Cite as: S. Pearl Brilmyer, ‘Queer Rigidity’, talk presented at the workshop Margins of Error, ICI Berlin, 30–29 June 2015, video recording, mp4, 23:08 <>
30 – 29 Jun 2015

Queer Rigidity

By S. Pearl Brilmyer

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:23:08
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin

Part of the Workshop

Margins of Error

Mistakes are typically tolerated as long as they are contained within a margin of error. What would it mean for error to stray from these margins, to escape routine procedures of error correction? Can error be thought against the very norms that seek to correct for it – that is, according to a marginality that would be error’s own?

The first presentation of the collective work undertaken as part of the ICI’s core project ERRANS ventured beyond any straightforward negative determination of error and erring, challenging the roles they are assigned in mainstream politics and thought. ERRANS opens up a rich field of associated terms, invoking notions such as errantry and errancy, in order to explore the close connection between error and wandering.

Many of today’s radical and critical projects seek to invert culturally dominant hierarchies of value involving some figure of imperfection or failure. Drawing on such chiasmatic operations, we examined how historically valued categories such as truth, reason, nature, the human are not only dependent on, but haunted by reconfigured engagements with their errant others – falsity, madness, the monstrous, the inhuman. We want to free the images of disorder, failure, and ruin from the teleological frames within which they remain confined by neoliberal discourses of achievement and progress.

Yet sometimes what appears to be a radical challenge runs the risk of leaving underlying structures intact. Thus we are interested in the strategic potential of errancy as an alternative to direct assault or radical critique: what might be gained by eschewing a logic of opposition in favor of one of deviation, deviance, going astray, or swerving? How and where might radical interests be best served not by transgressing into a new territory, but by strategies of tinkering, irritation, small acts of sabotage – of queering in every sense? When might the pressure to follow established pathways be effectively interrupted not by a direct reversal, but by straying from the course, losing one’s way, or simply pausing in hesitation? This workshop explores the zones in which binary oppositions begin to fade and the spaces where new meanings and values have not yet emerged: New margins of – and for – error.


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)


Rosa Barotsi
S. Pearl Brilmyer
James Burton
Antonio Castore
Federico Dal Bo
Maria José De Abreu
Preciosa Regina de Joya
Walid El-Houri
Ewa Majewska
Clara Masnatta
Claire Nioche-Sibony
Zairong Xiang

Organized by

ICI Berlin