Bounce AND Control!

Don \"Mousse\" Lewis

Don "Mousse" Lewis
Commissioner
All-American Basketball Alliance
whites-only basketball league

The Incipience of a Thought

An aging basketball player (or perhaps a dancer) attempts to execute a skill on the court made countless times in the past. Perhaps a feint with the dribble in hand, perhaps a lunge into the passing lane on defence. Whatever the move in question, the basketball player's age and lack of practice are such that the final biomechanical outcome in terms of displacement is blunted and awkward, despite the fact that he senses the intent towards the more highly skilled action. In other words, in attempting to execute the skill the basketball player is confronted by a split in his subjectivity: the intent for the body to move in a particular fashion standing against the approximation of that same intent in the actual body displacement that occurs.

The split is made perceptible by the relatively rapid decline in skilled motion and the intensity of responding instinctively to the unfoldings of play. It is this split-made-perceptible that offers the basketball player an embodied way of understanding Erin Manning's concept of preacceleration: the intent to a particular body movement that is the incipience towards its eventual realization in motion, "the ways in which movement is always on the verge of expression" (Relationscapes, p.14).

So which one constitutes gesture?

Is it the intent toward the more skilled movement, or the corporeal displacement that eventually follows? Often the latter occurs in such rapid succession and with such high fidelity relative to the former that one does not notice they are distinct, but the basketball player would argue this is precisely the case. And given the political significance that Manning, Giorgio Agamben and others ascribe to gesture, which one of the two elements we decide to label as such — or indeed, if we decide to take them both together as mutually reinforcing terms in relation — is a question that seems to merit closer attention.

time, perception, soma

So embodied are the demands of productive time in a basketball game that a team's reserve players (a form of surplus labour sitting in wait on the bench) will in unison chant a countdown of the final seconds remaining on the shot clock for a particular possession. This can be highly beneficial. For those players on the floor who are so into the haptic flow of the game that they cannot focus visual perspective on the clock, such a chant shifts the sensory cue to the aural and offers the team a better chance overall for productive success (scoring a basket).

In certain cases — as with Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University — a majority of fans will join, or indeed lead, such a chant. Though embroiled in the physiological intensity that comes with being part of a sporting crowd, each chanting fan retains a physical memory of time's passage such that there exists a sympathy with those players whose expiring shot clock constrains opportunity. Productive time becomes embodied in such a fashion that one need not even play the game in order to somatically register and respond to its demands. Not only do we see the surveillant gaze of the Foucauldian middle manager discursively brought to bear upon the hardwood shoproom floor, then, but in the Cameron Crazies and others of their ilk we also witness the fleshy presence that remains perceptible even with the emergence of an "immaterial" economy.

(That said, these same fans might in fact have a better intuitive and embodied sense of spectacular time.)

walking, surfing, bowing

The Peripatetic Deleuze: Biological Flow and Walking as Knowing

(submitted by sean smith and barbara fornssler to the 3rd international deleuze studies conference in amsterdam)

We approach as if wasps forming a rhizome with the orchids of Deleuzian thought. Or, we thank you in advance for legitimating our presence and granting us the power of voice. Nomads or agents of the state, we are not certain as to whom we should address our conference submission, but we shall initiate a politics of approach that errs on the side of the former. And is this not to a certain degree the politics Deleuze and Guattari advance in their admittedly undertheorized concept of holey space: the ability to surf at the threshold between the ever-contingent striations of state authority and the myriad subjectivities and contexts we may understand as nomadic?

DoBF, minus one

Perhaps this offers us a metaphor for our ability to move through public and quasi-public corporatized spaces: the surfer who rides at the break-point between the wave's signal and its becoming-noise, who stays slightly ahead of the movement in order to glide stylishly to the beach. Located in the urban context at the threshold between surveillant optics and smoothing gestural haptics, we will present three artworks from our program of research-creation — Gait Surfing, Kino-Gait, and Natality (Ingrid) — and discuss them with reference to work from Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault, Massumi, Manning, and Agamben.

vital air (yoga poem no.1)

inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
i n h a l e
e x h a l e
i n h a l e
e x h a l e
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
i n h a l e
E X H A L E
i n h a l e
E X H A L E
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
.
.
     exhale!
inh
      xha
  hal
     exh
 nha
        ale
inha
      xhal
inhal
      xhale
inhale
     exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
i n h a l e
e x h a l e
I N H A L E . . .
EX(in)EX(in)EX(in)EX(in)
EX(in)EX(in)EX(in)EX(in)
E X H A L E . . .
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
i n h a l e
e x h a l e
i n h a l e
e x h a l e
i   n   h   a   l   e
e   x   h   a   l   e
i   n   h   a   l   e
e   x   h   a   l   e
i    n    h    a    l    e
e    x    h    a    l    e
i    n    h    a    l    e
e    x    h    a    l    e
i    n    h    a    l    e    x    h    a    l    e

sacred iliac flow?

Department of Biological Flow, December 2008:

Once again, an over-reliance on the visual bias stymied attempts to fully get into the flow of the gait surfing exercise. Originally it was suggested that the surfing subject should direct one’s gaze about 45 degrees below horizontal and abstract the focus of the gaze to about 5-6 feet in front of one’s face. But this still made the exercise too visually-oriented: even if the flow of traffic was moving beyond the abstracted focal point, it was enough to stimulate the eye into refocusing, locating and tracking particular moving objects, thereby reducing any sort of dependence on the strictly haptic and proprioceptive aspects of negotiation and navigation.

Instead, Sean suggested to direct the gaze to 75 degrees from horizontal, such that the visual was deferred for as long as possible before encroaching upon the body’s ability to move affectively through the flow. This definitely worked better for track five, but the continual struggle against the visual remained poignant for both participants.

Bows in Eastern Orthodoxy - Courtesy of Wikipedia

different types of bows in eastern orthodoxy (wikipedia)
the initial gait surfing study would have had the head bowed slightly lower than position no.1

Can we understand gait surfing as a bowing and act of reverence to the other-in-flux? Can we suggest that it is an act of gratitude for the relation that allows one to be liquid and surf? Can we consider such bowing to be free (at least right now) of the protocol we find, for example, with a bow to the deity or royal figure? Can we imagine this as an Agambenian gesture, or a "means without end"?

Barb Mocap Wave

The traditional forms of bowing are gestural in quality but are also intensely optic in nature, at least insofar as averting one's gaze denies the optic. Can we further suggest, then, that such a gait surfing bow exists at the threshold between gesture and the optical qualities of language, and as such emerges inherently as an act of politics?