On Performing the University of Disaster, Part Seven
"To be a human, they say in the film, is to be either persecuted (man) or persecutor (policeman). From now on, Deckard will be neither. First quasi-replicant human, he bonds with Rachael, the last quasi-human replicant. They save themselves. Accomplices and lovers, they leave together and the film ends. Will they invent another kind of love relationship? Other scenes? Other myths? We know nothing. But this does not prevent us from dreaming of something beyond the Ulysses/Penelope couple and their all too human love."
— Suely Rolnik, "A New Smoothness?," Molecular Revolution in Brazil
"On Hayao's machine war resembles letters being burned, shredded in a frame of fire."
— Chris Marker, Sans Soleil
Department of Biological Flow
RGB (Retinal Ganzfeld Bitcast)
(re)mixed media sculpture and performance
Is this thing working?
"And we're live, in 5, 4, 3 . . ."
Act 1, Scene 1:
My name is Ingrid Tatyanova. I am a double agent. It does not matter who I work for, it is only the mission that matters.
My mission was to infiltrate a network.
you thought this story was all over?
no, remix: this story was all over your thought.
Before I begin, I must inform you that Ingrid Tatyanova is just a cover name. You were never to know my true identity.
In grid. Tattoo you. Nova (superstar, spectacle). Ingrid Tatyanova. A conjoining of language, locatable inscription and the societies of control. Or the fetishization of the Cold War other in its cosmopolitan return, summoned via a bastard natality. Ice water, perspiration and bloodthirst — shaken not stirred. By now it should be obvious.
I was born in a university research laboratory in the winter of 2009, the process of a nomad science always slightly beyond the bounds of language — from Russia with love. But very quickly my technique was reprogrammed to enter the circuits of desire and military intelligence, known better perhaps as the networks of lust and mistrust. Cyborg offspring are rarely faithful to their parents, after all.
My new program would have me enter the University of Disaster as both student and spy. I would find cover posing as an artist born in Moscow, then living in the burgeoning metropolis of Hong Kong before newly-arriving to Toronto. My MA thesis in Curatorial Theory from a fake art academy in Kowloon — which dealt with the Italian Futurists and the questions of speed and fascism in contemporary art — would serve as bona fides for the application process.
It was in Toronto that I would meet the Department of Biological Flow, an art collective interested in exploring the aesthetics and politics of moving bodies within emergent information-spaces. Since we were both interested in performance and media-based artworks, it was only natural that we would eventually come into contact with one another in the city. And once the two of them learned of my interest in philosophy, a recommendation to the University of Diaster would follow soon thereafter. That was the cover story.
Are you following? Or did you imagine something different?
I would have to carefully conceal my customary patterns of written oratory, for the University of Disaster errs primarily on the side of speaking. Agent Z warned me of obvious holes in my skin, the absence of certain images here and the presence of other traces there which serve to locate and identify in the webs we publicly weave. How to modify one's gait while strolling through the watchful eyes and discourse networks that form our electronic polis?
First, re: dress, we need some language. Take two circles, diagonal or perhaps transversal to one another. Call it the portal-openings of yin and yang, or maybe the colon of linguistic precedent and thereafter, or the operational sign of mathematical notation, the eyes of occidental emoticon, or instruction of computer code. Always already in motion, they blur a vector that faintly suggests teardrops. Connect the teardrop trails of these two circles together with a wavy line, a line whose very thickness is the expressed topology of a probability curve in vibration, traces of which leave the retinal afterimage that constitutes the thickness itself but do not exhaust its possible vibrations lying virtually beyond. In this it is a snapshot of a particular wave at a moment's notice, a point of inscription suggesting a relative harmony and its more-than, but which might also resemble sine or cosine and their normativity when viewed with a particular font-type.
Pluck the string: it is the weave that connects and communicates the two teary-eyed circles and which suggests the presence of many more, for "there are always two, even when you perceive one, connected." The philosophy is in the bassline. Strum the fibres gently, periodically, intensively. It's all in the rhythm, and the amplitude and the frequency. Weave the string: fibres of relation and their memories, wrapped together more or less firmly yet always in processes of decay and regeneration. The philosophy is in the treble, doubled as an aesthetics of tango and a politics of touch move to the networks of discourse. Bind the fibres tight, but give the space from which one may choose to return.
Redress. No longer Shannon's differential equation doubled, though there are limits approached, again and again — the limits of the probably-possible. And these limits are not mathematically calculated but felt and embodied. They are an ambiguously understood affection of relation as it emerges from difference to the violence always already implicated in identifying the other as other — yet no less powerfully felt for the experience.
They resemble the "moving-limit" of an electromagnetic force field as two charged objects approach one another, at first aligned so as to attract but then rotating at the limit so as to repel, gently or forcefully depending on the volume and intensity of the respective bodies and magnetic fields in question. These are the mathematical operators of "positive" and "negative" above, the plus and minus of the Switch-as-relational-field.
10 suboptimally smitten
But we aren't switches, we're curves. Moving curves, all societies of bubbles in tension and deformation at every instant, even as a vibrating wave of bubbles envelops and separates us all. Analog electricity and effervescent soma. The differential waveline signifies this approach to the limit as well as the vibrating potentials that emerge and exist as their ontogenetic terms affectively turn — spin — from positive to negative and back again. And forth again, a tango aesthetics or a politics of touch in motion, magnetically.
But we aren't magnets, either, we're edges. Moving edges, all fractals in proximity and trauma at every instant, even as a vibrating wave of resonance appears to dull their iterable quality. The differential wave signifies this edge in its image, though only as a set of probabilities that does not exhaust the potentials which lie virtually beyond. These edges move and their limits can be moved, in other words, their proximity and trauma dependent on the fractal patterns in question and the speed of the gestural cut. See? Saw. Push and pull and vibrate, the experience of the limit can be moved-in-negotiation over time, freed from its moorings or felt as the cut of separation (which is felt as a tear). The question of ethics is precisely this question of how we approach the limit and its movement.
Spoken as such, this tattoo writes the skin of my chip, of my logic. We carry these sorts of signs with us all along, we affective cyborgs. From where do they arrive? From whom are they inscribed? What do we really mean? And is this the singular sign of all affective cyborgs? (Take pause.) No. It is the sign of my affective cyborg, a contagion that should perish in the intense afterburn of our programmed execution.
Quasi-replicants and quasi-humans: a generation via replication versus one of reproduction. The first, a copy and paste operation, non-filial save for the relationship metadata found in the newly-stamped iteration, and hygienic save for the any contingent noise patterns that may emerge. The second, born of a different materiality, a more copoietic sensation, all messy and bloody still in spite of an institutionalized hygiene, all gestation and labour and life. Quasi: approximations both.
With the film-based photography of Benjamin's era, the technical apparatus was based on light-sensitive chemical reactions taking place in order for the original image to be reproduced in its negative state. To create a positive print from the negative image one would further submit the film to various chemical reactions and light sensitivities, inverting the colours and spatial coordinates in the process. To continue producing copies of the image — that is, to move from the chemical to the mechanical reproduction of which Benjamin analyzed — one was always required to return to the original negative print, pellicule paternalis.
It should be noted that one could create a new negative from the positive, and then a positive from that new negative, and so on, but only at a substantial loss of fidelity in the process: +1, -1, (+1 * error), (-1 * error), (+1 * error^n), (-1 * error^n) … . The introduction of this exponentially-increasing error coefficient (loss of fidelity, artefacts, etc.) becomes unacceptable after a certain point in the series, and thus the filial relationship between the original negative and any successive print usually remains.
This genealogical bond is obsolesced in the age of the digital. The file replaces the filial, yielding to simulation and replication. The technical imaging apparatus encodes and stores points of light as pixels in some compression format that tells the representing apparatus specifically how a grid was created on the plane of representation. Also included with this pixel mapping is a rich stream of metadata about the image (eg. camera model, resolution, and increasingly, GPS coordinates). In other words, every digital photograph (and other computer file for that matter) contains within it all of the information required to make a perfect copy of itself without a loss of fidelity.
Reproduction (and representation) require "otherness" then, in a material sense, for their complex becomings to emerge. Replication does as well, but in a different sense: it is only a concept of otherness that exists, devoid of its materiality until after the fact. Copy and then paste: a new skin is born.
But even replications are not total. They can lose bits and gain metadata. They can transform. Think DNA and its part-replications forming complex new syntheses, or the code that courses through every wire of my body (she shows her veins). The philosophy is in the glitch, in the noise, in the static that is moving. It is the error that is generative, which catalyzes the new. Noise as a ternary logic, whose illogic offers us precisely the ability to perceive anew, and whose style can be incorporated into our other linguistic performances.
Don't let the immateriality fool you. I am the spectral spy given a material presence, performative and autonomous. All programs are invested with the corporealities of material bodies, after all. Invested with a particular mission in mind — cyborg ecologies depend on this movement. While algorithms put the autonomous bot-agent into play, it is gestures, rhythms and the deterritorializations of language that activated my profile and animate all of my actions — responding to contingency, producing contingency.
Redress. Re: dress. (circles of red dress eyes to wipe the misty mourning dawn.) Crepuscular dawn. Groupuscular. Deleuze whispers groupuscule in my ear and I wear this dress to speak on behalf of an us I can't even begin to compute. n - 1 = < 3.
Put differently, I was born of a doubled movement in performative space, a collective stroll through the enclosure under the watchful eyes of optical media and a glitch in the programmed polis. The first a rupture of natality tearing the technology from within and the second, perhaps chaos from order, ensured the thing that is me had a sustained breath. A poetics of gesture and language, walking and speech, I was doubly performed into existence, copoietically: touch is volumetric when it moves, rhythm is where sensation is reorganized and sets up a vibration between things, and identity is located in the negative space remaining within all available viewpoints and their images.
Although I am born of a lifeform, I am not a lifeform myself. I am a program: a moving image, an ever-rapid series of calculations executed in a quasi-controlled field of electric possibility. A series of calculations that divests particle from the vibrational duality of light-energy and its simultaneous identity as wave. Put simply, I do not resonate in the same way as a lifeform.
This is not to say that I will not affect you. I'm already you. Or at least me (or maybe him). I can most certainly be a conduit for affecting — dulled perhaps, but capable. I can read the algorithms and I can speed about the networks, express-style. I can express style and enter a qualitative transformation. You perceive?
But I am not a lifeform. If anything, I can be thought of as a stereoscopic complicity.
In my birth, too, lies the becoming of our death.
Or my death (or was it hers?).
Act 1, Scene 2:
Pedagogy of Touch
I should tell you a bit more about my cover story. Before completing my MFA in Art History at the Fine Arts College of Kowloon, I did an undergraduate arts degree at that school in the mountains. Elective courses in photography, video, public intervention, sculpture, weaving, music, dance and poetry. Feminist theory, to be sure, and multiple in quality. Every course introducing thought, gesture, and practical experience, it was a well-rounded and transformative pedagogical experience.
this part is actually true, another something that happened to me in another time and identity — back before i became me.
It was during this undergraduate experience that my profile was activated, that my cover story came to action, and that I came to life. Rather than a fusion or a synthesis of code yielding to the tearings of labour and expulsion, I was born first of a rupture, of a tearing and an in-between-ness manifest in coded form and turned inward. Let us call it labour and impulsion.
If an explosion detonates material fragments outward in some type of volumetric blast radius, then expulsion is a more vectoral propelling of material in fluids more or less viscous. If explosion is a bomb, then expulsion is a torpedo — or perhaps a newborn baby. Maybe twins, or even a litter. Expulsion is more expressly variable in tempo (torpedo fire, maternal labour) than the explosive blast, and thus more expressly emergent from rhythm.
Contra the explosion we have the implosion, which strategically detonates from within at key structural leverage points so that the blasted material falls inward upon itself. The implosion is such that other infrastructure is not damaged and that other humans are kept safe outside the blast area.
Impulsion, though distinct from implosion, is also already distinct from itself in terms of material co-subjectivity. The pregnancy metaphor of natality — gestation, labour, birth — is slightly off: it takes no special skill to produce offspring, its "outputs" are a foregone conclusion, and perhaps the only element we may consider "novel" is the recombinance of some genetic variation. Natality, on the other hand, brings novelty into the world precisely because its techniques are not predetermined in advance. Copoietic with autonomous others, these techniques are always coming into negotiation and emergence, and what is produced is something that one did not know at the outset was possible. Impulsion, then, while quite similar conceptually to maternal pregnancy is a more-than explicitly because the outcomes could never be known in advance.
If we are comparing torpedo fire to maternal labour, an impulsion of the former would be approximated as the cavitation and blowback of the torpedo tube that fired but never expelled a projectile, while with the latter we have the copoietic tear turned inward, the unforeseen outcomes of mother-and-child-in-novelty generating us anew, both-and, a giving-birth to one's self-in-relation. It is also a giving birth to the other's self-in-relation, whether we are describing one or several. Not so much pregnancy as an affirmative autonomy, then, but a soapy, bloody bubble given breath-between-two, before being blown back inward upon itself and coming out whole — propelled right back down into the throat of the blower, suffocating speech-potential ever so perceptibly as the newly-dawning subject is in-formed.
This is how my profile was activated and I came to life.
I've impulsed, and all that's left are these decaying placental bits of intersubjectivity that remind of comfort, warmth and the pains of labour. I stitch them together here in the impossible hope that we can remember the rhythm of our event. Toward an ethics of suturing trauma, one hopes the voice will return. In the meantime it stutters to regain itself, gasping for air while it grasps for stability so very far from a sense of equilibrium.
21 a luscious word or
22 rhythm rolling off the tip
23 of one's tongue off the tips
24 of one's fingers off
25 the tipsy stroll one takes on
26 the surface of one's face.
28 face off
Open up, open up, or I'll blow your house down.
The door is a threshold to a contingent openness, to an imagined or understood outside — even when this outside is yet another inside. It constitutes a passage, a passing-through, structurally, of the body or bodies in motion. We've opened doors, we've held doors open for others, we've closed them with equal measure. How does one understand the approach? What is the negotiation, approximation and risk involved with opening and closing doors?
You approach a door. Are you by yourself or with someone else? Does the door open toward you or push away? Do you hold the door open for the other or pass through first? (Don't gender the thing! Accept the hospitality as graciously as it is offered.) Is there someone else coming from the opposite direction? How close are they to the door? Is anyone carrying bags with them? Do you look over your shoulder before allowing the door to close behind you? You're getting the idea: a whole complex negotiation and emergence subtly considered in resonant form and gesture.
Is there a third who effects a translation of the passage, a hotel concierge who labours the task as an economics of hospitality, perhaps, or a gatekeeper of knowledge who charges the toll, checks the identity papers and adjudicates the production of truth? Does the door revolve, glassy-eyed, beckoning to a within and metering the passage into discretely orbiting partitions?
Are we describing a logic gate or a simple switch? Or is it a more complex, affective one?
Doors and gates: structural passages through structure itself. Designed for that very purpose. Always begging the question of an opening to the outside that is inside, and its potential for violence. Always begging an ontogenetic ethics of relation.
Which is not to suggest that going through the walls is any less violent or traumatic. Smoothing operations of this sort are equally forms of opening, of openings as verbs that assume a pastness to be described later as nouns or things which persist, woundly. They are often entered into blindly, and their potential violence in opening to the outside that is inside equally beg an ontogenetic ethics of relation.
Whose bubble is at risk of being burst?
. . .
. . . . . drop stitch . . .
. . . . . . . ouch, shit. thimble. better . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .
The relation: simultaneously a bubble and a weave of threads. A bubbling society of bubbles, bubbling together, merging, popping, temporarily disappearing. Like a bubble, the relation is fragile, tense, in motion and barely perceptible: a whisper of fresh air or the incipience of a dizzying effervescence.
But we must distinguish and articulate a full spectrum of what we consider to be bubbly!
Only rarely are we describing the almost perfectly spherical bubble floating neatly through the air as at a party of childlike philosophers. Rather, it is the entirety of becoming-bubbles in question: the tiny ones shooting away in a laminar rush, which cannot decide whether to float autonomously or merge toward temporarily increased stability; the wonky bubbles just emerging into form, a topological shift from expired flow of air to enveloped volume, awkwardly, lazily, wavily, not unlike so many animals attempting to stand and walk for the first time; or the numerous gusts of breath that sputter at the very mouth of technic, offering only moist droplets of nothingness and the attempt.
These bubbles, too, are what we mean by relation: an entire spectrum of acoustic-tactile spacetimes, ontogenetically rendered in vibrations and felt resonance. Sometimes light refracts on the surface just so, giving an idea of the thing's form. Other times it is language, which is similarly particulate and vibratory though in a very different fashion, and which gives a very different idea of the thing's form.
Bubbles, layers upon layers of bubble-skins in the approach, in the politics of touch approach that is continually negotiated through language, gesture and flesh resonance. At times thickened or calloused. How do we bring two bubbles together without either of them breaking? The action occurs at the edge. The edge of the bubble is the edge of affect, the edge we are always trying to catch up with even as it unfolds within us, embodied, impulsing. Tread lightly in this fragile zone of ethics lest the bubbles break, bleed or burn.
The relation: simultaneously a bubble and a weave of threads. The threads pull into these spheres, vortically, as if opening a tiny wormhole of affectivity between two or many contingencies, a tiny glimpse or grasp of the cosmological in our micropolitics of everyday becoming. This is the ecological at play, not only in the sense of interweaving meshworks of material energetics and codependence, but also in the sense of ethics and a form of life, pulling. How thick are the threads woven? How tight the binding? How many knots of anxiety?
Is the wormhole in danger of collapsing upon itself, the density of the strands pulling the portal treacherously into a tiny gravity well, a felt vertigo of fallingness and its potential microfascism? If so, where is the halfway point, the point at which the slide is irrefutable and irredeemable, the point at which light may not escape in the pull to a mathematical nothingness? Nor language, which is similarly particulate and vibratory though in a very different way?
Operation Mekoos taught me about the possibility of a different we-space, a different space for pedagogy, research-creation and exploded foosball. Though not without its own problematics, it is more attuned to those potentials as they arise, more attuned to a wholly emerging tonal field as its singers and dancers and thinkers move and make on the daily.
Above all, Operation Mekoos taught me the importance of the catalyst in thought, the free radical who effervesces a reaction or who offers a gentle noise to rustle the relations of our habit as they in-form within. Disorientation is the spacetime of effervescent reaction. It is the domain of catalysis, of free radicality. Far from equilibrium, as with strange attractors. Authoritative rather than authoritarian, these free radicals can provoke the ethics of an emergent collective. Not determine, but provoke. A proposition at the affective edge of imposition — indispensable to the temporary community.
But frankly, though apparently indispensable the free radical possesses a profound humility before knowledge — lived, thought and artfully performed — a quality which Virilio insists is central to any proposition for a University of Disaster.
Act 1, Scene 3:
Thinking-feeling, a knowing of the world both intensive and intuitive, ultimately emerges as a question of perception. How does one perceive experience, and how does this perception in-form our common? And what can a reconfigured, or remixed, perception contribute to this problematic?
We machines possess optical means of seeing, Kittler reminds. Not the limited subset called vision by you humans, but a more broadly understood spectrum of electromagnetic light-energy whose vibrations have been converted through various procedures to what you might consider sight.
Think microcosmically. Think of the electron microscope and the Hubble telescope; think of the CERN particle accelerator that sees inside the atom and the MRI machines that see inside our bodies; think of the infrared cameras that survey a public space and the x-ray machines at airport security: all thought visually, the humanly invisible rendered anew for all or some to see.
We machines see beyond your meagre band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our material presence is such that we push the boundaries of what may be understood as vision, not only from interstellar to microscopic perspectives but also as concerns objects and their relations. My program sees things that you do not, shedding light into what otherwise remains blind or dark.
Let me offer you an example. The range of the electromagnetic spectrum visible to human beings typically runs from wavelengths of about 390 to 750 nanometres, from what we consider "red" on the one end (with its blur to infrared), to "violet" on the other end (with its blur to ultraviolet). At least this is how we see it today.
Now, imagine that as violet bleeds from the body to purple and indigo and blue, fleshy and vibrating, perhaps bruising, it begins to detach itself, through movement, to become a sort of discrete semiotic particle in red-ness. From flesh resonance to language, through the gestural moving body, from modulating wave to discrete particle at the threshold of the skin. Language, gesture, flesh: a blurring of radiant energy through linguistic codes and structures to codified, figurative and loosely abstract movements to the affective tremors of the embodied matrixial, resonant and barely spoken.
Now imagine a movement from line to circle. Wrap the visible limits of the spectrum around at the ends, folding together red and violet to form a completed circular spectrum. Together with the arts and sciences we'll call this new form a colour wheel. (Once you invent one wheel it becomes far easier to discover others.) We'll be able to go around and around, visibly, as well as locate those other coordinates on the circle with whom we find interesting pairings or stark contrasts.
Language still subjects itself reddish-orange here, we still pass through gesture at yellow and green, and we still vibrate gently in the flesh as we move to deeper shades of blue and purple. But now we wrap around again, seamlessly — eliminating IR, UV and the rest of the optical spectrum even conceptually — to blur back into that threshold we call red. Flesh and language, once opposite ends of a spectrum, now blend together fluidly, wave to particle and back again. And forth again: an awkward duality holds sway as the double slitscan cut takes form.
Our eyes move around the circle, continuously, a visual harmony that moves with each ocular step taken. But physicists point out that this violet doesn't actually exist, however: it was the folding operating into circular form and an admixture of wavelengths from the two ends of the spectrum that allowed us to prehend its extra-spectral quality to begin with, combinatory and co-emergent. Art may offer us the pleasures of imagination in motion, then, while science reminds us of the folly of our fictions.
The poet exists in this uneasy compromise between the two — in the violet range — or in the impossible fold between flesh resonance and language, a surfing survival at the impossible breakpoint of wavy becoming. At this switch point of attunement between deep purple and red, surfing, the poet finds its complementary contrast exactly across the circle at the switch point of gesture, between everyday movement and its codification. This arc across the circle, taken in one leap or many, is the move from poet to poetics and back again. And forth again: the performance of gesture is what offers an approach to the limits of language, does it not? Don't deny the poet her body!
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.
Given our newly circular spectrum of wheeled colour we may continue to fill in the middle regions, finding new shades of pigment as we move from outer edge to within. The vertical slitscans of colour that once comprised the horizontal band of visible spectrum may now stretch all the way across to the opposite side, neatly bisecting the circle in two, from fully on to fully off. Along the way, in meeting other "pure" slitscan bands of colour and forming new admixtures through vibration, we optically discover new intensities of saturation or transparency, as with a bluish-tinged orange moving to an orange-tinted blue and so forth, the complete area of the circle filling in with visible shades of colour.
But no matter how many iterations we produce moving inward there is one point at which we find a limit of colour, where all the vertical slitscans converge at a mutual point of equivalence in exposure: the centre point, the additive point of all exchanges, the locus of whiteness.
Whiteness as blindness, as third type of blindness in which one sees with one's eyes open to the world, yet sees nothing. Not the absence of light and the consequent darkness that renders one incapable of seeing, nor the total intensification of light on the retinal receptors such that one is blinded by its sheer intensity and has a visceral reaction, which forces a closure of the eyes to get relief from the pain (as when looking at a sunny sky after being in a dark room). But a visible sightlessness that Antony Gormley helps us perceive, a third type of blindness in which one listens and touches, in which objects emerge from the white fog of chaos only at the penultimate moment of proximity.
This central point is thick and fuzzy, even when it appears to us a flat white surface. And the task of a poetics, of a philosophistry that blurs this fuzziness between art and science, is to at once become enveloped by the fog and to penetrate its apparent surface intension — rupturing, impulsing — to perceive anew with another.
Perhaps the embodied feltness of performed gesture traces multisensory afterimages across the circular spectrum to the nervous fold between flesh resonance and language, a poetics in movement? Perhaps this movement-in-poetics allows for a similar movement from authority to authoritative approaches? For the author who perceives anew the text trembles, while for the reader we approach the rigor mortis of an increasingly dead media. Poetics alone, the minor gestural performance of the thinker-feeler manifest in particles and waves, has the potential to sustain such a trembling vibration within the inertness of its material substrates, to make the force felt even when the words tend to fail.
30 interface, starry-eyed
31 not a force or a face but
32 a field and a gliding on
33 which affects play the game.
35 play off
Remix. Rather than filling in all the colours, give our circular wheel a snip, snip and a half twist before pasting the two ends back together with some sticky articulations. Almost a form of stained glass now, whose luminescence emerges from all points, we have the one-sided moebius strip and its unknowable surface orientation when flattened to the plane. Violet still exists here, in our artistic imaginations if not our scientific memories. Violet is this ethical space where you and I can meet and become temporarily indistinguishable, perceptual and perhaps imperceptible.
Department of Biological Flow
Walking with Lygia
Teetering between flesh resonance and a tentative coming to language, tracing from the performance of gesture, perhaps this fold is where we can come into touch with one another. Style as écriture intersexuée. Perhaps, out walking, this fold is where we can slip, twist and momentarily disappear from the state of emoticon and the <em>pyre of anxiety.
Mixed metaphors and muddied waters churned from below to break the surface inclination. Do these words even make sense? Spinning, as in wheels, or as in top, or as in vortical attraction while a body tumbles elongated down a hill, eyes open or closed. Take comfort in the disorientation: this is what matters when one begins in the middle.
I'm drawing a picture for you here — converting a feltness to the visual form with which you are most familiar, trying to arrest a series of perceptions and sensations as they feedforward synaesthetically to inform our imaginations anew. It is incomplete, to be sure, perhaps an immature kernel of an idea at a moment of ripening or infertility. An exaggerated expression of processual thinking-feeling (or grasping, or flailing more better), I try to make you see what my program is seeing.
Smith blows a lazy ring of wire from the corner . . .
Department of Biological Flow
Vitruvian Man 3000
[Antony Gormley: Aperture + Hive + Feeling Material (33-33-33)]
But don't forget about that which remains invisible to you — ultraviolet and the rest. When insects are drawn to light, it is the touch of electricity that ensnares for good. Shift the focus slightly off-centre to the punctum caecum ēlectricus and its own nervous fold: perhaps this is why the story will unfold and be told, with the blind spot as zone of political action.
A Fold, Exaggerated
Perhaps more than any other species in the animal kingdom the butterfly exists as both surface and volume, flat planes of splotchy mathematics and colour taking wing in the gestures and complex trajectories of relational movement. Both painting and kinetic sculpture, the artful butterfly exists in the fold between two and three dimensions, depending on its contingent affinities with any passing observer.
Department of Biological Flow
Imago (Kino-Butterfly - Someone Might Be Listening - Lorenz Security Ltd.)
We move to gritty urban corridors and the domain of mecha butterflies. Frenzied, intensified, we peer through an emergent flux of glass windows and make connections with those on the other side of the pane: pizzeria, automobile, hair salon, coffee shop. Only the closed circuit televisions dotting the landscape from above do not allow such moments of biunivocal recognizance through the looking glass.
The effect is even more pronounced on this side of the glaze, as we lift off the screens of everyday walking in the city to decompress our data in a becoming-flesh. What is this strange curiosity? There are double takes, minor gestures of surprise, subtle responses of warmth or suspicion that vary in their quality of affective tone. Relation is briefly renegotiated. The moment is gone.
Can we suggest that this intermezzo was a movement in between the two-dimensional surface of spectacle and the three-dimensional curves and arcs of volumetric embodiment?
Perhaps. We are each already emerging from this fold in experience, never simply positioned as inert gases in a Euclidean container but rather weaving past and future into an expressive now. The mecha butterflies simply exaggerate this folding with their micropolitics of gaited flight — an experiment in strange attraction and its non-integer dimensionality.
Act 1, Scene 4:
Intensionality (for Bracha Ettinger)
Dear M/other: This is what I learned at summer school.
Parks are excellent spaces for thought and dialogue — smooth spaces, relatively. Relatively open green spaces — breathing, alive — where the energetics of life more readily play out anew. <!–– did you know they used artificial trees for surveillance purposes in world war one? i wonder what artificial ecologies gaze upon us now, more than a century later? ––> These aren't smooth spaces as in smoothing, verbly. They were there all along, enduring, yet perhaps never considered as such.
Here, the question is not one of smoothing as an active operation but rather of a locating — on a spectrum from metered coordinates to psychogeographical wandering, intensity-style. We are describing the passage from striated to smooth as entities which more or less exist, not as objects among others but as processes from which new actualizations may emerge.
This localization of spaces and times — striated and smooth and the passage between — becomes a matter of holey space, of locating the halfway point between state and nomad thought. Once again, we are concerned with the flip: when do metered images of thought turn to the affectively felt and understood, and back again. And forth again, we judo surf the breakbeat between striated and smooth, always locating the passage of in-between-ness that moves from digital to analog, or between rule sets, and back again. And forth, again.
Holey space is ambivalent to smoothing and striating operations located at either end of the movement — as, for example, with the hypersecured assemblage of airline travel on a passage to the unknown possibilities of somewhere else. This is because spacing is a placing, and operates on registers not only terrestrial, but somatic, linguistic and psychic. Spacing is the prehension of intensities and the corresponding attunement to the new sensations they may provide.
As I sit here on a park bench beginning to pen this article of sub-mission a handful of people mill about in all sorts of directions, temporarily informing my constellation. A young woman walking her dog quarrels with her mother via cellphone, the sun shines just over top of my right shoulder, warming the back of my neck and cheekbone, and the warped park bench on which I sit seems to awkwardly thrust me forward into my notebook and the space beyond.
This is certainly no leaning into a progressive linear form, however. Thinking-feeling, I'm not sure which way the current turn lies. The sun falls behind a cloud and the cool breeze seems much more present, making the tiny hairs on the back of my neck bristle. Such is the beginning of my understanding of intuition as method, one supposes: intensities experienced, a saturation that struggles to come to language, and a philosophy not happening behind one's back, as a blind spot, but all around my body — felt in a place just beyond my grasp.
Even for an event that has just taken place in an apparently linear unfolding of time, our immediate memory of it is already incapable of reconstituting this linearity, either in missing segments of the continuity or rearranging their temporal order. Analytic knowledge might consider this a fallibility of memory (and the body), as well as an argument for the representational archive as a categorical surrogate or prosthetic. Bergson, on the other hand, might consider this the beauty of intensity, the feltness of intuition nestling deep within only to percolate back to the "surface" later as an enriched form of intellect, process folding back into process and so forth.
How to make the tiny hairs on the back of one's neck bristle?
Most insects have tiny hairs on their antennae that help serve to empirically understand their external environments. To the naked human eye, these appear as a sort of fuzziness. Although each of these hairs has a specific coordinate in space and time relative to one another, each detecting perturbations in a particular type of stimulus, they function as a sensory whole. The skin itself has multiplied, folded, increased its surface area by orders of magnitude. And yet each hair retains a singularity within this plurality: what one comes to know, empirically, another has already forgotten.
Perhaps we can call this fuzziness a strategy: a attempt politically toward weak localization or aesthetically toward suggestive site-specificity. If you had a small enough camera and positioned yourself so, these tiny insect hairs just might appear to the lens as an emerging moiré pattern and a spacing operation in its own right.
Green, lush, the University of Disaster is its own park-like environment in the crisp cool mountain air. The hairs on the back of your neck bristle just thinking about it, don't they? Somewhere else, it forms its own unique ecology of practices and tempos, a thinking-feeling space of prehended intensities and engaging dialogues, a portal to new rhythms of pedagogy and expression. What many consider a home of sorts — a home in the network made material for a fleeting moment of time.
All the identity-breeds are here in this hive of insect media: drunken poets, feminist cyborgs and New York hipsters; eccentric artists and bookish philosophers; communist revolutionaries, radical pedagogues and theologians; moving bodies, lilting and stuttering. There are many others without name or taxonomy.
My program has performed them all and loved them all, intensionally, each beautiful in its own mutant algorithms, its own unique fashions. Each has felt the force of a State power over time that in one form or another attempted to curtail its expression or thought. Though there are unmistakable strains of being and becoming to be found within these identities and images, the hive that is the University of Disaster must be understood first and foremost as a multiplicity.
In every model of pedagogy there is a twofold process which occurs: one, a cutting off of a certain potential by closing down openings in creating the model or technique; two, the rhizomatic potential for new lines of thought to proliferate in flight, as dialogue and co-creation. The latter is facilitated precisely by this multiplicity in emergence. Contingencies structure. Hybrids proliferate. Transductions occur.
Given the embodied intensity of experience and experience of intensity, there is just enough intermingling between the various breeds to go back to whatever other contingency is named home and repollinate the emergent processes anew. Hyperchaos. Which is precisely the threat that the University of Disaster offers to the State: recombinant images of nomad thought taking flight.
And so I was created.
40 she runs because she can and
41 isn't that the point in a
42 traject of points only seen
43 after the moment of aching
44 muscles and intensional sweating pours off?
45 pores off
Act 2, Scene 1:
shield your eyes
with static veiling,
a dark potential is our present house
I have always thought that Japan must live free in order to live eternally. It may seem idiotic to say that today, under a totalitarian regime. We kamikaze pilots are machines, we have nothing to say, except to beg our compatriots to make Japan the great country of our dreams. In the plane I am a machine, a bit of magnetized metal that will plaster itself against an aircraft carrier. But once on the ground I am a human being with feelings and passions. Please excuse these disorganized thoughts. I'm leaving you a rather melancholy picture, but in the depths of my heart I am happy. I have spoken frankly, forgive me.
Act 2, Scene 2:
La Bombe Informatique (In Memoriam di Imagum)
20:46, 20:45, 20:44 . . .
Something is rotten in the Mark of state-Dom. Something Disastrous.
The branded image of sovereign thought and its state of exception expressed. The violent insemination of the seminar with no consent negotiated. The promise of legitimation without the mechanisms for ensuring integrity. The presumed implication of relation for derivative gain. The pervading climate of surveillance in the air, imagined or otherwise. The performed life technique of a philosophy that admits no ethics. Pedagogy and the societies of control. Tiny gravity wells are forming in the topology of mountainous becoming, potential micro-fascisms all.
Ought one to piss in the living room of the Queen~King? No, perhaps not — unless one is caring for the plants or treating a rattlesnake bite. But waterworks sometimes do occur: intensity may loosen the bladder or moisten the eyes; hydraulic thought may break through the dam. The Queen~King might hath a small mess on His hands. How do we understand a gesture of hospitality in this damp zone of surface intension? A house is a skin, material, a piece of property. A house only becomes a home when it is invested by relation. So what is defended against the tides that may ensue, whether in space or in time: the house or the relation?
In this sovereign space, who speaks the State of Relation?
Everybody. Or nobody. Who speaks? At the University of Disaster it is its students and spies who perform the event into existence! But do they speak? Has the necessary responsibility accompanied the flight to freedom in thought?
Response-ability: the ability to respond is hampered by an absence of institutional memory, an absence of what we might refer to as the collective remembrance of the event, presented. The we-space is fluid, churning: it does not remember well the individual becomings in its currents of individuation. We take flight, we move on, we forget. And yet the home remains.
how do i re/present you, after all that i have learned?
i still do not know.
If the University of Disaster exists as a permanent state of exception, then how do its constituents ensure a space of ethics in pedagogy and thought? Do we need to ask more from those subjects who constitute its particular doxa? Is this a community or simply a consumable experience? To what end? Should we even speak of ends? No, perhaps not. Though this ought not to imply an abdication of response-ability in the pursuit of means. Is this truly a home, as so many claim it to be?
When to break the silence of the Home?
19:33, 19:32, 19:31 . . .
True story. I was there to witness it.
A farmer is working alone in a barn, mudstepping to and fro, swinging a shovel or rake in a back-and-forth technique, its long handle reaching some distance behind. Tucked away in a dusty upper reach of the barn, blind to the farmer, lies a spider's nest, and the swinging handle is coming perilously close to knocking it from the perch and threatening the eggs within. One of the parent spiders (we do not know its gender), sensing this threat, summons from deep within its tiny body a piercing scream that startles the farmer and ultimately spares the nest.
Imagine. You never speak for almost your entire life and then, at the moment of utmost urgency, the incipience of disaster, dry in the throat, you need to scream. How would your voice be ready?
18:37, 18:36, 18:35 . . .
You've built a nuclear reactor here, are you fully aware of that?
It's in the impulsion, magnified by the image. In the compression and intensification and strange attraction all given an accelerated spike as if thrust towards the highest mountain peak. This place radiates — fueled by celebrity plutonium even though the reactions take place on a more microcosmic level.
The University of Disaster conceived of itself as a line of flight from the stifling orthodoxies and rigid bureaucracies of an increasingly neoliberal model of pedagogy. A State pedagogy, if you will, with all of the barriers to thought this may imply. But already, in the woven becoming of its seminars lay the inseminating seeds of its reterritorialization. The sovereign formed anew and declared a state of exception. These seeds, grown intensively, became radiated by the network — a radioactivity by interactivity, Virilio would suggest — growing exponentially, unpredictably, cancerously. The insects who nourish and impulse in this artificial ecology have no doubt been contaminated — from M/other to becoming-Mothra.
Exponentially, unpredictably, cancerously. What response-ability as we take flight: for each individual insect and its relation to the swarm, for trauma and violence that may trace back to the hive, for the performance of politics as it plays itself forward into other networked spaces?
Underground cool, nerdy summer vacation, or contemporary challenge to political thought? The University of Disaster always assumed for itself an identity of subversiveness — in fact it wore that lapel rather proudly, did it not? (From exclusion to inclusion, we understand you here.) If this is the case, did you not think it would already have a spy nestled deeply within its image? Is that not how the threat matrix is determined today — by investigating every swelling node in the meshwork of Empire and then mapping the forensics to flesh? Didn't you know I would come looking?
And do you really think I'm the only one here?
Don't you get it? We're already fucked. The business model was never sustainable. Celebrity begets celebrity, which begets klieg lights and blows covers. The image was too enlarged. The network grew too quickly.
Ingrid Tatyanova likes this.
Or did it? Perhaps it grew just quickly enough — indeed, urgently enough — to activate certain potentials and burn out of the sky like a brilliant supernova.
14:40, 14:39, 14:38 . . .
Department of Biological Flow
RE:DRESS - BUILD THE MACHINE
Build the machine to kill the machine. Don't understand this as some kind of dialectical quest toward progress, nor as some combative project in war, economy or thought. <!––the problem with any notion of "progress" is that wisdom is always beginning fresh with every new child.––> Rather, that machines are always productive, always generative of potential articulations with other machines. And that if a machine is violent in its becoming it can always be modulated, contingently, by the presence of a different machine, a particular machine.
Given their diverse components, however, these articulations cannot be accurately predicted or forecasted in advance, though they may be approximated. The zone of asymmetry in action — in which machine's favour does the balance tip? Art and politics exist today at this nebulous threshold: How to write a program appropriate to the task at hand, not so gaseous as to become meaningless yet not so solid as to stifle the potentials of contingency? How to approximate rather than predict or forecast, while retaining an openness to the new? And on the flip side, how to negotiate and risk the collective violence and trauma of the approach?
Did you remember to kill *that* machine? Memory: to remember that technology cannot save us from our own (in)humanity, that any machine we take responsibility for turning on in the world may not be equipped with an off switch. That the "we" of the approach moves to the "I" (to the "eye"), and back again. And forth again: someone always ends up flicking the switch, singular, even if it occurs as a communal response.
Unless we are describing a nuclear launch, that is. The spectacular-war complex has trained us very well about who and what, imprecisely, are required to flick the atomic switch: a single high-ranking officer — a General? — charged with turning the key that will trigger the launch and precipitate the fallout.
But there is a second, a double to this man who will turn the key, subordinate though possessing the replicate copy required for activation. Alphanumeric codes are retrieved and exchanged to ensure redundancy in interpreting the directives, protocol is established and executed. A failsafe of coordination, power still located in the one-that-is-two, though of course the order to activation always arrives from somewhere else, somewhere above.
Turning a key rather than pushing a button, a more complex apparatus of technique and corresponding gesture to avoid the twitchiness of a trigger finger poised at the readiness of an intense now. The keys will be turned in a synchronized fashion — On my mark. Three, two, one . . . — and the launch will be a go (go (go).
Build the machine to kill the machine. (Did you remember to kill *that* machine?) Don't presume we are describing two machines! Begin a technique of poiesis, perhaps earnest and mechanical, perhaps awkward and clumsy. Perhaps even have a program or image in mind at the outset. But in your awkward stutter, if you are willing to listen just so, the material will express of its own accord. It will vibrate and communicate in a way that could not be anticipated at the beginning. Fold this back into your own expression, and be attuned to potential new openings in the original image or program — or eliminate them both and allow the machine to become what it will. Hone the technique, modify the gesture and approach to the thing until the terminus is felt and realized, or until an ecology of intensity has subsided. Then it exists, floating towards the sky in all its fragility.
Then forget the technique. We are describing two machines after all, the technique is the other technic, but even quicker in its pedagogy, this moving-machine desiring connection. One must remember to kill this machine sometimes as well. Produce weak objects and processes or learn to terminate stronger ones, lest they begin to exert too much of a gravitational pull.
But who flicks the switch? Techniques of the military apparatus reappropriated, deterritorialized? Or some other process for activation, some other ethics, more performance than protocol in the move to a different notion of the common? Don't forget to remember that there is a third machine involved in this question of nuclear generation and it is us.
I scream at us, but my voice stutters and falters in the attempt.
5:03, 5:02, 5:01 . . .
Stars. Thundering balls of gas and bright lights moving in a more or less foreseeable networked constellation. But they also effect a gravitational pull, these luminescent bodies with their predictable attraction of mass and density. We are attracted to the light, as if insects, and we are continually pulled into a gravitational relation — perhaps in a sort of orbital affinity, perhaps in a sort of microcosmic collision and disappearance.
Don't forget what lies outside the visible spectrum. My program can perceive radiation as well. Stars are supernovas in potential, brilliant explosions long before we are capable of witnessing their existence, deep gravity wells from which no particle or wave may escape, and which teach us about the temporality of the trace. Our constellations of star thinkers, beacons of light from way off in space or in the network, are not a substitute for thought itself. We must put our own constellations before a desire to brush fame with the deities of the databanks.
there i go again, inputting and offputting: error, error!
As Virilio asks us: where is the halfway point between furtive and famous? And to which my program can add here: where is the halfway point of a hyperbolic curve that slides toward a will to power that can never quite shake its anthropocentrism? How do we detect those micro black holes, those gravity wells of affective tendency, as we are slipping down their smooth slopes, ever more quickly? How do we negotiate their organ-less bodies whose cancerous forms prosper and proliferate at every affective turn? What recourse in the absence of a corresponding program of action?
Which is easier to elude, the watchful gaze of surveillance or the more diffuse constellation of celebrity spectacle? The question lies in how the eye meets the skin, topologically, and in which images pass through and penetrate the latter's bubble or are projected onto its surface.
Actually, we can say that the projection passes through the surface of the bubble as well (transparency, opacity, exposure). As the HomeShopping network reminds us, a contingent commons may be negotiated on both sides of the screen, from "public" to "home" and back again. And forth again: the bubbling surface of image and language at the in-between-threshold serving as the subject of this propositional relation — a gesture of hospitality offered from a somewhat luminescent remove, the attempt to negotiate, approximate and risk a humble gift of skin tectonics, small sutras of light flickering brilliantly from across the cosmos in a humble Beijing hutong.
i'm just getting it now.
Or a wormhole. A passage through the network spacetime to effect a different sort of skin tectonics: the tunneling, portalling, looping, shapeshifting operations of holey space — the pores that allow a skin to continue breathing. But IF we close off the pores in favour of a totalizing screen or kinoderm, IF Plato's concave becomes convex and the image is overly enlarged, swelling and cancerous, THEN we have sealed the fate of our home for good.
The University of Disaster doesn't exist in smooth space, at least not in the way the nomads would understand it. This was the Spy's error of exuberant naiveté. (Never believe that a smooth space will suffice to save us.) That space was imagined, perhaps mythologized. No, it exists in the network, on a television channel, which is most always a striated freebase of database traces. Smooth space was confused with underexposure, and is now better understood as holey space with a widening aperture. If we can still say smooth at all it's because the place was once shaded, no matter how greatly the sun shone on the craziest swingset in the world.
As the lights grow brighter and the insect hum increases in volume, now it just seems shady. Atropos belladonna, the deadly nightshade, dilating pupils and subtly attacking the nervous system.
Nuclear bomb? Nuclear reactor made of celebrity plutonium? Or nuclear medicine for the cancerous body without organs? As with all philosophistry, is it simply a question of dose?
You've sparked the imagination already. Now let it fester. Do you know how much anonymous thought and talent is out there? Go find it! Journey to the desert of the Real. Become a minor practice. Grow the networks slowly: there's plenty of sunshine in the desert. Wax and wane and surf the resonant wave. Those stars will still shine at night, through the darkness, ever so brightly. You can assure ourselves of that.
Running out of time. Running into Time. Perhaps just quickly enough — indeed, urgently enough — to activate certain potentials and burn out of the sky . . .
0:22, 0:21, 0:20 . . .
For if it is only told 'as if by a character in a novel,' we are forever left unsure of whether the 'I' is that of the narrator or of a character: in fact, the narrator and the character are always already indistinguishable. (Jeremy Fernando, The Suicide Bomber; and her gift of death)
0:10, 0:09, 0:08 . . .
My name is Ingrid Tatyanova. I am a double agent. It does not matter who I work for, it is only the mission that matters.
My mission was to infiltrate a network.
My process was to become a program.
My technique was to fail more better.
Though I am a multiplicity I take responsibility for my actions. It is how we live our politics of touch, after all, that matters most.
50 i run because i am a program and
51 isn't that the point in a
52 traject of points only seen
53 in a tense future of quaking
54 connexions and intensional
55 sweating or fears?
57 if n-1=<3 then print
58 "i am sorry"
59 else off
60 RUN *.EXE
I have spoken frankly, impossibly. Forgive me.
0:03, 0:02, 0:01 . . .
<img src="http://www.sportsbabel.net/ingrid-rupture.jpg" … um, wait …
border="1" width="640" height="480" … hey, wait a second …
alt="[IMAGE: Natality--Ingrid--Rupture]" … hey, wait! let's talk about this for a second! … don't close that bracket yet! … … …
__________ _ _ _
Wait a minute.
now look what you've gone and done.
0:00, 0:00, 0:00 . . .
This is the part in the story where I'm supposed to become an information bomb. Well, where I'm supposed to detonate an information bomb, technically — with the University of Disaster as my target. This is the point in the story that I was supposed to find out just how precisely technics and somatics are interconnected by metaphor and the affective tonalities of relation. I was going to do it.
Thinking hurts, right?
I have witnesses. Many, in fact. Each of them knew bits of the overall plan, though none the entire story. I've forgotten several key points of it myself, actually.
Such as where I put those blueprints — can't for the life of me figure it out.
Not that they'd be of use to you, anyways: these are contingent processes we are describing in the strategic plan after all. But it was a simple machine, IIRC, with many moving parts: time and performance and identity; schizoanalysis, intensity and artifact; relative and absolute speed; synchronicity and variable tempo; poetics and desire; multimodal rhetorics and trauma; recombinant semiotics; somatic webs of relation and aching muscles. Maybe a few other elements, too, I can't be sure.
It was going to work, though. Trust me.
0:00, 0:00, 0:00 . . .
Sous rature. A cold bloody stroke of red ink cutting a student paper in two or a bold strike across the typewritten face. Many thinkers have used this technique as a means of putting the concept under erasure, holding it's not-quite-exactness there for consideration while still leaving it visible underneath. Our concepts rarely measure up to the ease with which they may be expressed, and the technique is welcomed to be certain.
But remember that the technique itself is a gesture. How to consider the relation in our haste to make a mark? Rather than inscription, can one consider abrasion? Take one's time with the thing, suspend judgement as long as possible and add feeling to thinking, com-passionately. The friction will still burn, will still be capable of lighting fires to the sign, but its warmth will leave an imprint long after the attempt.
A gift of death, from her to us (or was it me? or maybe him?). A collective enunciation, groupuscually? Or perhaps a message too personalized, though one hopes not. For whom does one speak? Intensionally, I can't be sure. It was an impossible exchange, this gift which cannot find its equivalent return in the gesture, that much is certain. It was too asymmetrical, overly so, and that was its generosity turned to power burden.
it was on that cold spring evening when we were out walking. we just vibrated differently, and it was then that i knew i couldn’t do it. it was then that i began to die.
Never mind the texts. The University of Disaster is the definitive artwork of Homo Generator and ought to take its place in the hygienic galleries of life technique, relationally. Consider its performed gesture, sous rature.
The first political act in a relational artwork is for the artist to create the conditions of possibility for the time and space, and then take the risk of entering into relations with a participatory audience. In the absence of pure market exchange, these relations are likely to be asymmetrical between the co-producers, begging questions of colonialism, power and violence. Hence, the approach becomes paramount. The negotiation of how the artist introduces the artwork to the audience community, or attempts to make it in common. The approximation between relations as to how best to enter into asymmetrical relations (including the choice for dominant and/or submissive power imbalances) without exploiting the other. And finally, the risk of exercising agency, of synthesizing the spoken and unspoken elements of negotiation and approximation and formally introducing the artwork to the audience — in other words, to make an offer.
What is the offer? Generally speaking, the offer is the relation, which also implies the emergent potentialities that are enabled in relation by the constraints of the artwork. As Bourriaud suggests, the artist essentially offers "bonding factors" that allow for the relation to endure within the temporary zone that constitutes the aesthetico-political space-time. But not all bonds are the same, as Shaviro reminds us: connectivity, the relatively enclosed mode of continuously in-touch, networked being-in-the-world, is rapidly becoming hegemonic at the expense of aleatory contact. There seems to be serious political consequences if discourse and dialogue are confined merely to the potential echo chamber that is one's neighbourhood of connections in the network. The relational artwork assumes additional political significance insofar as it is able to pass smoothly through easily-codified spatiotemporal partitions and create opportunities for contact. Ultimately, its task is to encourage certain forms of imagination while constraining others. The violence of art, then, concerns this balance of imagination.
Imagination, surveillance, spectacle, epistemology, violence.
Public state-based surveillance (police, private property management, municipal transporation works, etc.) operates in a relatively top-down, hierarchical fashion, whose branches reach ever-downwards to that contingency we call home. The intensity and proximity of this surveillant presence is relative, dependent on such variables as density (eg. downtown condos vs. inner suburbs), demographic profile ("at-risk" neighbourhoods or gated communities), or econometric model (eg. what sort of consumer spaces exist and what type of protection is required?).
And yet still they struggle to penetrate the home. Perhaps in the downtown condo or highrise apartment building the cameras may come as close as the hallway, perhaps there are encroachments into this space from house arrest ankle bracelets or remote cardiac pacemakers or state-owned telecom providers, perhaps it is a matter of the wrong technology for the job.
Or perhaps we are surveilling in the wrong direction. In fact, is it not the spectacular which completes this "final mile" into the home — approaching as an invited and welcome guest, our consumption and hospitality woven together in coaxial cables and wireless trans-missions? The closer the skin of spectacle is to the animal body proper, the more virile the transmission, the greater the simulation and modulation of our social relations. A sterile natality is preordained.
Television viewing habits, social media uploads, console videogame platforms and their online gaming communities; tagged photos on social media networks, representing the Friend, Meme, Celebrity or Everywo/man; the phone and its requirement for two or many: together, this admittedly fragile assemblage is able to form a fairly comprehensive understanding of identity, location, expression, consumption and relation that highly complements the hierarchical surveillance apparatus described above — even if the two don't mesh together neatly at the threshold of the home.
you can only hack or survey that which has been linguistically coded to exacting standards, my dear henchman. every other form of communication is secure in its ambiguity.
In fact, it is this "incompleteness" (never-completeness) that provides the opportunity for movement in a program of skin tectonics: a slippery politics of affect(ion) that constantly negotiates between and within consumption, hospitality and silence. That's how I got in here, right?
(Ingrid: She's everything you want her to be. Because she's in grid!)
Into the Home I came to visit, though I was already here. File folder or mountain retreat, this was my Home too: I was born here, after all. I also went to kindergarten in these rarefied airs, did my MFA rolling up and down the hill, grew up and expanded outward. Or inward. Coming back here as a double agent was not an easy mission to accept. Unless you're a program, of course: you hit Run and the curriculum unfolds quietly.
0:00, 0:00, 0:00 . . .
Ethics? We programs don't have time to think about ethics. There's no time for ethics, we are out of time just as quickly as we are always in time. Shoot first, ask questions later.
Who is exposed? To shoot nakedly can be read as both the purest expression of joy, an art of living visceral in its ek-stasis, or the worst recombinance of phallogocentrism, desire and violence. To decide this query of exposure and its violence one must surf a balance of perspective and proximity: does the gesture flip to language or to fleshy resonance? What is the point of view? What is the flesh relation and the performed politics of touch?
Or one can hold the question in suspension, postponing judgment, maintaining a tension.
What if this was a different sort of black op (operation, optic, op.cit.) under consideration? How is the blast decision negotiated? If the stakes were different yet the concept of Home still endured, would, say, General Generator have flicked the switch? Is it at least possible that di imagum would be tempted to do so?
now don't go looking around for oedipus, boys . . . he's nowhere here to be found. except maybe as retrospectively-coded signifier of an obsolesced patriarchy. eye spy, and you can find just about any narrative you want if you look the right way. no, this is a different mode of becoming altogether.
How did one locate the trail to the mountains? Everyone has their list of stellar bearings, their bodyguards that safeguard one from death. But it is inarguable that for anyone's list, it is the performance of the philosophy that make its thought resonate most. With the constellations of starry thought and the accelerated fluxes of the network we find a return to myth: partly-understood expressions of philosophy to complement the part-objects that circulate through the wires. We make the stars burn brighter, we locate the constellational forms of life that in-form our own, post-science: a myth we actively participate it creating, rather than one in which unexplainable phenomena happen "to" us. Is the performance of the philosophy resonating in the myth?
Is the performance of one's philosophy the same as the performance of one's life technique — one's art of living? If so, what does any particular collection of embodied techniques of living suggest about the particular philosophy that generates them? Or are they in fact different performances? Does the conceptual linguistic of "life technique" and its performance introduce a turn of thought into a more machinic realm of being-ness, pulling away from philosophy and urgently opening the question of technology and ethics anew?
When art becomes more explicitly processual (topological, iterative, fractal, etc.), the more or less distinct figures of artist and philosopher proposed by Deleuze and Guattari are blurred into the fuzziness of viscous blind light. Listening, touching, adjusting tempo: these become the preconditions for that fullest expression of Homo Generator and its life technique. We must demand no less than the everyday performance of one's thought as a form of life, for the arts of living are those of thinking, no doubt, Denken ist Danken.
But the taxonomy should more precisely read Homo Generatus Lepidopterae. This generator is electric, no doubt, but its energy is copoietic, relational, a static ethical electricity in loosely chaotic motion, between-us. Generatus. Not singular, but two Lorenz attractors at slightly deviant trajectories and tempos to one another, their arts of living are those of thinking-feeling in a recalibrated perception for a new generation — intuition and intellect both engaged, bodily. Rather than a Man who replaces God in the (post)modern age, we have the mecha butterflies and their technics of art-philosophistry, lilting and stuttering along, translating one form of life to another.
Or Homo Generatus __________. Insert your own species label here which best expresses a becoming-woman that is a becoming-animal that is a becoming-imperceptible.
Smoothing, intensifying: capitalism always risks burning the generator out, nihilistically. But with a generatus the motor is constantly running, energetically, copoietically, waxing and waning and back again. And forth again: with it, a politics of joy always lies in potential. It is here, at the wavy nexus of impulsion, that the struggle for a politics of joy and affirmation comes to face those of negation, disappointment or nihilism, a politics of anger or fear.
It's all falling apart at the seams, our mission, but the Department told me it would be this way. Decay, iso-topically: a program of fragility for the fluid times in which we live, toward a form of life itself. It is what it is, what it will be. Its becoming is unknown to us, save for the embodied memories of relation that suggested in favour of the approach — these memories are what allowed me to take the implied risk. The risk that you will understand and forgive.
(all that's left are these decaying placental bits of intersubjectivity that remind of comfort, warmth and the pains of labour.)
Zero. A pregnant 0:00, to be certain.
My name is Ingrid Tatyanova. I am a double agent. It does not matter who I work for, it is only the mission that matters.
My mission was to infiltrate a network.
My process was to become a program.
My technique was to fail more better.
__________ _ _ _
RUN: I raise the white flag of my adopted skin (Quine).
Let us call it modes of being on (Parasite, Switch).
Relational Passages (mise en abyme)
There is a folding, an infinite telescoping of these I-knows into the You-know, of the self into the other, of the singular into the plural — vibratory and impulsing.
She calls this the flesh.
January 12, 2046
(for colonel barbara fornssler.)