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Mindy Seu on Testo Junkie
13 April, 2023
On the occasion of Mindy’s Cyberfeminism Index tour, the WWA editors Emilie Appercé and Jaehee Shin met with her at the Zurich University of the Arts to exchange about the evolution of her project since she launched the website in 2020 and the future of the index, which now exists in both digital and physical form. The interview was recorded and was the object of the first episode of The Author Speaks. The podcast can be listened to here. Mindy comments on ‘Testo Junkie’, one of the books she recommended in her personal Collection.
I like this book, Testo Junkie by Paul Preciado, because it’s representative of this idea of our bodies as technologies and how they are almost embodiments of social constructs that we have to reexamine and explore and in many ways change. Within the Cyber Feminism Index book, there is a lot of examples of how body modification or hormone hacking has been a part of this ethos of hacker culture. So for example, Mary Maggic’s open source estrogen, or Klau Kinky’s guide punk. These are all different modes of how we can think about not only the body as a technology, but how technologies can transform human bodies. This is a nice feedback loop unto itself, too. It is interesting because, gender is a societal construct. I just went to the Pippa Garner show at Kunsthalle Zurich today, and she writes how gender transitioning is a very 21st century idea because we didn’t have the technological or scientific tools to do this in a previous era. That made me think, what are ways that these transitions might have been able to occur in the past without tools? I think this goes more into consciousness and representation. So if your physical body doesn’t matter, then there are no prescribed notions for how you have to behave in a social construct. Maybe that removes the need to adopt an appearance. That might be reflective of a certain societal conditioning. So I think this was very interesting to me in that exhibition because Pippa Garner is also very proudly using pronouns depending on where they were in their lives. So they don’t consider it dead names. They consider it like, from these years, I was a he, and then from these years, I was a she. It feels like a tender way of reflecting on your life’s history. It’s a beautiful show. I think for me, the Testo Junkie thing is very present now, even if that was written, what, 10 plus years ago?