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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Ontological turning and (queer) gender bending

Been reading Jordana Rosenberg's essay on recent waves of molecularization of politics that deploys Marxism and queer theory against the ontological turn. It seems to me that the problems Jordana sees in turning ontological lie on the insistence that social mediation ought to be more pervasive than anything ontological. I rather think that it is ontology itself that needs to be queerized (as I defended in my recent Bodies in Clinamina).

As I was writing in facebook, Jordana's is a beautiful essay. But I think that there is a blind spot towards heavily politicized non-human elements of environment (that makes mediation be indifferent to ecological constrictions, pictures society as the ultimately withdrawing agent that is ultimately detached from the non-human, presents history as being imposed on a planet rather than negotiated with its layers). Queer is not only aleatory, but this ought to be an invitation to queerize the elements that have served to quench capitalist deterritorialization, including a non-rebellious nature. Beatriz Preciado is pointing in the right direction, I think: there are sub-political forces in chemistry, in the pharmacy. If we can't appeal to these molecular forces, they are going to be ontologically worked out by capital alone. It is not an issue of colonizing what is beyond the usual human political land, but rather to squat this territories so that trenchers are formed when the advancing world-making dominant powers come. I take the ontological turn - or what I find interesting in it - to be attempting to arrive diplomatically first and perform the ontological (gender) bend in the associations that capitalism is ready to enlist.

What is taken to be natural is not terra incognita not to be touched, but land to be reshaped, renegotiated, reinvented. The ontological turn has to be bending the ontological. So, for instance, I think the molecular wars are in bio-hacking against Monsanto as much as in deconstructing nutrition as a reproducing device. In several different ways, ontological efforts can provide ways of denaturalizing biology - and this is a two-edged razor because the non-molecular is further deconstructed once it is filled with queerized valences. Roughly, I tend to think that to queerize is rather a way to denaturalize. The struggle, as I take it, is to exorcize the straight molecules.

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