[-empyre-] grids, affect, (im)measurability and (in)visibility

virginia solomon virginia.solomon at gmail.com
Sun Nov 15 10:57:37 EST 2009

given that you are operating within an art context, I wonder how you
are thinking your use of GRID in light of the modernist use of the
grid, particularly in relation to krauss' deconstruction of the
avant-garde vis a vis the grid?

On Sat, Nov 14, 2009 at 4:56 PM, Zach Blas <zachblas at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> it.
>        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.
> zach
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Virginia Solomon

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