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"The Art of Survival"

Interview with Li Sumpter

For Escape Artist Mixtape Vol 4: Parable of Coronas by Myth Media Studios

Q1: With the Sun Tzu's Art of War in mind, what 5 factors would you consider when building your personal strategy for the art of survival? What have been your chosen tools of creative resistance and resilience?

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” During this time, I’ve created opportunities for increased preparedness, patience, adaptation, perseverance and most importantly rest. As I submit myself to the pace of the unpredictable, I have learned to be adjustable and adaptable, and through patience I am able to find rest, even as I persevere.

The tools that have been proven to enhance my creative resistance and resilience are grounded in Mother Nature. Even as the world has been plagued with sickness and fear, Mother continues to thrive. I choose to flow at her pace and not the pace of a capitalist system.

Q2: Do you have a favorite work from Octavia Butler? If so, what is it and why does this sort resonate with you?

My favorite work from Octavia E. Butler is “Mind of Mind”. While pursuing my MFA, I was given this book by one of my fondest mentors, Dr. Pheoris West. This was the only book that he gave me. As Octavia’s vision is prophetic, so was this gift - the gift of Mary - a young woman who used her supernatural powers to connect with other powerful beings, thus growing an unstoppable community. Learning of her emboldened my own power and taught me to protect it, and I imagine a world where a like-minded resistance will thrive after the elimination of the archenemy.

Q3: In times of protest and possibility, artists have the power to amplify community voices and communicate the message of the moment. As an artist, do you have a preferred medium to express your voice? If you could summarize an S.O.S. emergency broadcast message to your community (or the world) in a tweet, what would it be?

As I preserve my health, my physical presence has become selective, so my voice is best amplified through the written word and imagery. My S.O.S to my community makes the rest alarm visible, encouraging physical endurance and spiritual preparedness. The rested life is not expressed in the sleep state alone, but in the amplitude, trough and crest of the awakened soul. There is a flow to the rested life, and as we remain alert to both spiritual and natural frequencies, we are able to allow wisdom to guide and preserve our energy. We mustn't allow an individualistic society to drain us with competition and attention-seeking desperations. Comparison breeds envy, which inevitably hinders us from the potent impact of collaborative work. The art of collaboration will preserves us, enhances us, and give us room for rest.

Q4: When you speak on your practice of radical wellness you often illuminate the intense demand of one’s body, mind and spirit required to push through phys