Feminist University

(abstract submitted to the "precarious spaces: (dis-)locating gender" conference, hosted by the susan b. anthony institute at university of rochester)

Holey Space (Notebook Study)

Writing the Body: Technics, Gender and the Society of Control

Sean Smith
European Graduate School
Department of Biological Flow

Ingrid Tatyanova
Fine Arts College of Kowloon

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The notion of writing the body has a lengthy history in feminist scholarship, seen for example with such diverse writers as Cixous, Hayles and hooks. In their own unique ways we might suggest each describes practices of writing intensively — that is, of capturing affective thought in as urgent a fashion as possible so that thinking and feeling are no longer easily understood as discrete concepts. In contrast with the book "proper," which is most often understood as the culmination of a long process, the notebook, on the other hand, is usually the beginning of a process — the incipient moment of poiesis when thought emerges from the foldings of flesh relation to find expression in gesture and inscription. One captures thought through writing while it is still felt in the body, challenging any possible understanding of mind-body dualism in the act of recording or making memory prosthetic.

pages stick together at the holes

Increasingly, however, we might also understand the notebook as a site of politics and resistance in the contemporary society of control, with all the precarity that implies. It may offer dramatically different conditions of possibility precisely in how its embodiment enters into movements with other bodies — normative or otherwise — to create space, time and memory. We might describe these gendered technics through the lens of Fornssler's affective cyborgism — not a preconstituted body as such, but rather an always emergent part-subject that becomes individuated as it enters into contingent networks of relation and technique. This paper explores these gendered technics and their affective underpinnings in a performative autoethnography of writing practices, engaging a body of thought that also includes Ettinger, Deleuze, Guattari, Serres and Derrida.

Contact:

Sean Smith
@sportsbabel

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Burn Notebook

[do we have holey space yet, smith asks?]

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