Gay Bombs / Sketches / Part 1

1 Getting Started

When the US military attempted to pursue the creation of a gay bomb, homosexuality became a subjugated weapon of the state. Homosexuality existed as the strategy to defeat the enemy. The gay bomb would be a bomb of shame—what the military called a “‘distasteful but completely non-lethal’ blow to morale.”[1] The gay bomb shames the enemy, producing in its victims the very condition of capitulation that allows US military conquest (this condition the state refers to as “homosexuality”). The US military has defined homosexuality as so abject that engaging in these acts will even bring combatants of war to their knees willfully surrendering. The gay bomb reveals a more complex positioning of the homosexual within US government standards and regulations: the homosexual is the terrorist; the homosexual defeats oneself through moral bankruptcy. Each homosexual is a living gay bomb, a time bomb, an almost-detonated suicide bomb.

The initialization of the gay bomb generates a complex dialectic of homosexual existence and agency. First, as the gay bomb produces the homosexual not as target but as target-already-hit, a larger socio-political war emerges with the homosexual marked as Other. The state interpellates the homosexual as helpless, perverted enemy unable to control inevitable defeat: the homosexual unworthy of society; the homosexual as already blown up. Second, the state reabsorbs elements of conservative homosexual culture to allude its (ab)use of homosexuality-in-general. Homonationalists[2], as defined by Jasbir Puar, assume that by aligning with a conservative nationalist agenda homosexuality is excused by patriotism—and mainstream culture does nothing but reinforce this assumption, spinning out re-runs of Will and Grace for the whole family and ads with men swaddled in American flags. Yet, no one escapes the gay bomb when detonated—impact, explosion, implosion. Every homosexual pays the price of the enemy. This dialectic of homosexuality as defiled Other and welcomed nationalist builds the very materials that hold the gay bomb intact with little or no questioning. The gay bomb suspends the homosexual in a feedback loop: the homosexual supports and builds the bomb, and the homosexual is blown up by the bomb.

Gay Bombs are not gay bombs. Gay Bombs explode, implode, attack, malfunction, perhaps kill—but their materiality exceeds the configurations of any tactical bomb of warfare and detonation. Gay Bombs produce a strategy that posits the queer as the bomb itself, that is, Gay Bombs ultimately follow the logic of the queer (as separate from the already exploded homosexual) and not the military. As Galloway and Thacker write, “the best way to fight an enemy is to become a better enemy.”[3] Gay Bombs constitute an architectural topology of strategy and survival for homosexuals that operate as a bomb against the gay bomb. Gay Bombs are queer bombs. Gay Bombs are configured as a queer politics. Gay Bombs and gay bombs diverge in numerous ways but what unites them in common is existence as weapon. Use this manual as a weapon.

Here, in this manual, Gay Bombs are outlined, explaining a “how to” of queer political action through the understanding, use, and distribution of queer technologies.

Use this manual for queer community building and world-making (networks). Use this manual for developing queer technologies. Use this manual for constructing a new queer politics of war.

If war is technological, perpetual, and networked, queer networks can provide interstices—places of difference that unite queer activists, intellectuals, and artists in technological agency. The gay bomb detonates a regulatory standard for homosexuality. Gay Bombs is a strategy that blows up this standard with the hopes of re-wiring a non-standard of queerness. Gay Bombs explode into interstices of infinite mutation.

Where to Find Information

Gay Bombs is a product of Queer Technologies. Queer Technologies operates at the intersections of consumerism, activism, and art, existing simultaneously as company, activist group, and art collective. Visit us at for more information on our line of products and lifestyle solutions.

Queer Technologies offers:

      --biopolitical support

      --temporary autonomous zones

      --electronic civil disobedience packages

      --viral infection plans

      --anti-language workshops

      --shop dropping strategies

      --component theory classes

      --quasi-object consultation and fabrication

Disidentifying with Technology

After Alan Turing, it appears that technological standards determine the human condition. The reinscription of binary logic onto Turing’s body resulted in his death—another suicide bomb, another gay bomb. Technology binds life to the rhetoric of militaristic desire and corporate capital: technology is here to make our lives better for the greater good of society and to protect us from everything bad. Technological standards box us into a life capital wants us live. A life of hyper-consumption predicated on the need for always newer technologies. A life of heteronormative networked power, where Steve Jobs is the smiling (white, heterosexual, capitalist) face behind a company that “thinks different.” A life of imported family photos and children’s 1st birthday parties (literally, iLife). Importantly, a life where possibilities and decisions are made by a heteronormative elite before the queer user ever turns the computer on. Nothing on the computer is ever user-friendly.

Disidentifying with technology is an exploit. In Munoz’s own words: “Disidentifications is meant to be descriptive of the survival strategies the minority subject practices in order to negotiate a phobic majoritarian public sphere that continuously elides or punishes the existence of subjects who do not conform to the phantasm of normative citizenship.”[4] Disidentifying with technology cuts open interstices that form the groundwork of queer technologies.

          System Requirements

If queerness has been historically and culturally excluded from technologies as exceptions or errors, codes must be rewritten. The disconnect between queerness and technology is a disconnection. Technology—always already cultural, always already gendered—is male or female, hole or pin, zero or one. The universal discrete machine is a mistake. There are no life universals.

The disidentifying subject must find ways to connect to technology. Disidentification recycles and rethinks encoded meaning. “Disidentifications is a step further than cracking open the code of the majority; it proceeds to use this code as raw material for representing a disempowered politics or positionality that has been rendered unthinkable by the dominant culture.”[5]

We can think of disidentifying as a hacker strategy. If possibilities are determined by technical standards, then a locus of power must reside within programmed hardware. The queer who disidentifies with technology locates this power within hardware as code, rewrites / hacks / infects / mutates this code, and recodes the entire technological apparatus as a result. We must think of coding here at the technical level and beyond: computer codes, language codes, cultural codes, political codes, biological codes, commercial codes. While the disidentifying subject may recode technology only at the technical level, this act still produces, reveals, generates codes of disidentification in all spheres a given technology resides (hence, life-in-general). This act of exploiting, hacking, disidentifying flows in multiple directionalities, for disidentifications do not exist as an absolute Other outside of the normative public sphere but work within and outside simultaneously. Disidentifying with technology spirals into all facets of life and therefore becomes a biopolitical tactic. Disidentifying is a survival strategy.


Disidentifying with technology is its own machine. It computes all technological artifacts as quasi-objects that are encoded culturally and technically. Running the machine does not produce but instead scans. Locate the point / peak of disconnection and exploit it. The machine installs possibilities of difference within the existent. Disidentify, recode, recirculate. The Disidentifying Machine builds the primary components of the struggle (war) for queer technological agency.

What are Queer Technologies?

The above query will not be answered. Simply, Queer Technologies could be defined as political tools for queer technical agency, but this definition erases the complexities of the disidentifying subject’s relationships to technologies. This question ultimately offers examples—possibilities—with no ontological grounding. Queer Technologies will never be ontologically grounded. Perhaps a statement by Deleuze is what we must keep in mind: “Technology is social before it is technical.”[6]

As life becomes further infused with technology at every level of existence, formations of body and identity bear the mark of technological networks, systems, and machines. Specifically, biological / technological intersections have formed not only new representations and expressions of gender and sexuality but have also created them. To borrow a concept from Judith Halberstam, “mutual mutation” is the constant process that unites space, flesh, and technology in a “technotopic vision.”[7]

As technology precariously balances between corporate power structures and subcultural activism, how are we being marked / signified / erased? If, historically and traditionally, technological progress has been rooted in heteronormative discourse, are all bodies bound to heterosexual control and ideology? If not, how do marginalized bodies react to / resist these power paradigms and reconfigure them? These are the questions that Queer Technologies must ask.

The discourse of queer theory operates as a rhetoric of freedom for those positioned outside of heteronormative configurations. Queer theory moves beyond discourses of sexuality and gender to approach larger “way[s] of life . . . strange temporalities, imaginative life schedules, and eccentric economic practices.”[8]

Nicolas Bourriaud echoes the “aesthetic” of this work through his explanation of the “social interstice”: appropriating the Marxist use of the term in trading communities, the interstice—within Bourriaud’s philosophy of relational aesthetics—“is a space in human relations which fits more or less harmoniously and openly into the overall system, but suggests other trading possibilities than those in effect within this system.”[9] Within a queer discourse, the interstice can manifest in various modes: at the site of the body; within the materiality of an object; and in the use and execution of language. Queer Technologies address how queers and queerness mutate technology to create social interstices for connectivity and communication.

          System Configurations

As an opening—an interstice—the practices of disidentification mutate new freedoms and lines of flight. If Deleuze has defined our time as a control society—a modulation that is a transmutation, “continually changing from one moment to the next [. . .] one point [dot] to another,” disidentifications interfere with this “universal transmutation.”[10] Its exploitative strategy allows codes of control to not compile and execute.

As ideas flow like data through cables, it is who intercepts and mutates information that has the possibility to make change. As queer bodies intercept and struggle with control codes, everything becomes automated. Deleuze writes, “in control societies you never finish anything”[11]—everything is processual and automated for mutation. In constant transmutation with technological codes of power, gender is revealed as a technology and technology as gendered. Queer Technologies can provide both new and hacked passwords to free the most perverse of possibilities that contemporary control societies desperately want secured and encrypted.

If “people are lines”[12] and queer technological practice “is a dot on a line,”[13] then, as more dots are generated, mutations and pathways of flight emerge from the structure of the line, producing “an open, flexible array of total possibilities.”[14]

Queer Technologies search for a password to the sublime of destruction—to be specific, destroying heteronormative, heterosexist technological control, so that one may find endless possibilities for the question—What is queer technology?

Component Theory, or Disidentifying with Theory

Galloway and Thacker write, “Today, to write theory means writing code.”[15] Any investigation of queerness and technology requires divergent approaches that include an amalgamation of technical and theoretical knowledge: critical theory, political theory, media theory, queer theory, science studies in collaboration with digital logic, computer programming, electronics, design software, operating systems—a potentially never-ending list. As Deleuze said, “No theory can develop without eventually encountering a wall, and practice is necessary for piercing this wall.”[16] A framework for Queer Technologies must build new circuits, constructions, and mutations—theoretically, artistically, formally—always residing within Deleuze’s notion of “a system of relays [. . . containing] a multiplicity of parts that are both theoretical and practical.”[17]

Queer Technologies calls this methodology Component Theory, as it takes pieces from a variety of methods and styles to generate something “new.” Component Theory builds a new code to work from, yet a code continuously in flux and redefinement, just as power and control are never fixed but always in flux. Component Theory builds queer bodies: the disidentifying subject becomes a nexus of erratic cultural components that generate an entire cultural existence bound within a body. The cultural networks of Component Theory that run through the queer body instigate the initiation of biological mutation—new components of flesh. Component Theory builds a topological strategy for political action. Component Theory builds Gay Bombs.

Combining various modes of knowledge production, Component Theory produces iterations of knowledge, fully embracing interdisciplinary tactics that relay between theory and practice. In response to Deleuze, Foucault says theory is practice. Component Theory is practice as a struggle against forms of power.

          Optimizing Performance

Component Theory disidentifies with normative, classical theoretical approaches, frameworks, and methodologies.

Component Theory connects to anything that works any way necessary. Component Theory thrives on paradox, oxymoron, the unconnectable, the impossible. This manual teaches Component Theory. If, as Foucault says, theory is a struggle against forms of power, then the teaching of theory exemplifies Foucault’s idea of theory as practice. Teaching becomes another tool in Deleuze’s toolbox that gives agency to a collective (a network, multitude, swarm), performing Foucault’s suggestion that a theory as practice aims at “revealing and undermining power where it is most invisible and insidious.”[18] Teaching, therefore, is equipped with the ability to operate as activism, for knowledge provides agency and agency can transform mass perceptions of reality. To participate in this struggle is another multiplicity in the relay of knowledge production, flowing between the constructed boundaries of theory and practice. Component Theory instructs as biopolitical strategy. Component Theory and the Disidentifying Machine are interlockable, unlockable assemblages. Each writes the other’s code simultaneously. These codes—intertwined, double helix—build the materiality of Gay Bombs.


Questions to ask:

Determine a given technology’s coding language. That is, what is its socio- linguistic coding orientation? How does language—code—gain power and execute within a technological apparatus? What are the biopolitical consequences of these performative utterances?

How does a technology function in the world? What does the notion of functionality convey? How is functionality always antithetical to the user?

Does a technological tool’s political economy regulate and / or exclude? What exchange does one make to gain access to a particular technology?

What is the value of a technological good? What is at stake in the value? How does the value regulate the world? What is the queer value?

How does desire want to use? That is, what does the queer user desire a technology to do? How does / can queer desire manifest in technology?

What is required to break a technology? Does breaking affect functionality? How necessary is breaking for the production of queer technologies? Does breaking provide agency or further inhibit its viability?

How can queer users live life as a multitude of Gay Bombs?

[1] BBC News America. 2005. US Military Pondered Love Not War. BBC News. (accessed February 7, 2008).

[2] Puar, Jasbir K. 2007. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham: Duke University Press.

[3] Galloway, Alexander R. and Eugene Thacker. 2007. The Exploit: A Theory of Networks. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 98.

[4] Muñoz, José Esteban. 1999. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 4.

[5] Ibid., 31.

[6] Deleuze, Gilles. 1988. Foucault. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 40.

[7] Halberstam, Judith. 2005. In a Queer Time and Place. New York: NYU Press, 103.

[8] Ibid., 1.

[9] Bourriaud, Nicolas. 2002. Relational Aesthetics. Les presses du reel, 16.

[10] Deleuze, Gilles. 1995. “Postscript on Control Societies.” Negotiations. New York: Columbia University Press, 180.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Galloway and Thacker quoting Deleuze. The Exploit, 49.

[13] Bourriaud. Relational Aesthetics, 21.

[14] Galloway and Thacker. The Exploit, 64.

[15] Ibid., 129.

[16] Bouchard, Donald, F., ed. 1977. “Intellectuals and Power: A Conversation Between Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze.” Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews by Michel Foucault. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 206.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid., 208.