The ev-ent-anglement (and I) made a brief appearance (the 6th) at the 30 year celebrations of NYU’s Culture and Media Certificate Program, headed by my friend, colleague and sometimes mentor, Faye Ginsburg. She honored her mentors (pictured below) during her opening remarks for the two-day symposium which itself featured nearly thirty presentations by the program’s esteemed graduates now engaging, around the world, as scholars, filmmakers, programmers, curators and cultural workers. George Stoney and Jean Rouch were also formative to my media praxis. They are thus cut/pasted into the ev-ent-anglement, becoming objects for our further principled loving attachment.
In my remarks, I pointed to five methods live and operational in the ev-ent-anglement that I had learned and begun to refine when I was a graduate student in Cinema Studies in the 1980s, working on and in AIDS activist video. For this work, as continues to be true, I was borrowing heavily from ethnographic film and anthropology (faces above) to better understand my situated, community-based, committed media praxis. (I lovingly cut/paste in Juanita Mohammed here. I mentored her into AIDS activist video, we have been colleagues and friends since.)
The ungainly, beautiful, strange admixture of people (now objects) flowing down this page from top to bottom, and the utter simplification of their rich, lengthy, formative bodies of work (reduced to a portrait) that even-so manifests and lives on in their influence behind and under-girding my writing here, marks the violence and beauty of internet citation via cutting/pasting (of images). The bleed is my affection for these humans, my enduring felt pain in their loss, the honor I bestow their work and influence, and the legacy of connection and community that is signaled by their minor inclusion here.
In my power-point (available below), I made use of five of the cut-ups that I have been making from ev-ent-anglment objects (see Cut-Up 1, below), to demonstrate some of the (new) media-world methods that are the critical legacy that I learned from all the people (now objects) pictured above, and the program in Culture and Media at NYU where I first “met” them. For all of these scholar/makers, these ethnographic methods are key:
5. Self-reflexive and affect-rich
The cut-up below represents the power of a praxis-based method in that its ideas were generated through its making. It was built from two objects (the Cahoun image, the Borroughs quote) that were gifted to me over the course of this project and that were then again randomly linked through a cut-up procedure of my own design thereby rendering connections arbitrary, rough, unthought-through, and yet distinct and local to this project’s concerns. For unlike most of the Internet, the objects here are linked through a self-evident set of articulated, shared interests in feminist community, affect, montage, and anti-corporate internet experience.
In the next week or so I will introduce more cut-ups here. My Power-Point has four more cut-ups, if you’d like to see them.
Finally, while I will not work through these issues here, I will end by tipping my hat to a formative question that was raised for me (and this project) by its insertion (cut/paste) into stimulating conversations about more typical, albeit immensely diverse, “ethnographic” media projects. That I can’t answer it yet is an indication of the bleed:
How are the time-tested, place-bound, language-specific methods of Anthropology and Ethnographic Film relevant to and useful for internet-based media praxis?
Hello and welcome to the fifth and final ev-ent-anglement. What is that? An ev-ent-anglement uses two hyphens as highly visible stitches suturing events with entanglements: ev-ent-anglement. We use performance and technology to further entangle events and communities outside the logics of buying and selling. Together with technology we mix up our here and theres, now and thens, mes and yous. We experiment in digital embodied collective feminist media praxis. The experiment is unfolding here and now, with you as a player in this live event at PAM on the second floor of a shabby building in Highland Park that holds all of us people, the images screening on the walls, and the hardware, software, and the VJ and technicians that puts them there. This event also holds the social and physical electricity in the room, my words, your feelings and memories, and so on. We wonder how affect moves. Other things are easier. The ev-ent-anglement digitally entangles fragments from this event with those of four previous events experienced over the past year in Utrecht, Delhi, Dublin, and Montreal where I also collected participants’ fragments and stitched and re-stitched them together as I moved forward and back—from Utrecht to Dehli, Dublin, Montreal, LA—and also always online.
Our fragments look at and make the experiment’s core interests in cutting and pasting, bleeding, entangling, and affect. Using performance, technology, networks, cinema, tweets, photos, people, and their digital fragments we cut and paste evidence of past events into live ones and also into an ongoing digital record of some of what was entangled here and there. We wonder how affect moves. Other things are easier. The first four events were billed as academic talks that anticipated and also generated this event, billed as a performance. The talks were actually pretty performative, and this performance will be pretty talky. We’re interested in creating theoretical artistic social spaces and networks that link to but are structured differently from many of the proscribed protocals of academia, the artworld, and the corporate Internet.
I call these talks “events” because their participatory and performative nature differentiates them from the more circumscribed set of routines of academic conferences. Here, I am indebted to Zizek who defines an event as: “Something shocking, out of joint, that appears all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things.” A strange cut into homogenous fabrics of work. Similarly, Alain Badiou calls an event “a rupture in the normal order of bodies and languages as it exists for any particular situation.” An inexplicable insert into the standardized procedures of art.
Instead of merely lecturing or even performing, I have asked the audience in the room and also online to act with me, to cut and also to paste fragments of themselves and their constitutive feelings into a digital record of the ever-growing and always-changing event. This and thus becomes the ev-ent-anglement. In this event, I will ask you to cut up pieces of my earlier talks, and help me to stitch them together with fragments gifted to me by audience members from many places, including here and now. All the while, my collaborator, VJ Um Amel, will be doing the same by making live cinema on these walls with the images we’ve already been gifted. I want to remind you that cutting, pasting, and showing the seams is fun, generative, and just plain easy to do. William S. Borroughs writes: “Cut ups are for everyone. Anybody can make cut ups. It is experimental in the sense of being something to do.” Yes, every cut is a beginning and a doing. A doing of something and a something new. One fragment ends, another launches, hanging there beside what came before it, just on the other side of the brink, loudly commencing its rocky unroll. So we begin to cut and entangle anew here, with you, and also online. Ev-ent-anglement. #eventanglement. You can cut and paste below by cut/paste+bleeding from RED, YELLOW, and BLUE.
These objects are my cut from my four talks about ev-ent-anglement, and from the many words gifted to me with #eventanglement. They raise ideas and images concerning with cutting and pasting. By cutting them up and adding them to RED and YELLOW fragments you can entangle ideas about ev-ent-anglements into your own script.
I want to try to cut myself and some events back together with a feminist ethic that links deeper, farther, and truer to previous knowledge and current context, to communities and audiences, and to the ideas and analyses that matter to me and them. That links me to you in a feminist entanglement that links you to me, if you’re ready and willing to seep in that is.
Self-cutting does not bring with it an associated paste. What this cut brings with it, what it wants, its dyadic, is a bleed.
While all human bodies (and those of other animals) bleed, a particular kind of bleeding will help focus the bleed’s role in our project of #ev-ent-anglement because the menses are one of many in-between bodily acts that are uniquely and distinctly female. Of course all people—men, those in-between or indeterminate, and females who don’t menstruate—can bleed with us too! Our blood keeps us alive, it can also make us sick.
Julia Kristeva asks us to consider bodily acts, like menstruation, at the border between clean and dirty, live and dead, inside and out: “Repelling, rejecting; repelling itself, rejecting itself. Ab-jecting.”
The seeping and connecting quality of all blood allows it to be a metaphoric glue that marks the many pulls of our present entanglement—from in to out and on to off, from me to you to us, from digital matter to living body. Sarah Ahmed calls this “affect: what sticks, or what sustains or preserves the connection between ideas, values, and objects.”
Cyborgs all, we use technology and place to flow through distinctive binaries. Let’s cut/paste and bleed through these binaries! The bleed is how we perform what Barad calls “intra-action” where “there is no ‘between’ as such, human and non-human organisms and machines emerge only through their mutual co-constitution.”
Technologies, like people, slide over some things, stick others together, allow for friction, cuts, pain and pleasure. Parts of us stay put, others travel on.
The ev-ent-anglement considers how and what we can save, pass, know, and be moved by, together, on the Internet and in the world: how affect moves in feminist networks.
We ask, what is the glue that inspires or captivates an audience to assemble linger, and act?
Yes, there is something that exceeds the mimetic copy of some part of yourself or others—so effortlessly passed along as a digital fragment. We have affect in the network: our bodies, and poetry, and pictures, dance, words and humor as reminder, and as mediums, to get us ever closer to that uncapturable evanescent event.
New media artist and theorist Joanna Zylinska writes from London: Yes, the idea of ‘the cut’ has been important to myself and Sarah Kember as a description of working with and across theory and practice –an ethical imperative that prompts us to interrogate what it means to ‘cut well.’ I made a video project several years ago where this concept of the cut also makes an appearance – together with a wider interrogation of what we might call ‘digital entanglement’. The project, ‘If It Reads, It Bleeds’ (2009), is an attempt to experience and visualise the materiality of technology in the practices and artefacts of blogging and web surfing. By creating composite images out of screenshots of selected blog pages, I aim to see ‘under the skin’ of the web in order to trace the pulsating connections between images, text and code. Blogs are not being examined here for their content, but rather looked at through the lens of Michel Foucault’s suggestion that ‘writing transforms the thing seen or heard into tissue and blood’.
What’s the rubric here for “reward” or even “act” when there are so many sites where we willingly cut/paste+bleed for each other with rewards as light as a like?
Cultural theorist Jenny Burman writes in Montreal: I feel annoyed to be watching the clock to get my kid from daycare. I was so happy when you said you loved “The Argonauts,” and then squirmily delighted when you said smart generous things to me after I presented. Very sweaty most of today. I’m curious about everyone’s love lives, as always.
These objects are my cut from my four talks about ev-ent-anglement, and from the many words gifted to me with #eventanglement. They raise ideas and images concerning with cutting and pasting. By cutting them up and adding them to RED and YELLOW fragments you can entangle ideas about ev-ent-anglements into your own script.
KJ Sturken, who teaches media and gender studies, adjunct, in Boston and Philadelphia entangled this on the Internet:
I have recently made a rather large cut/to myself
or rather a surgeon made it for me
out of great necessity
(It was a kind of a “do or die” situation)
This edit to my physical body invites interpretations,
many times by strangers
People whom I don’t know
and who don’t know me.
I don’t mean to be mysterious/but
Online I am a composite of many identities
gendered this way or that/and strangely
I find myself entangled in fragments of former selves
which are constantly colliding
shattering the illusion of the seamless narratives
about gender identity
about cancer/often required for the comfort of others.
Today, and always later online, for every cut, we have a paste that we glue with figurative blood to together make our ev-ent-anglement from what is in this room at this time, what was in other places and times, and also what sits on the Internet spaces where we also reside and connect. There is no in-between.
If the Internet is an unorchestrated archive of fragments of all our selves, we might want to take on the empowering feminist role of editor and curate ourselves, together, into a collection that matters. Our object is ourself and ourselves. Our Bodies/Our SelvesRedux. Lopped. Looped. Lined. Linked. Re-Aligned. Show the Seams. Justice to our fragments! Which is to say that we can engage in a process of cutting, pasting, and bleeding ourselves together—as we are and have been, as we have made ourselves online and off, in community, history, and action with others
“[Data-bodies barebacking in open ports <_repeat_> while the beat goes on.]” Ricardo Dominguez
An event is not one: it is the speaker’s words, the audience’s thoughts and attitudes, the images on the screen/s, the electricity and hardware that puts those images there, the smell of the room, the culture of the institutional host, the many cultures of the participants and the ways and means of the surrounding city. Neither is an entanglement one: it is the things, people, energies, affects, and ideas that bundle.
#eventanglement shows that the corporate Internet is expensive, commodity-driven, fun, easy, self-centered, addictive yet feeding, and malleable.
I see myself, these days, as a data tourist/inhabitant/producer, as I meander with insatiable hunger, and yet tiny appetite, from site to site. Yet I ask people to linger in places we never lived. No longer a problem of production—we make as much as we eat, we record as we go, our fragments vomited into the “public order”—our new lack is the shared time of and for digestion …
The ev-ent-anglement is a living experiment that demonstrates in the doing the affordances of contemporary corporate (feminist) Internet culture and its potential alternatives. The project traveled the globe, considering how we might do better with the uncountable fragments of ourselves that we willingly, massively and generatively give to the man with every tweet, click, and photo. It asks instead: what if we gave them to each other?
Media artist and activist Dayna McLeod entangles via email from Montreal: So great to meet you in person, and chat, drink, think, and eat with you. Here is a snippet of video that I cut out of my project, for your project.
Domi O in Montreal tweets: the difference between spontaneous emotions and educated feelings.
TL Cowan in Montreal tweets: Feminist collectivity as the shadow archive of contemporary academic culture.
Disibility studies professor and artist, Petra Kuppers writes online: Hello you all! I am sitting here in my favorite writing chair, looking out toward the Golden Gate Bridge, in California, T-5 days before I am back in my classroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I am sending you an old link, a media archeology, a dinosaurial piece that can’t be played on some browsers. It was commissioned by Alaric Sumner, someone who passed much too young, a poet and digital artist. He ran a particular digital poetics thing, and on it, I left traces of a performance. Those topics, these issues, were so central to me then. I am revisiting them now, wondering how I feel now about presence and absence, words and sounds. Enjoy having a look around, and, depending on what happened with browsers, you might hear an echo of my voice, too. Entanglement of art, media, affect, as I am surfing over it now.
The unrepresentable meat of meeting IRL is the scintillating admixture of affect and words, smells, sweat, and sounds–my body and yours–ways we mark our connections with our eyes and fingertips and sentences–with words and gestures–how we might be wrong, our vulnerabilities producing misreads, the wrong clothes marking the worst of things.
Turkish legal scholar and activist Basak Ertur writes in Dehli: After our visit to Red Fort, I chanced upon a procession of Muslims near Jama Masjid but I could not be certain what it was for. The event itself seemed more ceremonial with much circle chanting and chest beating, but the intensity and the weaponry with which it was policed made me wonder whether it was a protest. Then again, I guess an assembly is legible only as a “public order” matter, when those assembled are suspect bodies.
Domi Oliveri tweets in Montreal: fragilization // politics of care // movements // temporalities.
Some of the meat of our encounter is entangled in techie gestures, showing up as care, as fragility, proximity, shadow, and touch.
#eventanglement values feminist complexity, community, and collaboration outside the logic of capital, when possible.
Digital Humanist, Jacque Wernimont writes from Arizona: I have a note to myself in the draft-book of a recent talk on quantified selves that reads “figure out why you keep using this word.” The note is in the margin of a page where I use the word “entangle” in some form four times. I like the mess, the materiality, the bodies that the word invokes, but I suspect that there is more.
I fly places on University’s dimes, and connect with lovely complex people in the flesh, and we talk, and eat, and listen, looking each other up and down, slyly or confidently, and sometimes we even dance and sweat. Like everyone, I take pictures of what we did and how we were and load them onto a screen and pass them along. It’s easy.
Here, now, in this cold place (that is hot, I sit in LA with the fan on in an orange dress), I reach to past people electrically–and to you–smells, sweat, bodies almost fully stripped from this interaction, trolls and bots and advertisements always getting in the way, distracting me from you.
Jasmine Rault tweets in Montreal: Those queer pleasures & feminist politics that drew us into academia might yet survive,
#eventanglement is produced in relation to conversation with and defiance against corporate ownership & neoliberal aims within the Internet
Survival, Alaric Sumner, gifted by Petra Kuppers
into a less fragile container…
spread its electronic impulses
within the ether’s intricacy
to be threatened only by the sun’s
that reconfigure the physics
of electricity and silicon
until systems and networks
can be established on planets
orbiting other suns…
then consciousness can be secure
within the universal span –
These objects are my cut from my four talks about ev-ent-anglement, and from the many words gifted to me with #eventanglement. They raise ideas and images concerning with cutting and pasting. By cutting them up and adding them to RED and BLUE fragments you can entangle ideas about ev-ent-anglements into your own script.
“Cuts are part of the phenomena they help produce,” writes Karen Barad.
Cut! Hey, that really hurts! Could you help me feel a bit better? Better yet, could we think about how to self-suture? Both cut and link all those digital fragments of me back to myself, fragments that litter the stage, which is here and now but also always the Internet with its many theres and thens; me, ever so easy to find, and increasingly harder to lose. Little parts of me that I made just for the man! I swear it didn’t hurt when I shot them or when I was shot. But it still feels painful, having fragments of myself there to be used in the service of God only knows what.
Perhaps people stay in places because they live or lived some place? And yet we move on: for each small paste holds another cut it seems …
“Can the loop be a new narrative form appropriated for the computer age?” asks Lev Manovich, who answers: “It is relevant to recall that the loop gave birth not only to cinema but also to computer programing. Programming involved altering the linear flow of data through control structures, such as ‘if/then’ and ‘repeat/while.’”
Queer theorist and cabaret performer TL Cowan writes from NY:
After my first week of teaching /Cut To/“Transgender Cultural Studies” an upper-year seminar that also fulfills the requirement for “Intro to Feminist Theory” in our always precarious Gender Studies Minor. There are students who have already done so much thinking about this topic and others who are just beginning & I worry about the knowledge gap – how does a teacher make sure that everyone is learning?
/Cut To/ I am a white cisgender lady (I like ‘lady’ better than ‘woman’ these days) teaching these courses that so far exceed my experiential knowledges, but I’m teaching them because I believe in curriculum transformation and that it is possible to teach and learn across difference. But I am nervous that I am going to fuck it up.
Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera shows cutting and editing in gendered terms. The man, the cameraman, Vertov’s real-life brother, Mikhail Kaufman, projects exuberantly into the world, empowered by his phallic camera that allows him to see and own the world newly. But soon after (or actually in the middle of) his adventure, we meet someone else: the editing-woman (after already having been introduced to several other kinds of seamstresses and the loops that support their craft). Camera man’s shots’ indexical traces tremble beneath the simple, graceful snips of her scissors and the sticky pastes of her editing console.
Of course the contemporary act of self-cutting, like editing, can be understood in gendered terms: a violent act of power-seeking performed in yet another of those private places allocated to women in patriarchy.
Artist, AIDS activist, and professor Pato Hebert writes from NY: Thanks for #Cutting/Pasting+Bleeding open a space with and for so many of us Alex. I’m wondering how our incision sutures relate to revisiting as a way to reassemble anew. I’m thinking about what it meant to post on FB from the International AIDS Conference last month, trying to hold the spin of real bodies in mobilizing motion in relationship to the stasis of health bureaucracies, the connective tissue of fellowship and the encouragment of folks far in body but close in struggle and heart. Cleaving, clotting, accompanying …
Importantly for our project here, cutting or editing is both historically women’s work, craft, and arguably feminist work; “like doing the washing up,” as much as it is like creating art.
Feminist media theorist Domi Olivieri tweets in Utrecht: Right now I hear and see you talking of cutting, editing, pasting, and while getting distracted, this comes to mind: in “Cinema Interval” Trinh Minh-ha writes, “I would say that creating rhythm is a way of working with intervals – silences, pauses, pacing – and working with intervals means working with relationships in the wider sense of the term”
We are trying to model possibilities for thoughtful, connected, principled self-cutting and linked departures.
Noortje from Utrecht writes: Digital distracted fragmentation/
cutting pasting bleeding/Abjects/
drowning in liquidity/
littering the archive of the world/
screaming to be reused/stitching, curating ourselves/
It’s never too late to be what you have been/
Digital Humanist, Jacque Wernimont writes from Arizona: I’m the opposite of pasted right now – not incorporated, tied down, fixed. Instead I feel unmoored — and where I feel fixity it’s more like a bottle about to be entangled in a mess of sea vegetable.
Oil activist, journalist and my sister Antonia Juhasz writes from SF: My work often feels more about what has been cut out of an article, and who, then what is in it. It feels like it’s all about “cutting.” Cutting people (who are most often women since I usually write about women) out of articles, cutting their words, cutting their representation, and my own as well (by myself and my editors). It is one of the most frustrating parts of my job. At the same time, the “entanglements” I most often seem to encounter is when I’m trying to read news articles and they are constantly interrupted more and more by advertisements, so much so that my computer often cannot handle all of them and freezes. It destroys the flow of thought when reading and makes focusing impossible, as in addition to ads, there are articles calling to you from all corners of the page screaming about hot celebrities and small penises. These drive me mad.
New media theorist Sarah Kember writes from London: Afternoon. Thought I’d send you an update, wittily entitled ‘The Last Cut is the Deepest’. Maybe not. I could send you a report on what I’ve been doing in my summer holiday, but I’m still doing it. I am, to be precise, three chapters in to my latest monograph, a feminist critique/parody of the gendering of smart media. At a time when creativity is reduced to market competitiveness and the alternative to being a neoliberal entrepreneurial subject writing to secure intellectual property and turn a profit is being a hopeless romantic subject writing for love and starving in a garret, it is more important than ever that we do not accept the alternatives and that we reject the terms of the debate. The terms of the debate in what Haraway would refer to as the nexus of trouble that is writing, publishing, privatization and marketization might include: print and digital; mainstream and independent; academic and trade; open and closed access and institutional and experimental. The point is not or not only to flip the binary and elevate one term over the other but to attempt to move beyond the enclosures that both enable and constrain writing as word and world-making.
Svenja Engels in Utrecth tweets: It feels like this “cutting process” is isolating and disrupting you from any form of communication or exchange.
Domi O in Utrecht tweets: When I read here of a great political action in Italy, I can’t stand not being there. Not only ‘cut!’ ‘hurts, ‘link’ hurts too.
“I propose that shifting is a form of cut relevant to contemporary digital media,” @michacardenas.
Ayana Dozier tweets in Montreal: Alex argued to cut is to create a silhouette, which can as a visual signifier of what was once there but is not a lack.
The event’s generous participants gift me their digital fragments as I request, and this is, as the event and its infrastructure requires, necessarily quick, fleeting, a flip of the hand, a click of the camera.
“The encounter is in the cut that tone instantiates and rhythm holds.” Fred Moten, In the Break
Ayana Dozier tweets in Montreal: I suppose I’m trying to think through that notion of cutting as something that creates new forms of meaning with absence.
Come to PAM on November 8, 4 or 6 pm. Alexandra Juhasz and VJ Um Amel present ev-ent-anglement.
“We’re interested in creating theoretical artistic social spaces and networks that link to but are structured differently from many of the proscribed protocals of academia, the artworld, and the corporate Internet.” Alexandra Juhasz and VJ Um Amel
If you can’t be there and live, join us online, here and here and also here by commenting, tweeting, instagramming about cutting, pasting, bleeding, events, entanglements and their associated affect: #eventanglement.
Through a live performance that combines lecture with live video mixing Juhasz and VJ Um Amel will performatively entangle affective fragments that we typically give away to the man for free on a daily basis. Can you pass your here to there? Can affect flow digitally? Where’s its bleed?
The final of four performances spanning Utrecht, Delhi, Dublin, and Montreal, ev-ent-anglement is the outgrowth of a collective feminist media praxis; theory that’s embodied, performed and rooted in the here and now, the once was, and no longer here.
tag: #eventanglement on your next post, tweet or instagram to donate material to the performance.
Alexandra Juhasz is Professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College. She makes and studies committed media practices that contribute to political change and individual and community growth. Dr. Juhasz is the producer of educational videotapes on feminist issues from AIDS to teen pregnancy as well as the feature films The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1997) and The Owls (Dunye, 2010). Her current work is on and about feminist Internet culture including YouTube (www.aljean.wordpress.com) and feminist pedagogy and community (www.feministonlinespaces.com).
VJ Um Amel is Arabic for Vee-jay “Mother of Hope”Laila Shereen Sakr is a digital media theorist and artist known for creating the cyborg consciousness, VJ Um Amel, and the R-Shief media system. She is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
no RSVP necessary for this event.
Your 5-10$ suggested donation is greatly appreciated
5810 1/2 North Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Can you believe, I almost missed this! How annoying …
I feel annoyed to be watching the clock to get my kid from daycare. I was so happy when you said you loved “The Argonauts,” and then squirmily delighted when you said smart generous things to me after I presented. Very sweaty most of today. I’m curious about everyone’s love lives , as always. —Jenny Burman
To prepare for writing this Montreal Affective Encounters wrap up, I begrudgingly entered my trove of 1449 “comments.” Due diligence. I had told people at the event that they could write comments on this blog sharing and spreading their affect here if hashtagging just wasn’t their thing. When I looked, my gross agglomeration of comments were “from” thousands of interlocutors writing to me from all over the world: peculiar words rained in from Cheap Football Jerseys China, Nike Air Max pas Cher, and Hollister Paris. My “Chinese” and “French” fans write strange missives which are beautiful and confusing poems almost written for my blog all the while capturing something of what they are and what they want me to be:
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Hidden amidst the diapers, baby wipes, fleas, telecommunications applications (cool!), and the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Europe (actually a real connection: well done!), I almost overlooked my one legitimate comment, from Jenny, who I met in Montreal and had lots of legitimate bodily and brainy feelings towards myself (I so admired her beautiful hair and face and her dense scholarly quandaries told in delicate prose; I remembered being a Mom of a little kid always having to leave just as things got good and HATING it, my body pulled away from more feeding connections, straining to stay. A horrible electricity there). My new friend’s words were almost denied to me as a result of the constant din of the Internet’s mindless chatter and my related automatic override, riding as I do atop the bots selling the almost-me things I’ll never want, or need, or even click on to see.
When I skimmed over her comment (as I do over them all) I thought at first, in a flash, what a clever clever bot! How ever could it know that I liked “The Argonauts” and come from Eastern Europe, too! Then I paused and had a double-take, halting my rote mindless clicking off of spam long enough to think: wait, that’s actually Jenny! I met her. She’s carefully and kindly replying to my prompt (to pass on the affect of Montreal). She wants me to hear her.
She was not alone in such generosity which demands reciprocity.
Dayna emailed me a fragment of her “own” video work: “So great to meet you in person, and chat, drink, think, and eat with you. Here is a snippet of video that I cut out of my project, for your project.”
In further correspondence, she explained that she emailed this to me because she had to cut it from her huge database video project, Medium Dream Sequence, about the disturbed and disturbing sleeping patterns of Patricia Arquette over eight seasons of TV– much like and unlike her own–because she, Dayna, may have sleeping troubles but never so positioned. No romance of man and kids in her bed. That’s not Dayna’s love life! In Montreal, we have time to eat lunch, and later have drinks–“chat, drink, think, and eat” (the very duration of proximity and intimacy that Jenny, kid-bound, bemoaned the loss of). And we all watch each other present and hear of each others work and watch each others moves. It seems we might very well have worlds in common.
I fly places on University’s dimes, and connect with lovely complex people in the flesh, and we talk, and eat, and listen, looking each other up and down, slyly or confidently, and sometimes we even dance and sweat. Like everyone, I take pictures of what we did and how we were and load them onto a screen and pass them along. It’s easy.
The unrepresentable meat of meeting IRL, for me, is the scintillating admixture of affect and words, smells, sweat, and sounds–my body and yours–ways we mark our connections with our eyes and fingertips and sentences–with words and gestures–how we might be wrong, our vulnerabilities producing misreads, the wrong clothes marking the worst of things. How we are often right: I knew I would cut+paste Jenny and Dayna to my self-in-the-world (whether they replied to my request to “work for me and the project” or not, even as I left Montreal). I liked them; I got to know them (I had met Dayna many times before on the Internet via writing and photos. Not the same!)
Here, now, in this cold place (that is hot, I sit in LA with the fan on in an orange dress), I reach to them electrically–and you–smells, sweat, bodies almost fully stripped from this interaction, trolls and bots and advertisements always getting in the way, distracting me from you. Yes here, like all travelers who must return home eventually, we have only representation to mark and remake our connections, our history–pictures, songs, words, and the affect embedded perhaps therein–and it works! Something is seen, felt and known in this flat vast place. Something felt remains. Because, it seems, we have more than representation. Our bodies remember the encounter, and our weird poetry captures something of what we were and what you and I want me to be.
This project has changed much over a year, and it is quite close to conclusion, the last stop is merely a month away in Highland Park, LA (phew!) This summary of Montreal Affective Encounters signals towards the final collaborative art project with Laila Shereen Sakr, and is therefore different from summaries before (of Utrecht, Dehli, and Dublin) bent as they were to capture ideas but not affect.
Instead, I consider and perform how and what we can save, pass, know, and be moved by, together, on the Internet and in the world: how affect moves in feminist networks.
Those queer pleasures & feminist politics that drew us into academia might yet survive, Jasmine Rault via Twitter
If you go to cells.ev-ent-anglement.com there is much much more to see and know, like Jasmine’s haiku and many more tweets, images, and links generously hashtagged to me there—an easy gesture—but not really, as several participants at Affective Encounters convincingly explained (thanks Ayanna Dozier and Alanna Thain) and also performed:
(1): the difference between spontaneous emotions and educated feelings, Domi Olivieri via Twitter
(2): suspension as a methodology // proximities, from Domi via Twitter
(3): fragilization // politics of care // movements // temporalities, from Domi via Twitter
The event’s generous participants gifted me their digital fragments as I requested, and this was, as the event and its infrastructure required, necessarily quick, fleeting, a flip of the hand, a click of the camera. And yet, as my collaborators explained to me then and there, some of the meat of our encounter was entangled in those techie gestures, showing up as care, as fragility, proximity, shadow, and touch. Technologies, like people, slide over some things, stick others together, allow for friction, cuts, pain and pleasure. Parts of us stay put, others travel on. Sure, as I said in Montreal, “there is something that exceeds the mimetic copy of some part of yourself or others,” but thankfully we have our bodies, and poetry, and pictures, dance, words and humor as reminder, and as a medium, to get us ever closer to that evanescent event.
Affect Action 1: Please gift to the ev-ent-anglement and future participants at the installation in Highland Park in October 2015 at PAM that I will be co-producing with Laila Shereen Sakr, three or more digital fragments that express your affect in relation to the event in Montreal: found at
Affect Action 2: Look here or at cells.ev-ent-anglement.com and move something to “Montreal” and thus to PAM in Highland Park by retweeting, reposting, quoting, copying, re-doing with #eventanglement and #montreal.
I recently performed the third iteration of my experimental, affective scholarly talk cum “event” at Console-ing Passions 2015: “Ev-ent-anglement 3: Dublin.” The project has a nearly-completed year-long shelf-life as it and I travel the globe while transforming here and elsewhere on the Internet (the sustaining relations between my physical bodily mobility through space and my grounded Internet presence, based as it is on assumptions that at last people can stay put, is one of the contradictions at the heart of this project: I need to be multiply physically placed-based to learn about digital place and community; the longer we have the Internet the more we travel physically because we know so many more people and place seems suddenly as available to us as products). Opening in Utrecht in August 2014, the Ev-ent-anglement went next to Dehli and Dublin. In August 2015 it will surface one final time in Montreal as part of a small symposium, “Affective Encounters.” A live collaborative art-event with Laila Shereen Sakr in Los Angeles at PAM in September will conclude the run. The Ev-ent-anglement changes and grows as does my thinking about feminist Internet culture because of the interactions, objects and collaborators it brings into its fold from the places it and I go. In Dublin Orphan Black and Kara Keeling tangled in (with other objects).
No longer exactly where it started (it has had twowebsites, this being one of them, and threediscreetperformances to date), this process- and interaction-rich project morphs yet continues as something akin to this: a living experiment that demonstrates in the doing the affordances of contemporary corporate (feminist) Internet culture and its potential alternatives. The ev-ent-anglement (perhaps poorly) enacts a feminist collective critical digital practice thereby telling us more about the corporate Internet and digital feminism.
Let me explain. I built the ev-ent-anglement to consider how we might do better with the uncountable fragments of ourselves that we willingly, massively and generatively give to the man with every tweet, click, and photo. I cobbled together a theoretical armature suited to scaffold my unique intellectual and practical pursuit: how to cut and paste our fragments together making use of feminist principles towards anti-corporate ends. Collaboration, blended live and digital space, co-production of time/space/knowledge (events), the linked value of the situated and the mobile, the entangled nature of things, people, and ideas, a hunger for experiences and communities outside the corporate, an openness to complex and radical political and theoretical critique, a commitment to learning in the doing: these are some of the many feminist and activist principles underlying the project. From them, I concocted a strange place-based practice and performance (an event) where I presented the ideas of the project—montage, new materialism, affect theory, critical Internet studies, feminist and queer theory—while simultaneously asking the audience in the room (and always also online) to entangle fragments of themselves onto the event’s online record thereby marking and saving their part within the event while growing and changing its form within the ev-ent-anglement.
Because I performed the event at academic conferences (and because the ev-ent-anglement also reaches my online community), its participants are feminist activists, academics and artists interested in gender and queer studies, documentary, feminist media and their linked disciplines and foci. Because I performed the event in Utrecht, Dehli, and Dublin (and always online) fragments of these places, and their people and objects, entangle in. Because I showed certain images and quoted certain theorists, the ev-ent-anglement holds generative fragments concerned with the complex ideas and images of editing, cutting, bleeding, events, and entanglements. Because my community interacted, the project grew to include their linked interests: the Arab spring, disability studies, Trinh T. Minh-ha, AIDS, black queer representation and much more. Because VJ_Um_Amel first donated some fragments online, then got more invested, and ultimately began to collaborate with me, she led the production of a new website to hold the ever-morphing collection of ev-ent-anglements fragments. The new site has structuring principles related to ideas of shared-ownership, community, multi-authorship, fragmentation, bodies and their affects, collectivity, and feminism that reflect the larger project.
As of now, the second website cells.ev-ent-anglement.com, looks and even acts a lot like a hybrid (cut/paste+bleed) of two (feminist?) Internet stalwarts, Facebook and Pinterest (thanks to Natalie Bookchin for this comparison, and to the presenters on the Pinterest panel at Console-ing Passions): it automatically generates a seam-filled mosaic produced first from an author, and then from some algorithms that arrange her community’s fragments that have been crowd-sourced, willfully gifted, carefully curated, and linked. And yet …
Here’s where the differences bleed in, allowing us to see and perhaps name the current shape of Internet feminism and its many many discontents:
Pinterest, Facebook (and other social media platforms) are corporate spaces that are free to use at great cost to users’ privacy and autonomy; I pay for ev-ent-anglement with surprisingly limited personal and institutional resources.
Corporate spaces market in and mobilize corporate goods and user-generated content (often itself about corporate goods) arranged and calibrated with some very careful measure; while there is almost no outside to the market economy, a rather significant portion of the fragments on the ev-ent-anglement are not (fully) entangled with corporate culture.
Facebook, Pinterest (and other social media platforms) only work if things and people are bought and sold to each other; ev-ent-anglement buys and sells nothing other than platform space, the infrastructures on which it runs, and its users’ time and expertise (mostly given “for free,” as is so much on the Internet).
Facebook, Pinterest (and other social media platforms) are fun and easy to use; ev-ent-anglement is intense, difficult, and convoluted in comparison. Interestingly, off-the-shelf platforms bake in more and more ease-of-use but the corporations are always simplicity-steps ahead. The role of ease can not be overstated (see my work on slogans on YouTube).
YouTube, Vine, Snapchat and their ilk produce a sense of community organized around the self; ev-ent-anglement organizes its community primarily through my invitation (and then that of others) to a dispersed but highly limited group of people linked by ideas, commitments, and proximity.
Corporate spaces are built and prosper within the growth and scale logics of neo-liberalism: things are best when they get larger and hold unimaginable quantities of data; the ev-ent-anglement treasures and relies upon the close-knit, intimate, specialist interests and commitments of its tiny community and limited data pool. There is depth and connection in the focused, but corporate spaces have other kinds of magnetism.
Users’ compulsion to engage and stay within Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like is high, a result of many of the features listed above: their ease of use, abundance of content, sense of community, and refined admixture of corporate and user-generated content; very few people want to engage with the ev-ent-anglement in any sustained way (or at all) mostly because it retains my signature (even as it expands), and because it is complicated and demanding of time and intellectual attention. Also, “scholars” have a hesitation to make publicly (although not on Facebook!)
The collections of fragments that are any individual’s Facebook or YouTube feed are at once satisfyingly tailored around the self, while also being fleeting, abundant, diverse and easy; the ev-ent-anglement is co-authored and multiply-focused; it is time and space bound.
Twitter, Facebook and the like are founded upon flow, speed, quantity, and brevity; much of the ev-ent-anglement sticks, taking time and space to enjoy its complexity and depth.
Scholars and users of corporate Internet culture perform the obligatory work of jamming “feminist” intention, activity, community, and values into spaces and practices organized primarily towards neoliberal, hegemonic and sometimes even anti-feminist aims; the ev-ent-anglement, like other “alternative,” “counter-cultural,” or anti-hegemonic spaces asks its scholars and users to name and refine the feminist values and practices that feed us and structure the space; we often disagree, which is useful when done respectfully. Of course, no space is pure, so our movement between and among and within them informs all we might know and do.
The ev-ent-anglement is produced in relation to, conversation with, and defiance against corporate ownership and neoliberal aims within the Internet and every other place we go. It values feminist complexity, community, and collaboration outside the logic of capital, when possible. It tells us that the corporate Internet is expensive, commodity-driven, fun, easy, self-centered, addictive yet feeding, and malleable within these constraints. This tells me something I’ve known for quite awhile: the corporate Internet is the place we are, it is not the place we want or need, we can do better.
Presented with this slide show on June 19, 2015, 11:15-1, UTC, Console-ing Passions, Dublin in panel, “Making the New Materialisms Matter for Feminist Media Studies”
PP1. Hello and welcome to the third ev-ent-anglement. What is that? you might rightfully inquire.
PP2. An ev-ent-anglement cuts and pastes an event to an entanglement making use of two hyphens for its highly visible stitches: ev-ent-anglement.
PP3. Utrecht European Summer School in Women’s Studies: The first two events were actually talks, linked to and much like this one,
PP4. the first held in the Netherlands in August 2014 at the European Summer School in Women’s Studies at Utrecht University and the
PP5. second in Dehli at the Visible Evidence documentary conference in December of 2014.
PP6. Event: “I call these two talks “events” because their participatory and performative nature differentiates them from the more circumscribed set of routines and protocals of typical conference fare. Here, I am indebted to Zizek, who defines an event as: “Something shocking, out of joint, that appears all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things.”
PP7. Event: Similarly, Alain Badiou calls an event “a rupture in the normal order of bodies and languages as it exists for any particular situation.”
PP8. To Cut: What may present as shocking or out of joint or even something akin to a rupture in this series of talks cum events—yours being the third—is that I ask the audience, in this case you and others engaging with us online today and for the next week or so, to act with me, to cut and also to paste, thereby digitally entangling fragments of yourselves into the online record of the ever-growing and always-changing event, which itself is housed and becomes anew online. “Cuts are part of the phenomena they help to produce,” writes Karen Barad. Here your cuts are not only formative they are saved and reusable.
PP9. For the ev-en-anglement, your cuts and your pastes, like those of others before you, are what produce the ev-ent-anglement: a digital place that archives, grows, and changes via the acts, interests, and values of its diverse feminist community. This photo was cut+pasted by a Women’s Studies graduate student during the talk in Utrecht. It is captures her reading a book on French Feminism, and was easily linked to the ev-ent-anglement from her instagram account. You are invited to change the ev-ent-anglement now or at any time during the event by tweeting, moving a photo or video or link via instagram or vine or tumblr with the hastag above. Your more formal and detailed script is forthcoming.
PP10. To Cut: Hers and your cut+pastes into the ev-ent-anglement are both a “causal procedure and act of decision,” acts that Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska understand as potentially ethical. In the first talk, Kember and Zylinska’s writing about cutting, as well as that of earlier theorists of cinematic montage, and Robin Weigman’s Object Lessons, were central to the performance. But then, Kember, Zylinska, and many others cut in new fragments to mark their attachments. So things have moved and changed and this talk includes their many fragments. The first talk, and its power point are of course available on the ev-ent-aglement, as will be this one.
PP11. Cut+Paste from @vj_um_amel to Dehli, #eventanglement with @michacardena : Each event that forms the ev-ent-anglement is initiated by a provocative invitation or script that is place-based—Utrecht, Delhi, now Dublin—while being simultaneously online. I’ve invited you to participate already. Here is photo tweeted to me in Dehli by online participant vj_um_amel. Her fragment depicts her collaboration with media theorist and artist Micha Cardenas’ in a performance called “Immobility: A score about mobility”
PP12. Every event in the ev-ent-anglement is bounded by a window of time: how long you and others can interact, stitch in. As I move across time and place extending new scripts at different events in new places the digital ev-ent-anglement grows and changes. But it is not seamless: each stitch, like the hyphens I began with, remains visible and usable.
PP13. For instance, when I was in Utrecht, new media scholar and trans theorist KJ Sturken, entangling from afar, added a poem about the cutting off of some of his body parts. He wrote: “I have recently made a rather large cut to myself or rather a surgeon made it for me out of great necessity.” Not to worry, the poem is entangled in the ev-ent-anglement, and you can read the rest of it at the website listed above, if you’re curious (and review the other fragments I’ve shown so far there as well). You have my permission to wander. Your script is forthcoming.
PP14. Similarly, disability theorist and artist Petra Kuppers cut+paste to a now largely defunct website about experimental poetry and hypertext. She wrote that the ev-ent-anglement had taken her to this place and its set of concerns about digital poetics, once so central to her: “ I am visiting them now wondering how I feel now about presence and absence, words and sounds.” In her fragment, she also remembers poet Alaric Sumner, “someone who passed much too young.” He enters the ev-ent-anglement there. One more object to consider and entangle.
PP15. Then KJ entangled with Petra. We had moved far from, yet still connected to, the feminist, editing, affect and new media theory that grounded the initial event in Utrecht.
PP16. When I wrote about Alisa Lebow’s keynote address at Visible Evidence in Dehli as part of the second ev-ent-anglement, media from the Middle East began being cut+pasted to the entanglement.
PP17. the ev-ent-anglement opened out to encompass new and connected lines of inquiry and activism yielding expanding possibilities for further audience attachments(like yours) at later events. Now that I’ve shown you these digital fragments, you too could cut and paste around these themes or stretch them in new directions. Not to worry: your instructions are forthcoming.
PP18. Material Entanglements: Entanglements, the second word fragment roughly cut with just two little dashes into the neologism ev-ent-anglement, are according to Karen Barad about “joins and disjoins—cutting together/apart—not separate consecutive activities, but a single event that is not one.”
PP19. The word that I invented by cutting and pasting is itself about montage; the process of making not one from many. Sarah Kember cuts into the ev-ent-anglement with a long post and a video of Nina Wakeford singing her paper on a panel on Feminist Writing. The people, the video, the writing, all now objects for you to peruse, enjoy, and entangle.
PP20. Ev-ent-anglement.com: And this event, like any, is not one: it is my words, my stance, your thoughts, your attitudes, the images on the screen, the electricity and hardware that puts those images there and online, the electricity in the air because I’ve told you that you will soon participate. This event is not one, it is also the behind the scenes labor of two programmers, first Risa Goodman on ev-ent-anglement.com and then Laila Shereen Sakr, on ev-ent-anglement cells (a site very much in process) who each built a WordPress site where ev-ent-anglements can take place. This is a screengrab of the first ev-ent-anglement site: it holds fragments from the Utrecht and India events in the form of tweets, comments, photos, links, and records of my presentation and responses
PP21. cells.ev-ent-anglement.com: Here is the new site. It is under construction but allows you to entangle the objects that have been cut+pasted into the ev-ent-anglement. Be prepared: your script is forthcoming. For instance all the theorists I have quoted are there: Badiou, Zizek, Sturken, Kuppers, Lebow, Barad, Weigman, Kember and Zylinska, and soon enough Gregg and Seigworth, also there you might find some of our feelings.
PP22. Affect: Melissa Gregg and Gregory Seigworth call this affect, of course: “Affect arises in the midst of in-between-ness: in the capacities of a momentary or sometimes more sustained set of relations as well as the passage (and the duration of the passage) of forces or intensities.”
PP23. In this event, and better yet in the ev-ent-anglement that holds it, you will see and hear how I have cut and pasted editing theory and practice by way of media studies and production with what is often called new materialism and also affect theory and have used this patchwork theoretical monster to think about and then also enact a feminist collective critical digital practice with audience members who have chosen to participate and stretch the ev-ent-anglement as they will, in this case, thanks to queer feminist film critic Ingrid Ryberg, to encompass Border Disorders and Queer Film.
PP24. The ev-ent-anglement records border disorders. An in-between-ness of fragments and forces from several single events that is and are not one, as well as the actions of many who are and are also not one. “While the smallest or simplest body or bit may indeed express a vital impetus … an actant never really acts alone. Its efficacy or agency always depends on the collaboration, cooperation or interactive interference of many bodies and forces” explains Jane Bennett. You are always an actant, but your collaboration is more staged and intentional on the ev-ent-anglement.
PP25. The ev-ent-anglement is at once a digital platform and record that allows audience members in a room at a conference and attending an event live and in person, as well as our fellow travelers on the internet (those we can reach; those who are so inclined), to cut and paste evidence of their entangled, collaborative, cooperative, interactive role in the event so as to be part of something new. The ev-ent-anglement holds an image of a book about The Costa Rican…
PP26. The evidence of your presence takes the form of a fragment of your choice. You will entangle both it and yourself in.
PP27. By so doing you become an object in our archive, as does your fragment, as does the people, places and things you summon up and link to. In this way the site manifests one of the central ideas of new materialism
PP28. Ideas Are Material: “Ideas are material in that they become rituals and then sedimented at a corporeal level.”
PP29. Our website, the ev-ent-anglement, engages in changing our conception of the archive from a repository of things to a process of shared feminist knowledge production. Nouns and verbs; things and their processes; feminist cuts and connections that bind. Many people, and their thoughts, writing, images, and feelings are now here linked and linkable objects.
PP30. Matter is an actor: With Barad in our minds, we might act knowing that “Matter (too) is an actor … matter is not a ‘thing’ but a doing.” Your instructions for doing are forthcoming.
PP31. The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin: William S. Borroughs wrote: “Cut ups are for everyone. Anybody can make cut ups. It is experimental in the sense of being something to do.” I hope you will soon act with us.
PP32. Affect is What Sticks: But certainly, to entangle a digital fragment of yourself, with a cut and paste via a simple hashtag, while you are attending what you thought was a talk where you thought you were going to sit and listen is neither required nor easy. I’m wondering how you feel, and how that matters. “Affect is what sticks, or what sustains or preserves the connection between ideas, values, and objects,” explains Sara Ahmed. I hope you might consider entangling your affect as well as your ideas, values and objects. I wonder how this invitation makes you feel?
PP33. Rather than sit and listen, take notes or not, let your mind wander and make connections which will never be shared or recorded, the ev-ent-anglement requires your intra-action, a mark of what you have done, or liked, or thought, or learned like this frame grab of a film by Minou Norouzi.
PP34. Intraction: Intra-action, another of Barad’s terms, marks again where “there is no ‘between’ as such, human and non-human organisms and machines emerge only through their mutual co-constitution
PP35. Your intra-action with the ev-ent-anglement cuts+pastes a small piece of your digital self or that of others who you care about, by generously and knowingly gifting it to me, and the ev-ent-anglement, rather than to the man or the corporation, the many places where our fragments currently call home.
PP36. This movement marks and holds your co-presence and allows for a new sort of co-constitution. You always co-constitute an event with your presence, ideas, and values. But the ev-ent-anglement has been made to receive, hold, and build from you and your fragments, transforming them into objects for others’ further intra-actions.
PP37. And, the ev-ent-anglement, unlike the corporation, believes that there is something that exceeds both the mimetic copy of some part of yourself or others that you can so casually give away or pass along. We call this the bleed: the actions, affects, and activities that will never be caught and saved as objects in a database. What sticks. What seeps.
PP38. An ev-ent-anglment cuts and pastes your fragment into this event and also takes account of the bleed. You can entangle at will. That might be pleasurable, or painful. Your script is forthcoming.
PP39. #eventanglement = cut+paste/bleed: How does it work you might ask? How do we cut+paste/bleed? When we cut and paste a hashtag onto the front of it, #ev-ent-anglement allows a live and digital audience at an event, in this case this academic talk about ev-ent-anglments in Dublin and its iterations online, to cut+paste and bleed digital fragments of their choice into what is and becomes a small user-generated, highly-focused collection of fragments, themselves about cutting, pasting, events, entanglements, and also the bleeding that ensues. The ev-ent-anglement is not so different from a mashup of Facebook and Pinterest, say, except in the highly focused set of questions it ponders, the deeply architected pathways for connection it engenders, the closely knit nature of the community it calls upon, and our planned uses for the fragments it collects.
PP40. http://cells.ev-ent-anglement.com: For ev-ent-anglement 3 we have built a new site that allows you to find an object of your liking, one already gifted to the project, and entangle it further with other objects. Cut/paste+bleed. Your script is forthcoming.
PP41. @vj_um_amel: What will be done with thee objects and your traces? We won’t sell you anything, not even yourself. At the fourth and final event, to take place in Los Angeles this Fall, new media artist/theorist VJ Um Amel and I plan to finish the experiment with a live event: itself a generative visualization of some international feminist documentary and new media theorists’ thinking and practices about cutting, pasting, and bleeding within Internet culture. From your fragments will come art and community as a form of theory-making.
PP42. Editing: Importantly for our project here, cutting or editing as both theory and practice, is historically women’s work, and craft, and arguably feminist work; “like doing the washing up,” as much as it is like creating art.
PP43. Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera also draws out cutting and editing in gendered terms.
PP44. The man, the cameraman, Vertov’s real-life brother, Mikhail Kaufman, projects exuberantly into the world, empowered by his phallic camera that allows him to see and own the world newly. But soon after (or actually in the middle of) his adventure, we meet someone else: the editing-woman. In the film’s central scene, we meet Vertov’s real world wife, Yelizaveta Svilova, who sits quietly in a dark room attending to what remains after the man’s cocky adventures (climbing towering smokestacks, wedging himself below hurtling trains), and almost effortlessly it seems, does with it whatever she will or wants. His shots’ indexical traces tremble beneath the simple, graceful snips of her scissors and the sticky pastes of her editing console.
PP45. Cutting: Of course the contemporary act of self-cutting, like editing, can be understood in gendered terms: a violent act of power-seeking performed in yet another of those private places allocated to women and those understood as female in patriarchy. Interestingly, this kind of cutting does not bring with it an associated paste. What this cut brings with it, what it wants, its dyadic, is a bleed.
PP46. Ab-jecting: While all human bodies (and those of other animals) bleed, a particular kind of bleeding will help focus the bleed’s role in our feminist project of #ev-ent-anglement 3—one where our directives are to #cut/paste+bleed —because the menses are one of many in-between bodily acts that are uniquely and distinctly female. Julia Kristeva asks us to consider bodily acts, like menstruation, at the border between clean and dirty, live and dead, inside and out: “Repelling, rejecting; repelling itself, rejecting itself. Ab-jecting.”
PP47. We cut/paste+bleed binaries: The seeping and connecting quality of all blood allows it to be a metaphoric glue, like affect, that marks the many pulls, movements, and actions of our present entanglement—from in to out and on to off, from me to you to us, from digital matter to living body. Of course all people—men, those in-between or indeterminate, and females who don’t menstruate—can bleed with us too! Cyborgs all, we use technology and place to flow through binaries. Let’s cut/paste and bleed through! There is no in-between.
PP48. During this event, I have been talking while also sharing with you many of the roughly 300 fragments, or objects, that have been entangled into the ev-ent-anglement over its first two iterations and in preparation for this event.
PP49. There are about 50 photographs that people have cut and pasted, and as many tweets, often with photos or videos in them.
PP50. There are links to websites and hours of video. People have entangled poems, and their favorite authors. Many theorists have arrived after the fact. How did this happen?
PP51. As will be true for you soon enough, I gave the audience of each event a script, and for the next few minutes sitting in their place in the audience (and for another week on the Internet), they pasted and cut ideas, links, images, videos, tweets, and comments onto the ev-ent-anglement
PP52. This is the third ev-ent-anglement, and after the second ev-ent-anglement a participant who engaged with the project online has since become a collaborator. VJ Um Amel built a digital device that lets you see and engage with the ev-ent-anglement newly. And now, I also share with you your script for intra-action: it might help you to act. The event begins again now and your intra-action is desired. Just remember, by entering you become an object and so being you might just be entangled by another. (hand out script)
PP53. Together we can intentionally build and save some kind of record of this feminist event, comprised as it is of our shared now, and our linked thens. Unlike much on the Internet, our community is limited, our database is small, the ideas and things gathered here are complex and deep, to know what is here demands time, and your presence is generative. This is undoubtedly a messy but loving experiment that seeks to produce a collective critique of contemporary Internet culture through very small but infinitely large feminist, theoretical, activist, and artistic gestures.
PP54. When you participate, you become an object, an actant, and a collaborator.
PP55. If the Internet is an unorchestrated archive of fragments of all our selves we gladly gave away being mined to sell us more things we never needed, including commodified versions of ourselves, we might want to take on the empowering feminist role of editor and curate ourselves, together, into a collection that matters and has some sense.
PP56. Our object is ourself and ourselves. Our Bodies/Our SelvesRedux. Lopped. Looped. Lined. Linked. Re-Aligned. Show the Seams.
PP57. Justice to our fragments! I invite you to join or at least bleed to us. Thank you.