Inscription of the Girly Man (2005)

In the installation, Inscription of the Girly Man, a computer-controlled apparatus carves on 150-pound blocks of concrete with a hammer drill. As the drill moves across the blocks' surfaces, it traces out the words 'girly man.

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In the installation, Inscription of the Girly Man, a computer-controlled apparatus carves on 150-pound blocks of concrete with a hammer drill. As the drill moves across the blocks' surfaces, it traces out the words �girly man.�

There is a language of machines. While we may not know we know it, we do. It is our language too. Our sensitivity to the mechanical gesture confirms our affinities with the inanimate. We are the becoming thing of animality. ...

This machinic will is somehow responsible for not only the end of the juridical regime of which it is the center, but for the alteration of language: its instrumentalization. It takes, it seems, the presence of a machine to effect this cruel transformation. While the working of the machine on the body of the condemned models the direct transformation of people by technical activity, the sheer presence of the machine, the mere witness of its operations, has transformative properties as well. There is a contagion of automatic functioning that extends from the machine to those in its attendance.

Inscription is an exploration of the aesthetics of power in relation to the task of writing. Here, in a time when the neo-fascist spirit is casting a shadow across the political culture, and when the possibility of meaningful political discourse seems more and more remote because of it, there is a relationship between the wealth of violence�war, images of brutality�and the poverty of our communications. There is a relationship between the denigration of thoughtfulness as weakness, femininity, and gayness, and the impossibility of halting the campaign of aggression that the U.S. has embarked on, or of furthering stalled progress in the domain of civil rights or economic justice.

Schwarzenegger's moronically effective hypermasculine politics has made a figure of perverted masculinity a rallying cry of the right: girly-man, that blatantly homophobic and misogynistic epithet. In the conservative imaginary, doubt, intellectualism�or even a willingness to change and reconsider past deeds and decisions�are immediately suspect. There is no consciousness of the offence commited by casting the insulted traits in the feminine.

In this context, Inscription triangulates the relationship between body and language as evidenced in the perspectives of Kafka, Foucault, and Schwarzenegger�between literature, philosophy, and politics, between mind, machine, and human, between poetry, art, and architecture.

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