Octavia Butler & Khairani Barokka
Thu 6 Dec, 6.30 – 8.30pm
*Mimosa House, 12 Princes Street, London W1B 2LL
Free & open to all
led by Giulia Antonioli
Following recent meetings of the Feminist Duration Reading Group on writers of experimental fiction – including by Brazilian Clarice Lispector and Korean-American Theresa Hak Kyung Cha – this session puts in conversation Octavia Butler’s cyberfeminist novel Dawn with recent poems by London-based Indonesian writer and performer Khairani Barokka.
The meeting, which is led by Giulia Antonioli, is hosted at Mimosa House Gallery. It resonates with their current exhibition “Alter Heroes Coalition” that presents a series of artworks examining the concept of identity and its construction, cultural displacement, denaturalisation and becoming other.
Considering Butler’s novels to have operated as a critical reference point for several generations of theorists of feminism and cyberfeminism, from Donna Haraway to Sadie Plant and Luciana Parisi, we examine a text from the first novel of Butler’s Xenogenesis’ trilogy, Dawn, 1987. In a world devastated by a nuclear war that left the earth uninhabitable and humanity at the edge of extinction, Butler elaborates on the idea of anti-naturalism and the implications of alien becoming and becoming alien. For the characters of her novels the necessity of surviving forces them up against and beyond the limits of what it means to be human and what happens when gender, sexuality, identity, race and kinship collapse or no longer count.
Pushing the boundaries of poetry, performance art and storytelling, Khairani Barokka’s performative poetries examine how technology challenges understandings of nature and identity. Her works look at collective care and attention as the elements of psychic life that intersect with cultural, historical, and social constructions of identity and subjectivity. Many of her works look at disrupting hierarchical structures of power and heteropatriarchal systems of white supremacy and how these structures perpetuate an ableist world. She calls to attention traverses and trespasses of, to, upon bodies, both human/female and geographical/environmental, and draws precarious lines connecting points of toxicity and “unrest” in different nation-bodies of Southeast Asia.
Together we read:
No advance reading is required as we read together, out loud, on the night.