Recurrent Queer Imaginaries

Title: Recurrent Queer Imagainaries
Year of production: 2019 (forthcoming)
Medium: Installation

In collaboration with Helen Pritchard

:: v. Short Description ::

“Recurrent Queer Imaginaries” features queer manifestos, urban dreams and the new artificial intelligence entity – “Motto Assistant“. As a machine learner, “Motto Assistant” continuously writes mottos for revolutions, anti-facist guiding principles of living, queer love ethics, authoritarian resistances, political movements, class struggles, municipal identities, city planning, art practices, joyful engagements and violent direct action.The artwork was developed using manifestos and zines for queer and intersectional life as source text for machine learning and generative processes with neural networks. Incoherent and worm-eaten, Soon and Pritchard invite the audience to interpret a motto from “Motto Assistant” as a guiding principle of how to reorganise your collective life and fight injustices in the present.

Now, start your motto…

:: Description ::

Recurrent Queer Imaginaries is an exhibition of queer manifestos, motto writing and urban dreaming.  It features the new artificial intelligence entity from Pritchard and Soon, the “Motto Assistant”.

“Motto Assistant” is a machine learner, who continuously writes mottos for revolutions, anti-fascist guiding principles of living, queer love ethics, authoritarian resistances, political movements, class struggles, municipal identities, city planning, art practices, joyful engagements and violent direct action.”Motto Assistant” applies the mottos, as a method of questioning, revising, imagining and developing in light of historical circumstances and cultural conditions. Incoherent and worm-eaten, Soon and Pritchard invite the audience to interpret a motto from “Motto Assistant” as a guiding principle of how to reorganise your collective life and fight injustices in the present.

The exhibition takes as its starting point the histories and uses of manifestos and mottos as operational instructions/guidance for living together and organising urban space. In particular Recurrent Queer Imaginariesexplores how queer and feminist manifestos have been used to propose imaginaries for life in cities that “could be” or “could have been”. The artwork explores that when these manifestos, these words, are read together they might as Ursula K Le Guin speculates, “activate our imaginations” to rewrite living.

The artwork was developed using manifestos and zines for queer and intersectional life as source text for machine learning and generative processes. It uses recurrent neural networks to train and process sequences of collective voices, as well as the diastic algorithm to establish a poetic structure. Such a queer model opens up new imaginaries and forgotten language beyond the confines of accurate prediction and effective generalization.

As part of their process the artists took on some practices of urban dreaming, seeking out manifestos that are housed in the radical books shops and libraries in Kings Cross and Euston, places that are historically important for the queer movement.  Although sites of historic significance for queer spaces, Kings Cross and Euston are both areas that have been effected significantly by the construction and changing urban fabric of London: Queer night-time spaces have been replaced by the relentless gentrification by tech companies and start-ups.

The seed text Not for Self, but for All is used in different parts of the text generation. This seed text, which at first was mistaken for a corporate slogan, is Camden Council’s motto for their municipal identity which hangs prominently next to the Google offices in the heart of the new development of Kings Cross. Recurrent Queer Imaginaries is a call to reclaim queer spaces from corporate neocolonial imaginations, operational injustices and reimagine them differently for all, as a commitment to queer liberation. For the code see: http://siusoon.net/recurrent-queer-imaginaries/

:: Technical & Production ::

  • p5.js, js, python for machine learning with LSTM, RNN
  • Source code can be downloaded here
  • Total no of manifestos: 35, total of characters: 218, 629

:: Credits ::

  • Graphic Artist – Rafel Araujo
  • Supported by Aarhus University, Goldsmiths, University of London, EAVI, Goldsmiths Digital Studios and Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Art and Design.
  • All the manifestos as data input for machine training:
    • SURVIVAL: STRATEGY (1977) by Larry Mitchell and Ned Asta
    • Manifesto (2019) by PINKO PINKO
    • REFUGIA: MANIFESTO FOR BECOMING AUTONOMOUS ZONES (BAZ)(2002) by SUBROSA
    • 100 IMPOSSIBLE ARTWORKS (2001) by DORA GARCIA
    • FEMINIST ART ACTION BRIGADE – MANIFESTO (2003) by FEMINIST ART ACTION BRIGADE (FAAB) !
    • THE GUERRILLA GIRLS’ GUIDE TO BEHAVING BADLY (which you have to do most of the time in the world as we know it) (2010) by GUERRILLA GIRLS
    • ECOSEX MANIFESTO (2011) by ELIZABETH M. STEPHENS and ANNIE M. SPRINKLE
    • 80 : 20 (2011) by LUCIA TKACOVA and ANETTA MONA CHISA
    • Proposition for a Black Power Manifesto (1971) by Ted Joans
    • Statement on Censorship (1973) by Anita Steckel
    • Feminist Noisification of Social Media (2019) by Purple Noise
    • bitch mutant manifesto 1996 by VNS Matrix
    • Preliminary Notes for a BLACK MANIFESTO (1975–6) by Rasheed Araeen
    • The Queer Nation Manifesto, 1990 by ACT UP
    • Manifesto Against The ‘Black Code’ edict of Louis XIV, 1685 (2008) by Pélagie Gbaguidi
    • Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century (1991) by VNS Matrix
    • Migrant Manifesto (2011) by Tania Bruguera and Immigrant Movement International
    • 100 ANTI-THESES (1997) by OLD BOYS NETWORK
    • Manifesto for a Queer South Politics by Pippa Holloway, PMLA, Volume 131, Number 1, January 2016, pp. 182–186 (5)
    • Carlomusto, Jean. “Archival Praxis.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 570-570.
    • Cheang, Shu Lea . “This Is Normal.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 569.
    • Frilot, Shari. “Soulpower.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 573-574.
    • Fung, Richard. “Beyond Domestication.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 571-572.
    • Gutiérrez, Raquel. “Radical Schlock.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 572-573.
    • Hammer, Barbara. “Occupy the Dream.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 567-567.
    • Haraway, Donna, and A. Cyborg Manifesto. “Science, technology, and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century.” The cybercultures reader 291 (2000).
    • Muñoz, José Esteban. “Toward a Methexic Queer Media.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 564-564.
    • Parmar, Pratibha. “Stomp for the Shadows.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 567-567.
    • Rainer, Yvonne . “Introductory Rant in Performance of Assisted Living: Do You Have Any Money?” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 562.
    • Rich, B. Ruby. “For Heat and Light and Outrageousness.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 565-565.
    • Siegel, Marc. “Internationalist Answers to a Rented World!.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 565-566.
    • Stryker, Susan. “T Time a Queer Media Manifesto.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 571-571.
    • Tartaglia, Jerry. “A Statement of Outrage against American Assimilationists Who Practice Appeasement of Hetero Terror in the Wake of A.I.D.S. Genocide in the United States.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 559-561.
    • Tinkcom, Matthew. “It’s Called Dominant Culture for a Reason.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 563-563.
    • Wallace, Julia R., and Kai M. Green. “Tranifest: Queer Futures.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013): 568-569.

:: Exhibition Record(s) ::

  • 20 Nov 2019 – 5 Jan 2020, Exhibition Research Lab, Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Art and Design