Anne Lesley Selcer

The Unproductive Mouth

Political emotion

Talking about the political present requires a technology of public speech, but the constructs and speech have shifted. Inside personal display cases of glass and crystal, upon screens actual or imagined, language takes on a speechified address to a dispersed and uneven public. In a series of somatic plays, Face Down by Brian Whitener faces the distance of political abstraction, the politics of affective life, the impossibility of writing in the political present. The book cannibalizes criticism, enacts it with bodies named A., B., C., and D. arranged like plastic toy soldiers, except in balaclavas. Written in an organized style of informatics, Face Down is seductive and terrifying in its desperate heat and abstract coolness. It is written with the powerlessness and with the power of political emotion. 

We cover our girlish faces. We are the war.

I began to write: Style by Dolores Dorantes slashes fuchsia through structures of totalitarian authority and gendered domination. A swarm of girls declares (with their erotics, not without their erotics, that outermost fastener to sociality which is first to be disturbed, dismantled, deactivated, deadened or rerouted by overt acts of domination and prosaic paths of power), “We will blossom without your consent.” This blossoming makes war, or is war —“We are the fresh fruits of war.” The liveliness of the girls shoots way up beyond any concept of “survival.” Their efficacious energy volleys violence back in the language of desire. My theory there, swimming up through slick black obsidian black light obliterating black ruffled feathers of traumatic experience, is that survivors of social violence get their social radiance disturbed, their social legibility obscured. The very thing which connects, communicates, exchanges, seeks out, and secures inclusion in networks necessary for survival — self possession — is challenged. Taking away a person from their body is also casting out that person from the social world, even if just for a moment. We could conceive of Style as a dress cinching the absolute abjection of social vanquishment with the perfect waist-defining sash: a way to clothe bare life. 

“In the absence of a licit space for the captive female’s desire, it too, becomes engulfed as crime.” Saidiya V. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection

Being desire

The scopophilic selfie in the écriture transféminine of Juliana Huxtable's Mucous in my Pineal Gland — OR Universal croptops for all the self-cannonized saints of becoming, a screen4screen tribute

SHOUT OUT TO MY URBAN ANGLES SEARCHING FOR POST OR PRE-GENITAL DESIRE VIA GPS

Juliana Huxtable’s new book kneels to the internet’s largesse, struggles with it like a mother. Inside this struggle: the birth of her sexuality and the body horror of femininity with its projection planes and infinite play. Also, dysphoria, blackness, fetish, queer sex. She memorializes the internet — that two-way gazing machine, the ultimate screen, constituting and constitutive of self, Self, Selfie — in loud clanking blue letters. Laura Jaramillo asserts that ASMR videos recreate a sensory and sensual materiality lost to the digital work-a-day world. Similarly, Huxtable’s Mucous in my Pineal Gland permanently time stamps the ephemerality of screen text. It soothes and beautifies the eyes.

Juliana Huxtable’s new book kneels to the internet’s largesse, struggles with it like a mother. Inside this struggle: the birth of her sexuality and the body horror of femininity with its projection planes and infinite play. Also, dysphoria, blackness, fetish, queer sex. She memorializes the internet — that two-way gazing machine, the ultimate screen, constituting and constitutive of self, Self, Selfie — in loud clanking blue letters.