What is it? An abyss beyond the fullness of being, a something which tugs at knowledge and stretches it in all directions beyond itself? Or is it a force for change in politics, art and psychology, an imageless fecundity, or a final statement of annihilation? Why does it seem everywhere to be a presence in a cyclical return, but everywhere different in its particular immanence, texture, ambience and meaning? We can polish its reflective surface into a self-image, or smudge it into anonymity.
This issue of Drain calls for an exploration of black as a superordinate concept, a natural kind, a material, a force, a virtual reality, a place of rest, a place of beginning, a fear, a celebration. Can it be seen as a container of becoming? How are informe, bassesse, the abject, the subconscious, parasitic upon it? What is its relationship to space, time and form? How does it equivocally bring together both painterly flatness and depth, an abyss and a fullness?
Black is social and silent, human and inhuman. It rests the eye, turning it upon itself in introspection, plunging the soul into loneliness, yet provides cover for hidden touches, chiasms and communications. It provides us with the space to breathe, and beckons us to leap into its freedom with reckless abandon. It dissolves subjectivity, yet brings it back. How do art, film, photography, painting, theatre and poetry depend on it, as well as science? What is this thing called black, and how can we turn it into productive thought and practice?
IN THIS ISSUE