Accepted Paper:

Living in/as im/possibility: on our response-ability to mend  


Jonnet Middleton (Lancaster University)

Paper short abstract:

Mending is im/possible in a world order in which matter doesn't matter. As ontoworker (not-artist/activist) I rehearse posthuman material worlds in the abyssal space of potential between the known possible world of the dominant order and the im/possible alternative worlds of our own (re)configuring.

Paper long abstract:

I read Barad's posthuman performativity as an activist manual for fleshy critters like us to reconfigure a world in which matter really matters. This labour, or 'ontowork', turns theories of mattering into matterings of theory. I live in/as 'ontoexperiment' practising response-ability (Barad, Haraway) in radically unthinkable material entanglements of posthuman endurance. Who attempts to perform Barad's gravity-shifting account in the world it is for, testing how response-ability materialises in concrete worlds? It's an incommensurate task to which we are all obliged to respond (Barad). I live in/as refusal of the dominant neoliberal logic, in/as im/possibility (Barad), at the threshold of knowing, being and doing (Povinelli). Who else inhabits this abyssal space of potential? It's hard for us to find each other. We must stay with the trouble together, refusing, reconfiguring, and asking 'where the hell is everyone else?' (Halberstam, Moten and Harney).

Mending performs the posthumanly 'im/possible' by reconfiguring dominant perceptions of the limits of matter. It's affirmation of how humans and their material accoutrements can be radically otherwise (Povinelli), proof of still possible material worlds (Haraway). It 'undoes the givenness' (Barad) of the dominant order in which mattering makes no sense. Mending is both a sensory unravelling of the 'sensible' dominant order (Rancière) and a material reconfiguring of the myriad troubling holes. As material activism, mending is a materialisation of response-ability to the trouble, and a possible performance of capitalism's undoing (Papadopoulos). Mending is the abyssal potential of the excess.

Panel B09
Feminist figures: crafting intersections in theory and practice