Technically Speaking

technical

A basketball player gets whistled for a technical foul and a free throw is awarded to the other team as a penalty. Almost always outside the normative range of what constitutes a foul in the game — actually making bodily contact with an athlete on the opposing team — the technical is precisely what it says it is: a technicality that has been broken in the juridical structure that is the basketball league proper, most often a behavioural infraction against what is considered good sportsmanship. Some of these juridical prohibitions are universal across leagues, while some are unique to the league itself.

(Usually in the courts of mainstream civil society, it is one who is declared not guilty who gets off on a technicality. Not so in basketball, in which the technicality is always on, always assigned as a penalty against which there is next to no opportunity for recourse or exoneration.)

A basketball player steps up to the line to shoot the free throw. Though it is meant to be an award or restitution for the technicality that has been broken, it is actually quite a difficult shot. This is because the restitution exists somehow outside the normal context of play: the shooter goes to the line alone while the rest of the players must stand and watch out at midcourt, unlike the regular free throw situation in which players from each team line up in staggered formation along both sides of the painted key to rebound the potentially missed shot.

But there is no rebound to be had with the technicality. Again it exists outside of game play, which is to say it exists outside of the game's historical time. And further, it exists outside of its usual relations: while not having the players line up for a rebound is meant to be less distracting for the shooter, their absence is actually quite viscerally felt, a denuding of the multiple body's co-composition that leaves the one shooting very naked and alone.

So on the one hand a player gets whistled for a technicality, but it is paradoxically the one who has been offended (or their agent) who will face the intensity of exposure in exacting a restitution. And the purportedly cybernetic technique of shooting free throws reveals its limits in turn: it is the messiness and chaos of co-present bodies — even if they are competitors — that lubricates this technical machine towards its successful realization.

hospitality: scrabble (letter to: a young ingrid, too)

listening well?

hola!

tip this tot

posh halo host
(pity tosh hostility)
a sop toast//shot spilt,
spit sip pay pal sap
spy pita split lisp,
say hip hop hit list
stilt pithy sith styl

sit potty pail top
shitty                        (the nth gift)
sat shat splat at
total hospital soap to
it toy shop

plato thot path lay
shit
pi stat ploy spay
post-italy lit

~

i plait
posit pli polity
toil thy oat soil plot so
soy patty lips
salt, ail, oil . . .
ah, (d)'lish                        (digest this)

hail tap lash his
pho pasty tips postal
hot pot hospitality

~

lost ails shalt
lop asp tail

shoal slip
ship sail.

 

ttyl,
hatt

ooo

burned bubbbling

bubbbly

inter face
brilliant bubbbles burn
.
bleeding film real
fleeting, co-fade feeding
.
feed forward facing
and freed facial feeling
.
burn baby burn
and bleed spatial tweening

~

oh
say
can
you

  (bub)
(bub)       (bub)
  (bub)   (bub)
    (bub)
(bub)   (bub)

see.
a staid ceiling

~

i know you've got a lot of bleed
going on right now.

(say'd stealing)

~

bleed all over the thing, that document
you meant
documentational, die dread
dessertating
.
did as if one were
some verb could come ending
instead of verbing forward
before one did ate dessert
(-ing)

~

dyed red
burned bubbbling

_____

(for the cottage university thought bubbblers…)

wakawakawaka

wakawaka

it's an odd relationality that constitutes this place we call time.
a memory, or fading inscription . . .

sexualization, where only sexual overproduction and heteronormativity hold sway.

from a hip synchronization of gesture emanating at the world cup in africa, to its remainder, which circulates across continents as the diasporal memetic flows of leisure tourism, a contagion in those sites of spectacular consumption, confinement and hygiene. a young teenage girl more or less mimics the hips of the slightly older latina woman leading the dance and glimpses what a body can do.

all for a football tournament, that motor of integrated world capitalism.

On the Unbearable Likeness of Being

likeness

On the unbearable likeness of being; or who the fuck is Alice?

by Jeremy Fernando (sb rmx)

 

The question that haunts all modern society is that of the individual. It takes the form of either "who am I" (the question of identity) or "what is my place in society" (the question of relative value). Even though they may seem to be unrelated they are actually the same question, for the notion of individuality is meaningless without a point of reference, an externality: in other words, there is no self without another, the other, all others.

And here, if we listen carefully, we can hear an echo of Jean-Luc Nancy's beautiful phrase, singular-plural. In order for any singularity, we have to take into account plurality: which also means that the selection of any singular version, meaning, act, is always already a moment of violence against all other existing possibilities. For if every act is but one of the potentially infinite possibilities (since they are possibilities, one cannot know in advance how many variations there are) there is no way to know if the decision made is a good or bad one till it happens; more than that, there is no way to legitimately choose one over any — every — other. Hence decisions, acts, choices, are always already made in blindness; all one can know is that one is choosing.

But as Milan Kundera so aptly points out, the fact that each decision is made "in an instant of madness" (Kierkegaard) does not make it any easier: the "lightness" is indeed rather unbearable. For the lightness of each decision does not refer to us, but rather to the fact that there is no grund: thus, the onus, and hence responsibility, for each decision falls squarely on our shoulders.

This, though, merely exacerbates the paradoxical situation of individuality: in order to be responsible one has to be able to take responsibility, which would entail a certain notion of the self, and more precisely a self that is independent of all the other factors affecting that same self. Otherwise we would be able to escape this responsibility by pulling an Adolf Eichmann: "I was merely following orders."

But if the notion of a self is meaningless without correspondence to other(s), where would this singular notion be located?

We can hear echoes of this very same question in blogs; where the very notion of the self and its relation to the other, every other, is being addressed. For in order to be a 'blog' it has to be a singular object (even if two, or more, blogs share the same name, each blog is a singular entity onto itself and no other); however, in order for its existence to be known it has to be acknowledged by another, some entity other than itself. Even if the blog was the work of a single person, and (s)he was the only other that referenced it, it would still, and only, be known if that referencing happened in another venue, platform, site.

Hence, what is crucial is that there are two separate situations in place, and more importantly, there is an exchange between them. One must never forget that an exchange can only take place when there is a ground of similarity; whether real or simulated (even if there was a difference) is irrelevant. Even in their difference (for, there would be no need for any exchange if they were exactly the same), there has to be a certain sameness, likeness. Perhaps it is in the very paradox of similarity and difference that the true profundity of likeness comes to light: the alikeness of the exchange must first be liked before the differences that allow this very exchange come into play. And what is being exchanged is nothing other than data.

Here, we must not forget all data bears echoes of datum (thing given). More specifically, the situation of this giving is one where the parties involved are of an unequal standing (for instance, a master to a slave): hence, there is no expected reciprocation of this gift. This is opposed to munus which is a ritualised gift, and where exchange is the order of the day. Since a datum is an unexchangeable gift, this suggests that it can also be objectless: in other words, what remains important is that the gift is in the giving. And it is this aspect of the gift that Marcel Mauss, Georges Bataille, and Jacques Derrida, focus on when they explicate their notions of a pure gift. And if the giving of the gift is the gift itself, perhaps one can argue that the reception is equally important. This suggests that what truly matters in this notion of giving is time itself: what is sacrificed (for, in giving, something is given even if there is no object), a sacrifice that is objectless, "that doesn’t have to be consumed by fire" (Bataille), is the time taken to both give, and receive.

In the context of blogs, it is the time taken to link, share, give, and the time taken to read, re-post, re-link.

Which brings us back to the question that we were attempting to meditate on. The singularity of the self is not located in some notion of self, but rather in that moment of decision, choice, where the self has no choice but to reify momentarily in making that choice. In this moment of absolute blindness — where one is choosing despite lacking any legitimacy — the self is doing nothing but exposing its own unknowability, its own otherness.

At the moment of sharing a blog, the blog is exposed as nothing but the moment of sharing. In other words, all blogs only are singular, are itself, at the point of being shared — sent, read, spoken about, written on.

Swapped.

And it is in this spirit that I am sharing a dear friend’s blog. I present to you, one of my favourite thinkers, writers, photographers: http://alicereneztay.com/

And if you’re still wanting to know who Alice is, surely you’re missing the point . . .

_____

Jeremy Fernando is the Jean Baudrillard Fellow at The European Graduate School. He works in the intersections of literature, philosophy, and the media; and is the author of 5 books, the most recent being Writing Death. Exploring other media has led him to film, art, and music; and his work has been exhibited in Seoul, Vienna, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He is the general editor of both Delere Press and the thematic magazine One Imperative; and is a Fellow of Tembusu College at The National University of Singapore.

nietzsche and cixous go bicycle riding

pathfinder

the other day i'm in the local cycle repair shop getting my ride worked on when i overhear a sales guy refer to one of the bikes as "she." the customer responds in kind. breathed into existence, as with the great ocean-going vessels of yore or the sleek sports cars of today (or the internet of tomorrow?), "she" becomes that amorphous yet political name of the fetishized vehicular object. gender is there where we are looking for it, no doubt.

(one suspects this is not what nietzsche had in mind when he suggested that one must ride woman like a horse to push through the other side of a western patriarchy.)

but our technologies do not have a gender, at least not one that we can identify as inherently "stable" over time. they rather become gendered precisely in "how" they approach and engage the contexts and contingencies of relation. though there are always material considerations to these contexts and contingencies, gender, too, is amorphous, always outflowing that she-name attempting its capture.

shall we at least play the game? if there is in fact a gender to be located in these objects, it is not in their being-ness as static artefacts but rather in their possibilities for becoming — of literally making explicit the setting forth of change in which we are always already emerging. frances willard, for example, might have also thought of her bike as somewhat of a "she" but this she-name was an expression of collective empowerment and contemporary feminity, of attitude and dirty hands. she wanted to go as fast as the boys, and she did.

do not confuse this with the question of absolute speed, however. it is instead a question of passage. while the biking artefact has changed little over the past century, the choice to bike, like the choice to travel by ocean-going vessel today — the choice to "she" — has now become one of slowness.

_____

"she alone dares and wishes to know from within, where she, the outcast, has never ceased to hear the resonance of fore-language. she lets the other languages speak — the language of 1,000 tongues which knows neither enclosure nor death. to life she refuses nothing" (cixous, 'laugh of the medusa').