My bed is also the new plantation

iki yos piña narváez funes

“we swear to destroy the white and all that they possess”1

Stolen time and stolen life is a practice of expropriation with which us black lives and indigenous lives deal. who gives us back the time stolen by white supremacy and cis-hetero-chrono-normativity? who gives us back the time of not having been with our grandmothers? who gives us back the time handed to white supremacy? who gives us back the sleep, the rest or the lullabies not heard of our black/indigenous mothers who were at the service of the whites?

They are the owners of almost everything, except our fugitivity and our telepathy. There is an ontological relation between whiteness and ownership. Ownership of our bodies, ownership of our times, of our territories. This relation between whiteness and ownership is constantly reactualized. In our plantation memories, of the black caribbean, palenquera zones and zones of cumbes: “all source of enrichment is suspect of coming from zombie trade2, just like the prosperity of the plantation came from slave supplies of black traffic”3.

Being zombie has a colonial anchorage and an anchorage of pain. It is a metaphor between the social death in which we black/indigenous/sexual dissident migrant bodies find ourselves and the ancestral meaning within plantation narratives, which describe the zombie as that metaphysical state between life and death which has a colonial connection with sugar cane exploitation camps in some zones of the black caribbean. It’s a sort of “lethargic” state that enslaved people entered when being submitted to the machinery of the trade of black bodies and to the machinery of accelerated productivity. Then, yesterday, in the here and in the now and in the future implies returning always to that past of pain of the zombiefication of our lives in these new plantations. In consequence there aren’t material conditions in the comfortability of the white body without the exploitation of black bodies, indigenous bodies, subordinate bodies in the structure of social stratification with colonial anchorage.

zombiefication: technique for the governance of bodies that sustains the economic order of the neo plantation

My bed is the space for rest and also the place where I “unconsciously” produce for the plantation4. It is the plantation in the dreamworld. I try for my dreams not to be captured by owners/curators, as ideas, images. But sometimes it’s impossible. The metaphysical plantation is structured so that whatever we produce there is also plundered.

Supposedly with covid-19 the world stopped. Confinement meant the enclosure of those who have the possibilities of mobility through public space, mobility around the world, without being policed. Confinement for whites and european citizens meant the activation of all their technologies of existence and infrastructures of sustainability of their own white lives, heirs of colonial exploitation: grants, savings, familial networks and even access to all the benefits of the european welfare state which was built with black and indigenous blood. Confinement for white artists/curators consisted in a space of ease, of temporal surplus to create, to think their own existence, apply for artist residencies and devise projects of aesthetization of the pandemic. A pandemic that was born in 1492 and which they themselves, whites cannot see that their lives have been beneficiaries of it.

For me, confinement meant staying in the plantation. Staying in bed producing from orgasms to placebo-texts for white supremacy. In this sense, I feel afropessimism as a place of resistance. There isn’t an outside of the plantation. So my maroon existence is in the underline of humanity and with the beautiful pacts with death and the blessings of Oxalá. A resistance from the flight of trans/transvestite dreams, with anticolonial fantasies and from that flight so much tiredness remains and so much panting breathing and with this energy “the deadline is getting closer”.

I do not fear the lack of air because I have always live with little air. I have always lived with asthma. I fear more the wear of the body and of my mind due to this reconfiguration of the plantation in times of covid-19. I fear the intromission of the master in my dreams to involve me in the regime of constant productivity. I fear the happiness of white supremacy and their capitalising on our beautiful sadness. I fear the idea of the knife of the deadline: the deadline for delivery, the deadline to send transatlantic money, the deadline to pay “the room of one’s own”.

I began this text quoting this beautiful phrase “we swear to destroy the white and all that they possess”5. And I understand that it is a constant relationship of war, of pain and tension where we, some more than others, interfere in these “mathematics of black lives” precarious in the plantation. I understand that the myth of zombiefication is temporally resized in these new artistic machineries of production. In the new plantations that end up being our own domestic spaces rented out to the “owners of the earth”. Sometimes this place of non existence in the plane of humanity, the dehumanization of our bodies in the street and in bed, implies negotiating our existence with humanity that wants to disappear us and that negotiation implies internalizing anti blackness elements in our own existence. Reclaiming the notion of humanity is reclaiming an anti blackness, anti indigenous world.

“if blackness originates and emerges in violence and death, black futures are foreclosed by the dead and dying asterisks. And if the dead and dying are the archival and asterisked cosmogonies of blackness, within our present system of knowledge—a system, to paraphrase Frantz Fanon, where the subhuman is invited to become human on terms that require anti-black sentiment—scraps and bits of black life and death and narrative are guaranteed to move toward, to progress into, unlivingness and anti-blackness”6.

  1. Haitian Fight song. in: Fred Moten, Stolen Life. Duke University press. Durham and London 2018. 

  2. The word Zombie has different etymologies: It comes from Bantu language, from the Congolese “nsoumbi” (devil) or “mvumbi” (individual in a cataleptic state), or from the Angolan “Zumbi”, ghost. See J Kerboull, Le Vadou, magic ou religion? p. 273 en: Ascencio, Michaelle (2007) 

  3. Ver (Hurbon, L (1988) en: Ascencio, Michaelle (2007). Alfred Métraux (1958) 

  4. When writing this text, the reflections of Jota Mombaça on the cognitive plantation are present. 

  5. Haitian Fight song. in: Fred Moten, Stolen Life. Duke University press. Durham and London 2018. 

  6. This quote is thanks to sister Jannia Gómez González. I am grateful for your listening and affect from the colombian black caribbean. Thank you for sharing your time and this reading of Katherine McKittrick (2014) Mathematics Black Life, The Black Scholar, 44:3, 16-28, DOI: 10.1080/00064246.2014.11413684 

iki yos piña narváez funes. Afro-descendant, trans-frontier artist. Anti-racist activist, performer and queer drawer. They posses studies on Sociology from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and a Master on Sociology of Sciences from the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas. They also studied at the Programa de Estudios Independientes (PEI), at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (MACBA) between 2014-2015. They has developed a series of workshops and activities around anti-colonial and popular education, as a few more focused on art practices within racialized communities. They is part of the research and political-artistic activism collective, Ayllu, with whom they has participated on the design of the Programa Orientado a la Prácticas Subalternas (P.O.P.S), a program that became part of the Matadero Estudios Críticos, at the Centro de Creación Contemporánea Matadero Madrid. They was part of the exhibition “Devuélvannos el oro” at Matadero Madrid on 2018; “Todos los tonos de la rabia” at the MUSCAC in León, España. They has been part of different collective publications that incorporate discourses related to a critic to whiteness, colonialism and sexual and gender dissidence through their texts: “No soy queer soy negrx”, and the book, “No existe sexo si racialización” published on 2017, as well as, “Este cuerpx otrx.” as part of “Inflexión marica. Escrituras del descalabro gay en América Latina” from (2018); “No son 50, son 500 años de resistencia. 10 años de Migrantes Transgresorxs” published on 2019. Along with Ayllu collective, they is part of the Sydney’s Bienal 2020 artist selection, and along with Jota Mombaça they have obtained the Pernod Ricard 2020 Fellowship Grant. Was invitaded with Ayllu Collective to kochi Biennale (India 2020).