I wonder about the composition of bodies. I wonder about the hardness of structures, of the trauma marked and embodied in their form. I wonder about the dimensionality of bodies of color, how they’ve been flattened, pulled apart, reassembled against their will. I wonder about their color, how they disappear and come back into fuller, different spectrum, enveloping a space, caring for it. I wonder about their transience, about their transgressive, impermeable, ephemeral presence, present everywhere, yet nowhere to be seen.
I wonder about light as it strikes - striking an act, an act of labor, of emotion, of force. Striking as it knocks down and dismantles, but also as it creates new intensities and vibrations. Light as it illuminates, brightens, washes out. Light, im/material. Shifts color, shifts spectrum. I wonder about the multilayering of media - are bodies media? Do they become fetishized and flattened and redimensionalized? Probably.
I wonder how to see a site from multiple angles in a singular moment. Site and body, entangled. She is a sight/site - existing within those multiple perspectives, multiply oriented. Fanon tells us to look beyond the surface, what lies there? I wonder about the hardness of bodies, the softness of structures, their texture, permeability, configuration as they come together and then apart, coming apart together, again and again.
I wonder about the subject caught between frames. Does she choose to be there? I think so. In part, at least. For being caught between frames means living in a spatiality and temporality outside of neoliberal capitalist logics of control and containment. This is a paradox. She is in/visible, ill/legible, un/contained. The subject caught between frames isn’t contained there. She moves in intensities and along dimensions imperceptible to the eye - eyes that gaze but don’t look, “I’s” of the Eurocentric Humanistic Subject “Man”. She is not an “I”. She is abject. Caught between frames, she cascades along vectors and generates thought beyond the frame. “Thinking beings keep on flowing out of the frames that attempt to capture them”. Frame — a temporal and spatial perspective, singular. She lives in the present — emergent and manifest in multiplicitous convergence. Her existence in multiple temporal scales gives her a structure of non-feeling. She comes together and apart at the seams of the frame that seek to contain her. She offers everything, and nothing, at once. She lies suspended in time, but is not timeless.
Who is she before the ornament? Before - previous, before - in front of. What does she “lay bare”? Nothing. It is not for you to know. You who reads to know, who looks to see, to capture and captivate and be captivated. What is gained in laying bare? Laying bare suggests a “return to an original condition...of unadorned nakedness”. “Original condition”, as though there is an object pristinely packaged, untouched by the wears of a lived experience. Is there such thing as an unmediated condition? The desire to “lay bare” and access an unthinking - it is not yours to have. It is not for you to see. It is not for you to know. She is already a multilayering of media, of dimensionalities, of opacities, formed before any acknowledgement of an original condition. They “coexist and converge, weaving fabrics”. Fabrics — no, she is china, hard and smooth like porcelain. Forged in heat, cold to touch. Layers of textures and processes that reflect the light which seeks to lay bare. Laying bare - “the rhetoric of uncovering underlying conditions”- it is a violence that is enacted. But all are cut in the process.
I wonder about our inheritance, how what lies before along the line shapes what lies ahead, what we enter into. I wonder how we queer these paths to find vectors toward other dimensions that shift what is previously given. It is not only a matter of deviation from the points that constitute the path, but about how we arrive in the situatedness of these points, their sited nature. I wonder how we collect, gather, create our own force that generates a path, a vector, one not new, but rather one forgotten in the mind yet felt in our collective embodied forms.
Berlant, Lauren. “Structures of Unfeeling: Mysterious Skin.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 28, no. 3 (2015): 191–213. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10767-014-9190-y.
Braidotti, Rosi. Posthuman Knowledge. 1 edition. Medford, MA: Polity, 2019.
Cheng, Anne Anlin. Ornamentalism. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.
Chow, Rey. Entanglements, or Transmedial Thinking about Capture. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2012.
Glissant, Edouard. Poetics of Relation. Translated by Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.