Kwan Queenie Li (SMACT ’22) has been awarded the 1st place Enterprise Poets Prize for Imagining a Future, one of the Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes from the MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing Program. For this particular award essays, short stories, or poems, that convincingly imagine a future human enterprise, are eligible. The word enterprise is used in the broadest possible sense to cover products, processes, companies, industries, forms of government, social movements, artistic forms – any human endeavor.
Worlds that They Edge (2020)
Worlds that They Edge is an essay related to an ongoing photographic archive of urban weeds that the artist has been building over years. The archive evolves together with the artist’s rootless roaming across territories, especially at times when being at home could be a traumatic experience. The development of the work follows a question, ‘why would a “weed” be defined as a “weed,” but not a “plant?”’
“They stand still at the edge of time, in plain sight. Their silent composure is contested against the cacophony of history. In alternative worlds that they etch, we carefully approach through an outdoor choreography that weaves fragmented perspectives, that dares you to bow in front of a dichotomy between nature and culture, to be transported into an unknown territory freely, and unconditionally.
“When ontology is gravitated towards text but mediated through image, perhaps we could think through things, as much as working through things. The latter stands as a temptation; the former is yet a necessity of revival. In every shivering moment I return to weeds, an ongoing that conjure up a suspension in our daily spectacle, probing into frozen frames, long exposure, single and multiple temporalities. Looking at weeds through looping, zooming, scaling, pacing and expediting is, to me, a rhetoric of contemporary resurrection.”
Listen to Queenie’s spoken word piece in her own voice: