Sadie Girigorie

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Dear darkness, dear obscurity, dear friend, I have come to the realization that nightfall is when I come alive. It is when I am finally free and safe from judgement. Where different rules apply, and the ‘normal’ way of things can be ignored. I find myself confiding in you. Your unforgiving darkness protects me from the piercing rays of daytime. The sun could shine so bright, but my head is ever clouded by the thoughts of me waiting for you to return. Once everyone has gone to sleep, I find myself starting my process. I transform myself into the freak that I actually am. Smothering my face with pigments and lash extensions and overlining my lips with a pencil, for injections are unnecessary. Teasing my hair and painting my nails, I do everything the sunlight would want from me, but I reserve it just for you. Expressing myself in the night is my act of rebellion, it is privatizing my beauty, and making it only available to the other freaks of the dark hours.

Inspired by Uzma Z. Rizvi’s words, I’ve come to realize that we have lost our appreciation for things non-human. And that “to think of the identity of non-humans in the same capacity (as human identity), on the same ontological plane, provides the possibility of an intersectional subjectivity to the thing itself.” It made me think of my relationship to you and how, although you are non-human, you harbor my humanity. The different ways in which my body is subjected to judgement and ridicule and they ways in which my body are politicized, guarded and restricted all suffocate me. But in the night I find space, air, and freedom to see things differently. I know because of you that this is not my destiny, and I gain the confidence to continue my search for a more authentic me. To regain my humanity in a world where their main goal is to strip it off of me. As Rizvi mentions, “begin to take into account the many ways in which we are identified, the modes of address, our different bodies, and varied epistemologies.” In my efforts to discover myself, I found that I actually do not have an environment where these things are actually taken into consideration. I felt alienated and disconnected from myself. Though in the night, I discovered a community that “allows for care to be an intrinsic part of the recognition of difference.” A community that also recognizes that identity is not static, and encourages self-reflection and understanding. Where everyone can be anyone, but where I also finally saw myself represented.

You have completed me as a person,

I love you and goodnight.



Exploring the idea of customizable bodies. BODIES© INCORPORATED is a project created in response to the rising popularity of custom avatars in the 90s. It questions the perceived autonomy we have when creating avatars. Stereotypes and social status still very much influence the choices made with creating avatars. BODIES© INCORPORATED also confronts participants with the commodification of their digital bodies. It is possible to use your body as a commercial asset. The work sends you through a portal to a 90’s internet interface. You are asked to give your ownership of whatever products that comes from BODIES© INCORPORATED away. You are then led into a avatar building simulation, where you can design your own body. Different traits can be assigned to different body parts and you can find information on all the different options you can choose from. Eventually when it’s all done, you can watch how your virtual body exists in the BODIES© INCORPORATED universe. This object challenges the idea of ownership, and whether that even still exists, especially with life moving more and more to digital spaces. BODIES© INCORPORATED is a speculative work in itself. I will be exploring the ideas from this work further. Exploring what exactly the body is, how we experience the body and what self-expression means. Our bodies determine a lot of how we live and how we are treated, so what comes to play once bodies are completely customizable, and we have ‘freedom’ when it comes to how we are perceived? Further inspired by the Xenofeminist Manifesto, I dive into topics such as gender, sex, race and the consequences of the labels that come with them. They are oppressive structures deeply engrained in our (Western) culture and how do they hold up once we get a hold of technology that can seriously challenge them.

The Job Interview

“Before y’all judge me, I told my boss I’m a man.” We were sat around the table, enjoying some wine and cheese when everyone stopped to look at me. “That ain’t right, Jada. Your daddy taught you better than that.” Phoenix said. “I know, but I got the job…” I responded. It was silent around the table for a bit. “that’s fucked up.” said Norbert. My other friends stayed silent and awkwardly stared at the cheese on the bamboo board in front of them. Yeah, it’s fucked up I thought. It’s fucked up that the only way I can get a job is by impersonating a man. It’s fucked up that I, a black queer feminist would consider life in the body of a white man. It’s fucked up that we even have the choice to be in a different body. I’m not sure what exactly Norbert was referring to, but perhaps he meant all of it. Maybe he did not even comprehend to what level of fucked this situation was. I decided to break the silence. “I have to pay my bills, Phoenix. I have to buy y’all this delicious Organix red wine from the corner store. It cost me a whole 4 dollars!” Phoenix smiled, “I understand it’s what you gotta do sometimes. But you know you can get in trouble.” I poured myself more of the cheap wine. She was right. I could get in a lot of trouble. AVABODY had become illegal about 20 years ago, they said it was a threat to society and a danger to all citizens. It would be a danger to rich white people if you asked me. About 10 years prior to its banning, AVABODY was released to the public. It was a technique for people to customize their manifestation. At first it was popular among trans and gender non-conforming people. Transitioning could now be done at a click of a button. It later gained traction in the performance arts world, where character design took on a whole new meaning. Actors in Hollywood did not have to follow strict diets anymore in preparation for their roles and plastic surgeons went completely obsolete. People were excited about this new technology and could not wait for it to become available for personal use. Until it did. Anyone with a college level education could see it coming. It was not just a tool for self-expression anymore. People started to use AVABODY as a way to exploit identity politics. Like I did, people could lie on their resumes, people would stretch the amount of time they could stay in their AVA’s and they started to live completely different lives. As you were never stuck to your manifestation anymore, people felt more comfortable morphing into different bodies. They took ‘what would you do if you could be the opposite sex for one day?’ to the extreme. This was a threat to life as we knew it. We could no longer judge someone by the way they looked or presented themselves because it was no longer something the person was born with. The professors over at the gender studies department got funded loads to research this. Gender dysphoria was something from the past. Sexuality had become more fluid than ever before, as bodies and gender got a new meaning. Even race and ability were no longer deciding factors in one’s life. We as a society were working towards a new universal. Where all the power structures based on Bodies were being broken down. Of course when we started to understand what that meant for humankind, the funding to these studies stopped. AVABODY lost their subsidies, and mega corporations fought to buy the technology. The prices went up and AVABODY became harder and harder to access. Eventually bogus research declared the practice dangerous and it was completely taken off the market. A few years later, it was banned. Apparently it was inhumane, cruel and messing with nature. Governments were afraid it would mess with the balances of nature. I think what they really meant is that it would mess up the balance between the rich and poor. It would mess up the balance between the sexes, the races, the classes. We tried protesting, but eventually our bodies were used against us. Some of us got changed back to our old bodies, and stripped off of the bodies we had grown to love. It even killed some of us. We lost the battle rather quickly. “I think I’ll be fine. I trust the lab I go to. They’ve helped people from the resistance in the past.” I answered “And how many people from the resistance are still alive, Jada.” Phoenix’ look was fierce, but I could see there was also fear in her eyes. “They were reckless with their Ava’s. I know better than to trot around government officials while transformed. Besides, it’s just an office job at a data processing firm. No one will be questioning my body. I think I’d be less safe as a woman more than anything.” Phoenix looked at the rest of the table, waiting for them to finally say something. But everyone just silently sipped their wine. Finally, Norbert broke the silence. He was a man of minimal words, and for people that did not know him it was hard to figure out what he was thinking most of the time. Although he never said much, he always knew the right thing to say. “anyone up for dessert? I made an apple crumble.” Usually at least. “Sure, I’ll clear up the table then.” Said Sybil. We grabbed the different plates and cheese wrappers and I followed her into the kitchen. Me and Sybil were doing the dishes, and the rest was in the living room chatting. I was focused on scrubbing the dried up lasagna from the plates without using too much water. We were already low on water and it was only Wednesday. “I think you did the right thing.” Sybil said softly. I didn’t look at Sybil and continued washing up. “I even considered it back in the day, especially after my pregnancy. It was hard getting by as a single mother. I think that’s where the resistance went wrong. They wanted too much and forgot about the most important thing, survival. We are just trying to survive in this messed up world. And you should know that Phoenix understands that. She’s just afraid you’ll go too far and make the same mistakes the resistance made. The world wasn’t ready yet. Maybe one day we will be. But until then all you can do is survive.” I was happy to get some support, but something did not sit right with me. Are we just supposed to wait? The world is not going to change unless we make that change. But I did not have the energy to start that discussion. To be honest, I’m tired. I’m sick of seeing my brothers and sisters in the resistance dying. And perhaps Sybil was right. Sometimes all you can do is survive. So you can live to inspire those who do have the energy to continue the fight. I smiled at her. I could tell that life had worn her down. I could tell that survival was the only thing she could worry about. Especially with protecting her child. There was too much to lose for her. All I could do was give her a hug. We returned to the dining room to find the warm apple crumble on the table. The smell of cinnamon and vanilla was inviting, the glares from my friends not so much. Norbert scooped up the hot apple crumble for his four friends. Phoenix, Sybil, me and Alex. Alex hadn’t said anything since I announced my new job. I did not expect them to be absolutely delighted of course. They still had their Ava. People still tried to criticize them for it so they decided to lay low and hope no one would try to take their Ava away. Alex was the oldest of all of us and was a teenager when AVABODIES came available to trans people. Alex was more than stoked for this technology and after saving for a couple years, got the body they wanted. To then see it all fall apart a couple years later was really hard on them. They joined the resistance for a while to not get it taken away from trans people but quickly gave up when their own Ava was at risk. As for many others, it was not worth it to get permanently hurt. Nowadays Alex is a counselor at a youth center and earns just enough to pay for rent. The job was tough but fulfilling. The days of protests and riots were over. They just focused on supporting the community now. I wondered if I really needed a job in an office. Doing work that doesn’t make me happy. Performing for everyone, just to make ends meet. What had I become? I did it for the sake of survival. But I would be living this life that wasn’t true to myself. I was tired, but being someone I am not was not going to revive me. I was giving up and only setting myself up for more disappointment. “I’m not taking the job. I don’t think I can.” Phoenix let out a sigh of relief. “Good, you should be able to find a job elsewhere!” “no, I’m going to join the resistance.” The expression on Phoenix’ face immediately changed. “I don’t think I have much of a choice. At least I’ll be proud of myself for trying. I don’t have a job, I dropped out of college, and my only prospects are making my Body available to large corporations if I want to survive. It’s also not like I have a child like Sybil.” I once again managed the shock the entire table. I could see a faint smile on Alex’ face however. “It might be the end of me. But I’m willing to wager my own life if that’s what it takes to make a change.” “you’re fucking crazy,” Phoenix blurted out, but I could tell that she wasn’t actually mad. Norbert squeezed my arm. “I’m proud of you, Jada. I do have to say, it was nice knowing you.” We all laughed. He was joking but we all knew there was a certain amount of truth in that statement. “Now can we please eat this apple crumble before it goes completely cold?” Sybil interrupted. “Yeah let’s eat. To our Bodies!” Alex added. “To our Bodies!” we all repeated.


The Internet is a complex environment that has proven time and again that it is nearly impossible to get a grip on it. As demonstrated in ‘how not to be seen’, it is a lot more valuable to know how to move around in this space and to manipulate it where you can. To do that you need understanding of how this thing we call The Internet works. In ‘Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead?’, Steyerl describes images to be ‘nodes of energy and matter that migrate across different supports, shaping and affecting people, landscapes, politics and social systems.’ This sounds abstract but really it describes how images can be powerful and have the potential to transform. The Internet has enabled us to see images be manipulated in ways we have never imagined before to the point where it is “not an interface but an environment” as Steyerls states. One way to understand this is to see that The Internet has had enough material manifestations with real consequences. There has been a recent insurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd. Millions of people around the world came together to protest, making it the biggest social movement in history. This essay will explore the role of The Internet in making the BLM movement what it is today.

Activism is ruled by the internet?

In the essay Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead? Hito Steyerl discusses the state of the internet and its current role in our world. Steyerl’s work is known to be highly conceptual and at times too abstract to fully grasp immediately. How does the internet surpass our screens into the real world? How do you move around in this all-encompassing internet environment? What consequences does postproduction have for people who consume images online? Perhaps these questions can be answered by relating it to phenomena more close to our frame of reference. Nobody has missed the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. After the Murder of George Floyd the world was enraged. It left many people hurt and traumatized, but it also inspired a global movement and a trending hashtag. This essay will analyze some of the concepts mentioned in Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead? in relation to the recent developments of the Black Lives Matter movement as it is a good example of our internet culture and the processes within it.

The internet is no longer something that only exists on our screens. To see the world online separate from our physical world would be ignorant as they are both part of the same web. We see this in the protests and riots that started after the murder of George Floyd. Floyd’s death was spectacularized and for everyone in the world to see. It was impossible to scroll twitter without hearing the words “I can’t breathe”. The abuse against black people was brought to light and made people see the system that allows this to happen. The extreme blowup online forced people to see the issue at hand and those who didn’t were criticized for being ignorant. As a result, protests were organized to bring change to the system and all over the world people came together to support the cause, making the BLM movement the biggest social movement in history. Even during a global pandemic, where it was mandatory to stay inside, protesters came together to express their sorrow and anger. The Images online inspired people to riot, to try and dismantle capitalism and to show that they can’t be controlled by the system that has oppressed them for so long. Institutions also felt the heat after social media was taken over by posts about the BLM movement. Staying silent was siding with the oppressor, and speaking up meant taking responsibility for all the places where your institution had been lacking in terms of taking care of POC members. One example of this the controversy surrounding the Bon Appétit Magazine Youtube channel. The Youtube channel featured people from many different backgrounds sharing recipes and talking about food. The ‘test kitchen’ where all these personalities came together ended up not being what it seems. One of the Bon Appétit chefs finally spoke up about this when the BLM movement was at its peak. It came to light that POC staff were being grossly underpaid. This led to many of the chefs refusing to appear in any more videos, some even leaving the company entirely. The editor in chief, Adam Rapoport, got fired as well. This also being in part because of an insensitive Halloween costume he did that resurfaced on the internet.

Black activists have had to find ways to safely protest and riot. Steyerl writes “The internet persists offline as a mode of life, surveillance, production and organization – a form of intense voyeurism coupled with maximum non-transparency.” This has detrimental consequences, especially for those who partake in illegal riots. It is nearly impossible to hide from the ridiculous amount of cameras all over town. But people have found their ways around it. One example of this is CV Dazzle. This concept explores ways in which makeup and hair styles can be used to make yourself unrecognizable to cameras and face detection algorithms. What makes these looks so interesting is that the person in makeup is usually still recognizable to people, but the makeup is done in a way that different face recognitions software would not be able to detect the face. The concept has existed for quite a while already, but has gained new popularity in 2020 for protesters against police brutality to protect their identity. The extravagant makeup looks that black creators have shared also helped in sparking the conversation about surveillance and keeping the community safe. In How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .Mov File Steyerl explores this topic further. Although satirical, it shows us how it is actually nearly impossible to be truly invisible. The software to make sure we are visible is developing faster than us trying not to be seen. And so, as the CV Dazzle is meant to help those trying not to be seen, it more so raises awareness than anything.

Steyerl points out that reality consists mostly of images now. So in order to understand reality one must also understand the production and techniques behind moving or still image. And because of the very nature of the internet, we are even more so confronted with the spectacle than ever before. Images are everywhere, making them interchangeable with the real world. Postproduction is no longer in order to represent the world, but it is creation in itself. It is important for activists to know where to put their energy as there are too many images online. There are enough examples of ineffective ‘activism’ which in some ways even work counterproductive. One example is #BlackOutTuesday. This hashtag involved people posting a single black square on a social media platform to show solidarity with the BLM movement. It was a complete blunder however, as it ended up drowning out actual useful information for the movement. Another example is the appropriation of Breonna Taylor’s case. Breonna Taylor was a Black woman who was shot and killed my police officers that broke in to her home while she was sleeping. Her case had been trending many times during the height of the BLM movement and is to this day still a topic of discussion as people want her killers to be arrested. But it got out of hand when people started writing ‘arrest Breonna Taylor’s killers’ everywhere. Even under posts that had nothing to do with her case. It was argued that her death became a meme and people started to use it for clout. The rapid speed at which ideas and images are transformed on the internet eventually led to the original message being lost and was even used against the cause. Memes and performative activism on social media make it harder to navigate who is to be trusted and who isn’t. Finding a safe space is so important though, as black activists are faced with so much trauma. The system will try to destroy whoever threatens its existence. That is clear to see in how the media frames activists. They are made out to be savages and criminals. Images are used as a tool to villainize those who are fighting for their rights. Which only emphasizes the need for change even more.

There are more ways in which the internet has influenced the Black Lives Matter movement and there are more ways in which the movement has influenced the internet. We live in a complex system which perpetually complicates itself. And to fully understand it is probably impossible. The reason why Steyerl’s works feels so open-ended at times is because there is no real conclusion to all this. Instead the takeway is that it is an ongoing phenomena, and according to the essay it won’t stop anytime soon. It will only grow more and more complex until it starts to reshape everything we do. And as this happens, we will see more people try to maneuver themselves through this reality. Whether it be beautiful art, social movement, or a hashtag. The internet isn’t dead, only the way we have understood it up till now is.


Harris, Margot, and Palmer Haasch. “Bon Appétit Announced 8 New Chefs after Its YouTube Channel Devolved into Chaos. Here's How the Publication Ended up in Hot Water.” Insider, Insider, 13 Oct. 2020,
Steyerl, Hito. “Hito Steyerl, How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, 2013.” Artforum International, 20 Apr. 2015,
Steyerl, Hito. Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead?, vol. 49, Nov. 2013,
Valenti, Lauren. “Can Makeup Be an Anti-Surveillance Tool?” Vogue, 12 June 2020,

In our capitalist society we are taught that now you contribute, later you rest. It is the promise of this rest that motivated mankind to sell away their most fruitful years. To commodify their bodies and so called build toward and eventual climax, where you could finally lay down your tools and sit down. Could you imagine that in 60 years, you are able to finally rest. It seems too far to imagine. Will we even still be on this planet in 60 years? Why are we so desperately asked to keep working, to invest in our future and to contribute to something that will benefit future generations? At the same time we are numb to the fact that there may not even be a future, we are not allowed to look further and to hold ourselves accountable for the pain we have inflicted on our planet. Are we really investing in out future? It seems to all be an illusion to keep us at work. The promise of rest is a façade to control us in the now.

Retirement is a promise of rest, a time to settle and enjoy our planet. To slow down and listen to our needs. Why has this been pushed to the last stage of our lives? Why are we supposed to suffer first, contribute to the demise of our planet, and then we get to be actual citizens of the earth. Once we’ve been weakened by time. Why not right now. Why not move into this stage of our lives right now. Call it radical, or call it love. Love for the planet, love for yourself and most importantly love for life. What is so wrong about claiming our enjoyment now. You don’t need experience to live a good and happy life.

We collect today to put an end to this oppressive system and we invite you all to take a step back and reflect. Are we truly contributing to a better world by working our whole lives. Are we actually good citizens. Do we care about the world as much as we need to? We let life pass us by only to rush into whatever relieve we think is at the end of the road.

Our goal is to slow down life. To see retirement as not something far in the future, but as a current reality. To create a life where your days are each savored. What’s so wrong with retiring at the age of 20. What is so wrong about using the majority of your life giving back to the earth, and to fill your relationships with love. To focus on your communities and to give back. Rest should not be a reward or a privilege. It is a right and a necessity. Join us to fight for a world that is designed for us, not against us.