Monday, 4 June 2012

Technological Archaeologies of Fetish

For some while, before really picking up on researching and writing what turned out as Insect Media I was gathering material and ideas for something on "Technological Perversions" - a sort of a theory/cultural history of the entanglement of perversions and modern technology. Similarly as Insect Media turned out to be a reading of technology and media through the non-human (compound) lense(s) of the insect, this book was to become a similar take - but through sexual perversions. Fetish, perversions, desire gone awry, etc. as the insights into modern relations to/with/in technology.

The underbelly of such narratives and dispositifs reveals a more interesting insight into the proximity with technology as desire - and one involving truly non-human objects. As such, there is indeed something there of the beautifully fetishistic relation that one finds more often from classifications of sexual perversions. Kraft-Ebing's grounding work would in this sense have to be read as part of the constellation, but also captured in poetic form in a range of literary work.

Indeed, Thomas Pynchon would have a special place in that book - here writing of the "top of a lady's stocking, this transition from silk to bare skin and suspender", in Gravity's Rainbow (A book of weird entanglements of erections, engineering and modern science indeed):

"It's easy for non-fetishists to sneer about Pavlovian conditioning and let it go at that, but any underwear enthusiast worth his unwholesome giggle can tell you there is much more here--there is a cosmology: of nodes and cusps and points of osculation, mathematical kisses . . . singularities!"

Within a couple of sentences, Pynchon carries this topological connection to further topologies: stocking to singularities, to cathedral spires, mountain peaks, the Rocket in the sky.

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