For years, Emily Dickinson had been sitting alone in her room, watching the world outside through the window. Taking notes, writing beautiful lines. Words about trees and flowers, rain and the wind, death and living. Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was an American poet who spent most of her adult life confined to her house and it seems also for long periods staying in her bedroom. All but four of her over 1800 poems were published posthumously when they had been found by her relatives among her belongings. Who was she writing to? Why did she write?
… we, who are not of the desert though we live in it, are able to transform it into a human world… precisely because we suffer under the desert conditions we are still human and still intact; the danger lies in becoming true inhabitants of the desert and feeling at home in it… (Arendt, 1955: 201)
Thank you for being a part of ephemera: theory & politics in organization. You are what makes ephemera a unique journal: a meeting point of scholarly disciplines, a home for emerging ideas that push forward and transform these disciplines, and a community in which past, present and future political questions can be addressed and acted upon. In a time characterized by distraction and productivity, choosing to spend your time reading this journal is the most precious gift we could ever hope to receive.
We live in a world of confounded languages, differing cultures and polarised worldviews; a world where we find it very hard to understand each other, not least because of the language differences between us and the language-related prejudices we sometimes are not even aware of. Whilst accepting this and navigating life in this world has not come easily to me, there has been one space in which I always felt that we shared the same ‘language’, the same universe of values and the same affective responses to what was happening around us.
Music, desire and affective community organizing for repair: Note for the piece ‘Le désir est un exil, le désir est un désert…’
For L. & M.
Desire is an exile, desire is a desert ...
Never an individual exile, never a personal desert,
but a collective exile and a collective desert.
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (1972: 452)
During an interview about how he manages data quality when disaster information comes from a range of sources in a variety of formats, an experienced police chief from the UK offered up this statement:
I’ll be very reluctant on an anonymous call from someone who didn’t want to tell you anything to jump straight to that action point. It comes back to developing your intelligence first. (Police Chief, UK in May 2015)
Starting with the financial crisis of 2007/2008 and subsequent global recession, there has been a sudden rise of collaborative, shared working spaces – so called coworking spaces – in cities worldwide. Deskmag, an online journal for coworking, claims that there were more than 2500 spaces around the world by the end of 2012. Their number has grown significantly from 730 reported coworking spaces in February 2011. In Berlin alone, there are now over 70 coworking spaces, out of 230 in Germany (Deskmag, 2013b).
Saving time, saving money, saving the planet, ‘one gift at a time’: A practice-centred exploration of free online reuse exchange
Last week a man in a hatchback came to collect a big, half-broken ‘four-by-twelve’ speaker cabinet that, for the past five years, had served as a makeshift shelf for our recycling boxes. It was a relief to see it go, at last replaced by a more effective storage solution, but loading it out brought back unexpectedly fond memories: years spent lugging the thing in and out of pubs, clubs and community centres; up and down stairs, service lifts, fire escapes; round and round motorways and ring roads.
David Graeber’s 2011 book, Debt: The first 5000 years, has received a great deal of attention in academic, activist, and popular media venues (see Hann, 2012; Kear, 2011; Luban, 2012; Meaney, 2011).* Graeber himself has been credited as instigator and theorist of the Occupy movement (Meaney, 2011); and one of the central goals of Graeber’s book – a crossover book intended for a broad readership – is clearly to support detachment from the sense of moral obligation too many people feel to pay financial de