A Thousand Reps

Amy Ireland and Linda Dement, ‘A Thousand Reps’, 2016


The unacknowledged status of reproductive labour has traditionally been connected to socialist-feminist responses to capitalism, identified as a site from which protest against the system as a whole can be activated, without necessarily questioning the logic of reproductive labour itself—as a form that reinforces a single, heteronormative mode of creativity.

Replicative modes of production take this critique one step further. At its most abstract, replication can be understood as a queer, cybernetic form of production that does not rely on the exploitation of its (hetero-) Other to generate novelty.

Sexual reproduction is typically combinatorial. Genes are chosen from a predefined set and recombined in order to produce offspring. In contradistinction, replication—sexual reproduction’s primeval mother—is a synthetic and deviant mode of production from which totally unexpected and novel forms may emerge: flawed, noisy, erroneous, deformed and miscreant.

The logic of reproduction is the production of identity via negation.

Tethered to the ideology of reproduction, individuation relies on asymmetrical sexual difference as its basic operator. It is fundamentally static, structured as a repudiation of the void and the interval—that which is no longer what it was and not yet what it may become—and sublimed into representation.

[Replication] does not reproduce or represent itself as an integral identity and it does not need something that is nothing to grasp itself against as something. It is already multiple and on the move. It autoproduces recursively by folding itself, re-pli-cating. Mutant, autonomous, ubiquitous—and logically invisible.

It is the heat death of the universe, encoded retrochronically, in the restless movement that lures all matter towards dispersion. But this ending is not an inverted beginning, no matter what it looks like to the ego. It is motion itself.

If reproduction is constituted by re-producing the origin (the invisible regime of pure production), then to subvert it is to refuse the linear temporality that it invokes. The only way to begin is to refuse to begin.