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The Next Big Thing

20th March 2013

Amy Sara Carroll


What is are the working titles of the books?

I am in between two books. My second collection of poetry FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography (Fordham University Press) just appeared, so predictably it feels undone. I am completing my first critical monograph, “REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era.” I have not had to negotiate “REMEX”’s title yet, but the final preparations of FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography taught me a lot about how a title can be “working,” or not. Originally I struck through FANNIE + FREDDIE à la the Strike Debt Movement. Meta-data issues got in the way of FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography being the volume’s title though. According to Fordham’s able staff, the strikethrough would have made it impossible for the press to register, distribute, and market the book. The result? I am haunted. I cannot not see the title as anything but under faux erasure. I mean, What does it mean to re-instate “FANNIE + FREDDIE”? I enjoin active readers to “share the labor, share the work.” Strike through the collection’s title on your copy of the book!

Where did the ideas come from for the books? How long did it take you to write the first drafts of the manuscripts?

FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography’s idea and composition was palimpsestic. I rapidly wrote individual poems in the volume (roughly between the years 2001 and 2008) before ordering them into a collection. I then un-wrote or set out to ‘destroy’ the pieces. I wanted to materialize indecision or ambivalence, in effect reconceptualizing the collection as a whole. The idea of “REMEX” came in stages, too, as the last twenty years unfolded. I began researching “REMEX” in 1999 as a dissertation project. At the time, I did not realize that I was writing about what economists now routinely refer to as the second phase of Mexico’s neoliberal transition. The dissertation became something else—this book that I call “REMEX”—around 2008 when reviewing the official website of the North American Free Trade Agreement, I realized that NAFTA was implemented over a fifteen year period.

What genres does do your books fall under?

FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography is a compilation of some of my visual, concrete, and performance poetry. “REMEX” is a work of creative critical writing, an experimental art history that incidentally I organized something like a collection of poetry, too. FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography and “REMEX” are transdisciplinary, multi-mediated, feminist, queer… I hear the projects in garrulous conversation.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
For both books, the actors/actresses would have to be non-professional, ideally my friends, acquaintances, family (including those whom I’ve tagged here—Micha Cárdenas, Beth Frost, Bruna Mori, Rachel Price & Shambhavi Kaul, Brian Whitener—and E.J. McAdams who tagged me). Consider this post an open call.

What is are the one sentence synopsis synopses of your books?

In FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography, I ‘undocument’ the quotidian’s shades of gray/grey, the contingencies of post-Fordist relationality in the pre-Occupy window of time between September 11, 2001 and the 2008 Great Recession. In “REMEX” I offer close readings of artwork—performance, body art, conceptual art, installation, net art, video, cabaret-theater, experimental documentary and built environment—that are attentive to place “greater Mexico” and period, the complete implementation of NAFTA (1994-2008).

Who or what inspired you to write this these books?

My six year old son Césaire (Zé) Carroll-Domínguez—the artist responsible for FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography’s cover illustration “صورة عائلية/Retrato de familia/Family Portrait”—(more than any other person) and the “atmosphere conditions” of the United States between September 11, 2001 and the 2008 Great Recession inspired me to write the collection. A critical mass of Mexico City- and Mexico-U.S. border-based artists and the “atmosphere conditions” associated with the neoliberal restructuring of the continent inspire me to finish “REMEX.”

What else about your books might pique the reader’s interest?

Filmmaker Vicky Funari once explained to me that she, her collaborator Sergio De La Torre, and the promotoras involved in the documentary Maquilapolis’s making did not intend to tell the tale of Tijuana’s bust, but, life intervened: Funari had a baby, De La Torre began his MFA, De La Torre and she had to seek extra funding, 9/11 (2001) happened, the women of Maquilapolis were juggling their own work/life obligations—everyone took a break from filming mid-2002 through 2004. And, when Maquilapolis’s production resumed, the course of events in Tijuana redirected the film. Put differently, 2000-2001 became pivotal years for Maquilapolis because they were pivotal years for Tijuana; 2000 being the year when factory flight began, 2001 being the year when one could tally the evidence of the exodus. The fact that Funari and De La Torre took longer than they’d anticipated to wrap up Maquilapolis facilitated an Other story: the apparent end of an era. Funari’s story has stuck with me because FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography ‘interrupted’ “REMEX.” I finished the collection of poetry before I finished “REMEX” in part because I had to deal with a series of ‘extreme weather events’ in my life and in the lives of those nearest and dearest to me. Still, since undergraduate school, I have ‘code-switched’ between poetry and criticism. The mediums cross-pollinate one another in my work. I cannot imagine my dissertation without my first collection of poetry Secession (Hyperbole Books, 2012). I cannot imagine FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography without “REMEX” and a collaborative project that I’ve coproduced since 2008, the Transborder Immigrant Tool.

Will your books be self-published or represented by an agency?

Fordham University Press recently published FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography. Another press is considering “REMEX” for publication (fingers crossed).