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Undefining ‘The Artist’: LUMIN Journal 3

Editors Beau W Beakhouse and Sadia Pineda Hameed give an insight to the third issue of LUMIN Journal, a regular independent arts publication based in Wales.

We attempt to create a space of connection; placing together people and ideas that share something in common but are often kept separate in the pages of a book. It’s important to see the interconnections between artists, writers, cultural practitioners, communities, collectives or those that consider themselves none of those things. The definition we give to ‘artist’, for example, is often only a symptom of how we think about art and what we think an artist’s role is. As Hori Kōsai writes, ‘so long as we confine ourselves to the position referred to as ‘artist’, our critique will never go beyond simply reforming individual things around us’.

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As the editors of LUMIN Journal, we wanted to see the less obvious connections. How is, for example, a poem about a war in Nigeria connected to the imagination of new languages; or to essays about land rights in Palestine; or to fictionalised letters about dreams and time; or to discussions of Welsh literary forms? As we tried to conceptualise this ‘bringing together’ of varying genres, formats, themes, localities, we thought of time spent with a friend some months previous. This moment became the subject of our introduction to the latest issue:

We make an attempt at an intervention. Somehow we are on the other side of a door that is always closed; and we do as much as we can because we are already preparing to leave. A friend says, ‘once you cross over the threshold, leave something of yours in their space.’ A month later, we sit with our friend on the floor with tracing paper over threshold, a poem. Our friend’s plan is to overlay new pieces of tracing paper, again and again, each person making new annotations. We hesitate to mark the page and instead hover over it, planning and strategising in this transient space; in preparation.

Some benefit from the threshold being a border, a barrier; a clear divide. Do we make interventions where we can? Do we plan for something bigger? Do we really want to enter? Or do we want to undo the spaces that create a division between inside and out, then ask you to try and cross the threshold? 

Instead we move to decentralise. We find more people, add more layers, until they begin to form a book. What links them are the many forms of resistance; the interconnections becoming visible when they overlay, and align— and the book becomes a dialogue of new ways of thinking and doing.

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LUMIN is a space for experimentation; not expecting anything from the tradition of avant-garde art, which is often racist and exclusionary, but considering what makes art boundary-pushing today. What type of work expands our idea of what an artist is and what their role can be. Those not traditionally included under the term ‘artist’, those marginalised by the current system, those bracketed as something that they’re not; we give space to explore and present new work and hopefully to form friendships, networks of mutual support, personal forms of resistance. With the latest issue of the journal, layering the Welsh context with the wider world, we hold this space as necessary.

LUMIN Journal 3 is available to purchase from LUMIN Press and independent bookstores across the UK.