by Taro Williams


“Used to be one of the wretched ones and I liked you for that Now you're all gone, got your make-up on and you're not coming back”

-Anthem for a Seventeen Year Old, Broken Social Scene, 2002

The short animated film Withdraw(2024) is inspired by the late philosopher Mark Fisher’s concept, “Lost Futures”. In his book, Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (2014) Fisher writes, “…the spectres of lost futures – reproach the formal nostalgia of the capitalist realist world.” (34). In doing so, the film aims to reflect on the mass changes that happened to Toronto’s urban identity during the 2010s, particularly rising levels of gentrification across the urban scape. A phenomenon that has created a climate of depressed dissociated youth. As we began historizing the past decade, an opportunity to reflect on what potential futures could have been for Toronto urbanism emerges. In this way, Withdraw plays with motifs of nostalgia; while coming-of-age into a brave new world that is now experienced as fragmented memories. However, through mediating on the isolated depression, a sense of hope emerges. As queer writer Matilta Bernstein Sycamore puts it in her book, The Freezer Door (2020), this is for, “…everyone who dreams of the city / To everyone who still dreams in the city / To everyone who still dreams” (5).

- Fisher, M. (2014). Ghosts of my life : writings on depression, hauntology and lost futures. Winchester: Zero books.

- Sycamore, M. B. (2020). The Freezer Door . Semiotext(e).

Taro Williams (he/they) is a multidisciplinary artist and writer raised in the east-end of Tkaronto/Toronto, the city he is now based in. His work work explores themes of gentrification, queerness, and urban living. He is of Nikkei heritage (fourth get Japanese Canadian) and has attended Rosedale Heights School of the Arts and Concordia University. William’s work has previous been published in School Schmool (2022,2023) and Auvert Magazine (2024). In his work, Williams aims to captures an honest expression of our current cultural zeitgeist. He creates from the perspective of Gen Z, and aims to capture the emotional heaviness of the post-millennial generation, the most educated, diverse, connected generation, yet, also a generation that is struggling within a cultural of mass anxieties, economic insecurities, and an unstable future.

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