“… she hummed instead of crying.”[1]
I am humming with the unsayability of words.

The lack of language of absences present. The search for words
of what absence makes possible.

“Not giving words to experiences, but listening
to the arrangement of lives”.[2]

It is sorcery from nowhere.[3]
It is the movement of mass.

Present absence of “the afterlife of property”.[4]
Not readily decipherable bodies
of indecipherable geographies.

Being erased does not mean being incapable
of producing space.
Absences matter.

Sourcing, “language’s geological capacities”,
“its potential earth-building power”.[5]

Body becoming text, within
the very body of the text where silence exists.[6]

Moving across terrains through which a different story can be told,
a geographic story produced from
“the last place they thought of”.[7]

Absences matter.
Black matters matter.

“Black matters are spatial matters”,
not placeless, but

Marking the fluid and relational grounds of the
“life-and-death struggle for survival and liberation”.[9]

It is an experiential geography, of the body as territory,
the legacy of flesh as a site of property,
as “the grounds” of absent presences.
“A new way to ‘enter’ into space”,
“that uncovers a geographic story predicated on an ongoing struggle”.

It provides “a very different geography of ways of knowing”,
“altering territories,
becoming slippery, fluid and internal grounds”
that develop with, rather than against,
the knowing bodies that inhabit it.[10]

Absences matter.

Black matters, matters.
Blackness is demonic.

This is a narrative from nowhere. It is the movement of mass.
When structures change, the mass of it does not go away.

It does not disappear.[11]
It still needs to be dealt with. It needs dealing with because
it has become stagnant.

Possibilities and material realities of spaces
unheard, silenced, and erased.
Present absences are Black matters.
Present absence gathers.
It is a source from nowhere. It is the moving of mass.

Sourcing from nowhere invites us to contemplate a system
that can only unfold precisely because of what is absent
outside the bounds of reason, “too alien to understand”
and nonetheless integral to the entire system.[12]

Moving mass comes with the understanding
that it is possible for structures to be deliberately reconsidered,

“It has to shift. It has to move.”[14]

“The movement of things can be felt and touched
and exists in language and in fantasy
it is flight, it is motion.”[15]

Everything is always moving.
Disruptions of patterns,
there are no lines to transgress.
Landscapes are defined by relationships,
not fixed backgrounds.

Sourcing from nowhere
comes with the understanding
that structures become problems
when they become calcified, ossified.

Moisture must be added
repeatedly, and moisture
can sometimes cause flooding.

“‘Floods’ is the word they use”
but in fact it is not flooding,
it is remembering…
All water has perfect memory
and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”[16]

The right kind of growth requires the right kind of moisture.
When something does not grow, it rots.

Absences matter. Black matters matter. Blackness is demonic.
The demonic is agile.

Moving with, moving through.
It means learning to navigate differently
and being able to deal with ambiguity
and uncertainty.

It is the surrendering to flooding
that comes from giving up the emotional investment
with the intellectual tools that built
that which is now being torn down.

Excavating that which should remain hidden,
bringing it out.
It is about the conditions of life
within that system.[17]

The weight it carries and the work it does.
The investment must become evident,
so something else can emerge.[18]

“Revolution will come in a form we cannot yet imagine”.[19]

It is about ways to reconnect with the world.
It is the transformation of attention to what is needed, and when
what is needed changes.

This is work.[21]
This is a narrative from nowhere. It is the movement of masses.

It is the sorcery of lower frequencies.
It can be felt.

Excavating towards a deeper understanding of vibrations.
Quiet possibility.

Listening is constituted as a practice
of looking beyond what we see
and attune our senses to other “affective frequencies”.[22]

It is work to articulate the modality of quiet.
Indecipherable, refusing to perform the score.


Sourcing healing and remembrance,
through expressions spoken, sung and hummed.
Through rituals, and the sensation of the congregation
time space makes place.

The source is nowhere.



  1. See Campt, Tina M. Listening to Images. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2017. p. 4.
  2. See Cervenak, Jane. Black Gathering: Art, Ecology, Ungiven life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2021. p. 3. Cervenak reflects on the ways in which writer Gayl Jones is not giving words to her characters; instead, she listens to how they arrange their lives. Carole Boyce Davies also asks us to “hear” Black women, and therefore hear geography differently, suggesting that space and place are always connected to audible demands and political action. See Boyce Davies, Carole. “Hearing Black Women’s Voices: Transgressing Imposed Boundaries. ”Moving Beyond Boundaries, Volume 1: International Dimensions of Black Women’s Writing, edited by Carole Boyce Davies and ‘Molara Ogundipe-Leslie, New York: New York University Press, 1995, pp. 3–14. See also Boyce Davies, Carole and Savory Fido, Elaine. Eds.,Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. 1990; Boyce Davies, Carole. Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject. London and New York, NY: Routledge. 1994; Boyce Davies, Carole. Ed. Moving Beyond Boundaries. Vol. 2: Black Women’s Diaspora. Critical Responses and Conversations. London, Pluto Press/New York: NYU Press, 1995.
  3. See McKittrick, Katherine. Dear Science and Other Stories. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2021 p.41McKittrick offers a reflection on the “nowhere” of Black life, alternative ways of being in the world and knowing the world, as well as the Middle Passage as a “nonworld”, and the nonworld as one, but perhaps not the only beginning of Blackness. See Brand, Dionne. A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging. Toronto: ‎Vintage Canada. 2001; and Glissant, Édouard. Poetics of Relation. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. 1997.
  4. See Sharpe, Christina. In the Wake: on Blackness and Being. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2016. p. 15.Sharpe reflects on Saidiya Hartman’s conceptualisation of living the afterlife of slavery, and that living in/the wake of slavery is living “the afterlife of property”.
  5. Sharpe, In the Wake, p. 15; Cervenak, Black Gathering, p. 22. In battling cancer, Audre Lorde refers to language’s geological capacities, its potential earth-building power. See Lorde, Audre. The Cancer Journals. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books, 1997.
  6. See McKittrick, Katherine. Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 2003. McKittrick reflects on the “Body-memory” and “body silence” of Marlene Nourbese Philip in her poem “Dis Place”. See also Philip, Marlene Nourbese. “This Space/Dis/Place Between: The Poetics and Philosophy of Body, Voice and Silence”. In A Genealogy of Resistance: And Other Essays. Toronto: Mercury Press. 1997. p. 95.
  7. McKittrick, Demonic Grounds, p. 37.
  8. Ibid, p. xii.
  9. See The Combahee River Collective, “A Black Feminist Statement”, In All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies. Edited by Gloria T. Hill, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith. Old Westbury, N.Y.: Feminist Press, 1982.p. 14.
  10. McKittrick, Demonic Grounds, p. 14.
  11. See Wilson, Mabel O. in ‘Loophole of Retreat”. A symposium held at Fondazione Cini, Venice, 7–9 October 2022. Available at https://youtu.be/Gi_KjieFu7U (accessed 2023-05-11). In her talk Wilson asks: “Can we construct, as Katherine McKittrick imagines, a ‘totally different system of geographic knowledge that cannot replicate subordination precisely because it is born of and holds on to the unknowable?’”
  12. Lorde, Audre. Paper delivered at the Copeland Colloquium, Amerst College, April 1980. Reproduced in Lorde, Andre. Sister Outsider. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press. 1984. p. 117.
  13. Harper, Diana Rose. Speaks about renegotiating structures, with reference to astrology. Patreon Live Chat. 14 November 2022. Available at https://youtu.be/f4EImRNhvGI (accessed 2023-06-04).
  14. See Perry, Sondra. In Clarke-Brown, Tamar. “Adrift in the chroma key blues: A Chat with Sondra Perry on Black Radicality + things that are yet to happen in Typhoon coming on. 1 May 2018. AQNB. Available at https://www.aqnb.com/2018/05/01/adrift-in-the-chroma-key-blues-a-chat-with-sondra-perry-on-black-radicality-things-that-are-yet-to-happen-in-typhoon-coming-on/ (accessed 2023-05-11).
  15. See Halberstam, Jack. “Preface”. In The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. Edited by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten. New York, NY: Minor Compositions. 2013. p. 11.
  16. See Morrison, Toni. “The Site of Memory”. In Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir. Edited by William Zinsser. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1998 [1987]. pp. 83–102.
  17. Desideri, Valentina and Ferreira da Silva, Denise. The Sensing Salon. Workshop at the Royal Institute of Art Stockholm December 2020. Part of “Spaces of Care, Disobedience and Desire: Tactics of Minority Space M”. A collaborative artistic research project by Rado Ištok, Natália Rebelo and Marie-Louise Richard.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Halberstam, “Preface”.
  20. See McKittrick, Demonic Grounds, p. 33. See also Ferreira da Silva, Denise.Toward a Black Feminist Poethics: The Quest(ion) of Blackness Toward the End of the World”. The Black Scholar. Vol. 44. No 4. pp 85–66, 94.
  21. Desideri and Ferreira da Silva, The Sensing Salon.
  22. Campt, Listening to Images, p. 9. Reference to Alice Walker: “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,” silenced Black women who turned into witches out of necessity. See Walker, Alice. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1983.
  23. See Russell, Legacy. Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto. New York, NY: Verso Books. 2020.