Letter from the Editors

A year ago, we asked what it means to halt. We wondered if the concept of halting could be turned into a useful form of resistance or if it could provide some framework to cope with or understand our present moment. Then 2020 happened; the context of “halt” changed dramatically. Around middle school, we learn about the relationship between speed, time, and distance: d = r * t. We learn to understand speed through this relation. How far will we go in how much time? How long will it take to go X distance? Now, however, it feels as though time has lost all sense. It has fallen apart, a day takes an eternity, but a month passes in an instant. As for distance, we only have one unit of measure for that left, somewhere between 6 feet and 2 meters, and this measure is just to remind us of a space not to cross, a negatively defined measure of “away from.” So all we have left is speed. Pure intensive speed, unbound from distance, freed from time, an intensive quality that can only be understood relative to itself, faster-than, slower-than. Going nowhere and out of time, speed is all that remains.

The responses to our call, and its post-covid update, were overwhelming and stunning. Through a variety of media and styles, the artists and authors in this issue lay bare what is lost through the entwined processes of acceleration, globalization, and industrialization and suggest possibilities for resistance; they highlight how moving quickly and without attention transforms habits and default settings into ideology. Shot through most of the works is a concern with strange, beautiful, and often troubling relationships between our bodies, our selves, and technology, and media; from images that demand attention, to a beautiful misappropriation of machine vision, to a post-corporeal-ai-driven future, to the everydayness of screen-driven interactions.

Together these works form an image of the present, not as a deep-fake photoshopped collage, but as if through saccades, as an unmistakable awareness of what is and what can be.

— The Editors