Ashkan Sepahvand hosted his ongoing project "the technosexual reading circle" in the form of a 10-week seminar at marra.tein. The sessions were open to the public and accompanied by a Facebook group page where additional materials and media could be exchanged between participants. Condensing the variety of topics and themes the reading circle has covered in its past two years in Berlin, the goal of this Beirut iteration was to provide an introduction to "technosexuality", that is, the ways in which biopolitical capitalism effects the perceptions we have of our sexualities, bodies, and social relations.
Departing from Paul Beatriz Preciado's 2013 book "Testo Junkie," the sessions charted a range of associations, from the simultaneous emergence of mind/body dualism and the birth of capitalism in Early Modern Europe to neoliberal governmentality and its emphasis on the "self" within an expanded and highly-individualized marketplace. Discussions addressed the socioeconomic formation of psycho-sexual identifications, the relationship between technology and sense-perception, contemporary metaphors for articulating embodied desire and late capitalist subjectivity, and possibilities for critical resistance and re-appropriation when there really seems to no longer be an "outside". During this period, Ashkan Sepahvand also worked on his own writing and research, using the time and space afforded by marra.tein to begin composing a sci-fi narrative about a fictional corporation named Quertek who is developing a biogenetic code implant for human use that aims to optimize the species towards a constant state of maximized pleasure. The questions that organize this inquiry emerge from and feed back into the tech-sex discussions, including post-humanism and "evolutionary transition", corporate realism and capitalist animism, the workings of the pleasure-imagination industry, materiality and incorporation, and the ambivalences generated by technology. For more info on the technosexual reading circle, see the full manifesto