Tyler Stoll’s interdisciplinary practice investigates and orchestrates potential sites of rupture within the constitution of normative masculinities. Revolving around a manifesto titled the future Is flaccid and the movie musical Grease, his thesis work and the accompanying text develop the material conditions and formal qualities of flaccidity as a tool to undermine the phallus and the systems of domination it upholds.
the future is flaccid: On Tyler Stoll’s Queer Revolt
Queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing. Often we can glimpse the worlds proposed and promised by queerness in the realm of the aesthetic.
-José Esteban Muñoz
Within the asphyxiating totality of imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy, queer infrastructures provide an effective and affective standpoint to disclose ways of being beyond the tyranny of the phallus. These queer revelations in the midst of the rifts and crevices of our present involve an estrangement from and exposure of phallic ideology, as well as a revolutionary claim for a new distribution of the sensible.
In that wake, Tyler Stoll invites us to see Grease again––or, better, to see it for the first time––both as the expression of a heterosexual culture that perpetually reinforces male domination, and as the presentation of a queerness, a flaccidity, that resists and persists in the vaselined movements of Danny Zuko. When seen through a flaccid gaze, Zuko’s desperate attempts to stiffly uphold male heteronormativity have the queer effect of performing its immanent undoing.
Thus, insofar as Stoll’s pieces are performances that unveil phallic impostures and leak a greasy, fluid embodiment, they invite us––and, specifically, cisgender men––to come into flaccidity ourselves by materially joining in its performativity. If we do so, we will see that we are all Danny Zuko, not only because we have been forced to drink the milk of white heteromasculinity, but because our bodies are the site of our refusal to swallow it. It is in this embodied interruption that a community appears: a polity in which, beyond the binary cruelty of the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds, every-body can join the fight by chanting “We Go Together!”
However, Stoll reminds us that the sturdiness of the phallic totality should not be underestimated. If this queer formation is to avoid co-optation or dissolution, it must be aware of its constitutive and irrepressible fragility. To remind us of our collective vulnerability and power, Stoll has gifted us a flaccid manifesto: an open-ended call to inspire the continuing struggle until the current material conditions have been overthrown. A specter is haunting the phallus––the specter of flaccidity––and its demand to the present and future is loud and clear: “Queers of No/All Gender(s), Unite!”
Operating as a revelation of the radical potentialities of queerness, the work of Tyler Stoll is, therefore, an aesthetic denunciation, a creative tactic, and a political rebellion. Stoll’s pieces are provocations that expose the violent colonization and commodification of our sensibility through the imposition of erection as the sole horizon for desire, labor, and reality. They are attempts to (re)create flaccidity as a space for collective dwelling where we can unlearn and fight the rigidities of neoliberal heteropatriarchy. They are calls for a flaccid revolt to transition into the worlds promised by queer radicality which are already present as the invisible foreskin of our phallic contemporaneity.
Gonzalo Bustamante Moya