“Site 2. Dark Room: Somatic Reason and Synthetic Eros” contends that contemporary upheavals concerning love, sex, and reproduction are not mere side issues that can be safely dealt with in various already-existing discursive regimes (e.g., biology, psychology, identity politics), but crucial transformative vectors for developing a renewed understanding of transdisciplinary reason.
Ideology critique is essential to lessen the wrongs that are perpetrated not only on the battlefield and in government, but in practices of everyday life. In this text, Sally Haslanger considers how the body, and our embodied agency, is shaped by culture, and raises concerns about strategies that seek a ground for critique in the body. She then suggests that the body cannot provide this and, more importantly, that critique cannot and should not seek a neutral “ground”; before she finally defends the idea that, epistemic and moral warrant, both of theories and of social and cultural practices, can only be achieved historically and holistically.
It is not enough to rearrange the furniture in this current historical discursive home; freedom from this given domestic situation and the modes of domestication that conform to its logic, is dependent on the freedom to construct comparative fictions that serve as tools for building a new home from the foundation up, for new sites of positivity upon which thought and activity are based. The desire for betterment is itself entangled with fiction; since the better is always unactualized in the here and now, the better is not empirically available to direct experience. Accounting only for the here and now of what is given to localized experience and thinkability is to foreclose on the imaginative possibility of situated betterment. Betterment always belongs to an otherworld, another site, another situation, and it is through fiction where a counterfactual imagination of that possible world is enabled.
Duchamp’s entire oeuvre from 1912 onwards is both a diagrammatic form of love and life, not only because it putatively depicts love, love-making, and erotics, which are important here, but also and more importantly because as diagrammatic forms, as abstract machines, the way the elements depict what they depict actually operates in ways identical to the way that love and erotics operate.
“Three Billion Perverts: The Big Encyclopedia of Homosexualities” is the title of the twelfth issue of the journal Recherches, founded in 1965 by Félix Guattari. Published in March 1973, this issue caused a scandal, proclaiming the irruption of homosexuality in French society. Very quickly banned, seized, and destroyed for breach of moral standards, it became a milestone in the history of homosexual struggles. Recently reprinted, this publication is at once an historical document and an element of reflection for contemporary struggles for emancipation, shedding light on what could be a homosexual affirmation conceived as a radical break with the normative structures running through the social space.
The labyrinthine quality of architectural spaces has been one of the main targets of such architectural reforms, especially at first in the domestic sphere. Alongside labyrinthine architecture, the other architectural demons that had to be solved by moralist reforms were darkness and fluids, both bodily and urban. City health and body health have often been interchangeable analogies. What is extremely interesting architecturally is that visibility, orientation, and fluids are precisely at the core of cruising architecture. Toilets and bathhouses are dedicated spaces for bodily urban fluid management, parks are naturally labyrinthine spaces that are hard to surveil and often most active at night, and darkrooms deploy all of these attributes through architecture and design, even by subverting the codes of modernist machinic morality into a fetish. Darkness, corners, nooks, passages, wet surfaces, lubed devices: all of them are using the aesthetic tropes and logic of the modernist city, but precisely to facilitate activities that have been designed out of the city.
The Inhuman Partner
How do we create synthetic bodies without the histories and habits of how we have previously treated, known, and organized different bodies? How do we apprehend a synthetic mind without tripping over the legacies of differential apprehension and the apprehension of differences? And what are the roles of race, gender, and desire in rendering object as subject, thing as being?
Fourth-generation machines and their learning algorithms had not yet invaded daily life; we had not yet seen the 2008 economic crisis, fiscal austerity measures, finance automation, and high-frequency trading; neither had we experienced the explosion of social networks and the proliferation of start-ups. In short, we had not yet seen all what has precipitated, it seems to me, the progressive installation of a new system characterized no longer by the cybernetic control of flows of desire fostering consumption, but rather by the calculation of a range of risks to incur in order to achieve one’s goals. We are in the process of moving from a biopolitical society of control, where the goal was protecting and modulating the life of consumers, to a risk society.
The history of the concept of love is linked to physicalistic descriptions of its chemistry and biology or to a transcendental plane of ideas thus leaving it cloaked in an enigma. My attempt here is to redescribe love’s traditional enigma in terms of its ‘black box,’ namely, through examining the computability of love in reference to Alan Turing’s work on intelligent machines and its analysis in an alternative way to the anthropocentric conception of love. I will discuss Turing and P-Type (pain and pleasure) and B-Type (brain) Machines; love, computability and free will; computation and concepts of the sublime in relation to love; and black boxism and computational transcendentalism.
There is a difference between the body and the flesh, as Hortense Spillers has noted. What we consider to be the body is synonymous with legal personhood while the flesh (a category to which undistinguished black bodies, taken as a mass, are assigned) refers to the captive position that lies in opposition to all that the body represents. What Spillers describes as the “hieroglyphics of the flesh” refers to history imprinted on the body, which denotes one’s social standing. The phrase both recognizes the ‘realness’ of phenotypic expression, while it attempts to encapsulate all the non-biological influences that go into racial categorization. Such hieroglyphics, written by the moment of slavery and courts of law, collapse past, present, and future of both “marginalization as well as political agency,” in such a way that, “racism would land its blow on the body of the world for generations to come.”