Tag Archives: Semiotext(e)


Across his body of work, Reynaldo Rivera depicts people enmeshed in their own private worlds who completely transcend their surroundings through the force of imagination and their inner lives. This remains true, whether the subject is photographed in a garden, a public toilet, or a house party in pre-gentrified Echo Park. I think this is a primary difference between Rivera’s work and Nan Goldin’s, to whom his portraits of drag queens, trans women, and other friends might be compared. Goldin’s subjects in The Ballad of Sexual Dependency are downwardly mobile: middle class kids who took a wrong turn, captured in louche dens of bohemian squalor during emotionally intimate scenes… Rivera’s photographs of drag performers taken in Latino gay bars in LA between 1989 and 1997 reflect a different kind of collaboration. He sees his subjects less as they “are” than how they most wish to be seen, lending himself to their dreams and illusions of glamour. And why shouldn’t these dreams be realized?Chris Kraus*

This week, Linda Simpson and Reynaldo Rivera will present their new books—The Drag Explosion and Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City—and join artist and editor Alex Jovanovich in conversation.

See link below to register for the online event.


Artforum / Bookforum

Tuesday, December 15.

4 pm on the West Coast; 7 pm East Coast.

*Chris Kraus, from her introduction to Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City (South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2020).

Linda Simpson (images in color, from top): RuPaul, 1992; group of drag performers, including Lady Bunny (far left); Dean Johnson, 1987; RuPaul; event card image courtesy and © Artforum and Bookforum. Images © Linda Simpson, courtesy of the artist.

Reynaldo Rivera (images in black and white, from above): Echo Park (self-portrait), 1996; Vaginal Davis, Downtown, 1993; Cindy Gomez, Echo Park, 1992; Elyse Regehr and Javier Orosco, Downtown LA, 1989). Images © Reynaldo Rivera, courtesy of the artist


There’s nothing like an election to make you feel hopeless about the possibility for political change. I pick up a magazine promising America’s Essential Recipes, and open it right up to “pork schnitzel.” I’m laughing so hard that everyone at the co-op turns around to see if they can be part of my laughter. And then I’m walking through a field of dandelions. Even if it’s really just the grass between the sidewalk and street I will take this field while I can get it.

The news is always its own trauma, but when the news of the trauma echoes into our lives, past and present at once, the open door never quite closes. Trauma as a curtain that billows around us, a wall we never quite break through. I mean trauma as a weapon. How to make oppression realize its redundancy. But oppression can never realize. Anything but oppression. How saying that something is structural means we need to take it apart or else it’s a weapon we become. — Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, The Freezer Door

On the occasion of the publication of her new book The Freezer Door, Sycamore will join Alexander Chee—author of the essay collection How to Write an Autobiographical Novel—in conversation.

See link below to register for the online discussion.


McNally Jackson

Tuesday, November 24.

4 pm on the West Coast; 7 pm East Coast.

From top: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, photograph by Jesse Mann, courtesy and © the author and the photographer; Sycamore, The Freezer Door, cover image courtesy and © the author and Semiotext(e); Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, cover image courtesy and © the author and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Chee (foreground left) and Ggreg Taylor at an AIDS demonstration in San Francisco, October 1989, photograph by Marc Geller, courtesy and © the author and the photographer.


Coincident with the exhibition of his works in the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. 2020 biennial, Reynaldo Rivera will join Chris Kraus—who wrote a contributing essay for the forthcoming monograph Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City—in conversation as part of ArtCenter’s online Graduate Art Seminar series.

For r.s.v.p. information, see link below.


ArtCenter Graduate Art Seminar

Tuesday, November 10.

7:30 pm on the West Coast; 10:30 am East Coast.

A signed limited edition of Reynaldo Rivera—which Includes a 7 x 7 archival pigment print on Canson Platine of Gaby and Melissa at La Plaza, 1993—is available.

Reynaldo Rivera, from top: Performers la Plaza,1992; Made in L.A. 2020: a version, Hammer Museum, installation views (2), photographs by Joshua White / JWPictures.com; Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes of a Disappeared City cover image courtesy and © the artist and Semiotext(e); Chris Kraus; backstage at La Plaza; Gaby and Melissa at La Plaza, 1993. Images © Reynaldo Rivera, courtesy of the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York and Los Angeles.


This month, Nicole R. Fleetwood—curator of Marking Time—Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration at MoMA PS1—and Jackie Wang will discuss “carceral aesthetics, the legacy of revolutionary prison arts programs, and the ways that penal space, time, and matter shape the production of prison art. What kinds of worlds and images of freedom have been imagined by prisoners and those with loved ones in prison? What forms of care are embodied by social practices rooted in art-making?”*

See link below for details.


Artists Space Dialogues—Carceral Aesthetics and the Politics of Love

Tuesday, November 10.

5 pm on the West Coast; 8 pm East Coast.

Marking Time—Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, MoMA PS1, through April 4, 2021, from top: Tameca ColeLocked in a Dark Calm, 2016, collage and graphite on paper, image courtesy and © Tameca Cole / Die Jim Crow; collection Ellen Driscoll; Mark Loughney, Pyrrhic Defeat: A Visual Study of Mass Incarceration (detail), 2014–present, graphite on paper, image © Mark Loughney, courtesy of the artist; Sable Elyse SmithPivot II, 2019, stainless steel with 2k painted finish, image © Sable Elyse Smith, courtesy of the artist, JTT, New York, and Carlos / Ishikawa, London; Ronnie Goodman, San Quentin Arts in Corrections Art Studio, 2008, acrylic on canvas, image © the artist’s estate.


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 RussellGlitch 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.”

To r.s.v.p. to this Verso Live event, see link below. On October 15, the School of Visual Arts will host a Glitch Feminism launch, and Russell will join Zoe Leonard in conversation.



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 NancyCorpus, 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 LazzaratoSigns and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity, translated by Joshua David Jordan (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2014), 18, 26.
4. Ibid.

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.