Garage: Gender as a Bad Dream

There’s a thing haunting me. It walks behind me and it’s called forever. Inside it is a memory. I remember seeing this wheeled contraption with a face move down a dark wooden hallway, on a screen, being told this is a rare and terrifying thing to see.

I see where the bad dreams go when I finally get to dictate that figure’s actions a decade later. The man gets into Garage and dreams of machines. There is a deep long valley and he links his piping to it. It’s 1999 and his shadow wants sneakers. It’s 2022, the Garage has been translated into English.

In the new world where robots are ancient milk monsters, the man manifests as trapped inside. This happens to the people he meets too and nobody knows if it was meant to be this way. They torture here, and tyrannically, they do it to the bodies of “the females” and then when that’s not enough to their shadow selves. It is performance art, you can collect reels and posters that represent it, collect notes that notate it, collect the past’s ephemera and sell it off for objects that keep you running, keep you buying more crabs to bait more frogs to feed to the robots.

The female robots feed milk to the male robots who do the work. The male robots use their special organ to reach inside the belly of the female robots and stir the milky. It is and always was this way right? There is one who doesn’t… Lou… she fishes, and she has the organ supposedly unique to the male robots too, and she has been tortured, and likes music, and… solitude.

One of the reels you can collect is of her being thrusted on by another robot. It’s sexual and feels like it is exploitative, it isn’t clear what the nature is fully, the background to the moment never is alighted on but the thrusting robot sees Lou as his prize, and plaything. You free her, you ride her boat, she is the key to letting everybody out of the garage where the robots are tuned for parts and you mimic her actions. Is it that you are her?…

You are not, you are clearly the torturer who set up the world this way, as outlined by the plot, but finding myself feel represented in the way that the garage holds gender, like Legacy Russel states in Glitch Feminism, as a limiter on the “body”, to prevent it from becoming infinite, is odd. I had, in running from the past, the fear of the garage as being disgusting in a way that it curves itself around. It is as if, in its being, Garage is curling up around the grenade that it intends to let off through interrogating the assemblage of a body into personhood, into roles, as an act of self sacrifice. The garage makes you into the thing you refuse to see, the assembled parts. I had been afraid that it had no sense of this, was designed as another frustrated simulation of the sexual desires of a man possessed by the desire to subjugate ‘the female form’ into pure plaything. Simply because that’s how it’s presented in media and hype, as a perverse cult object.

Would it be less terrifying or more if it truly was just without nuance, because then you have to go, oh there is something here, something that gets to the terror of having a body fixedly gendered and expected upon.

Garage in both electric and frustrating ways reflects the rigorous terrors of gendered and capitalist society as something that propels assemblages towards doom. It does so through characters whose bad dream is not some jump scare, but the problem of living and finds the solution to it, in dissolving the state, as not comforting, not clean, and not desired by most, since it truly means a full exit. Turn off the pumps, we’re going home.

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