The Man With The Compound Eyes by Wu Ming Yi
Reviewed for Full Stop
"Like the plastic in the sea, the human innovation of writing, of exterior memory storage, is here characterised as both enduring and toxic. Indeed, the effects of human activity embodied in the trash motif, the human production of memory (as storytelling, as history, as writing), and the meaningful tension between the two imply what has often been unsayable: the stories humans tell are not neutral; often they are preserved and protected at material cost to the continuity of other types of life. The novel teems with this life under threat."
“Discourse is not what is said; it is that which constrains and enables what can be said. Discursive practices define what counts as meaningful statements. Statements are not the mere utterances of the originating consciousness of a unified subject; rather, statements and subjects emerge from a field of possibilities. This field of possibilities is not static or singular but rather is a dynamic and contingent multiplicity.”
“Designing the space in which you perform or into which you disappear to perform; hiding in plain sight or fading into the background emerges as the focus of Gordon’s formal experimentation and a primary strategy — Kim Gordon might be said to be a key forerunner of the current normcore trend. But while these texts about interiors are fascinating, collected here up against all the guys with guitars there is the queasy feeling that some kind of essential dualism is being posited. Dudes perform their aggressive sexuality onstage and girls create spaces. Gordon can perhaps pass as one or another by disappearing into ordinariness. But if this strategy is to be of use the question must be answered: who gets to be ordinary and what is at stake in being so?”
— I reviewed Kim Gordon’s Is It My Body?
for Full Stop Magazine and to do so had to struggle with a whole mess of stuff about canon, gender and boundary issues between vis art and guitar music.
The Witch, The Troll and The Homeopath for Pages Of Magazine
I wrote a piece what feels like an age ago, for issue 1(offline but you can get a preview if you click the link) of the beautiful Pages Of Thanks to Emma Sjoberg-Snell for the beautiful illustration (there are more in the paper mag). The strategy of writing offline about online trolls might seem like an evasion but it allowed me to work through ideas I was genuinely scared to air online.
It seems like there have been lot of trolls under the bridge since I wrote this and the genderedness of online discourse has really been complicated with, to name one example, the advent of the high profile white lady columnist calling for report buttons on twitter to use against their, often less fortunate of platform, critics. I don’t think report buttons are the answer but nor do I think we can ignore the way the asymmetries of power and oppression shape the experience of individuals online. Discussions in the last year around intersectionality have added vast fields of hard fought nuance to the debate. The troll as neutral trickster archetype is differentiated from the abusive internet hater brilliantly by Sam Kriss for Full Stop Magazine here but I question the alleged neutrality of the ‘concern troll’ he sets up as a historically legitimated precedent. Not everyone gets to play the fool and keep their intellectual status equally. In The New Inquiry this piece by Jason Wilson about media moderators as ‘hate sinks’ reveals the affective infrastructure that the columnist, the internet concern troll and the online hater all implicitly rely on.
I’m grateful to Pages Of for the opportunity to write about this offline among other really talented people’s work. Please consider buying the magazine. In a time of so-called immaterial discourse there’s still much to be said for the feel of a page in your hand and the maintenance of spaces for writing which don’t exponentially spawn spirals of comment.