Ricardo Dominguez and Amy Sara Carroll
“Nanofabric is the new black in fashion apparel and accessories.”
—Hugo Boss, 2005
“Patenting particles makes everyone smile around here.”
—Harris & Harris Group (Nasdaq:TINY), 21 September 2005
“Think small, think really small and then think even smaller” and you almost will hit the miniscule trans-b.a.n.g.s (bits, atoms, neurons, and genes) at the core of today’s particle transvergence. There’s a rush to patent and fabricate particles, currently found in cosmetics, baby lotions, sunscreen, fabrics, paints, and inkjet paper. Industries now claim to control the vertical and horizontal axes of structures far smaller than “angels’ dancing on the head of a pin.” The sliding scale of the nano-world is one nanometer, a billionth of a meter, or about one twenty-fifth-millionth of an inch (far smaller than the world of everyday objects described by Newton’s laws of motion, but bigger than an atom or a simple molecule).
Reality raincheck: these tiny trans-b.a.n.g.s are rapidly transforming what constitutes the everyday. *particle group* seeks to data-mine transperversal tales of the global Matter Market, to re-tell and re-own them in ways that unhinge the vested interests of venture sciences’ speculative fictions. To this end, we privilege the poetic (paratactically speaking) in an attempt to slip the false binary qua dialectic of database/narrative aesthetics. Drawing upon varied traditions of performance art and poetry (including concrete poetries, visual poetry, flarf, e-poetry, more generally speaking, experimental film, Zapatista communiqués, the artivist gesture), dance, movement studies, critical theory, we think small, really small, even smaller (the pharmakon), “reason[ing] deeply to forcibly feel,” it takes one to know one profane illumination (to another).
Read: every aesthetic has its politics, too. Recalling Denise Ferreira da Silva’s rejoinder to Paul Gilroy’s interpretation of “the tragic story of Henrietta Lacks,” what Gilroy characterizes as “the passage from the ‘biopolitics of race’ to ‘nano-politics,'”1 we understand “the new black” of “nano-fabric” as itself a discursively loaded gun, where, to quote Ferreira da Silva once again, “That cancer cells do not indicate dark brown skin or flat noses can be conceived of as emancipatory only if one forgets, or minimizes, the political context within which lab materials will be collected and the benefits of biotechnological research will be distributed.”2
Contagion, indeed! The endlessly proliferating constitution of “disposability,” writ large (one cannot not inhale) and small, smaller, even smaller on the bodies of the most vulnerable (women, people of color, the poor, children, so-called sexual minorities, the disenfranchised, The Spooks Who Sat By the Door), adds fuel to the fire of the counter-core of *particle group*’s transpatentry.
1 Paul Gilroy, Against Race: Imagining Political Culture Beyond the Color Line (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2000) 20.
2 Denise Ferreira da Silva, Toward a Global Idea of Race. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. 8-9.