Issue #146 Towards a Transsexual Understanding of Nature

Towards a Transsexual Understanding of Nature

Luce deLire

Interactive installation for by Fadi Aljabour with legal text by SBSG. Image by Lisa Siomicheva.

Issue #146
June 2024

“The problem of what nature might be returns from exile among the hippies.”1

0. Introducing Nature

Transsexuality was first. Cis is its exceptional product—or so I shall argue. More particularly, Nature is a trans girl, a transsexual woman.2 She becomes herself by virtue of body modification. She entails an inassimilable, inexhaustible, natural surplus. I will present my point in conversation with the works of McKenzie Wark. I argue that a transsexual nature is the logical though unadmitted consequence of Warkian thinking. In that way, transsexual nature is nature “warked.”

1. Hacking Nature

What is nature? The classic 2004 A Hacker Manifesto has this to say: “All abstractions are abstractions of nature. Abstractions release the potential of the material world.”3 Here, “nature” is understood as “the material world” in its primary relationship to abstraction, to hacking. “To hack is to release the virtual into the actual”—to hack something thus means to give that thing another, a new form, to make it concrete, to shuttle it into a utility.4 In this way, Wark proclaims the primacy of the actual over the virtual. It looks as though nature as the host of “the virtual” was in itself a passive object for the cultivating intervention of human actors. This image picks up on centuries of the identification of virtuality, mere possibility, and nature as matter to a forming intellect. It also picks up on many classically Marxist versions of “nature” as a resource for human extraction.

Wark attributes relevance to the “virtual” only in relation to “what is actual”—it is “what is not but which may become.”5 Is there virtuality that does not dissolve in actuality? Even if there was, this nature would still exist in relation to actualization by virtue of resisting such actualization. Nature, then, exists in relation to abstractability. It’s earmarked for actualization, destined to become available to transformation into usable stuff—or to resist that transformation. Accordingly, it may be no accident that “to hack” originally refers to the violent expropriation of resources from the material world, namely the cutting of wood.

Andrea Illés, Feel Love 1, digital print, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

The virtual, the surplus possibility in A Hacker Manifesto, is subsumed under actuality. And yet another inaccessible, un-actualizable nature occurs in the margins of A Hacker Manifesto as its unaddressed condition. Besides nature as hackability, Wark also proposes an “inexhaustible domain of what is real.”6 The inexhaustibility of this reality tells us that the real cannot be fully actualized. The reservoir of hackability—nature—seems to exceed all abstractability. Nature exists beyond each and every hack. And, Wark informs us, that reality, other than nature as hackability, can never be fully actualized. Whence this inexhaustibility? It seems that the ultimate natural catastrophe, the end of nature itself, is simply unimaginable to the Wark of A Hacker Manifesto. Wark’s taste for actuality hence is counteracted by her firm belief in the resilience of nature qua virtuality or inexhaustible surplus. This friction between the primacy of actuality and a certain natural surplus will stay with us until the end of this essay.

2. Belaboring Nature

About a decade later, Molecular Red extends and reworks the extractionist tendency between the “hack” (cutting wood, generating information) and nature as abstractability. In Molecular Red, “the being of nature is … whatever appears as resistance in labor.”7 Nature is thus no longer the passive resource of abstraction. It now occurs as an active opposition (“resistance”) to human interaction qua labor. Wark, taking “the labor point of view,” stresses human sensibility as the relevant interface: nature is intelligible only as an other to the laboring subject.

Note that to Wark, this nature is not the complete other to technology, nor to culture or labor. Wark actively grapples with the Anthropocene, with human influence taking center stage on planet earth. Twentieth-century critics often argued that any conceptual framing of “nature” would always remain a human artifice, as the distinction between “nature” and “culture” is itself a product of human intellectual in(ter)vention. Yet in the Anthropocene, nature is no longer merely conceptually dependent on us. Think of microplastics in placentas, CO2 in the atmosphere, and the coevolution of diseases alongside the history of industrialization.8 Anthropocentric nature is not opposed to technology, culture, or labor. Rather, nature is touched by and produced through technology, culture, and labor. “We are cyborgs, making a cyborg planet with cyborg weather, a crazed, unstable disingression, whose information and energy systems are out of joint.”9 Anthropocentric nature is really, materially soaked with and hence co-constituted by human activity. Elephant populations are born without tusks to escape ivory hunters. The “Great Pacific garbage patch” consists of 45,000 to 129,000 metric tons (50,000 to 142,000 short tons) of plastic as of 2018—a sixth continent, formed from human trash without human intention. Anthropocentric nature is a product of human labor and not opposed to it. In this way, the Anthropocene intervenes into the metaphysics of the nature of planet earth: it destroys nature as opposed to culture, technology, labor. It incapacitates “the [material] exteriority of a nature that is the ground of romantic yearning [for a whole outside of human intervention].”10

However, that uncontrollable surplus which we encountered in A Hacker Manifesto haunts Molecular Red just as much and in its very definition: “The being of nature is not something a philosophy can dogmatically claim to know. It is not void, or matter; it is whatever appears as resistance in labor.”11 This “whatever” is peculiar. Wark articulates her opposition (resistance?) to a “philosophy” which dogmatically posits a somewhat empty definition such as “matter” or “void.”12 Such “dogmatism” declares its principles and runs with it. It is “authoritarian,” “faith.”13 Removed from social reality, it tries to enforce principles onto a poorly understood world.

Samples of microplastics. Courtesy of Prof. Dr. Dick Vethaak.

Wark opposes this “philosophy” with a relational understanding of nature through labor, taken as a process that involves sensual interaction with real things. And yet, nature is defined as “whatever” is encountered in this way (labor, sensuality).14 In the very act of trying to exile dogmatic philosophy from the theoretical scene, it sneaks right back in—and it does so exactly in the form of an inherently undefinable virtuality, an undesignated value X, a barely perceptible conceptual that over there: “whatever.”15 In this apparently purely conceptual and utterly indeterminate “whatever” we encounter nature in the text: “whatever” is the resistance of indeterminate (natural?) conceptuality to Wark’s own attempt to string it to a relational quality, namely to labor.16

That transformational “whatever” as conceptual manifestation of nature’s malleability or flexibility is a perfectly unspecific assertion. What could be more indeterminate and abstract than “whatever”? What could be more dogmatic? In this way, nature acts out in spite of Wark’s best intentions and exactly through its alleged opposite—philosophical dogmatism. A perfectly metaphysically abstract and indeterminate term—“whatever”—installs itself as a constitutive element right there inside Wark’s definition of “nature” as “whatever appears as resistance in labor.”17 It’s the revenge of dogmatism—the resistance of an unruly, conceptual nature itself. “Whatever.”

3. Warking Nature

In A Hacker Manifesto, Wark’s taste for nature as a hackable resource leaves the question of human motivation unaddressed: Why do anything at all? In Molecular Red, the nature of an acting subject appears in the form of affective life, the motivating or resisting force within human agents. Wark makes the suggestion to “change affect, to create new structures of feeling, to overcome the emotional friction of organizing the labor that in turn organizes nature around its appetites.”18 Here, then, the libidinal economy that makes people do things is itself an object of labor, envisioned to possibly fit a more progressive design. But how and why people desire, act, resist in the first place remains (again) unclear. The affective life or a collective structure of feeling occur merely as a given material that is encountered by human activity and possibly subject to labor. The experiential quality of motivation or libidinal force seems to be missing.

Maybe we can get closer to the question of desire and motivation if we take an exemplary case: Wark’s own desire for labor. Why does Wark insist on the centrality of work? Would it be too speculative to think that “the labor point of view” might be Wark’s own point of view, prompted by the materiality of signification?19 By a barely audible slip of the tongue, couldn’t one slide fairly easily and literally from Wark to work (and back)—from the worker’s point of view to the warker’s point of view? Is it possible that Wark takes “the labor point of view” exactly because of this real indeterminacy, manifest in signification from Wark to work? Does Wark recognize herself, however unconsciously, in the work? And is such self-recognition a motivating factor for her choice of words, concepts, theoretical direction?

Kasra Jalilipour, from the exhibition “Reliquary,” Gasleak Mountain, Nottingham, 2024. Courtesy of the artist.

If so, in choosing the labor point of view nature is acting out behind Wark’s back and through Wark as an agent. Nature would then work on itself in a recalcitrant, unexpected, resistant manner. Nature would relate to itself through human labor while also acting beyond, besides, and independently of human labor. Besides its envisioned aims, human labor would thus have unexpected, unintended, at times unforeseeable yet inevitable consequences. Whether Wark is really motivated by the work/wark indeterminacy, clearly such unexpected, unintended, at times unforeseeable yet inevitable consequences do exist. If “work” is the name for the conscious, intentional dimension of human activity, maybe “wark” can be the name for the unruly, recalcitrant, intractable yet inevitable dimension of human activity where nature is expressed through labor but extends beyond its intentions.

Let’s say then that nature warks itself. What emerges is a nature that is not merely not opposed to human labor. Yet neither is it merely a product of human labor. This warked nature operates through human labor yet independently of it. Labor is nothing but nature, warked. Labor is nature belaboring itself through human agents. This self-belaboring nature is what I will later call “transsexual nature.” It appears in both A Hacker Manifesto and in Molecular Red. In both cases, “nature” occurs chiefly as an (anthropocentric) referent of relational action (abstraction, labor). And yet in both cases, another unruly, inexhaustible, unactualizable, unabstractable, unbelaborable, resistant, recalcitrant, inevitably warked nature also articulates itself. This happens beyond Wark’s apparent intention, yet by virtue of Wark as the worker (or warker). This indeterminate, unactualizable nature acts independently behind the back of Wark’s attempts to get a tangible grip on nature. It is articulated in the “inexhaustible domain of what is real” as a natural surplus to the hackability, the abstractability intentionally installed in Wark’s early definition of nature in A Hacker Manifesto.20 In Molecular Red, it is articulated in the dogmatically metaphysical “whatever” that unintentionally appears in the definition of nature.21 And here it appears in the slip from Wark to work as a possible motivator for the “labor point of view” more generally. It is as though there was a natural surplus to nature that pushes itself into the text (by warking it), into the concept, into the world regardless of one’s attempt to define “nature” in this or that way. And this is not specific to Wark.

4. Feminizing Nature

The femininity of nature is a classical trope of Western philosophy.22 The basic idea is that nature is a mother figure that gives birth to the whole world. Surprisingly, mother nature occurs prominently in Molecular Red:23 “the being of nature is … whatever appears as resistance in labor.24 Earlier, I interpreted this sentence, in line with Wark’s own writing in Molecular Red, to mean that nature is what human labor encounters as resistance. Another reading, more in line with the surplus dimension of a warked nature, is this: nature is what we perceive (“whatever appears”) of a resistance that is giving birth (“in labor”). More particularly: nature is an effect (appearance) of the contractions of resistance itself giving birth.

Curiously, under this reading, it is nature herself doing the labor, namely the labor of giving birth, of producing the world itself. Earlier, I argued that there is a nature that belabors herself through human activity, with effects independent of such human work (call it “wark”). This (warked) nature positioned herself as a bearing, birthing agent right inside the text of Molecular Red—apparently unbeknownst to and beyond the intention of its author.

And really: human activity and human technologies are themselves natural through and through—humanity is a natural occurrence. And human technology is made from natural resources and manipulations thereof. Consequentially, in and through humanity and its technology, nature belabors herself. Therefore, human technologies are nothing but the labor pains of nature in her self-birthing process—the physical resistances that nature encounters in its self-creation. Wark (following Donna Haraway and Karen Barad) sometimes uses the term “naturecultures” for the sphere within which some distinction, some “cut” is made so as to generate “an artifact of ‘nature’ … in a rationalizable form [on the one hand], separated out from its cultural, social, and technical conditions of existence [on the other hand].”25 That is to say: nature as opposed to culture/technology/humanity is itself an artifice, both conceptually and materially speaking. Humans must produce themselves as above and beyond “nature” so as to conceive of a nonhuman nature or a nonnatural humanity. They must cut themselves into shape vis-à-vis another cut, called “nature.”

Yet these “cuts” are really set by nature herself. Nature cuts herself into shape, giving birth to herself by virtue of, among others, human technology. That is to say: there is no such thing as a “natural nature” before, besides, or beyond human technology. Technology is nature belaboring herself. One agent of this natural labor is technology: “Technology is made of, and remakes, nature itself. Technology’s content is sensuous materiality, iron, and coal and so forth, mixed with labor.”26 Quite obviously, technology is itself a modification of nature. And Wark argues (as pointed out above) that in the Anthropocene, nature in turn becomes a product of human technology (microplastics in placentas, etc.).

Therefore, nature’s reproductive capacity is nothing but that self-belaboring cutting, that technological self-enhancement, self-damaging, self-realization, self-birth. Warked nature, surplus nature, nature in labor is giving birth to herself by virtue of modifications of herself. It’s an immanent birth, the offspring of which is not different from the parturient. Nature’s femininity, nature’s maternity is thus a product of her own intervention into herself. And in this sense, nature is really a transsexual woman. Nature is a woman who feminizes herself through body modification. Her femininity is a result of the active intervention, of the “cutting,” of work, labor, wark on her own body. She constantly produces and reproduces that femininity as an aspect of an incessantly overflowing creative process that gives way to a whole world beyond the circumferences of femininity as a product of labor.

5. Cybelic Nature

This warked nature, nature as a transsexual woman, almost appears in Love and Money, Sex and Death—but we can wark it.27 Here, nature takes the shape of the Roman goddess Cybele (the great mother, Magna Mater), who was imported to Rome from Phrygia in 204 BCE based on a prophecy in the Sibylline books that projected victory in the war against famed general Hannibal. The goddess was said to rule over the natural realm, life and death, animals, the earth, and so on. The Roman priestesses of Cybele were the Galli, whom Wark interprets as transsexual women. Initiation into the ranks of the Galli (most probably) entailed self-castration (they were typically assigned male at birth), putting on women’s attire (including colorful dresses, makeup, and hairstyles), wearing Phrygian headwear, and roaming the streets of Roman cities singing and dancing, begging for money and offering fortune-telling.28

Statue of a Seated Cybele with the Portrait Head of Her Priestess, circa 50 CE. J. Paul Getty Museum. License: Public domain.

In Love and Money, nature qua Cybele is an object of prayer, not unlike that “externality” in Molecular Red “within and against which” life happens.29 She takes the shape of exactly that transcendental element, that inevitable externality that keeps resurfacing in Wark’s previous writing. “Cybele: goddess of thresholds, transitions, of the mountain and the city, of the deep, dark, silent caves and of the noisiest street rave.”30 Yet this externality does not point towards a virtual elsewhere. Rather, this externality is merely a detour that will inevitably land back right where it came from, though transformed, transitioned, worked up, warked. “I write my prayer toward your [Cybele’s] vast indifference … Even your absence has its uses … When I call your name, Cybele, the calling, it’s not to you—it’s to us.”31 It’s an immanent externality, a gesture of reaching out in order to rearrange a relation to a collective self. This “self” is a product of self-creation: “The world is autofiction, lol.” And scaled up, so is “the Cybelocene,” which is “more poem than thing, an endless, self-creating, self-varying, self-elaborating beat.”32 Thus, nature as Cybele, or as the Cybelocene, is exactly that self-creating surplus nature, warked nature, which, in Molecular Red, “appears as resistance in labor.”33 Cybelic nature is nature as a transsexual woman.

6. Trans Politics

Here, the earlier question about the motivation of human activity gets resolved: human activity, desire, and the struggle to resist (hence politics) are expressions of nature. We do not require an additional motivation to resist, to desire, to research or invent things. Political struggle, armed rebellions, and the attempts to crush them are all natural occurrences. Everything, then, happens with the same natural motivation, whether inflected as quantum probability or logical inevitability or otherwise. A flickering flame operates with the same motivation as the movements of the planets. Your choice of partner or anybody’s transition in any direction are no exceptions. Whatever you are feeling right now happens with the same motivation as the feelings of the vilest person on earth. Oppression isn’t any less natural than bliss and boredom are.

Is this the end of politics? It is not. In the words of Spinoza:34 “[Some worry that] if we affirmed this, all wickedness would be excusable, [but] what of it? For evil men are no less to be feared, nor are they any less harmful, when they are necessarily evil.”35

Oftentimes, people moralize based on aspirations regarding how people ought to act. You ought to be honest, respectful, self-contained, you name it. And you will be blamed or excused accordingly. To Spinoza, there is no point in such reasoning. People act according to their affects, not according to their moral convictions. If you act according to moral duty, you most probably either fear punishment or hope for reward, be it by a social community or by internalized authority figures (#superego). Some are motivated by the joys of understanding. But such understanding concerns the real character of the world and not imaginary models of how the world ought to be. This is exactly what Spinoza is pointing towards: “Someone who is crazy [with rabies] because of a dog’s bite is indeed to be excused; nevertheless, he is rightly suffocated [because otherwise, he would attack and infect other people].”36

It’s not the rabid person’s fault that they are rabid. But morality is a poor political advisor. As such, the rabid person is as natural and as necessary as anything else. And yet, the necessity of their actions doesn’t change the way in which they relate to me: whether they act “freely” or “necessarily” (whatever that means) does not change anything if they want to harm me. And I will act, think, and feel accordingly. Consequentially, politics, science, and philosophy of all kinds run on the exact same engine: the sheer force of nature producing herself. We should, therefore (and as a simple example), neither blame nor praise or excuse anyone who keeps resisting in the face of a threat (be it real or imagined). People will inevitably keep fighting, no matter what. Moral discourse is mere emotional appeasement. Submission will always cause people to act out and resist. Submission under imaginary models of morality is no exception. For the sake of social stability, politics should enable a joyful life for all.

7. Molecular Transitions

Nature as Cybele gives birth to herself and everything within herself by virtue of interventions into herself—including human action and technology. Her labor (both giving birth and producing things) is the cutting, manipulating, technologically enhancing, and sometimes violently intervening into herself, into her own body. I thus find it reasonable to say that Cybele is really nature as a transsexual woman. This claim makes sense beyond its poetic value: nature is always already produced by itself and through particular agents, actors, manifestations of nature. In technology, nature encounters herself, turns herself into the fecund grounds of new formations of herself. Her sexuality, both libidinal force and procreative potential, are generated and regenerated by auto-intervention.

Cybelic fecundity does not necessarily or not only manifest in BABIES. The restriction of the meaning of “reproduction” to BABIES is exactly a “cut” that produces an artificial nature, ultimately geared towards a political purpose: to maintain nation-states as reproductive communities. But BABIES are not any more or less natural than nose jobs or AI. Cybelic, transsexual nature produces all kinds of things, social relations, natural occurrences, catastrophes, and—yes—also babies, which may at some point transition into cis, trans, nonbinary, and other people alike. Yet, from a philosophical point of view, there is no privileged parent-baby relation. The parent-baby relation is a reproductive technology like other such technologies. Likewise, reproductive communities such as nation-states are no more or less natural than communities of initiates, such as queer communities. Sure, reproduction by making BABIES is natural. But so are the nurture and upbringing among societies formed around initiation rather than procreation—queer communities, witch covens, Quilombos, etc.37

Cybelic nature with her inherent transsexuality remains originary. And consequentially, cis gender and the cis world (just like everything else) are products of an originarily transsexual force, call it “nature,” call it “Cybele,” or pick another name. McKenzie doesn’t say this. But her texts wark themselves into this direction. Or rather, cybelic, transsexual nature warks herself into this text, expresses herself in between and beyond the letters. I merely articulated what was anyway latent—and is anywhere latent anyway (meaning: in all ways, always). None of what I said in this text is specific to Wark’s writings. Really, I myself am just a natural technology at wark, an element of nature transsexualizing herself.

“Abort your parents, give birth to yourself, be free.”38


McKenzie Wark, Capital Is Dead: Is This Something Worse? (Verso, 2019), 123.


By “transsexuality” I do not mean an identity. I mean the cultural paradigm of gender transition as involving body modification such as hormone treatments and surgeries. Consequently, by “transsexual” I do not mean a person who identifies in this or that way. Instead, I use “transsexual” as an adjective that refers to the overall paradigm. Something is “transsexual” in this sense if it exists in the vortex of the idea of gender transition as involving body modification. This does not say anything about identity, representation, or individual identification. It speaks strictly about the relation to a social paradigm. The term “transsexuality” has often been criticized for many reasons, and rightfully so. Yet the reason I prefer this term in this context is that identity discourse tends to blur questions of institutional change and an analysis of political economy. For an extensive critique of an identity interpretation of transness, see Viviane Namaste, Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People (University of Chicago Press, 2000), 17. See also Dean Spade, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law (South End Press, 2011). I take it that to the present day, transsexuality is paradigmatic of Western gender diversity and the hinge of anti-trans discourse, so called “gender ideology,” and the like. We can see this in the ongoing political conflicts over body modification (see Mikey Elster, “Insidious Concern: Trans Panic and the Limits of Care,” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 9, no. 3, 2022; and Eric Plemons and Chris Straayer, “Introduction: Reframing the Surgical,” TSQ 5, no. 2, 2018: 165), but also in that “nonbinary,” “gender fluid,” “trans,” “transgender,” and many other terms are understood in deliberate distinction from “transsexuality” as kinds of transition without or independently of body modification and medical intervention (such as hormone treatments and surgeries). Consequentially, due to its high affective impact and its political currency, I think we should appropriate the term, rather than avoiding it. Yet that appropriation doesn’t have to describe individual identities. “Transsexuality” is a social paradigm. It does not (necessarily) describe individual people. For more on this, see Luce deLire, “Nature Is a Transsexual Woman: Lucretian Metaphysics Reconsidered,” Classical Philology 119, no. 2 (April 2024): 208; and deLire, “Transsexuality at the Origin of Desire, Or: Schreber’s Satanic Handjob,” in The Queerness of Psychoanalysis: From Freud and Lacan to Contemporary Times, ed. Vanessa Sinclair, Elisabeth Punzi, and Myriam Sauer (Routledge, forthcoming 2024).


McKenzie Wark, A Hacker Manifesto (Harvard University Press 2004), thesis 15.


Wark, Hacker Manifesto, thesis 15.


Wark, Hacker Manifesto, thesis 74, my emphasis.


Wark, Hacker Manifesto, thesis 74.


McKenzie Wark, Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene (Verso 2015), 18, my emphasis.


ComInSitu, “Social Contagion: Microbiological Class War in China (Chuang, 2020),” Communists In Situ, February 28, 2020 .


Wark, Molecular Red, 180. See also Wark, Capital Is Dead, 138.


McKenzie Wark, Philosophy for Spiders: On the Low Theory of Kathy Acker (Duke University Press, 2021), 166.


Wark, Molecular Red, 18, my emphasis.


Wark, Molecular Red, 18.


Wark, Molecular Red, 23.


Wark, Molecular Red, 18.


Wark, Molecular Red, 18.


One might protest and say that the point of Molecular Red was never to overcome dogmatism, but to change the location of the dogmatism from “nature” to “labor.” Rather than dogmatically assuming that “naturally,” women* want BABIES, the world is composed of ultimately solid elements, and dogs like sticks, we would then dogmatically assume that instead of merely understanding the status quo, we ought to change the world (through labor)—and only the results matter. In this view, Marxism would be the philosophy of the working class dogmatically attached to labor as a point of view (based on the worker’s social position in the cycle of production). But I don’t see that in Molecular Red. For one, Wark explicitly states that Marxism was oftentimes “misconstrued as a dogma” (Molecular Red, 216). Consequentially, she uses “dogma” exclusively as a negative adjective, opposing “dogmatic” views (even of Marxist philosophers) to “scientific” or “tactic” views in which “knowledge of matter is to be produced by experiment” (Molecular Red, 24; see also Molecular Red, 20, 23, 125, 126, 127,129, 130, 165, 216). Secondly and more importantly, Molecular Red seems to aspire to more than just replacing one dogmatism with another dogmatism: “Labor is a prism through which to construct a version of Marx that does not disappear into the cultural, political, or theological problem of the subject. It is not so much that it is objective, however. It is not about making a claim to have the true”—i.e., dogmatic?—“method. Rather, it is about the struggle of and within the realm of things, of how things organize themselves and how they might—through labor—become otherwise. The turn toward the object, as some-thing that exceeds subjectivity in scale, can undo the damage done by the fascination with the great molar dramas”—or dogmas?—“which appear as the clash of superhuman subjects, but subjects nonetheless” (217). The category “labor” decenters the subject exactly without tumbling into the fold of dogmatic knowledge. Wark, it seems, picked “labor” exactly for its flexibility both in the production of knowledge and in the production of things, for its transformative quality in relation to an ever evolving subject. Labor can be many things and it stands in many relations between things. Yet it centers resistance and transformation. In fact, if “the being of nature is … whatever appears as resistance in labor” (Molecular Red, 18, my emphasis), then this “whatever” seems to mirror the positive malleability that characterizes Warkian labor in the first place. Labor is nature as it manifests in human experience. It’s not just one strategic dogmatism replacing an other. It is, supposedly, the exit from dogmatism, the entry into nature. Yet by virtue of such an exit, a dogmatic approach to nature reinscribes itself exactly through the perfect indeterminate “whatever,” declared by authoritarian decree in Wark’s definition of “nature” as “whatever appears as resistance in labor” (Molecular Red, 18, my emphasis).


Wark, Molecular Red, 18.


Wark, Molecular Red, 35.


Wark, Molecular Red, xviii, 11, 12, 17 et passim.


Wark, Hacker Manifesto, thesis 74.


Wark, Molecular Red, 18.


See deLire, “Nature Is a Transsexual Woman.”


Another feminized nature as the object of patriarchal control occurs in Wark’s Philosophy for Spiders: “Or maybe he only controls, and considers really natural in the sense of penetrable and controllable, a nature that is female. And so on, not unlike a bad myth” (167).


Wark, Molecular Red, 18, my emphasis.


Wark, Capital Is Dead, 139.


Wark, Capital Is Dead, 63.


McKenzie Wark, Love and Money, Sex and Death: A Memoir (Verso 2023), e-book, n.p.


In “Nature Is a Transsexual Woman,” I discuss the various racialized and gendered aspects of the Galli in some detail.


Wark, Molecular Red, 46.


Wark, Love and Money, Sex and Death, chap. 3.3.


Wark, Love and Money, Sex and Death, chap. 3.3.


Wark, Love and Money, Sex and Death, chap. 3.3.


Wark, Molecular Red, 18, my emphasis.


I quote Spinoza from The Collected Works of Spinoza, vol. 2, ed. Edwin Curley (Princeton University Press, 2016). “Ep.” stands for “letter” (epistola).


Ep. 58, IV/268/1–5. Also Spinoza: “A horse is excusable for being a horse and not a man, but he must still be a horse and not a man. Someone who is crazy because of a dog’s bite is indeed to be excused; nevertheless, he is rightly suffocated. And finally, one who cannot govern his desires and restrain them by fear of the laws, although he too is to be excused because of his weakness, nevertheless, cannot enjoy peace of mind” (Ep. 78, IV/327a).


Ep. 78, IV/327a.


Sandow Sinai, “On Returning Things to Their Proper Places,” Hypocrite Reader, no. 99 (January 2022) ; Luce deLire, “Trans Quilombismo and the Catastrophe of Critical Writing,” Texte Zur Kunst, November 29, 2023 .


Meister Propper, Bremen, 2006: “Eltern abtreiben, sich selbst gebären, frei sein.”

Nature & Ecology, Labor & Work
Transgender, Queer Art & Theory
Return to Issue #146

Many thanks to McKenzie Wark and Milena Glimbovski.

Luce deLire (IG: @Luce_deLire) is a ship with eight sails and she lies down by the quay. As a philosopher, she publishes on the metaphysics of infinity and political theory. In her performances, she embodies figures of the collective imaginary. For more, see Luce is part of the political action group SBSG (IG: @buendnis.selbstbestimmung)—see


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