Sublevel #3: Stamina (2019)
Stamina might be too big an idea to hold in one hand. No matter how hard we, as editors, have tried, it keeps seeping out of grasp. In other words, it takes stamina to think about stamina; a steadfast attention span, some prowess, and a sense of determination is required to wrap one's head around what this mysterious ability to withstand prolonged efforts is all about. Where does it come from? Who does it belong to, who performs it, and where does its performance begin and end? On first read, ‘stamina’ declares itself as an essential condition; look to its etymology and you will find its root in ‘the stamen,’ which in its own course comes from the Latin for ‘Threads Spun By the Fates.’ What seems to be implied is some supernatural predetermination, ‘stamina’ as stellar kismet, kick-ass genes, or (in a more au courant iteration) privilege. Obviously, stamina is more complicated than that.
Stamina sustains and extends its own definition. Contradicts itself. If to begin with, this issue arose from concerns about how stamina, under all these conditions related to agency, bodies in charged spaces, the sexual, socio-political and cultural, with sports, sex and sculpture as the obvious targets—it has since appeared to us as more of a meta-language for production. Throughout the making of this issue, stamina became an issue: too many emails, too many thoughts, too many mixed messages. Too many scheduling conflicts, communication problems, cancelled meetings. Certainly, as a conceptual problem stamina presents itself as a gaze, fantasy, and an internalised idea about how to exist in the world as a subject seeking joy. As a quotidian struggle, however, it is the break that happens when we lose, fail, lapse. It’s the elusive component underlying every plan made, rain-checked and forgotten. Or, more brightly, stamina is a measure of exertion, and we’re still learning our limits.
Editorial Team: Lauren Mackler (Managing Editor)
Maryam Kazeem, Elena Murphy, Perwana Nazif, Beatrice Robinson, Sabrina Tarasoff, Sarah Yanni
Sublevel Issue #3: Stamina includes contributions by Dodie Bellamy, CAConrad, Samara Davis, Gina Stella dell’Assunta, Renee Gladman, Dana Johnson, Marrion Johnson, Kate Kendell, MPA, Okwui Okpokwasili, Christina Sharpe, Max Wheeler and Ellen O’Connell Whittet.