In The Queer Commons, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Volume 24, Number 4, eds. Gavin Butt and Nadja Millner-Larsen, Duke University Press.
Recently, I have found myself reimagining Derek Jarman’s 1978 queer punk film Jubilee. At its start, Queen Elizabeth I asks her adviser John Dee to summon forth a spirit in which to converse. After descending, the spirit Ariel offers Elizabeth a future vision of England. Through thick, black smoke, a collapsed and lawless London emerges, composed of fallen buildings, roaming, armed gangs, and a burning stroller. Here, the punk present of the late 1970s is rendered as a futuristic dystopia. Every time I watch this film, I find myself wondering how this scene could be rewritten for the early twenty-first century. What pressing question might a political leader ask the spirit Ariel now? After globalization, the rise of high-frequency trading, and the continued Googlification of public infrastructure, might knowledge be sought not about a particular country but about a major planetary structure or institution?