An Inter(net)view with Sue Golding by Joanna Zylinska
Otherness Excess Sex Politics Love Spiders Dirt
‘What if we were to stop sterilising the wounds?’, asks Sue Golding in her article ‘Curiosity’, included in her uncanny anthology, The Eight Technologies of Otherness. Golding’s book, woven out of a number of insubordinate and incommensurable discourses – Ernesto Laclau on God + Jean Luc Nancy on breasts + A.R. Stone on vampires + Catherine Opie on perverts + Arthur and Marilouise Kroker on cyber-cities + Kathy Acker on missing daddies + many more – is an exploration of eight technologies
which are themselves nothing more or less than relations, ‘techniques’, or techne (in Foucault’s sense): the everyday strategies we use, wittingly or no, to make all the we-selves into me-selves. These technologies, all eight of them (curiosity, noise, cruelty, appetite, skin, nomadism, contamination and dwelling), stand, in a way, ‘on their own’; and yet are not fully resolved in and of themselves. Taken together or apart, they form a kind of spider leg to the ‘spider’ of otherness. (Sue Golding, ‘A Word of Warning’)
Refusing to account for the number of techniques she engages with (Why eight? And why technologies after all?), Golding plays with the image of impurity, a concept which realises itself in multiple – certainly more than eight – forms and disguises. Impurity here does not diagnose a condition of illness or corruption; it does not refer to a state of loss – if there has been a loss, it has been accompanied by immeasurable gains. Balancing them is not the point, since each of these techniques, woven together into the uncanny image of ‘the spider of otherness’, extends ad infinitum, transgressing the possible boundaries of decency, tradition and good taste. The emerging web is necessarily incomplete, as the moment of arrival keeps getting out of hand, turning this ‘cybernetics of the everyday’ into a space of continuous contestation and excessive labour. Developing the logic of the excess that ‘slips past the mirrored reflection of a positivity netted point-for-point against its oppositional distinction’, Golding comes up with a more playful and less restrictive version of surplus.
It is a funny sort of excess, this not-not negativity, this multiplicity of the inbetween (i.e. the negative ‘between-ness’ of the not and its other). A kind of spiralling (or, anyway, dizzing) interiority which regurgitates right outside the limit, and in that wake, constitutes it: neither/nor. Indeed, it is, precisely, a surface, or even a strategy of surfaces. (Sue Golding, ‘Curiosity’)
Interviewing Sue feels like embarking on a dizzy trip of unexpected and sometimes frustrating highs – you never know where she is going to lead you . . .