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Corporeality

Now that social distancing has transcended the metaphorical and has become a corpo-reality, we are inevitably getting accustomed to new constellations of bodies and spaces. How space is occupied in this epidemic—both individually and collectively—demands taking a closer look at the body and its field of movement. What are today’s choreographies of solidarity and care? What kind of future can we imagine for other ways of being physically together in this world? This reader might aid in rethinking a renewed corporeality via new systems of interactions and spatiality.

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Compiled by Murat Adash
9 Essays

Affects, contemplations, stimulations, and struggles happen in and through the lap, this site that accumulates the contexts of motherhood (associated with the womb and with the bodily grammar of caring), sexual entertainment (the lap as a space where two bodies come closer through a clientele dynamic), and domesticity (the pet dog as an extension of the family sphere, a receiver of libidinal transferences, and as sublimator of privately occurring sexual drives). The lap constitutes a space at once para-sexualized—where the relation between the mother and the child, the caretaker and the cared for, takes place—and a space at the core of the unfolding of a relation of intimacy, as the lap opens itself to both male and female sexual organs, with potential physical consequences for its beholders. The significance and potential of this accumulation of functions in this space that is at once intimate and public opens itself, when the laptop arrives, to a new configuration.

At first, I thought “performative” was coined by dance people in order to sound like museum people. But then I realized that the art world’s misuse of this term predates the dance world’s. Which made way more sense but also bummed me out even further. Why would dancemakers do this to ourselves? Why would we let museums rename what it is we already do? And why would we ourselves then use that language to describe what we have already been doing all these years? I long to see the dance world assert its language as part of its commodity. If you want to present dance, you need to know how to talk in dance’s existing language. It serves the form just fine because it is of the form. Dance doesn’t want to talk about itself from the remove of class or body. Dance wants to be hot in the center of its own glory hole—though it will happily pee on the museum steps for the right price.

A fantasy, as if on a sailing ship: Making my calculations, sweat soaked wet Lying flat, bunk above, close, hidden The gaps between bent slats dangling weight Pressure applied, visibly registered These modern ships can almost berth themselves Corseted in my sleep, I can’t breathe Stuck in this enormous estate, interred My crinoline scratching against itself Now I am royalty after the feast As my engorged body is stiffening Wealth and privilege become the atmosphere...
Alas, I have to use this neologism of “enclosement” to deal with an issue that disturbs too few people. But it immensely disturbs those of us it concerns. Basically, this is the question: Where are the public intellectuals—the artists, poets, scientists—who allow themselves to lose sleep over the state of the world? Where are the protesters, the professors, the students? Where is public at large? My answer would be that they are nowhere to be found. In this world where airplanes have...
Psychogeography is a practice that rediscovers the physical city through the moods and atmospheres that act upon the individual. Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of psychogeography is the activity of walking. The act of walking is an urban affair, and in cities that are increasingly hostile to pedestrians, walking tends to become a subversive act. The psychogeographer is a “non-scientific researcher” who encounters the urban landscape through aimless drifting, experiencing...
Working in the early 1990s on the book As a Weasel Sucks Eggs: An Essay on Melancholy and Cannibalism (published in English in 2008 by Sternberg Press), we exchanged a few letters with the late Jacques Derrida, who was then working on what he referred to as the “cannibalistic tropes” in hermeneutics and German Idealism. He was grateful for a little fragment by Novalis that we had sent him: All enjoyment, all taking in and assimilation, is eating, or rather: eating is nothing...

There is said to be a universal hum. An imperceptible vibration producing a sound ten thousand times lower than can be registered by the human ear. It can be measured on the ocean’s floor, but its source is not exactly known: perhaps the hush of oceanic waves, perhaps the turbulence in the atmosphere, or the far bluster of planetary storms.

I began the day wanting to bring into convergence three activities of being—what I’d seen, what I’d read, and what I’d drawn—and to say about these acts how they made lines in the world that ran alongside other lines, and how all these lines together made environments of the earth, where I could put my body and you could put yours, and these would be lines always entwined because there was little if anything you could say or make without calling forth other lines, and this was how you knew...
We are sometimes given a vagina—and that designates a “woman”—virgin, bride, etc.—and sometimes a penis—and that indicates a “man”—bachelor, groom, etc. This physiological accident was never anything more than the effect of an assuredly ironic causality: the laws of Euclidian geometry. In a four-dimensional study … vagina and penis, like an anamorphic illusion, would immediately lose all distinctive character. It is the same object that we would sometimes see as “male” and sometimes as...
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