Council is an art organization devoted to fostering better understanding of societal issues, has launched a biannual arts and human rights magazine ‘The Against Nature Journal’ exploring “crime against nature” laws and their legacies, in print, in person, and online. Authors and readers from law, activism, social sciences, and the arts are brought together to foster dialogue on sexual and reproductive rights and rethink nature anew.
As of summer 2020, the “restoration of natural order” is back on the agenda of many alt-right movements across the world, and “unnatural” sexual orientations and behaviors are still condemned to imprisonment, corporal punishment, and even the death penalty in over seventy countries.
The Against Nature Journal features internationally renowned writers, scholars, poets, journalists and activists from across the world, with a focus on countries where prosecution and criminalization of LGBTQI+ persons are still enforced as the result of colonial histories. Future issues will intertwine six themes, each becoming the major focus of one issue: Religion, Migration, Medicine, Love, Death, Nature.
The inaugural 144 pages issue, launched on 4 September 2020, outlines the intersections between legislation, human rights activism, and spirituality.
“In T.A.N.J #1 we celebrate the magical legacy of the late writer Binyavanga Wainaina, with his first piece of fiction, accompanied by an essay on his lifework by Amatesiro Dore. The issue also includes legal scholar Vivek Divan’s commentary on a seminal verdict in the history of “crime against nature” laws from India, essays on non-normative approaches to spirituality and religion by Martti Nissinen and Linn Marie Tonstad, poetry by Abu Nuwas and Chekwube Danladi, an inspiring text on the moral authority of “nature” by science historian Lorraine Daston, images from the colonial period in Vietnam by artist Danh Vo, and columns on recent events in Barbados, Brazil and Abya Yala, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, and Poland,” described a press release by the publishers.
500 copies are being distributed in selected bookshops worldwide. 1,500 free copies are being distributed internationally to individuals and organizations who are concerned with the laws of “crime against nature” and operate in the fields of law, activism, social sciences, and the arts.
A digital version of The Against Nature Journal and program of events will also be available on www.theagainstnaturejournal.com
The Against Nature Journal is edited by curator and researcher Aimar Arriola and Council co-director Grégory Castéra, in collaboration with contributing editor Giulia Tognon. It is supervised by Thomas Boutoux, Nikita Dhawan, Taru Elfving, Karim Nammour, Arvind Narrain, Piergiorgio Pepe, Graeme Reid, Nizar Saghieh and Sandra Terdjman. The magazine and the website are designed by Julie Peeters while the cover is a commission to illustrator Stepan Lipatov.
The Against Nature Journal is published by Council. Significant support is provided by the Foundation for Arts Initiatives, Kone Foundation, and Nordic Culture Point.
Founded in 2013 by Grégory Castéra and Sandra Terdjman in Paris, Council is an art organization devoted to fostering better understanding of societal issues. It was founded with the conviction that art produces meaningful social change and that its influence can be extended to other domains. Council develops a longterm artistic program by partnering with thinkers and makers from different fields of action and expertise. Council commissions artworks, curates exhibitions, designs assemblies, and orchestrates educational programs. Additionally, the fellowship program AFIELD recognizes artists and cultural practitioners who develop exemplary initiatives that benefit society. The entire program addresses issues related to health and care, gender equality, ecology, collective practices and social innovation.