Gay Bombs / Sketches / Part 4

1 Creating and Organizing


If queerness potentially capitulates to (de)regulatory digital control structures to become a politically ambiguous assemblage, theSoftQueerBody is a political / politicized concept for queer technical agency and being. theSoftQueerBody operates as a software application, running queerness as a dynamic digital technology. The application defines queerness and all other networked constructions of human existence as technologies in flux / struggle with one another.

theSoftQueerBody processes queer technological assemblages as an abstraction, a multitude in common. Like the Gay Bomb, theSoftQueerBody is constructed by a materialism of everything: it is queer bodies, queer technologies, queer cultures, queer spaces, queer places, Gay Bombs, mutation engines, systems of dynamic difference, queer capital. In fact, theSoftQueerBody parses all these types equally. The “new” body of technological queers is beyond flesh, where nervous systems become network connections, DNA as code, subjectivity as logic. As Hardt and Negri write, the multitude is composed as a singularity of difference that constitutes itself as a “monstrosity of the flesh.”[1] Further, this “flesh of the multitude is pure potential, an unformed life force, and in this an element of social being, aimed constantly at the fullness of life. . . . The unformed and the unordered are horrifying. The monstrosity of the flesh is not a return to the state of nature but a result of society, an artificial life. . . . Every reference to life today . . . has to point to an artificial life, a social life.”[2] theSoftQueerBody is this skin of pure potential that mutates a consistency of queer technological action and being.

          Mobilization of Combat

If we are in what Deleuze has described as control societies, “bodies are consonant with more distributed modes of individuation that enables their infinite variation.”[3] Gay Bombs travel, like blood cells, through theSoftQueerBody. A flexible body, composed in common, by a queer materialism of everything. The logic of the theSoftQueerBody, coded by potentials of the perpetual present, directs, routes, mobilizes, and deploys Gay Bombs. Gay Bombs become the vital organs of theSoftQueerBody, constantly regenerated, stolen, and sutured by the fluctuating clashes of biopower and biopolitics. A stable body is a dead body. Like Galloway and Thacker claim, not resistance but hypertrophy—the growth and enlargement of new organs to redirect and reconstitute a body.

In any mobilization of combat, the task becomes to explode organs and accumulate Gay Bombs in their absence. theSoftQueerBody must mobilize a new flesh to gain biopolitical power. This mobilization produces the potential of queer technical sociality.

          A Topological Architecture

To illustrate the construction of theSoftQueerBody’s materialism of everything, we turn back to Munoz and his concept of identities-in-difference. He writes, “identities-in-difference emerge from a failed interpellation within the dominant public sphere . . . [contributing] to the function of a counterpublic sphere.”[4] Importantly, indentities-in-difference are always in the process of constituting themselves. As the dominant public sphere continuously shifts power structures, identities-in-difference recombine and rearticulate identifications, counteridentifications, disidentifications. Identities-in-difference build themselves in direct correlation to current political flows. Neither opting for assimilation or opposition to a given structure, identities-in-difference can be said to mutually mutate with all dominant spheres of power.

theSoftQueerBody’s topological architecture is composed of identities-in-difference.


As a networked assemblage, theSoftQueerBody breaks down boundaries between the individual and the collective, human and machine, object and subject. Boundaries of a single body or consciousness are not longer demarcated. Rather, identities-in-difference produce a larger living social flesh out of a materialism of everything. This living social flesh configures itself to live and thrive in relation / tension with global flows of power.

As Hardt and Negri suggest, it takes networks to fight networks. Therefore, in times of networked global capital and warfare, their concept of the multitude is a powerful formulation against dominant spheres. Building a queer multitude allows the circulation and success of Gay Bombs. Building such a queer living flesh reveals an architecture beyond the body.


Swarms suggest insects. According to Eugene Thacker, “social insects.”[5] A queer swarm shall return to the insect and not be plagued by existing as such, like Kafka.

The multitude as swarm operates under a logic of negotiation that appears as chaotic. A collaborative, collective chaos that only the swarm understands as logic. Distributed nonlogic as logic. The queer swarm performs under no clear leadership, enacting dynamic disidentifications that flow the swarm through space and time.

The swarm’s radical reorganization of a collective body emphasizes a chaos of collective negotiation. theSoftQueerBody must always perform a collective negotiation to swarm networks of dominant power. This act will always require the shifting of the body—to insect and beyond.


theSoftQueerBody relies on replication and distribution. By becoming viral, theSoftQueerBody exponentially corrupts power.

Historically, within grids of viral capitalism, the queer body has been interpolated as grid of contagion. Beginning with GRID (Gay-Related Immuno-Deficiency)—the name before HIV—the queer body was already sliced apart by networked infrastructures of dominant power (medicine, education, public policy, for example). The queer body internalized a grid of death, networked to other grids of death (dying, infected bodies). The logic of the biological queer’s grid was a logic of destruction.

In his book on computer viruses, Jussi Parikka points out that “HIV infects cultural categories,” which leads him to explain how “biological viruses spread to digital bodies of electricity and silicon.”[6] The historically biological infected queer carries the weight of this infection into the cultural abstraction of theSoftQueerBody. In Empire, Hardt and Negri explain that “Empire’s institutional structure is like a software program that carries a virus along with it, so that it is continually modulating and corrupting the institutional forms around it.”[7] theSoftQueerBody as software program must modulate and corrupt even more erratically to infect and contaminate the virus(es) of Empire.

When Galloway and Thacker write that “viruses are life exploiting life,”[8] the biopolitical stakes of viral existence become stunningly clear: viruses “exploit the normal functioning of their host systems to produce more copies of themselves.”[9] This exploitation of the self—while could be considered a care of the self could also be a depletion of the self, but importantly, this exploitation of the self is at the expense of manufacturing difference, “recalculating as a way of never-being-the-same.”[10] theSoftQueerBody, queer multitude, must always exploit the selves of its nodes to produce a replicated difference of never-being-the-same.

Within a craze of computer hygiene, theSoftQueerBody must align with Alan Liu’s notion of “destructive creativity”—a creativity that goes “beyond the new picturesque of mutation and mixing to the ultimate form of such mutation and mixing: what may be called the new sublime of ‘destruction.’ [. . .] the critical inverse of the mainstream ideology of creative destruction [. . . a] viral aesthetics.”[11] This aesthetics becomes like a repetitive stream of disidentifications—disidentifying as queer cryptography, repetitively blowing up the infections of mainstream ideology (a “cool” virus) at the risk of obliterating one’s own “hygiene.”

theSoftQueerBody is always an aesthetic, always rooted in queer affect, always personal politics, always biopolitical. It must infect its own historical infections for technological agency. If viral repetitions have been defined as “illegible and incalculable,”[12] Gay Bombs must explode into queer affect—nonhygienic ways of being and living—that chart for the theSoftQueerBody the possibilities of queer world-making.

                              The Pack

In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze & Guattari write “that animals are packs, and that packs form, develop, and are transformed by contagion.”[13] Viruses are living. The social flesh of theSoftQueerBody is always a pack of animals. Continuing, Deleuze and Guattari suggest “a becoming-animal always involves a pack, a band, a population, a peopling, in short, a multiplicity . . . [but a becoming-animal only occurs with] a fascination for the pack, for multiplicity.”[14] The desire of the theSoftQueerBody is always predicated by a multiplicitous contagion. The pack permits the swarm, the network, the virus, the multitude that the individual is incapable of constituting. theSoftQueerBody, as a pack, protects (yet simultaneously collapses) the body of the individual. There is safety in numbers. The pack is a survival strategy.

“Becomings-animal are neither dreams nor phantasies. They are perfectly real.”[15] The multiplicity of the queer viral machine makes animals—packs—out of us all, and as our social flesh extends into the unhuman, other packs become part of the identities-in-difference of theSoftQueerBody. Product PACKaging is one mutation that Queer Technologies has replicated to combat viral capitalism. This PACKaging, always a Gay Bomb, rapidly circulates an alternative method of exchange (exchanges of knowledge, power, affect, belonging), encrypting a different queer world of technology and consumables. The PACKage is always life exploiting life. As Queer Technologies redesigns capitalistic visuality, the living networks of the entire capitalist machine are used to give life to a minority multitude diseased by exploited labor and production. PACKaging is a face of queer technological agency for theSoftQueerBody.

                              Faces and Fakeness

Parikka points out that “from a societal point of view, you need a face, an address, and a net password to exist. . . . Subjectification works through assigning faces to otherwise anonymous preindividual flows.”[16] The face makes theSoftQueerBody exist, but the face can challenge subjectification. A fake face can individualize the multiplicity of theSoftQueerBody to allow for unhindered movements throughout the grids of capital. A face of a body. A face of a code. An inter-face. Faces of iteration. Nonfaces.

Galloway and Thacker describe the enmity of networked combat a defacement—faceless. theSoftQueerBody, always networked, will always have and not have a face. The downtown of theSoftQueerBody will be a face.


The topological architecture of theSoftQueerBody, fortified by a viral aesthetics, builds queer worlds called technotopias. Disidentifying with space and architecture, Judith Halberstam explains the technotopic as a spatial site where the body resists idealization of integrity and rationalization of disintegrations.[17] theSoftQueerBody strives for the utopia of the technotopic. A world for the “‘non-logical self,’”[18] where the self is multiple, replicated, networked. Inhabitants of technotopias are unstable, perhaps impossible.

Glocal explosions of Gay Bombs promise the reconstitution of architectonic materials, an architecture of never-being-the-same. The repetition of the replication of difference coupled with the corruption of dominant power encrypts the possibilities of queer technical world-making.

The flesh (logic) of the theSoftQueerBody holds the passwords to its own utopia, programmed within its layers of monstrosity, contagion, and never-being-the-sameness.

[1] Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Multitude. (New York: Penguin Books, 2005), 190.

[2] Ibid., 192 – 193.

[3] Galloway and Thacker. The Exploit, 47.

[4] Muñoz. Disidentifications, 7.

[5] Eugene Thacker. “Pulse Demons.” Culture Machine 9. (accessed on 6 April 2008).

[6] Jussi Parikka. Digital Contagions: A Media Archaeology of Computer Viruses. (New York: Peter Lang, 2007), 126.

[7] Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Empire. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 197 – 198.

[8] Galloway and Thacker. The Exploit, 83.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 87.

[11] Alan Liu. The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004), 325.

[12] Galloway and Thacker. The Exploit, 83.

[13] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 242.

[14] Ibid., 239 – 240.

[15] Ibid., 238.

[16] Parikka. Digital Contagions, 144.

[17] Halberstam. Queer Time and Place, 124.

[18] Halberstam quoting Eva Hesse, 124.