The Instagram Archipelago: Race, Gender, and the Lives of Dead Fish (September 2022)

Through a raucous tour of Instagram’s fisherwomen, this book proposes a radical new ethics of gender and race. 

“bracingly witty, original and lyrical” – Josh Cohen.

“witty, trenchant, and very very relevant” – Frances Wilson.

Set on Idan Hayosh’s peculiar Instagram page of women holding dead fish, The Instagram Archipelago is a conversation with contemporary culture’s logics of gender and race. Working through recent thinking in Black studies and Hayosh’s satirical images, Elliot C. Mason presents the aesthetics of capitalism as a sea that makes everything the same, turning the world into a single form. The fishing photos on yachts produce an expansive way of seeing the world. Against the sea, he proposes “Black island thinking.” The island is turned inwards, and focuses on archipelagic forms of language that only other islands can understand, fugitively escaping the imposed language of the sea.

This funny and moving book of cultural theory lays the foundation for a new method of antiracist criticism.

Praise for The Instagram Archipelago:

“By way of a personal response to Idan Hayosh’s deeply weird images, Elliot C. Mason has conjured a bracingly witty, original and lyrical meditation on architecture, fishing, bikinis and the possibility of escape from the ‘eclipsing wetness’ of our homogenizing neoliberal culture.”

Josh Cohen, author of Not Working: Why We Have to Stop.

“Elliot C. Mason is a force of nature. Dissolving the boundaries of genre, he provides a roadmap to the writing of the future. The Instagram Archipelago is witty, trenchant, and very very relevant.”

Frances Wilson, author of The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth and The Courtesan’s Revenge.

“Timely, insightful, moving, funny, and rigorous in its self-scrutiny. [Mason has written] a persuasive, and admirable, study of the white male gaze and the world it’s helped bring about.”

Matt Greene, author of Jew(ish) and Ostrich.

About the author

Elliot C. Mason is a poet, essayist, and doctoral candidate at Uppsala University. He is the author of Building Black: Towards Antiracist Architecture (Punctum, 2021), and The Instagram Archipelago: Race, Gender, and the Lives of Dead Fish (Zer0, 2022), as well as two collections of poetry.

His essays, poems, and translations are widely published, and his plays have been performed at many theatres. He lives in Stockholm with his partner.