gentle consciousness

Erin Crawford

Nostalgia Relationships/Community Culture Identity Religion/Spirituality Emotion Feminist Theory

I first came to a feminist consciousness through study of political, feminist, and queer theory in 2020–a time of tumultuous change and isolation. I began understanding our world as a series of overlapping systems used to control and defy humanity from anyone outside of the mythical norm–all for the sake of gaining capital and power. This left me feeling deeply disillusioned; yet it also left me with a new-found understanding that my own disciplined way of thinking and existing has been imposed upon me by larger systemic structures.

While this consciousness affords me more existential clarity, deeper study made apparent a dilemma that is not new, nor unique to me: much of the political theory I’ve studied is inactionable. There seems to be an inherent inability to apply these concepts to our everyday lives.

gentle consciousness is a modular monument that holds the complicated and conflicting feelings that continuously emerge as I develop a politicalized understanding of our world. The work sits in the tension between the theoretical and the actual: my language abstractly recounts Michel Foucault’s concepts of power and surveillance and Judith Butler’s gender performativity; similarly, it ruminates on Eurocentric ideas of dualism and discipline. This culminates in an object which demonstrates the–paradoxically disjointed yet somehow connected–relationship of these concepts within my life.

The modularity of gentle consciousness allows for new letterforms, words, phrases, and ideas to reveal themselves; this is all to encourage reflection and playful imagination of a future outside of the racialized, hetero-patriarchal capitalist system we currently face. By interweaving my own conflicting inner-dialogues, I turn the in-actionable nature of political theory on its head: this expansive structure puts the language to work.