Virtually Parables: Movement, Affect, Seduction

Revealing and concealing. This is what is at stake.

A back and forth. A tradeoff. A question inside an answer inside a question. A hesitation. A rhizome.

But we cannot make the mistake of considering it simply a matter of binary opposition between positive and negative poles. Concealing is not necessarily an act of negation, but in its most subtle forms perhaps an act of seduction. It is an act that wells up from within, bodily but only indirectly sexual, a series of slight gestures so trivial nuanced they may be unnoticed even by one's self: a delicate lowering of the eyelids; a slight turn of the shoulders so the other cannot read one's thoughts on the very concept of seduction; an involuntary lowering of the head, neck and shoulders when the intensity of the now becomes too powerful to bear for the dizzying vertigo of fear it brings.

If the game is played correctly ("the secret of the secret"), these tiny acts of concealing may undergo a metamorphosis: like a caterpillar emerging from the coccoon as a butterfly, concealing becomes revealing.

Concealing thus does not necessarily equal negation. But concealing all is a void; it is darkness.

Do all players know the rules of the game?

* * *

Revealing all, on the other hand, can be a negation.

Professional basketball and its networked alliances with transnational capital and the makers of spectacle are in the business of revealing. This assemblage must produce affect as commodity to be circulated endlessly through the networks of desire. Its revealing of all is like a continual innoculation against the latent potentialities of seduction. It, too, is bodily, though a paradox lies within: call it the anaesthesia of telesthesia.

The rules of the game are well known by all: this turn of the ankle and grimace is pain; this raising of the arms and jubilant smile is joy; this flexing of muscles and clenching of teeth is intensity.

But does that produced intensity even begin to approach the affective power of a delicately lowered pair of eyelids?

In considering the question inside an answer inside a question, we recognize revealing at its most monstrous.

* * *

Retrieve the body from its narcotic processing of code. Play improvised pickup basketball. Conceal something.

Let the body seduce.

Don't script the coordinated effort of limbs, the hot pumping of blood, the heaving of lungs, but rather flow with other bodies. Don't look at, but rather sense a teammate before delivering a pass through a mesh of stasis. Don't flex the muscle in anger, but rather in competition.

These little concealings may also become revealings.

* * *

Not everything needs to be revealed, however. Sometimes it can be simply felt (though there is nothing simple about it). It can be affective. Can we not simply do away with language and its problems and its contemporary desire for monstrosity?

No. Sometimes we need language, for our bodies do not always speak feel with one another in fusion. Instead, confusion: hesitations of affective thought can be noisy for the rational mind.

This is the game implicit in seduction. This is what is at stake.


2 responses to Virtually Parables: Movement, Affect, Seduction

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  1. Rodster says:

    A very poetic post, Smithers … a lovely read. I love it when the scholar and the artist converge!

  2. sportsBabel » my skin is (y)our relation says:

    [...] from volume to surface phenomenon, interaction now more closely resembling tesseraction (cf. mez breeze). if the conference brings together people to the same space, then the surface of the skin has already been established and fixed, its relations mingling within. given the conference in time, on the other hand, we must continue to produce skin with every word spoken. perhaps it is fortunate we are physically numb to the process, muted as it were by the anaesthesia of telesthesia. [...]