During the preparation for this issue of Starship we were invited by Jakob Fabricius to participate in a project at Kunsthal Aarhus, which gave us the rare opportunity to spend an entire week together, discussing what we had loosely conceived of as the theme for this issue of Starship some months ago.
We had written:
Lately we have been rereading Leo Bersani, an American literature-theoretician, who is known for having re-introduced sex into the gender discussion, and who in later works, draws direct links between the establishing of ego-boundaries and homeland security […] Opening up to a horizon of possible permutations and finding oneself harboured in whichever far from personal interests, is perhaps something we all want from Starship, and we now see the necessity to give space to more visuality, more text, more voices. This endeavour—in itself anti-social for it does not seek a communitarian end—hopes to constitute a field where this invitation may be productive for everyone we would so dearly like to invite.
Specifically we had been interested in Intimacies, a book by Leo Bersani and Adam Phillips published in 2008. Intimacies sparked our interest for many reasons, one being simply that it seemed apt that such a topic had been tackled by more than one person. Another was that one of its author’s—Bersani—has been heavily influential on the ‘anti-social turn in queer studies,’ a ‘turn’ that has taken numerous routes, forking at points, but that never-the-less seeks out a place from which to actively critique the world that is beyond a purely political rendering of it.
We started to invite authors and artists and, in order to show that we had not been completely idle, introduced the two notions of social and anti-social as a starting point, but again, not as a parenthesis to whatever the invited had been thinking themselves in the meantime. By chance we happened to also ask Katja Diefenbach, who had conducted an interview with Bersani as long ago as 1995. Reading the interview and later the transcript, the resonance of its proposition took us by surprise. Not only did some of its ideas seem to inform Intimacies’ own investigations, but it attacked some dormant social concepts that, frustratingly, have been revived in the last years…
Seeing it from the perspective of the now finished 16th issue of Starship, these 20 year old notes on a conversation now invisibly link the contemporary contributions by being dropped back into time by a magazine that is in itself about time.
Without wanting to defer too much to one voice, as there are many here, including some that naturally digress from Bersani’s own, here's how he puts it himself:
External reality may at first present itself as an affective menace, but psychoanalysis—like art, although in a more discursive mode—might train us to see our prior presence in the world, to see, as bizarre as this may sound, that, ontologically, the world cares for us. Finally, however, […] it is part of the complexity of a human destiny that we fail to find that care sufficiently satisfying, and so we will undoubtedly never stop insisting—if only intermittently—that the jouissance of an illusion of suppressing otherness can surpass the pleasure of finding ourselves harbored within it. (Leo Bersani, Is the Rectum a Grave? and Other Essays, Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2009, pp. 152–153)
We want to thank all the artists, and authors, who by contributing texts, and images, in short, art, have made Starship 16 together with us.