Posts tagged with "Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen"

Photo via Lucas Jones of Polity Press for use by 360 Magazine

Q&A WITH AUTHOR DAVID THEO GOLDBERG

A pervasive sense has taken hold that any and all of us are under suspicion and surveillance, walking on a tightrope, a step away from erasure of rights or security. Nothing new for many long-targeted populations, it is now surfacing as a broad social sensibility, ramped up by environmental crisis and pandemic wreckage. We have come to live in proliferating dread, even of dread itself.

In this brilliant analysis of the nature, origins, and implications of this gnawing feeling, author David Theo Goldberg exposes tracking capitalism as the operating system at the root of dread. In contrast to surveillance, which requires labor-intensive analysis of people’s actions and communications, tracking strips back to the fundamental mapping of our movements, networks, and all traces of our digitally mediated lives. A simultaneous tearing of the social fabric – festering culture wars, the erosion of truth, even “civil war” itself – frays the seams of the sociality and solidarity needed to counter this transformation of people into harvestable, expendable data.

This searing commentary offers a critical apparatus for interrogating the politics of our time, arguing that we need not just a politics of refusal and resistance, but a creative politics to counter the social life of dread.

David Theo Goldberg is Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Interview by: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

To begin, when did you realize that you first wanted to be a writer?

Quite young. I liked to write as a teenager, fifteen or sixteen, won a prize at high school for English writing. Looking back, I was not nearly as compelling as I fantasized. In training to be an academic I started attending closely to my technical writing. While at graduate school in New York I was involved in making independent films and music videos. I co-wrote the outline and voice-over text for an experimental film on apartheid South Africa which I also co-directed. The film won some international film festival awards. My early published academic writing was dense. I worked hard at getting myself to be clearer, cleaner, more concise. Like all art, writing requires endless attention to its detail, rhythm, flow.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have a couple. I lap swim quite seriously early every morning. When I am struggling with an idea, or even to articulate a sentence, the quiet solitude of pulling through water on one’s own unbothered by anything around often leads one, or even a whole sentence or two. The challenge, of course, is to recall accurately   enough what I thought so great to be able to write it down at swim’s end. Until injuries caught up with me a few years ago I surfed extensively, and for many decades. I would travel to some surf spots further afield as much to be able, between surfs, to write uninterrupted by day-work at home as to enjoy the great surf and culture at hand.

When I have things pouring out of me and I am writing fast I tend to plug into fast jazz. The likes of the great Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba or Japanese pianist Hiromi. Or the big band Snarky Puppy, with Hammond organist Cory Henry, who are fun. Writing has rhythms and I hope some of the music has rubbed off in my writing. There are times, nevertheless, when I like to write in silence, completely alone with my own thoughts.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It depends on the book: I usually read extensively regarding the subject matter until I feel saturated and an argument thread for the book is mostly in place. Jacques Derrida, the great French philosopher, was once asked by the documentary filmmaker, Amy Ziering, if he had read all the books in his enormous personal library. “I have read only four,” Derrida responded. He then added, the crease of a smile at the corners of his mouth, “But I have read them very well.” The challenge is to read whatever one is engaging to find insights and ideas with which one can think.

I also find it thought-provoking to observe cultural, technological, political and economic trends and changes at work around us. My writing itself is as much an unfolding of the argument line, often enough surprising me in the writing, through where the writing takes me.

Edward Said, the great intellectual of the late twentieth century, wrote a book, Beginnings, which is about how challenging it can be to open a book, to write the first sentences. But also how to end, to bring it to a close in ways that will linger with the reader. Whether creative or analytic writing, not that it is always easy to distinguish the two. Said’s book has stuck with me through much of my writing career.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Ten sole or co-authored monographs; another ten edited or co-edited books. Naming a favorite, especially publicly, is like saying who among your children are your best ones. Tough to do. There are two books that stick out because they have both expressed key developments in my thinking and have been impactful in scholarly debates around these questions.

The first is The Racial State (2002), about how the modern state since the 17th century was founded on racial structures, structuring into its very formation the elevation of Europeans/those of European descent at the expense of all others. Obviously these structures transformed over time, and from one place to another,  but the driving principle has largely remained in place. The key argument is that modern states become modern by taking on the technologies of race as structuring mechanisms.

The second is The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism (2009). This book traces the ways the neoliberalizing of polities globally—the financialization of everything; the divorcing of contemporary social, economic, and political conditions from the historical forces that produced them; the complete personalizing of responsibility for one’s standing and experience in society, no matter the social structures and challenges one has faced–has sought to empty the concept of racism and its affiliated racial conceptions of any critical charge or meaning.  The conservative attacks we are currently witnessing on critical race theory have their foundations in this neoliberalizing turn starting in the 1980s. Conservatives of this stripe find discussions, analysis, and engagement of racial issues threatening precisely because they challenge their view of the world.

What inspired you to write Dread: Facing Futureless Futures?

In 2016 family, friends, and colleagues were waking up each day with a sense of anxiety, some calling it a sense of doom. The rise in authoritarianism here in the U.S. but also across a widening range of societies was in part fueling this sense. I was feeling it too. I started by trying to put my finger on what this feeling was, what it amounted to, to name it. “Dread” was the concept I came up with to best express this sense. When I mentioned it aloud, others would exclaim, “That’s it!” What followed was the urge to write a book exploring the underlying conditions prompting this generalized sense, and the implications.

What is the significance of the title?

Dread is a socially produced pervasive anxiety the basic cause(s) of which it is difficult fully to identify. Like Kierkegaard in the 19th century, I contrast dread with fear. Fear is a feeling the object of which one can usually identify, name concretely. The object of dread is a feeling of anxiety and unsettlement the sources of which I cannot concretely or precisely articulate.

“Facing Futureless Futures,” the subtitle, speaks to the ways in which we have created or collectively allowed to be created social conditions that threaten our very wellbeing, if not existence. That some are talking about “the sixth extinction” exactly expresses this heightening anxiety about the survival not just of lifestyle but of life, of the world that supports life itself.

Can you tell us about the book?

I wanted to account for the conditions prompting this pervasive sense of dread, of uncontainable anxiety. The authoritarianisms that seemed to be taking hold, the unhinged statements and expressions struck me as symptomatic of something deeper, structurally more pervasive and difficult to address. So I was concerned to string together an analysis of those conditions, to offer a language of analysis for what is happening to us, what we are doing to ourselves and over which we think we have little if any control.

These include the pervasive emergence of algorithmic culture, the ways algorithms are structured increasingly into and order our everyday activities, the overwhelmingly instrumentalist mode of thinking it insists upon, often in increasingly intrusive ways (the “internet of everything”). This pervades not just how we order consumer goods, how we invest, how we learn at school and college but how we run our homes and businesses, increasingly how cars drive, how and with whom we interact, how we relate to each other, indeed, the quickening pace of worker and work function replacement by robots. Everything we do when electronically connected is now being tracked—where we go, who we interact with, what we consume, how we vote, our medical conditions, our work habits, everything! And that in turn becomes the basis for shaping and reshaping our desires but also the (narrowing of) possibilities presented to each of us.

Increasingly, chips are being inserted into human beings, for a variety of purposes, from medical reasons to consumption accessibility (we are in the early process of being turned into walking credit cards), to tracking productivity, and government control. The digital is transforming the very nature of the human into the techno-human.

The anxiety all this is producing, consciously or not, includes the sense of lost privacy and transparency, depersonalized desire, and undermined self-control. This is readily exacerbated by events and even structures over which we take ourselves to have little or any control, like the pandemic and the impacts of climate change, the conditions for the production of both of which have been dramatically over-politicized. And all of this has laced through it structurally produced differentiations of class, race, and gender, further intensifying the concerns. The outcome of all of this, I suggest, is the ramping up of “civil war,” less conventionally understood than as more or less violent contestations over how we should all be living in the world.

Did you learn anything while writing the book?

One cannot address a dominant set of social concerns without first understanding it. The given is not indelibly cemented into place. What looks like natural conditions is often, at the very least, socially arranged. That means what we have made with debilitating effect we can unmake.

Above all, this invites a relational mode of analysis. It involves seeing—in the sense of looking at the world—in its deeply relational constitution. What we do in one place both affects and is affected by what others are doing elsewhere. Like the weather, environmental impacts and pandemics know no national boundaries or borders. Tracking is at once individually isolating and, less visibly, deeply relational. Racial ideas circulate globally, even if taken up and expressed differently in one place from another, just as racisms in one place are shored up and sustained by racisms elsewhere. For example, critical race theory was originally formulated and fashioned in American law schools but both its application and of late its facile condemnation have been taken up as far afield as Britain, France, and Australia.

And second, I found myself reaching a more hopeful conclusion, if not ending. I suggest that those societies that have taken seriously infrastructures of care for members of the society at large are far better able to address collective challenges such as pandemics and the impacts of climate change, or indeed racisms, at least in principle. Societies that fared better in quickly addressing the pandemic and saving their populations from rampant infection and death have been those that have invested more readily and enduringly in social infrastructures of care.

What is the purpose of the book?

To elaborate an analysis and vocabulary for understanding the debilitating social and ecological conditions we have created and face, and how we might address the challenges in creatively relational ways.

What are you wanting your readers to take away from the material?

Three insights: that we have created a world that in all it gives us is undermining the very conditions of possibility for sustaining those affordances; that the technological apparatuses so completely transforming our worlds and who we are in them,    especially tracking technologies, enable possibilities not previously available. But at the very same time they have proved debilitating, socially, ecologically, and increasingly politically; that a completely self-regarding disposition to the world, individually and nationally, is in stark contrast with one that recognizes our deeply relational condition socio-ecologically; the deeply relational ways in which socio-ecological worlds are constituted become key to addressing the challenges we are facing interactively.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

The conditions unfolding across the world were transforming remarkably quickly. The pandemic took hold in the middle of writing the book, shutting down much of what we had taken for granted. It revealed deep socio-economic  disparities, racially indexed, exacerbating the impacts.  These were further ramified by the George Floyd murder, among others, and the protests that followed. While I was already lacing racial analysis into the analytic contours of the book, the series of police killings and protests as well as the attacks on Asians, especially women, needed to be referenced. Nor could one write a book about dread without addressing the pandemic. So I added a chapter devoted to Covid and its social impacts and implications pretty much in situ.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Being in sustained conversation with close intellectual friends and colleagues about the range of conditions I address in the book. This was especially productive and meaningful given our extended collective remoteness as a pandemic consequence. But also, because I was thinking and writing in the midst of an unfolding of the very conditions which I was addressing.

Is there anything that you would like to add for the readers?

The world we have inherited and from which we make ourselves today has furnished us with extraordinary possibility. But in being less mindful of the cumulative impacts of the many generations of this making we have just begun to understand that our world also is in advanced process of radically undermining the conditions making its enduring sustainability possible. The book is about our present circumstances with a view to understanding some of what it will take to have futures to which to look forward. I very much hope it is read in this spirit.

Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

Heather

Heather Reibsamen is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer, who has published work within 360 Magazine and issuu. Specializing in new media, Heather’s innovation and passion are a force to be reckoned with.

Currently working at 360 Magazine, Heather’s talents have blossomed in unbelievable ways.  Heather has created an abundance of illustrations ranging from celebrities such as Britney Spears and Doja Cat to heart-wrenching moments such as George Floyd and mass shootings. Heather’s most recent work details the shocking testimony from Britney Spears about the inhumane activities within her conservatorship. In addition, she has written articles on various topics and has interviewed rapper/actor celebrity Page Kennedy and artist David Irvine from The Gnarled Branch.

Heather has also worked with the migration of the 360 Magazine website to a new hosting service and continues to work on building the 360 Magazine eCommerce platform that features styles from the creative director of Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA), Armon Hayes. She also assists with copyediting articles and the recent book “Move Like Water × Be Fluid” written by Vaughn Lowery, web design, and client communication.

Heather completed her associate degree in graphic design through Independence University and will complete her bachelor’s degree through Southern New Hamphire University. She is a proactive member of the AIGA IU Student Group as well as the Director of Communications. Heather works alongside fellow officers to bring digital content to the students as well as helping to create the e-zine “Creative Layers”. Heather is also a member of the Alpha Beta Kappa National Honor Society. She has also made charitable design contributions to Dola Dolls to Love through Dementia and Love’s Law.

Heather looks forward to her blossoming career and is excited to see where the path leads her. Follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram. View her portfolio on Behance.

Sweden Open Air Bar illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

World’s Largest Open-Air Bar

Sweden Creates the World’s Largest Open-Air Bar

Following the success of the 2019 Edible Country campaign is the launch of Drinkable Country – the largest, open-air, world-class bar led by internationally acclaimed team at Tjoget, and other leading Swedish beverage experts. Starting June 15, visitors can book a seat at more than 16 tables located in some of Sweden’s most beautiful natural landscapes for a chance to enjoy a selection of drinks and DIY recipes reflecting the country’s 100-million-acre natural pantry.

The world’s largest, outdoor, socially distanced bar is opening this summer in Swedish nature. In 2019, Sweden launched The Edible Country, the world’s largest DIY gourmet restaurant, with recipes developed by Guide Michelin-awarded chefs. The concept, which until now, consisted only of food, is being expanded to include an incredible drinking experience. Drinkable Country features a combination of ready-made beverages that reflect local nature and produce alongside drinks those visitors can mix themselves with ingredients found in the surroundings based on recipes provided by Sweden’s foremost beverage experts. When booking a Drinkable Country experience, guests will have the opportunity to explore the area with local guides while collecting and mixing the ingredients, and then enjoy the various drinks.

“The DIY recipes enable visitors to explore Swedish nature through world-class taste experiences,” says Jens Heed, Program Director Food Travel at Visit Sweden. “The country’s 100-million-acre pantry of fruit, berries, vegetables, and crystal-clear spring water is open to everyone. We call it the Drinkable Country – the world’s largest open-air bar.”

The recipes have been developed in collaboration with four different beverage experts, each of whom has been given the responsibility to represent different regions in Sweden. Rebecka Lithander represents southern Sweden. Lithander has experience from the two-Michelin-star restaurant Daniel Berlin, where she raised the non-alcohol drink packages to the same high level as the food. The tables on the west coast are represented by Bar Bruno, a local gem of a cocktail bar; while on the east coast, it is the world-famous bar Tjoget that will compose the drink menu. Emil Åreng, a nationally and internationally acclaimed bartender and author of the world’s best cocktail book in 2016, represents the northern part of Sweden.

“It is a thirst-quenching journey through Swedish nature that is a completely new and fascinating way to experience cocktails and to discover the country and its natural environment,” says Leo Lahti, Bar Manager at Tjoget.

In Sweden, nature is everyone’s playground. It’s a place to linger – as long as you do not disturb or destroy it – thanks to the unique Allemansrätt – Swedens’s “freedom to roam.” With the Drinkable Country, Sweden invites everyone to experience their close-to-nature lifestyle over world-class food and drink.

More information about the experience: Visit Sweden

The Beverage Experts

  • Southern Sweden: Rebecka Lithander is an acclaimed sommelier who now works at the locally praised restaurant Mutantur in Malmö. Before joining Mutantur she worked at the two-star Guide Michelin restaurant Daniel Berlin.
  • Western Sweden: Bar Bruno, a small cosy bar that serves innovative cocktails with a home-bar feel.
  • Eastern Sweden: For the past five years, Tjoget has been on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars.
  • Northern Sweden: Emil Åreng with roots in Norrland was named Sweden’s best bartender in 2015 and has also won several international awards. Emil most recently came from Cardier Baren at the historic Grand Hôtel in Stockholm, where he was Creative Director. He is the author of the cocktail book Salongs i Norrland, which was named Best Cocktail Book in the World in 2016.

The Edible Country

The Edible Country’ is an initiative from Visit Sweden to highlight the natural and healthy pantry that Swedish nature has to offer. The menu suggestions of the do-it-yourself dining experiences are co-created with four of Sweden’s top chefs: Titti Qvarnström, Niklas Ekstedt, Anton Bjuhr and Jacob Holmström. The dishes are created with inspiration from Sweden’s varied landscape and shifting seasons. The over 20 tables are placed in Swedish Lapland, Stockholm Archipelago, the High Coast, Dalarna, Gävleborg, Sörmland, Värmland, Västsverige, Småland, Halland, Skåne and Gotland and you can find more information about the regions on our webpage. The initiative is an open invitation for everyone to experience the Swedish ‘close-to-nature’ lifestyle and take pleasure in the natural pantry that Sweden has to offer. Add-on services that will help you during your experience, for example, your very own personal guide or chef and a basket with the necessary ingredients to create the drinks or cook the recipes outdoors are available to book online.

About Visit Sweden

Visit Sweden is Sweden’s marketing company. Visit Sweden markets Sweden abroad as a destination to contribute to more jobs and economic growth. The company also provides and sells communication and knowledge services related to the hospitality industry, tourism, and travel. Foreign tourists spend approximately SEK 144 billion annually in Sweden and approximately 172,400 people are employed in the hospitality industry’s companies alone. Visit Sweden is owned by the Swedish state through the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.

Heather Ann illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Heather Ann

Dreaming the Impossible and Accomplishing the Unbelievable

Her name is Heather, and she is a statistic. Since the age of sixteen, she has been a statistic due to becoming pregnant with her firstborn son, Zachary. Heather had always believed that she would only be known as that: a teenage mom. She worked hard and graduated high school a semester early to entirely focus on being a full-time mother. Heather then put off college and any thought of childhood dreams because she felt they were unattainable. She worked minimum wage jobs to try and raise her son the best that she could.

Heather’s daughter, Tyanna, came along when she was 21 years old.  In that time, Heather found herself in an unhealthy relationship. She fought hard to pull herself and her children out of the situation; she eventually did. However, she found herself turning to alcohol to cope with the pain she had endured through the years. Alcohol became Heather’s best friend for over a year, and she was faced with losing her children and eventually becoming pregnant with her youngest son, Jaxson. He was her saving grace. An angel sent from above to remind Heather that she was worthy of love and that she was stronger than she had ever known. It took her a few months to get back on her feet for herself and children, but she did it with her head held high.

Fast forward to 2011 where Heather was working as a cashier at Walmart, barely making ends meet for her family. She met her now-husband, Joshua. In 2013, they became a big, blended family with six children. Heather gained three more beautiful children: Emmanuel, Lyric, and Benjamyn. Their children now range in age from ten years old to 22 years old! Also, Heather is a proud grandma to two beautiful grandchildren – Lydia and Jaxton, a.k.a. her Sweetpea and Monkey.

It hasn’t been an easy road, but it has been full of love and memories. Heather’s husband has been the sole provider for their family, sometimes working over sixty hours a week. It was decided that Heather stay at home with the children for many reasons. The most important reason was due to the emotional abandonment that Emmanuel, Lyric, and Ben went through due to their biological mother. Although they have learned coping techniques, it has been a stressful and emotional journey. It was always best for the children if Heather was available at all times for them.

In addition to the chaotic life they live with a large family, Heather’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome in 2016, which led to an emergency brain surgery to better Tyanna’s quality of life. This is a lifelong disease with no cure, so there have been quite a few struggles for her to find her new normal. She will never lead a “normal” life; however, she is doing her best to make life fun, and that is all Heather can hope for. Heather also has these health conditions, but they are nowhere as severe as Tyanna’s are. Heather also suffers from a dead talus bone in her ankle, along with two collapsed joints surrounding that ankle. This has contributed to continuing on as a stay-at-home parent as well. Heather’s family is big and unique, but they are full of love, and that’s the best thing she could ask for.

Heather has spent years being unable to provide for her family financially. As a parent to six children, this has always weighed heavily on her. She has watched her husband work from four in the morning to close to midnight in the same shift. He is hardworking and very dedicated to providing for his family. In 2018, Heather decided to start exploring the idea of college. She knew that she wanted to be in something art related. Art has been a coping mechanism throughout life; sketching, painting, and inks are her mediums of choice. She believed that the career she landed with should be something that she loved and would be proud to do. This led Heather to enroll at Independence University to obtain her associate degree in graphic design. This career choice allows Heather to share her art with the world and also contribute to her family.  She has worked hard to keep an impressive grade point average while learning as much as she can about graphic design.

Heather will officially graduate in January 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. She decided after a year into her associate degree that she wanted to pursue her bachelor’s degree. Obtaining this degree would open opportunities for Heather to work within public relations, publishing, and digital media businesses.

Heather had been asked by quite a few people why she wanted to pursue her bachelor’s degree so soon after graduating with an associate degree. Many assumed that she wanted to stay focused on her education; that is true. However, that was not the decision-maker for Heather. This decision comes from a life-changing situation that her family encountered at the beginning of 2020. You see, Heather’s father was taken away from her when she was three years old. She found him again when she was sixteen and had not been away from him since then. Her father, Mike, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, in March of 2020. This disease has continually cursed her family throughout the years. It has taken her great-grandmother, paternal grandmother, an aunt, an uncle, a distant cousin, and now her father. Heather always doubted that she would be able to attend college and succeed, but Mike was always the voice telling her that she could and that he was so proud of her. Mike was an amazing person and had always been Heather’s biggest cheerleader in life. She has many reasons to continue creating art; however, her passion comes from wanting to pursue more for her family, especially her father. She would love the opportunity to make him proud continually, even though he has been watching her from heaven since November of 2020.

In February of 2021, Heather took a big breath and reached out to Vaughn Lowery, President of 360 Magazine, in hopes of obtaining an internship through the magazine. 360 Magazine stands out from other magazines on many levels. 360 is an edgy fashion, lifestyle, and culture magazine. The founding members have over 30 years of collective experience both as notable talent and uber professionals within fashion, music, art, design, and entertainment. They are an LGBTQIA-friendly publication. Quality art content is the constant goal – No magazine like it is available today, constantly celebrating racial and sexual ambiguous talent and artists. Interning with 360 Magazine was definitely an opportunity she was ready to take on!

The morning Heather interviewed with Vaughn, she was battling the flu that was running its course through her household – she nailed the interview and started the next day! Heather continues to learn every day during her internship and through her classes. She has become increasingly more confident in her illustrations with Vaughn’s guidance. In addition to her internship with the magazine, Heather is also the Communications Director for her school’s AIGA Student group. She was recently nominated and is looking forward to learning her new role within the group!

While Heather stays really busy with art-related things, she really does enjoy doing other things! Her family has five dogs (Beethoven, Duchess, Ruby, Lucky & Alaska) and six cats (Pepper, Chewy, Tom, Jerry, Ebony & Dolly) that fill their home with fur and love. Heather and Josh try to hop on the ps4 a few times a week and play some Warzone. They have always been gamers! They enjoy having game nights, outdoor experiences, and hiking. Her husband is in the process of finishing their home gym – which they are pretty excited about it! Oh, can’t forget reading! Heather has a ton of books that she has bought over the years or have been given to her. She loves being able to curl up and spend an entire day just reading. Music. Music is her saving grace as well! Heather has such a unique playlist(s) – pop, country, r&b, hip-hop, rap… the list could go on!

Heather has a new mantra that she tries to tell herself daily: Keep going until YOU’RE proud. Heather has always doubted herself…but she needs to remember – like many others – that she needs to keep pushing and straighten her crown!

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