Eva Weinmayr, AND publishing, London

Against Immunisation: Boxing as a Technique for Commoning. 

This score rethinks the concept of the commons in a counterintuitive fashion. If we conceive of boxing not as a concept of masculinity and violence or the survival of the fittest, but as a moment of intense negotiation of border space, contagion and border linking, then it might serve as a technique to unlearn the building blocks of possessive individualism and the figure of the “proper.” 

Through our life-long training as possessive individualists we have learned to see and protect ourselves as “proper” subjects. That what is mine, what belongs to me: my identity, my ethnicity, my land, demands protection. Each of these spheres turn into a form of property that must be immunized from external appropriation and alterity through the erection of boundaries and exclusionary mechanisms. 

But if we understand community not as a common essence or a shared property, then as Roberto Esposito suggests, the common is not characterized by what is proper but by what is improper. Or even more drastically, it is characterized by the other, by a voiding. This removing what is properly one’s own inverts and decenters the proprietary subject, forcing him/her/them to take leave of themselves, to alter themselves. (Communitas, 2010) 

Reading Esposito and Bracha Ettinger (The Matrixial Borderspace, 2006) were helpful to understand why the boxing training for self-defining women organized by AND at Marabouparken Konsthall in Stockholm (2018), was such an exhilarating, demanding and troubling experience.  

Boxing is a moment of “border swerving, border linking and border spacing” (Ettinger), rendering permeable the borderlines of our “proper” subjects. As a nonverbal, bodily dialogue it transgresses the very borderlines that we elsewhere seek to protect. During sparring I deliberately forgo this established immunity – my contours become vulnerable through the mutuality of the touch: My fist touches and is being touched at the same time.