What becomes of the body in a moment of intensified social and governmental control? It might be lacking skin, hands, lips, or face, but its immune system is certainly highly refined. Yet what might that mean? Susanne Sachsse, Marc Siegel and Xiu Xiu do radio and try to provide an answer of sorts to this question, drawing a paranoid poetic-theoretical arc through history. Their point of departure is the essay “Learning From the Virus” by theoretician Paul B. Preciado, written after being ill with Covid-19. As this body searches for experiences of collectivity, new viral strains bombard its linguistic immune system. Conspiracy theories aren’t especially helpful. They might ward off unpleasant surprises, but they won’t help us get out of bed.
“attention, attention –– the entertainment radio service – you are just supposed to listen, not look, not care, not feel – an unidentified woman whispers something in an ear – invisible masses – directed masses – baiting masses –fleeing masses – prohibiting masses – manipulable masses – dumb dumb dumb masses – they need direction – can the masses be revolutionary? – do you have an antitoxin? – refuse touch – proximity transformed – abide and adapt – don’t inhale – where’s my mouth? – the limits of control – someone cooked this up – i’m not gonna be surprised – it’s not supposed to feel good – the masses cheer themselves on – good and fine – forgotten your pin? – is it really so sad and dangerous to be sick of seeing with your eyes, breathing with your lungs, swallowing with your mouth, speaking with the tongue, thinking with the brain, having an anus and a larynx, head and legs? – why not walk on your head, sing with your sinuses, look through your skin, breathe through your stomach? – between us, i have two vulvas, each one lovingly tucked under my armpits – that leaves us with two means of survival – 1. chosen mutation – 2. Uncertainty“