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Chris Campanioi

A and B And Also Nothing

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Literary Nonfiction. Latinx Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. How do we re-write American identity? Start by exploding the canon. Chris Campanioni begins by adapting (re-writing?) Henry James's The American and Gertrude Stein's "Americans" through an amalgam of annotations, observations, aphorisms, and asides, dissolving the boundaries between journal and novel, autobiography and fiction to enact the correspondence between all things when they are copied out. Then he goes further, imagining several other books inside this one, including an exploration of the ways in which "migrant illegality has been fabricated and shaped since September 11, and how these processes parallel the expansion of criminalization in an increasingly securitized and (border-) patrolled United States, and how this might inform a critical evaluation of technology's role in capturing and containing bodies: the specular and surveillant logic deployed for the divestment of human rights--to dispel bodies or, alternatively, to keep them in check."More than anything else, it is this hypothesized convergence of the real, the not real, and the not yet real that propels A AND B AND ALSO NOTHING toward a blueprint for American identity built on errancy and errantry, hospitality and mutability, and a reevaluation of the exclusionary practices premised on the fetishization of origin and the original; the singularity of specialization. "Against nothing," Campanioni writes, "if not against expertise and the territorial character of art." In introducing the game and inviting all of us, A AND B AND ALSO NOTHING is both a call and a response to the avant-garde, an attention to the community of neo-mestizo writers and writers of color who have, consistently, been left out of its genealogy.

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