continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 2.3 / 2012: 182–185

Introducing drift, a special issue of continent.

Berit Soli-Holt, April Vannini, Jeremy Fernando

Two continents. Three countries. Mountains, archipelago, a little red dot & more to come.

BERIT SOLI-HOLT (Editor): When I think of introductory material, I think of that Derrida documentary when he is asked about what he would like to know about other philosophers. He simply states: their love life.

APRIL VANNINI (Editor): And as far as introductions go, I think Derrida brought forth a fruitful discussion on philosophy and thinking with this statement. First, he allows philosophy to open up the personal and second, the ability to conjure the notion of thinking in relation. After all, love lives are spawned from relations, and such are philosophical encounters—the co-emergence of thought and affect. This brings us to discuss the concept of the special issue of continent. called drift.

From the Statement of Intent:

The discussion that has become drift, a special issue of continent. began in the glow of a bonfire beside a lake near the Thousand Islands of Ontario when co-founders April and Berit came across a conception of a journal that would decline to follow traditional models of invitation and editorship, instead following a generated discourse through relational means. Shedding preemptive articulation of expected outcome and cohesion, we hope to light a fuse of chain interactions with each contributor active in authorial, editorial, and curatorial roles. drift seeks to allow the framing mechanism to choose itself, to find where something can flow or emerge in relation to a series of participants. By setting out a thread of thought to work its own way through writers and artists of various locations, drift operates through links, breaks, pauses, new directions, unintended consequences, twists, holes, bridges. We are attempting to give the scene for an emergence and what can become conceivable when given the opportunity to create chains of thought—linking, welding, fusing, looping, stitching. We hope to explore what is attainable when scholarly/artistic relationships transverse on their own terms instead of articulated by an institutional environment.

JEREMY FERNANDO (Guest Editor): I think he was actually more interested in their sex lives. Though at the same time completely refusing to discuss, disclose, his own: I found it rather touching that he blushes whenever speaking of his life with Marguerite. So perhaps in this sense it is very apt to speak of it in terms of love; and the secret that is in each love: that even though it is a relationality between, there are parts of it that remain hidden, not just from everyone else, but even those in that relation itself.

What the editors intend to ^do^ to impart this conceptualization is to provide a framework through the choice of a theme and by minimal standardization of form and content guidelines. As initial instigator, each editor will send their contribution to the issue to a fellow colleague, thinker, artist, friend with the invitation to send (via post) the accruing materials to another possible contributor. In this, we hope to engage with many individuals on ideas surrounding a specific theme determined but not limited by the editors of the drift. The end result will take the form of whatever is at hand (as materials can only stay with each contributor for two weeks) and whomever is at hand (the availability of interested and capable parties) through a course of five months. We are curious. What are the ways in which thought can emerge between individuals and places? What occurs when our fundamental mode of inquiry is between each other? How are ethical, social, spacious, political, aesthetic practices created between a chain of contributors.

BSH: To introduce what to look forward to in June with the publication of drift isn't quite possible yet. It is in the stages of preparation, barely started, but already begun. I have been thinking about drift as an insect that goes through life cycles, chrysalises, pupas, larva. Each moment of the production and publication of this issue of continent. is its own life. A bug under a pin is not as interesting as one in flight or crawling up your leg.

JF: Though the one crawling up your leg is also more likely to bite you. There is always already a danger in letting be, thinking …. Then again, there is also a potential rupture in attempting to seize, pin down, capture.

BSH: I think a word we haven't thought about enough yet is capture. I think we are perhaps trying to capture something, or to allow for the moments of this capture along the way, the resulting material being the ripples left in the sand when the water waves away.

AV: This question comes to mind when speaking about captures, waves, ripples: How can we activate a ripple? What I find interesting about a wave is the difference in frequencies, movements, forms, style that are activated in between intervals. What is interesting about a wave is that it is activated in relation to what came before. What remains in the sand is a ripple that forms in relation between multiple intervals of stylistic waves. As Deleuze and Parnet have taught us, "We were only two, but what was important for us was less our working together than this strange fact of working between the two of us. We stopped being 'author'. And these 'between-the-twos' referred back to other people, who were different on one side from the other. The desert expanded, but in so doing became more populous."1 Drift is activation for thinking-with and possibly much more—who knows?

There is the intent to subvert the relational qualities between people in journal publishing, but also important to the editors is the subversion of materials. The editors do not shy away from use of contemporary technology and, in fact, have relied and will continue to rely on the wonders of internet connectivity to midwife the drift. The connective infrastructure chosen to relay the developing issue is simply one of bodies, of postal workers and the varying postal systems. Some may find it to be merely be a call of an already dying form, but the editors believe that the conversation exchanged from hand to hand is of explicit difference in quality of engagement due to the complexity of peripheral information transported by physical matter. Different hospitalities and responsibilities are at play in keeping hold of one-of-a-kind materials for a time and entrusting various postal systems to bear the message forward. To have work physically transported through space and time through this kind of infrastructure that is reliant on individuals to literally carry a message is crucial in incorporating traces of bodily presence.

AV: Thought is contingent and emergent process that folds, twists, pulls, shifts in multiple directions and we are interested in these multiple directions.

JF: And even as thought is contingent on, hinged around, its place, time, venue—on its continents, as it were (we still tend to speak of gestures of thinking as Continental, British, American, European, Asian, etc.)—we might also attempt to respond to the landscape within each thought: its folds, unfoldings, rolls, manoeuvres, geography.

BSH: How different is this than Morelli's screw that Julio Cortazar or Horacio Oliveira recounts in Hopscotch? The fable recalls a man who regarded a screw everyday on his stoop. When he perishes, the screw disappears, perhaps into a fellow neighbor's pocket for secret contemplation. Whoever is writing the passage remarks that "Morelli thought that the screw must have been something else, a god or something like that. Too easy a solution. Perhaps the error was in accepting the fact that the object was a screw simply because it was shaped like a screw."

JF: Perhaps even more intriguing is the notion that we do not quite know who is inscribing these remarks on Morelli. That even as someone says that it is a screw, perhaps because it is shaped like a screw, the one who names it “screw”—the one whom we are in a relation with in relation to the screw—remains veiled from us. But even as this is so, the notion of the object as “screw” is marked, etched, onto us.

BSH: A periodical, marking a period of time, but where? An issue, a magazine, a storehouse of information. To show the remainders of thinkers connecting and surfing.

With all this stated, we, as editors of the drift are aware of the active fault, quaking potential, and ethical catastrophe of such a proposed project — the inheritance or the gifting of a project without consent. We are certain that there may be possible oversight on the process of such a project. If such is the case, we hope that oversight and misdirection will not leave this project dormant but rather open up promising new directions, questions, and potential considerations. We are very excited about the accidental propositions that can occur in between. In sum, we'll see what happens.

JF: Perhaps, all we can know of the screw is that we are screwed ...



  1. Gilles Deleuze & Claire Parnet. Dialogues II. Revised edition. (New York: Columbia University Press). 2007: 17.