Plastic is a seemingly ubiquitous material, one that is both all too visible and, as such, opaque. Beginning with the use of plastic for sex toys, this essay tracks some of the strange convergences between plastic, as a material, and queer theory. In particular, it follows how contemporary articulations of queerness and queer sex rest on notions of opacity. This mirrors the production of plastic and the ways in which this alienated material has influenced our lives. Given this congruence, what might be borrowed from the figure of plastic for contemporary politics and organizing? Notions of imperceptibility, proliferation, accumulation, and nonfilial progeny are each explored to advance a politics that can respond to contemporary critical theory and materiality. Imperceptibility explores the ways in which plastic influences the world without being influenced in turn. Proliferation describes plastic's movement through the world and its durability. Accumulation asks for a reconsideration of political allies. Finally, nonfilial progeny offers a speculative intervention toward developing a feminist sense of responsibility for and relation to a future that is increasingly marked by loss.
Heather Davis; Imperceptibility and Accumulation: Political Strategies of Plastic. Camera Obscura 1 September 2016; 31 (2 (92)): 187–193. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-3592543
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