[-empyre-] response to sarahs one i sent

Irina Contreras icontreras at cca.edu
Thu Dec 12 15:54:28 EST 2013

Sorry I keep trying to not use the word "respond". It's sort of driving me

In regards to your first response Sarah, I was thinking about how one of
the things I was so excited about Cut n Polish when I saw it this past
summer was because I gathered some of the things from what you have said
but via your actions. Rather than saying "I cannot speak because the ladies
in the gold bikinis are not speaking and he is running the show, I will
speak and act etc.". Neither here nor there but it is the reaction I had at
the time.

I guess for myself, it's too heavy sometimes to think about work that looks
at how it is going to change something. I really do believe I am often
asking more questions and I am ok with that. And asking questions to myself
ie "whats this going to change for me" might be one of the smarter things
that someone could do in my opinion.

In regards to the waiting, I also wonder about how it never comes and find
that to be (forgive the cliche) but poetic. After all I have seen Omar wait
on the street to get nothing except some Grindr text msgs, which I guess is

though i dont believe that activists attempt to provide something equal. Or
I guess not the things I am thinking of that I would actually appreciate.

It might be interesting to some then I think when Cake and Eat It and
Decolonize your diet join the convo.

Thanks again!

I too am paralysed by the question, “what’s this going to change?” As a
result, I recently decided to ask instead; “what is this going to change
for me?” Because I think that you are right when you say that silence is a
response, and I like the comparison you make between *silence* and
*waiting. *I have questions though around the initial provocation of the
“event” that keeps me silent, and keeps you waiting. It is you that hands
out the rockets, and it is your mouth that waits to be kissed. It is your
body that calls, and then it is your body that responds by waiting. How
important then is the first explosion? How important the first kiss?

And so whilst I agree that silence is a response, one that is no less
powerful or violent than an act of speech, I want to know if it is enough
to respond to your own question? Am I stuck in a circle of responding with
silence, to the issues of silence, which I myself am complicit in? Do you
set up a scenario, to wait in and then respond by waiting? Can this be call
and response? …. “What does this change… for me?”

I guess that's why I started writing about my experience of speech and of
silence, I guess it was something akin to feminine writing, in that it took
up a first person, feminine “I” in a loose epistolary format… But I
couldn’t find the addressee… Chris Kraus stopped writing to Dick, and I
stopped writing to change anything. I wrote to myself, I silenced my
silence with speech. It was only the act of provocation, the act of doing,
the act of writing where anything happened… and I find myself turning back
to ideas of in-between spaces, micro/meso politics where all of the
*affective* potential of the act can exist… in everything between the
*call* and
the *response…* perhaps then this is more akin to your *waiting? *My
writing is your waiting, so your waiting is your doing? But again… you will
always need something to wait for… round in circles…

Dr. Nikita Dhawan points out that whilst contemporary critical discourses,
including feminism and post-colonial theory, seek to historically
investigate the “epistemic silences” in our socio-political and cultural
structure… it is worthwhile to turn attention to the dynamics between
speech, silence and power from a post-colonial, feminist perspective…
Irigaray as inspired by Derridian deconstruction, and Lacanian
psychoanalysis, unfolds how our identities are linguistically constructed….
To break silence = “feminine writing” … but the structure here relies on
the patriarchal hegemonic structures it lies in opposition to… I’m not sure
where this is going (apart from around in circles) but perhaps your idea
that activists do, or attempt to, provide an equal response is not giving
yourself the space to act? Or even acknowledge your waiting as acting?
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