Queering the Techno Hierarchy

George Rallis

#sociology, #non, #rave,
, #subculture

Bob is a simple man. White, around 1,82, well-built, straight and an overall pretty accepting type.  The type of face you would not pick out from a witness line. He goes about his day, having his coffee, interacting with the people around him in a direct one-to-one manner. He takes the same route to his destination every day, walking, moving, proceeding. On the occasional Thursday he might switch it up and choose another one. Bob finds himself in a plethora of rooms. Waiting rooms, service desks, receptions, workspaces, entertainment hubs and every type of variable there is.
           The diffusion between Bob as a concept which you have just created and life is the subjectivation process. It’s the fact that Bob as a concept is very easy to believe. You have encountered numerous Bobs in your life, in numerous rooms. You, too, have followed streets and enjoyed coffee. However, in an ontological sense, Bob’s life is uneventful. One might say that, actually, choosing a different street makes his life somehow eventful, but on the contrary,  that “alternative” choice, as an attribute in itself, due to its consistency of “difference”, ends up being another habitually factual occurrence a.k.a. something that is expected to happen (it’s not a break from a pattern, the break in the pattern is part of the pattern). Imagine what would happen if Bob suddenly had to go to the dentist. Imagine what would happen if Bob, while in the waiting room, suddenly decided to defecate on last month’s issue of “Dentistry Today”.
       All rooms which we occupy have agreeable, unwritten politics and behavioral mannerisms we adhere to.

A classroom is for learning.
A waiting room is for waiting.

A vital part of Bob’s trajectory, though, occurs in the natural state in which he occupies rooms and diffuses his own “label” vitality in the naturalness of that said situation. Entry is a non-arguable natural state that is self-evident to their existence. Bobs are the means of substantiation which normality is built (in a social manner). The aggressive majority of cishet men navigate the world with the assumption that they can enter every room, unprovoked, unchallenged, unoccupied with thought. They have never spent one minute of their Bob-ed up life, to even think about whether rooms have politics, let alone whether those politics are informed by them and thus which way those politics include them.
           In simple English, Bob belongs in every room, as all room politics can be occupied by Bob. Do the rooms have a choice?
           There are multiple situations in a person’s life where one poses the question “How did I find myself here?”. What steps did I have to take to really face these circumstances around me as reality? Such an analogy brings to light a sense of realization that recognizes the multiple realities of the world in crises, and thus also of the individual experience, as variables which are either embodied or untapped. Through the truth verification of states of affairs in a way that can be contextualized and explained. What this thought formulation shows is that speculation can only be verified through the realization of external variables, which will eventually become embodied. In this respect the doctrine of being, non-being and thought, as the basis of philosophical thought, proposes the formation of a complete ontological discourse. However, according to Alain Badiou, humanity has departed in the doctrine of truth, following the dissolution of its relation to an organic connection to knowledge, where things just are (3). If the means of substantiation, according to Badiou, center around the subject’s perception, external stimuli would arguably affect the process one way or another since complete ontological isolation is impossible. Here is the main question: What happens if sometime, while the processual Bob-ness of behaviours we call reality and hence, Bob’s reality, is unfolding the road of Thursday is suddenly being reconstructed?
           What is an event? As J.D. Dewsbury put it in blunt terms; an event is something that happens (453). Through Badiou, however, what is recuperated as an ontological aspiration is an abstract construction of the event through representation. According to Badiou, an event can be localized through presentation, yet it is not presented solely through locality, thus making it supernumerary in presentation (187). Simply, it is not a 1:1 relationship where something just is. It is a break of the ordinary run of affairs to allow for a sort of difference that places understanding in a new ontological process. The work of post-presentation in terms of the event thus, unveils the world and experience as being fragmented, reconfigured and diverse with the subject within it. Thus, an event, in Badiou’s eyes, is something which belongs in the post-presentational field of knowledge and embodiment. How can an event “happen” then? It belongs in conceptual construction since it can only be thought by the anticipation of its abstract form since it is not an “object”, and is revealed through the volition of an interventional practice that is thought through (187). In the same respect, Quintessentially Queer (QQ for short) attempts to create a cultural intervention in the party scene to question the ontology of a party.
           A dancefloor is yet another “room” which most people occupy. I have seen a number of Bobs, welcomed on a dance-floor, occupying space, with their arms, with their energy, with their status. A dancefloor is a place where you fall in love, you dance, you befriend, you share cigarettes, you spy on your ex, you sweat, you illustrate, you share. It’s a place where our own ontologies become events in the Badiouan sense, in a post-presentational logic of embodiment. However, the Bob-ification of dancefloors is the cultural systemization which the neoliberal globalization and technofiable sharing of knowledge has done. The issue with dancefloors is that everyone wants to occupy them to celebrate and share what it is they represent in their lives. However, representation of what, represented how, why, in which means, with what volition and what is your own representation perpetuates? Who is claiming dancefloors? Who is marginalized in those dancefloors? Who is asked to play what role in those dancefloors? Are specific roles gatekept to specific identities? Are dancefloors just a “room” that everyone can make their own (regardless of the heavy referenced nuance both this statement has but also a dancefloor in itself?). A dancefloor is just a thing that borders celebration. It is what it is. The question which occurs though is that what is it that Bob represents, that so desperately needs showcasing? The even more important question is “Does Bob even know how to articulate the previous question?”.
           QQ has been conceptualized in a way where queerness in its own arbitrary ontological sense, as an identity which opposes normality, understands its on post-presentation politics and its own depth, as having a locality in displacement. It attempts to curate spaces where people occupy the multiplicity which they are since, evidently, we treat identity as an eventual process, and not as a fact. In the same way as we treat our dancefloor. Our dancefloor is political. Its basic premise is simple. This is a queer-oriented space. This is a space where it decentralizes the normalities which have saturated the dancefloors with Western colors of black leather, instagrammable aesthetics and neoliberal application of politics. There is nothing wrong with black leather. There is nothing wrong with Instagram. However, what the neoliberal “queer” agenda fails to understand is that the essence of queer politics has in its core a destabilizing and a decentralizing, even of its own application. Once queerness becomes a doctrine, it stops being queer. It goes against hierarchies. It holds itself accountable in the same manner it holds its “opposition”, even if it’s not in the same depth. Hence, what becomes through a queer ontological questioning of the queer dancefloor is an understanding of its own means.
           Difference is celebrated, definitely. However, if one is to hold a Bob to the standards which he should be rightly held on to: behave, respect, de-occupy, what is unveiled is the wish to de-hierarchize a system of power which Bob rules. That of a cis man. That of a cis white man. That of a cis white straight man. That of a cis white straight man that is also alternative and enjoys electronic music. However, the incentive behind such queer mission, should not be the re-hierarchizing of queerness. It should not be the re-hierarchizing of techno “supremacy” nor status DJ-ing. It's to hold ourselves accountable to the things we should rightly hold on to: re-behave, respect, re-occupy. What it should be doing is a letting-go into a queer-centered becoming where for once the people that are in the limelight are people which want to allow radical hospitality to occur. A hospitality that invites the Other, the Foreign, the Traveller, the “Other” Queer into a sort of welcoming of higher-energy that enables the use of sexuality and identity as the surrounding spectrum we find ourselves in. Regardless of the role we occupy in that newly-found (Techno, Queer, Gender, Alternative, Trendy etc.) ladder.
           In short, what makes a queer dancefloor quintessentially queer is its own understanding of holding accountability in a way that promotes radical empathy which can encompass the cracks and oscillations of its own movements. If one cannot move in the cracks or has been too comfortable on its plateau, it is time to dance in a way that reaches their core and not only your identity formation of surrounding variables or socio-persona. If one cannot move in the oscillations, while understanding that the people around you are on the same path, they should take a seat as the tiresome of identity, as well as this text, is understandable. This is a slow process. This is a fight against slow violence. This is a becoming that is slow, steady, radically and unapologetically queer. Hence, respect the access given to us all in this alternative embodiment which we are invited to. As respect is won though and not just given, instead of self-gratuitous performativities, the reason to join should be to create the wished safe equilibrium our own opposition allows, even if you have Bobified yourself somewhere along the way.