Jack Halberstam - Cruising Dystopia: Space, Race, Transition and Anarquitecture
Podcast notes


Queer and Friendship


Queer Friendship - queers would favour different types of intimacy

Gay marriage points to a recapitulation to dominant forms

Different scripts that don’t have the family home at the centre, and new ways of thinking about collectivity.

New scripts using two diff. paradigms

1. Trans* - what does the emergence of trans children mean for kinship

2. Architecture, Anarcitecture and unbuilding

>the * is to point to many different types of bodies and gender under the trans label, doing something else with * and to challenge gender

the * is a diacritical mark, a set of marks that we use to emphasis or vary language. The way gender works across gender and ability

Facebook quick to rush in…. but there are also other ways to use the marks.

> Dressed To Kill - movie, reminder that not very long ago Trans people were depicted only in pop culture as serial killers. This was a trend at that time.

>Silence of the Lamb

> Being Trans - moviein the 80’s 90’s - so ubiquitous is the Trans narrative now that its easy to forget this

> Film Tangerine - Director a bit of an interloper, but refuses to present trans as a lonely and singular. It should not be rare to see that. Trans

> By Hook or By Crook- movie by having trans people more than one in each scene, no ‘normative’ scenes

TRANS* - Book

We should we be excited and worried, in neo-liberal politics this can be worrying - moments of deep deep capitalist exploitation, the acceptance of white middle class trans people makes the state seem benevolent. So while it is good, to also investigate more…

Progressing along a political arch… micro recognition… that mean nothing (subjective)

Neo-Liberalism white middle class that seem to be the benefactors of this….

1. TRANS* Children 18:00

Adelman - you cannot be against the child, you cannot be against the trans child

In childhood gender is unstable, you are not sexually active, all possibilities are allowed, childhood is a deeply inscribed experience, what ever possibilities arise heterosexual normative person must arrive out of this

Children can also be the manifestation of the most conservative ideologies if indoctrinated young, and can be the most energetic perpetrators of these dark political ideas

Noxious and dangerous where they turn on their parents - not at this moment but:

There is a generational divide between the TRANS* communities, older trans people came out in a very hostile environment

If we lose TRANS* we didn’t destabilise anything we become the place of equilibrium

Its not young people’s fault


ma vie en Rose 1990’s / tomboy

Both films tried to capture the hostility towards the trans child.

No concept of the trans child at that time - ma vie en Rose - Ludo having desire towards his best friend, inhabiting trans bodies in relation to one another

Tomboy: The girl who passes as a boy - shows how the trans narrative can be defused

Kids today, as young as 4, have made the instability of childhood normative

Tey Meadow - “The Child”, Vol 1 2014

A relatively new social form

The generation split, is there because there are two different narratives between older and younger people -

“ this new generation may have wider latitude to dis-identify with transgender history and with those who came before them”

2. Trans* Kinship

New forms of Trans* communities, rethinking we have a generational divide, possibilities but using new terms like intimacy, friendship and Trans*

The unfortunate divide, where there needs to be solidarity

Trans women against - TERFs, but this is not a lot of people in terms of being against white, straight, men

These people are not the enemy

Proposition 2:

We have created an archive about TRANS* lives

We don’t want TRANS parents to be the authors, we want the older TRANS activists to be the authors because they have been a TRANS child.

Rethinking Kinship - Marilyn Strathern

Mirror Graphics

Writing about the parts and not the whole

Kinship is fractured, improvised,

Friendship, intimacy, support, care, fun -

Facebook turns friendship as a site for neo-liberalism capitalisation of friendship

American elections, engineered through facebook

Why are we still on Face Book??? Why??? To mine data and distribute noxious ideologies

If there is a fight on Twitter… its only 7 people

we can no longer see outside of that

I don’t see tonnes of revolt online, i see permission for fights, blocking people etc…

Being in fights with people online that we will never meet

The most radical thing to do would be en-masse to go offline and find alternative circuits of communication and access

1. Online communication has intensified the orientation of gender cross-identified young people toward medical explanations and fixes for the experiences of cross-gender identification.

2. Online communities make transition seem magical

3. Online Discussion at tumblr and elsewhere can flatten out the incredibly complicated identity and identification for young trans* people

4. The identification of capitalism and queer or trans* desire has not always been disruptive

5. New models of kinship, identity and transition are required to make sense of the trans* and the queer body in new formulations of time, space and capital

Not letting ourselves off the hook, agents for co-optation assimilation, we extend state sanctioned forms of normatively, neo-liberal mechanisms, neo-liberalism works through inclusion

3. Cruising Dystopoia

Unbuilding, undoing and unmaking

Female masculinity, what happens when female bodies unmake their own femininities and enact a different logic?

What if success is merely the way to consolidate power?

Anarchitecture - connected to the Anarchitects from the 1960s Gordon Matta Clarke, now is not the time to build things or make things. Now is the the time to unbuild and unmake the world.

We will have to start by unmaking

Proposition #3

Unmake the world that markers those bodies as wrong

Its not easy and its not quick

Unbuild our presence

Being very critical of the online tools we’ve become deeply attached to….


Unmaking in order to make something new

Gordon Matta Clark - famous, Chilean immigrant to New York, fuck this i’m going to use this to unbuild and unmake things. To unmake things you need to be very skilled

In one example he buys a house, buys a house in Jersey for nothing, take a chainsaw and splits the house open.

Taking apart the system of heteronormativity

The master bedroom, the most important person in the house, the kids all in smaller rooms

Re-imagine houses all together, what would a house for friends look like? A house that

Appeared in the peers, on the walls, gay men cruising

Gordon Matta Clarke was there cutting into the peers to talk about the utopian possibilities of these spaces outside of capitalism, where no one is buying you drinks etc

>>> Me massive emotional reaction ***

We need to find something where it is just on the verge of collapse - disease decay

Alvin Baltrop : The Piers - squatting, no possible now

The sites of the cruising were as important as the cruising itself

Grinder - a site for capitalisation of desire

Grinder rebranding -

Grinder in one fell swoop has transformed the art of cruising, where gay men created friendships,

Capital flow - an example of social media working with new forms of identity to create capital

Anecdote of conversation with Grinder business guy

What is a successful relationship? “Marriage” they find there person there….

Lego Movie

The potential of lego is that it can be unmade

Lego Movie - indoctrinated by an ‘Everything is Awesome Song’ builders or architects, every day they make a new world, and then every day they unbuild it

It makes them very hard to govern

I can’t rule this city, i can’t even work out what this city is

He comes along with super glue, (neo-liberalism) and sticks it all in place

“The paisa resistance, a ‘trans’ glue cap lid”


Notes me: I had a really emotional response to this lecture, particularly towards the end, for me the experience of living in a family home was quite scary and my mother admits she was not very maternal, she enjoyed parties and fashion and dressing us up more than playing with us or being with us emotinally. I remember the day she got my father to put mirrors in our rooms, so we could develop a sense of ‘vanity’. They were her words, repeated often to us. 
When I was.... we lost the family home, that Mum and Dad has worked to rebuild and rennovate, it was beautiful when it was finished but we had to go. And we moved into a new structure. The talking about how the shape of the buildling reinforces or dismantles the relationship of its inhabitants is something of interest to me, and i’ve done prevoius study here also in the Masters of Teaching, in educational spaces. 

I’m starting to realise that in this way there are possibilities for other avenues for me, i don’t have to make this more ‘feminine’ style crafting, and also there was a jarring realisation, something i’ve grappled with a lot but haven’ crossed the divide over, where I chose to work into ‘art’ and ‘education’ more feminine paths in my family, even pushed somewhat agressively towards this> 1 by my mother, 2 to protect my sister, who was agreviously put out by my successes in school. 

I keep being steered towards world building, and film, and i know in this there is possibilities for sets and also, i think about the Life Aquatic movie where you can see each of the rooms cut from the side, also i think about my friends, the ones i hold dear and how we are all spilt apart. And, how i’ve sort of scrunched my nose towards communal livling, but the more i resist being in a relationship the more i realise the need to build a space around myself that could be really wonderful, or at least do it as a fantasy, to console or indulge a part of me that really needs that, as I’ve found it hard to more deeply connect with a sense of really let it all hang out friendship in my current home. I also think about the ODD productions Family Home show that i partially helped to install, Viv my friend then and pink and yellow (cartoon colours). 
I also saw Mum and Dad recently, and i borrowed a book I gave to Dad on his birthday in 2006, which is think might have been his 49th birthday? on Gordon Matta Clarke, i didn’t understand the significance of his work, and i realise i’ve given my Dad a book about taking architecture down more than once (the other time was the book Wheeler The Wreckers Melbourne. 
In the book was a card that has layers of trace paper and cut outs of buildlings, which i can film for the film project, and also, i could make these ‘worlds’ or ‘sets’ from card and not worry about buildling anything. I still need a narrative though....