This is the laptop I was using when I was transitioning. I always put stickers on them. The stickers on my old laptops tell their own story. The Hugo Ball sticker is from an event I hosted at Cabaret Voltaire, last big thing I did while still cosplaying as a man. The black heart, slightly clipped, is from Performance Space, the first big thing I did as publicly out, at least as some kind of they/them. That was for a marathon reading of Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School. The other stickers are moods of the time. I loved that manicured hand in brass knuckles by the now defunct Mask Magazine. I still feel connected to that image. Assigned Feral at Birth has an Australian resonance for me. A personal sign. I’d maybe rework that sticker I made myself now to read “This Fascist Machine Kills.” Seems more apropos.
I wrote a lot on this machine. It was before I went on hormones. I felt like I would lose something of myself as a writer if I did that. It held me back for years. Turned out I was right. I got four books done in 2018 on this machine before I started hormones, and then nothing of substance for three years. It was worth it though. I don’t have to hide in the writing anymore.
I don’t know what’s on the laptop anymore. I lost the password. The password clue is simply FU, so I was pissed off at something or someone. Probably myself. But I like the idea of that last pre-transition moment being locked and lost. Like a ghost of the past, contained.
McKenzie Wark is the author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, 50 Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International, Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse?, Reverse Cowgirl, and Philosophy for Spiders: On the Low Theory of Kathy Acker, among other books. She is Professor of Media and Culture at Eugene Lang College at The New School.