Antithesis is very pleased to welcome two new regular contributors this year: Asha Ross and Sunniva Midtskogen. We asked both lovely ladies to introduce themselves and reflect on what this year's theme 'Revive' means to them.
Asha here. I am Kiwi-Canadian, first year PhD in Anthropology. Writer, reader, wanderer. I am always planning an adventure, and I’m interested in anything with a story. To me, writing is movement. A warning: I’m more interested in questions than I am in answers.
When I think of 'Revive', as a concept, I think of art. Art is change. It is theft, it is gratitude; it is alteration and interpretation. It is perspective; it is a way of seeing. When we create something, we build it from what we know, where we come from, what we experience of the world. Art is a revival, a way of breathing new life into things with history.
It is possible to revive a city that has been broken apart. It is possible to rebuild a monumental structure or minutiae. It is possible to bring new life to your life, or someone else’s. When you revive something, you don’t just bring it back: you re-imagine it. You give it life beyond its history. And with revival as our principle, all of everything lives and dies many times as the story of it evolves. And this is art. It is cyclical, not linear. We are constantly in the process of revision, constantly involved in our relationship with the artefacts of our lives.
One thing becomes another, and another, and on and on. To revive is to make art.
I come from Norway, but I haven’t really lived there for four years now. I have studied abroad and I have travelled. I always loved to read, and I this love of stories is what lead me to write. So this is what I do now: study, travel, read and write. Or at least it’s what I do when I’m not watching TV and eating chocolate.
I used to think of ‘revival’ as a sort of resurrection, of something that had been dead, or close to death, brought back to life. Like' shuffling your iTunes library and hearing a song you used to love five, six, seven years ago, and adding it to your current playlist thinking 'what a great song that was'. Revival seemed like a passive action, something that got done to something, not by the thing itself. But when I started thinking about 'Revive' as the theme for Antithesis this year and about ideas linked to creativity and art and the act of revival, it seemed like a beautiful thing. More like a reinvention of a thing – a chance for it to show that it was more than previously thought. Instead of being brought back to a life it had already lived, it was being given a second life. Stories get adapted to new forms, they get retold in new voices, they are brought into focus for different reasons. And I think this shows that there is always something more to explore, that everything can be renewed, reinvented and reevaluated. I find that uplifting – we live in a time where it can feel like everything has already been done before. It can be exhausting trying to be original as an artist. But if revival can be a positive, energetic and transformative act, maybe we artists can do it.