Published in Overland Issue 240 Spring 2020 · Uncategorized Loïe Fuller entertains M. and Mme Curie at Boulevard Kellerman Jessica L Wilkinson (Knock knock knock): Lo Lo at the door, her big eyes blue to bursting through the threshold of the simple house at 108, and billowing fabric, a train of electricians in her wake. ‘La Loïe’, receptive to fancy, desired luminous wings of radium, had read a story in the paper of the couple whose curiosity burned through harsh Parisian winters in a makeshift lab; Marie laboured at the cauldron in the courtyard, separating pitchblende, while Pierre examined specimens of radioactive matter. For years, they inhaled the aberrant air, excited by tiny hazards; their love may have been quantifiable from dawn chores to the bedside table, growing deeper with each working day and penetrating joints and bones. Troubles were dismissed like sweat, like steam, like smoke; they didn’t fully know the power of their work, how it followed them home like a yapping dog. Trace particles no doubt laced cups, clothes and cookbooks; all the doorknobs turned on danger. Yet, despite fatigue and aches and pains, they glowed. Loïe, too, knew how to suffer one’s vocation, ice packs pressed against her spine when she was merely ‘woman’. She had to move to sweep away the cold that chilled her marrow, to exceed the human form that weighed her down. Picture the peculiar vision in the dining room that day at 108: her dancing silks becoming flower, flame, fevered in a harmony of light and sound and swirling screens that cycle cerulean, azure, cobalt and blue. The captive audience of three — Pierre, Marie and little Irène — look shocked at such a strange disruption to their modest home. Loïe’s smile, if you can catch it, radiates like an electric fairy, charged by force of revolution. She doesn’t mind the fact that they could not fulfil her fantasies for phosphorescent costumes; she dances to salute their efforts to reply at all. Loïe knows her swirling colours tease the hem of Marie’s plain, black dress with the rapture of a metaphor, is pleased to introduce imaginary visions of a different kind into the Curie’s field. These women are not, it seems, so dissimilar. Both anticipated more to find amidst the Earth’s seen detail, they pushed the limitations of their bodies to uncover possible truths. And later, when catastrophes had brutally amassed in Marie’s lap, a letter from the dancer braced this purpose: ‘pay no attention to the lies’, she wrote, and signed off with a swelling ‘c’est la vie.’ Read the rest of Overland 240 If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four brilliant issues for a year Jessica L Wilkinson Jessica L Wilkinson’s latest book of poetry is Music Made Visible: A Biography of George Balanchine (Vagabond Press, 2019). She is the managing editor of Rabbit and an Associate Professor in Creative Writing at RMIT University. More by Jessica L Wilkinson › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 4 December 20234 December 2023 · Climate politics Where is the Australian climate movement’s solidarity with Palestine? Alex Kelly Let this be a line in the sand. Let us learn our history. Let us listen to liberation movements around the world. Conflicts for land and water will shape the decades to come. Showing up for each other and building power to demand justice is our only hope for a humane future. First published in Overland Issue 228 1 December 20231 December 2023 · History ‘We’re doing everything but treaty’: Law reform and sovereign refusal in the colonial debtscape Maria Giannacopoulos I coined the concept of the colonial debtscape while working to understand the relation between debt and sovereignty in the wake of the 2007 Global Financial crisis. Despite the referendum held in Greece in 2015 where the people voted against austerity, austerity as punishment, was imposed anyway. As this was a colonising move, that is, the imposition of an external and foreign law on local populations against their will, it was to Aboriginal scholars here that I turned to begin to put the pieces together.