Often imagined as a pensive white man, wearing clothes in earthy colors, an odd hat and a rugged leather bag with an infamous notebook, Boris Malinowski fit the description of the ethnographer. Yet, his notebooks offer unexpected insights:
“Today, Monday, 9.20.14, I had a strange dream; homo-sex, with my own double as partner. Strangely autoeurotic feelings; the impression that I’d like to have a mouth just like mine to kiss, a neck that curves just like mine, a forehead just like mine (seen from the side)” 1.
One week after his arrival at Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea in 1914, a day after Malinowski began writing his diaries, a lifelong struggle started: homophily, the radical love of the same. In the face of extreme segregation – being all by himself in the tropics, not speaking the language of the indigenous, overwhelmed by ‘insomnia, overtaxed heart and nervousness,’ – he starts to feel desire for himself. It is this specific form of love for the same enhanced by narcissism that emerges when facing the radically different.After every ‘jungle’ has been conquered by global capitalism in the last century, referring to Malinowski’s experience of homophily appears unfitting. However, autoeroticism has only shifted in the face of technology: From self-love in the face of the other to self-love without the other. Reality is organized in discrete units – ”digital islands of isolation that are drifting further apart each day.“ In discriminating accurately through their binarity, digits surround us with comfort and uniformity. Malinowski’s feverous jungle of endless depth and extraneousness has turned into seamless surfaces comfortably excluding the unknown. Engaged in this cosy architecture we find ourselves in Gated Communities. Personalized interfaces endure into sameness – we are encircled by ourselves.
Malinowski’s diary is both a space for ethnographic exploration and a documentation of homophilic ‘friction’ in its attempt to overcome his autoerotic segregation. warehouse aims to elaborate on this in changed socio-technical conditions. warehouse explores autoerotic segregation ethnographically and archives practices countering homophilies. From June to October warehouse will publish essays, artists’ moving images, interviews and performances on a weekly basis. Malinowski attempted to regulate and organize his struggles through the means of observing and writing on paper – warehouse will do so in offering a diagram of strategies countering homophily through frictional insertions: [entropy], [pray], [home], [adobe], [soft-fiction], [stranded]. A geometry to map a new normal; a topography for overcoming autoeroticism.
Malinowski, Broniwslaw: A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term, London: The Athlone Press, London (1967), 12-13 ↩