the preface to 24 Hours in Cyberspace, 1996
the preface to 24 Hours in Cyberspace, 1996
Teaching today was full of many amazing and difficult conversations but this little bit on “goth aesthetics” from a convo about interpretation might be my favorite teaching moment (even if I don’t agree with everything on the list), or, at least one that made me laugh a lot and smile and feel things.
`I can’t shake the quaking rage of abbyjean’s post. I’ve been thinking about invisibility for a long time but acutely so the past few weeks. Nothing’s new but sit in a couple classrooms with G., a black woman speaking back to two black men about the way they silenced her 30 seconds before, erased and effaced. Listen to her specific rage. Watch her ball cap dip, her blonde locks snapping back and forth. Teaching me, leading the class. Living an invisible life. Becoming air. Optics are bullshit. Getting clearer that living life like SEO is running thin. Male metrics are over. But. There is no safety for women. Not of any kind. In life. In death. As a number. On a phone. As a suit. In the ground.
In that same interpersonal communication classroom with G. we all talked about intimacy and everyday life. How do we know intimacy in this cultural moment? intimacy doesn’t equal good communication. Intimacy demands more communication. Intimacy demands us to get better at it. Intimacy is a process. Do you remember the first time you signed into a chat room on Prodigy? Do you remember the things you said because you weren’t really strangers, necessarily. Do you remember love as a white dialog box? If I close my eyes, I do. My heart the blinking cursor. The possibility of an other.
What is the cherry sour in my stomach scrolling through yesterday’s Acker piece? The thrill of peering into email circa 1995? The twisted intensity of an ecstatic encounter slowly dimming? Another man steamrolling through everything onn the sidewalk. I’m grossed out by men who belie the encounter as yet another book on the shelf. I wrote this. I can open the page whenever I please and remember. You are mine. And remember, you are mine. Dude sounds fucked, like most men but honestly I’m left flat by the way Kraus writes through Acker. I hope it’s to hang that guy out by the words of the emails themselves: DISCUSS RULES BEFOREHAND because in 1995 there weren’t so many rules about digital power and possession and property. But more than that, it’s the odd way Kraus writes about someone else as if she lived it herself, which, to be honest, is one of the things I love so much about her stuff. She’s shrewd too. She knows this’ll sell. That the work is IMPORTANT. Which it is, if only to have more of Acker’s words to wrap ourselves in. But.
In The Gift of Disease Acker writes:
When I first started working with Greg and Georgina, I had been confused about why I had got cancer. Three weeks later, I saw the network of causation so clearly I wondered why I wasn’t more disease-riddled. Georgina remind me that if health is based on forgiveness, then I had to forgive myself. Again, I enquire what health might be.
“The body remembers, especially traumas,” Georgina thinks aloud, “and holds these memories as scars, as wounds. Disease is when the body isn’t in harmony, when there are areas of blockage in the body. So in order to lead someone to healing for I work verbally rather than Greg does, I go to the past. When a person goes through regression, childhood or past lives, that person is able to situate the trauma in the whole picture and so stop obsessing about it. For instance, take the blame off mummy and daddy, begin to see mummy and daddy as people situated in larger situations. All healing has to do with forgiveness. A healthy person is one who can say, ‘I no longer have scars from the past that will keep me from doing what I have to do today’.”
Ferocious vulnerability as forgiveness. Nothing makes sense. Forgiving the impossible. The threat of violence even after death. The male gaze. The property owner. The dad who grounds you. A white man in a suit. G. snapping gold dreadlocks. Never safe. Never not dipping her ball cap.
Sometimes, when I miss the internet I’ll text emojis. Sometimes it’s rapid fire. Most of the time I’ll read the old posts I’ve liked to like them all again. Often it’s a makeup tutorial. There’ll be long gaps in conversation but mostly I trust in the return. That’s what holding space is: trusting the return.