Chilly greetings from the Belli gong farmers drudging up shit from the so-called past. It’s been a year since we started this project and we enter this new year with a fittingly foul-mouthed piece by Sasha Durakov, addressing the abstract concept of “health” and its neglected history as an absurd smell-based-science and also more seriously an insidious aspect of colonization, cis-hetero-patriarchy, racism, and policing—a field of inquiry that has grabbed our attention for a while now. Finally, some fruit! And hopefully more sprouts in this field in the coming year as conversations about self-care and health autonomy circulate in radical projects and “mental illness” becomes ever-more a central topic in public discourse.
We wipe the tear “stains-of-concern” from our cheeks for a moment to give you these short other updates, the enzymatic activity of our night soil:
We have completed our first Belli Research Institute podcast, which we’re calling The Underbelli. Our hope for The Underbelli is to not only provide audio versions of texts, but also to enhance texts with other aural elements and eventually to create a platform for people to share their experiences or stories pulling inspiration from our various departments. The first episode features some bellifolk and our friends reading Sasha Durakov’s Schizo-Genesis // Mad Apocalypse. Next up is a podcast on sex work and stigma. We’re going to strive to release two episodes a month from here on out. Find The Underbelli and subscribe on most podcast streaming apps or listen here!
We have a Belli Store now. If you are an advocate for Pre-Hysteric Shark Girls Against Cops and want an inspirational and cute t-shirt as an affirmation we got that for u. We also have zines, copies of The Savage Peace and stickers galore for sale cheap all in the Belli Store. Any profit made is going toward making more stuff like stickers and t-shirts and towards a pooled fund to donate to local projects.
We’ve been talking, researching, reading, eating and thinking a lot about hygiene, sanitation and public health as forms of policing that partly constitute the forces of stigma and social normativity which we understand as necessarily operating via some form of hierarchy, exclusion and abandonment. Our hope this year is to incorporate some of the history from Sasha’s new text The Fragrance of Citizenship//The Acridity of Others: Towards Health Skepticism into the margins of the elusive Belli pro-bacterial fermentation recipe book, for a multi-purpose object that you might keep in your privy vault, cesspit or to accompany and better digest that nice plate of offal.
Inspired by recent projects that “flip the lens” in historical study, for example Scene on Radio’s podcast series Seeing White, we’re interested in the scrutinous examination of Quetelet’s normal straight-white-man-specimen – “The Average Man” – and how he came to be. What might we learn by scrutinizing “normal” behavior, whiteness, straightness and other categories that constitute the hegemony, rather than setting up otherness that the latter categories are responsible for creating anyway? How do categories that fit the normal curve create the deviant or the outlier that gets abandoned?