By Constantina Zavitsanos
Angela Mitropoulos is giving me so much I kind of can’t take it all. My only wish is that I got ahold of this book sooner, before it got such a hold on me—and it’s really got a hold on me from every angle without handle even. Reading this is like finding some kind of whatever was a paperclip before there was paper and getting all hot and bothered about what to even clip to. Theorizing—grounding—the contract is such a great turn to the transductive, transformative power of relating in all those interstitial spaces capitalism polices but can’t really plan for or against. About 226 years before its time and simultaneously way too late, this book arrives like a good thief who gives you what’s valuable precisely by what they take from you.
I like what Mitropoulos draws out topologically in her intro here about questions for the “interior and exterior boundaries of the wage contract” as opposed to a “system of commensurability and representation”. Right now I’m trying to think through this thing around the flow of boundaries and bond, using this form of occlusion or occultation, a coming around and a going around and sometimes even a rut or a block, but always as this primary resist. I think of this kind of figure/ground fusion when I hear that phrase resistance is primary. In watercolor painting, when you want to plan around contingency and spread in what is often called an ‘unforgiving’ medium, you first put wax down on the paper and it clings there on and under the ground or support (both painting terms for the reproductive work of the canvas or paper) such that any medium introduced later can’t go there at all. I love to read an image from the ground, a figure from the under, to be too close to see or subject. This is so often where we are in capital and it’s hard to remember sometimes that when things feel most totalizing that this too is a set, that in that outside, in that surround, there is gossip and goings-on ongoing and already been.
I don’t mean this as a metaphor though, rather a strategy or a way to look at a thing side-eyed, or periscopically, like a way to get around a corner. On a metonymic level though, the ground and the subterranean are the basic bitches that been here. And as Melissa Buzzeo once told me with my eyes shut, before I knew her name, the underground is touching the over everywhere. So after I read, Ima dig what Mitropoulos bores into on page 65-66…
Furthermore, the extraction of surplus labour is made possible by the affective registers and architecture that legitimate the implied contractualism of the oikos, in the presentation of surplus labour as obligation, indebtedness and gift through definitions of contract as a species of unbreakable covenant, in the presumption of contract as the performance of voluntary submission, reciprocity and exchange, and in the divisions of labour as the attributions of gender, race, citizenship and sexuality, that are arranged and characterised as the naturalised order of the oikos. Recurrently trinitarian in structure, political- economy’s delineations of value, exchange, and surplus value are echoed in anthropological myth and political philosophy as the three dimensions of divine power, fraternal equality, and oikos – which is to say, that which is bestowed from above and for all time, which grants the equivalence of self-possession, that is, in turn, grounded in the gift of naturalised obligation (construed as eternal, albeit subterranean).
Fuck an equal brother and the estate. No really. How can we get past this sibling rivalry to really fuck from the groundskeeping of liberation? This question for queer reproduction is a measure and meniscus on the genealogical mishap that is the queer alien baby in a mis/gendered bonnet, the root of that dis/gendered dis/abled futurity against fitness—surviving, and the communization of these liens of reproduction as vital.
This is a diagram of the video I made in response —perhaps what also structures architecture and perspectival space of the image or plane—as a drawing device and also as pictorial figuration. I want to get a bit parallactic to the corner both institutionally and physically and I am trying to think of these perspectival relations in time not just in space, through the temporal pacing of reading against an exterior soundscape that leaks inside.
The working title for this online version is intended as a call to the epistolary form and is dated with time and place (a global positioning system) for Angela Mitropoulos, who right now is really moving me deeply.
February February 22, 2014 9:52 Melbourne
Digital Video 2:45
Constantina Zavitsanos is an artist whose attends to the permeable body and its social spaces—the financialization of time; conditions of capture and the grounds of capital; fugitivity and intimacy; sex, death, debt, and debility; holes, holds, folds, breaks, contracts and contractions. http://constantinazavitsanos.com/home.html