8 (+1) Fantastic Things That Happened To Us This Year
#AOI Turns 8
“One of the best AOI experiences this year were the many workshops we did across different sets of people. It was great to encounter all the stories, wisdom and immense care and love that people have for each other. We spoke about bridging intergenerational gaps in understanding queerness with 100+ teachers in Delhi, and what we love and hate about social media with digital grassroots creators at PoV’s Jhakaas Mela. We also heard stories of how many young women support people in their communities to make their own choices in love at CREA’s Annual SELF Academy!”
"I'm thrilled that AOI's onground event happened in August 2023. Being in love with live performance myself, it was heady being part of taking AOI's content into the live space, presenting it to people who were right there in front of you and feeling their feedback and response. I feel that this event — an evening that flowed from one piece of AOI content to another, ending up in a conversation on AOI approach and philosophy followed by an open mic — invited people to experience the interconnected whole that was AOI, and that was wonderful!”
“We had Abhishek Annica coming on board as AOI’s first Guest Editor during October. He wrote about his experiences as a disabled person, and highlighted the experiences of other disabled folks. These gave me an insight into their stories which rarely get represented in conversations around intimacy, relationships, etc. And it made me a more thoughtful artist too.”
"Our post Meri Baingan Wali Story, brought in varied reactions. The conversation allowed us to discuss AOI’s core philosophy and our approach to sexuality, with honesty, open-heartedness and trust. Our audience is always so engaged and always pushes us to think deeply. And this post helped us reaffirm our values and deepen our connection to our audience.
Also, we released our Pleasure Manifesto in January, which was a visual treat, and an articulation and culmination of eight years of long and hard ;) work and political thought. The responses to the Manifesto, also brought home all the love and sense of community that AOI has built over the years. "
“I feel very excited about our brand new website (agentsofishq.com) that we launched this year! Not only does it have all the fresh maal, but also so many other cool features and categories, mere browsing pleasure ke swad anusar. It also has pura ka pura 8 years of AOI’s shared journey, which is a treasure trove — I’m always feeling fomo of the pieces I’m yet to find and read!”
"The best thing that happened to me at AOI this year was working on the BhashaBaazi posts. As someone who thinks, speaks and writes in English, working on the posts highlighted the politics of language. That the definition of vulgar is often what was deemed acceptable by the Brits (and now certain elites), and how much that alienated us from our roots and made us feel just ashamed of ourselves as a culture—and continues to. I am waiting to learn more tharki words in Tamil in 2024!"
"AOI worked on many more projects this year, such as the collaboration with Ibis, and the Guest Editorship with Abhishek Anicca. As the office manager, in my opinion, this is a good thing that happened to AOI this year and shows it is growing in a healthy way."
"The Thirakta Thursday video with a pair of loose female breasts hanging out of holes in a bedsheet, dancing around like a ghost’s eyes while all else was covered, by a cos-play artist startled me—and also reminded me of how we once enjoyed our bodies by making fun of them, loved them through their funnies. This year, AOI reminded me— we can enjoy ourselves more, accept the challenge of other people’s wildness! In a time of self-censorship I learn about being politically engaged, not just politically correct with AOI, as we tread with expansiveness and risk, into lived human experience."
The 8 years (9 really) of working on AOI have taught me so much. I’ve learned from audiences, colleagues, the partners we worked with. This year was special because we were able to convert those learnings into philosophical ideas through our pieces on the Politics of Love and the AOI Pleasure Manifesto. A new project has blossomed from all of this: the Poetic Politics project, where new conversations and beautiful partnerships are helping us evolve a framework of how we can have more thoughtful political conversations and create work that’s willing to go slow – and go deep – to connect a divided and often lonely world. Can’t wait to launch it in 2024!