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NEW WORLD: A Photo Essay by Audrey Gatewood

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In your deepest fantasy of what the world could be, who are you? You are not separate from what you’re longing for.

As we collectively reimagine society, as we rectify our deepest desires and demands, we burn down familiar strictures in service of collective transformation. The deepest service to the collective is to become fully and essentially ourselves. The power, the mobility, the truth and intimacy you long for, it is not separate from you, it is you. Our most profound dreams become realized in the new world.

At this time in particular, as humanity has a massive awakening, there is so much we must reckon with. One central question: How can we reimagine society? We must use our imagination as freely as possible, unbound, not as an escape but as a necessity to move forward.

For this ongoing photographic series, I asked friends to imagine society deeply changing, at a molecular level, into a fantasy. Who would you become as the world shifts? Each person created their own character and designed and styled themselves with deep personal intention. Some chose to include writing as well.

It should be noted that each person featured is a profound artist themselves; I encourage you to look into each of their work. This collaboration felt therapeutic, particularly after months of semi-isolation and bombardment of difficult news. These shoots are moments of healing, which build up to create a more conscious future.

 

The Qweerior: Hunter Hooligan

 

The Qweerior: What To Do If Your Whole Body is a Weapon? My body has been sharpened on physical abuse, sexual violence, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, poverty, anxiety, and colonialism. I’m coming to understand there is a razor’s edge to me, fine-tuned on both personal and historical pain. So much of my work to this point has been about escaping that pain through brief moments of joy, fleeting moments of bliss, and rare moments of quiet. But my true healing and freedom from this pain are on the other side of many battles. And although I have much to fight against—including but not limited to the empire that tried to destroy my family and the Mvskoke nation and indigenous/native people everywhere—I have so much more to fight for. Us! We! Community! The collective! And I know now more than ever that my role in this battle is service.

I feel empowered, strong, magical, aligned, and fulfilled when I work to serve the people in any way that I can. When my life is over I want to leave the world better for it, and I am trying to embrace my gifts in order to know how I can best serve. I want to share, connect, and elevate with people. I want to help arm the people with knowledge, empower the people with resources, and inspire the people with art that supports us. And for a long time, I didn’t feel that I could do that in this fat, queer, non-binary, native body. Because the world had told me my body was so wrong for so long. I know now that it is because my body is a threat to the status quo and it’s a weapon against it. They have made my body a weapon—and I intend to use it for us.” –Hunter Hooligan. Eyewear by BABY.

 

Aquarius: Lynn Hunter

 

The Nomad: Alejandra Nuñez

 

The Nomad: The body is a home. The spirit craves movement and seeks ever-changing space. Take what is essential and become a road. –Alejandra Nuñez

 

Inseparable Machines: Rahzé and Amnesia

Inseparable Machines: Love will survive environmental and societal collapse. –Rahzé and Amnesia

 

The Doula: Audrey Gatewood

The Doula: Audrey Gatewood

 

Faerie of Darkness: Marcia Bass

Faerie of Darkness: Marcia Bass. Handmade wings by Emily Eaglin.

 

The Serpent: Bobbi Rush

 

The Serpent: Bobbi Rush

The Phonecian: Lyla Addada Shlon

 

The Phoenician: Home is not a comfort we have in the diaspora.

It’s a smell, it’s the salty Beiruti air, it’s watering the lemon tree growing near the back bedroom window in Nabitaye.

It’s the green glass of the Mediterranean and the murky Atlantic, it’s the brackish water where we gathered in community growing up.

It’s the stories of Acre, it’s the boat to Cyprus, it’s the rose water I splash on my face in the morning. It’s the water that connects, provides, restores, washes away, it’s in the water where I feel at home. –Lyla Addada Shlon

Dokkaebi (도깨비): Eunbi C Kim

Dokkaebi (도깨비), is a Korean mythical creature characterized as a red goblin with long, sharp teeth, horns, bulging eyes, and equipped with a bangmangee, a magical baton to propagate material or shapeshift. This character is known to be a mischievous connoisseur of pleasure and play (they love to dance, play music, and drink), but vengeful in the name of justice and used in stories as a force that inflicts rewards or consequences of another character’s actions. The origins of dokkaebi derive from the Shamanistic belief that all objects and beings have spirits. In my interpretation, the spirit of dokkaebi is beyond human and beyond gender—genderless, genderfull, and trans.

This current era is a hellscape, home of the dokkaebi. In this unprecedented time, we are living in a utopia/dystopia where wealthy white plutocratic elites are thriving while Black, brown, and historically marginalized groups with less to no access to health care and employment are dying exponentially, with a death toll exceeding 200,000 in the United States from the Covid-19 pandemic. Racially triangulated, used as pawns under white supremacy to buttress racist systems of power, Asian Americans now have a role of shattering the model minority myth and resist the false power in proximity to whiteness.

Moreover, we are all dokkaebi in this hellscape—during this time as we realize the obsolescence and temporary nature of money and stability under capitalism, we must find moments of pleasure and celebrate strides of the last generation to flourish and build our own passions beyond the dreams of the last generation. And with a cunning vengeance for justice, we must recognize our own power and privilege, and work to shatter the columns of white supremacy and archaic systems that do not work for us, for a better future and for the liberation of all marginalized and colonized peoples. –Eunbi C Kim. Wardrobe: Natural dye by Bokeum Jeon and Nova Leather Harness by FRUIT LEATHER.

 

Audrey Gatewood

Bio: Audrey Gatewood is a 25-year-old photographer born, raised, and based in Baltimore City. Their work features elements of fantasy, queer community, and is deeply collaborative with the larger Baltimore arts community.

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