In a dystopic global landscape that makes space for none of us, offers no sanctuary, the sheer act of living—surviving—in the face of a gendered and racialized hegemony becomes uniquely political. We choose to stay alive, against all odds, because our lives matter. We choose to support one another in living, as the act of staying alive is a form of world-building. These worlds are ours to create, claim, pioneer. We travel off-road, away from the demand to be merely “a single being.” We scramble toward containing multitudes against the current of a culture-coding that encourages the singularity of binary.
Glitching is a gerund, an action ongoing. It is activism that unfolds with a boundless extravagance.1 Nonetheless, undercurrent to this journey is an irrefutable tension: the glitched body is, according to UX (user experience) designer, coder, and founder of collective @Afrofutures_UK Florence Okoye, “simultaneously observed, watched, tagged and controlled whilst also invisible to the ideative, creative, and productive structures of the techno-industrial complex.”2
We are seen and unseen, visible and invisible. At once error and correction to the “machinic enslavement” of the straight mind, the glitch reveals and conceals symbiotically.3 Therefore, the political action of glitch feminism is the call to collectivize in network, amplifying our explorations of gender as a means of deconstructing it, “restructuring the possibilities for action.”4 — Legacy Russell, Glitch Feminism*
Legacy Russell, author of Glitch Feminism, and McKenzie Wark, author of Reverse Cowgirl, “meet online to discuss the divide between the digital and real and whether this divide has in fact already collapsed, virtual as the ‘new normal,’ and whether it is still possible to find utopian space in the virtual.”
VIRTUAL—THE NEW NORMAL
Thursday, October 1.
10:30 am on the West Coast; 1:30 pm East Coast; 6:30 pm London; 7:30 pm Paris.
*Legacy Russell, Glitch Feminism (London: Verso, 2020), text and footnotes courtesy and © the author and the publisher.
1.The glitched body is a body that defies the hierarchies and strata of logic, it is proudly nonsensical and therefore perfectly non-sense. I think here of philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy’s “Fifty-eight Indices on the Body,” Indice 27, wherein he muses: “Bodies produce sense beyond sense. They’re an extravagance of sense.” In Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus, translated by Richard Rand (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 153.
2. Florence Okoye, “Decolonising Bots: Revelation and Revolution through the Glitch,” Het Nieuwe Instituut (October 27, 2017), https://botclub.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/en/decolonising-bots-revelation-and-revolution-through-glitch.
3. Maurizio Lazzarato, Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity, translated by Joshua David Jordan (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2014), 18, 26.
From top: Legacy Russell, photograph by Daniel Dorsa, image courtesy and © the author and the photographer; McKenzie Wark, photograph courtesy and © the author, the photographer, and Verso; Victoria Sin, performance at Glitch @ Night, organized by Legacy Russell as part of Post-Cyber Feminist International, 2017, ICA London, photograph by Mark Blower, courtesy and © the photographer and ICA London; McKenzie Wark, Reverse Cowgirl (2020), cover image courtesy and © the author and Semiotext(e); Legacy Russell, Glitch Feminism (2020), cover image courtesy and © the author and Verso.