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

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Mon Nov 16 02:26:58 EST 2009

the GRID as Zach describes it seems like a phenomenological system of

> 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> --
> Virginia Solomon
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Art
Cornell University, Tjaden Hall
Ithaca, NY  14853

Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
Website:  http://www.renateferro.net

Co-moderator of _empyre soft skinned space

Art Editor, diacritics

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