Moving at the Speed of Trust

Moving at the Speed of Trust

by Sun Ho Lee

A spiral lies against a black background and bears the following text:

How to preserve an ecosystem for kin.

This list is directly quoting the French Moroccan architect Salima Naji. In Slow Spatial Reader: Chronicles of Radical Affection (2021), she shares her practice of borrowing from vernacular knowledge to build on marginal, less lucrative regions. 

Remember that it's an ongoing process with no end goal.

Do it for ten years, twenty years.

Seed new affections for the margins.

Illuminate new forms of value for the margins.

Demonstrate the richness that has been obscured. 

Retrieve what's been overlooked.

Seek out the margins.
How to Collaborate with Strangers and Not Exploit Them

The following list is extracted from my conversation with LA-based photographer Manuel Hahn, who captures communities that exist between cultures and structures. It is a guide for my future practice—not only in the creative realm but also in any form of community-oriented work. 

Express gratitude for your collaborators' commitment. Compensate them for their contribution and time in any way possible. 

It's okay there will be days with more yeses than nos.

On the days you are rejected, cry on the couch for 20 minutes, then get back out there.

Have genuine conversations with the desire to thoroughly understand community members.

Be straightforward and upfront about what you're trying to make with their contributions.

Show up for weeks and months. Build actual relationships.

Show up to communities: their churches, barber shops, hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Do the legwork. Take time to reach out to organizations and make connections.
How to use Art Book Fairs as a site of Expanding Community

I started attending art book fairs with hopes to share my works with kin and expand my relationship with a larger community of publishers. Here are food for thought to keep in mind while visiting or tabling at art book fairs. 

Notice who is at the fair. Whose voice is being heard and given space? (footnote to Yaiza Camp's "Decolonizing Art Book Fairs" text)

Publishing "compels, persuades, informs, attracts, confuses, scripts, and manipulates." (quote from "Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats")

Who has the power and resources to publish? (footnote to "Peer Review: Publishing the Present")

How are narratives introduced at art book fairs?

Ask exhibitors about their publishing practice.