Sppare.Me your future, now. by Agnes Questionmark
Image SAGE YODIT
Starring Artist & Words AGNES QUESTIONMARK
Artistic Direction SILAS SILVERMAN-STOLOFF
Curated by DOMENICO COSTANTINI
‘She says: Its nice to see these cryogenized people get cooked.
Roland: Oh, no-they have these new refrigeratos-fire-resistant ones.
Juliette: What a pity.
Roland: Well, I don’t like them cooked anyway, I prefer them as carpaccio.
Juliette: Me too.’
Curating Immortality by Boris Groys (e-flux) 2
I first ejaculated when I was 15 years old. An angel face and a layer of blubber disguised me as a questionable gender identity. This dubious yet innocent masquerade made me a terrible candidate for the wrestling battles of high school restrooms. Their contestants were a fetid mass of ‘fellow males’ showing off their testosterone break-outs. In that tiled malodorous ring, while my pheromones refused to sprout, an intelligible but yet unconscious mythological production of signifiers began taking place – puberty. As Roland Barther’s notes, every wrestler has a physicality that characterises its excess: the villain, the hero and the bastard. The match has no rules. It’s only a spectacle of suffering, defeat, and justice, from which I was thankfully withdrawn. Yet this recession from a carnal rite put me in an opposite stance. Excluded from the match, I was cast as a spectator. Instead of a wrestler I was a consumer of its mythological production. That very brutal and painful spectacle, which upheld a frustrated and distorted teenager, was the same spectacle that would turn me on. In the endeavour of my own liberation, I eroticized the enemy. To speed up the barbaric, often devastating process of puberty – still latent in my puerile body – my family decided to somministrate me a mild GH treatment (Bioarginina®) – as if I would have otherwise remained trapped in a prepubescent body.
Bioarginina®, a stimulator of endocrine function, acts as a coadjutant for hormonal release into the bloodstream. Tackled as a product, my genitalia became the target of a capitalistic fertility production. The ‘inefficiency’ of my semen flow was poised as a threat to the proliferation of my family and by extension to society itself. Not being able to reproduce (or wrestle) I was the weak subject. I had to visit a doctor to secure an efficient hormonal growth in tandem with heteronormativity. Testosterone must be availed to ensured an efficient production of male signifiers. To protect the evolution of the human race patriarchy must be restored where it has failed. Vulnerability and tenderness must be replaced by the binary infrastructures. Soon after several daily doses had been administered, I started to produce excessive amounts of sperm, leaving redundant secretions in my underwear. Leaking everywhere, my body became a seminal fluid machine. I begged my mother to stop this artificial aberration and let my body’s development run its ‘natural’ course. But nature missed its target. Right after puberty kicked off, a slow warfare process started within my assigned-male-body, which eventually led me to a hormonal replacement treatment (mtf). The production of transgender subjectivity and corporeality isn’t an efficient endorsement for a binary system that promotes genetic elitism. Due to its encrypted data, the transgender body is a threat to the ruling architecture of gender norms. An incongruence must be identified and diagnosed through medical procedures. Consequntly, it must be observed and controlled via psychological evaluations, regular blood and genetic tests, body-scans and psychotherapy sessions. Turned into a patient and oblivious of the control deployed upon itself, the transgender body is usurped by the political-health system. To ensure a codifcable structure over my glitching transness I had to deliver myself to the health system. I illegally convinced an endocrinologist to prescribe me two medications: Bicalutamide (Casodex), an anti-androgen with the function of blocking the production of testosterone, and SandrenaGel (Estradiol), a hormone released to activate a process of female phenotypes. I biohacked my body in a criminal twist.
Posilac™ is a bST (bovine somatropin) man-made hormone approved to be injected subcutaneously in cows to increase their milk yield. This biotechnological protein supplement increases milk production by 15-20%, which has obvious benefits in the bovine milk and meat industry. Not only does this steroid drug increase production efficiency, but it improves the quality as well. Somatotropin has the ability to reduce concentration in fat content of fresh meat products. It alters nutrient growth by reducing the amount of fat carcass and hindering excreta of the solicited animal. This process is crucial due to the fact that 60-70% of total fatty acids consumed by Americans come from animal products. If biotechnology can reduce the industrialization of fatty acids, the population reaps its health benefits.
New technologies are a way to keep up with the incessant and devastating population growth. Our food supply for the next few decades is estimated to be equal to the amount of food previously produced in humankind history. Speed plays a major factor in animal pharmaceutical administration. The equation of somatotropin proposes the following solution: better milk, better meat, better money. One of the answers lies in the production of genetically superior sires. This synthesizing process (gene editing, artificial insemination and surrogacy) exterminates natural selection through a raging eugenic laboratory mechanism aiming to maximize reproductive efficiency. Beecher Arlinda Ellen, a cow also known as the ‘Dairy Queen’, is a perfect example. Daughter of a genetically superior sire bull named ‘Chief’, whose sperm fathered 16,000 daughters and subsequently 500,000 granddaughters (constituting an impressive 14% of the overall American dairy cattle), she was able to produce 55,600 points of milk in her life. Beecher Arlinda Ellen’s ‘time budget’ was extremely effective. She was a proper milk production machine. The efficiency performance of a bovine is also an important factor for the food industry. The strongest sire gene is edited through CRISPR-9 and reproduced through artificial insemination (AI). In the 90s, companies such as Genentech Inc and the Monsanto Company of St. Louis pioneered the production of a natural hormone that promoted meat and milk growth by DNA recombination. Bovine calves are nothing more than the result of an artificially inseminated and genetically modified masturbated bull. A stigmatized animal that emerges from an alienating acceleration of flesh production. By accelerating the production of consumable products, the use of bST as well as pST (porcine somatotropin) and hST (human somatropin) is an effective tool to keep up with the velocity of capitalism and overpopulation. Accelerationism is a term used to describe the automatisms that regulate our Empire. Governments move at the speed of catastrophes rather than human desires. Capitalism does not need any nationality but rather automatisms. It is an abstract machine similar to schizophrenia, which aims to destroy social subjectivity. In this dehumanising backdrop, humanity is bound to fail. In a ‘Deleuzian’ way, the only vanishing point that can be found in the accelerated capitalistic machine is through implosion. There is no exteriority from which one can access, but rather a repurposing of the therein destructive tool. Accelerating the capital is thus the only way of subverting it. To sabotage the incessant speed of pharmaceutical doctrine and capitalization of human and inhuman fertility, the same weapon must be used. In Italy, under the worst right-wing regimes, ‘fertility performance’ is one of the main political agendas. Lesbians mothers are being taken away from their parental custody and an overall discouragement is being imposed upon gay couples. After the decree of 26th of July surrogacy is now a ‘universal’ crime, persecuted up to six years of jail and between 600,000 to 1,000,000 euros fine. Heteronormative reproduction is an hegemonic propaganda of ‘genetically superior sire’ against queer reproduction. The latter is being undermined due to the leakage of differentiation and deterrence entailed. By good fortune there is Sppare.Me, an American biotechnology company which sells DIY kits sent to your house replete with instructions on how to bottle up your sperm, conserve it and send it back to their banks. There’s a video on how to better masturbate in order to release an efficient amount of seminal liquid, which is cryopreserved at -320°F in refrigerators for as long as 40 years. This is a body without organ (BwO) that extracts your genes and freezes them at your disposal, to be deployed at your liking (where the law allows) even posthumously. A wordplay between ‘spare me’ and ‘sperm’ becomes synonym of self-development and self-mastering in a heinous efficiency-driven system. The subvertive tool to attack this nonsensical heteronormative reproduction lies in a DIY kit box. One of the main ‘side’ effects of hrt (hormone-replacement-treatment) is infertility. Unable to procreate I summoned the help of the man who I kept secretly hidden by the synthetic drugs I was (illegally) prescribed. I stopped taking medications for one month, enough for my genitals to produce sperm again. The first try was a failure, too feeble for reproduction. Sperm can synthesize DNA seven times better than any other cell. I needed to wait for them to be stronger. In the meantime, my body started to change by the avalanche of testosterone secreted through my endocrine glands. Hair grew fast and thick, my skin became coarse and my sweat produced a malodorous breeze. I finally became a wrestler. Few more months of estrogen abstinence and my sperm ‘passed’ the rigorous sample testing protocol including volume, count, concentration, total motility, and morphology fertility test. The monoparental dynamic was subverted. From the mother-to-be, I became the father. Back in a binary interlock I was cryogenically preserved and spared for a queer future.
Sppare.Me is the vehicle through which patriarchy, and the capitalisation of human fertility, can be perverted. To suppress the eugenic political agenda of the right-wing Italian govern, I cryopreserve myself using the same tools of animal surrogacy and artificial insemination.
In a laboratory in California, monitored and surveilled 24/7, in a stainless steel tank filled with liquid nitrogen at -320°F deep freeze state, I am shielded from the impending Italian fascist agenda. Like the superior sire bull and Arlinda, I am spared and spermed in a museum of immortality. I am a transgender mother in a male-assigned body. I am a criminal, a biohacker and a cybernetic soldier enlisted in the army against humanity. I am a cow in its factory silently wrestling against the systemic order of a deteriorating human race.
Agnes Questionmark, featured artist on our last cover, will be one of the protagonists of the exhibition, “‘Diario Notturno. Di Sogni, incubi e bestiari immaginari.” An expository path, which invites MAXII L’AQUILA to abode dreams and explore the nocturnes of the present with an immaginific, ironic and perturbing approach. Here exclusively for you and for the occasion is Agnes’ essay, specially sealed for us, which catapulted in unique visceral sensationalisms. Enjoy!
The exhibition will be open from December 3, 2023 to Sunday, March 3, 2024.
Curated by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi with Chiara Bertini and Fanny Borel