Fellow 2019/2020

Mijke van der Drift

Writer, educator, and performer Mijke van der Drift uses ethics as a focal point in multi-disciplinary research about social transformation. Van der Drift teaches at Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and the School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam, has worked internationally on radical transfeminism, for instance at Pembe Hayat Kuirfest, Ankara, 2018; Schwules Museum, Berlin, 2016; and the London Conference on Critical Thought, London, 2015; and is co-editor of Radical Transfeminism Zine (2015–ongoing). Their current project The Logic of Loss in Bonding uses film and philosophy to formulate a counterpoint to managerial theories of accumulation. Their film A way of dying… (2017), co-directed with Alex Reuter, is touring. In addition, van der Drift is currently working on their book Nonnormative Ethics: The Dynamics of Trans Formation. They obtained a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London, London. Van der Drift lives and works in Amsterdam and London.

Fellowship Research Trajectory

Mijke van der Drift’s research The Logic of Loss in Bonding conceptualizes a framework of ethics geared at reducing structural inequalities and nurturing sustainable futures. Combining philosophical exploration with film, and informed by Black, Queer, Postcolonial, and Extinction studies, this research emerges from the understanding that embracing loss, both material loss and losses of action-based and structural logics, supports ways of relearning the world. Van der Drift explores how theories of transformation that focus primarily on amending lack of access to existing forms, such as LGBT inclusion, run the risk of turning away from contemporary deteriorating environmental conditions. Centering loss can review what is perceived as lack and make space for the emergence of otherwise counterintuitive notions, such as giving up on economic growth, forms of political loss, and/or embracing a loss of material standards, as part of redistributive justice. Van der Drift further looks into the notion of loss in relationships so as to understand how making space may require a shift in one’s self as a political and ethical act. This research focuses on incorporating loss into ethics so as to dissolve the logic of domination and thus decenter an assumed necessity for control. In this aim, opening present logics to alternative ways of thinking, embracing new forms, and turning ethics to imagining open futures that are not arranged by imposition of a single order or logic.