In sybil unrest, Rita Wong and Larissa Lai bring the techniques of avant-garde formalism and the sensibility of the transnational subject together in their project to "re-subject" the "i." Their book-length poem is a sharp critique of twenty-first century local-global scales of capital flow that provocatively proposes the figure of the Asian female body as a more robust figure of humanist universality than, say, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. This playful provocation is not quite a call to a representational coup, but an illumination of the cultural specificity of wholisms underwriting discourses of species and interspecies interaction. In their pursuit of a strategy of ethical (self)-representation,Wong and Lai fortuitously produce a critique of “human” as the species and identity category whose ideological underpinnings inform and are informed by Euro- and androcentric post-Enlightenment humanist values. Ultimately, Wong and Lai propose political action as occurring at the moments where the subject literally composes herself—nutrionally, affectively and narratively—as living material.
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