on accelerating

iBolt (No.22)

on the surface it seems profoundly anti-"ecological" (to use a term floating around right now) to go wholesale into an acceleration: ecologies are more profoundly periods of stillness mixed with accelerations. the latter are very traumatic, especially when considered intensively — childbirth is an acceleration of sorts, in which the "speed" and "distance" involved don't seem like much, and yet are extremely traumatic in both material and psychic senses (and we could include the traumas of other accelerations, such as returning from space travel, car accidents, the fall of the Berlin Wall, etc. etc.).

what sort of ruptures, tears and detachments would be implied in an accelerationism at the planetary level?

before this technical infrastructure was "turned on", so to speak, i'd love to know more about the ontological, epistemological and ethical problems entailed — for example, collaborative decision-making which is shot through by speed and its intensified fragmentation of part-knowledges and part-subjects.

since it wouldn't be animals, rocks or other "objects" creating these technical infrastructures it seems fair to ask these questions even if they seem a little "humanist" in the process.

 

Speeedd

 

in the meantime, can we start more simply by "training" for an accelerationist world, not unlike how a world-class sprinter would do: by dialing up tempo and intensity incrementally, learning how to endure, speeding up and slowing down "schizostrategically" (to use joseph's term), allowing traumas (muscular, psychic, relational) to heal more readily, all while preparing for the "big race" — even if we don't know what or when said race is, or if it is for a people to come?

__________

(thoughts that have been gestating for a while, and which have only "accelerated" since reading nick srnicek and alex williams' #accelerate manifesto and mckenzie wark's response a few weeks ago.)

I Run Because I Can

boston finish

by Lindsay LaMorre

 

Two days of complete exhaustion and emotional depletion after the Boston Marathon … and I find both the desire and need to run.

I ask myself why??

Running makes me smile and has the power to change a day.
I run because no two runs are ever the same.
I run because it fills my heart with joy.
I run because success and happiness lies within.
I run to keep my mind and spirit clear and strong.
I run because I value and care for my health.
I run to be with amazing friends.
I run to be a part of an incredible community of runners that have welcomed, mentored, supported and encouraged.
I run because of the journey.
I run to embrace adversity.
I run because I can.

What was supposed to be a celebratory, joyous, and momentous event … turned into disappointment.

I ask myself why?

Was it the cowardly acts of terrorism that destroyed and deflated the whole event, manufacturing the run as completely meaningless? Was it my heavy heart for the victims who were fighting for lives and limbs? Was it the media that glorified the terror to enhance its spectacle? Or had it been something more personal, more selfish? Was it the thought of all those winter training hours suddenly deemed insignificant due to the bronchitis that had attacked my chest and lungs just days before I was to run? Was it that I couldn’t have my peak physical performance on the stage of the world’s oldest and most iconic marathon?

Maybe . . .

But the tragic events that occurred in Boston have impacted me personally and changed my perspective forever. My true disappointment laid within me … it rested in my inability to actually go back to the foundations of why I run in the first place. In the moment, I forgot to savour the opportunity and experience I was so blessed and privileged to have. Success isn't measured by a stopwatch; it's distinguished by the journey.

Explosions Sirens Chaos Panic Confusion

Why?

Within a blink, I may not have been so lucky — an opportunity lost and an experience taken for granted.

I finished the Boston Marathon.
I was with a loved one at the time of the explosion.
I was warm.
I had my belongings.
I was safe and healthy.
I was so very blessed.

I am fortunate enough to get a second chance in 2014 to revisit this question of "why?"

Running is my comfort … Boston is my inspiration.

_______________

(Lindsay LaMorre is a Health and Physical Education specialist who lives and works in Toronto. She wore bib number 10577 at Boston 2013.)

Electroshock Therapeutics

shock

Other nonhuman actors play no small role in manifesting the crowd-as-crowd — and by (intensive) extension, the expressive potential of the athletes on the basketball court. The public address announcer, cheerleaders, jumbotron, canned sound effects, in-house music: all of these purportedly exist to "enhance the game experience" for paying consumers.

But it might be more accurate to suggest that they serve to keep an otherwise distracted or exhausted audience in a state of electro-charged readiness for the potential of crowd-as-crowd to become in-formed and activated.

In many cases these are electrically-generated shocks of sound or light that serve to twitch the assembled flesh at regularly programmed intervals, though the gestures and gyrations of the team cheerleaders or mascots may accomplish similar goals in a more analog fashion. The point is less the modality and more the shocks themselves, which unfold as a steady stream of attack on the collective perception of these bodies assembled under the rubric of "spectator".

While they appear at a surface glance to be visual or auditory phenomena, their affective force is rather to be felt as a synaesthetic folding which locates itself in the haptic and proprioceptive. Blink, blink, twitch, twitch: think of a defibrillator that may kickstart smooth cardiac muscle into autonomous, yet directed, contractions — except absent the direct tactile connection of the medicalized jumper cables.

If the role of the in-stadium spectator is increasingly to bear resonant witness to the athletic virtuosity otherwise digitized as television signals for mediated distribution around the world, this electroshock readiness is paramount. Just as the crowd — even one relatively uninformed about the sport in question — can readily spot qualities such as particularly stylish performance or submaximal effort given, so too can the television audience spot a fake. Gestures are not enough. It is obvious to the TV spectator when the intensity of witness response flips from an aggregation of individual reactions to the "crowd" proper as independent and enthusiastic actor. The play-by-play commentary only confirms this in narrative form and completes the affective transfer to whatever potentials exist elsewhere via the telescreen.

The stadium spasms the assembled spectators, in other words, to optimize the readiness potential for the formation of crowd-as-crowd and witness-as-intensity. An electroshock therapeutics framed in terms of entertainment value and consumption, but which is more properly understood in terms of a fuzzy affective labour value and abstract production.

shockshock

It is in this readiness potential that consumption actually invests itself — this time as sponsorship capital. The relentless stream of attack on the perceptive faculties of witnessing serves first and foremost to coordinate the gaze toward advertising images, whether flat or volumetric. The intensive crowd knows nothing about corporate sponsors, but the extensive aggregate of more or less engaged spectators certainly may: programming meets readiness in this zone of indistinction between the two. If the crowd ends up forming, directing, contracting, then so much the better — but at least the ads will have been viewed during the twitchy interim. Exhaustion, indeed.

swerve

Impulsion

xxx

kleinian kisses need stitching
breathing, and leaking
at the seams

seems like only yesterday
you tore free
from me, in me
and me to be

xxx

come, rated as such and dated as much
blue breath whispers
sizzzling
time written flee

xxx

seems extreme
this veering theme

xxx

explosive dreams need sequencing
mines stuttering cuts and pasting
and stitching
ocular gauze
visibly

xxx

three stitches or less
by exxxtension
impulsive tears by the tens
in another frame of mine

images of thought lying tattered
knead breath, defibrilly

xxx

_____

(for all the gadflies and barflies.)

nonhuman actors and expression

Stadium Surfing

Idea for a Conceptual Art Project, No.22:

1. Take a sports stadium teeming with partisan fans.
2. Combine the pixelated card stunt with the spectator wave to create an 8-bit surfing avatar.
3. Ride that motherfucker 'round and 'round the stadium.
4. Synchronize wide-angle tracking shot.
5. Bail avatar headfirst into the wash.

 

A Short Note on Crowds and Expression

The "crowd" at a sporting event is not simply an aggregated number of individuals, nor a produced energy or volume, but a relationship to the capacity and architecture of a competition space proper (3,000 people watching a basketball game is a large number, for example, though one that loses significance in the context of an 18,000-seat sports arena). This relationship is precisely what constitutes the crowd as "crowd" — as an autonomous actor in its own right, singular yet plural, but also understood as an intensity. The plurality is this material aggregation in space of spectating bodies, while the "crowd"-as-singular is the singularity of a produced intensity as it waxes and wanes in the context of its architectural relation. That is, as an intensity the crowd may peak or subside but it may never be subdivided as such and still retain its internal coherency, as-crowd. Material space may be prefigured, but experiential space is co-generated.

Similarly, it is understood that there is some relationship between the energy of a crowd and the quality, sharpness and affective tone of the players on the court. This is not meant as a causal relationship of call-and-response between the two parties, but is rather to suggest mutual feedback loops between the "positive" or "negative" energies of a crowd, on the one hand, and the relative qualities of discipline and stylishness performed by the athletes at play, on the other. It is a mutually emerging field of experience we are describing, affective tensors played out in loosely-configured strategies of produced tension. A collective sporting individuation.

Have you ever tried playing an "important" game in an empty gym?

As we've already suggested, however, the crowd is also produced as an individuation in its relation to the arena architecture. If this is indeed the case then we must further note that the arena architecture plays a role in producing the gestural expression of the athletes at play. In other words, the nonhuman machine of the sporting arena — in a material sense — co-generates the expressive potential of those who perform.

Or, put differently again, this architectural object becomes subject-in-relation as its potential affects are to likewise produce an artificial becoming of athletic virtuosity. Those qualities of discipline and stylishness performed by the athletes at play may best reach their expressive peaks precisely because of their relationship to the material form of the sporting space proper.

(The question then becomes one of Virilian traject, or the tempo at which this arcing clinamen of individuating process plays itself out expressively, in contagio.)

zed's dead, baby.

blood blister

(the following is based on a true story)

 

"The gestural body is a moving body, and is thus always already a political one as well. The logic of skin tectonics suggests that such a moving body will never be fully captured by the tightness of its spectacular skin, for there will always be a slippage between integumentary layers. And it is this slippage that constitutes the contemporary zone of opportunity, of resistance, and of indifference."

(sportsbabel, february 2010)

- - -

"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."

(sportsbabel, june 2012)

 

dyed red, burned bubbbling

It is damp, and a long march is about to begin. It has been thought about, planned and strategized for quite some time, the body has been prepared, and an imagined or dreamed conviction has set in resolutely — this can be accomplished.

Are we describing here the marathon runner who has trained and tapered and sweated all season, resolutely, or the political subject in emergence who seems to be stretching limbs and tensors one final time before the report of the starter's pistol shatters the intense edginess that hangs over the assembled hordes?

A skin tectonics is a slippage of sorts. Many sorts, many skins. Many potential frictions, shears, tears, bubbles and ruptures. The marathon runner teaches us that once the race begins not all variables can be controlled: sometimes the tectonic shifts have a logic of their own that may in-form identity on the fly. Bloody bubbles may form that challenge any prior idea of a quantified outcome to the process.

But the marathon runner may also teach us that these goals are not end-points but rather imagined inflections within process. Pain affectively calculates pain, just as pain remembers pain. We are newly informed through our in-formation, imprecisely. As such, this can be accomplished may take on a new meaning, maybe a very dramatic and affirmative new meaning that cannot be measured against the clock of the foot of the eye. Nor are intensities ever perceived in this way to begin with.

Bloody, potentially, the pain is embraced and the journey is completed — buoyed by the energetics of countless others. Somehow outside of historical time. This is the real story that will be told around campfires for years to come. And it's a true story.

In turn, perhaps the emerging political subject teaches us that these painful bubbles can be considered more deliberately — as possibilities to condition the spatiotemporal and numerical regimes of the contemporary moment. Perhaps this is the story that will be told someday.

But the questions remain: Whose goal are we considering? Whose body, distributed yet locatable? Whose pain?