Beatriz Preciado, some kind of queer oracle
Beatriz Preciado lives in an ultrageneric technobody, a kind of queer oracle. She has written a countersexual manifesto and spends her time between Paris and Barcelona. Like children, we asked her: “Beatriz, please: What is it to be queer?”
Queer means fag, dyke or deviant, nutter. Although as of the 80s it has turned into the symbol of a resistance movement to the assimilation of homosexuals into the heterosexual culture. A collection of microgroups takes this insult and decide to use it as the starting point for sexual minorities’ fight against normality. The motto was: “We are not good homosexuals, but fags, dykes, transsexuals, HIV-positives, we are rabid and uncontrollable”. It is not possible to be queer, definitively queer, queer once and for all, as queer is neither an identity nor a look, but a critical attitude with regards to the way in which identities are produced and settled. Queer is a practice, a group of strategies made up to resist the norm, a way of life: I guess it has something to do with being conscious about the political character of genre and sexual identities; to actively laugh about them and so deactivate them through deconstruction and mockery. But the trends landscape has also recovered the concept of queer, so lately there are some people who would like to look queer and so be more progressive and in vogue. In any case, to those who are curious, I would recommend wearing the clothing code culturally attributed to the opposite sex during one week, to begin with… You can then give me feedback, after confronting the homophobe and fascism of the environment, what is left from the desire to be queer chic…
What does our body say about our gender? The body works as an organic architecture designed to transmit information about our political position. What look like natural organs are, in reality, the result of complex cultural interpretation processes, a concentrated scientific metaphor. Thus, we are convinced that a penis is a virile organ and, as such, associated to erection, penetration… But, why an anus could not be a virile organ? This is why I am interested in bodies where the certainty of assigned sexuality seems to be blurred, and which challenge the binary logic of sexual representation: foetuses, children or senile bodies, disabled bodies, anorexic or extremely obese bodies, fakir and contortionist bodies, animal bodies…
What use is fucking? It would be good that it were for nothing, but at the moment, sexual pleasure, although presented as a festival, is a political battlefield. The old fashioned–naturalist answer, from Saint Paul to current scientists as Geoffrey Miller or Jarred Diamond, is that fucking is the best way that the natural selection has found to secure species reproduction… That is why, for Diamond, for example, homosexual sex lacks of evolution relevance! I think that it would be fairer to say that heterosexual coitus with penetration is nothing but one of the forms of artificial insemination that has had more political success to secure patriarchal supremacy. Actually, our ways of fucking are corporal techniques, hugely standardised cultural choreographies. Compared to civilisations where fucking was part of a general art of corporal pleasures, our ways of fucking, derived to a good extent from religious mythologies and political restrictions, are rough and repetitive. That is why fucking per se –not the fantasising about fucking– is nearly always so boring. We fuck badly, and we deserve it. Our sexuality works as a language that has been restricted to a single closed code –penis-vagina–, in a way that almost any other possibility of articulation –penis-anus, vulva-vulva, hand-vulva-anus, object-mouth-clitoris, penis-object, etc.– is considered a deviation, pathology, a nonsense phrase. Our ways of fucking are limited by cultural marks of age, race, species, place, etc. Fucking can only take place at home, can only be between two people from different sexes, only between humans, objects cannot be used… Eventually, everything is reduced to a penis, a vagina and a domestic place. Just because our ways of fucking are not determined naturally, but are part of a cultural language, these can be, and in fact are being, modified.
How do you think we will be fucking in a 100 years time? We could say that the Western sexual body design over the last 500 years –let’s say approximately from the invention of the printing press– has consisted in de-sexualising the body, in cutting out the skin, isolating human adult genitals as the centre of every sexual pleasure. But, at the same time, paradoxically, reading and imaging have widened the sexuality scope, taking it out of the body and turning it towards an immaterial, informative, if not actually a digital space. Sexuality’s process of virtual transformation will be increasingly important over the coming years. Along with the exponential growth of micro-techniques of stimulation –such as Viagra–, we will see an increasing technicalisation of pleasure. On the one hand, pornography, as a masturbatory virtual prosthesis, will reach universal proportions. As such, it can be said that over the course of the 21st century, pornography will become a part of popular culture. In this way, “Jenna Jameson shag” or “double penetration” will be as widespread hits as Disney’s Pocahontas or the BigMac were in the 20th century. On the other hand, we will witness the invention of synthetic body extensions that will modify our way of perceiving identity and sex. Bionic cocks, neo-clitoris implants, low cost genital plastic surgery, remote-controlled masturbatory glove, reversible sex change, long-distance shag using cybernetic prosthesis support and many other sex-gadgets await us in the 21st century. In this configuration, body shape at birth will be less important than the –economic, social, political…– capacity of each body to self-transform through access to sexualisation technologies. Nevertheless, the question we can ask ourselves is if this technical transformation of sexuality will be useful for the old genre –masculine/ feminine– and sexuality –hetero/ homo– reaffirmation, or if it will give rise to new political configurations that will escape from the norm. We could go as far as to imagine that new neoconservative groups of ultrahetero technical fuckers will arise, who will use the new desire machines to increase their political power. Middle-class and middle-aged white men will be technically, hormonally and surgically supplemented to fuck Thai girls via virtual connection. Although I like thinking that in the middle of this pharmaco-pornographic control process of sexuality, collective ways of reinventing a new spread love art will be found: a sexuality understood as post human-technical-love, that will not differentiate between species, races, ages or sexes…After having taken testosterone, how do you feel now? When you start with testosterone, there is not an “after testosterone”. Testosterone is not Berlin’s wall, but a substance that goes through all bodies… It goes through mine, and it could go through yours. There is nothing dramatic about testosterone. Everything relies on the right dose and regarding this everyone should find their measure.
What is your favourite place in the world? My dog’s hairy belly… nomadic, of course.
Why live in Paris? I moved to Barcelona a year and a half ago, although, at the moment, I spend more time in Paris than in Barcelona. Today, Paris is too expensive for precarious cultural workers. I have always been an urbanite, but it has been a while since I found political excitement within cities. New York has turned into a luxury supermarket attached to a rubbish megacity; Paris is a museum managed by sarkozyts mafias, contained by the impoverished banlieues ghettos; but Barcelona is not better: an absurd touristic platform in which to unload low cost planes… I have recently been considering moving to Shangai, or going to the countryside to look after donkeys.
Apart from bodies, genres, sexes… What else keeps you busy? As I think I have already admitted, dogs and donkeys. Literature keeps me busy as well, its relation to concept and political imagery production. I would like to make a film, before I thought it would be pornographic and now I see it something beyond-porno, half way between documentary and fiction. But, at the moment, I have no producer.
What are the latest films that you have enjoyed during the last months? By context, I have watched more French cinema. I choose three films: Couscous, by Abdellatif Kechiche, that tells the story of a group of Franco-Arab people who decide to overcome poverty by starting up a cous-cous restaurant in a grounded old ship in Marseille. It is a choral work, with ultramobile camera shots, that reject the single point of view approach. Lady Chatterley, by Pascale Ferran, an adaptation of D.H. Lawrence novel. I don’t usually go for heterosexual erotic stories, but Pascale Ferran has made a perfect dissection of capitalism libidinal economy in the 19th century. It could be read as “hysterical, posh woman sparks the sexual revolution with a blue-collar worker”, or as a parable of the fight between classes in pseudo-pornographic code. Finally, I would like to stand up for the adaptation that Houllebecq has made of his own Possibility of an Island. The French press has ruined it, but I think that the attacks have more to do with a personal lynching than with cinematographic criticism. Houllebecq has made a science-fiction film with a low budget and has attained some of the most remarkable scenes of recent years.
Could you recommend a classic book, a contemporary one and a visionary last one, please? The classic one, The Ethics
by Spinoza. Contemporary, two: everything Pierre Guyotat, and New York Chronicles and Loco afán by the Chilean Pedro Lemebel. The visionary, not by chance, suicidal: David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest.
Interview Vicente Ferrer
Illustration Tori Alimbau