Technologies of Gender
Activity

Technologies of Gender

in progress

Minority sexualities and their critical representations

The nineties represented a boom for critical discourses on the construction of gender, sexuality and race. Teresa de Lauretis and Donna Haraway, employing the Foucauldian notion of biopower, redefine cinematographic, artistic, and scientific representation within the terms of the technologies of gender. Haraway uses the metaphor of the cyborg—a term coined by Mandred Clynes in 1960 to describe a laboratory rat implanted with a cybernetic control system—to demonstrate that our bodies and our gender, racial and sexual identities are the products of complex biopolitical technologies. As postmodern creatures we are techno-live cultural systems. The transition from a postfordist society, as described by Antonio Negri and Paolo Virno, marks a shift from a sexo-organic industrial society to an information system of prosthetic and polymorphous gender. The "informatics of domination" is how Haraway describes the current position of sexual and cultural minorities as they face the increasing globalization of the systems of production and reproduction of gender, sex and race. From this point of view, pornography—far from being a marginal representation—appears as one of the main industries within global biopolitics' production and normalization of the body.

In different way, queer theory—both an affiliation and rupture with the feminist tradition—affirmed a performative turn in the interpretation of identity. Various authors, such as Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick, theorized gender within the terms of performance, reacting against both the essentialist feminist affirmation of a natural or prediscursive truth to sexual difference and the normative imposition of certain forms of masculinity and femininity. Likewise, porn star Annie Sprinkle took the critical notion of performance to its limit, applying it to the politics of representation as it relates to sexuality, pornography and sexual work. Not only is gender performative but sexuality can also be analyzed in theatrical and choreographic terms thereby dissolving the last remnants of sex's naturalism.

How to rethink feminism in the postfordist era? What might be considered a viable political action for our postorganic time? What are the biopolitics of postmodern bodies? This workshop explores both critical discourses—the performative and the biopolitical—as possible sites for intervention, resistance and action that are theoretical as well as political in relation to the representation of gender and sexuality. The workshop seeks to restore visual and discursive agency, to restore the power of self representation to the objects of traditional pornographic discourse, thereby supporting the epistemological reversal begun by Annie Sprinkle in the eighties: those that have been the objects of pornographic representation until now—women, porno actors and actresses, gay and lesbian, transvestites, abnormals, perverts, etc.—now emerge as the subjects of representation.

With its bimonthly programming, the workshop will extend over the course of 2004 parallel to a continuing debate by the Postporn Marathon, which first took place at MACBA last June. The workshop aims to generate a space that combines public acts with individual workshop sessions—and includes lectures, the analysis of visual documents, textual and performative practices—in order to facilitate critical reflection on gender, pornography, new postpornographic trends and sexuality's diverse aesthetics and politics of representation. The objective is to create a space of visibility and legibility for minority discourses (in the Deleuzian sense) on gender and identity.

see more show less

Minority sexualities and their critical representations

The nineties represented a boom for critical discourses on the construction of gender, sexuality and race. Teresa de Lauretis and Donna Haraway, employing the Foucauldian notion of biopower, redefine cinematographic, artistic, and scientific representation within the terms of the technologies of gender. Haraway uses the metaphor of the cyborg—a term coined by Mandred Clynes in 1960 to describe a laboratory rat implanted with a cybernetic control system—to demonstrate that our bodies and our gender, racial and sexual identities are the products of complex biopolitical technologies. As postmodern creatures we are techno-live cultural systems. The transition from a postfordist society, as described by Antonio Negri and Paolo Virno, marks a shift from a sexo-organic industrial society to an information system of prosthetic and polymorphous gender. The “informatics of domination” is how Haraway describes the current position of sexual and cultural minorities as they face the increasing globalization of the systems of production and reproduction of gender, sex and race. From this point of view, pornography—far from being a marginal representation—appears as one of the main industries within global biopolitics’ production and normalization of the body.

In different way, queer theory—both an affiliation and rupture with the feminist tradition—affirmed a performative turn in the interpretation of identity. Various authors, such as Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick, theorized gender within the terms of performance, reacting against both the essentialist feminist affirmation of a natural or prediscursive truth to sexual difference and the normative imposition of certain forms of masculinity and femininity. Likewise, porn star Annie Sprinkle took the critical notion of performance to its limit, applying it to the politics of representation as it relates to sexuality, pornography and sexual work. Not only is gender performative but sexuality can also be analyzed in theatrical and choreographic terms thereby dissolving the last remnants of sex’s naturalism.

How to rethink feminism in the postfordist era? What might be considered a viable political action for our postorganic time? What are the biopolitics of postmodern bodies? This workshop explores both critical discourses—the performative and the biopolitical—as possible sites for intervention, resistance and action that are theoretical as well as political in relation to the representation of gender and sexuality. The workshop seeks to restore visual and discursive agency, to restore the power of self representation to the objects of traditional pornographic discourse, thereby supporting the epistemological reversal begun by Annie Sprinkle in the eighties: those that have been the objects of pornographic representation until now—women, porno actors and actresses, gay and lesbian, transvestites, abnormals, perverts, etc.—now emerge as the subjects of representation.

With its bimonthly programming, the workshop will extend over the course of 2004 parallel to a continuing debate by the Postporn Marathon, which first took place at MACBA last June. The workshop aims to generate a space that combines public acts with individual workshop sessions—and includes lectures, the analysis of visual documents, textual and performative practices—in order to facilitate critical reflection on gender, pornography, new postpornographic trends and sexuality’s diverse aesthetics and politics of representation. The objective is to create a space of visibility and legibility for minority discourses (in the Deleuzian sense) on gender and identity.

see more show less
dates
2 February 2004 – 27 November 2004
price
Free admission.
title
Technologies of Gender
dates
2 February 2004 – 27 November 2004
title
Technologies of Gender
price
Free admission.
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