Acts of Love, by speculative writer, artist, curator, and pleasure activist Ama Josephine Budge, is a project about gathering. Caring, cradling, affirming, archiving, holding. Holding space for. Holding time for. Holding testimony. Reclaiming anti-racist testimony from the position of violence towards a position of love.
Acts of Love consists of a growing collection of email correspondences from Black artists in Europe to art institutions and organisations regarding their care, safety, wellbeing, pay and equal working conditions. These correspondences take time, labour, care and commitment to write, to reiterate, to write again. To insist upon the humanity, permeability and tenderness of our art, our selves, and our descendents. These correspondences are often received as acts of violence, aggression, superiority, over-sensitivity, selfishness, ignorance, stupidity, unprofessionalism etc. Acts that harm the institution, organisation or indeed the organiser that receives them. These correspondences are Acts of Love, and I assert that the inability to receive them as such is an attempt to. wipe. us. out.
Acts of Love is also a process of conversations. Conversations between the artists and PUNOS, between the artists and her mentor, between the artist and her collaborators. Acts of Love is working toward a method that holds the artist in her gathering work, that works to resist re-traumatisation. It attempts to build something, slowly. To build time and capacity, to sure up the foundations, to minimise leakage. The leakage of energy, time and capacity into capitalism and white supremacy. In these conversations we will talk about storytelling as a pedagogical practice. We will talk together, without the institution in the room (even if it’s still in our heads), about vulnerability, fear and rage. We will talk about the importance of making demands, and the politics of pulling out. We may touch on reciprocal mothering, and we may speak about legacy. About the Black artists that will come after. What letters will they have to write?
By taking testimony in this way Acts of Love attempts to document that we were - are - here. That we have thought these things. Done these things. Loved in these complex, radical and resistant ways. That we have done so, often in isolation, yet also together.