gait surfing study number two
exposure is an ontogenetic and relational phenomenon. it is a thread of thought developed by virilio in lost dimension that is among his most innovative and promising. exposure is also a political phenomenon, for each of us to varying degrees our politics today.
we should not desire pure opacity. this is a dangerous end of the exposure spectrum as we all know, and which the concentration camps or prison solitary confinement zones should confirm for us. pure opacity should be considered a gravity well of (political) effects from which light struggles to emerge.
approach the lip of the well, in other words, maybe grind your board on the rail a little bit. but don't fall over the edge at any cost: there are no knee pads or glasses of mom's lemonade waiting at the bottom of this halfpipe. pure opacity kills.
this is not to suggest we should desire pure transparency, either. the oversaturation of light-information on the retinas is its own form of painful blindness. as agamben reminds, the "pure" transparency that is the character of debord's spectacular society finds its own horrors in the legacy of timisoara, which he describes as the "auschwitz of the age of the spectacle".
and the slightly lesser incandescence that glares down on each of us brings its own political effects as well. celebrity, surveillance, performativity are all implicated in this transparency of the everyday, which presents itself as a democracy of the visible. we all shine on.
pure transparency should also be understood as the limit of a gravity well, then, with its own potential for skating and grinding and carving an edge. but perhaps its walls are steeper and its gravitational pull stronger or more tempting, as insects are so often attracted to a light.
always deterritorialize carefully. or wear a parachute.
the middle of the exposure spectrum is its own zone of politics, for we are always on the move between the rails of opacity and transparency on this bastard halfpipe of collective existence. everyone wants the next wave. we're always bumping into one another.
our proximity also implies that thresholds of opacity may offer cover to another, if only partial. what is the ratio of exposure for a couple-pairing: is it asymmetrical? (one hopes not overly so. or overtly so?) what if the group is a threesome or a several: how do the ratios of exposure, transparency+opacity modulate in such events? when considering proximity in this sense, err in the analysis towards the temporal rather than the spatial: virilio reminds us that exposure is a time-based phenomenon, and thus thresholds of opacity may often be spatially-displaced, yet actually proximate.