a sobering, grounding commitment. To say nothing of this land ruled by property, profit, and policing, fear and uncertainty have been big obstacles to try and overcome, but we are convinced that if we can manage to fund this space from collective, shared effort, then that itself would be laying the foundations for more; for possibility; for autonomy.
Friends, comrades, fellow travellers, if you have the means to do so, we're asking for your support on this journey. Our goal of S$600 a month is based on two thirds to half the estimated cost of renting a suitable space. If it happens that we cannot find one, or if there isn't enough support at this time, this will be used to fund storage, and very likely also go to mutual aid work.
Included here are excerpts from the Patreon's introduction, as well as our first post on there in which we address practical concerns, thoughts and processes, and alternative plans.
Thank you so much for any support you can share, including spreading the word, we hope we can meet again soon!
Excerpts from patreon.com/wares:
“Your support will help fund and realise this dream for a different kind of space, here and now – one that isn't shaped by consuming some product or experience that tells us all is well, instead centring encounters and how we are to relate with each other through radical care and commons.
Hostile circumstances have made meeting ever more difficult, but we believe it is necessary to create avenues to still find, be, and conspire with each other against isolation and fatigue, such that fragmented worlds can come into contact, to bridge affinities and share dreams across adversity and joy, to form a basis for material solidarities, towards the worlds we'd like to manifest.”
“We aim to continue offering a space for groups that need somewhere to meet, organise, or present, and folks who need a place to rest, study, hide, work, hang out, or be energised and inspired. It is also important that direct, relational mutual aid for community needs is interwoven and supported as a practice within what we do. Perhaps collective research, writing, publishing, printing, or all manner of communal creation may also sprout from where people, skills, and passions meet.”
“It's understandable that some may think asking for contributions to this project distracts from helping the many people who need monetary support. That's not something we can argue against, except to try building something better with knowledge that these situations are not mutually exclusive, that scarcity and competition are features of the terrible systems we live under forcing us into false choices. Again, there is no obligation to give us anything.”
“Our limited experiences in direct assistance has taught us that there's a great need to build capacities for supporting one another beyond a charity framework, agitating for systemic change as well – this is true in practically all facets of emancipatory "activism" here today, but especially when facing the violence of racial carceral capitalism. Many of us who got involved in mutual aid work over the past two years are exhausted and burnt out, partly because we lack these collective capacities and powerlessness remains lodged in our fragmented and remote networks. Addressing such needs and gaps is something we have in mind with a space – could it let worlds meet, could it nourish, could it heal? That's not to say we will succeed, but it is a commitment to what we believe in. The point isn't to stand apart from this world, seeking an outside, but to be situated in and sensitive to it, not shying away from the complexity of people's lives, which is necessarily our reality too.”
“Could this kind of an autonomous, anti-authoritarian space exist here, helping build forms of life we can hold in common, an otherwise to the domination of this world held up by its racist, ableist, cishetero-patriarchal, colonialist, militarist, extractive, capitalist totalities?
How would such a space and its inhabitants interact with and contribute to existing communities? Could it demonstrate and transform potentials, inspire others to do similar, better, different, and germinate more in a constellation of connected efforts? In what ways could these questions be sustainably explored, not to continue indefinitely for its own sake, but such that paths to other, liberatory, queer, ecological, destituent, liveable futures may be illuminated?”
[Image descriptions: 10 square slides, the first slide has the title “We’ve got a Patreon up and running!” in large serif font centre of frame, set in an abstract mix of colours including dark green, pink, and orange, blue, including bits of a photograph peeking through. This sits over a beige-green colourised background photo of shelves of books, with orange brush wisps swirling around the frame. The next 9 slides have off-white text on darker colourful backgrounds, mostly made up of photos from the library and common space, many of them close ups or in shallow focus.
2: Back of the library room, unfocused, with large green leaves prominent.
3: Closeup of monstera leaves against an orange glow in background.
4: A view through windows from the corridor, mostly of green leaves, residential flats are reflected in the glass, unfocused, larger text reads “To carry on is a sobering, grounding commitment.”
5: Peeking through stems of the monstera, a pink floral banner and a lit orange bulb are behind it, in black ink it reads “wares” prominently, and in smaller text, “infoshop. library. gathering”. This slide’s text has emphasis on the $600 goal of the Patreon.
6: An upward-angled view towards the windows, shelves are filled with books and there are plants on top of them. In the foreground are zines displayed standing vertically, including “Crowned Plague” by Phil Neel, crimethinc’s zine on Ukraine, and a “Free Palestine” flyer from Institute of Barbarian Books depicting a drawing of a tree growing through a tank.
7: Blurry photo of a shelf of books, a segment of the trans flag can be seen, excerpts begin here.
8: Blurry photo from a workshop with Denpasar Kolektif.
9: Blurry photo from Against the Disquiet ambient music quiet reading sessions, the floor is covered with mats, and two barefooted sitting people can roughly be made out, one with a guitar, one with a book.
10: Shallow focus photo of a display shelf in the entrance hallway, various publications are on it.]
[Typefaces used include Mazius Review, Apfel Grotezk, and Ortica from Collletttivo]