14 February 2011

Book: Luciana Parisi, Abstract Sex

Within the title to Luciana Parisi's 2004 release, Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Bio-Technology and the Mutations of Desire, lies the promise of an intricate complex of (non)human relations which involves, inter alia, the virtual, the molecular and the social. Published as part of the Continuum series, Transversals: New Directions in Philosophy, its appearance upon the scene of critical and cultural theory signals and reflects the turn towards the centrality of the body. With a philosophical inquiry founded as much in the bacterial work of Lynn Margulis as it is in Deleuze and Guattari, her text offers a flexible schematic towards a different, relational conception of bodies, sex, femininity and desire - that is, a mapping of abstract sex.

In an extensive online interview with Matthew Fuller which is both complementary and an extension of the concepts investigated in Abstract Sex, Parisi provides multiple entry points into her text. Amongst them, this snippet:

"Abstract Sex addresses human stratification on three levels. The biophysical, the biocultural and the biodigital amalgamation of layers composing a constellation of bodies within bodies, each grappled within the previous and the next formation - a sort of positive feedback upon each other cutting across specific time scales. ... Abstract Sex points to a singular process of collision of strata undergoing the biodigital reengineering of life that forces us to engage with what we take a body, gender, and thus politics to be. For Abstract Sex to face - rather than remain dismissive of - the collision of strata implies a cut from the running flow of life demanding taking a line of flight towards destratification - a felt experience of change on a nature-culture continuum."


Anonymous said...

For a review of an impressive body of work by an amazing woman, it would have been worthy using a Spell-checker..

Ky the Spy said...

Fair enough - amendment made.