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I am not a man I am not a woman I am not heterosexual I am not homosexual I am not bisexual. I am a dissident of the sex-gender system. I am the multiplicity of the cosmos trapped in a binary political and epistemological system, shouting in front of you. I am a Uranian confined inside the limits of techno-scientific capitalism.
– Paul B. Preciado, An Apartment on Uranus
Philosopher and writer Paul B. Preciado discusses agency, gender, dissent and subjectivity with queer theorist Jack Halberstam.
Building on Preciado and Halberstam’s respective bodies of work, this conversation expands on forms of living beyond the constraints of encoded gender and unpacks the propositions of Preciado’s new publication, An Apartment on Uranus (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020).
In this collection of recent essays, Preciado dreams of a space where he might live beyond existing power, gender and racial structures invented by modernity. Taking in socio-political issues including the rise of neo-fascism in Europe, the migrant crisis, the Zapatista struggle in Mexico, the fight for Catalonian independence, sex work, Trump’s America, the harassment of trans children, and the technological appropriation of the uterus, An Apartment on Uranus takes a personal experience as a starting point to question the foundations of a society which excludes heterodoxy and proclaims it deviancy or illness. Considering seismic cultural shifts, Preciado asks what role museums and institutions might play in the cultural revolution to come.
This event is part of Critical Conversations, a series of lectures and conversations with internationally recognized figures from the worlds of culture, philosophy and activism. Critical Conversations focuses on the voices of individuals who have made substantial contributions to both the idea and practice of social change.
Paul B. Preciado is a writer, philosopher, curator, and one of the leading thinkers in the study of gender and sexual politics. He is the author of Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era (The Feminist Press, 2013), Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics (Zone Books, 2014) and Countersexual Manifesto (Columbia University Press, 2018). He was previously Director of the Independent Studies Program at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona and Curator of Public Program at documenta 14 (Athens/Kassel). He is currently Associated Philosopher at the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Jack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke University Press, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke University Press, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke University Press, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and, most recently, Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press, 2018). Halberstam is currently working on two books on ‘wildness’: the first, titled WILD THINGS: THE DISORDER OF DESIRE will be published in autumn 2020. The second, which is in progress, is titled THE WILD BEYOND: ART, ARCHITECTURE AND ANARCHY.
Photo: Marie Rouge