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.

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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."

simile

Courtesy of SpY

SpY
ramp
urban furniture installation

 

colon: right
parenthesis

(three openings located in punctuality))

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

channels, glinting
grinding

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

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

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

violetry and poetics
hand in hand

secret weaving and braiding
and waiting and wading

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

~

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

but think about the politics of touch concept

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

solar electricity.

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.

 

Courtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidasCourtesy of adidas

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.

exposure, transparency, opacity (hopscotch threshold)

Hopscotch Threshold

gait surfing study number two
kalverstraat, amsterdam
#dobf

exposure is an ontogenetic and relational phenomenon. it is a thread of thought developed by virilio in lost dimension that is among his most innovative and promising. exposure is also a political phenomenon, for each of us to varying degrees our politics today.

we should not desire pure opacity. this is a dangerous end of the exposure spectrum as we all know, and which the concentration camps or prison solitary confinement zones should confirm for us. pure opacity should be considered a gravity well of (political) effects from which light struggles to emerge.

approach the lip of the well, in other words, maybe grind your board on the rail a little bit. but don't fall over the edge at any cost: there are no knee pads or glasses of mom's lemonade waiting at the bottom of this halfpipe. pure opacity kills.

this is not to suggest we should desire pure transparency, either. the oversaturation of light-information on the retinas is its own form of painful blindness. as agamben reminds, the "pure" transparency that is the character of debord's spectacular society finds its own horrors in the legacy of timisoara, which he describes as the "auschwitz of the age of the spectacle".

and the slightly lesser incandescence that glares down on each of us brings its own political effects as well. celebrity, surveillance, performativity are all implicated in this transparency of the everyday, which presents itself as a democracy of the visible. we all shine on.

pure transparency should also be understood as the limit of a gravity well, then, with its own potential for skating and grinding and carving an edge. but perhaps its walls are steeper and its gravitational pull stronger or more tempting, as insects are so often attracted to a light.

zzzzzap.

always deterritorialize carefully. or wear a parachute.

the middle of the exposure spectrum is its own zone of politics, for we are always on the move between the rails of opacity and transparency on this bastard halfpipe of collective existence. everyone wants the next wave. we're always bumping into one another.

our proximity also implies that thresholds of opacity may offer cover to another, if only partial. what is the ratio of exposure for a couple-pairing: is it asymmetrical? (one hopes not overly so. or overtly so?) what if the group is a threesome or a several: how do the ratios of exposure, transparency+opacity modulate in such events? when considering proximity in this sense, err in the analysis towards the temporal rather than the spatial: virilio reminds us that exposure is a time-based phenomenon, and thus thresholds of opacity may often be spatially-displaced, yet actually proximate.

D S NFORMAT ON

(concept for installation inside a squash court, november 2008)

D s nformat on

THE SQUASH COURT is presented as a unique site of aesthetic and political engagement for a critical sport art work. Not only does this site of sport resemble a traditional art gallery space with its sparse orthogonal shape and stark white walls, but it also belongs to a political genealogy that dates back to the earliest days of the Manhattan Project.

D S NFORMAT ON interrogates this nuclear genesis with an installation whose elements explore themes of body, surveillance, spatiotemporality, race and representation. The artwork is on display outside the privileged space of the gallery or museum, while the privileged activity of binary sporting competition is challenged by the recoded use of this space.

Squash Court

AS ONE ENTERS THE ROOM a surround-sound system plays poetry written and spoken by Etan Thomas, slowed down to 40 percent of its original speed to create a densely-laden atmosphere. The irregular muted echoes of squash balls striking the walls of surrounding courts offer punctuation points to the low drone inside the room.

ON THE TWO SIDE WALLS are two series of pictures, hung alternately from one series to the other. The first series, taken from Creative Commons-licensed work on Flickr, represents moving bodies as they negotiate various types of waveforms in public space, such as the street skater who fluidly contours the urban architectural field. The second represents similar imagery, but which has been leveraged as part of the spectacle industry. The images are all the same size and mounted in identical silver frames with white matting. They are spaced as if the wall was the x-axis of time and the two series formed the intersection points of cosine and sine waves, respectively.

ON THE FRONT WALL is a third series of pictures, this one representing instances of the linear as they may be found in the varied landscapes of sport, such as the chalk line of the baseball path or the running lanes of a sprinting track. They are irregularly-sized and mounted in frames of assorted shapes and colours. They appear to proliferate from both above and below the service boundary at the centre of the front wall: line, sine, cosine.

ON THE BACK WALL, mounted over the entrance, is a surveillance camera that looks directly toward the centre of the court.

THE CENTRE OF THE COURT, where the short line dividing frontcourt and backcourt intersects with the line dividing service areas, is the position of power in squash. At this point stands a regulation ten-foot basketball net whose stanchion and backboard are painted white to match the walls of the court. The rim is freshly painted orange. From the rim hangs a full body suit of skin, similar to a wetsuit, fashioned from some type of Hollywood f/x latex. The skin has a pair of long basketball shorts and wristbands sewn onto the appropriate points of the body, and is inscribed all over its surface with a number of tattoos. It hangs from the rim by large hooks whose points pierce through its stretched back, not unlike as if Stelarc had been a basketball player.