2018 — Book Review


Guy Mackinnon-Little

Tank Magazine

Three years on, the anonymity of Laboria Cuboniks has slowly dissolved as the circulation of their tract has grown (a print version is due from Verso Books later this year). Now, one of the collective’s members, Helen Hester, offers a less polemic but equally incisive take on xenofeminism in her new book bearing the title.

Throughout Hester’s book, the speculative political imaginaries first presented in its namesake manifesto are anchored in concrete practices and histories. One of the most fascinating among these is that of the Del-Em. Developed by feminist activists in the early 1970s, the Del-Em was a menstrual extraction device which allowed women to perform early abortions outside of the medical establishment. Its designers repurposed schemata from equipment popular with backstreet abortionists into a form that could be readily assembled from everyday objects like mason jars and aquarium tubing. Distributed primarily as a set of instructions, the device did not exist prior to the networks of support and technical knowledge which facilitated its use.