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“Preservation as metamorphosis”
by Jota Mombaça

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Brazilian non-binary artist and researcher Jota Mombaça offers a hybrid text, between creation, theory and interpretation of Octavia E. Butler’s trilogy, Lilith’s Brood (Xenogenesis), published at the end of the 1980s. Like a speculative fiction based on the experience of her own reading, “Preservation as metamorphosis” resonates with the issues at stake in the programming FUTURS D’AVANT.



Imagine waking up in a room with no door, in a bare cell with no openings, no view of anything beyond your immediate surroundings. Confined to an infinite instant. Imagine waking up and suddenly being cut off from everything you have ever known, suspended in the claustrophobic totality of a reality completely alien to you, surrounded by greyish walls and ghosts of impossible interpretation. At the mercy of what cannot be predicted. Without control. Yet you are lucid, present in all your sensations, restless and a witness to your restlessness.

You lie down. You invent ways to pass the hours. You stretch yourself out on the bed and on the floor available. You jump to expend the energy coursing through your body. Your flesh trembles with pent-up anxiety. So much life overflowing in every instant lived in the emptiness of your new reality. You glimpse the possibilities, study your confinement, spiralling, spiralling until you are no longer alone. You come across another presence. You calculate all the angles. That which you cannot recognise is there before you. Unavoidable. You cannot avoid facing what you must. You are tired of asking yourself questions. You look at the creature as it looks at you. You’ve lost what you never had. And what you never asked for will become yours.


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Preservation as Metamorphosis © Jota Mombaça, 2020.
Translated from Portuguese (Brazil) by Dominic Zugai.
The Jeu de Paume thanks the author for her kind and generous collaboration.

Jota Mombaça is a non-binary bicha, born and raised in the northeast of Brazil, who writes, performs and academically studies on the relations between monstruosity and humanity, kuir studies, de-colonial turns, political intersectionality, anti-colonial justice, redistribution of violence, visionary fictions, the end of the world and tensions among ethics, aesthetics, art and politics in the knowledge productions of the global south-of-the-south.

Jota Mombaça
Octavia E. Butler / bookshop
“A Voice from the Border” / ITW with Cristina Esguerra


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