Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 4.57.07 PM

A major part of the preparations for Róisearch – the ekstatic dance party that the amazing Róisearch Kollucktíf in Toronto held on 9 July in awe and honour of Ms. Róisín Murphy – was spending time deep in Moloko’s back catalogue and with Ms. Murphy’s singles and collaborations. Her. Lyrical. Power. It got me thinking-feeling about what it might have been to grow up on the dance floors of Mad-chester, about my own accidental relationship with Moloko, about how dancefloors can save you, make you queer, about everything that hangs between creativity and loss.

And then, the day before the party, I listened to the new album and received the gift of “Thoughts Wasted.” Dystopian emotional artchitextures. Navigating the tube. It turned my ear toward the quiet conversations that traffic between mundanity and conceptual efflorescence.

Everywhere I go I see construction. Re-construction. Orange vests. Caution. Be careful. Work is happening here. There is still work to be done. It’s incessant. It’s essential. And to think that any intimacy, any artistry is still possible amid all the dust…out of the din and the gloom.

Eccolà. Per te.

Róisín Murphy’s Masterful fourth solo album, Take Her Up To Monto, is out now.

Thoughts Wasted (Róisín Murphy) + Next Dimension Beauty (808 State) = Wasted Beauty

[I don’t own the copyrights, but I’m hoping the copyleft will smile on the homage.]

“It is equally vain,” she thought, “for you to think you can protect me, or for me to think I can worship you. The light of truth beats upon us without shadow, and the light of truth is damnably unbecoming to us both.”

Virginia Woolf, Orlando

I can’t stop reading the news. I can’t stop reading the news.
It travels, I travel from my optic nerve, through unmoving vocal chords,
past the lump, gut deep.
Can’t stop reading the news and.
It wants to travel back out as vomit and rage.

Hillary tweets in Spanish.
Trump tweets in grunts.
I watch Father Obama while
I make a salad.
The wind is raging.

Think of his affect after Sandy Hook.
(I don’t want to think about it.)
(I can’t stop thinking about it.)

I know what’s coming, as a U.S.–Ameri-kan:

As Americans…
Brutal murder…
Massacre…
Pray for families…
Attack…
We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate…
FBI…
All the facts…

No definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer…
As an act of terror…
What, if any…

Filled with hatred…
We will go wherever the facts lead us…
This could have been any one of our communities…

As a country…
Carnage…
Law enforcement…

Sacrifice, courage…

Especially heartbreaking for all of our friends, our fellow Americans who are

lesbian.
gay.
bisexual.
or transgender…

A nightclub…
Be with friends, to dance, to sing, to live…
More than a nightclub…
Solidarity, empowerment, awareness, civil rights…

Sobering reminder…

Attacks on any American…
regardless…
an attack on all of us…

Dignity, equality…

Country…
Hate…
Terror…
Values…

The most deadly shooting in American history…
Handgun…
Assault rifle…

Further reminder…

Weapon:
School, house of worship, movie theater, nightclub…

We have to decide…
To do nothing is a decision…

Victims…
Names…
Faces…

Who they were…
Joy to families, friends…

Difference to this world…
Prayer…
Prayer for family…
God…

Strength…
Bear the un-bearable…
Strength…
Strength and courage to change…

As a country…
Heroic, selfless…

Friends who helped friends…
Hate violence…
Love…

United as Americans, protect our people, defend our nation, take action against threats…
God…
Families…
God…
This country.

God, this country.

This fucked up
family.
Attack!

Living in ellipses:
“No definitive judgment…”

Living for ellipses:
“This could have been any one of our communities…”

Thinking of ellipses:
The only way to slow down,
what is said too fast,
what is said is not enough,
Also all wrong, too much.
Can’t speak out every meaning.

Thinking with ellipses:
Going in circles.
On a Sunday.

How is it supposed to make you feel?
Don’t care
How you feel.

Can you feel any other way than wrong?
Don’t care
How you feel.

What are you supposed to do?
Just you wait.

[For Lauren Berlant, “to live elliptically” is to ask a question rather than formulate an answer; a “shrug” is a rhetorical response to a non-rhetorical question of the body – an embodied letting go of future promises in favor of life in the durative present. Revisiting a conceptual grammar drawn from psychoanalysis, Berlant is using “dissociation” to understand it not as a symptom of an underlying abnormality but as a practice of attaching to life. Berlant is dialing back the multiple intersections of subjectivities and pondering what doesn’t add up in social worlds. She is thinking about the content of “being proximate” but not “in community.”

In “Culture@Large,” the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s signature event at the 2012 AAA meetings,  Berlant and her interlocutors thought through the sensorium which overcomes “affective stuckness” but does not jump immediately (as is our social science instinct) to discursive symbolization. For these scholars, this is work that is trained at scenes of social abandonment and lostness, the precariousness of life at large. Drawing from Claudia Rankine’s poem Don’t Let Me Be Lonely and the film based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel A Single Man, Berlant spoke of the way that quick and slow death by racism and homophobia inspires a sociality of not caring, of deciding to be stubborn.
––from http://production.culanth.org/fieldsights/32-walking-around-in-lauren-berlant-s-elliptical-life]

160611_PulseFlier.jpg

Figure13-1

Michele Lancione‘s (aka l’editore più generoso e simpatico––non da dire intelligentissimo––nel mondo, o almeno quelle parte che so io del mondo!) first book/edited volume, Rethinking Life at the Margins, is out today! Like all hardcover academic books, it’s euphemistic to call it ‪#‎notcheap‬, but you can get your libraries to order it! And/or use the discount code -50% with ‘ASHGATE230’

I’m beyond proud to have written the final chapter of the book, “Between the Fool and the World” and to have it sit among such excellent and varied contributions to the book! For my part, I get biographical on Deleuze+Guattari and question what it means to “claim a margin” in the university, a questioning journey that began years ago and that is inspired by and grounded in so much of the radical work that has learned and taught me well in FES, especially Ace Yorku Equity Seminars. Of course, it’s all framed by doing tarot…critical-spiritual survival practice for marginal life/living, which, as usual, cuts right to the core.

#SpoilerAlert (from the conclusion to my chapter):

Agencement [assemblage] seeks to enable the elaboration of difference en route to contextual understandings of the institutionalizations of power and the potential for unmasking and unsettling the oppression of marginal bodies, groups, and practices. It has been my argument that, if  agencement [assemblage] is to be a critical, even liberating, concept-practice, then we must skeptically attend to the particularities of the very institutions that profess commitments to diversity and difference, including through the elaboration of ideas of assemblage and through the gesture of assembling life at the margins. As Sara Ahmed (2012 [On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life]) reveals, although many universities are increasingly managing to ‘make room’ for ‘diverse’ bodies through commitments to inclusion, such principled policies often, and necessarily, fail precisely on their own terms.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 4.14.59 PM

Warning, I mixed this metaphor myself.

Cruising the OED, we find queer the strange and estranging, queer the perverse, queer the insult, and even queer the theoretical. But we also find a key to the sometimes begrudging currency of its meaning: Queer the counterfeit. Queer theory is also counterfeit theory. (It’s fucking FAKE, okay?) If only we can mimic all the security features, special inks, and supple papers of the real one––which is admittedly getting harder––it’ll circulate, enable exchanges.

Queer theory says, “There is value here.” But it holds none itself. Like any speculative currency, if it works to the fullest of its potential in the system it contaminates, it too becomes worthless.

In the mean time, it is shamefully worth less than the floating currency against which it is indexed: real theory. And so it makes a value out of shame. And we do have a laugh making it up. The offstrikes and the maladjusted colors. And how to imitate that new plastic Canadian currency with its transparent window?

Like any defiant, deviant concept, queer’s work is double: It is to be both the pathogen and the cure. As such, it always calls us to carefully examine the needle with which we, it’s acolytes and its proliferators, immunize ourselves against its putative successes.

There is, as yet, no cure.

DSC_0023.jpg

| Delayed glitch loop of the interview dance, double presence. |

Hearing your voice again brings everything back. Not that that, everything, no longer exists. It is ovunque, everywhere. It is a memory-virus, living in its un-living way, buried inside of “we,” awaiting only the factors that will enable it to come again. Solo per godere. A zombie cowgirl riding cells, tickling cilia, in the fold.

Hearing your voice shakes me out of the depression. Reanimates the (collective) trauma that was the loss of our home. Seethes out from under the misapplied anti-biotic administered by an undead technocrat: Dr. Mayor. In my dream, he is dragged out onto the street in the morning darkness. The researcher looks back. The scientist isolates an organism in a laboratory. We are a laboratory too, but ours is not a space of isolation, we perform our operation without a mask. It is the un-masc-ing. We are not wrested from the conditions of worldly lives to be understood as models for genere. What happens outside of those walls, beyond our bodies, therein the aberration. We call to them. “We are the suspended solution. We in/form-d ourselves there. We are that self-organizing reality. We are the refusal of that brutality. We are the affirmation of what we know to be true without yet having (or ever needing, finding) the language of proof +”

And so, as ever, a slogan: Frocia chi ascolta.

IMG_0857.jpg

I’ve reached the end of nearly a month in motion at the end of a year spent here and there with no easy center. I’ve visited with family, chosen and born, seen comrades and friends, and even managed to get some work done. And now I’m finally back in Toronto. I’m exhausted.

I’m not sure––never am––that I’ve collected all the baggage that I toted with me throughout border crossings, bag searches, administrative declarations, and weather delays. How does the baggage survive all that time traveling? How do I? Speaking different languages, coming to my senses, numbing my senses, checking-in on crises of one shape or another as if my role in them matters, peppering the blandness of in-betweens with gossip or an uneasy smile, reveling in stolen sweetnesses when someone remembers who you are trying to become, recalling long dormant shared jokes, playing games, feeling like a ghost, being reminded that I am both loved in this space and an orphan of it.

What I’m left with is a question: What keeps me consistent throughout all of this movement?

Languages and architecture and ways of being in these places seem untranslatably different. Yet, in the quotidian-ness of all that crossing, they are somehow threaded together. Or maybe its the weather? How it doesn’t make sense anywhere? (Except the thick fog, as B told me, which lets you pretend that you are anywhere/nowhere.) Or maybe just the basics? Getting the laundry done in every different kind of machine, this or that surface to clean, thing to put back in its place, remembering that each place has this or that logic of where how and when to replace the thing so it can be found, moved, lost again.

Toronto-Bologna-Cleveland-Toronto is a strange itinerary. Not the Sunday Travel section’s first choice. Multiculti boomtown built over top of resplendent ancient meeting place where the trees stood in water and this would be storytelling season to medieval university town still floating on the slowly cooling magma layer of hot Augusts of decades past petty politics at war with real politics to putatively post-industrial American Great Lakes once unified (but now different) whose begged for renaissance gives those who survive the depression or the violence a specific kind of chip on their shoulder. Daytime television and a stream of oil company and pro-fracking commercials. ExxonMobil does help me.

Is home an exhaustible resource? It’s a real question. On what exchanges is home traded? How is it extracted from the peat of experience, barely compacted? Who’s gaining commission? Is being ‘at home’ a fact? A feeling? A mode? A delusion. Must it be striated through everyday life thinly, like rare earth? What work is required to be ‘at home’ here? And then here. And then, finally for now, here.

If mobility is a privilege––and my body is not always or even usually convinced of this anymore––I could say that I am in need of its opposite for a while. And I get what we need sometimes. To think that, when I was a young teenager, I was convinced that I’d never be able to see the world beyond my hometown. Stuck like every queer felt stuck and feels stuck going back. But slowly, being unstuck becomes a kind of compulsion. Adaptability a life requirement. Must keep things going. Must go. Must do without stillness or else risk stiffness.

Bodies become rigid and brittle for other reasons too. And then we are called to new effort to hold on to any consistent element, to keep at least one particle the same across all that numbing confirmation of identity. Are you who you say you are? Nationality. Do the contours of your face match the contours of the face in this document, the image of someone unwearied by so many mandatory crossings? Place of origin. Has this expired? What’s your status. They add up: Document check, document check, document check, document check. Questions: Why are you here, why were you there, what did you do, who are you carrying with you, what are you leaving behind, what is the total value of your experience? The lucky pass through the fortress, I’m told it makes me lucky. And so I try to remember that when the experience serves up the unluckiest of feelings.

No matter where I go, I carry more books than I can possibly read on any one journey across every border. Their completeness is comforting, consistent. The weight is substantial. It keeps me on the edge of frustration, which is sometimes the only way to survive travel. Books feel like dangerous travel accessories, they might say too much about you.

One book that has crossed every border with me this month is Dionne Brand’s “A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging” I’ve read it little by little and I’m still trying to understand how and why, despite the differences in the reasons for our movement and displacement and return/s, this book has helped me more than anything when I am feeling weary, uncertain, lost for words, lost in cartography, in our out of love, in or out of place; jetlagged, dreadful, devoid of thoughts, or simply too full of them, a fool.

She writes:

There are ways of constructing the world –– that is, of putting it together each morning, what it should look like piece by piece –– and I don’t feel that I share this with the people in my small town. Each morning I think we wake up and open our eyes and set the particles of forms together –– we make solidity with our eyes and with the matter in our brains. How a room looks, how a leg looks, how a clock looks. How a thread, how a speck of sand. We collect each molecule, summing them up into flesh or leaf or water or air. Before that everything is liquid, ubiquitous and mute. We accumulate information over our lives which bring various things into solidity, into view. What I am afraid of is that waking up in another room, minutes away by car, the mechanic walks up and takes my face for a target, my arm for something to bite, my car for a bear. He cannot see me when I come into the gas station; he sees something else and he might say, “No gas,’ or he might simply grunt and leave me there. As if I do not exist, as if I am not at the gas station at all. Or as if something he cannot understand has arrived –– as if something he despises has arrived. A think he does not recognize. Some days when I go to the gas station I have not put him together either. His face a mobile mass, I cannot make out his eyes, his hair is straw, dried grass stumbling toward me. Out the window now behind him the scrub pine on the other side of the road, leaves gone, or what I call leaves, the sun white against a wash of grey sky, he is streaking toward me like a cloud. Frayed with air. The cloud of him arrives, hovers at the window. I read his face coming apart with something –– a word I think. I ask for gas; I cannot know what his response is. I pass money out the window. I assume we have got the gist of each other and I drive away from the constant uncertainty of encounters. I drive through the possibility of losing solidity at any moment.

Today is not a day that beings with the luxury of feeling together.

Kshyama's Attic

a collection of political and personal thoughts, poetry, prose.

tequila sovereign

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi

Seagoat Astrology

commonsense woo

Naked Heart

The LGBTQ Festival of Words

incroci de-generi

tra classe, razza, genere e specie

Sky Writer

Donna Cunningham's Blog on astrology, healing, and writing.

Yanis Varoufakis

thoughts for the post-2008 world

Open Geography

Open is an adjective and a verb

Insorgenze

Non lasciare che la scintilla venga del tutto spenta dalle legge - Paul Klee -

CUNTemporary

Arts Feminism Queer

Working-Class Perspectives

Commentary on Working-Class Culture, Education, and Politics

Emotional Geographies Conference

The University of Edinburgh

ALTCINEMA

films by Kami Chisholm

Picket Parade

Voices and Stories from the 2015 York Strike Lines

Heal to Strike

Refuel at Mobile Strike Therapeutics

Cento Trattorie di Bologna

La guida con le migliori trattorie e ristoranti di Bologna. Dove mangiare i tortellini, le tagliatelle e le lasagne più buone della città. Un brasiliano in giro per cento trattorie bolognesi, attento anche alla bilancia!

Irreverent Feminist

Irreverent Feminist

%d bloggers like this: