AutoImmune Wall

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

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

Narcosis

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

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

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

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

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

Amodality

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

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

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Goal

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

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

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

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Intensity and representation

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

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

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

we're all in.

(abstract submitted to the 2011 north american society for sport sociology conference in minneapolis)

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

 

Biogramming Base Bodies: We're All In

In early 2011, athletic footwear, apparel and lifestyle conglomerate adidas launched its worldwide marketing campaign "adidas is all in". Presented as a cosmopolitan moment in global sport and physical culture — at least insofar as its endorsers and target markets are concerned — the campaign's television creative consisted of 15, 30 and 60-second edits of a centrepiece 120-second ad, played at the launch of the campaign and available on Youtube thereafter. Within five months of the "adidas is all in" launch, the full-length version had been viewed over 2 million times. Engaging Brian Massumi and Erin Manning's concept of the biogram and weaving threads of Félix Guattari's schizoanalytic ecology, this paper argues that the "adidas is all in" television creative leverages techniques of in/visibility that have changed the affective stakes for the fetishization of athletic celebrity and its related sports consumables.

 

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lactic acid dream sequence

lactic acidosis

turning,
the hotel-stay was yesterday
cycling to Troy and back-again.

Brutalist gearbox phantasy
of tobacco-lube and
threshold-sweat drenched,
teeth clenched
to pink-dress drafting
and aerodynamic headachery.

cycling one-tenth the distance
anticipated, he said later
though i'd never
paced my-self at any rate.
we don't have-time for more
in this screenplay-montage,
and now i'm too awake anyways
so here is the-finish-line
you can see it abating
(don't do it, don't say dream-fakery.)

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').

track, cycling

Courtesy of CP1 Contemporary

Courtesy of CP1 ContemporaryCourtesy of CP1 Contemporary

Google Maps
Olympic Velodrome and Pool (Berlin)
2011
satellite image

Dominique Perrault
Olympic Velodrome and Pool
1992 | 1999
Berlin, Germany

. . . . .

from the CP1 Contemporary exhibition
Speed and Politics: A Tribute to Paul Virilio

hanna (2011)
movie trailer
(youtube, pause at 0:55)

"The level of connotation of the visual sign, of its contextual reference and positioning in different discursive fields of meaning and association, is the point where already coded signs intersect with the deep semantic codes of a culture and take on additional, more active ideological dimensions. … Codes of this order clearly contract relations for the sign with the wider universe of ideologies in a society. These codes are the means by which power and ideology are made to signify in particular discourses." — Stuart Hall

AutoImmune Response

_____________ _ _ _

"Riefenstahl's films develop the concept of dynamic form in Boccioni and the mobile cut in Deleuze/Bergson to arrive at a reassertion of the ways in which movement privileges expression over content. The foregrounding of dynamic form suggests that Riefenstahl composes with fascism but does not compose a fascist (disciplinary) body. What she composes is the expression of a becoming-body symbiotically linked to fascism but in excess of its disciplinarity. Riefenstahl composes-with. She begins with the beautiful, the young, the strong, but what she composes is never a particular or individual body. Movement is the commanding form of her work."

– Erin Manning, "From Biopolitics to the Biogram, or How Leni Riefenstahl Moves Through Fascism," in Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy, p.135.