Charlotte Sometimes (Mudstep Jam)

lousy t-shirt provided by semiotextil(e)

1. We accelerate into the threshold to decelerate out the other side.

2. When one views a small farm while driving by in the hermetic confines of an automobile, the plot of land doesn't look so big. But get out of the car to walk in the field and the space begins to dilate. The rolling image has become an expanding volume. Now work that same field.

3. It is a question of tempo: smooth and striated spaces are not simply matters of intensities versus geometries, but concern speeds as well.

4. The problem with the theory of relativity is that for the layperson it is usually only applied in understanding cosmic or interstellar phenomena (ie. at the speed of light spacetime is compressed relative to our planetary frame of reference). But relativity has potential for us in the lived everyday as well: a change in velocities introduces distinct changes in the embodiment and perception of spacetime — by which we mean its active creation.

5. The threshold of holey space significantly modulates the vibrating fibres of matrixial intersubjectivity, partly through change in proximity, partly through change in velocity, partly through embodied archive and memory. Always through relation.

Several: "We are each constituted by more than one of these relational moebius strips, each of us several in our singularity. These relational fibres grow at rates different for each unique relation, to different thicknesses or densities of weave. Each one may be shorter or longer in total surface and decay at a different rate, despite being woven of essentially the same stuff. This is because the 'stuff' of which they are woven is both organic and technic, born of flesh, gesture and linguistic interface. And as these relations move to fibre optic communication networks there emerges a doubling or higher degree of complexity to the assemblage, with the moebius relations themselves becoming subject to a new moebius topology bounded by the here of local presence and the now of (nearly) instantaneous electronic transmission. These fibres, too, become subject to the rationality of industrial agriculture, this time in the form of social networking." (March 2010)

6. This phenomenon is most pronounced at the node, that location in the meshwork which stabilizes the web of relations but also most keenly and affectively senses the largest number of relational forces in tension or pull. For the node, passage through holey space constitutes the most dramatic shift in intensity experienced by any of the several.


7. Through gusts of wind that vigorously sway it back and forth the spiderweb holds on and persists, however, due in no small part to the strength of its nodes. Charlotte.

8. Unless it breaks. Sometimes.

9. The passage through holey space demands protocol (discrete particles) as well as performativity (resonant waves) to successfully negotiate the relational shift.

Tango: "Each of us forms a node in a broader network of these moebius relations. The web weaves through spaces and places both material and informational, mappings and tracings alike left in the wake of its continual emergence. But we must remember that this web emerges first and foremost from the moving body. The larger one's node in the network becomes, the greater potential for this moving body to form knots in these relations, knots somatically registered with a particular sense of anxiety. The moving body finds itself bound in a relational tango, to borrow the abstract diagram of intersubjective micropolitics suggested by Erin Manning. Or, already being several, it finds itself in a series of moebius part-dances with other individuals that attempt not to cross footsteps: as one body releases from the other in tango, given the space from which it may choose to return (anxiety), a differential space is opened in which other part-dances and their relational fibres may intersect or form knots and entanglements. The body thus finds itself in dances of relation, yes, but also in separate dances of disentanglement — the unweaving of knotty potentials and their somatic consequences." (March 2010)

Foucauldian Tomato Plants

10. Though the farm is relatively smooth in comparison to the city, this is not to suggest an absence of disciplinary techniques. The space is highly rationalized: enclosure, partition, rank. Sometimes the plants are given prosthetic braces, sometimes they are kept in cages. There are no surveillance cameras monitoring this movement, however, either in the greenhouses or out in the fields. Yet.

11. Repetition yields to rapid innovation in technique, though not necessarily a program.

12. The weather reports of Science take a distant back seat to what actually unfolds and what is in the process of unfolding. The latter is far more engaged in the "nomad" sciences (colours in the sky, intensities of wind registered against the skin), while the former is experienced as an attunement to the lived everyday.

13. High-speed telecommunications may modulate the farmer, though not necessarily the farmed.

14. Farmers knew about gait surfing long ago, at least in a "primordial" sense. Watch them walk the rows: contouring, flowing, sensing. They referred to it simply as "being in the world".

15. It would be easy to suggest that the farmer is simply walking up and down rows of stasis. But plants move: they grow up and out as sensing volumes in their own right, they deepen and expand their root systems, they sway to and fro in the gentle breezes of summer. At this recalibrated tempo, gait surfing's ontogenetic processes of walking-in-relation have been slowed down, exaggerated, and rendered more readily visible to one interested in biological flow. Dial down the BPM for this mudstep jam.

16. Note that biological flow is not the sole preserve of humans.

17. Do not confuse this with cheap nostalgia. Slowing down the gestural microscope reveals a care for the relation that exists between farmer and plant (and plant and plant…). This care is the envy of the gait surfer, who seeks to develop, sustain, or otherwise transduce it as the biological fluxes increase their speed upon return to the city.

All the faces
All the voices blur
Change to one face
Change to one voice
Prepare yourself for bed
The light seems bright
And glares on white walls
All the sounds of
Charlotte sometimes
Into the night with
Charlotte sometimes

Night after night she lay alone in bed
Her eyes so open to the dark
The streets all looked so strange
They seemed so far away
But Charlotte did not cry

The people seemed so close
Playing expressionless games
The people seemed
So close
So many
Other names…

Sometimes I'm dreaming
Where all the other people dance
Sometimes I'm dreaming
Charlotte sometimes
Sometimes I'm dreaming
Expressionless the trance
Sometimes I'm dreaming
So many different names
Sometimes I'm dreaming
The sounds all stay the same
Sometimes I'm dreaming
She hopes to open shadowed eyes
On a different world
Come to me
Scared princess
Charlotte sometimes

On that bleak track
(See the sun is gone again)
The tears were pouring down her face
She was crying and crying for a girl
Who died so many years before…

Sometimes I dream
Where all the other people dance
Sometimes I dream
Charlotte sometimes
Sometimes I dream
The sounds all stay the same
Sometimes I'm dreaming
There are so many different names
Sometimes I dream
Sometimes I dream…

Charlotte sometimes crying for herself
Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself
But it's always with love
With so much love it looks like
Everything else
Of Charlotte sometimes
So far away
Glass sealed and pretty
Charlotte sometimes

(The Cure, "Charlotte Sometimes")


(intensity, proximity, technicality: thank you.)



which rolling stones do i carry with me today?
it's tuesday and i couldn't be more mundane
even if i tried.

Wimbledon dreams of not
a single serve taken
her heavy presence fills
the Cup nonetheless.

spider strung racquet, they say
too rational or gridly.
corporate spiders, they say
or the ones weaving
bulletproof vests
in the milk of darkness.

get your head out of your Asana

Courtesy of Lululemon

i guess the models
lost their Heads in the process
of achieving Enlightenment.

(this is not a publishable poem,
you bet your Asana.)

Male Art


Idea for a Conceptual Art Project, No.22:

1. Buy an old Remington typewriter, paper, and plenty of carbon-copy sheets.

2. Write a letter of application to the National Ballet of Canada's apprentice programme (sponsored by RBC). Mail it directly to the Artistic Director of the company.

3. Tell them that you are 38 years old, you cannot touch your toes, you are slightly overweight, your joint flexibility is poor, your breathing stamina is spotty, your weak upper body strength prevents you from lifting other dancers, and your overall body expressivity is generally restrained and uninteresting.

4. But tell them that you have an athletic background which allows you to readily grasp new motor skills. Tell them you will work very hard to overcome any deficiencies between yourself and the other dancers.

5. For the requested photo, attach that picture of you doing Natarajasana during yoga class — you know, the pose you're not very good at. It sort of looks like ballet.

6. In case you are unsuccessful in your first application, submit a new letter the following year. Update vital statistics accordingly.

7. Re-apply annually until either: a) you are successful, or b) seven years following your ddddeath.

8. Share all project correspondence with Sophie Calle upon completion.


flesh∞notebook∞network, superiority of analog

"There are no nomadic or sedentary smiths. Smiths are ambulant, itinerant. Particularly important in this respect is the way in which smiths live: their space is neither the striated space of the sedentary nor the smooth space of the nomad" (Deleuze and Guattari, ATP, p.413).

Holey Space (Notebook Study)"Smiths are not nomadic among the nomads and sedentary among the sedentaries, nor half-nomadic among the nomads, half-sedentary among sedentaries. Their relation to others results from their internal itinerancy, from their vague essence, and not the reverse. It is in their specificity, it is by virtue of their inventing a holey space, that they necessarily communicate with the sedentaries and with the nomads (and with others besides, with the transhumant forest dwellers)" (Deleuze and Guattari, ATP, p.414).Holey Space (Notebook Study)"Holey space itself communicates with smooth space and striated space. In effect, the machinic phylum or the metallic line passes through all of the assemblages: nothing is more deterritorialized than matter-movement. But it is not at all in the same way, and the two communications are not symmetrical" (Deleuze and Guattari, ATP, p.415).

three-eighths of an inch

sean smith, 3/8" drill bit, october 2010

3/8" 4'33"
(he thought Cixous might agree)

that is, a displacement of "power" relative to a displacement of "the body"?
(which is not to exclude other potential vectors of displacement)

both are contingencies of the affective cyborg.
(which is not to suggest they simply reproduce Fornssler's MIC and EFC: there are rather elements of both ideal types folded into each contingency)

poke the pen through the hole to see if it actually exists, Doubting Thomas

is it like getting a piercing?

body modification? or "self" mutilation?
i felt no pain (i moved too quickly)
there was the displacement of a certain shock-affect.
(or at least its imagined displacement)

psychowikigraphy: Pi (film) > trepanation > lobotomy > electroconvulsive therapy

the act of boring a hole in the material (or immaterial?) substrate both withdraws matter-flow from the hole in a reverse spiral fashion, as well as pushes other matter-flow to bulge slightly at the periphery. the wave of the drill bit in motion creates another wave. as a result the notebook is already more difficult to write in, its entire structure having been distorted. in other words, the mesh of striated space is already modulated in the act of creating the hole proper.

do we have holey space yet, smith asks?

Marching Across Time

Courtesy of Adam Magyar

"If 'everything is ruled by lightning', as Heraclitus suggested, the PHOTO-FINISH imposes the instantaneity of its violence on all the various 'artistic representations' and modern art, like war — BLITZKRIEG — is no more than a kind of exhibitionism that imposes its own terrorist voyeurism: that of death, live." — Paul Virilio, Art and Fear, p.43, emphasis in original

* * *

The photo finish. One might argue that the precision demands of high performance sprinting are such that one requires exactly this apparatus to adjudicate the race winners. But what happens when the same technological diagram is lifted from the sports stadium and brought to the public square, as with the Urban Flow artworks produced by photographer Adam Magyar?

Courtesy of Adam Magyar

adam magyar
#1600 (detail)
new york
recorded time: 46 sec. (26×240 cm)

If one is standing at the finish line in the official capacity of determining a race winner in the 100-metre dash, one's perspectival gaze sees a pack of disciplined sprinters approaching, each partitioned into their own lanes — in other words, how we might understand Deleuze and Guattari's striated (sports) space. As the race continues one is constantly modifying the embodiment of this perspective, turning the head and shoulders ever-so-slightly to match the changing relation between adjudicating body, approaching runners, and finish line proper — the latter of which constitutes the "true" object of everyone's gaze.

One is practically an extension of the finish line at the penultimate moment (or climax) of the race, the minute difference in radians between one's optical line of sight and the white marking of the terminus barely distinguishable over the final split seconds. Indeed, as the race comes to its conclusion one's body is almost perfectly still: to ensure the best possible result for the tracking shot we attempt to stabilize the optical field, only the eyes moving side-to-side in tandem with the nearly-orthogonal flux of runners crossing the finish line (cf. Brian Massumi's notes on "mirror-vision", Parables for the Virtual, p.48).

The axis of rotation has moved from shoulder+neck+skull to eyeballs: this new origin and its shorter radius allows us to sharpen the image as if we were describing a gestural microscope zooming in to a higher level of resolution. A threshold has been reached in the geometry of competition. Ontogenesis, or recomposed bodies in a reconfiguring athletic space (cf. Erin Manning, Relationscapes, p.15).

Even with this higher resolution available, however, as the runners increase in speed it becomes more apparent that the body-as-camera vibrates too much to function with a high degree of precision as a solution for adjudicating sport. Eventually we use a string or ribbon held across the finish line by two witnesses to complement the strictly visual determination of the race victor. That is, the ocular appraisal is confirmed with a visceral tug on the fingers as the string rapidly contours the breast of the first runner to cross the finish line. The hapticity of close vision, the affective tonality of the competition environment, and the increase in both absolute and relative speed all contribute to the intensity of this very temporary smooth sprinting space.

Or more precisely, a striated space that has become smooth in a pre-programmed yet emergent fashion.

Courtesy of Beijing and Berlin Marathons

samuel wanjiru (ken, beijing olympics) - paula radcliffe (gbr, new york city) - qi shun (chn, beijing paralympics)

But speed and progress move on. Even the ribbon or string is no longer adequate for high-performance racing, its obsolescence and retrieval marked poignantly by the ceremonial status it carries today at the finish line of the much slower marathon. In fact, if we make this ribbon a wider surface we can actually leverage this slowness as sponsorship inventory for vectoral capital.

And the question of adjudication is complicated when we introduce timing to the technological diagram of the sporting competition. As we have noted earlier:

The act of timing … brings a particular and peculiar violence upon the sporting body, since the disciplining ceases to be a local disciplining of the self and crosses a threshold to become a general formula for efficient production by imposing the tyranny of the clock. Put another way, timing a race serves little purpose if it is only done once. In the absence of other times with which to compare, this temporal measurement becomes a number without context and therefore meaningless.

No, the purpose of timing is to create an archive for comparative purposes: times of past performance, benchmarks for future performance, markers of record performance. Optimal time becomes the alibi for a most brutal violence to the sporting body that goes beyond a self-discipline to broader networks of power and economy constraining the self (November 2008).

We introduce a genealogy of stopwatches and other electronic timing devices to complement the photo finish mechanisms that are rapidly replacing the human eye in adjudicating race winners. Eventually the two forms — time+image — merge in the fully automated electronic photo finish system, which uses slitscan photography to dilate the minute spatial differences between runners that have been obscured by speed.

The slitscan system freezes the image as if it was an instant in time, though it is in fact of a duration: the elements to the right of the frame are "older" in time relative to those on the left. This should not be understood as duration in the Bergsonian sense: we are describing contiguous slices of time laid to film one after the other — 2,000 every second, to be precise.

Photo Finish

In addition, the slit photography system used at the sports stadium appends what we might refer to as a chronometric ruler to the photo finish image produced by the sprint race. This graduated edge allows one to apply spatial principles to the fixed durational segments of time on film, measuring how long apart the runners were given the fixed point in space of finish line+camera lens. The "truth" of the performance shifts from the track to the scoreboard, just as the contouring of the breast by the ribbon cedes to the hard perpendicular line of time.

Though this chronometric ruler is absent in Magyar's photos, we recall its lesson well: as the blurred backdrops to his public tableaux visually confirm, high-speed slit photography smooths space in the service of striating time.

Courtesy of Adam Magyar

adam magyar
#292 (magnified detail)
hong kong
recorded time: 1 min. 32 sec. (26×240 cm)

Though the imagery itself is quite beautiful, this quote from Magyar in the project documentation is key to our investigation:

With the slit-scan technique, a fraction of a moment is recorded through a 1-pixel wide slit several hundred times per second. The time and space slices recorded this way and placed right next to each other generate an image without a perspective; it is the passing of time itself that turns into space by moving forward in time from the right side toward the left in each image.

In other words, the events recorded on the right side of the image took place earlier than the ones on the left, also meaning that the people in the photos never existed together in the form shown by the image. So the people in the right-hand side of the image had grown several minutes older by the time the people seen in the left side passed my camera.

As a result of this time-space connection, all the people and vehicles in the photos are heading in one direction (emphasis added).

Three questions:

1. By re-aligning the variation of every moving body to the side-view mug shot, has "art" created the process that makes databased identification within smooth open spaces more reliable and efficient? Or was the "military" already there first?

2. How do we understand the "sense of solidarity" proposed by the Walking As One project, for which Magyar's work was commissioned?

3. When Agamben calls us "to link together image and body in a space where they can no longer be separated, and thus to forge the whatever body," is he asking for the rich diversity of kinetic poiesis that is gesture to be rendered a march across time to the camps?

Courtesy of Adam Magyar