Metagestures (Punctum Press, 2019)

Dominic Pettman and I spent a year and a half (or so) conducting an experiment born out of a series of related questions: What kinds of knowledge and understandings of the world can be generated – and shared – when we use para-academic techniques and sensibilities to decode or respond to relatively orthodox intellectual objects? And what worlds might be possible if we practiced scholarly work from a place of collaboration and pleasure, as joyful fellow explorers?

In Metagestures, we explore the use of fiction as a tool to write and think with works of theory. Taking Vilém Flusser’s Gestures as its point of inspiration and departure, Metagestures collects 16 pairs of short stories in which we make fictional worlds that animate and enliven each of the major gestures in Flusser’s book, in a gathering of short fictions that test, expand, and further the social scientific claims of the original text with new scenarios and occasions. Here, Flusser’s reflections on physical gesture serve as an inspiration for new ways of conceiving and conducting theory, and for thoughtful creative scholarly imagining, with and alongside one another.

You can also find our metagestures on the gesture of photographing in  thresholds journal by heading over here. A story from the project also appeared in a piece in the PMLA on fictioning and the historian’s craft. We launched the book at the New School in October 2019, and have given occasional talks about the project, including this workshop and this conference on Visualizing Theory at CUNY.