‘Alien Futures’, Thoughts on The Xenofeminist Manifesto by Laboria Cuboniks (2018), Verso.

By Alessio Kolioulis and Rahel Süß


Let’s put an end to gender inequalities and how they shape our technologies! To achieve that, we will need more, not less, alienation.

Since the invention of nature, our bodies scream for more space. The body – in the singularity of our attempts to detach from the mass or in the safety of collective directions – looks for new ‘territories’ to live.

The Xenofeminist Manifesto (XF) invites us to explore the unexpected, the uncharted. In this sense, XF is experimental.

More importantly, XF opens up the fibres of what is alien, or ‘xenos’. The other that we can become. Here lies the significance of this loud manifesto: it calls for a politics of alienation.

To grasp the deeper sense of this politics, one has to explore the tyrannical and emancipatory possibilities of technology. The manifesto does it against the wider background of a playful attempt to articulate a feminism for the technologically mediated realities of the twenty-first century.

“From the global to the local, from the cloud to our bodies” (83), XF desires new institutions for the techno-materialist dimension, as some of the most vulnerable people are exposed to the e-waste of global powers.

Thought experimentally, XF shares the ambition to build a new language for sexual politics. Our task is to transform ‘gender hacking’ into a long-range strategy, seeking the construction of an open source universe.

Which leads us to XF´s key insight. Through alienation we generate new worlds: “The construction of freedom involves not less but more alienation; alienation is the labour of freedom’s construction.” (15)

In this spirit, the manifesto is an invitation to intersect the XF project of becoming other, of alienating ourselves. By capsizing alienation’s poles, XF rejects technological determinism. It demands to re-engineering the microphysics of power, language, and identity.

In so doing, XF revitalises the toolbox of modernity and urges feminists to equip themselves;

Let’s build an alien future!

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