brontë velez on The Necessity of Beauty ⌠PART 2⌡ /140
This week, in Part Two of our episode with brontë velez, we dive into the capacity for pleasure amidst times of great uncertainty and historical oppression. What does “pleasure in the apocalypse” mean? How might this conversation take on different meanings depending on whether we are talking about climate change as an abstraction versus the current lived experience of planetary uncertainty? As brontë defines it, pleasure is what makes us come alive, so how can we create a culture that is deeply attuned to our senses and directs our desire towards Earth and each other? By feeding our senses, how might we confront the isolation and industrialization of our bodies, while acknowledging the limitations of grief in that “suffering is not accountable to the Earth.”
brontë velez (they/them) is guided by the call that “black wellness is the antithesis of state violence” (Mark Anthony Johnson). a black-latinx transdisciplinary artist and designer, they are currently moved and paused by the questions, “how can we allow as much room for god to flow through and between us as possible? what affirms the god of and between us? what is in the way? how can we decompose what interrupts our proximity to divinity? what ways can black feminist placemaking rooted in commemorative justice promote the memory of god, which is to say, love and freedom between us?”
they relate to god as the moments of divine spacetime that remind us we are not separate, the moments that re-belong us to the earth. they encounter these questions in public theology, black prophetic tradition & environmental justice through their eco-social art praxis, serving as creative director for Lead to Life design collaborative, media director for Oakland-rooted farm and nursery Planting Justice, and quotidian black queer life ever-committed to humor & liberation, ever-marked by grief at the distance made between us and all of life.
Part Two of brontë and Ayana’s ripe conversation explores topics including appropriating propaganda and memetics, reorienting ourselves away from the spectacle of terror, tending to erotic energy and sensual spaces, and the nuances around beauty and aesthetics in dominant culture. In closing, we are asked to assess our capacity and privilege and then grow ourselves to create pleasurable pathways, ensure accessibility to embodiment, and foster environments where people are in their senses.
♫ Music by Jennifer Johns and members of the Thrive Choir and Jiordi Rosales on cello, recorded at the 2019 Lead to Life Oakland ceremony, a ceremony that melted weapons into the constellations above Oscar Grant the evening he was murdered. The event closed the annual Reclaim King’s Radical Legacy March, hosted by the Anti Police-Terror Project.
Additional ♫ Music by Jeremy Harris
♦ ACTION POINTS ♦
About Our Podcast…
At For The Wild, we discuss the critical ideas of our time and parlay them into action for the defense and regeneration of natural communities. Key topics include the rediscovery of wild nature, ecological renewal and resistance, and healing from the trauma of individualistic society. We will travel deep into ancient forests, align with the struggles and ways of Earth-based people, and rekindle the mysteries of intuition. We will join today’s brightest visionaries in this momentous work of reimagining a world where humanity can find its way back into the web of life.