A Letter from the Editor: ALIVE Issue 2

 In Culture, Feature

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of ‘posturing’—all the ways we ‘perform normalcy.’ I’ve been asking myself,
‘How do we contort our identities to fit in? How do we establish a deep sense of belonging in both the digital and
physical world?’” Detroit-based artist Ellen Rutt shares with me as we plan our collaboration on the fashion story in this issue highlighting her garment work.

On the road, immersed in the creative output, spaces and communities of the artists we cover, I find this question
is ever-present in my mind. It feels relevant to me in regards to ALIVE and also to this moment in which we live.
Should we posture and perform our curation and imagery to become Instagram famous? Should our photographs
reflect the latest trends? Isn’t Marrakesh more photogenic? Won’t celebrities sell more copies? And how does the lens this question is viewed through shift the answers across culture, class, media and from inside and outside the academy, the scene and the city?

Filled with doubt, I yet slip easily into my process of documentation. I ask myself, “Am I honoring the land that has
given us so much? Am I honoring the sacredness of these artist’s homes and lives?” I want to take care that something present in the images will express the days, years and hours that I know they have toiled in the physical space in which their vision becomes creation—and the emotional space where they struggled with their doubts, sought their joy and considered their practice.

In this issue, we share the ways in which these artists express their art and have designed their lives. Their work sustains us, and this work sustains us.

Cym Warkov feels grounded in a return to her roots. As she makes with clay, the weight of earth becomes deceptive, metamorphosed into gossamer light in her hands.

In poems and essays, Hanif Abdurraqib archives through cultural criticism that maps where we are, have been
and may go.

Molly Mitchell and Eggy Ding serve meals that nourish bodies, communities and themselves.

Painter Patrick Quarm examines his sense of hybrid identity and reveals our own.

Ellen Rutt’s improvisational mark making is both a record and a translation of our physical world. Using a language of color and shape, her explorations suggest alternate ways of engaging with identity and place.

At the Anderson Center, Stephanie Rogers honors an arts legacy with a thoughtful mission to promote equity
and access.

Join us at Playground Detroit on July 20 for “This Must Be The Place,” Ellen Rutt’s solo show during Detroit Art
Week. Maybe we’ll have a chance to meet and talk about these artists and questions.

Featured image courtesy of Attilio D’Agostino.

This story originally appeared in ALIVE Volume 18, Issue 2. The digital version is available now. You can also order a print copy or subscribe online.

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