January 11, 2016 § Leave a comment
About a Bicycle Issue 5 Launch
Sunday, January 17th at 7pm
studio1111 located at 1111 commercial drive (alleyside, behind sweet cheribum foods)
About a Bicycle is pleased to announce the launch of our fifth issue Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Kill ‘Em! Over the summer AAB discussed and interrogated “the couple-form” or what Clémence X. Clementine and Associates from the Infinite Venom Girl Gang designate as a compulsory heterosexual union, which “promises that, upon entering its grasp, one will no longer suffer from alienation, from isolation, from boredom, from rootlessness.” The new issue circles a constellation of relationships, sex, gendered and racialized violence, real-estate and debt. Contributors include: Amy De’Ath, Megan Hepburn, Penelope Hetherington, Anahita Jamali Rad, Danielle LaFrance, Dorothy Trujillo Lusk, Lisa Macleod, Nikki Reimer, Carolyn Richard, and Stephanie Young. The evening will consist of readings, beverages, and good company.
AAB is a collective of self-identified women who meet to discuss critical texts and radical politics. Each reading and discussion series culminates in a journal of the same name. For more information about present and past projects visit us at aboutabicycle.wordpress.com.
studio1111 is a leather workshop, vintage shop and gathering space in East Van, Unceded Coast Salish Territories.
June 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
Some of us came to theory through the back door. Some of us had our formal education introduced to us by Marxists. (This is not a rally against Marxists, though we did have some fucked up blood in the mix in our previous life aka project one.) By male feminists. This is not a joke. This is serious. When one of us whose work has been dedicated to murdered and missing indigenous women only found out last year that Althusser killed his wife, this is a serious problem.
We want to thank you all for such a joyous and sorrowful project this summer. We concluded, as promised, in a sauna. Laura Diski had a line somewhere about getting women naked together in the sixties. That there was something important about the scene unfolding, of naked female bodies, and such. We spent a large portion of this project discussing how women, not men, had trained us to be jealous. One of the most riveting moments was how we did not focus solely on raging against a woman who may or may not have stolen our man, but the competitive spiteful raging between women.
Hélène Rytman was murdered by a man. In his memoir he makes reference to massaging her neck; he makes reference to saving her from being interpolated by the State. Against the will. He laments. He treats ideology like God; there is no outside for him. There is no outside for her because of him.
We have to end on this note, as painful as it may seem at first: Many of us did not know that Althusser killed his wife. And many of us did not know that men in our circle are rapists. How do we make these conversations in our supposed circle more obvious and transparent than they initially pretend to be? The white elephant is a cop-out at best. We don’t want to be as bad as the male-feminist who has figured out how to properly check himself on paper, but can’t pull through in real life, can only pull out.
A call for submissions will be forth coming.
In love and solidarity,
June 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner draw on “Clintonian familialism” and other legislative forms in the 1990’s that worked toward creating a hegemonc sex public — one that promotes heterosexual family values, while non-reproductive forms of sexuality are deemed “offensive” and “obscene.” They argue that although queerness does not necessitate a particular relationship to sex, policing of the sex industry creates a dispersal of the gay community as a concerted effort by the State, as it has historically been from these centres that political rallying around gay rights have arisen.
Another favourite point: the heterosexual couple-form is bound-up with property, e.g. the “his” and “hers” labelling of objects and of each other. And it is this relation to property that takes us to the subject of “jealousy.” It is here where we had trouble separating our real somatic experiences with our rationalisation of an internalised ideology of property-relations, especially since some us had to be trained by other women to feel jealous.
For our next and final meeting, we will be discussing:
Geraldine Finn – “Why Althusser Killed His Wife” & “Reason and Violence: More than a False Antithesis – A Mechanism of Patriarchal Power” from Why Althusser Killed His Wife: essays on discourse and violence
De Machina – A letter to Chris Kraus: ‘Kiss me,’ ‘Fuck me,’ or ‘Rape me’
Kate Zambreno – Heroines (excerpt)
(The readings will shortly be scanned and available here.)
Robyn has graciously offered to host at her place, where we will be able to have access to a sauna:
“The sauna is hosted by us but owned by the BC Mobile Sauna Society. They accept donations from sauna goers for propane and sauna upkeep. This is by no means obligatory, but it helps us keep the sauna running. (We have public sauna on Sunday evenings.) Also, please bring a water bottle (no glass) and a towel!”
June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
Last session was our most exhilarating and polemic to date. After some consideration, we started our discussion with Lee Edleman’s No Future (to which a few of us read the whole fucking book instead of the clearly noted chapter on the schedule) to set the stage. We found that this text provides a polarized model with which to work. It presents a *somewhat* impossible project whereby the notion and/or practice of “queerness” (referenced repeatedly in fairly broad terms) is used to oppose opposition. While Edleman often equates queerness with other activities that are outside of sex, we were not willing to assume that it is something to be appropriated if one does not (or not yet) self-identify as queer. We also noted how the possibility of queer resistance is quite estranging as it is solely told through the purview of the male. We began to think how closely related Edleman’s “queerness” could be paralleled alongside “lesbianism” as a political position, which was mentioned in the first two texts we encountered this project.
How does “queerness,” then, complicate or gloss over racialized and marked bodies as painfully considered by Hortense Spillers’ Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book? The transmission of trauma as experienced by the flesh of the slave onto living (and strangled) black bodies necessitates a chronology. We feel like this text shatters Edleman’s argument. On the transference of affect that sits thick in classrooms, streets, bedrooms (etc.), don’t you dare say fuck Quvenzhané Wallis. First pronounce her name properly.
While the project description ends with a one-liner on finding a way to have relationships with our mothers, in all seriousness, we have to pose this question: how do we reconcile our mothers’ past experiences of trauma and their material conditions with how that trauma projects onto us? And, considering we’re all bad mothers-in-training, how do we reconcile the necessity of futurity for any political project, with our desire to “never have babies.”
Now we’re onto jealousy and/or casual sex.
Jenny Diski – “Body Work” from The Sixties
Emma Goldman – “Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure”
Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner – Sex in Public
When: Wednesday, June 3 @ 8pm. See email for address.
Love and solidarity,
May 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
In our previous session, we discussed Leacock’s meticulous interrogation into Sociology and Anthropology.
We discussed Marxism — the problem some academics have in describing their practice: “Marxism” in this realm is a “boys club” to which one needs an alternative.
We found Federici’s text to be somewhat dated. And although I had expected more discussion around it due to its polemic nature and its length (most of us finished reading it), we tended to agree that, even though her “we” didn’t describe the experiences we have, there was still a bit of truth to the affective tone of the sexual lives of the working-class.
Next time, we discuss babies:
Hortense Spillers – Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book
Lee Edleman – “The Future is Kids Stuff” from No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive
May 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
Thank you all for attending last week’s session where we read two articles from the feminist materialist journal LIES, C.E.’s “Undoing Sex: Against Sexual Optimism” and Clémence X. Clementine’s “Against the Couple-form.”
While the articles presented strong positions against the couple-form and sexual optimism, both gave only minor heads up to racialized and class violence, choosing to stick to gender and sexuality as objects of critique. It was important for us to note the writing strategies taken up by both sets of writers: from incorporating italicized, painfully personal notes amidst “critique” to a manifesto-like list of tactics. We noticed that “forming a reading group” was amongst the list and while it sat confidently with some it also seemed to produce more shrugs (“so whats?”) than revolutionary affirmations.
Lauren Berlant’s notion of the impasse was also on the table. We discussed how the impasse is a shapeless and durational (“stuck” in the present or a spreading of the present) affective site. There were questions concerning other sites the impasse may touch upon, like privilege and apathy. Mainly we were concerned with the possibility of the impasse obscuring direct positions and actions.
One last comment: We’re onto you Associates From the Infinite Venom Girl Gang! Yes, “the logic of the couple mediates a woman’s relationship to herself and her relationships to other women” (48), but we refuse to be interpolated any longer by the entitled intimations of Tiqqun’s “Young Girl.” Thank you very much.
Now we depart from a list of demands, moving towards historical and labour perspectives. Join us. Feel free to share other material that reflect the selected articles.
Week Two: Friday, May 22nd
Eleanor Leacock – “INTRODUCTION to Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Frederick Engels”
Silvia Federici – On Sexuality as Work
Want to participate? Send us an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
April 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
For this session, we are calling on members to suggest readings that they think would fit our current theme: the Couple-Form. Some of the chosen readings are: