During the process of reading and more reading, a parallel plane to my research inflated itself around me: While chewing the rather dry pieces of critical t h e o r y about the “artistic subjectivity of precarization in neoliberalism blah”, various at first obscure ideas and seemingly unrelated material associations emerged out of the digital nowhere, watering my metaphorical mouth. These were moods, figures and textures that had another syntax to “thinking t h e o r y, yet seemed to be interlacing my fragmented picture of identity production, radical responsiveness and corporeality.
Deflation, collision, self-ingestion, digestion and surrogate shame. Unrhythmic dancing, stuttering, scatting, repetitive motion, OCDs and misspelled inspirational tattoos.
Performative fabrics, impermeable second skins, enhanced enhancement. Bodies in clothes. Clothes on bones are never not corporeal. We are styling our precarity.
This is s t u f f talking back to me.
It’s a space that doesn’t rely on reason and as such, s t u f f operates very differently to t h e o r y . It moves upstream, and you didn’t know you needed it until it shows up, uninvited, on your doorstep/desktop. Compared to the politics of dating, t h e o r y is the well-planned date with a 80%+ match on OkCupid (right shoes, ok job, interesting interests, good smile), while s t u f f is like dropping a pack of butter in the supermarket and locking eyes with the handsome stranger who is kneeling down on the polished supermarket floor to pick it up for and before you (and mind you, butter wasn’t even on the shopping list).
It must have been a bleak and windy evening in autumn 2014, when I was looking deep into the eyes of the stretched eight-letter word mark of Hardcore, a logo associated with the Dutch hardcore techno scene. Self-exhaustion as an art form, I started to hear the strange sound of self-inflicted, extreme bodily performance, echoing between a ’90s amphetamenic dance floor and the work floor of the 21st century cultural producer.