In a new interview in Vice, Paul Preciado, author of Pornotopia:An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics (now out in paperback), speaks about his new book, An Apartment on Uranus. Click here to read the full interview. An excerpt appears below:
“Q: What does it mean to be renamed?
A: I always thought the question of having or not having the right to a name was political, but through the process of getting a new name, I understood that it was much more than that. It was a poetic revolution for me. When I started being called ‘Paul’, I had to relearn to hear and recognise my name. It was like becoming a newborn and learning to speak again. My senses were transformed.
Q: After a brief trial with a Zapatista name, the ‘absurdly commonplace’ Paul came to you in a dream. Tell me about that experience.
A: I wanted to keep my old name Beatriz, which, for me, was neither male nor female, and just be referred to with a male pronoun. This created a grammatical strike among my friends, especially among people I was working with at the [Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art]. So even before changing my gender legally, I decided to look for a new name.
It was a crazy adventure. I asked my friends to look for names, but I realised that the names they wanted for me were impossible. They meant too much for them and were too difficult to carry; it was too much responsibility. So I ended up doing a shamanic ritual. The shaman told me that the name would come to me in my dreams. That it was an ordinary night on a bed, made it even more difficult to take seriously. But it was a strong dream. In it, a publishing house found the secret poetry of Marx. I offered to edit the work, and written on the cover of the book was ‘Complete works of Marx including the poetry, edited by Paul B. Preciado’. I woke up and called the shaman. She said, ‘It’s your name,’ and I accepted. It was disrupting, but beautiful.”