You may have noticed that the logo above my blog’s name, “The Archipelago”, is a map of the Greater Antilles, in the Caribbean. I would like to explain its significance, and my intention in drawing inspiration from this geographical motif.
“The Antilles are an island bridge connecting, in ‘another way,’ North and South America. This geographical accident, including its continental foci, the character of an archipelago, that is, a discontinuous conjunction (of what?): unstable condensations, turbulences, whirlpools, clumps of bubbles, frayed seaweed, sunken galleons, crashing breakers, flying fish, seagull squawks, downpours, nighttime phosphorescences, eddies and pools, uncertain voyages of signification; in short, a field of observation quite in tune with the objectives of Chaos” (2)
La Isla que se Repite (The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective), Antonio Benítez-Rojó
I read excerpts from this book in the final meeting for the class, Postcolonialism Across Disciplines, a course that was a collaboration between students and professors, who worked together to create a schedule and syllabus about over- and under-arching issues of colonialism and decolonization in the modern world.
In it, Benitez-Rojo identifies the archipelago as a recurrent theme across time that “repeats” itself, as it is discovered, re-discovered, and re-created over time—from Ancient Greece to the Malay archipelago to the West Indies. I think of the Galápagos Archipelago, where the theory of evolution was honed, and begin to see islands as emblematic of resourcefulness, interdependency, and survival.
This particular archipelago attempts to mimic such cross-pollination, interacting with the concentric spheres of education, the arts, and a quest for justice.
That we can travel through time and space and connect things that are generally held separate, and see truth where it is routinely obscured.
That we can converse across cultural and language barriers.
That we can dream up a future—because dreams are constructed of many multiple pasts—and move towards it without fear.
My dream is to learn and educate, to honor and celebrate, and to embody the idea that humans ought to love one another and abide by an ethos of peace.