[-empyre-] Week 4 - Bio/Nano/Materialisms - the transperversal aesthetic of Texas grasshoppers

Heather Davis heathermargaret at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 09:24:35 EST 2012

The no-future future is definitely something that lays heavy on me, as a
person and as a thinker, especially as it relates to what you call the
'nanocaust' with its differential racial/class distributions over this
earth. it seems precisely at the level of the nano that these struggles are
being played out, within and outside of our own bodies, other living
organisms, the surface of the earth and the composition of water.

what i have been struggling with for a while is a desire to avoid the kind
of nihilism that would lead to a relishing in the terminal
capitalism/empire moment we seem to be finding ourselves in. beauty in pure
destruction  is at once a driver of social change and its expiration. This
tendency, seen within certain strands of SR (I am thinking of Nick Land/Reza
Negarestani) has an incredible appeal in its heightening of (nano)
intensities, in maintaining destruction as an important political concept,
but seems to also slide towards messianic end-of-the-world christian
narratives of destruction and perfection. is it possible or desirable to
think with this material moment, think with the dying cows, rapidly
extinguishing species, without giving over to the pure pleasure of
annihilation?  how do we think of the collective as necessarily reaching
beyond the human, its transversal ontogenesis that encompasses the object
revenge that you speak of (especially in relation to non-living objects,
such as chemicals, minerals, polymers, etc.) without falling into a kind of
christian rapture of the end times. perhaps this is for me where art and
theory provide a kind of breaking point/ambiguity that would enable a
different kind of movement. in other words, the anti-anti-utopian position
of art (through it's multiple negatives that leaves us where exactly?)
provides this kind of useful ambiguity that pushes in the direction of new
organisms (such as pinar's or ricardo's poetic nano-interventions)
operate as a magical object, that is, the object that wards off the devil
by becoming the devil.

I really love Pinar's categorization of 'post-natural ecosystems' and
Elle's ethno-dysphoric cloning in this regard because this categorization
offers a way to acknowledge the destruction of capitalism while refusing
the scenario of apocalypse that gives too much weight to figures of origins
and certainty. thank you for these interventions.

On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 5:57 AM, rrdominguez2 <rrdominguez at ucsd.edu> wrote:

>  Hola Heather and all,
> The trans*per*versal movement(s) that *particle group* attempts to trace
> via bio/nano scale(s) gestures may indeed call forth "a kind of material
> corollary" of affect/effect. Elle's capturing the EEG of "ethno-dysphoric
> cloning" or Pinar's new organ/ism pass and are passing between the utopian
> synthetics of particle capitalism(s) and the nanocaust (or the revenge of
> the object) - an apocalyptic materiality. The bio/nano aesthetic in the
> above work moves within and around a critical anti-anti-utopian condition
> of making these engines of imperceptibility visible - trans*per*versal or
> a type of queering movement.
> But one does not have to look very far into the no-future future or the
> freeze dried past to see what grey ecology of bio/nano is manifesting via
> pre-set accidents or trans-effects at the bio/nano scale:
> *
> Genetically modified grass linked to cattle deaths**
> http://wtvr.com/2012/06/24/genetically-modified-grass-linked-to-cattle-deaths/
> *
> Indeed a new materialism transmuting feed grass into poison which now only
> Texas grasshoppers are enjoying (the trans*per*versal moment).
> As artists we are all Texas grasshoppers - but for how long?
> Very best,
> Ricardo
> On 6/24/12 5:27 PM, Heather Davis wrote:
> Hi all,
> Apologies for my tardy arrival. I am so excited to be a part of this
> conversation with each of you, and find myself stunned by the quality of
> thought and engagement of my brilliant interlocutors here. Thank you for
> your contributions so for and to Zach and Micha for initiating and curating
> this conversation. I am curious about the way in which the nano, in each of
> your work, becomes a kind of significant imperceptibility. I am thinking
> about how, in a previous discussion this month, the idea of 'queer is
> everywhere' was broached. My initial reaction to this was a kind of doubt,
> not trusting the utopic overtones, nor the amorphous quality of the
> statement that lacked the dissensus that characterizes politics. What I
> appreciate about the nano, in each of your works, Pinar, Ricardo, and Elle,
> is the way in which this kind of utopic moment of the viral meets with an
> politics of imperceptibility not as simply an aversion or counter-move to
> surveillant systems (of sex, the state, neoliberal corporate models, etc.)
> but as an imperceptibility that moves through the body to make significant
> changes. It makes me wonder about the nano as being a kind of material
> corollary of affect - that which carries a force, but is seen through its
> effects, rather than in a chain of causes or origins. this is indeed a
> queer position, a kind of passing that is important in its movement, of
> what it touches and shifts, that is locatable in its actions. the nano
> seems particularly adapted to this kind of effect, movement.
> I cannot present here as beautiful a summary of the work that I am doing,
> as it has yet to begin. Aside from dirt, which I love because of its
> contaminating/contaminated qualities, because of its amorphousness and its
> ability to be distinct while encompassing a range of materials, metaphors,
> etc, I have become increasingly fascinated with plastic. It marks our
> current age that is seemingly ubiquitous, unfathomable (in its scale,
> duration, reach) and also makes the nano a human possibility. for it is
> only because of the creation of purely synthetic polymers that we both have
> the ability to manipulate things at a nanoscale, and are able to perceive
> the nano as a separate measurable scale. I am interested in the way in
> which plastic, as a medium, connects to a politics of imperceptibility.
> heather.
> On Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM, Clough, Patricia <PClough at gc.cuny.edu>wrote:
>> Thanks to all who engaged during week 3   and welcome week 4    Patricia
>> ________________________________________
>> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [
>> empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Elle Mehrmand [
>> ellemehrmand at gmail.com]
>> Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2012 8:43 PM
>> To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> Subject: [-empyre-] Week 4 - Bio/Nano/Materialisms
>> Hello out there,
>> I am honored to have this opportunity to neuro-jaculate on this list. The
>> notions of materialisms/ immaterialisms/ bio-materialisms/ -erialisms,
>> within the context of the bio-political, bring to mind the pixellated flesh
>> of my holographic/ fauxlographic clones who live in my most recent
>> performative installation entitled fauxlographic. For the past year I have
>> been working within the speculative space of an ethno-dysphoric cloning
>> laboratory, where diasporic anxiety is analyzed through the process of
>> fauxlographic cloning. The clones enact sonic rituals, singing in Farsi,
>> English and Perz-ish [a faux-ish language], based on multiple sources of
>> information including embodied memories, wikileaks cables, and textual/
>> visual/ aural references concerning Iran and Persia. The ethno-dysphoric
>> scientist analyzes her dislocated subjectivity by performing a daily
>> neurotic ritual within a glass computing chamber while wearing an EEG
>> neuro-headset. As she neuro-jaculates with the clones
>>  in order to (pars)e their data streams, the diasporic computing sounds
>> of the EEG oscillate in pitch based on her neural activity. When high
>> levels of CO2 are detected by the lab's sensors, the clones become aware of
>> those gazing upon them, resulting in an anxious act of erasure and
>> multiplication of their pixellated flesh on the fauxlographic screen,
>> reciprocating the affective presence and implications of other bodies
>> within the laboratory. The use of organic sensors transforms the lab into a
>> cyborgian spatial interface, allowing for unconscious collaboration between
>> multiple bodies in space, confusing the somatic architecture of the
>> performance.
>> // bodies
>> [fragmented.dislocated.flesh]
>> the metaphor of the split subject in a multitude of representations calls
>> for the split subjectivity of the diasporic body. the hologram. the clone.
>> the screenal flesh of the projection. the reflection on the glass. the live
>> specimen with a neural prosthetic.
>> //donna haraway's cyborg reconfigured
>> the live specimen lays in a burst of stillness within the glass chamber
>> for 30 minutes. the liveness of her naked body creates an affect that the
>> clones cannot produce, but ultimately she will become a reproduction of
>> herself. she performs analysis on the clones by means of neural computing.
>> her experiments are open to the public, allowing for multiple bodies to
>> inhabit the laboratory. the intersectionality of all of the bodies produce
>> the organic energy that is necessary for the installation to function.
>> the fauxlographic clones are fragmented and displaced as they interact
>> with their ironic head scarfs from american apparel through gestural
>> research. the black scarf cuts into their screenal skin, erasing their
>> flesh due to the translucent nature of the fauxlographic screen. they are
>> never fully in or out of the fabric, creating a fluidic relationship to the
>> object, one that is not part of a binary construct, but one that arises
>> from a unique space within the perception of being persian, and is
>> expressed through the gestures of their diasporic anxiety. fractured
>> elements of their being are echoed in the displacement of their body parts.
>> they are vulnerable in their nudity with their pixellated flesh and
>> informatic contents exposed, but that is the nature of the clone.
>> - elle mehrmand
>> --
>> elleelleelle.org<http://elleelleelle.org>
>> assemblyofmazes.com<http://assemblyofmazes.com>
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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