Article from the issue:
Polski Theatre in the Underground, Crime and Punishment. Because of the Russian Crimes that We Cannot Understand; photo: Natalia Kabanow
  • Hacking Patriarchy
  • Access Intimacy
  • Dance as Memory Machine
Read more English Issue 2023
HACKING PATRIARCHY

Hacking Patriarchy: Post-Cyberfeminism in the Work of Florentina Holzinger

The aim of the article is to analyse two performances by the Austrian choreographer Florentina Holzinger – TANZ and Ophelia’s Got Talent based on post-cyberfeminist manifestos and Paul B. Preciado’s book Testo Junkie. The artist and the researchers deal with the relationship between body and technology. Through technology they deconstruct body, sexual identity and gender. The author of the article attempts to name the research and artistic strategies used by the aforementioned authors.

Keywords: Florentina Holzinger; post-cyberfeminism; body; technology; manifesto

Florentina Holzinger/Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Ophelia’s Got Talent; photo: Nicole Marianna Wytyczak

Florentina Holzinger/Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Ophelia’s Got Talent; photo: Nicole Marianna Wytyczak

A biometallic embodiment can thus be reconceived as a literally ‘grounded’ embodiment. Deleuze and Guattari’s free-floating, liquid ‘Body without Organs’ becomes significantly less plastic with the addition of metal appendages... In increasing the body’s physical strength, metal simultaneously increases its strength of gravitational pull downward, toward the earth. (Dixon, 2007)

There are two kinds of posthumanism. The first one, practiced mainly within the academia, focuses on speculative narratives – creating visions of the future and modern societies on the basis of elements formerly considered ‘weak,’ such as care, collectiveness, polyphony and empathy. Careful observation of how technology grows into the earth’s tissue, the creation of posthuman assemblages, emergent nanocultures (cf. Haraway, 2003) and feminist technocultures (cf. Domańska, 2014). The second, closer to transhumanist practices and dominating in performance arts, revolves around the body – stripping it naked, fashioning it into a virtual object, cloning and simulating it, transforming it into a being that is more than human through implants and other improvements or impediments. The work of the Austrian choreographer Florentina Holzinger fits the second category. I am writing about a form of domination in cultural circles; the academic discourses do not necessarily avoid the hybrid body, and performative arts do make use of critical posthumanist thought. The two currents intertwine, both in academic texts and on the stage.

The Palme d’Or award for Julia Ducournau’s Titane will definitely be regarded as a watershed moment for posthumanist feminism.1 The film tells the story of a woman who gets into a cyborg pregnancy as a result of sexual intercourse with a car. As she is a serial killer wanted by the authorities, she goes into hiding by adopting the identity of a man lost many years ago. The act of hiding, also on the level of physiology, by means of binding the abdomen and breasts with bandage, allows for a precise enumeration of questions linked to the discipline and regime of the female body. Titane, as well as Holzinger’s performance, are a consequence of a yet unnamed cyberfeminist turn in performative arts and popular culture, with keywords such as ugly emancipation, subjectification through objectification, women-motorbikes/cars/helicopters (women appropriating typically ‘male’ attributes and toys), unaesthesticized women.

In Ducournau’s and Holzinger’s work bodies are abjectal. During the cyborg birth in Titane, the protagonist secretes not blood, but car oil, and in one of Holzinger’s stage works, the performer vomits a substance strangely similar to faeces (nobody removes the secretions until the end of the performance, so they become an integral element of the stage landscape). Bodies evoke disgust and their technological deformation causes a strong feeling of discomfort in the theatre and film audiences. I will examine two performances originating from Holzinger (the artist does not identify as a director), TANZ from 2020 and the most recent one, Ophelia’s Got Talent from September 2022, using the (post)cyberfeminist creed: Xenofeminism: A Politics for Isolation, the manifesto of the international labour group Laboria Cuboniks and the book Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto by the American curator Legacy Russell. I also feel an affinity to the concept of technobodies (derived from Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era, which is not a manifesto, but its political and emancipatory force prevents me from thinking about it in other categories) created by the Spanish philosopher Paul. B. Preciado, responsible for the theory of the pharmacopornographic regime, a particular section of biocapitalism. The above publications will allow me to grasp the complex relationship between the body, gender and technology in the 21st century. Using a manifesto as a methodological tool can seem experimental, but my choice was based on the necessity of finding something as radical as the visions of Holzinger, Ducournau and other queer artists aiming to hack the patriarchy by constructing hybrid cyborg identities.

The factions I have chosen: xeno-, glitch- and technocyberfeminism, are some of the many subgenres of the movement; one may also distinguish cyberfeminism 2.0, black cyberfeminism, Arab cyberfeminism, afrofuturism, hackfeministas or transhackfeminism. I consider the theories devised by Laboria Cuboniks, Legacy Russell and Paul B. Preciado as the most suitable for an analysis of Holzinger’s dance performances and her strategies of hacking the body and gender. However, before I start the discussion of the performances themselves, I will present a short history of cyberfeminism which will answer the question why the present representatives of the movement separate themselves so strongly from its founders.

The clitoris as a time machine, or the cyberfeminism of the nineties

Cyberfeminism is preoccupied with the relationship between the body and the machine, using new technologies in its fight against social exclusion and discrimination. Cyberfeminists believe that technologies had been shaping our bodies and identities long before the appearance of systems modifying the workings of the human body (both bypasses or hearing aids and devices mutating cognitive processes). However, there is a significant difference between the ideas of the pioneers and the shape of the movement today. In the nineties, the cyberfeminists glorified the female body, particularly its intimate parts. The Australian collective VNS Matrix wrote in The Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century: ‘we are the future cunt / We are the modern cunt / positive anti reason / unbounded unleashed unforgiving / we see art with our cunt we create art with our cunt /… the clitoris is a direct line to the matrix.’ Old Boys Network (OBN), a group established in Berlin, is another example of cyberfeminism growing out of second wave feminism.2 Despite its short, merely four-year-long existence, they have been able to organize the First Cyberfeminist Internationale in Kassel in 1997. In their understanding, cyberfeminism is a system for hacking the gender code (‘embodied’ in the binary metric) into which our ‘databodies,’ faces and interfaces are inscribed. They aimed at dealing not only with the ‘zeroes’ and ‘ones,’ but also the openings between the digits. They focused on the computer culture and its impact on corporeality. In 100 Antitheses they built the definition through negation – cyberfeminism is not: ideology,’ ‘error 101,’ a non-smoking area,’ ‘an empty space,’ ‘a trauma,’ ‘a fragrance,’ ‘a picnic,’ ‘science fiction,’ ‘horror’ or ‘about boring toys for boring boys.’ Interestingly – in the context of my later reflections on Holzinger – it is not abject either. Helen Hester (a member of Laboria Cuboniks) notes that this kind of antilabelling was desirable and inclusive in its time. Finally, the Woman stopped being the main bond keeping the movement together – practically everything, from membership to status, depended on individual preference, which perfectly suited the more and more popular neoliberal narrative of the liberated individualist consumer. Even though the disidentification can still seem attractive, the scholar proposes the model of ‘n hypotheses’ – speculations on what cyberfeminism could be now: ‘Xenofeminism seeks to be a mutable architecture that, like open source software, remains available for perpetual modification and enhancement following the navigational impulse of militant ethical reasoning’ (Laboria Cuboniks, 2015). This infinite number of descriptions reminds that every political project aiming at emancipation should constantly revise its obligations.

Florentina Holzinger, TANZ; photo: Eva Wuerdinger

Florentina Holzinger, TANZ; photo: Eva Wuerdinger

‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a body’ – the faces of postcyberfeminism

Postcyberfeminists call themselves the abolitionists of gender. Bodies than can be technologically expanded and modified are not – playing with the title of Judith Butler’s book – troubled by gender. By means of technology, such bodies skillfully move between the categories of male and female, constantly hacking gender. Such bodies are not only human. They integrate with technologies in many different ways, not always through direct intervention into skin tissue. It is more about a certain (virtual, technological) dismemberment, a constant subversion of the permanence of the body and sexual identity. For Preciado it will be the hormones (the writer conducts endocrinological experiments on his body and proposes using testosterone as a contraceptive, which – as he notes – could help women remain in heterosexual market for longer).3 Xenofeminists advocate appropriating and intercepting platforms earlier used to marginalize minority groups and deepen social inequalities: ‘There are incessantly proliferating tools to be annexed, and although no one can claim their comprehensive accessibility, digital tools have never been more widely available or more sensitive to appropriation than they are today’ (Laboria Cuboniks, 2015). Russell recommends fighting against the still active narrative about the Internet as an alternative reality, an ‘esoteric’ sphere which allows one to escape from real problems. On the contrary – accepting both dimensions, the virtual and the non-virtual (the scholar refers to the opposite of the virtual by means of the slang abbreviation AFK – away from keyboard; interestingly, she identifies the virtual with the act of writing, maybe even creating knowledge and subjectivity) could help dematerialize the body, which could thus stop being treated as a socio-cultural and political tool: ‘Feminist writer and activist Simone de Beauvoir is famous for positing “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” The glitch posits: One is not born, but rather becomes, a body’ (Russell, 2020).

The techno, glitch and xeno visions have as many common points as they have differences. The above-mentioned scholars are interested in the entanglement between the body and technology, but their descriptions of this relationship vary, as each of them understands it differently and sees different potentials for revolution and risks of catastrophe. What I see as significant in all three projects are their praise of error (visible in the strategies of hacking or introducing errors in quoting gender norms), noticing the strength in alienation (conceiving it as a force for resistance) and glorification of abjectivization,4 which serves to free the body of conventions, systems, binary narratives (I also see these features in Holzinger’s work). For the present article I have prepared a glossary table, a toolbox of sorts that can be referred to in the course of reading.

  Laboria Cuboniks Legacy Russell Paul B. Preciado
Error Xenofeminists claim that no machinery is so permanent that it could not be examined by means of science and manipulated by means of technology. Everything can be tinkered with and hacked, disassembled and constructed anew. Subversion through digital remixing. Dismantling gender by means of virtual tools. Strategies of nonperformance and refusal. ‘As glitch feminists, we inject our positive irregularities into these systems as errata, activating new architecture through these malfunctions, seeking out and celebrating the slipperiness of gender...’. Getting hormones from the black market. Work on an archive: appropriation, moving that which had long been hidden into the light. A suggestion to make one’s own body and sexuality a living archive.
Alienation Xenofeminists treat the strategy of alienation in an emergent way – as an ‘impetus to generate new worlds’ A political project: ghosting the body. Virtual extension of the body (the concept of cosmic bodies). Creating valid virtual identities – avatars.

Alienation of heterosexuality: changing the language, moving it to the margins, seeing the category as ‘one

body aesthetic among many others, a retro reproductive style’.

Abject - abjectalization XF is a refuge for persons who, at any point in their past, have been called ‘unnatural’ in relation to applicable norms. Xenofeminists enumerate trans and queer persons, persons with disabilities, those discriminated due to pregnancy or duties linked to child care. The scholar notes that Black bodies are expected to take up less space. They are to be visible, but not heard. They are systematically removed, edited, ignored. If the Internet were to become a queer utopia, it would be able to hold all the bodies, those excluded because of race, class, gender and orientation. It is Preciado’s trans-body itself that becomes an abject, being an endocrinological experiment, not identifying as female or male, sweating due to the surplus of testosterone. Preciado calls his work ‘body-essays’ due to the symbiotic mixture of discourse with autobiographic inserts, often related to his sexual experiences.

TANZ

After Recovery and Apollon, TANZ serves as the closure of a performative trilogy devoted to the regime of the body. It is a plotless event in which the creators filter the male and pornographic gazes through a critical apparatus. They participate in an unsettlingly sexual ballet lesson conducted by an 80-year-old former dancer (Beatrice Cordua), the first person in the history of dance to perform in The Rite of Spring without any clothes. The teacher moves them through the subsequent positions, and the transition to the next exercise is signalled by taking off another article of clothing, until complete nudity. The performance is a pastiche of romantic ballet, emphasizing the artificiality of this kind of spectacle. It is lampooned as an object of pure perversion, serving to fulfil male pleasure. The identity of the ballerina is situated between the penis and the fetish:

She looks like but isn’t a penis. Her legs, her whole body become pumped up and hard yet always remain supple... She never twists or contracts. Her sudden changes of direction and shifts of weight, always erect, resemble the penis’s happy mind of its own, its inexplicable interest in negligible incidents. Yet, clearly, she is not a penis; she is a woman whose leg movements symbolize those of a penis. (Foster, 1996)

The performers are women more or less linked with various dance theatres from all over Europe, but their bodies differ from the canon. Female bodies that are muscular, covered with tattoos, short or subjected to mastectomy, interrogate the essence of beauty, aestheticism and discipline – all elements of the ballet stage. In my interpretation, these bodies, not only different, but also fused with technological tissue, are technobodies created in the course of the performance:

The body is not passive living matter but a techno-organic interface, a technoliving system segmented and territorialized by different (textual, data-processing, biochemical) political technologies (Preciado, 2013)

Nude bodies naturally merge with metal, not in the sense of a prosthesis or implant, but in a harmonious coexistence. Two motorbikes are suspended above the stage. Initially covered with white sheets, they are revealed as the performance progresses. The dancers levitate in the air, clad in leather and metal, going on a symbolic journey towards technological emancipation in a postcyberfeminist spirit. Almost all of Holzinger’s performances feature vehicles – cars, motorcycles and even a helicopter in the most recent production. The technology built into the stage world reminds of the more and more popular slogan ‘technology is the new nature’ or, in a milder version, of the blurring of boundaries between the organic and inorganic, culture and nature.

The performers construct subjectivities based on progressive sexual politics. They blur the boundaries between the male and the female, teaching the viewers to experience the undressed body (which, despite the pornographic frame, is not erotic in nature). The actresses objectify themselves, tolerating the sexual, and sometimes even misogynistic remarks from Cordua, who constantly emphasizes the loftiness of the moment and her own affectiveness, particularly her physiological excitement. Initially she only remarks on the position of the body and the proper mechanics of motion, but in time she starts to exploit her position of power, verbally molesting the performers, patting their buttocks and performing ‘pussy inspections.’ This is an example of a subversive strategy, because on the one hand the male gaze is embodied by an eighty-year-old woman, long removed by society from the reproductive and social circulation (Preciado calls it the heterosexual market.)5 On the other hand, the performance is built in a strongly abjectal tone – the stage is filled with fluids, secretions, vomit, blood and urine. The beautiful, lofty, romantic image that should be conveyed by a ballet performance is constantly hacked by mismatched elements that can be performative, such as a ‘witch’ masturbating with a vacuum cleaner telescopic tube, or parts of the stage design: a bong lying on the sidelines, a huge red gaming chair, as well as the motorcycles hanging from the scaffolding.

Reflection on beauty is accompanied by experiments on the body. The fusion with metal happens literally, through intervention into skin tissue – one of the dancers is hanging by her skin, like Stelarc several decades ago, and another one by her hair. These ‘levitations’ happen simultaneously, and are significantly accompanied by the song Crazy Frog. Despite the irony and the spectacle, the experience is painful for the viewers. I feared for the condition of the performers, feeling complicit in what was happening on the stage.

Midway through the performance, there is a sudden interruption in the form of microparticipation. Holzinger enters the stage, holding a black bucket. She commends the courage and stubbornness of Polish citizens in their fight for reproductive rights against an ultra-conservative government, tells about the structure of Romantic ballet and ways in which it is deconstructed in the performance (in her performances, Holzinger often plays the role of a mother/guide showing the ins and outs of the world of the dance), asks for donations for the activist action she started, consisting in planting trees in Austria. In a way, the artist performs ecological blackmail – the performance will not continue until somebody gives a symbolic coin. A man from the first row starts a dialogue with Holzinger, drops twenty euros into the bucket and the dancers return to the technoperformance as if nothing happened.6

Florentina Holzinger/Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Ophelia’s Got Talent; photo: Nicole Marianna Wytyczak

Florentina Holzinger/Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Ophelia’s Got Talent; photo: Nicole Marianna Wytyczak

Ophelia’s Got Talent

The title refers to the international TV talent show which has more than sixty local versions (in Poland it has been aired on the TVN channel since 2008). A three-member jury judges performances of people in several age categories, preceded by short conversations with the announcers, meant to build an affective reaction towards the participants in the audience. In the Berlin performance there is a single announcer who arrives at the Volksbühne in a helicopter – two screens at the sides of the stage show the female Captain Hook (Annina Machaz) in the cockpit. Wearing only a linen shirt, she ‘parachutes’ and lands in front of the theatre building. A moment later, an exclusive black car arrives with the jurors, who are of course naked. The talent show starts with Sophie Duncan, a performer at the prestigious Cirque du Soleil. Her performance is interrupted for being ‘too beautiful’ – like in TANZ, beauty is marginalized as an outdated, inauthentic aesthetic. The next performer showing her unique abilities is the professional sword swallower Fibi Eyewalker. She swallows blades of different length and size, finally putting an endoscope in her mouth and performing a gastroscopy on herself. Initially, the diagnostic image shows her mouth and esophagus – a blue fluid she drank a moment before is trickling down its walls. Then the image becomes distorted and hacked, and her digestive tract is populated with floating blue cartoon fish. The sword swallower’s performance is repulsive, but also fascinating due to its weirdness and atypicality. This is how William Miller wrote about the ambivalence of repulsion-abjection in Anatomy of Disgust:

And even as the disgusting repels, it rarely does so without also capturing our attention. It imposes itself upon us. We find it hard not to sneak a second look or, less voluntarily, we find our eyes doing ‘double-takes’ at the very things that disgust us. (1998)

In The Cultural Politics of Emotion Sara Ahmed compares the object created as a result of disgust with a liminal object or a sexual fetish (2005). It is not only the emaciated, flexible body of a ballerina that can become the object of perversion, but also something apparently repulsive.

The performance revolves around motifs and archetypes linked to rivers, seas and oceans – everything that can be linked to water. It features a sailor’s dance, a hydraulic striptease performed by a person of short stature (which also is a subversive-hacking strategy), the drowning of Ophelia, Leda’s herstory, diving, a storm, a fountain, sirens, harpies, trout, sharks and many other elements of this kind. Before the performance, the interested viewers could get dictionaries printed on pink paper, meant to help in navigating through the thicket of meanings. Even though the verbal sphere is much more elaborate in comparison to TANZ, and it uses almost poetic German and English, I think the performance can be easily understood without knowledge of these languages, due to its humorous use of symbols. And, above all, because water serves to liberate the bodies from regimes and conventions, though in a slightly different way than in Holzinger’s other performances. Ophelia is closer to hydrofeminism (cf. Neimanis, 2012) than cyberfemism, but also here the body is directly fused with metal, during the erotic, acrobatic dance on and with the helicopter. This scene reminded me of the famous article by the American culture critic Vivan Sobchak, Beating the Meat/Surviving the Text, or How to Get Out of this Century Alive, in which she shared her personal experience of becoming a cyborg body by getting a prosthesis as a result of an operation removing a cancer growth and amputating her leg. She writes about the ambivalence accompanying her technological transformation, but also emphasizes the eroticism of her ‘new’ identity:

I have also become a ‘lean, mean machine.’ The truth of the matter is that I feel more, not less attractive than I used to. Hard body (however partial) that I am, I feel more erotically distracting and distracted than I have in years (1995).

The choreography of bodies, diverse in terms of both color and perspective, made me think about the functioning of the female body in the patriarchal public sphere and how it is limited in comparison to the male body. The performers’ bodies can be viewed (or rather peeped at, due to the nudity) in every possible variation, position and arrangement. Holzinger attempts to remove the taboo surrounding actions considered to be unaesthetic, undesirable, vulgar – all abject activities linked to bodily secretions. It goes from motions derived from dance and acrobatics to the everyday choreography of every human being. Because of that, every performance can be seen as an extreme, empirical anatomy lesson. The body becomes an object of research, exploration performed by the viewers, a stage exhibit – for a moment it objectifies itself, in order to become liberated from gender identification.

The stage design consists of three containers filled with water, each of a different size and depth. A huge fish tank standing on a pedestal occupies the back of the stage, a shallow sports pool with lanes stands in the middle, and a construction similar in shape and size to a phone booth is placed in the right corner. In the distance, there are musical instruments – two harps and a cello. Initially this landscape is ordered, strikingly clean and sterile. As the performance progresses, it turns into a dirty, chaotic, almost apocalyptic image. The transparent water turns red with artificial blood, plastic bottles fall from the ceiling, referring to the incoming climate catastrophe, and the stage is littered with microphones, clothes and accessories. In this frightening, but also spectacular mess, children will perform the dance of the last generation living on Earth.

Viewers who have seen TANZ at the New Theatre in Warsaw during the New Europe Festival in the autumn of 2021 could be surprised or even shocked hearing about Holzinger’s work with children. The vision of children running among naked performers smeared with artificial blood seems impossible to realize in contemporary Polish institutional theatre. The children were included because the performance is mostly participative (it should also be added that the girls did not take part in the extreme scenes, featuring real blood, or in sexual sequences).

Ophelia features more queer bodies than TANZ. The performers include a person of short stature, a person with trisomy 21, non-white persons, as well as pierced and tattooed persons (the presence of such bodies on traditional dance stages is sometimes still controversial). Non-normative bodies appear on the same terms as those conforming to the canon. Furthermore, giving the stage to the youngest performers is a strong political gesture. On the one hand, it objectifies them, but on the other it shows that what we give to the generations following us is a world full of terror, woven out of plastic and violence towards the human and non-human.

In the performance, participation works on many levels, not only in the representation of minorities I described above, but also in the direct call for participation addressed to the audience. It happens twice – the first person’s task is to jump into the pool in their underwear (Captain Hook tries to ‘bribe’ the audience, offering a backstage selfie with the team), and the second will leave the performance with an anchor tattooed on their belly. Furthermore, the frame of television entertainment identifies the viewers as television audiences, who treat such bitter, deadly scenarios as their bread and butter. In Ophelia, the performers risk not only their health, but also their lives. The last performance of the talent show, which I intentionally omitted at the beginning, is the Harry Houdini’s famous trick, an attempt to free oneself from chains under water. It is repeated by Netti Nüganen, an Estonian actress and performer, who regularly collaborates with Holzinger. The last element she has to get rid of is a metal collar. When this proves too difficult and she makes gestures indicating suffocation, the performer accompanying her drops the camera and Holzinger jumps into the water, coming to the rescue. Even though the following scene and the whole performance suggest that the drowning has been faked, the silence caused by the scene (resulting from the conviction that somebody is actually dying as we watch) emphasizes the gravity of the situation.

Some techno-hope – a conclusion

Who, apart from Milo Rau, writes theatre manifestos in the 21st century? It would seem that the manifesto is a dead form. Between two subsequent ends of the world, we tend towards two extremes – narratives that are catastrophic or utopian. Somewhere on the way to a new way of posthumanist writing about the world (or rather with the world) he lost the sense of agency and revolution. The present generation of postcyberfeminists shows that this genre also deserves constant updates. The manifesto can adapt to the technoreality we function in without too much difficulty, as long as it is speculative in nature. X never equals x, but is a possibility of x. Not a negation, but a variable, fluid and related to the human and non-human, particularly the technological non-human.

The work of artists such as Holzinger or Julia Ducournau, mentioned at the beginning of the article (to show the broader phenomenon of the transfer of postcyberfeminist ideas to the performative arts, and sometimes even to mainstream culture) gives hope for a shift in the relationship with technology. The research and artistic strategies described here: alienation, abjectification and hacking, are capable of deconstructing the body and gender, and subverting binarism, still inviolable in some circles. The nude body of the performer in Holzinger’s performances is both a tool for deconstruction and a subject in itself. Initially the Austrian choreographer performed in costumes, and the decision to undress completely was a consequence of her development and the creation of a consistent artistic idea. How did she benefit from the nudity? I have not found any specific information in the interviews, critical texts and reviews; as a dance researcher I can only speculate about the benefits and dangers of undressing (at this stage of research I see no examples of the latter). Firstly, the naked body, even though it is never culturally ‘clean’, because, as Preciado wrote, it is a ‘system territorialized by different political technologies’, can become such for the duration of the performance. A body that can be written on; one that eludes all gender identification, because it is one of the many elements of the stage. A body-object, a stage exhibit, can be hacked, abjectified and alienated much more freely than a real body. Such an objectified body loses its gender and can easily form hybrid non-human identities; it transforms and adapts like a chameleon. Secondly, on the political and participatory level it familiarizes with the non-normative body, which is erased in culture, or, to use language more in tune with the digital domain, ‘edited’ (as Russell wrote about Black bodies) or represented as different, worse or uglier. In TANZ and Ophelia’s Got Talent is not distinguished in any way, because all bodies – queer or not – are abjectified. Why is it then that I decided to read Florentina Holzinger’s work through the focus of postcyberfeminism, and not disgust or abjection? I consider postcyberfeminism as a theory included in the critical philosophical project of posthumanism. Renewed reflection on the boundaries of humanity and the human, the functioning of humans in the ecosystem and their dependence on other organisms – human and non-human, including machines and technological apparatus – seems to me particularly important in the context of climate change. A shift in perception and a growing sensitivity to all that does not fit the category of humanity should not be just another trend in performative arts and a transient methodology, but a paradigm shift in thinking, creativity and production of knowledge. Binarism is a thing of the past. As Preciado writes, following Donna Haraway: ‘…the twenty-first-century body is a technoliving system, the result of an irreversible implosion of modern binaries (female/male, animal/human, nature/culture)’ (2013, p. 44).

 

Translated by Paweł Schreiber

Niniejsza publikacja została sfinansowana ze środków Wydziału Polonistyki w ramach Programu Strategicznego Inicjatywa Doskonałości w Uniwersytecie Jagiellońskim.

This publication was financed by the Faculty of Polish Studies as part of Strategic Programme Excellence Initiative at Jagiellonian University.

A Polish-language version of the article was originally published in Didaskalia. Gazeta Teatralna 2023, no. 177, DOI: 10.34762/t7xy-6v57.