AutoImmune Wall

("biogramming base bodies: we're all in" - brief notes from a brief presentation made at the 2011 north american society for sport sociology conference in minneapolis)

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

Narcosis

On December 31, 1999, the ESPN cable sports network ran its Greatest Moments of the 20th Century, a 6-minute 44-second compilation of the most epic highlights in (primarily American) sport since the advent of television. Set to Aerosmith's "Dream On," the effect is a spine-chilling barrage of significant moments culled from decades of sporting events and condensed into a few minutes of adrenaline-soaked nostalgia. If the average weeknight highlight reel has a mild narcotic effect to it, then Greatest Moments of the 20th Century was crack cocaine, folding a longer stretch of lived time and more intensely felt affects into a televisual delirium whose high fades shortly after consumption.

ESPN's video offers the viewer an accounting of time: in this compilation of the "best" and most memorable moments we have a linear accounting of time extracted from duration — a catalogue of sorts from which one must know all the references as proof of good fan subjectivity, whose cuts may thereafter be rearranged to create a particular narrative order in tandem with the theme music.

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

In early 2011, athletic footwear, apparel and lifestyle conglomerate adidas launched its worldwide marketing campaign "adidas is all in". Presented as a cosmopolitan moment in global sport and physical culture — at least insofar as its endorsers and target markets are concerned — the campaign's television creative consisted of 15, 30 and 60-second edits of a centrepiece 120-second ad, played at the launch of the campaign and available on Youtube thereafter. Within five months of the "adidas is all in" launch, the full-length version had been viewed over 2 million times.

In contrast with the ESPN video, "All In" is rather an accounting of globalized, cosmopolitan space in a durational moment of time: two minutes of sports and entertainment happening around the world right now. Set to a pulsing soundtrack by Justice, the moving gestures in this dynamic form are asignifiying in the sense that these sports and entertainment figures have been abstracted from referential time — one does not need to know nearly as many references in order to "comprehend" the video text. While Muybridge and Marey used stroboscopic photography to deconstruct the moving body into series of still images, adidas strobes bodies together with light and sound, moving-cuts moving through each break, amodally intermingling gestures as part of the composing form of the biogram.

Amodality

The cut moves from sound to image, as seen in the scene with football players barking like dogs morphing to stadium security apparatus (the latter of which legitimates the contest as an important event):

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

The cut also moves through tiny explosions of light, "independent" of gesture in their luminescence:

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

Goal

Eduardo Galeano once described the goal in soccer as that sport's orgasmic form. Interestingly, however, it is Rose the basketball player and not Messi the footballer who scores in the end, providing a release to the pent-up libidinal tension whose point of inflection may be found in the speed bag pummeling of frenulum or clitoris.

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

This is definitely a schizorgasm we are describing, however. Rose's dunk is immediately followed by a punishing blow to the face in the boxing ring, which sets off a chain of aggression in the succeeding clips. (Consent?) As the pulsing waves of pleasure subside to a refractory period of shopping or consumption we are led through an affective tonality of aggression and conflict: the Haka warrior dance used by the New Zealand All-Blacks rugby team to intimidate opponents; two college football mascots fighting on the sidelines; a figure wearing a protective gas mask and holding a flaming torch, suggesting perhaps an ambiguous recognizance between street artist or political activist and providing a stark counter-punctum to the clip of security dogs and officers earlier in the video. It is intensities that have been represented, after all.

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

Intensity and representation

A cultural studies read of the text as semiotic is certainly important — for example, within the representational elements of gender, race, embodiment or movement culture — but in a sense these are retrospectively coded understandings.

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As Brian Massumi suggests, "The kinds of codings, griddings, and positionings with which cultural theory has been preoccupied are no exception to the dynamic unity of feedback and feed-forward, or double becoming. Gender, race, and orientation are what Ian Hacking calls 'interactive kinds': logical categories that feed back into and transform the reality they describe (and are themselves modified by in return). Ideas about cultural or social construction have dead-ended because they have insisted on bracketing the nature of the process" (Parables for the Virtual, p.11).

It is the movements of becoming-bodies, rather, not to mention their (re)production through sophisticated digital editing techniques that emerge as the biogram and its composing form with which we should be concerned. This dynamism is forged under intense speed, a subtle narcosis of attack on perception that through a particular pathway of movement states simply "I want more."

simile

Courtesy of SpY

SpY
ramp
urban furniture installation

 

colon: right
parenthesis

(three openings located in punctuality))

emotive cons
ampersand prose
probes into the State
of Emoticon
as one types
or skypes hotwire
relational halfpipes

channels, glinting
grinding

re: winding
many muscle pulleys
pulling apple-cheeks to
backside ollie smile,
90-degrees from
ascii style

grim turns grin
to curl the breeze and
open the bright blue skies

sing away
bingo hall blue haze
and bluing gaze
purple haze is in
my brain
(waving)
to a slow jimi limbo. strung
upside down, bluesy.

violetry and poetics
hand in hand

secret weaving and braiding
and waiting and wading

and fading, it blew away
in the blink of
a 90-second while

~

i hardt you
as a political concept
a politics of joy concept
an it doesn't mean you Likes this concept

but think about the politics of touch concept

like with punctuation
in three openings we find
less than three openings
and infinite potentials
for ollies and LOLing
so capital-P stick
your tongue out at me
a Rudolph moment of sunlight
and talking,

solar electricity.

courage

garlic-memory

companion species astral
projected. warm snores
detected, soft wear insected
tiny-light hairs coat
the tip of the Ear

~

hear to now
now to here, projection reflected
On-Star U-Turn protected. Drive-In
vision projected Thru to

our network nightmare
incisioned, dissected
narcosis

~

nightmores
eye osmosis

nightmades
black hole
nights made

three-eights hutong
nightshades, flipped to
white-knight bookshades
and sotto voce crossfades

i have a voice.

~

consent to consensus
slow turns meant us
courage slow spoken hence
(12 seconds or whence)

or half again the time
on that great-rodeo-bull
named Fear.

fear not the time
but instead the tone spoken.
steel-spokes broken
steeled, the moment stolen
from its hard bodied
captivity.

fluidity.
hard bodies swollen
steal moments spoken,
steel-toned broker
hard captive
in a time of Fear

not instead.

fluid, free
hard bodies soften
steal moments often
steel-timed breaker,
soft Rupture
and the time is Near

nightmere

~

nearly empty
but the common can't merely
fill the Hannibal Lecter
coffee-machine. hot again,

ravenously angry
or hungry or thirsty,

dried canteen.

but the common can't put
my mere lips to the cup
for the bars wiring-closed
our machine

(no chianti or fava bean)

ravenously
steeled, hot spokes spoken
half-life dipole broken
how many mere bars to
wire-close our machine?