00 At the end of 2014, a large hole sat in the center of Midan Tahrir. The stone memorial to security forces that had previously occupied in the square, having been repeatedly vandalized and graffitied by activists, was being dug up by government workers without any official mention of what would replace it. Instead, bulldozers and barriers sat scattered on top of uneven mounds of sand and debris, and the space that had so often been the dynamic milieu for bodies, tents, stages, and banners over the previous years was refashioned into a construction site in perpetual disarray, inversely framed by the literal hole in its center.
01 Following Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s coup, when I would take taxis through Tahrir on my way to meet with friends for tea, teach classes, or run errands, I was always struck by the improvised choreography of the construction equipment, mesh fencing, and security forces that every so often rearranged themselves as if they were caught in the gravity of the square’s emptiness. The Midan was kept in this state of disarray for months, a form of spatial and temporal emptying of what had been set into motion during the 18 days of revolt in 2011. As Sisi’s regime built various monuments to itself, tore them down, and replaced them in a kind of rhythm, I was often left questioning what remained of the revolution. Had everything been extinguished? Exhausted? Smothered by the military regime?
02 In the years following the January 25th Revolution, the manifold and diverse assemblies of Tahrir had become powerful through their production of differential possibilities, the indeterminate wakes of diverse assemblings, proximities, and affinities. Following Sisi's coup, the military responded with the strategic production of emptiness, vacating the conditions of possibility for assembly through a securitization of spaces that literally emptied them of bodies. During one of our conversations in the courtyard of a gallery, the revolutionary activist
"That kind of space was a space of opening and opportunity and collecting. People, because they had met, could go on and do other things. Later, it became much more a space which was pointing towards who you should round up. The space collapsed and its values changed and shifted." (The coup took shape largely in its attempt to eradicate and empty spaces "of opening and opportunity" where people found one another and assembled and subsequently could "go on and do other things" together. After Sisi seized state power, anyone who tried to maintain or defend these spaces risked being "round(ed) up" by security forces, arrested, killed, or disappeared. Mass military deployments to the streets and skies of Cairo intended to empty the spaces of assembly as a means of emptying the indeterminate possibilities and futurities that accompanied them.
03 After having been pushed out of power in the coup, members of the Muslim Brotherhood organized several anticoup sit-ins across Cairo, the largest of which gathered away from the center of Wust El-Balad in Midan Rabaa al-Adawiya, a few kilometers to the northeast of Midan Tahrir. Thousands of protesters assembled to demand an end to the coup and the reinstatement of Mohamed Morsi as president, setting up tents and stages that resembled the form and spatial organization of the January 25th Revolution. In an effort to secure power, Sisi publicly demanded that demonstrators leave the square and began preparing for their eviction. On August 14th, 2013, a little over a month after the coup had begun, armored vehicles, helicopters, snipers, tear gas, and troops were used to disperse the sit-in over the course of several hours. In the process of clearing the square, the military killed nearly a thousand people and injured several thousand more in what has come to be known as the Rabaa massacre, the deadliest day in Egypt since the first fires of the revolution had been lit.
04 In the weeks between the beginning of Sisi’s coup and the Rabaa massacre, I spent most of my time confined inside with my partner in our apartment, writing articles online about the coup as it unfolded in the streets below, all while trying to survive the extreme heat of the Egyptian summer. Anticoup marches regularly poured into the streets, fighting with security forces or with pro-Sisi groups in long, drawn-out battles which included fireworks, tear gas, paving stones, barricades, birdshot, and bullets. These protests were juxtaposed with periods of tense calm that had taken hold during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month of fasting that slows Cairo’s normally kinetic and chaotic pace. Going out to run errands meant unavoidably being swept up in crowds that gathered in various neighborhoods, as well as by sporadic and dispersed military mobilizations which unpredictably and dynamically appeared and disappeared across the territories of the city like sparks burning and vanishing in the night. Slowly and steadily, the wild milieus of the assemblies were replaced by fractal territories of security.
05 Sisi’s regime is heterogeneous, inconsistent, and fragmented, both multiple and singular in its external action and internal movement. Different sections of the regime undermine one another, various organizations and factions of security forces are often in conflict (at times fighting with one another in the streets), and even within the military itself there have been internal coup attempts. The regime has compensated for these potentially debilitating inconsistencies and fragmentations by multiplying security checkpoints in universities and on roads, ordering myriad helicopter patrols over the Nile, installing numerous concrete-block walls that cut off neighborhoods from one another, occupying Wust El-Balad with swarms of armored vehicles and young military conscripts that await deployment orders in alleys and in the back of trucks, and finally emptying spaces that cannot be regulated or policed via the previous means. Together, these culminate into a fractalized security regime that operates at diverse scales and speeds: a Security Against Possibility that conditions all life in the city.
06 While the regime's violence is quite present and actual, its power is virtual. In other words, it emerges from its excess, that violence which hasn't yet happened but still could. It’s not so much particularized instances of violence, but rather the possibility of violence, that affectively shapes how one moves, acts, thinks, relates, and lives in Cairo after the coup. Counterintuitively, it is the indeterminate quality of the security forces, their unpredictable and dispersed practices flickering in and out of existence at plural scales, that produces forms of order and determinacy. In response to the wild indeterminacy of the assemblies, the regime produces its own indeterminacy in diffuse and distributed forms of violence that emerge in dynamic intensities across the entirety of Cairo. It’s not only stark violence but also the proliferation of possible violence that defines the regime’s security against the possibility of the assemblies.
07 The regime’s strategy has taken on different tactical expressions since Sisi took power. The massacre in Rabaa was followed by the imposition of a month-long city-wide curfew that prevented the return of protests or sit-ins. Downtown Cairo, usually bustling with people in the warm evenings, remained desolate and empty in the evenings over this period. Months after the curfew ended, police officials cleared the Borsa, the famously dense string of street cafés in Wust El-Balad, seemingly in an attempt to eradicate the informal socialities that had established a life there. The repeated military closure of Midan Tahrir is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the military regime's attempt to empty spaces and impose order in Cairo in the interest of its own survival. In more muted fashions, police officers performed identification checks, harassed bystanders, or confiscated property to help empty spaces. Any hint of possible unrest has prompted widespread military mobilizations that have included the stationing of troops and vehicles on the peripheries of Tahrir and a closure of the large steel gates on its south entrance that were installed after the coup.
08 The regime’s strategies have, over time and through their repetition, imposed a fragile order onto the streets of Cairo. In a conversation with the academic theorist
"It seems at times as though it’s a very singular logic. The largest most spectacular events, the biggest visits by the governor and all of this kind of stuff, is really an attempt to show that they have control over the state and they do that by showing that they have control over the visual appearance and the orderliness of the street. There’s a weird determinism inherent in that. But there’s also a rather disheartening logic because it really strips away everyday spaces of gathering and collectivity and hanging out. Egypt has very little if not its cafés. Cairo is not the most beautiful city. It’s not a clean city. It’s not an orderly city. It’s a city that’s always to me been marked by this kind of madness that at times is euphoric and is open ended. As frustrating as it can be and as frustrating as any encounter with bureaucracy and the heavy handedness of it is, it is the place where there is always a gathering of people and you stay up late with your friends and your colleagues and your acquaintances and there’s a liveliness to the street that’s always been the lifeblood of the city that I think is very clearly under attack by this government." (The banning of marches, the clearing of street vendors from main thoroughfares, the emptying of the Borsa, the attacks on "everyday spaces of gathering and collectivity": what is striking about the regime’s repression is not that it seeks out groups that are recognized as being political, but also extends its repression to every form of assembly or gathering that doesn’t strictly conform to the regime’s managerial logic. This includes spaces of conviviality, sociality, romance, and fun, any place where affinities and desires and intimacies and pleasures and becomings can unexpectedly be generated in encounters between bodies in unscripted fashions. Sisi’s regime depends on the (re)enactment of controls to (re)produce their power, attempting to eradicate the generative forms of assembly that flourish in these informal spaces.
09 After the military returned to power following the coup, mixtures of Egyptian police, soldiers, and baltagiya have incessantly attacked any kind of protest that has managed to manifest against them in the streets. Those who are lucky manage to slip away from these attacks with only the sharp burning of tear gas in their lungs, either escaping into open restaurants, quickly catching one of Cairo's many taxis, or disappearing into the bustle of a nearby metro station, all while evading the plethora of plainclothes police that roam the area before, during, and after demonstrations. Others are hit with scattered birdshot from the regime's shotguns, beaten in the streets, detained and sentenced to years in jail, or killed. These highly visible forms of repression that are enacted in the open occur against a backdrop or pervasive torture, imprisonment, and hundreds of disappearances that happen out of view but also affectively condition the diverse practices of living and forms of possible life on Cairo’s streets. Sisi's emptiness must be continuously reproduced, and its order incessantly reimposed: even the slightest anomaly is felt as an existential threat to the regime.
10 The scattered protests that have tried to take the streets and establish new kinds of assembly following the coup have done so under the threat of extinction, as Sisi’s regime has not only consistently dispersed protests when they have appeared but has also attempted to eradicate the conditions of possibility from within which resistance and revolution are rendered possible in the first place. To these ends, Sisi’s regime has made use of fractal techniques to produce an affective fear that permeates all spaces of the city regardless of whether security forces are present. Unfolding across Cairo, the regime’s repression and the emptiness it produces has symmetry across all of its different scales: it is systematic yet unpredictable, diffuse yet particularized, atmospheric yet localized. In other words, the emptiness of the regime is a structured form of emptiness that has both extensive and intensive dimensions and means to be totalizing in its fractalized operation. It’s impossible to discern where the security of the regime properly begins or ends, whether one is entering or retreating from the battlefields of the coup, or if the situation will collapse and implode or accelerate and explode. Both actual and virtual, macro and micro, repeating and differentiating, a thousand security practices percolate through the possibility of the city.
11 During my regular walks, I unavoidably encountered Sisi’s security forces in the streets and squares of the city. Armored personal carriers are stationed around government buildings, their metal shells towering over the pedestrians that walk beside them. Large groups of soldiers, loitering around their large trucks, produce affective black holes across the bustling city as people avoid being close. Secret police, making no effort to disguise themselves, regularly sit in the back rows of theater performances and academic lectures. Following the coup, life in Cairo has been immersed in the emptiness of the security forces, and the forms of community and intimacy I took part in were perpetually haunted by their deeply felt contingency, fragility, and possible disappearance.
12 In Sisi’s Cairo, security is fundamentally oriented against possibility. Establishing order at any cost, the regime desires to shape, determine, police, and manage all practices of living in the city as a means of constraining and curtailing the conditions of possibility for radically other practices of living that incessantly threaten to become manifest. The security practices of the regime respond to the ineradicable multiplicity of Cairo by attempting to manage that which is wild and desiring to tame that which is untamable. Lives are pushed and shoved into static configurations of relation, exchange, orientation and recognition that inscribe them with stratified expressions of difference. One function of these security practices is to make bodies apprehendable, and to limit relations between bodies to relations of apprehension.
13 Almost always, when we encounter other bodies we apprehend them in their difference. When we apprehend a body, we recognize it as being resolved and fixed in its normative particularity (as a gendered body, as a classed body, or as a raced body, for example). To apprehend is also to arrest, in essence to capture a body in its apprehended difference and to help materially reproduce those differences in bodies themselves through the recognition of them. To assemble with bodies on the other hand is to encounter them in their irreducible complexity and indeterminacy without necessarily recognizing them: you don't need to apprehend a body in order to assemble with it. On the contrary, apprehension only hinders possible assembly because of the established and repetitive relations to the other's body that it implies. Security measures mean to produce the conditions for apprehension within which stratified relations are reproduced and reinscribed while denying opportunities to reorganize or refashion those relations in the differential possibilities of the assemblies that occur outside of apprehension.
14 Through emptying spaces of assembly where indeterminacies proliferate, the spaces where repeated encounters have the potential to both cohere and decohere difference itself, the regime hopes to limit bodies to relating to one another within the already-existing organization and distribution of the city: in the home with family, at work with coworkers and managers, in places of worship with others of faith, at school with students and teachers. These are spaces where bodies are made to be more determinate, predictable, and recognizable in their roles in relations, spaces where bodies are apprehended as being bodies in particular, spaces where most often difference is simply reproduced and reinscribed, foreclosing upon experimental practices of living and becoming that flourish in assemblies.
15 Sisi's systematic yet unpredictable repression of queers, political dissidents, students, and artists suffocate the conditions of possibility for assembly that have the potential to reorganize forms of difference and practices of living in the city. These forms of repression function in tactically distinct yet strategically interconnected ways. First, the regime renders already existing social formations more precarious as a means of affectively regulating them. By heightening the felt vulnerability of communities through the virtual multiplication of the regime’s possible violence, the regime pushes groups to become cautious, afraid and isolated, trying to foreclose upon forms of affinity that could otherwise take shape. Second, the regime extinguishes and empties spaces where bodies can possibly encounter and assemble with one another against the logic of the regime. This strategy is manifest in the military’s regular closure of Tahrir, but also in attacks on other spaces of indeterminate assembly across the city such as galleries, mosques, cafés, classrooms, theaters, and soccer stadiums. This dual motion of the regime’s security practices, the production of possible violence and the foreclosure of the possibility for assembly, is the dynamic technique Sisi uses to reproduce his power.
16 In an exchange with the activist
"To my mind I think what frightens them the most is people gathering in ways that they can’t directly control and predict. It doesn't have to be political. When it’s political of course there’s an extra level of scrutiny and aggression directed against it. And yes, there have been tens of thousands of arrests and there are thousands in prison now, for expressly political crimes of conscience, or what have you. But, at the same time when you look at the operating logic of the government and the apparatus and the state, their priorities have been on this notion of a very superficial but a very rigid formal sense of ordering. Bringing order back to the city. ‘Enough Chaos’ they say, ‘Enough Disorder.’ So, we’ve had enormous campaigns of eviction against street vendors that started in August of 2014. Only a couple of weeks ago they evicted the vendors. That was in downtown, and only recently they did the same in Ramses square. Similarly, the cafés in downtown and elsewhere have been targeted by the police supposedly for licensing and other kinds of sidewalk violations. The impact if not the intended effect is a tamping down on the everyday hanging out that people do and the discussions they have. I was talking to a business owner in downtown who, that on his authority, says he was talking to one of the people that was in charge of the policing and utilities, who said they explicitly cleared out the cafés in downtown because the government felt that this is where activists hang out. And so, to deal with that problem, the easiest solution is to basically eliminate the spaces and the arenas where those unstructured behaviors take place." (The "very rigid formal sense of ordering" that
17 Sisi’s military regime is not simply the sum of its police officers, army conscripts, vast bureaucracies, armed thugs, and security architectures, although it surely includes them. To properly understand the regime, it must also be seen as a regime of space and time itself, a complex and dispersed assemblage that both produces and forecloses upon space-times as a form of ontological, social and political power. This strategy culminates in the fractalized structuring of emptiness, the diverse distribution, maintenance, and regulation of emptiness at different scales as a means of vacating the city of any possibility other than the static continuity of the regime itself.
18 Minoritarian communities that have taken part in experimental and resistant forms of assembly, intimacy, and affinity have been the most sought after targets for the regime. Among these groups, queer communities composed of homosexuals, trans*, bisexuals, sex workers and others intentionally try to become obscure in order to evade state violence. Under Sisi, security forces have raided bathhouses in Cairo, arresting men en masse and charging them with ‘inciting debauchery’ after allowing for them to be filmed by media, half dressed, being dragged into the backs of police trucks. Several clubs and bars have also been closed for hosting ‘debaucherous parties’ where queer practices allegedly take place. Cell phone applications that queers have used to find one another are also regularly infiltrated by security forces who send invitations to meet and then arrest whoever arrives. Queer communities continue to find life in various spaces across Cairo, but do so deeply conditioned by the felt possibility of these forms of violence. The forms of assembly practiced by queer communities threaten the regime because of the way that they potentially reorganize social and political difference, and open up forms of indeterminacy, affinity and intimacy that jeopardize the regime’s control over bodies, and so the regime produces possible violence to foreclose upon the conditions of possibility for the communities themselves.
19 The securitization of universities is yet another tactic that Sisi’s regime has used to impose its apprehensive order upon the city. Universities in Cairo have long been homes for resistance movements and more general forms of political organizing, and students were very involved in the revolution and have been active in the protests against the coup. Universities often manifest as spaces of assembly because of the forms of proximity and density that emerge on campuses despite disciplinary and security structures. Following the Rabaa massacre, the regime installed private security at the entrances to Cairo’s public universities, forcing students to present identification, have their bags searched, and pass through metal detectors in order to enter campus. Student political organizations have been banned, and faculty that have expressed political opinions have been fired. Beyond these measures, security forces have also conducted sporadic raids of various dormitories and student buildings, searching rooms and arresting those they suspect of taking part in protests. These raids, through their chaotic and unpredictable enactment, produce power more through the production of the possible raid than through any singular raid itself, seeking to diminish the forms of proximity and affinity that have otherwise taken hold in these spaces while reinscribing their role as students and nothing more.
20 Civil society organizations in Egypt that have been critical of the regime, most often human rights groups, have also been increasingly repressed. In 2014, an announcement was made that all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Egypt needed to officially register with the state, remain open to surprise inspection, and have all foreign funds pre-approved. When I sat down to talk with
"The point of these policies was to create that hysterical atmosphere among the activists of the NGOs so to corner them, in a sense. And actually that was the case over the last months. I mean, we spent almost 50% of our work thinking about our own survival. And so we weren't able to fully mobilize our own limited capacity, to do our own work that’s on our own agendas, trying to appear in the media, trying to even outreach to the authorities, etc.. That’s why, from that point of view, their plan actually worked out. They cornered the NGOs. They kept them under constant pressure using at their disposal a set of very ambiguous and ambivalent legal tools, and creating an aura in the media that those guys are actually kind of colored, kind of marked, and then also trying to work on that social and political stigma by saying that you’re receiving foreign funding, and by the way, the Egyptian political sphere is quite paranoid towards these issues. Or thinking about something like phantasmatic connections between the Muslim Brotherhood and the human rights groups and something like that. This is the aim of that campaign. So the aim and the objective is not to eradicate the human rights groups. The aim is to corner them and put them under constant pressure and create an aura around them that actually blocks their own communication with the communities they are trying to work with." (As
21 During the January 25th Revolution, Ultras soccer fans played a big role in the street fights that regularly took place with security forces. Because they had been organizing as fans for years and had confronted the police repeatedly outside of stadiums, they had much more experience in street fights than others and thus were able to more effectively defend spaces of assembly from the attacks of security forces. Following the January 25th Revolution when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took power, and then more intensely under the coup, the regime repressed Ultras groups by closing soccer stadiums to fans and outlawing their organizations by labeling them as terrorist groups. In one of my conversations with
"They really imagine living their life in a different way and I think this is also something that scares the state. The state does not understand what these people are about, why they are that organized. ‘Is this only about supporting their teams?’ This is something Asef Bayat talked about, about the state’s animosity to fun. And how the state can’t really perceive or understand fun as something that people would come together to do collectively. We shouldn’t blame them if they don’t see their battle as political, but we should blame the political parties who can’t see this as a political battle. This also would tell us how we see fun, and how we see pleasure as something insignificant or something that is not worth fighting for. And they are really a pleasure-oriented group. They want to chant. They want to dance. This is something very different than something most Egyptians are thinking of. Not only because of the binary of work and fun, that we should actually value work and despise fun, but also about the way we think of and the way we live our life. It’s a different thing. If you attend a match with them, there’s that point where they ignite so many flares, and they go shirtless, and they start to throw water on each other, and everybody is wet, and there’s colored smoke and it’s a very carnivalesque moment and it’s a whole different experience." (The regime’s "animosity to fun" and inability to "perceive or understand fun as something that people would come together to do collectively" are intimately tied to its fear of spaces of assembly that it cannot control. The "carnivalesque moment" that is "a whole different experience" and is literally fought over in the streets is one manifestation of indeterminate and collective assembly that the regime has attempted to eradicate because of the possibility that the participants could "imagine living their life in a different way."
22 In addition to repressing Ultras groups the regime has also targeted moulids, the religious festivals in Egypt that honor various figures in the Muslim and Christian faiths. These are spaces where people gather together to dance and eat and enjoy themselves, or in other words, where people assemble. Many media organizations in Egypt have functionally become part of the regime and help to justify the repression of these festivals as well as other activities and practices that are deemed morally questionable. While in Cairo, I was able to converse with
"Last week there was a moulid in Sidi Ahmad al-Rifa'i, and I mean for hundreds and hundreds of years this is the way Egyptian people have been celebrating the moulid. And it included music and it included singing, but suddenly you open the newspaper and you find that there is a campaign in the newspaper and they are against the people of the moulid making music inside of the mosque. Because of this campaign, the state got afraid and went and closed the moulid. There have been three moulids this year that the state hasn’t given permission for, and this is happening after the media campaigns against moulids because they are against music inside the mosque." (Later on in the same conversation,
"The media’s role is not to watch the state, but instead they are trying to watch the people. And by trying to watch the people, they always comment and they campaign against how the people should or are supposed to live their life. They don’t discuss it, but they make campaigns about people. There was even a campaign against a boy and a girl that were found kissing in a library. And there was a campaign against that because, why? This is not the role of the media. For example you open the newspaper and you find a fucking shitty guy who took a picture of a boy and a girl who are kissing in the corner. And this is getting published. And they are making a fucking campaign about it. Because of the pressure and because of the combination and marriage between the businessmen who own this media and the state. The media are not watching the state. They are watching the people." (The regime and media organizations cooperate to repress instances of assembly, either in the moulids or in intimate encounters that take place outside of marriage, because they don’t conform to the logic of apprehensive security and instead have the potential to make possible novel forms of relation. The regime means to not only control the streets of the city, but also the desire, attraction and pleasure of its inhabitants.
23 Most recently, Sisi’s security forces have resorted to shutting down cultural and intellectual spaces. At the end of 2015, several spaces in downtown Cairo were unexpectedly raided by regime security forces. These raids were part of a larger wave of repression unfolding in the days leading up to the revolution’s 5th anniversary, which included detaining prominent members of the April 6th Movement as well as several researchers and journalists. Of these raided spaces, I was able to attend many events at
24 While the regime makes maximal use of its security forces in repressing instances of assembly wherever they appear possible, it’s worth noting that even the regime knows that they can never entirely impose the forms of order they desire in Cairo. As a failsafe, Sisi has engaged in planning and seeking investment for the construction of an entirely new capital in the deserts east of Cairo. Tentatively called Capital Cairo, there are plans to begin construction and eventually Sisi hopes to move all government administration and offices to the new city, far from Midan Tahrir and its history of wild assemblies. In a conversation with the activist
"There is this project to create a new capital city, which was brought up a couple of months ago by Sisi’s regime. Some 60 billion dollar pharaonic fantasy out in the desert with glitzy buildings to rival Dubai, and the UAE was supposed to pay for the whole thing. And that was clearly a counter-revolutionary project. The idea pure and simple was to build a city that the revolutionaries couldn’t reach. There is this teeming Cairo population that every regime has always been afraid of. They’ve always been afraid of Cairo rising against them, and particularly of the workers and the intellectual leftists joining together. That’s been the terror of every regime. If you create a new capital that doesn’t have any workers, or that doesn’t have any mass population, you feel safe. Part of the fantasy of this regime is this hygienic modernism. To create a space for itself that is immune to diseases of the Egyptian body politic that took down Mubarak and could still bring it down." (This desire to leave Cairo behind and start anew is perhaps the clearest articulation of the logic of Sisi’s regime. Rather than inheriting and working within the complex and contradictory histories of the city, Sisi instead hopes to make a new city appear as if out of thin air, to start over again in a place where the bodies of the revolutionaries and the people more generally cannot reach the regime, where assemblies themselves will not be possible by virtue of the built space of the new city itself, where Cairo is incapable of "rising against them."
25 Multiplicity and indeterminacy are the targets of security practices because they constitute the terrain of struggle within which security can be undone. The subtle deviations away from the official route, the imperceptible becomings, the imagination that sees a life different from the one being lived, the memory of a past divergent from the military’s, all open up new kinds of undecidability and indeterminacy that cannot be entirely foreclosed upon in advance. The recent history of Egypt can be thought of as being caught in wide swings between security and possibility, between fixity and futurity, between apprehended difference and becoming. Sisi's enactment of security practices initiates forms of conflict that have no end, but instead relentlessly recreate the same conditions that require the regime’s incessant resecuring.
26 It’s crucially important that we understand that the military cannot ever manage to entirely foreclose upon that which it attempts to eradicate. As much as Sisi desires an orderly city, life in Cairo remains anything but. As the regime attempts to tighten its grip and erase the potential for any other way of life but its own, the living know better. The collective activities that life requires, the cooking, the music, the conversation, the performance, the art, the improvisation, the imagination, the love, the sex, are together the locus of what we could call the wild and the untamed, the productive and poietic forces that cannot help but emerge from our encounters with others and with the world. These forms of conjunctive encounters necessarily persist even under the harshest security measures, enabling those assembled to continue to investigate and experiment with possibilities that refuse to be tamed. Given enough time or intensity, the anomalies of possibility become inevitabilities, and bodies discover that they can find one another in assembly again.