Queer Timeblindness + .GIF space


Volume 8, Issue 06
April 21, 2023

The calcium-rich water of my bathroom contrasts against the velvety viscosity of my foundation,
leaving its mealy and grounding residue on my hands. The sink carries away what had been my
face in blasts of liquid erosion. Looping, the colorful water, suggests an escape from an awareness of a shift in continuity. Each strike of an astringent cloth removes a layer of artifice that enhanced my recent state of bliss. The layers of color and contouring enabled me to exist in a state of aesthetic sedation, like drowning out the sound of an asteroid with bass-heavy speakers playing the distorted sound of a can of hairspray exploding.

“The state of xeno-euphoria: Time becomes stringently horizontal. Neither rising nor falling, just
sideways swelling and slimming. The body slots in, to time, finding itself stranded through itself,
through losing the form of its being in time. I have to be patient, open, present for it. Let thinking
flake off and fall away from the I.”1 - page 19, Raving

McKenzie Wark describes the condition of separation in body and awareness in her latest book,
Raving2 (2023, Duke Press). Raving offers slippery relationships to time that break from the determinist narratives projected on and within queer people. The queer psyche already developed a talent to stretch out one’s current existence into a looping compartment, some sort of timeblindness for survival. Photos in the book Raving are colorful and blurry, expected in the presence of smoke machines, sweat, and strobe lights at dawn. These are what she calls a constructed situation, or where agency “meets concrete forms that shapes its expression.” These situations allow collective states of xeno-euphoria for all the situationist queers drenched in nighttime regalia, signaling their entrance to timeblind states.

The glowing and glossy allure of the glass screen between my hands calls my finger to slide on
top of its silky polymerized surface. In a kind of twisted meditative chant my attention is gripped by the repeating and infinite cycle of quick dopamine kisses. .GIF Space is not only symbolic nuggets of media, but the scrolls they are a part of. Scrolling, doomscrolling, rewatching, reposting, are the hypnosis of the internet. It’s what makes a good techno producer: their ability to engender variety from repetition. I’m compelled to keep watching, dancing.

The allure of these psychic states is a quieting of that part of awareness that budgets the currency of temporality. Amongst this stream will be a glimmer of warmth through an in-joke,like anything Terri Joe, Kim Kardashian crying over a lost earring, or a bystander making a face.
Someone tweeting about their life falling apart uses a .GIF of a reality show girlie falling off a
table. She’s just like me. Any kind of reasonable form of introspection is made undesirable in the
recursive progression of similar moments. Feel pain? Make a joke. What we gain in time, one
that is subjective and inwardly perceived, we lose in the conviviality. We are alone together;
feelings of isolation fed by impossibly covetous imagery of white men with abs and perfect skin,
stunningly femme trans women, butches with glowing smiles, and other beautiful queers communing in real life. Our desirous isolation is compressed as data traded as a doping agent,
queer loneliness as contraband. The article A brief history of the GIF (so far) described a cinemagraph .GIF as producing, a “result is a haunting moment seemingly stuck in time that typically fetishizes a consumer good or identity.”3

It’s time for us to bid farewell to states of queer timeblindness. From the rave, from the scroll.
The girlies developed a state of temporal denial upon entering these suspended states, these .GIF Spaces, like it would never end. Back to the normative linear time, the morning time or school day. Sunless club and a glowing screen enable both healing and libidinal self-harm, a reel self in a .GIF Space.

  1. Wark, McKenzie. Raving. Duke University Press, 2023, 19. ↩︎
  2. Ibid. ↩︎
  3. Eppink, Jason. “A brief history of the GIF (so far).” Journal of visual culture 13.3 (2014): 303. ↩︎

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Volume 8, Issue 06
April 21, 2023

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