A series that asks an array of writers and artists what they need to say to live.


Editorial Note

Prior to launching LIKE A FEVER, Asia Art Archive’s new online publishing platform, we began thinking about the stakes involved in the act of naming, and the struggle to articulate what remains inchoate.

We knew we weren’t alone:

• There was Miranda Fricker’s notion of “hermeneutical injustice” to think alongside,

• Trinh T. Minh-ha’s distinction between “speaking nearby” as opposed to “speaking for/about,”

• Derrida’s identification of naming as “originary violence,”

• Kimmerer’s “grammar of animacy” as elucidated by Larissa Pham,

• etc. etc. etc.

But, really, it was Audre Lorde’s oft-cited passage in The Cancer Journals that we kept returning to:

What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?

We invited an array of writers and artists to take these lines of enquiry as a prompt, a starting point, and to respond in whatever style or format they preferred. Many responded in essayistic or lyrical prose, though we also received poetry, an audio essay, and an artist’s rendering of census data.

What emerged were shared and compelling threads running through all of the pieces, notwithstanding their disparate styles, registers, and forms—a colloquy rather than a cacophony. We hope their words will help sharpen, deepen, and clarify your own.

—The Editors (Paul C. Fermin, Koel Chu, Andrea Chu)



Banner and cover illustrations: Jocelin Kee.