gathers your negative energy and binds it in a tiny porcelain pug dog figurine and buries it deep in the earth
From Julia Bryan-Wilson’s excellent essay, “Remembering Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece” (2003).
“This idea, that intellectuals construct an otherness to ‘save’ in order to fortify a sovereign notion of the self, applies also to liberal feminism. […] In her Derridean deconstructivist mode, [Gayatri] Spivak is calling for a feminism that can claim not to speak for the subaltern or to demand that the subaltern speak in the active voice of Western feminism; instead, she imagines a feminism born of a dynamic intellectual struggle with the fact that some women may desire their own destruction for really good political reasons, even if those politics and those reasons lie beyond the purview of the version of the feminism for which we have settled. Spivak’s call for a ‘female intellectual’ who does not disown another version of womanhood, femininity, and feminism, indeed for any kind of intellectual who can learn how not to know the other, how not to sacrifice the other on behalf of his or her own sovereignty, is a call that has largely gone unanswered. It is this version of feminism that I seek to inhabit, a feminism that fails to save others or to replicate itself, a feminism that finds purpose in its own failure.”
— Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure (2011)
“[Hannah Wilke’s Gestures (1974)] brilliantly activates Merleau-Ponty’s intersubjective ‘chiasm’: the intertwining by which the embodied other constitutes the gaze of the subject (i.e., the other is simultaneously the agent; the subject always already objectified). Nothing can offer itself precomposed to the viewer; nor is there a seer who is first empty and then opens herself or himself to the subject. Rather, there is ‘something to which we could not be closer than by palpating it with our look, things we could not dream of seeing “all naked” because the gaze itself envelopes them, clothes them with its own flesh.’ Merleau-Ponty then asks, ‘Whence does it happen that in so doing it leaves them in their place, that the vision we acquire of them seems to us to come from them, and that to be seen is for them but a degradation of their immanent being?’ In Gestures, as in What does this represent, Wilke unveils herself to implicate our gaze in her constitution as ‘flesh,’ but also complicates our tendency to feel ourselves thrown into pure immanence when we feel ourselves being looked at. It is definitively her flesh that looks at me as I attempt to decipher its significance (what it is ‘saying’ in its distortions and flaunted orifices).”
There’s nothing wrong with keeping notes on other people’s insecurities in a rainy day fund
You, you you you you