Felix Gonzalez-Torres Untitled (Perfect Lovers) 1991. Clocks, paint on wall.
Untitled(Perfect Lovers) consists of two clocks, which start in synchronisation, and slowly, inevitably fall out of time due to the failure of the batteries and the nature of the mechanism. In a moving comment on his personal experiences, the piece refers to Gonzalez-Torres’ HIV positive partner Ross Laycock, and his slow decline and inevitable death due to AIDS. The clocks act as two mechanical heartbeats; representative of two lives destined to fall out of sync, and holds a poignant poetry about personal loss and the temporal nature of life.
“Don’t be afraid of the clocks, they are our time, time has been so generous to us…We conquered fate by meeting at a certain time in a certain space…we are synchronized, now forever. I love you.”
Being sex-negative doesn’t mean that I fancy myself the chief inspector of the sex police, or that I am personally judging what you do in bed, or that I’m conservative, or that I’m engaging in repressive moralizing. It doesn’t mean that I hate sex workers, or that I want to ban sex work or porn (and, in general, I tend to leave those conversations to women who do sex work while I shut up and listen to what they have to say). It doesn’t mean that I hate sex or that I’m embarrassed by it.
What it does, in fact, mean is that the way you fuck is not “private,” apolitical, or outside the realm of critique. Sex does not happen in a vacuum immune to outside structural influences; in fact, it can (and does) replicate inescapable systems of power and dominance. Being sex-negative means acknowledging that sex, and kink, have nothing intrinsically “good” or “positive” about them (in direct contrast to sex-positive feminists, many of whom argue that sex is an inherent good and that less charitable opinions toward sex are the result of a poisonous, prudish society).
It means understanding that many women have neutral to negative experiences with sex, whether due to a lack of desire or sensitivity or past traumatic experiences or myriad other reasons, or may not wish to have sex at all, and that none of this makes them unhealthy, aberrant, or wrong.
Ibeyi, made up of Cuban-born, Paris-based twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Díaz, is an electronic doom soul duo who are forging a new spiritual sound with their debut EP Oya. The 19-year-old musicians are XL Recordings‘ newest signees, and their introductory singles “Oya” and “River” possess a hypnotic blend of hip-hop, electronica, and blues infused with Yoruba prayers and folk songs that will transport you to a higher realm upon first listen.
Singing in French, English, Spanish and Yoruba, Ibeyi count among their primary influences Nina Simone, Meshell Ndegeocello, James Blake and their late father, the celebrated Cuban jazz percussionist Miguel “Anga” Diaz. Ibeyi’s vocal range, which wavers from the raspy and wraith-like to the sonorous and divine, is ideal for their sonic palette which revels in the phantasmagorical groove of liturgical Yoruba songs. Besides singing in Yoruba–which was brought to Cuba by West African slaves–Ibeyi honor their father’s legacy and Afro-Cuban heritage through their percussive production and use of live instruments. Beatsmith Naomi plays both the cajón and the batá while Lisa-Kaindé remains more in tune with the musical mythos of Ibeyi’s sound by weaving Yoruba lore deeply into their lyrics. “River” is dedicated to the goddess Oshun (the mother of the Ibeyi, and their first single and EP are both named for Oya (the benevolent orisha who took the Ibeyi in after Oshun was accused of witchcraft for birthing twins and kicked them out).