But what a joy to be overwhelmed with too many projects one wants to do…! Currently steaming through a series of essays that brings together years (4+) of projects, many of which I struggled through precisely for not being able to articulate why, now given clarity and form. Pursuing a PhD is an opportunity to revisit ideas that had not yet had a chance to flourish. I remember being slouched on a couch in the hallway of my freshman dorm room, reading Karen Barad. Did words even make sense on a page to me at that time? The idea of science being a social construct was so radical, as was the revelation that I was not living my life in a subject position. The album La voyage dans la lune by Air reminds me of that year. The way the sun hit my blinds at 4pm, my vanity mirror glimmering a soft glow. Adopting a Beauvoirian existential politics– to be happy or free? And feeling liberated in discovering that was even a decision I could (no– must!) make. Reading Barad again now and about to embark on the journey of Deleuze, whose theories many feminist theorists, such as Liz Grosz who has influenced my thinking most deeply (she took an unknowing group of freshman in a mandatory proseminar straight to Freud, Butler, Irigaray) have also flourished from, brings me great joy, like returning to a place like home.
The virtual…what an exciting concept. A savior in many ways, a technology for thinking.
I became 13 years old again during the first year of my PhD, which I suppose then marks the age I gave birth to my surrogate avatar, who resides in my lab, eternally as an adolescent. Neither a child nor an adult, minds of this age often are propelled to mature beyond their body’s natural progression, and so much of their potential remains suppressed within heteronormative culture and histories (unheard, unsaid), bringing about the perpetuation of trauma rather than the reassemblage of kinetic power. Somu, though, is a runaway bride who finds herself at the lowest rung of society in a dynasty transitioning its belief systems. Littlebeknowst to the many who walk past her, spiritual wisdom emerges from great humility. Somu’s creative genius comes from having ears wide open for the millions of those who should-have-been as well as all those whoa re yet-to-be, together operating on the same frequency of possible diversions. As long as she’s made a companion; her energy is uncontained, her role uncoded, with her stubbornness being a trait that brings her only closer to her true desires.
I’m in the process of quite a transformative tattoo. Femme youth. The peony, the fan dance, the woman as flower. What once enraged me now brings me peace. My flower isn’t just any flower, but a chain of vines with leaves as feathers to a birds wing, knowing no fear in the path of being fully inked, but rather commitment to its significations. My attachment to adolescence, from its rage, wonder, ego, guilt, love, is difficult to let up, though I’m discovering the joy that is in having growing multiplicity in the roles one can take, enabling nonlinear notions to age and identity that feel more true to my psycho-social state. My professors, department, mentors, and peers have been much like a mythological family to me, in Olympian flair, and I have only motivation to further mature my mind, my intellectual commitments.
I write this at my desk in the cinema school, early summer musing as the semester draws near its ends. I went for a quick run after my science fiction class at the track on the way back to here. I have been thinking about my article, Somu’s Mask in the Global Village, an imaginative thickening to my work. For those of you reading, a spoiler alert is that we ultimately discover, the supposed and seriously contemplated global village is none other than a figment within the Trojan empire, a pocket of thought within a diabolical narrative, but perhaps a trip to the underworld in search of the recovery of greater virtues. At this moment it’s all quite exciting, connecting animist ontologies of mugyo to French metaphysics (could it be told through the story of Princess Bari?). That will be the next experiment.