Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Disidentification in the Center of Power: The Porn Performer and Director Belladonna as a Contrasexual Culture Producer (a Letter to Beatriz Preciado)

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Disidentification in the Center of Power: The Porn Performer and Director Belladonna as a Contrasexual Culture Producer (a Letter to Beatriz Preciado)

Article excerpt

INTRO.

This essay is an attempt to draw some coordinates for an assemblage between feminist politics and queer philosophy, poststructuralism and film theory, investigating pornography as a biopolitical field and a machine of culture production. With the works of the queer philosopher Beatriz Preciado as a central discourse, this outline is meant to function as a necessary element in a cartography I call "postporn politics."1

JERK/OFF.

This text is inspired by a story, that happened to a friend of mine. As he did everyday, he was surfing around the Net and tried to jerk off to some porn flicks. But one day, somehow, it didn't work.

CRACK/UP.

The funny thing about the new Internet porn phenomenon is that you can enjoy it for only short durations. Downloading, if you don't use the illegal structures, costs money. To tease customers and make them monthly paying members, the Web companies usually allow only two or three clips (lasting between ten seconds and one minute) to be downloaded. "Small shots for free," as they say. Fucking-fragments on video, repetitions with the usual stories, acts, bodies, genders, and cumshots. OK-most of the time, not always. That's the point, maybe.

The ultraspeedy, pluralist accumulation of images, money, and bodies through the production structures of the Internet brings spectators into an unusual and not-at-all-body-centered situation. On the one hand, they have more options than ever and can surf for hours, never reaching a point where they have seen it all. On the other hand, they never know what they are going to get-an uncontrolled area. Here we enter a new level of capitalist utopia: you-OK, naturally only if you are male and straight and get a kick out of watching heteroporn-are put in the position of a god, controlling more than a million images. It could go on forever . . . always waiting for a new page, a new girl, a new sexist spectacle. With the downloaded teasers you can even open an archive. But if you are an ordinary guy, believe in a two-sex system and want things to stay as they are, you might break down and your archive might explode one day. Because everywhere there is repetition, there is difference. Everywhere there is power, there is counterpower. And everywhere there is totality, there is something that flees.

PERSONAL STUFF/PERFORMANCE.

The following text is a letter to someone I admire. Her thoughts have changed my life, my body, my thoughts, and my practices. As in some of her work, the text integrates practices of investigative journalism and performativity into the structures of academic knowledge production. And it is, to a certain extent, fiction-as is any text.

LETTER/TO BEATRIZ PRECIADO.

Dear Beatriz,

How are you? How is life, sex, love? Where are you at the moment? The last time I heard about you, you were teaching in Paris. When I met Del in Berlin in the middle of February he told me that you guys would be doing a performative lecture called Post Porn and New Technologies of Pleasure.2 I hope it went fine. I have to admit it is kind of strange to be writing a letter to somebody I've never met in person. But for various reasons I feel a kind of closeness with you. But this is neither the time nor the place to tell you about all that, is it?

I am writing you after an experience that might sound a little ridiculous. I just watched some porn of the performer and director Belladonna. Even if she is a mainstream star and anything but an icon of queer counterculture, I thought you should know about her. I'm sure I'm exaggerating a little if I say her work is revolutionary. But I find it fascinating to recognize that the micropolitics of her body-set nowhere else than in the representational center of power-has changed in the past few years into new ways of becoming. As I researched Bella's contemporary work I thought about some lines you wrote, underlining that whenever something is forced to be normalized, there is something that will not be, and wherever the powers of normalization are at work, there is something that flees: "You are a portable biopolitical sex model designed to become either male or female, to respond to your counter-gender mate, to reproduce the human species. …

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