My chapbook, Desequencer, is now available from TAXT. It's free and it features lovely drawings from one of my oldest friends in the world, Daniel Subkoff. All you have to do is write Suzanne Stein ask her for a copy. The e-mail address is on the TAXT site. Thanks to Suzanne and Erin Morrill for their hard work putting it together.
In other news, we here at Little Red's Recovery room heart "bossnapping," plant occupations and the wit of the G20 meltdown participants. We'd like to see all of that and more out here in Cali.
On the subject of bossnapping, I am of course reminded of Godard's excellent Tout Va Bien, also the title of an also excellent chapbook by Suzanne, which brings me full circle.
I'm pretty sure that no bosses were kidnapped in the making of Suzanne's Tout Va Bien, but you never know.
This is the preface to Desequencer:
What follows is an annotation of the sequence of nucleotides which form the
human genome. Or rather, an annotation of their representation as letters, since
the “genome”—itself an abstraction—is not letters but molecules. From this
distinction, often effaced, many aberrations issue.
And yet, while it is no doubt a distortion to describe genetic material as code,
as language, consisting of messages, signals or instructions, such an account is
not without its truth. It is only assigned to the wrong object. What such
abstractions do describe, in fact, is the world which a heroic science would
realize. Writing from Dublin during Second World War, Erwin Schrödinger’s
invocation of a substance in the chromosome which was both “law-code and
executive power,” able to counteract the inherent entropy of matter, smacks of
the authoritarian core of a world in ruins. Taken up by Cold War societies in
the midst of 1950s future-rapture, it referred to nothing so much as the real
abstraction of life in advanced capitalism, the real state of affairs within a
highly administered and rationalized society. The cell in biology textbooks is a
picture of a technocratic dream world, perfectly ordered by networks of
command and commission. And so, fifty years after the transformations
inaugurated by the model of DNA that James Watson and Francis Crick
devised, now more than ever the scriptural model of the genome is also a
practical truth, an abstraction which real practices have made concrete. If
genes were never originally a code, the information technology for their
sequencing, analysis and synthesis has certainly made them so.
In genetic science, the bad conscience of capitalist society—its knowledge that
the difference between those who do and those who do not own things is
nothing but the history of theft, violence, lies—finds a perfect opportunity to
render true a favorite fable about why things are as they are, to realize those
fictive differences between classes and races that have required such vigorous
ideological exertion. Done with the ambiguity of class, done with the endless
work of racialization: what the enclosure and privatization of the genome
dreams of is the transformation of class into species.
Of course, this catastrophe will have to get in line behind the other faces of
gross imbalance. The passage from gene to protein and back is no more easily
navigated than the passage from the particular to the abstract and back.
Therein lie weird folds, feedback loops, irreversible changes, crises, gaps,
monsters. It is to that intermediate terrain—the not yet real of the not quite
abstract—that the following attends.