Robert Sember is a member of the sound art collective, Ultra-red, and a Senior Associate at the Center for Social Innovation. Robert is currently teaching at the Eugene Lang College at The New School.
As part of the panel Performing Queer Ecology at the 2012 iLAND Symposium Robert will present 7 Miles A Second: David Wojnarowicz’s Appeal to the Force of Nature
The artist David Wojnarowicz died of AIDS in 1992. In the decade prior to his death he undertook an analysis of the “pre-invented” world, the system of ideologies and power structures that victimized non-normative sexual communities, people living with HIV/AIDS and the natural world. The AIDS crisis, as a political-historical event, was symptomatic of the pre-invented world. Much like the 19th century transcendentalists, Wojnarowicz was rooted in the American aspiration for self-making through the liberating force of nature. To undertake this project, he sought a figurative language that would draw him closer to nature on the one hand and on the other would liberate sexual and other oppressed minorities from the moral discourse of the “unnatural.” He condensed this struggle into the formula, “seven miles per second,” the velocity required to break free of the earth’s gravitational pull. Using non-Western and pre-modern theories of the natural world he advanced a vision of ecological struggle in which nature allies with the oppressed to bring about the collapse of the normative world.