Friday, March 11, 2011

Tracie Morris, "Love in 2010" [L1]

Morris, Tracie. “Love in 2010.” Sexualities and Politics in the Americas. Spec. issue of e-misférica 2.2 (2005): n. pag. Web. 9 Dec. 2010. Real Audio file. (L1)

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Morris performs the erotic body in this performance in such a seductive, sensual way that I often find myself unconsciously recalling the movement and incantation of her words. At first this seemed to occur at the strangest times. I've noticed myself reciting the opening stanza—with Morris' cadence and tone, no less—while I was running, while I was on the waking edge of sleep, while I was sitting at my desk, doing some tedious editorial task or another.

But I looked closer and noticed (or theorized) a connection: at each moment of recall, my conscious mind was empty enough that my physical desires and rhythms surfaced in a re-performance of Morris' poem. Running always clears my head and makes my body scream. In the moments just before and at waking, the body seems to spoon into the cavity usually filled by consciousness. And the editorial work I sometimes do is tedious and repetitive enough to numb the mind; and with the sieve of conscious thought out of the way, the body can feel and express itself more deeply. So it seems that Morris' voice has somehow slipped into bed with my physical desires and rhythms. And while for the most part I consider this engagement with the body healthy, even sacramental, it can also be manipulated for others' gain and to our detriment, something that can lead to a "dystopia of desire."

This seems to be in line with the poem's performed content: as I read/view it, Morris is both physically and textually taking up the (female) body objectified in its transient, passive relationship with a viewer who actively clicks a hyperlink that leads to a highly sensuous image (whether it's pornographic, from Hollywood, or an advertisement) that then flickers on the screen, seducing the viewer into another clicked link and another flickering image, and so on. In this highly sensual and consumption-based process, the images slip beneath the conscious mind and manipulate the body's desires and rhythms, which then spur us to further consumption. In my mind, Morris' performance thus gets its point across quite effectively.