urable Citations, ragile Cycles
This project examines, specifically, how different male theorists have talked about different parts of the body and the various exceptions and problematicity of those conceptions. Juxtaposing certain quotes from Freud, Schilder, Merleau-Ponty and Guattari with critical responses from Elizabeth Grosz’s work in Volatile Bodies and Chaos, Art, Territory, I want to create a discussion about bodies without my body giving a lecture, or your body listening to a lecture on the subject; a less Foucoultian body-control, bodies-in-positions-of-control/learning, and more of a Ratto (2011) way of critical-making-and-engaging-in-your-own-knowledge-production. This project is an active invitation to interact with these quotes on bodies in your own temporal moment and to invite you to consider your own practices regarding citations.
Using a Bare Conductive Touch Board, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), and a Blue Yeti compressor mic, I personally recorded 6 quotes from Freud, Schilder, Merleau-Ponty, and Guattari that dealt explicitly with bodies; how they gendered their theory on bodies, how they explicitly stated that male bodies were cites of dominance, how female bodies were cites of exception, and how non-male, non-straight, non-cis bodies were to be seen as less-than and “like a woman.” With the same equipment, I enlisted the help of two of my colleagues, Jessica Elam-Handloff and Sarah Evans, to record quotes from Grosz that directly
refute and reevaluate what the scholars I recorded have to say about bodies: what these scholars ignored, missed, or erased altogether; the privilege that they write from; what it means to continue to substantiate these scholars’ claims by citing them or engaging them.
The Touch Board is housed within a wooden box. Using banana clips, I connect the Touch Board (ports 1-12) to corresponding blocks made of paper from books that I eviscerated and glued back together. The blocks have conductive paint // copper wiring[J1] that allow users to press the blocks and have a quote played from a speaker. Each quote (male theorist and female theorist’s responses) are housed across from each other and wooden blocks separate each pair.
On the inside of the lid, there are paper copies of each quote directly above their corresponding wooden block so users can read along with, or engage visually with, the quotes. This project was shown at Temporal Belongings conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2018.
The piece has seven nodes that are painted with conductive paint and linked to a Bare Conductive touch board. When one of these nodes is pressed, it plays a voice clip associated with that section of the project. Users are invited to interact with the top of the installation. One book from Tanya DePass (Game Devs and Others: Tales from the margins ) and one book edited by Jennifer Brandes Helper (Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level-Cap ) were eviscerated by cutting a ‘window’ that is approximately 5 ½ x 8 inches in the back covers of both books. The books were adhered together with industrial adhesive to form a box where both front covers of the book are visible. Inside the window, there is an old Super Nintendo controller that is seated precariously on four 8-inch wood screws. The screws pierce both front covers and the heads meet in a sharp intersection below the controller. Above the controller, two more wood screws form an ‘X’ above the controller. There are seven conductive points on the controller that each play an associated voice clip. Users are invited to (carefully) touch parts of the controller to hear the quotes. One person is “meant” to interact with this piece at a time. With more than one person interacting and pushing the nodes, a cacophony of experiential knowledge comes cascading out of the speakers, creating a facsimile of what it is like to share ideas or talk about videogames in a typical videogame production office.
DePass and Helper’s work were chosen specifically to ‘frame’ this project because of the incredible work both books do of highlighting positive experiences and achievements of
women and queer bodies in videogame production. Each book discusses types of abuse and marginalization that the people being discussed have experienced, but there is a deeper issue at play that neither fully explore: how passion has created a feedback loop for these bodies where their passion for videogame production has put them in contact with precarity where abuse is more likely to occur. The physicality of this piece is intended to create an antagonistic environment where users are inviting to interact with something that is easily recognizable (the controller) as a source of ‘passion’, but in a new material discursive situation (‘passion’ being on display in an antagonistic environment). Interactors may have childhood memories of playing old game systems and may have affective attachments to those times. This installation is interested in challenging users’ own objective truths about their experiences with videogaming and asking them to contextualize those experiences in light of current, working videogame production professionals’ experiences with making the games that we enjoy or have enjoyed.
This project was submitted to Hypperrhize in June of 2019. A link to a demonstration of the project can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s08imylbrdafp0i/AAD6tyKW1-0P1fwNNPrJ4Kzqa?dl=0