Illustration by Ned Asta from Larry Mitchell and Ned Asta’s 1977 book "The Faggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions."

For episode 23, Lauren Wetmore spoke with Sophia al Maria, a Qatari-American artist, writer, and filmmaker based in London. Author of publications including Sad SackVirgin With A Memory, and her autobiography The Girl Who Fell To Earth, Al Maria has also written for Triple Canopy, Bidoun, and Harper’s Magazine. Her work as an artist has been exhibited internationally at institutions including Tate Britain, Gwangju Biennale, and the New Museum in New York. She has written Litte Birds, a television series based on Anais Nin’s erotic writings, which will premiere on Sky Atlantic in August 2020.

This wide-ranging conversation takes on a speculative tone, coming from the pivotal point of three months into corona lockdown Al Maria says, “It’s really important to hold steady. To kindle and keep alive those first moments of shock.” Touching on central interests in Al Maria’s practice such as science fiction and popular culture, Wetmore and Al Maria also consider the implications of intimacy in our new touchless world, “remembering how important it is to keep that flame of erotic power alive, especially when it feels difficult and hard to fantasize.” In a difficult moment between the inaction of confinement and the ramping up of social unrest, Al Maria points towards strategies of hope. “I think linking social justice with environmental action or non-movement and non-consumption will make thinking about the future less harrowing.”

Momus: The Podcast is edited by Jacob Irish, features original music by Kyle McCrea, and assistant production from Mitra Shreeram. Thanks to InterAcess for their support in this episode and to Sophia Al Maria for her contribution.

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