sport : rhythm : image

(reflections upon my research program)

sport

there are many sports, there are many physical cultures, there are many athletic bodies. each one is engaged in dynamics of competition and cooperation, located in assemblies of hierarchies and meshworks. i seek to articulate sports, physical cultures, and athletic bodies in their variously defined forms.

rhythm

these athletic bodies move through time and space, continually unfolding their virtuality along paths scripted and improvised. their rhythms are felt biologically within self and other, socially within team or crowd, ecologically as hybrids of organic and technic. rhythm is a dancer of sporting outcome.

image

our technologies image each of our senses in a machinic sense. only to archive the sensation, which makes cents. i imagineer the spectacle and simulation of sporting control.

Venn Diagram of Proposed Research Program

Critical Space

The Chicago Pile-1 was Enrico Fermi's first successful attempt to achieve a critical nuclear reaction, which occurred in 1942 in a squash court underneath the Stagg Stadium bleachers at the University of Chicago. The squash court was the only place on campus with thick enough walls and a sufficiently elevated ceiling to house the pile of graphite bricks and wooden timbers that constituted the first nuclear reactor. Thus, the nuclear bomb arguably owes its genesis to a sporting space.

Chicago Pile-1

Chicago Pile-1

But a sort of inverse is true as well. The nuclear bomb has had an undeniable genealogical impact on sporting spaces and bodies, from the doping wars of Cold War sport to the contemporary climate of electronic surveillance. To a degree, these have become opposing forces: on the one hand, doping has persisted beyond the earlier impetus of nation-state governments during the Cold War to a network of individual athletes, coaches and scientists who push the biochemical and physiological limits of the body in competition, while on the other hand the same technological infrastructure (both material and immaterial) that enabled a stable communications network in the case of a nuclear attack, Cold War surveillance and the rise of intelligent machines (DeLanda) is today leveraged by the World Anti-Doping Agency in the global surveillance of world-class, high-performance athletes.

"The critical State, or, better, the Critical Space … becomes critical by virtue of the instantaneity of means of mass communication as much as through the performances of delivery vectors of massive destruction. … The function of the eye becomes simultaneously that of the arm" (Virilio, The Lost Dimension, p.130).

BioPower

At the global level, the act of initiating synchronicity or a synchronous process on top of biological rhythms is an act of power, even if the process is entered into freely.