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Friday, 16 August 2013


In a beautiful conference on undoing gender in Natal, Brasil. Full of trans activists and academics with all sort of different takes on hospitality towards each other. I presented something on dermativity, or rather on dermactivity - a phenomenological chapter of speculative dermatology: what is it like to be an enclosed skin. Thinking of skin could be a way of focusing exclusion and recognition - issues to do with allowing or forbidding entrance. But the skin is also about receptivity: about what is about to go in or out and the spaces of hospitality. Things with skin - and the skin of things - are capable of hospitality: they can receive and be received as touching is receiving both in the sense of receiving a signal as in the sense of receiving an impact (including a power, an affect). I wonder whether thinking - capable of hospitality and of exclusion (which I think is, for example, present in what Laruelle diagnoses as philosophical decision) - is just an instance of skin. Maybe thinking is crucially dermatological - think of logos, legein, understood by Heidegger as a landing that welcomes. This could be why it is often taken to be about criteria, and about gate-keeping. But it is capable of other dermatological acts. It akin to an antenna because it is like skin - an interface between bodies that think and contents being thought. And an interface capable of hospitality.

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