Semiotext(e) recently published I’m Very Into You: Correspondence 1995–1996, a collection of emails exchanged by McKenzie Wark and Kathy Acker during their brief but intense love affair. In Bookforum, Elizabeth Gumport writes that the book “is, at its core, a study of power and sex, and of performance, how we invent ourselves through our relationships with—our stagings of ourselves for—other people.” Acker was an outsized personality in the downtown New York art scene of the 1980s, and this collection of intimate correspondence manages to shed new light on her complicated self-construction. As Gumport writes:
I’m Very Into You is the autobiographer’s autobiography, letters from the person who lived inside—and through—the persona generated by her writing and solidified by her celebrity. It’s a useful complement to the “I” of her fiction—that near-mythic “I,” one often produced by laying texts side by side or by channeling other voices, the text acting as a psychic medium. It’s a testament to the formal qualities of e-mail, the way it summons us to ourselves—to reveal exactly who we believe ourselves to be, one human being addressed to another. These e-mails trace, too, what e-mail was and has become, and how we’ve been accustomed to the medium and molded by it. Our patterns of expression, our expectations, even the rhythm of our thoughts: The cadence of Acker and Wark’s writing foretells our own.
Read Gumport’s review at the Bookforum website.