(in)formation by emma levesque schaefer

In the pulsing quiet, you wait for something, anything, to keep you still, to hold you down. Nothing and no one comes, so you attempt to relax into the virtually empty room.

Chaka Khan plays from the laptop on the desk and you listen closely as the lyrics soak into your pores. They don’t belong to you, never have, but you bathe in them because you haven’t taken the time to clean the bathtub since you moved in and its surface has built up a thin-layer of something rust-colored.

virtual, adj.

  1. Senses relating to particular qualities or physical virtues;
  2. Inherently powerful or effective owing to particular natural qualities1

“how else do you experience a flight from the body2,” your friend asks.

“Fucking? Yeah, fucking, probably.” you respond, far look in your eyes.

I can sense your needs / Like rain unto the seeds / I can make a rhyme / Of confusion in your mind / And when it comes down to some good old-fashioned love, / That’s what I’ve got baby, ’cause3

…Like rain unto the seeds, as if in this metaphor she actually is water. Maybe it’s like when you water the fern in your kitchen and she screams out in joy as the moisture fills her root system. New growth. Germination, now isn’t that is sexy? What do you accomplish when you make this analogy?

It would probably be useless to define water here. Imagine you are water. What body of water would you be? Does water have a body? Do you have a body?

Looking up the prefix dis– you read “As a living prefix, with privative force” many times over.

“implying removal, aversion, negation, reversal of action.”

Maybe what you really mean when you say disembodiment, is something like utter embodiment, to the fullest extent of being in, or existing as, a body.

            I’m every woman / It’s all in me / Anything you want done, baby / I’ll do it naturally…

natural, adj.

  1. Existing in, determined by, conforming to, or based on nature
  2. Consistent with nature; normal, expected.
  3. Ordinary; conforming to a usual or normal character (or constitution).4

And yet, to exist in, be determined by, or conform to anything like this would be to erase every part of your body you have written love letters to. And those babies have already been postmarked, so good luck with that.

Unsurprisingly, your search history reveals the innumerable ways that you voluntarily objectify, commodify and manipulate your body, your-self. How many times are you going to click “Forgot your password?” You like to think about being subject and object simultaneously, but letting it all fall slowly backward in cogent descent is hardly enough these days.

You know it’s about time to start rethinking your own boundaries and perversities. But what will it take for all those passing faces to reimagine your surface as a lens5—like your body of water—both reflecting and diffracting the curves of your neck, hips, and lips. 


  1. virtual, and n.” OED Online. March 2017. Oxford University Press.
  2. Not to get too theoretical here, because I’m really most interested in deconstructing what Christiane Paul is talking about…“…virtual reality is the manifestation and continuation of a flight from the body that has its origins in the fifteenth-century invention of linear perspective vision. However, the concept of disembodiment radically denies the physicality of our bodies and the reality of our interaction with computers, which still very much is a physical process that in many ways forces us to conform to the set-up of a machine.” Paul, Christiane. Digital Art (Third edition) (World of Art). 2003.
  3. If you ever ride with me in my car or walk in on me showering you might actually hear the melody of Chaka Khan. “I’m Every Woman.” WBS 8683. Warner Bros Records. Vinyl. 1978.
  4. “natural, adj. and adv.”. OED Online. March 2017. Oxford University Press.
  5. A relationship between or upon—as in the relation between two points—the surface of screens unplugged but still glowing.