Toni Denise

Arthur & Marilouise Kroker

I have a recombinant brother, Toni Denise, working the drag queen bars of Tallahassee, Florida. She has taken her memory and put it aside for a moment.

She is not just a guy who warp jumped into a woman’s body by surgical cuts, but the first of all the virtual bodies, that point where Disney World becomes flesh: a double movement involving an endless remaking of sexual identity and an
abandonment of the (gendered) past.

Toni Denise. The perfect transexual woman. More perfect than a woman ought to be, or can be: slim hips, large breasts, shoulder length raven hair with legs as long as Barbie’s.

Toni Denise. Too perfect to be a real woman? The picture perfect woman? The woman all women think a woman should be? Toni Denise is a man-made woman. A woman made from a man. A man with slim hips, long legs, and raven hair. A man who could say no to cellulite, and yes to silicon breasts.

Toni Denise? A virtual woman or virtually a woman? She can turn gender signs inside out, and play the game of the doubled sex.

Once she became a woman on the outside, she could finally take on the seduction of the male psyche and become the male mind colonizing the female body. Or as Toni Denise likes to say “If I had a clit, I’d have a hard on.”

The Floating Tongue

Arthur Kroker

What is the fate of the tongue in virtual reality? No longer the old sentient tongue trapped in the mouth’s cavity, but now an improved digital tongue. A nomadic tongue that suddenly exits the dark cavity of oral secretions, to finally make its appearance in the daylight. Like Spasm, the new computer programme for NEXT, where the digital tongue is exteriorized from its evolutionary location in the body’s biology, actually severed from the mouth. Here, the tongue might begin by curling back in the mouth with all the accompanying nasal sounds, but then it migrates out of the mouth, travelling down the chest, out of the toes, and even taking libidinal root in the talking penis. Not a surrealistic penis where objects lose their originary sign referent, and float in an endless sign-slide, but a tongue referent that has actually lost its sound object. Spasm is, then, surrealism that is inscribed in the flesh.

With this difference. The digital tongue has finally come alive, acquiring sounds from its different bodily referents. The tongue plops onto the chest with a gargled scream; it twins the hyperreal penis to the mutant sounds of sex without secretions; it becomes a toe sound, a knee sound, an anal sound. No longer a tongue mediating breath, lips and jaw movement, but a digital tongue in a universe of floating lips, chattering eyes, screaming hairs, gossipy genitals, whining feet.

The digital tongue samples the body. Working according to the logic of spatial association, it changes sound according to its location on the body’s surfaces. Here, the text of the body is licked and consumed by the nomadic tongue: sometimes an arm, a vein, an intestine, a hip. No longer localized sound, but the speech rhythms of violent disassociation; not contextualized noise, but a floating tongue that can be endlessly reconfigured according to its geographical location in the simulacrum of the body. The digital tongue, then, for nomadic sound in the age of the floating body. Or maybe it is something very different. Perhaps Spasm does not refer at all to the digital tongue, but to the recombinant tongue. This algorithmic tongue comes alive as a gene-splicer- half-gene/half-code: displaying that point where the reconfigured tongue fuses with the cold flesh of the recombinant body, and begins to speak. Perhaps Spasm has a broader anthropological importance: an evolutionary breakthrough in the guise of a computer programme that begins to materialize the sounds of the digital body. What we hear in Spasm, therefore, are the first tentative sounds of ourselves a.s
androids. All of this results less in a vision of the future than an already nostalgic vision of a telematic history that has already been experienced.

Spasm is nostalgia for distortion.