[-empyre-] grids, affect, (im)measurability and (in)visibility
zachblas at gmail.com
Sun Nov 15 08:56:15 EST 2009
following along the lines of my preview post on tactics of
nonexistence and the viral, i’d like to share Queer Technologies’
current work-in-progress called GRID. this project is a type of
diagramming that works with and against that which can be diagrammed
and that which cannot--in this instance, the diagrammed product and
unmappable. i saw a great talk last night by patricia clough at the
new school on affect, branding, immeasurability, incalculability, and
incomputability--it was amazing stuff! GRID, in a sense, is attempting
deal with these ideas and problems too.
here’s a general explication:
The design, fabrication, production, dissemination, and use of Queer
Technologies operates on / as a grid.
Today, two grids can be identified that mutually form and construct
the biosocialities of homosexuality:
Importantly, these grids are not a static positioning structure but
rather comprise an assemblage--unstable, in movement, of material.
They do not pin the homosexual by abstractness by actually constitute
Firstly, a history of viral contagion and disease interlocks with and
generates conceptions, representations, and bodies of homosexuality.
G.R.I.D., or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, the identifier given to
AIDS until 1982, is a locus of this infectious “rhetoric.” The term,
as words that explicitly order homosexuals into markers of sickness
from health, etymologically links homosexuality beyond its
all-too-real, continuing struggles with AIDS, to other modulating
constructions of “disease” and “sickness.”
Secondly, contemporary grids of communication and capital virally
generate a dominant assemblage of the homosexual that is complicit
within flows of consumption and nationalism, a “sterility” of sorts.
As Jasbir Puar has suggested, homonationalism is the enfolding of
homosexuals into these machinations, visually projecting and
materially constructing a form of homosexuality as included within the
nation-state and mass culture, while simultaneously excluding
homosexuals who exist outside of these homonormative representations
and life formations.
These two grids are collapsed into one another, interlocked in a
viral logic that frames the homosexual body from a diseased or
infected formation, while generating a dominant form of homosexuality
as anything but an other to heterosexuality and the nation.
I would like to refer to this larger construction simply as GRID.
This assemblage called GRID--the relationalities and interactions that
come to form the homonormative homosexual of today, infects the
multiplicitous biosocialities of homosexuality. Yet, I would like to
argue that through an exploitation of the viralities at work here,
another grid can be replicated--a queer grid that provides viral
tactics of infection and escape from the representations and
formations of GRID. Queer Technologies sees this grid developing
through the potential of product deployment and distribution.
The question is: How do we escape GRID? Can we escape GRID?
Queer Technologies proposes a queer grid. If the virus is life
exploiting life, Queer Technologies’ formation of a grid calls for an
exploitation of the queer self to manufacture difference, that is, to
combat the dominant viral GRID of homosexuality, a queer grid must
replicate and mutate the dominant never-being-the-sameness to produce
its own queer never-being-the sameness. Queer Technologies works with
Alan Liu’s notion of “destructive creativity”—a creativity that goes
“beyond the new picturesque of mutation and mixing to the ultimate
form of such mutation and mixing: what may be called the new sublime
of ‘destruction.’ [. . .] the critical inverse of the mainstream
ideology of creative destruction [. . . a] viral aesthetics.”1 This
aesthetics becomes like a repetitive stream of
disidentifications—disidentifying as queer cryptography, repetitively
infecting the infections of mainstream ideology at the risk of
obliterating one’s own “hygiene.” Queer Technologies locates the
potential of such an aesthetic viral infection in queer affect. Queer
affect as a type of cryptography--nonhygienic ways of being, living,
experiencing--generates a life-resistance that, in its contingencies,
mutations, and infections with global capital, produces another queer,
viral grid that is an “illegible and incalculable” artificial life to
GRID, as it is always forming its existence in relation/exploitation
to this dominant GRID.
A queer GRID is mapped through the potential of relationalities and
affects generated in a Queer Technologies’ event, situated within the
context of the encounter between the body in contact and the autonomy
of the technological product. The affective encounter holds the
potential to explode out into a queer collective force. To diagram
this reveals the topological possibilities for queer world-making on
and off GRID. Diagramming reveals what can be mapped and what cannot:
the queer grid is both visible and invisible.
Queer Technologies has commenced developing a set of maps and battle
plans that they refer to as GRID. QT uses the same name for its own
queer grids as well as the dominant GRID to virally bind them
linguistically and etymologically, in that Gay-Related Immune
Deficiency (G.R.I.D.) is always left as a trace (an infection) within
GRID. As Queer Technologies circulates within various cities and
geographical areas, QT diagrams and situates these products--gay
bombs--within a grided assemblage. These queer grids, once mapped out,
are distributed all over the areas they correlate to: on billboards,
sidewalks, signposts, websites, store fronts, etc. Akin to a
Situationist dérive, these queer grids attempt to reconstruct
replications of homosexuality virally produced by GRID.
Queer Technologies’ grid fashions a new topology: their circulated
diagrams and their situated products in various consumer outlets work
toward producing another type of virality that emerges from the fusion
of map and territory--viral in that it uses the same logic of viral
capitalism: the queer grid allows itself to constantly change and
mutate with the dominant GRID to continuously infect capital; it is
its own mutation engine that produces queer never-being-the-sameness.
The queer grid will crash, succeed, re-chart, change always, replicate
always. Its value lies within the fact that each node in the
topology--as a gay bomb--has the potential to explode into a queer
relationality, encrypted by another grid, that can generate a whole
new set of infections against GRID.
Queer Technologies, through all its various tactics--broadly defined
as viral aesthetics, infects GRID with another grid. Perhaps these
escapings from GRID are momentary, fleeting, but they continue
undoubtedly. Escaping the face, the representation, the image that
infects the biosocialities of homosexuality generates the potential
for a new viral logic of new queer biosocial formations, a new
monstrosity of the homosexual flesh. Queer Technologies calls this
flesh theSoftQueerBody--a social, artificial flesh, a materialism of
everything, infected as queer.
as this project is in development, i'd love to hear thoughts, in
general or around what has been discussed this month thus far.
More information about the empyre