Code Read

authenticate: whiskey-tango-foxtrot

(with an emphasis on the tango)

colonel. interned at desire camp. eyes everywhere. not much time. international situation is thorny. guyde? bored. s.o.s. read theses 152-153. end transmission. spy.

micro, current

December, 2008: Deleuze and Guattari weren't totally correct. Surfing is not necessarily about entering into an existing energetic system in and of itself, as much as it is about riding the turbulent, frothy edge between signal and becoming-noise. In the case of gait surfing, there is an entering into the energetic system of the flow of pedestrian traffic, but this traffic is itself produced by the muscular energies of the individual body. We are still exerting a force within the striations of the urban environment, that is, the biomechanical leveraging of the musculoskeletal system towards a particular linear vector of production. But when examined intensively, this linear flow-in-theory has different internal paces, rhythms, deviations from normal gaits, errors, noise, speeds, purposes and objectives, cultural histories — and indeed, an entire erotics in its relationality to the unfoldings of the several.

It is these anomalies that constitute the minor perturbations in a flow that may thereafter become chaotic attractors and create turbulence (cf. DeLanda). We find in the aggregate from these perturbations in bodily locomotive style the corporeal jetwash or break point between signal and becoming-noise of the urban gait surfer — not unlike a television picture in which one can see the dopplered images of visual signal and snowy static noise.

March, 2009: We are left with a conundrum: How to communicate the existence of embodied surfing potential in its myriad forms and work towards realizing such a new perhaps-radical politics without documenting the performance and contributing to a regressive politics of representation, fear and desire? This conundrum has lurked in the shadows for centuries, embedded in what Deleuze and Guattari refer to as the hydraulics of nomad science. One cannot document the act of surfing, the poiesis of being-in-body and becoming. Like secret whispers passed throughout history from breath to ear, then, one can only document the wave.

roundball, oblique function

Paul Virilio (in interview with Sylvère Lotringer), Crepuscular Dawn:

"With the orthogonal plane, the flat plane, as in the entire history of architecture, there is no difference between making one movement or another. On an inclined plane, climbing and descending are radically different; but climbing diagonally or descending diagonally are different again; and walking laterally is different as well. Every dimension, every direction of space becomes a modification of the body" (p.36).

"The advantage of the oblique is that you can choose what you want, whereas with the orthogonal, or with Le Corbusier, the right angle is always straight and up. Architecture Principe was based on breaking the orthogonal in every way. It no longer accepted the tyranny of the right angle. Entering into topology — you can say into 'the fold,' even if Gilles Deleuze had not yet written his essay on the baroque at the time — we did a lot of work on it. We had a lot of choices to play with, but they were dependent upon the experiment" (p.40).

"I am not talking about auto-mutilation, obviously, just attempts to push the body to the limit. It was a bit like competition. There was a sport-like dimension to our research, that's for sure" (p.44).

Oblique function in basketball

basketball court as oblique function
(inspired by parent et virilio, architecture principe)

What if the normally orthogonal space of the basketball court existed as an oblique function, with the direction of the grade incline running from sideline to sideline? What if the goals at each end of the court remained aligned to the orthogonal right angle? Given an experimental group of athlete-performers, how would movement and relation on the surface of play change over time as the players adapted from the orthogonal to the oblique? Could such changes become manifest in the absence of language — that is to say, strictly as a matter of gesture?

violet, the colour purple

Flesh-Gesture-Language Wheel

purple: "a color circle based on spectral wavelengths will appear with red at one end of the spectrum and violet at the other, and with a wedge-shaped gap representing colors which have no unique spectral frequency; these extra-spectral colors, the purples, are rather formed by the additive mixture of colors from the two ends of the spectrum."

violet: "because i want … to. i've wanted to ever since i saw you that day in the elevator. i know you don't believe me, but i can prove it to you. you can't believe what you see. but you can believe … what you feel. i've been thinking about you all day." (bound, 1996)

(why is the body the lacuna at the centre of this optical system?)

instant karma's gonna get you

On the surface, Yoko Ono's Play It By Trust seems to be a smart and intuitive critique of the simple binary of war-conflict. By painting all of the pieces and squares white and positioning them in the traditional chess game opening formation, she immediately sets up a tension in which we seem to actually be waging war against ourselves. Once an imagined play begins and the pieces commingle (dare we say miscegenate?), they slowly start to lose their identity of standing opposite the other and the game tentatively suggests a metaphor for peace.

In any examination of chess play, however, we cannot just look at matters on the surface. We must admit the contours and perspectives of the volumetric, just as we must admit the unfolding of a particular linear timeframe while play emerges. Imagine this imagined game becoming material — momentarily — and its players using algebraic notation (eg. Nf3) to track the logistics of movement-play on the board, for even in Ono's chess-world the striations of the grid do still exist.

When the coding of the chess game moves almost strictly to the archival databank the pieces and squares cease to possess an "identity" in any traditional sense, save for abstract locational information at discrete moments in time. They do not stand embodied for anything in particular, save the continual generation of the code. As Deleuze would suggest, they have become dividuals.

Since the entire game could be played via notation at this point — which, in fact, is what happens with computer chess — maintaining any relation to Ono's white pieces remains strictly an exercise in sensuality and the act of touching or moving-with in touch. This is the only reason they need remain. Viewed from this perspective, Ono does not show us a peaceful future world in which the binary oppositions of black versus white cease to exist, but rather demonstrates the ultimate uselessness of the material body in its becoming-information. While at a "surface" level seeming to embrace hybridity and one-ness with the other — in the most postmodern, imperial sense put forth by Hardt and Negri — this chess world remains connected, disconnected and otherwise modulated by streams of data, perspectival vision, and the archive.

And so the question we must ask of Yoko Ono stands insistent: is the game being archived? In the contemporary age of "archive fever," is the game being coded, notated, recorded or inscribed, saved, secured — in short, remembered? If there were no hands moving the pieces around the board, but only the pieces collectively moving themselves, would such archiving occur nonetheless — perhaps automatically, as a new form of instant karma?

play it for as long as you can remember
who is your opponent and
who is your own self. (yoko ono)

Or do we refuse the archive? Do we retain tactility? Do we encounter the inevitable confusion once the board becomes more chaotic during middle and endgames? Do we collectively remember and resolve the confusion?

Do we collectively forget and allow certain memories to slip away, or fade to black?

Courtesy of Barbara Fornssler

(thanks to the switch, who is both black and/or white if i remember correctly)

motion capture vs. biological flow

Next week the Department of Biological Flow will visit the Balance and Gait Laboratory at Brock University to continue our trajectory of research-creation on the moving human body as it is integrated with broader information networks of signal and noise. To this point the project has primarily been about the walking body in surveillant public and quasi-public spaces, the idea of gait as a uniquely identifying feature, and what we have understood to be an emergence of gait-based surveillance.

Our Kino-Gait Study No.3 was basically an attempt to ask what would happen if the skin-as-volumetric-construct could "see back" in surveillant space — in other words, if gait became our method of seeing rather than the eye (kino-gait). The video above was an experiment to demonstrate that concept.

Following the twin legacies of Muybridge and Marey, the motion capture studio exists today as both clinical instrument for biomechanical analysis and productive apparatus for entertainment spectacle. Its surveillance function is located somewhere in between. Our goal during the study next week is to have an embodied experience of "motion capture" and to creatively play within these tensional intersections.

The objectives for this study include:

  1. Develop a "normal" full model of walking body.
  2. Decode or "scramble" the markers by changing their locations on the body joints and walk again — what would this do?
  3. Have the two Department of Biological Flow members "glued" together front-to-back. The forward person has markers on front and left sides of the body, the rear person has markers on right and back sides of the body. The two bodies match strides, glued together, and then "split" apart halfway and veer off in opposite directions, as if "tearing" the subject in two or radically reconfiguring its relationality.

After these objectives are completed, the next phase of the study will have us wrap a simple videogame flesh texture map around the mocap model and then see what happens to the flesh and its gestural qualities when scrambled (as in scenario #2) or when the body splits in two directions (as in scenario #3).