All Sky, Mirror Ocean: Foreword by Natalie Loveless

Guest post by Natalie Loveless

There Is a Way through the Heart…And/Or, How to Read This Book

The process of conducting this research, creating the art, and writing this book has been the most healing period in my life. This is a healing manifesto.
—Brad Necyk, All Sky, Mirror Ocean

I write this foreword from an airplane moving from one conflict zone to another, both in desperate need of healing. I write with the weight of histories of genocide practiced in those lands we now call Israel and those we call Canada. I write from the midst of many memories of the heart. These memories inflect my reflection on the book you currently hold in your hands.

Weaving elegantly—and alchemically—through anecdote, memory, vignette, and story, Brad’s All Sky, Mirror Ocean models research-creation at its aesthetic and political best.1 A journey through bipolar (dis)order, family life, and parenting…climate change, social justice, and medical humanities research…critical disability studies, mad studies, studies in psychiatry and neuroscience…literature, philosophy, and theory…it is a joy to read, and a joy to succumb to the writing’s rhythms and flows. Deeply somatic, each page transforms hurt (individual, shared, local, global) into heart.

Brad writes as an artist and a visionary. From this place, he works to create new spaces for research-creation at the intersection of art and social and ecological justice. Based on years of fieldwork, site visits, ethics permissions, and notes, All Sky, Mirror Ocean works at the level of


to page.

It weaves fragments, snippets, and aphorisms. The rhythms of the shapes on the page in-form our reading. Diaristic excavation of intergenerational family narratives, trauma, loves, joys, and cares meet decolonial-feminist, mad studies, and research-creation perspectives. Together these guide the way.

Indeed, to have the ears to hear and receive what All Sky, Mirror Ocean offers requires giving oneself over to these word-images and their pacing. It requires wallowing and allowing yourself the




To read word by word, allowing each to build on the other to create a syncopated interwoven world, dense with allusion, memory, plea, and insight. Nothing of this text is from without. It is all from within. All worked and worked-through, in both the psychoanalytic and artistic senses of these terms. Reading for content alone has no place here. The content of the book is made possible by the forms crafted to share knowledge-as-gift: as situated knowledge.

Knowledge in place, with spirit.

As artist-philosopher Erin Manning might say: the text marks thought in the act.2

As intergenerational Shoa survivor, artist, and psychoanalytic theorist Bracha Ettinger might say: the text requires a wit(h)nessing.3

As Tahltan artist Peter Morin might say: the text is a love song.4

As xwélmexw sound studies scholar Dylan Robinson might say: it requires guest rather than hungry listening.5

As Latinx scholar of race, inequalities, and global change Vanessa Machado de Oliveira might say: it renders impossible the consumptive drives that configure modernity and its configuration of knowledges.6

Individualistic-extractive modalities are undone, both in the process of the writing itself (its marked indebtedness) and the reading experience of the text (its rhythms and syncopation of form). All Sky, Mirror Ocean reminds us that healing is a journey with no end. As with all journeys in life, the destination only pretends to be the point. It lures. But the journey is the real joy. Even when it hurts.

While there will have been many ways for you to read through this text—following the linear sequence of the pages in all of their lyrical flows; following the alternative table of contents to curate moments and thoughts in new directions—my recommendation is that you start with the Notes on Conditions. Read it at the beginning and at the end, whichever version of the adventure that you choose. Feel the difference that each journey makes.

And/or: ignore my prescription entirely and follow the breadcrumbs,
flipping to the back every time a word feels
| Marked | (you will know it when you see it, maybe)
// quote //
Emphasis ,, delicate ,, lovingly marked
other :: lyrical :: or :: out-of-place {{though not always}}
Weave back and forth. Treat the Notes on Conditions as a set of footnotes7 that continually recur, interrupting and intervening…co-creating with you.

And/or: annotate the text with your own interventions.

Me You


…breathe out,



  1. I use Brad’s first name, throughout, by way of marking both my and Brad’s disinvestment in
    colonial/hetero-patriarchal academic writerly norms, as well as marking (non-coincidentally)
    our friendship, regard, and love.
  2. Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience (Minneapolis: University of
    Minnesota Press, 2014) is a beautiful excavation and meditation on research-creation written
    by Erin Manning together with Brian Massumi.
  3. See Bracha L. Ettinger, The Matrixial Borderspace (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
    2006). In it she offers a feminist rereading of the Lacanian theory of the subject, highlighting
    the structural phalogocentrism and anthropocentrism of Lacan’s model, working with and
    alongside Lacan’s insights in a way that respectfully reads and contributes to the Lacanian
    oeuvre, while rerouting some of its tendrils.
  4. See my “Love Songs (to End Hetero-patriarchal, Settler-Colonial, Extractivism)” in A
    Companion to Contemporary Art in a Global Framework
    , ed. Amelia Jones and Jane Chin
    Davidson (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2023).
  5. Put simply, to listen “hungrily” is to listen extractively—to get somewhere or gain something. To
    listen as a guest is to honour sovereign difference, and allow this to guide one’s listening (and
    action), without cascading into an individualist anxiety of being that requires consumptive
    assimilative logics; in feminist terms, it is to listen for difference, respectfully; in Indigenous
    terms (in my learning thus far) it is it to honour treaty logics. See Dylan Robinson, Hungry
    Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies
    (Minneapolis: University of
    Minnesota Press, 2020). On Treaty, see Sharon H. Venne, “Treaties Made in Good Faith,”
    Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 34, no. 1 (2007), 3–16; and Dwayne Donald, “From
    What Does Ethical Relationality Flow? An Indian Act in Three Artifacts,” in The Ecological Heart
    of Teaching: Radical Tales of Refuge and Renewal for Classrooms and Communities
    , ed. Jackie
    Seidel and David W. Jardine (New York: Peter Lang, 2016), 10–17.
  6. See Vanessa Machado de Oliveira, Hospicing Modernity: Facing Humanity’s Wrongs and the
    Implications for Social Activism
    (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2021).
  7. Footnote for page 244 of the Note on Conditions: You are right, Brad. I wanted it to, but it