Editorial Note 

Barefoot Collective
23 February, 2023

Within contemporary communication there exists a tacit yet constant pressure to be transparent, clear-cut, calculated, straight-to-the-point, or digestible. But how is it possible to communicate particular frustrations and sensations unknown? How could we then translate things that we do not have the language for?

In “Performing Writing”, Della Pollock contests the contemporary obsession with clarity and retraces its history to the Eurocentric notion of “democracy.” During the Enlightenment, the language of science and efficacy constructed the system of values known today as Eurocentrism. In this worldview, democracy is equated with textual clarity in the name of accessibility. However, this means the dismissal of plurality - stifling contingencies, diversity, the imaginative, and the indigenous or alternative worldviews. It is an acceptance of mediocrity and unimaginative homogenization.

This approach to communication or writing fails to consider the diversity of the audience, ignoring political, historical, cultural specificities. We experience difficulties in translating or communicating various complexities when we are encouraged to communicate in a homogenized language that is in favor of clarity – one that flattens our relationship with language by subduing the possibilities of mediations and discussions.1 When writing with clarity, we write without our topographies and our bodies. Transparency takes away space for other ways of experiencing, particularly when spoken (or written) language falls short. Opacity then is an antithesis to the pressure of transparency; a disavowal to elitist democracy and 19th century Anglo-romantic tradition of denouncing opaque writings that do not contribute to immediate reality as futile and unserviceable. In other words, by choosing opacity  – an antonym to transparency  –   we wish to transform the word into a vehicle that dispatches us into the inbetween space of the critical and poetic language.

Our first issue of Barefoot journal enfolds the complexities that we experience as bodies with diverse backgrounds. This issue explores various themes under conditions of opacity: The everyday, the in-betweenness and liminality of conscious and unconsciousness, and poetic investigations.

“Notations” by Natsumi Sakai greets our issue with a contemplative landscape, confronting the contradictions and limitations of language as well as the impossibility of communication, traveling between the critical and the poetic as one.

With "I don't want to be reminded", we are joining four fragments of one's life: of the everyday, from the past and present. Anna Lesiczka introduces us to a reality, a view, a feeling, something fleeting.

She wants to be understood; in the act of killing, in the fear of gods, in the ambivalent love for her grandma. “Gecko” by Yanbing Wu contains a memory, spread out and investigated after years.

Questioning the contemporary lifestyle built atop of advancing technology, Mina Yee sighs with her text “A robot vacuum cleaner”, reflecting on the humdrums and frustrations within a highly capitalistic society where we all seem to not have enough time for ourselves anymore.

Through flashes of scenery, Aleksandra Komsta puts together “01”, a text that jumps in between a letter and a monologue. It is a gentle reminder of sensing and what appears to be gestural observations of the everyday that often remains overlooked.

Zeynep Yılmaz approaches with a rush of cognitive movement - “Absolute Clarity” is a destination that reveals itself in this current.

Kiara Mohamad’s “Untitled” is a walk through the body, a tunnel, choosing to stay with its seemingly stagnant state as she enters sensations unknown.

The ever-changing condition of the material world is described by Romana Klementisová through a record of her interaction with clay. “Disappearance of Matter” wishes to see a circular time, where every step is a process.

“Uncle Might Sing” by Bo Wielders takes us through a fictive landscape in the sea, raising questions and imagining the unknown that lurks beyond our knowledge. With this text, we are invited to imagine a life vastly different than our current ones.

“One day you’ll only speak to the bees”, a text by Maitiú Mac Cárthaigh, is a series of poems that run through the intersections of contemporary ecological urgencies, queerness, the self, and the mystic that resembles a letter from a farmer.

In “An Opaque Figure”, Matilde Bellomo explores the terrain of feminist ‘witchcraft’ in the arts by employing vivid storytelling that is informed by folklore along with academic writing, shifting between contemporary examples and the mysterious past.

A social critique by Yannis Androulakis, “documenta 14: A “Queer” Case of Hospitality”, drawing a diagram of the errant power dynamics behind the scenes of documenta 14, which perculiarily was held both in Greece and Kassel. The text is an excerpt taken from his bachelor thesis, focusing on the concepts of host, guest, and hospitality.

Finally, “Definition” by Alicja Mackiewicz shows precisely another definition. She prolongs the moment when we don't know by scrolling through Wikipedia, instead of getting any answer, we lose our consciousness.

And lastly, to end with a note: We are extremely thankful for the contribution of our wonderful external writers!

And we hope our readers will enjoy these writings as much as we did!


1 Della Pollock,  “Performing Writing”, in The Ends of Performance, eds. Peggy Phelan and Jill Lane (New York: New York University Press, [1995] 1998), 77.