Out for a Walk, Digital Painting, Brushes app, iPad, David Moran, 2013
In pondering the queer modalities of [the suicide bomber], one notices a pastiche of oddities: a body machined together through metal and flesh, an assemblage of the organic and the inorganic; a death not of the self or of the other, but both simultaneously; self-annihilation as the ultimate form of resistance and self-preservation. This body forces a reconciliation of opposites through their inevitable collapse –a perverse habitation of contradiction. As a figure in the midst of always already dying even as it is the midst of becoming, like the homosexual afflicted with HIV, the suicide bomber sutures his or her status as sexually perverse. Mbembe also points to the queer becoming of a suicide bomber—a corporeal experiential of “ballistics.” The dynamite strapped onto the body of a suicide bomber is not merely an appendage; the “intimacy of weapon with body reorients the assumed spatial integrity (coherence and concreteness) and individuality of the body that is the mandate of intersectional identities; instead we have the body-weapon. The ontological affect of the body renders it a newly becoming body; queerly.
~ Queer Times, Queer Assemblages, Jasbir Puar, 2005, pg. 129
In Orlando, the pedestrian…the jaywalker…the street walker is a “traitor” to the societal norms and geo-political aspirations of the American South in ways similar to Puar’s discussion of the HIV-infected homosexual or post-9/11 suicide bomber.
The pedestrian in Orlando threatens the suspension of disbelief which perpetuates car culture/motordom/automobile hegemony or what author Junot Díaz refers to as the “negative hallucinations” that bodies are not meant for public, street life and that pedestrian mobility is not a functional, acceptable or even a real form of movement. More than likely Marxist notions of commodity fetishism and false consciousness as well as Foucault’s considerations of technologies of self and power are at play here.
In a metropolitan region that has been labeled as the most dangerous city in the country for those who walk along/across/about/on/AGAINST metro Orlando’s streets and roads (or STROADs as Chuck Marohn might label much of Central Florida’s asphalt)…in a city that is dangerous by design, pedestrians controversially embody the social, economic and cultural forces at play that seek to keep certain bodies in their dictated places and spaces through the design and accessibility of urban infrastructure.
The pedestrian as a body-weapon is a visible, vulnerable and ultimately volatile form of resistance walking along/across/about/on/AGAINST the technological determinism of car culture, consumerism and ultimately sexual selection thinly veiled under the guise of the privileged, socioeconomic status conferred to those who own/rent/inherit/drive automobiles.