Ignota Hosts: Mercury Retrograde with Emily Segal, Michelle Tea and Deluge Books
Emily Segal and Michelle Tea launched Mercury Retrograde on 1 December 2020 with conversation and tarot.
Emily Segal, artist and trend forecaster in her 20s, tries to tell the future by reading the present. Literature finds commercial form in the shape of eXe, a mysterious and well-funded internet start-up that offers her a job. A conceptual take-over is deployed; gendered power play ensues; queerness incubates; memes converge. Set in New York City, post-Occupy and pre-Trump, Emily Segal's debut novel Mercury Retrograde is an autofictional, mixed media, pulp snack.
“Emily Segal is almost mystically attuned to the cultural logic of our era. She lives its pangs and contradictions intellectually, emotionally and somatically – late capitalism’s Simone Weil.” Tom McCarthy
“I really liked reading this book. It’s the longest reply to ‘where have you been?’ you’ll ever get from someone you first met in a skype chat which Emily Segal is to me. It’s a brilliantly written novel of a moment in search of a shimmer, half ‘here’, half digital, an everywhere post branding workplace place where few have dared to live and this writer, explorer, critic, philosopher of nonbusiness has done it deep. Segal's style is widely smart, different than deep (always). I mean her Mercury Retrograde is, it truly is.” Eileen Myles
“Mercury Retrograde to me feels like fiction's next historical leap. It's smart and engaging (and bingeable) and yet it also feels necessary in a way that almost all books don't. It's a signpost that points to where the culture is headed, which is heady stuff, yet there you have it.” Douglas Coupland
Emily Segal is an artist, writer, and trend forecaster based in Los Angeles. She co-founded the trend forecasting group K-HOLE, and currently directs the think tank / consultancy Nemesis. Her essays and interviews have appeared in e-flux journal, Frieze, Texte zur Kunst, Flash Art, Dazed, Mousse, 032c and many other publications. Mercury Retrograde is her first novel.
Michelle Tea is the author of many books, including her most recent novel Black Wave and memoir Against Memoir, both published in the UK by And Other Stories. A literary organiser in queer and feminist circles, she co-created the long-running performance tour Sister Spit and founded RADAR Productions, a literary non-profit that oversees queer-centric projects, including the global phenomenon Drag Queen Story Hour, in which drag queens read stories to children in libraries, schools and bookshops.
Deluge is a new mass experimental queer press. Collapsing the divide between conceptual literary work and bingeable pulp, we make advanced books that are fun to read. Founding editors include Emily Segal, Hannah Baer and Cyrus Dunham.