06 Jun The Future Left Reading Group Presents: Xenofeminism
The Future Left is proud to announce that our next reading group will take place at NAVEL, a space that celebrates an awareness for the need for “collective autonomy.” This discussion will be facilitated by two artists Olivia Leiter and CADE (author of the Xenomaskuline Manifesto).
We will be reading a text that is a queer-feminist intervention to political conversations including accelerationism and how our bodies are shaped by technology, media, alienation, and the future.
This is my best explanation without using words that signal an ‘in-group’ linguistically, something I would like to get away from. Please join us as someone who is curious or someone who was to engage with the discussion exploratively or critically.
About The Book
Xenofeminism is one of the top-selling books on feminism in the Amazon bookstore, which is appropriate considering it takes on queer-feminism and gender politics through digital/technological mediation. If you are someone who wonders what will come of gender in the future, maybe you should read Xenofeminism? Since a way of re-imagining bodies and their politics must create its own constellation of themes and philosophies–XF does that through enabling the possibility of identities along with the possible worlds we may create. Based off of the 2015 manifesto, which Hester co-authored with cyberfeminist collective Laboria Coboniks, it sets the stage for the work saying “Ours is a world in vertigo… XF constructs a feminism adapted to these realities; a feminism of unprecedented cunning, scale, and vision; a future in which the realization of gender justice and feminist emancipation contribute to a universalist politics assembled from the needs of every human, cutting across race, ability, economic standing, and geographical position… XF is not a bid for revolution, but a wager on the long game of history, demanding imagination, dexterity and persistence.” http://tripleampersand.org/after-accelerationism-the-xenofeminist-manifesto/
XF establishes a new canon for queer-feminist futures from that of Accelerationism, Lee Edelman, Shulamith Firestone, José Esteban Muñoz, Paul Preciado, and Donna Haraway, alongside DIY tech groups, radical transfeminists, and speculative realists. Helen Hester, who was a member of the collective Laboria Coboniks says that she was “reinserting” gender into dialogues of the ‘contemporary political moment’ while stripping these theories from their loyalties to accelerationism and previous contemporaries. Helen Hester explains the importance of creating a feminism that does not rely on the traditional notion of collectivity and harmony but instead embraces alienation.
“The idea of the alien relates also to Xenofeminism’s self-image or attitude towards itself. If you are looking to create a gender politics that is hospitable to difference, to the unforeseen – to perspectives that you may not be able to imagine from your own limited vantage point – you have to keep a space open for this. The project has to be revisable, open to dissent and to change. To a degree, then, it has to remain alien even to itself.
Alienation may be a common experience, in other words, but it’s very clearly an unevenly distributed one – no matter in what sense we are using the word.”
This text takes on an important place in the series of readings that have primarily focused on technology, subjectivity, and capitalism without much consideration of identity and specifically queer-gender politics. Also, previous classes and reading groups held on new ideas of collectivity and social movements embraced alienation in a similar way through a consensus of difference (meta-consensus). In the spirit of this philosophy, our group encourages everyone to have their own conception of the readings and how this applies to their own bodies. We encourage you to come with your own critique, questions, and ways of re-imagining the framework for yourself. Since the material itself is steeped in a certain cultural logic and way of communicating, feel free to come to the group to just listen and try to understand in your own way. Learning is often being willing to open up your awareness to different and challenging ways of thinking.