How and where do we gather our knowledge? Who gets to create ‘facts’?
Not Found On is the desire to co-create a ‘space’ to value and share queer arts and social knowlege. Recognising that lgbtqia+ ‘spaces’ are often far more than just bars, just bookclubs, just dances, just sports teams, just a magazine or just performances. They have also been sites of community building, sites of resistance, sites of political organisation, sites of transformation, sites of healthcare, sites of survival and sites of knowledge creation. This 'space' is to celebrate knowledge created through subjective lived experience of (some) queer bodies. Asking how can we record and share these in a meaningful way for our communities? What can we learn from each other?
SHOULD WE SHARE?
We already do! But generally in spaces that are commercially focused and that regulate our nipples or academic sites that have price barriers for our niche publications, or we are faced with the barriers to inclusion in mainstream knowledge space such a as wikipedia. Wikipedia offers the illusion of inclusion, whilst maintaining normative patriarchal concepts of knowledge creation (via referencing structures) and system biases (predominantly male contributors).
Whilst ultimately many of desire in real life connections, the internet in vital in allowing us more than ever to build specific publics on the basis of multilayered and often shifting identities. This can be life affirming especially for LGBTQIA+ people, a study from LGBT Tech a organisation is the USA found that
81 percent of LGBT youth have searched for health information online, as compared to just 46 percent of non-LGBT youth
80 percent of LGBT respondents participate in a social networking site, such as Facebook or Twitter, compared to just 58 percent of the general public
This need to create counterpublics by minority identities is being capitalised on by commercial social media platforms. As ‘Corporations seeking to commodify user information have enclosed the so-called ‘internet commons’ by offering a devils bargain trading access to global networks for individual privacy’ The need to make connection can often exceeds the time or energy required to question these platforms.
Not Found On aims to offer an alternative run and created by queer feminist bodies to address specific community needs such as the need to connect to 'people like us' both online and in real life, to share resources, to record our own histories and a space to be critical of the social media channels on which we rely but also the structure of the internet in which we participate.
NOT FOUND ON
The title Not Found On has two meanings firstly it points to all that is not adequately recorded, nor respected in mainstream knowledge canons. These are the narratives we never given to read in schools, the artists, the thinkers, the achievements which were and are left out, on the basis of class, race, religion, gender and sexuality.
Secondly it reflects the attempt of this space specifically to house and connect diverse queer experiences, whilst ultimately knowing that it can never and should not try represent all.
Not Found On is indebted to generations that paved the way before us, to cultures that celebrated greater gender and sexual diversity, that were violent suppressed and marginalised by colonial rule. Where the legacy of laws are still being violently enforced today.
The growing acceptance of lgbtqi+ people in western Europe (where this project is initiated) is a product of liberal democracy created from the profits of the exploitation of people, culture and land through violent processes of colonisation of people of colour. Promoting ideologies of dominance and racial superiority that still resonate today.
Profit of colonialism saw the rise of institutions and funds for education, arts which in turn created Womens studies and Queer Theory as formalised field should not be confused as a birthing of the conception of'Queerness'.
There is a need to resist being represented by a singular notion of 'Queerness' as much as there is an acceptable media presentable 'LGBTQIA+ community' either nationally or globally. There is no universal experience but a multiplicity of experiences. That are all too often are white cis gay male middle class focused.
The space is defined as feminist queer and intersectional as an ideological stance active from its inception is committed to integrating what these words means as a continual process.
long lasting, consensual, expanding without growth, non-commercial, author led, collaborative
The space houses a several fundamental contradictions:
- -The desire to create a space to document 'Queerness' something sticky blurry something essentially undefined.
- -There can be no real expectation of privacy online
- -Relying on information structures of the wiki (chosen within the abilities of the project)
- -Written in english language
- -Created in western European and north American conception LGBTQIA+ narratives
- -It cannot / does not seek to represent all( recognising the violence that is sometimes implicit in the idea that a space does or can )
- -The need for moderation and gatekeeping - Who enacts this?
- -Anonymous accounts give no way of authenticating information
- -This space is only as inclusive and valuable as its users
- -Our own financial limitations of achieving a result this project
Some of these limitation can be overcome as the project progresses and engages with an active community.
Note* This project is oriented in western Europe and initiated by a white queer dyslexic middle class womxn. This text is written from this perspective