the other day i'm in the local cycle repair shop getting my ride worked on when i overhear a sales guy refer to one of the bikes as "she." the customer responds in kind. breathed into existence, as with the great ocean-going vessels of yore or the sleek sports cars of today (or the internet of tomorrow?), "she" becomes that amorphous yet political name of the fetishized vehicular object. gender is there where we are looking for it, no doubt.
(one suspects this is not what nietzsche had in mind when he suggested that one must ride woman like a horse to push through the other side of a western patriarchy.)
but our technologies do not have a gender, at least not one that we can identify as inherently "stable" over time. they rather become gendered precisely in "how" they approach and engage the contexts and contingencies of relation. though there are always material considerations to these contexts and contingencies, gender, too, is amorphous, always outflowing that she-name attempting its capture.
shall we at least play the game? if there is in fact a gender to be located in these objects, it is not in their being-ness as static artefacts but rather in their possibilities for becoming — of literally making explicit the setting forth of change in which we are always already emerging. frances willard, for example, might have also thought of her bike as somewhat of a "she" but this she-name was an expression of collective empowerment and contemporary feminity, of attitude and dirty hands. she wanted to go as fast as the boys, and she did.
do not confuse this with the question of absolute speed, however. it is instead a question of passage. while the biking artefact has changed little over the past century, the choice to bike, like the choice to travel by ocean-going vessel today — the choice to "she" — has now become one of slowness.
"she alone dares and wishes to know from within, where she, the outcast, has never ceased to hear the resonance of fore-language. she lets the other languages speak — the language of 1,000 tongues which knows neither enclosure nor death. to life she refuses nothing" (cixous, 'laugh of the medusa').
catcher signal pitch deliver
blue sparkle telegraphic
wind tunnel wave crash
Sonic the Hedgehog
that tumbling blue punctum
or ellipsis, if the indigo wind
whipped the studioed muybridge gaze.
Hot Stove retrocode
d|becomes obscura, pointedly
though its three dots at least
smile in opening the breeze . . .
(for baby ruth.)
"global village basketball is the line of flight. it ruptures the existing hierarchy by networking together the molecular pickup games that exist around the world into one meta-game. it is a collective, yet distributed, net performance of improvised pickup basketball located on a smooth patchwork of hardwood, asphault, terrazzo, concrete and dirt; the backboard is syncretic plexiglass, aluminum and wood; the rims iron, milk crate and peach basket; the mesh nylon and chain-link. the virtual setting of the meta-game becomes the means of deterritorializing the basketball court space" (june 2009).
[Aside] The third Global Village Basketball game took place on June 8, 2011. A few baskets were scored, robustly. Fun was had, muscles were strained. Art was created — a performance piece of sorts.
Like the aching/aging muscles themselves, however, the Global Village Basketball machine is also showing its wear. It is most certainly fatigued.
The "me" that is the "I" that is the "we" that signs ets name to this recurrent event, this flexible set of relations — this machine — is most responsible. I have not sufficiently spoken or performed the machine into existence.
The performativity of the event proper is not in its spoken character, though, but rather in its gesture — its movement — co-emergent with teammates and opponents alike. The "me" that is the "I" that is the "we" that signs ets name to this recurrent event have gestured the machine into existence in declining number.
Do we speak of a machine that is at its physically largest size at natality (1182-1121) — one that perpetually shrinks until it dies, a sort of Benjamin Button of athletic poiesis and process philosophy? Or do we speak of a machine that grows, that changes, that coagulates or fragments off and becomes something elsewhere and when, that surfs the thin line between freedom and fascism — indeed, by literally speaking its growth?
Et is fatigued. Et is fatigued by the very weight of ets relational basketball meshes. But this weight — the weight of communication — is also a weight we enjoy bearing from time to time — in all its aesthetic, political, and ethical senses. It is a tactile burden we willingly choose to engage (and even submit to) in fulfilling our desiring-common of and through relation.
When does one put the effort — the work — into communicating this relation and when does one remain quiet? When does speaking fatigue the relation? When is gesture sufficient? When is flux insufficient?
Does the "me" that is the "I" that is the "we" that signs ets name to this recurrent event still have the right to kill the machine?
When is finitude?
Virilio might say halfway, but et is not so sure.
"Thought is not arborescent, and the brain is not a rooted or ramified matter. What are wrongly called 'dendrites' do not assure the connection of neurons in a continuous fabric. The discontinuity between cells, the role of the axons, the functioning of the synapses, the existence of synaptic microfissures, the leap each message makes across these fissures, make the brain a multiplicity immersed in its plane of consistency or neuroglia, a whole uncertain, probabilistic system ('the uncertain nervous system'). … The same goes for memory. Neurologists and psychophysiologists distinguish between long-term and short-term memory (on the order of a minute). The difference between them is not simply quantitative: short-term memory is of the rhizome or diagram type, and long-term memory is arborescent and centralized (imprint, engram, tracing, or photograph). Short-term memory is in no way subject to a law of contiguity or immediacy to its object; it can act at a distance, come or return a long time after, but always under conditions of discontinuity, rupture, and multiplicity. Furthermore, the difference between the two kinds of memory is not that of two temporal modes of apprehending the same thing; they do not grasp the same thing, memory, or idea. The splendor of the short-term Idea: one writes using short-term memory, and thus short-term ideas, even if one reads or rereads using long-term memory of long-term concepts. Short-term memory includes forgetting as a process; it merges not with the instant but instead with the nervous, temporal, and collective rhizome. Long-term memory (family, race, society, or civilization) traces and translates, but what it translates continues to act in it, from a distance, off beat, in an 'untimely' way, not instantaneously" (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p.15).