Gay Heritage Blog Salon: Zach Pearl

All month long, buddies is hosting a blog salon with some our favourite writers and artists responding to one question: How do I connect with my queer heritage? Follow the conversation on our blog, or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #GayHeritageProject. Here’s an entry from our good friend, Zach Pearl in response to an earlier post by Reena Katz.

Dear Reena from the Future,

I hope that you are reading this somewhere in the past. It will make the nature of this communication that much more efficient. My name is Mollie at the moment. We have not met yet—when you are now—but that can easily change. I’m writing to inquire if you’d like to join some colleagues and myself on The Circuit for the fast approaching Thanksgivukkah? I have accessed the available archives on post-Resistance-of-Clarity Toronto and learnt of the sacred 5-Ball Soup [1] served to the enlightened during the Queer Renaissance. It would give me immeasurable joy to be able to share your ancient form of sustenance with my guests on such an epic occasion.

Please do forgive me if my choice of words is somewhat awkward. From when I am calling, written communication is a rare and obsolete mode of output. This invitation comes to you across sub-space channels from the Gregorian calendar year 71,000 AD. The last time (in linear time) that Thanksgivukkah occurred was approximately 2013 AD—a year in which your physical existence has been documented and uploaded to the mainframe. It has taken 68,987 years for our particular time-spaces to align—but only milliseconds for me to learn about your life.

According to scientific data from your era, this process was supposed to span 76,000 years. But, in the eons that have passed, the Earth has gradually moved further away from the Sun, and there are now 367 days in one Earth year. There are, of course, other planetary calendars for the thousands of colonies in neighbouring star systems, but attempting to integrate that data into this primitive document would cost an exorbitant amount of time points. I’m already spending a quite a bit to telepathically dictate this to my prosthetic writer bot, and the bot was not exactly cheap. Do you know how difficult it is to find reliable, writerly appendages these days?

I digress.

Initially, people were quite baffled at what to do with these two additional days in the Earth year. But they quickly became queer, citizen-paid holidays. You see, a major result of the Queer Renaissance was the invention of queer time—the true mechanics necessary for time-space travel. And queer time presumes that it is always a holiday somewhen in the universe. And even on the statistical improbability it is not a holiday, it is by default someone’s gay birthday. So the creation of new days (and subsequently new space-times in which to play identity games) could, by logic, only be experienced in queer time. [2]

As a veteran of Late Capitalism, you may be pleased to hear that October 32nd is now Neo10 Marxist Day. To celebrate, a different aspect of capitalist production is shucked one at a time, year by year. Last season, we were elated to come one step closer to eliminating commodity fetishism, as centuries of research culminated in the invention of mnemono-haptic technology. Microdermal implants provide users who touch products with not only the memories of the workers that created them but also their sensory outputs at the moment of assembly. It is as if you inhabit the body of the maker—feel their fatigue and their pride. But these devices are swiftly becoming a niche market, with robots and automatons responsible for 99.98% of all material fabrication in the universe. Working bodies are hot commodities.

Though the Collective has come close to eliminating capitalist scenarios, one can still argue that labour is becoming detached from labourer. Much of the robo-populace has elected to be equipped with emotional processors. This has not only brought them closer to ‘being alive’, but also prone to replicate behaviours of loss and regret, even love in extreme cases. Specialists working for the Collective claim to have seen the emergence of courtship rituals, genders and what appears to be something like…machine sex. Because the Universal Council for Rational Thinking (f.k.a. the Galactic Feminist Task Force) already created legislation to protect the rights of genderqueer cyborgs, which now account for 83% of posthuman life, I am sure laws for the protection of queer robots is soon to follow. It is still unclear, however, whether these ‘emotions’ require a nervous system to be ‘felt’. Our queer lineage as cyborgs has given way to new modes of ‘feeling’ existence and living dimensionally beyond the limits of physical bodies. But the robo-populace is devoid of this body liberation history. There is no Cartesian revolution in play. Perhaps it will be a model for our own society to finally move beyond such archaic matters.

At this point, you are probably hoping I will tell you that after the Queer Renaissance tolerance rang across the universe. Unfortunately, I cannot. Lately, there is a new binary opposition to combat—those that are Mods and those that are Moshes. [3] Mods are the modified and connected beings, through nanos and implants or those like myself who are almost entirely digitized. Moshes are the uncommon, non-augmented humans.

For centuries a resistance has been building against our cybernetic way of life. Younger entities—newborns—are opting out of modding in favour of ‘natural bodies’. We will see if this radical ‘mosh-mode’ of being can become integrated into the The Collective soon enough. April 31st is Intergalactic Freaky Friday—dedicated to the resurrected consciousness of Jamie Lee Curtis. At the strike of midnight, every body-possessing Mod will temporarily download into the body of another Mod to better understand the role of visible difference in the creation of subject positions. This is all assuming that their modded bodies are equipped with eyes, of course, or that these bodies are even made of animate matter … At any rate, perhaps this annual mandatory body swap will begin to breed tolerance for the Moshes and their strange desires of the flesh.

Reena, I do not want to be rude, but I fear I have nearly exhausted my time points. I will have to go soon. I have utilized my auxiliary drive to run a background diagnostic for a possible location where our time-spaces might collide. There is a small Lithuanian cafe in Iłża, Poland. Be there on the 5th night of Thanksgivukkah at the strike of 11:11. Do not wear anything that you don’t mind becoming fused with your DNA.

Before I go, I must tell you one more thing, Reena. I must divulge that I am quite cognitively attracted to you. As you may have guessed, I do not really possess a body. I can only express affection and attraction through neuro-synaptic sensors. It may be hard to synchronize our impulses and frequencies to a level that pleasures you. But, I am willing to install any plugins necessary to sate your intellectual desires. It would be improper to boast, but I am eager to tell you of your future—which I know all about. I am eager to sense you experiencing identity flux technology. We are transmutational beings now, Reena. I can be whatever degree of sexuality or gender I desire. Femininity, masculinity, androgyny, cyborgyny, bestiality [4]—the culmination of art and science has given these trajectories a turnable dial…and I can show it to you all, Reena; over simulated yams and liquid blintzes and 5-Ball Soup. It will be such a marvellous, possibility of queer time.

I look forward, and possibly backward, to your arrival.

[1] A soup recipe invented by Reena Katz and PK Chan in the pre-Queer Renaissance age of humanity. It is a Chinese/Jewish fusion dish made with beef balls, matzoh balls, tapioca balls, water chestnuts and peppercorns.

[2] This is a futuristic play on Jean-François Lyotard’s concept of language games—the unspoken rules that make linguistic exchanges possible.

[3] The terms ‘mod’ and ‘mosh’ are references to scientific predictions made by famed futurist Ray Kurzweil, in which human society will eventually diverge between those that are technologically augmented and those who are not.

[4] A reference to Donna Haraway’s infamous A Cyborg Manifesto: “Far from signaling a walling off of people from other living beings, cyborgs signal disturbingly and pleasurably tight couplings. Bestiality has a new status in this cycle of marriage exchange.”

Zach Pearl

Zach Pearl is a freelance designer and independent curator. He teaches in both art and design at OCAD University and co-produces KAPSULA—an online art criticism publication founded in Spring 2013. Zach holds a BFA in Illustration & Graphic Design from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, and an MFA in Curatorial Practice from OCAD U. Before moving to Canada in 2010, Zach spent five years teaching for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and three years as Assistant Coordinator for the Susan Hensel Gallery. Since relocating, he’s helped to produce exhibitions for the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Textile Museum of Canada & the Gladstone Hotel.

Read all posts by Zach Pearl

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