In his essay that keeps on shaping critical media and cultural studies, Stuart Hall (1981) deconstructs and refocuses the idea of popular from the descriptive and border establishing logic to the dynamics shaping the society, to the processes within it.
Three of us met half a year ago and found a lot in common even in our differences. What we feel we share was searching, listening, forming multispecies and multisensorial alliancies and learning from and with them. The call for this special issue resonated with the discussions we had while learning about each other, each other's art- and scholarly work. With this collaboration, we thought, we could continue learning about each other and our relations. With this new learning and, by analogy with Hall's proposal, this exposition-essay aims to deconstruct the idea of public and publishing of art, artwork and art-based research.
The form of an exposition allows coming closer to the way we learn, share knowledge and become part of it, in other words, it allows approaching in a more complex way how knowledge is in the world. The discussions of ways of knowing spill over the field of qualitative inquiry towards other more rigid areas of knowledge, which indicates the momentum of the debates and its urgency. Informed and driven by feminist new materialist work and critical posthumanism and more-than-human studies, our exposition is an interplay between the content and the form. The tools of the platforms, such as floating texts, crossreferences, shapes, borders become the guiding clues for the reader. The hover-texts are sounds, the stumbling, a crossover, an impact or an affect in diffractive intra-action; their absence could be silence, a space in-between that generates new meanings.The table of the contents proposes the traditional structure of an academic article while referring to the diffracting elements of the exposition. They simultaneously could and could not play the role of the conventional academic article's elements.
The table of contents indicates what could be treated as introduction and rationale, what the methods and data are and where the discussion of the essay is. Yet the exposition only frames the rhizomatic process of the authors' collaborative work.
The reader can follow the table of content or ignore it and start exploring the exposition by skipping from one image to another and make sense of the visual, written, sonic word. The meanings are Easter eggs hidden inside, outside and inbetween the components; they are the clues and the invitations to expand the meaning on one's own terms.
The design of the exposition imitates our walking conversations and the serendipities of our encounters. They all informed and led us through our inquiry, became part of it and involved us in the rhythms of their play. The whole inquiry was rhythmic and even the dates of drafts of the pages of this exposition set their rhythm as part of the common rhythm in serendipious randomness: 13/10-31/10-13/01... the music becomes a dance becomes a game becomes the music. The elements of the essay-exposition interract, interplay and intra-act with each other. The video that is highlighted as the discussion of the essay is in fact the essay itself. The rest of the exposition may be seen as the video's echo, a path to and through it, its synopsis.
We try to emphasize with the evailable tools the open-ended nature of the conversation and of the publication: the essay "ends" with new prompts for the reader, for ourselves, as we become the readers at the very moment we add, "complete" new element to the exposition.
The table of contents offers some form of a structure, but it will still take the reader back and forth in rhythmic expansion of sense-making together in multi-species becoming with the authors, with the platform, with the sounds or with the texts.