Wall painting from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, ca. 50–40 B.C. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Wall painting from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, ca. 50–40 B.C. Source: Wikimedia Commons

DEADLINE: 7 JUNE 2024, 11:59PM CET.

We want to expand the style and affect of “institutional critique.” Insofar as the genocidal violence of Zionism and Western imperialism illustrates so glaringly the failure of institutions that persist on the terms of silence and neutrality, is the repair of such institutions a sober horizon, or a morally adequate response? There is no neutral ground; mutatis mutandi.

We ask, then, what are the forms that can reckon with the rift exposed on the cultural front—against the passivity and philistinism of the spectator and toward a feedback between form and content? Walter Benjamin’s opening fragment in One Way Street (1928) articulates these stakes, describing the relationship between action and writing.

This Open Call draws on the historical role of artists and writers at this juncture. We are particularly interested in annotations, communiqués, reports, plays, poetry. Above all, we are interested in writing that thinks within its time—haunted by the limits and struggles of the real, and seeking new forms to accommodate it.

Bertolt Brecht lived in Los Angeles, in exile, from 1941 until 1947; in 1945, he began adapting The Communist Manifesto (1848) into hexameter verse, based on Lucretius’ De rerum natura (1473 c.). To make sense of the absence of leftist rebellion as Hitler fell, Brecht concluded that the German working class had forgotten Marxism. Brecht’s manifesto was an intervention—how could memory be re-activated; a relation de-automated? With Brecht’s unrealized project in mind, we propose that the manifesto is a poem, Palestinian resistance is a poem, the student uprising a poem. With what lexicon can we describe, echo, and grasp it?

We are inviting pitches that respond to this Open Call. Four writers will be commissioned to work with Guest Editor, Sanja Grozdanić, to produce one 1000 word text each, for $500 AUD.

The successful candidates will be selected by Sanja Grozdanić with Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung. Please ensure that you familiarize yourself with the work on Decolonial Hacker, as well as the “hacking” dimension of the project through downloading the extension for Google Chrome / Firefox before submitting your application.

Please email applications as a single PDF, including a pitch of no more than 350 words, CV of no more than two pages, and two writing samples up to 1200 words each, to eugene@decolonialhacker.org.

Please format the name of your PDF as ‘LastName_FirstName_OpenCall2024’.

Open Call
16 May 2024
Submissions by Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung, Sanja Grozdanić

Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung is a writer, cultural worker, and founding editor of Decolonial Hacker. In 2023, he was the Asymmetry Curatorial Fellow at Whitechapel Gallery, London, where he curated the exhibition Anna Mendelssohn: Speak, Poetess. Eugene has been a curator-in-residence at Delfina Foundation, and was previously part of the curatorial and public program teams at the Julia Stoschek Foundation and documenta fifteen, respectively. In 2021, he won the International Award for Art Criticism (IAAC). Eugene holds degrees in art history, gender studies, and law from the University of Sydney.

Sanja Grozdanić is a writer living in Berlin. Across her interdisciplinary practice, she asks how events can be contested, mourned, and remembered. Her work is particularly attentive to the slippages between public and private grief, anxiety, and imagination. Currently, she is working on a film adaptation of her 2021-24 theater performance with Bassem Saad, Permanent Trespass. Previously, she has been a fellow at La Becque and LIVE WORKS. Her writing appears in Decolonial Hacker, The White Review, The Griffith Review, Close Distance, and Pilot Press, among other publications.