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Empire in Shade
JH Phrydas


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Excerpted from Imperial Physique, this pair of stories attempts to explore the ways in which our bodies hover between animal and human, civil and wild. The melancholy—and underlying verve—of imagining Western empires in decline serves as a backdrop for a lone figure searching city streets, decaying architecture, and sand dunes for some type of physical connection. What arises is the loss of—and longing for—touch at the edge of imperialist culture, historical violence, and personal shame.
 
AN EXCERPT FROM EP 91
 
“What is at stake in positioning ourselves as animal—wild—when safety, or lack thereof, is an inherent force of carnality? What are the politics of a visceral life? Can we cruise and remain good citizens?”
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
JH Phrydas is the author of Levitations and curator of the long-term project X21REQ, which calls for artists and writers to answer the question: “What does the twenty-first century require of you?” After three years of failed attempts to gain admittance to universities to continue his research, Phrydas became a rogue scholar. Armed with library cards from local universities, he researches, writes, and creates collages for a future novel called Against Daylight. He conducts his research within the analog and digital divide: in the hopes that, by recon guring memory through embodied narrative, queered history, and alchemical ancestries, we might, as a culture, grind towards a new type of knowledge. One based in bone and written in the stars. He lives in Los Angeles with his partner, artist and DJ Stanley Frank.


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Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.