Failed States is an occasional publication that aims to collate and investigate ideas around place, or more specifically: “indeterminate geographies”. Each issue, themed on a particular type of terrain, is a trove of innovative text and image by emerging and established writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers and academics.
In Issue #4:
South is relative — a place we simultaneously travel to and from. In the fourth issue of Failed States, a journal of art and writing on place, we journey from Cork to Cairo to Chile; Margate to Morocco to the Mississippi Delta; Mount Taranaki to the Rio Grande; to South Dakota, the Sandwich Islands and a South London street called Rainbow. Stories include:
- Altiplano, in which artist Malena Szlam and volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer explore the Atacama Desert.
- Austral Index, in which Pete Segall catalogues a number of souths from SoHo to Yunnan.
- Borderlands, in which Joanna Pocock travels along what would be The Wall on the Mexico-United States border.
- Double False Position, in which Moad Musbahi tells a story of a scholarly Sufi saint braving the waters off the shores of Cape Beddouza.
- Four car ramps, in which Paolo Patelli documents the building of unsanctioned motorway ramps in Ard El Lewa, Cairo.
- Land Remains, in which Jake Silby delves into the mythology, Maori origin stories and colonial history of Mount Taranaki.
- Milton of Vivos, in which Jenny Perlin encounters a man preparing for the apocalypse in a bunker in South Dakota.
- Night Wind Remembers, in which Donal Mosher returns to North Carolina for his father’s surgery, confronting illness, aging and celluloid fantasies.
- Portrait of the Artist as a Capitalist Goat, in which Simon EvansTM chronicle life heading south in Brooklyn during lockdown.
- Rollercoasting, in which Frank Watson traverses the littoral landscape of post-Brexit Kent.
- Slide Lecture, in which Carlos Kong chances upon European portrayals of the Global South in a box of antique magic lantern slides.
- South is a Bright Blocked Place, in which Nina Schack Kock has a religious experience when unable to find a monastery in Greece.
- South is the state of sacrifice, in which Imani Jacqueline Brown surveys the coastal wetlands of Louisiana, bearing witness to the consequences of extractivism.
- South x South, in which Ibrahim Ahmed makes bricks in Ard El Lewa, Cairo from fabric scraps originating in the textile mills of the Global South.
- Sundowners, in which Jeremy Atherton Lin reflects on late nights out — in South London, Margate and Bath — while finishing his book Gay Bar.
- The Land Question: Where the fuck am I supposed to have sex? (extract), in which Eimear Walshe gives an account of two nuns cohabiting in Cork while confronting the complexities of land contestation.
- This is Happening, in which Andrea Mason details her South East London neighbourhood over two years.
- Women Hold Up Half The Sky, in which Jasleen Kaur reimagines an archival image of Sikh soldiers performing a gymnastics routine in Waziristan.
- Plus our recurring Etymology feature, in which Bryony Quinn gets to the roots of the issue’s theme.
Failed States is a publishing project that collates and investigates ideas around place, or more specifically: indeterminate geographies. As a continually evolving mode of research — in its oblique approach to geography, openness to possibility and curiosity as to what discrete responses might collectively reveal — Failed States is endeavouring to imagine, occupy and furnish another kind of space.
186 pgs, 27.5 × 21.5 cm, Softover, 2020,