Gay Bombs / Sketches / Part 3

3 Preferences and Presets

After the shock and awe of the Gay Bomb, momentarily blinded by the implosion of meaning, we reflexively ask: how have we arrived here—at this point of action—with the weight of war molding us into new forms? If Gay Bombs contain / are life, what are the risks of lives as Gay Bombs? What impels life to carry the uncertainty of these risks?

Setting General Preferences

The fulcrum of the Gay Bomb apparatus rests at the contingencies of agency. Agency-in-general does not exist; there is only a Foucaultian microphysics of agency: sub-clauses and categories enmeshed within varying points of access and restriction. One, at best, can only possess fractured agency. Thus, the Gay Bomb deploys over the battle for technological agency. In times of networked globalization and perpetual war, technological agency reads as a code red threat: gaining technological agency generates decryption points for other micro-agencies.

The preferences and presets of technology determine agency. The preferences and presets of technology have never been queer.

As queer communities, networks, worlds filter through fiber optics (become digital), technology constructs a meta-politics, that is, queerness becomes branded through a larger technological apparatus that is predicated on corporate capital and military.


If formal technological properties (already and always embodied as regulatory and deregulatory) pre-determine queer digital communication, how do these methods of communication subordinate or liberate queer networking, knowledge production, digital identities, and epistemological transmutations? What happens to the queer being when it becomes inexplicably interlocked with ideologies, performativities, and circulations of corporate capitalism through digital communication, consumption, and representation? Does the digital make the queer being a regulatory subject, a deregulated assemblage, or both? The technological queer becomes a potentially politically ambiguous assemblage of regulation and deregulation.


Tropes of queerness as non-teleological, de-stabilized, and without ontologies reconfigure and struggle against ossification through the rigidities of technological standardizations. Various beings, laws, things, and matter that construct tech standards like RFCs, programming logic and language, hardware connectivity and replication as well as internet protocols such as TCP/IP subordinate queer users into a highly contested zone of control, freedom, agency, and exploitation. Reading tech standards through the “non-standards” of queerness calls into question the vary notion of what it means (or does not mean) to be queer in high-tech times.

                   Using System Presets

The question breaks down to: what causes the evisceration of queerness in digital technology?


Protocol is the fundamental structures that control a given technology. Alex Galloway has discussed protocol on the internet as maintaining a highly rigid control structure to allow for a seemingly un-controlled user experience. This opening—a space of differentiation between total control and controlled agency—is the space where queerness will first attempt to develop and mobilize itself. Can the regulated openness of protocol provide access to queerness? If queerness in protocol materializes as visuality and interaction, how does this avoid a larger regulation by the meta-politics of technology?

Protocol produces queer protocol. Gay Bombs are queer protocol. Knowing protocol gives technological agency, which is the ability to build Gay Bombs.


Standards are crystallized circulations of culture that extend beyond the purely technical. Standards are the cultural conditions that produce protocol. Standards appear as technological truism to conceal their cultural constructions. The production of a “common” standard for mass consumption produces a multiplicitous collapse of complexity into a generic monolithic singularity (user-friendly).

“Think Different.” Apple’s branding slogan results in a standardization of thinking differently. The dialectic of Apple and Windows allows for one to think differently only in opposition to the other. The “thinking” that is executed within and by an Apple product is an act of “thinking Apple,” that is, one does not think different-ly but thinks “different” (read: Apple). There is no equation of difference built into the logic (standards) of “Think Different.”

To think differently would be a non-standard. Queer users must intervene with the production of standards and protocol simultaneously to vie for technological agency.


Subjugation happens from conception to production to consumption, but if subjugation implies an element of force, it occurs en masse after consumption through use and interaction. Subjugation can be the most “visible” form of regulation in that it does not necessarily require technical knowledge to know that it is happening. When technologies do not permit what we desire them to do, we become subjugated to the standards and protocols of the entity (company) that produced the technology in use: we use and interact in their way, not our own.

Ultimately, our subjugation is the direct result of monetary flows—profit not function. This moment of restricted inability splits the possibilities of agency: those that do not care and are content with their subjugation, those attempting reconfigurations, and those that are not even aware of their situation.

Queers that agitate technological subjugation will produce friction between standards and protocol. Queers that explode technological subjugation will produce / locate deregulations.


Deregulations are queer imaginaries—desires that have become charged by a life that is always plugged in and yet always disconnected. Deregulations are inherent to technology; it is a question of how to gain access—through conceptual flaw, production error, hacking, disidentifying. As the queer user engages with deregulations, a mutation between the two produces queer technological agency.

If deregulations can be discovered or configured, the first question of interrogation asks what is already queer about technology. Followed by: how locatable is this queerness? Do deregulations always call for the knowledge of the technologist? If there is never a stable entry point into a deregulation, can any strategy consistently gain access?

The impossibility of these questions solders deregulations with knowledge production. Knowledge paradigms shift technological structures. Thus, active engagement with contemporary generations of knowledge provides robust possibilities of locating deregulations. A neo-luddite position is not a viable possibility for political agency in our technological times. Disidentifying with technology is queer knowledge production. Deregulations are a discursive and material instantiation of this process. Deregulations do not destroy technological progress but instead use / hack / exploit for queer survival.

                   Creating, Editing, and Deleting Presets

Gay Bombs explode from deregulations, and Gay Bombs explode into deregulations. How do technological deregulations restructure knowledge production (re-form / de-form the queer user and technology-in-use)?

                             Mutual Mutation

To re-state Judith Halberstam’s concept, “mutual mutation” is the constant process that unites space, flesh, and technology in a “technotopic vision.” As mutual mutation deregulates (a Gay Bomb explodes), material forms collapse in space and time, self-shattering the boundaries that constitute their existence in the world. Necessarily, mutual mutation works against notions of human-centered construction: the determination of life fluctuates between not only how we build and use our technologies but how our technologies build and use us. Mutual mutation changes life on all levels, reinforcing the Gay Bomb as biopolitical.

                                       Posthuman Ways of Being

Posthuman formations debunk simulated nostalgias of human purity. Today, assuming a humanist stance actually subtracts agency. Existence as posthuman is cybernetics: the position of co-evolving feedback loops. The posthuman has always been shaped / defined by the shifting perceptions enacted by human and technological mutual mutations. Embodying the posthuman exposes a new material—beyond skin—that holds a body together. This encasement of nonstasis is always porous, anticipating the human’s constant genesis as nonhuman, beyond human. Flows of deregulation pour through the holes / spaces of differentiation of the posthuman body. The posthuman is always an embodied form of knowledge production, deregulating the body to become / un-become in forms that push past regulations. These forms are always tactics of impurity that the pure, humanist body can never access.

                                       The Terrorist

The terrorist defines itself by mutating with organizations and methodologies. The formation of the terrorist always exists in relation to its target(s); therefore, the terrorist can never exist in-and-of-itself and only materializes through specified political action. Unlike the British Redcoats of the American Revolutionary War, the identities of the terrorist are never a priori and take shape only at moments of explosion. This fluidity of change and flexiblilty makes the terrorist always more dynamic than the network under attack. Yet, beyond constituting identity, the terrorist teaches methodologies of deregulation. Terror is re-imagined at the utmost extreme to hi-jack meaning, that is, the terrorist will go to extremes in order to succeed in the act of hi-jacking: mass panic, mass death, the death of the terrorist. The death of the terrorist is an ultimate play in the struggle for biopolitical stronghold—the willful relinquishing of life for the re-assignment of meaning. The hi-jack will always initiate deregulations at the apex of extremity. The hi-jack steals meaning with force of an atomic bomb blast. This force can produce an avalanche of deregulations, for terror and fear perfectly strikes the target of societal capitulation.

                             Systems of Dynamic Difference

(De)regulations manifest dynamically in the technological object as quasi-object. Within a system of formalism, historicity, functionality, consumption, and semiotics, technological (de)regulations locate themselves in any given layer(s) of this system. As a system of dynamics predicated on regulation, technology can be deregulated by a tactics of locationality: what layer is / can be coded (disidentified) as queer? This queer locatability de-stabilizes an ideology of dynamics, producing the technological quasi-object as system of dynamic difference.

If systems of dynamic regulations are built upon the consumption of user-friendliness, the abject must always be absent. The title of Leo Bersani’s article “Is the Rectum a Grave?” provides fertile ground for developing user-friendliness as an abjection that generates systems of dynamic difference. In the system of dynamic regulation, enter through the undesired hole of unproduction. The hole that contradicts consumption. The hole that users avoid at all costs. A hole of exploitation—hidden but always there—appears as negation. Inside this hole, visuality reveals the negation—a graveyard; yet, layers beyond visuality expose methods of counter-production. The rectum of systems of dynamic regulation is the erogenous zone for systems of dynamic difference.

                                       Holes of Non-Teleology

In Empire, Hardt and Negri write, “Interactive and cybernetic machines become a new prosthesis integrated into our bodies and minds and a lens through which to redefine our bodies and minds themselves.” This process of redefinement—embodiment, unavoidably political, offers the possibilities of new systems of dynamic difference. One such cybernetic system, video feedback, generates a hole of deregulation. The hole of video feedback is a hole of non-teleology. Comparatively, David Halperin has described anal fisting as an act of sexual non-teleology. The stakes of aligning these holes of non-teleology produces a positioning against body and technology as regulated / regulator.

Feedback, more generally, has always been associated with self-regulating processes, such as genes, machines, ecosystems, and a myriad of technological and biological systems. In fact, devices with corrective feedback were considered “teleological mechanisms,” such as a steam engine with a feedback valve for speed control. Norbert Wiener, in his cybernetics theory, also understood feedback in terms of control. We learn from science studies that our biological make-up is comprised of feedback processes, causing our bodies to follow internalized rules of self-regulation. Video feedback is a historical break from this understanding of the feedback process as one of teleological control, just as the queer body makes cultural and physical breaks from this definition of feedback.

Like Halperin has claimed, if “fist-fucking” is the only sex act invented in the 20th century, it is the newest sexual system of dynamic deregulation.


In Cinema 2: The Time-Image, Deleuze describes the interstice as the space between two spliced strips of film. As a space that does not belong to either piece of film, the interstice becomes a “differentiation of potential” that engenders something new. Deleuze writes: “Sometimes, as in modern cinema, the cut has become the interstice, it is irrational and does not form part of either set, one of which has no more an end than the other has a beginning: false continuity is such an irrational cut. [. . . and this cut is] disjunctive.”

The queer body articulates a space similar to Deleuze’s formation of the interstice: just as the interstice exists in disjunction to what precedes and follows it, the queer body must be articulated outside of normative configurations of male and female binaries. A physical manifestation of the interstice created by the queer body can be located at the moment when measurement that distinguishes a penis from a clitoris becomes blurred, when breasts take the place of a chest on a “male” body (as the British government forced Turing to develop), when facial hair overcomes the fuzz on a “female” face.

The interstice becomes a manifestation—discursively, culturally, and physically—of a politics for the queer body. Cyberfeminists such as VNS Matrix transform the phallic temple of technology into an all-powerful interstitial clitoris when they write in their manifesto, “saboteurs of big daddy mainframe / the clitoris is a direct line to the matrix.” It is as if VNS Matrix stretch their collective clitoris out like a penis—like a networking cable—to connect with the Internet, mutating the form of the clitoris but not its functionality as a clitoris.

We must build upon the interstice as a discursive and physical space for queer dynamic difference.

                             Building Mutation Engines

The Gay Bomb’s materialism of everything constitutes itself through mutual mutation and dynamic difference. Gestating through these various cycles of deregulated construction, the Gay Bomb behaves as engine: within a system of bomb, target, and biopolitical stakes, an engine emerges that dynamically generates deregulations. The mutation engine is a constant process that affords deregulations nonstablility. Deregulations as becoming. Deregulations as un-becoming. Think of the mutation engine as a power leveler, automatically situating deregulations to nodes of exploit within a network of constantly shifting power structures. Building mutation engines for queer technical agency exposes its necessity in vying for political power.

Exploding out of the ecstasy of deregulations, queer mutation engines fuel the formation of a political network of bodies, technology, and cultural codes. A network defined by soft(ware) bodies that constructs queerness as dynamic digital technology of mutated difference.