Beatriz Preciado. Somatheque. Presentation of the Critical Practices Program

12 april, 2012 - 7:30 p.m.
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 400
Organized by
Museo Reina Sofía con la colaboración de la Fundación Banco Santander

Queer studies and identity politics are more than the configuration of a body of academic theory; they seek, as a final objective, to reintegrate the political notion of a multiple and irreducible subjectivity into a single affective and identitary canon.

This lecture is the beginning of Somatheque's public activity. Biopolitical production, feminisms, queer practices, in a studies program guided by the theorist and essayist Beatriz Preciado. This program proposes the Museum as a place from which to reformulate a public sphere no longer based on a consensual and universal opinion, in the Enlightened style, but rather on the clash between audiences and counter-audiences which the Museum, as residue of the public sphere, promotes, hosts and encourages. The Critical Practices Program begins as a space for learning about and investigating a critical theory capable of intervening as much in the contemporary sphere as in subject formation, not through the accumulation of knowledge but rather by taking a new approach to the subject's identity and position with regard to the reality of the contemporary world.

This lecture kicks off the public activity of the program S omatheque. Biopolitical production, feminisms, queer and trans practices , within the Program for Advanced Studies in Critical Practices, which in turn is part of the activity of the Museo Reina Sofía Study Centre.  Somatheque , along with  Metropolis. Urban crisis, peripheries and activist research  takes place in April, May and June, and is complemented by a range of public activities. This first session of  Somatheque. Biopolitical production, feminisms, queer and trans practices  explores the changes in the governmental methods of body production and of sexual difference that took place after World War II, with the transformation of war techniques into techniques of somatic production and communication. Here we will analyse the emergence of the computerized body model, the invention of “hormones” as the operator of sexual identity, the appearance of the medical-psychiatric notion of “gender”, the chemical separation between heterosexuality and reproduction, the invention of the early techniques in transexuality and intersexual body management, and the transformation of pornography in popular culture. The idea is not just to outline a grammar of domination, but also, and most importantly, to understand how sexual and somatic minorities - whose status as humans and condition as citizens have been questioned - can create what the feminist Chela Sandoval might call oppositional technologies of power, capable of creating forms of collective agency that resist control and normalization.

Beatriz Preciado , is a queer theorist and professor of the Political History of the Body, Gender Theory and the History of Performance Art at Université de Paris VIII, and is also the author of important essays such as  Counter-sexual Manifesto  (2002), Testo Junkie (2008) and  Pornotopia. Architecture and Sexuality in Playboy during the Cold War  (2010, Anagrama essay award finalist).