Thursday, September 30, 2010

Manning/Massumi Day 3

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

Manning & Massumi together offered two classes with us, “Emergent Space(-times)” and “The Choreographic Object – or, How movement moves us.” They were taught together and it created a fantastic experience for me.

"Choreographic Objects"
William Forsythe from Synchronous Objects Media Site

"Propositions for the Verge - William Forsythe's Choreographic Objects"
Erin Manning (2008) Inflexions, Vol. 2

Even within the same discipline there are different technicities, styles of thought that can be employed to approach a problem.

Forsythe starts with propositions and the effect achieved is similar to the ways in which algorithms operate - these are iterative, randomized algorithms incorporate some element of chance and so they become evolutionary. They are generative acts.

For example, consider Forsythe's "Counterpoint algorithm" from Eidos:Telos, part 3 (1995):
Proposition: Effect an orientation shift. Shift the relationship of your torso to the floor by 90 degrees moving through plié. Take the shape or path of the movement and translate it through your body so that it happens in another area of your body.
Proposition: Drop a Curve. Take any point on your body and, guided by the skeletal-muscular mechanics inherent in the body’s position, drop that point to its logical conclusion following a curved path. Reconfigure the body or set it in motion in a way that varies from the original sequence.
Proposition: Unfold with Inclination Extension. Create a line between elbow and hand. Extend that line by leaving your forearm where it is in space and manoevering your body to create a straight line between shoulder and hand.
Forsythe calls these propositions "time machines" that generate movement.

Note: we went outside and tried a few of these propositions:

Here is a link to the Times Literary Supplement and Siobhan Peiffer's brief introduction to this dance piece.

Also of immense value is Ann Nugent's Doctoral thesis (2000) The Architexts of Eidos:Telos. A critical study through intertextuality of the dance text conceived by William Forsythe, at the University of Surrey.
Choreography is transformed from being the storage site of movement and becomes a laboratory of movement activity.

Forsythe is a distributive node - he's generating propositions with a strong Whiteheadian vocabulary.

Movement in space is not a movement in a pre-defined space but an unfolding of space with movement, an emergent activity.

Forsythe claims that choreography and dance are not the same, these exist in the world separated all the time: dance without choreography, and choreography without dance. He asks, "is it possible to generate autonomous expressions of its principals, a choreographic object, without the body?" (in Manning, pg. 2)

The figure-ground relation (Zidane) is the nodal point, the minimal organization from which generative movement can occur. Where does movement start and where does it stop? It's a relation between a model of transition. "The choreographic object: a model of potential transition from one state to another in any space imaginable." (Manning, 2)

Choreography transforms what a body can do.

Improvisation as incipient choreography - what would we consider the object to be? what moves these bodies?

Waking-up is the threshold between waking and sleeping; in these thresholds there is this turning point and we decide whether to follow habitual action or improvise.

The object is the tending toward, a tendency.
Forsythes’s choreographic process creates conditions for events. When an object becomes the attractor for the event, it in-gathers the event toward the object’s dynamic capacity for reconfiguring spacetimes of composition. [...] These “objects” are always part of an evolving ecosystem in Forsythe’s work. They extend beyond their objectness to become ecologies for complex environments that propose dynamic constellations of space, time and movement. These “objects” are in fact propositions co-constituted by the environments they make possible. They urge participation. [...] The object becomes a missile for experience that inflects a given spacetime with a spirit of experimentation. [...] The object has to be immanent to the event and active in its unfolding. [...] Choreographic objects are an affordance that provokes a singular taking-form: the conjunctive force for the activity of relation. (Manning, 3)
The difference between an object and a choreographic object is the potential activity, the affordances, that the context offers. The object does not allow all movements to be reproduced in the same ways all the time.

What are the conditions necessary to avoid the insistence that the spectator be imposed upon with a predetermined, idealized, choreography?
[This question directly relates to a conversation I had with Manning and Massumi the previous day as we discussed Victor Burgin's evening lecture and the frustration of video installations in galleries]
Dance, music, language -- these are articulatory, but at what level? We look to Guattari and schizoanalysis as metamodeling; modeling with, not onto.

The White Bouncy Castle. Dana Casperson, William Forsythe and Joel Ryan. Co-production with (1997)
The White Bouncy Castle is more than a large platform for jumping: it effects a microperceptible change in the feeling of time, shifting the everydayness of time passing from the foregrounded measured time of habitual movement toward the durational time of play. (Manning, 4)
There is the question of time: experiencial time vs. measured time.
Choreographic objects provoke this time-slip in large part because they bring to the fore the role objects play in experience. Objects always resonate with pastness. The everyday objects Forsythe proposes for experimentation exist in an ecology of previous experience. [...] Experience is drawn forth by a pastness of the present. This pastness of the present is specious: it feels like the present even though it is already passing. When we actually perceive this pastness as the present in experience, Alfred North Whitehead calls it non-sensuous perception. [...] We perceive not from sense to sense, but from relation to relation. “The present moment is constituted by the influx of the other into that self-identity which is the continued life of the immediate past within the immediacy of the present” (Whitehead, 1933: 181). It is not the past as such or the object as such we perceive in the here-and-now. It is the activity of relation between different thresholds of spacetime. It is the object from the past in the configuration of the present. The then-with.(Manning, 4-5)
The immediate past is overlapping with the unfolding present; the calling of the future is to a deeper past into the present. This is why routine/habit occurs.
This is how the choreographic object works. [...] You half turn your attention to the quality of ‘having fun’ and before you know it, your posture has shifted. You’re tending toward the fun. This movement-with becomes the initiating gesture toward the time of the event the choreographic object proposes. [...] When an object no longer seems to be quite what you thought it was and the experience of time no longer feels as linear, it’s because the event is beginning to take over. No longer as concerned with your ‘self’, you are now experiencing the potential of the future mixed in with the resonance of the past: a futurity of pastness in the present. Play. (Manning, 5)
This experience is specious: it takes us into the time-slip of the event. This speciousness has a quality of fabulation: it enervates us toward the paradox of time and incites us to invent with time. [7] Choreographic objects draw us into this speciousness by infiltrating our experience with the verge of this doubling [....] they exist in the between of a proposition and its eventness, inciting the participant to invent through them, to move with [....] Choreographic objects draw out this paradox of the linearity of measured time versus the duration of experiential time. “The practically cognized present is no knife-edge, but a saddle-back, with a certain breadth of its own on which we sit perched, and from which we look in two directions into time” (James, 1890: 609). (Manning, 6)
This leads us to Whithead's discussion of the proposition. These are lures that brings into activity certain potentialities. The proposition builds a bridging across; the activation of the potential.
Nostalgia do Corpo: Corpo Coletivo. Lygia Clark (1986)

[NOTE TO SELF: The problem of psychastenia in spectacular agency is that there is this absence of model - by reducing the horizon of potentiality in promoting standardized commodity production]

The proposition is not the same here as in linguistics; the proposition as thought here allows the event to unfold itself in its relationality.
Whitehead’s concept of the proposition does not find its voice in an already-conceived language. “Spoken language,” Whitehead warns, “is merely a series of squeaks” (Whitehead, 1978: 264). Language by itself means little. “The vagueness of verbal statement is such that the same form of words is taken to represent a whole set of allied propositions of various grades of abstractness” (1978: 193). When language moves us, it is because it operates in relation, becoming-propositional. A proposition can unfold in language, but not as an additive to an already-stable matrix of denotation. Propositions alter the ground of active relations between language, affect and gesture (to name a few), intensifying, attenuating, inhibiting, transmuting not meaning as such, but the affective force of the time-slip of experience. (Manning, 7)
There can be many propositions, but artistically it's best to keep it simple.

The proposition provokes but cannot predetermine. Whitehead uses this word because it is usually synonymous with judgment and he wants to forground the ability to create an affective tonality.
Every conception of the new is the actualisation of a contrast. For Whitehead, contrast is a conduit to creativity. What the proposition calls for is not a newness as something never before invented, but a set of conditions that tweak experience in the making. Propositions are lures. [...] Propositions that incite creativity lure difference into the pact of their unfolding through the tweaking of the occasion. This tweaking brings about the resolution of potentiality and actuality while leaving a trace of the virtual nonetheless. This is the subtraction in the addition, the more-than less-than of experience. (Manning, 6)
Manning and Massumi characterize their work as "creating emerging attunements." They stress, "relations as event and not as communication." The point is that we have to invent our own languages and give that a texture.

Tarkovsky described his film making style as "sculpting in time" which is the translated name, also, of his book in which he discusses his film making. But note that this is the translation into English of the title in Russian Запечатлённое время (literally, "Depicted Time") His films are now freely available online from Open Culture.

Also consider Chris Marker's Sans Soleil  and La Jetee for a visualization of time.
(Both films are available if you follow the links.)

An event hospitality - where the context itself allows for much.

Given the folding of the text and deformation of forms, we get this topology; the object here is in motion, yeah? thus the objectile - playing on the word "projectile." Objectile, as in "object-ish."

Rhythm is a central concept in this text, distinct from "beat." A beat is formalized and we're searching for the potentialized, rather than the formalized.
Rhythm is not added to movement from outside its taking form. Rhythm is its taking form. Because each rhythm is itself a duration, rhythm is what gives time to incipient movement, characterizing that singular movement’s in-timeness. This in-timeness is not a beat or a measure but a quality of becoming that is co-terminous with the incipiency of the movement’s preacceleration and the elasticity of its unfolding. (Manning, 18-9)
Here we can also consider Deleuze's discussion of Bergson's thinking on duration. Corry Shores has an excellent blog for reading Bergsonism over at Pirates & Revolutionaries. Here I am linking to the site directory for the 4th chapter from Bergsonism called, "One or Many Durations." Also look to the fine blog Lectures by Gilles Deleuze and specifically this entry "Theory of Multiplicities in Bergson"

[Forsythe says that a body is that which folds. Deleuze says that anything can be a body - a concept can be a body." Could time be a body (that folds)? Without animating time with an event it's simply an abstract thought.]

Think of the cover song: each cover has its own rhythm, they apprehend the time signatures that potentially could have been deployed. It's incipient in the original and brought forward in the cover.
Choreography’s ecology is rhythmical. Choreography is composed of an infinity of slightly varying velocities, vibrations, sensations. These qualities are in and of matter, active in the transduction from force to form. These individuating qualities give specificity to the environment, inflecting the ways bodies move with and through it. The movement in turn creates time-volumes that populate the co-configuring atmosphere. Choreography, as Forsythe emphasizes, is not strictly about human bodies. It is about the creation of spacetimes of experience. (Manning,19)
You can't dance a movement in time - it's too fast. Of course the dance is done in time, but dance is unlike movement which is the "sounding of rhythm."

When we develop technicities, perhaps we background rhythm and we take time for granted -- we might feel responsible for the occurrence of an event, producing an "event" or making a scene, but the event has its own time.

[Xunzi (荀子)'s "proper naming would, then, be understanding when the naming is appropriate or not.]

"Forms of Process"
A.N. Whitehead, from Modes of Thought (1938)
Whitehead's "eternal object" (see Steven Shaviro's entry over at Pinocchio Theory) is neither eternal not is it an object. We don't see "green" out the window, we see a green - an exhibit of green in the world. Green is real but what is its mode of reality across seasons? across existence?

It's eternal because it can always come back. It's always there potentially to ingress into the world. The green happens in the relation between our bodies, the photons, and the grass. His theory of God is the exploration of this eternality.

The green-ness, the gerunding of qualities as events. Physical prehensions are objects coming into the world, in the flourishing of the event. Autists live in the -ness and unfortunately for them the social world demands that they live outside of -ness.
The essence of life is to be found in the frustrations of established order. The Universe refuses the deadening influence of complete conformity. And yet in its refusal, it passes towards novel order as a primary requisite for important experience. We have to explain the aim at forms of order, and the aim at novelty of order, and the measure of success, and the measure of failure. Apart from some understanding, however dim, of these characteristics of the historic process, we enjoy no rationality of experience. (119)
Whitehead sees that rationality is really successful when it's capable of establishing novelty. An event generates a cloud of propositions.
 This unit of process is the 'specious present' of the actuality in question. It is a process of composition, of gradation, and of elimination. Every detail in the process of being actual involves its own gradation in reference to the other details. The effectiveness of any one such factor involves the elimination of elements in the data not to be reconciled with that detail playing that part in the process. Now elimination is a positive fact, so that the background of discarded data adds a tone of feeling to the whole pulsation. No fact of history, personal or social; is understood until we know what it has escaped and the narrowness of the escape. You cannot fully understand the history of the European races in North America, without reference to the double failure of Spanish domination over California in the nineteenth century, and over England in the sixteenth century. (122)
Whitehead asks us to think of the worst events, those that reconstruct our world also brought with them a host of potential outcomes that could have been and also continue to await activation under conditions amenable to their becoming.

We become artists of occasions.

Events will never happen again, they are singular, the conditions might be such that something similar occurs but it is nonetheless unique.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chris Fynsk Evening Lecture, 2010

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

The students are required to attend evening lectures given by the faculty each evening as part of our curriculum. Chris Fynsk was the second person to give an evening lecture during the August sessions.

Here Fynsk presents a preface to reading Blanchot's The Instant of My Death. The story isn't very long and so he read it in its entirety.

There is a sentence in this text which is already this "step not beyond" (9). We have here, then, a compassionate Blanchot.

This is an account of Blanchot's escape from a Nazi firing squad and for reasons unknown.

I asked Fynsk the following in light of the heady discussions we'd been having in the Manning/Massumi classes for the last couple of days.

"This fictive self, can it only be completed in the telling?"

The phrase "peut-être" comes up a couple of times at a key moment in the text:
In his place,  I will not try to analyze. He was perhaps (Il était peut-être) suddenly invincible. Dead -- immortal. Perhaps (Peut-être l'extase) ecstasy. Rather the feeling of compassion for suffering humanity, the happiness of not being immortal or eternal. Henceforth he was bound to death by a surreptitious friendship.
I think the choice to translate "peut-être" as "perhaps" twice rather than "maybe" in the second instance is a really interesting one to make.

If we're talking about compassion in Blanchot's thought I think we ought to consider deeply that these "peut-être"s are multiple calls to a mode of interbeing that is immanent and emergent. I say this because the root of the term perhaps is "hap" which we, in English, get from the Icelandic happ meaning "fate." Happenstance, happening, happiness, perhaps - these terms all reflect a relationship not unlike Nietzsche's amor fati. They are driven by the engine of event-ing, which sounds like Blanchot's "lived matrix of future thought."

"Hap" is an event. One finds happiness in aligning something like their lot, their fate. Is compassion also an event, such that the fictive self is completed in the telling?

(I've written about this etymology before)

Fynsk replied that, "We are not consummated (another word I offered as he thought about the question and jotted the notes to the etymology of "hap"), not completed. Writing is a becoming other - a passage that disrupts fate."

Avital Ronell suggests a PhD topic to us: Consider the ecstatic falls in the development of Modern thought - the epic falls of both Rousseau and of Barthes; these untellable near-death experiences.

As the conversation continued I thought about the difference between event and advent:
  • event -- e (out of) + venio (come)
  • advent -- ad (to, near) + venio (come)

Manning/Massumi Day 2

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

Manning & Massumi together offered two classes with us, “Emergent Space(-times)” and “The Choreographic Object – or, How movement moves us.” They were taught together and it created a fantastic experience for me.

Whitehead's "Objects and Subjects"
(from Adventures of Ideas, Chapter XI)
§4. Prehensions.-A more formal explanation is as follows. An occasion of experience is an activity, analysable into modes of functioning which jointly constitute its process of becoming. Each mode is analysable into the total experience as active subject, and into the thing or object with which the special activity is concerned. This thing is a datum, that is to say, is describable without reference to its entertainment in that occasion. An object is anything performing this function of a datum provoking some special activity of the occasion in question. Thus subject and object are relative terms. An occasion is a subject in respect to its special activity concerning an object; and anything is an object in respect to its provocation of some special activity within a subject. Such a mode of activity is termed a 'prehension'. Thus a prehension involves three factors. There is the occasion of experience within which the prehension is a detail of activity; there is the datum whose relevance provokes the origination of this prehension; this datum is the prehended object; there is the subjective form, which is the affective tone determining the effectiveness of that prehension in that occasion of experience. How the experience constitutes itself depends on its complex of subjective forms.
Prehension is Whitehead's term for what we would call perception, but it is a perception that is bigger than simple human perception.

Prehension involves three factors:

  1. experience as active perception
  2. the provocation of events
  3. the affectivity of the emergent experience
Objectivity is about relationality for Whitehead; we might want to gerund all our nouns.

The subjective form is an affordance for capability: a chair's subjective form is the relationship between the chair and the object sitting. The prehension of the subjective form as a unity of an event is possible in focusing on the field.

Prehension delimits/activates what is occurring, grasping the multiplicity.

Process philosophy is not a continuity only but is one of continuity and discontinuity; a deformable matrix rather than a template on which to hang matter.

Even that which is excluded in the subjective form is present in the excluding of the excluded.

A self-defining grasps others in the composing of what exists.

Affective tone is the internal milieu as well as the many events in the field. "A simple total vastness" such that the many events are each contributing their dynamism.

Affective tone is the dynamic potentiality to interact with the other data in the field: One level's oneness is another level's manyness. The extensive continuum is what allows for the manyness and it is the largest level of prehension.
§5. Individuality.- The individual immediacy of an occasion is the final unity of subjective form, which is the occasion as an absolute reality. This immediacy is its moment of sheer individuality, bounded on either side by essential relativity. The occasion arises from relevant objects, and perishes into the status of an object for other occasions. But it enjoys its decisive moment of absolute self-attainment as emotional unity. As used here the words 'individual' and 'atom' have the same meaning, that they apply to composite things with an absolute reality which their components lack. These words properly apply to an actual entity in its immediacy of self-attainment when it stands out as for itself alone, with its own affective self-enjoyment. The term 'monad' also expresses this essential unity at the decisive moment, which stands between its birth and its perishing. The creativity of the world is the throbbing emotion of the past hurling itself into a new transcendent fact. It is the flying dart, of which Lucretius speaks, hurled beyond the bounds of the world.

"The occasion arises from relevant objects, and perishes into the status of an object for other occasions." This is where the dynamic unity feeds into other unities.

There is a similarity between Carl Schmitt and Whitehead's notion of choice - for Whitehead it is the making of the decision and this restructuring of the possible.

[NOTE TO SELF: Amor fati is driven by necessity in Nietzsche]

For Whitehead, unlike Deleuze, there is no virtual.
§ 12. Non-Sensuous Perception.- This wider definition of perception can be of no importance unless we can detect occasions of experience exhibiting modes of functioning which fall within its wider scope. If we discover such instances of non-sensuous perception. then the tacit identification of perception with sense-perception must be a fatal error barring the advance of systematic metaphysics.
Our first step must involve the clear recognition of the limitations inherent in the scope of sense-perception. This special mode of functioning essentially exhibits percepta as here, now, immediate, and discrete. Every impression of sensation is a distinct existence. declares Hume; and there can be no reasonable doubt of this doctrine. But even Hume clothes each impression with force and liveliness. It must be distinctly understood that no prehension, even of bare sensa, can be divested of its affective tone, that is to say, of its character of a 'concern' in the Quaker sense. Concernedness is of the essence of perception.
Gaze at a patch of red. In itself as an object, and apart from other factors of concern, this patch of red, as the mere object of that present act of perception, is silent as to the past or the future. How it originates, how it will vanish, whether indeed there was a past and whether there will be a future, are not disclosed by its own nature. No material for the interpretation of sensa is provided by the sensa themselves. as they stand starkly, barely, present and immediate. We do interpret them; but no thanks for the feat is due to them. The epistemologies of the last two hundred years are employed in the tacit introduction of alien considerations by the uncritical use of current forms of speech. A copious use of simple literary forms can thus provide a philosophy delightful to read, easy to understand, and entirely fallacious. Yet the usages of language do prove that our habitual interpretations of the se barren sensa are in the main satisfying to common sense, though in particular instances liable to error. But the evidence on which these interpretations are based is entirely drawn from the vast background and foreground of non-sensuous perception with which sense-perception is fused, and without which it can never be. We can discern no clean-cut sense-perception wholly concerned with present fact. 
The principle philosopher of sense for Whitehead was Hume; the problem Whitehead sees is putting a direct communication between the sense organs and the world, not mediated by the cogito.

§ 12. Non-Sensuous Perception. (continued)
In human experience, the most compelling example of nonsensuous perception is our knowledge of our own immediate past. I am not referring to our memories of a day past, or of an hour past, or of a minute past. Such memories are blurred and confused by the intervening occasions of our personal existence. But our immediate past is constituted by that occasion, or by that group of fused occasions, which enters into experience devoid of any perceptible medium intervening between it and the present immediate fact. Roughly speaking, it is that portion of our past lying between a tenth of a second and half a second ago. It is gone, and yet it is here. It is our indubitable self, the foundation of our present existence. Yet the present occasion while claiming self-identity, while sharing the very nature of the bygone occasion in all its living activities, nevertheless is engaged in modifying it, in adjusting it to other influences, in completing it with other values, in deflecting it to other purposes. The present moment is constituted by the influx of the other into that self-identity which is the continued life of the immediate past within the immediacy of the present.
Whitehead has no real sense of the present - always in the future, gathering the past. It's being called-in to the future, given past performance.

Reality is background and appearance is the foreground. Points in time and space are infinitely regressing, they are wholly immaterial and infinitely divisible; it's self-undermining but useful for many tasks. Any cut in the duration alters the whole field.

Because this is a specious present, a smudge of the past is like an afterimage that overlaps with the future.

What kinds of techniques can we invent to reproduce or reiterate the affective tonality rather than reiterating the content. The content is so specific of a context that translation doesn't carry the proper weight.

[NOTE TO SELF: could we trust a government, say, that is the culmination of focusing the familiar affairs of our days or do we need a program?]

In Whitehead and Deleuze "desire" is appetition - a pole toward which, a culmination which we are drawn to.

The potential that comes with the nonsensuous is....

What comes into the present is primed - the continuation is already there, the future that is already past. The futurity of what is happening is a carry-over of the past.

When we say we were angry five minutes ago, the feeling persists, even though we say that we have gotten over it. To be promiscuous with philosophers, we need Nietzsche's prescription for a practice of forgetting.

Whitehead is working at an absolute limit, asking "How?" How does this happen? How does it change? What are the techniques that can be developed to make these changes...

[NOTE TO SELF: Reappropriating the context as political action; being appropriate to the context is required to do that. Isn't do this virtuosity? Reappropriation strategies are an increasing mode of artistic expression today; but is this the manner in which we are appropriated by Spectacle?]

One point activates a whole field - it appropriates the context so long as we're not confusing that the form is not prior to this emergence. There is contrast and from this we make appropriate based on natural tendencies, understood from past observations.

[NOTE TO SELF: the last bit above is very much written in terms akin to the Zhongyong (中庸).]

What color are the leaves at night? To say they are green is to have a nonsensuous experience.

Consider the sound of a punch in a movie. See Michel Chion, particularly his book Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen.

William James' "Local Signs"
(from The Principles of Psychology, Ch. XX: 155-167. 1890)
Can these differences of mere quality in feeling, varying according to locality yet having each sensibly and intrinsically and by itself nothing to do with position, constitute the 'susceptibilities' we mentioned, the conditions of being perceived in position, of the localities to which they belong? The numbers on a row of houses, the initial letters of a set of words, have no intrinsic kinship with points of space, and yet they are the conditions of our knowledge of where any house is in the row, or any word in the dictionary. Can the modifications of feeling in question be tags or labels of this kind which in no wise originally reveal the position of the spot to which they are attached, but guide us to it by what Berkeley would call a 'customary tie'? Many authors have unhesitatingly replied in the affirmative; Lotze, who in his Medzinische Psychologie [23] first described the sensations in this way, designating them, thus conceived, as local-signs. This term has obtained wide currency in Germany, and in speaking of the 'LOCAL-SIGN THEORY' hereafter, I shall always mean the theory which denies that there can be in a sensation any element of actual locality, of inherent spatial order, any tone as [p. 158] it were which cries to us immediately and without further ado, 'I am here,' or 'I am there.' If, as may well be the case, we by this time and ourselves tempted to accept the Local-sign theory in a general way, we have to clear up several farther matters. If a sign is to lead us to the thing it means, we must have some other source of knowledge of that thing. Either the thing has been given in a previous experience of which the sign also formed part-they are associated ; or it is what Reid calls a 'natural' sign, that is, a feeling which, the first time it enters the mind, evokes from the native powers thereof a cognition of the thing that hitherto had lain dormant. In both cases, however, the sign is one thing, and the thing another. In the instance that now concerns us, the sign is a quality of feeling and the thing is a position. Now we have seen that the position of a point is not only revealed, but created, by the existence of other points to which it stands in determinate relations. If the sign can by any machinery which it sets in motion evoke consciousness either of the other points, or of the relations, or of both, it would seem to fulfil its function, and reveal to us the position we seek. (157-8)
E. H. Weber, in the famous article in which he laid the foundations of all our accurate knowledge of these subjects, laid it down as the logical requisite for the perception of two separated points, that the mind should, along with its consciousness of them, become aware of an unexcited interval as such I have only tried to show how the known laws of experience may cause this requisite to be fulfilled. Of course, if the local signs of the entire region offer but little qualitative contrast inter se, the line suggested will be but dimly defined or discriminated in length or direction from other possible lines in its neighborhood. This is what happens in the back, where consciousness can sunder two spots, whilst only vaguely apprehending their distance and direction apart. (160)
 This "unexcited interval" to which he refers above is interchangeable with "relation."
If we contemplate a blank wall or sheet of paper, we always observe in a moment that we are directly looking at some speck upon it which, unnoticed at first, ended by 'catching our eye.' Thus whenever an image falling on the point P of the retina excites attention, it more habitually moves from that point towards the fovea than in any one other direction. The line traced thus by the image is not always a straight line. When the direction of the point from the fovea is neither vertical nor horizontal but oblique, the line traced is often a curve, with its concavity directed upwards if the direction is upwards, downwards if the direction is downwards. This may be verified by anyone who will take the trouble to make a simple experiment with a luminous body like a candle-flame in a dark enclosure, or a star. Gazing first at some point remote from the source of light, let the eye be suddenly turned full upon the latter. The luminous image will necessarily fall in succession upon a continuous series of points, reaching from the one first affected to the fovea. But by virtue of the slowness with which retinal excitements die away, the entire series of points will for an instant be visible as an after-image, displaying the above peculiarity of form according to its situation. [27] These radiating lines are neither regular nor invariable in the same person, nor, probably, equally curved in different individuals. We are incessantly drawing them between the fovea and every point of the held of view. Objects remain in their peripheral indistinctness only so long as they are unnoticed. The moment we attend to them they grow distinct through one of these motions -- which leads to the idea prevalent among uninstructed persons that we see distinctly all parts of the field of view at once. The result of this incessant tracing of radii is that whenever a local sign P is awakened by a spot of light falling upon it, it recalls forthwith, even though the eyeball be unmoved, the local signs of all the other points which lie between P and the fovea. It recalls them in imaginary form, just as the normal reflex movement would recall them in vivid form; and with their recall is given a consciousness more or less [p. 163] faint of the whole line on which they lie. In other words, no ray of light can fall on any retinal spot without the local sign of that spot revealing to us, by recalling the line of its most habitual associates, its direction and distance from the centre of the held. The fovea acts thus as the origin of a system of polar co-ordinates, in relation to which each and every retinal point has through an incessantly-repeated process of association its distance and direction determined. Were P alone illumined and all the rest of the field dark we should still, even with motionless eyes, know whether P lay high or low, right or left, through the ideal streak, different from all other streaks, which P alone has the power of awakening." [28] (162-4)
"In other words, no ray of light can fall on any retinal spot without the local sign of that spot revealing to us [....] Were P alone illumined and all the rest of the field dark we should still, even with motionless eyes, know whether P lay high or low, right or left, through the ideal streak, different from all other streaks, which P alone has the power of awakening." This is the nonsensuous that Whitehead is referring to, a line that has no sensuous cause.

The local sign does not necessarily allow you to reconstruct the entire body.

A creative reading practice creates a new text, read the tendencies and generate new thoughts to the text. This is the process of appreciation - Zhongyong-ing what is at-hand.

We then watched about 15 minutes of Gordon/Parreno's Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

Consider the above in conjunction with chapter 4 of Massumi's Parables of the Virtual.

Radical empiricism, another name for process philosophy, holds that relations are real and the reality of relation is directly perceived.

The "ideal streak" is that unfocusing on objects and refocusing on the field and identifying the places where the context can be appropriated.

At a less spectacular level than the Zidane film, look at the sidewalk: look at how few people crash into each other and how much they are doing while walking.

Without taking the mobility of the work seriously we are back at interaction.

[NOTE TO SELF: I ask about their take on Nicolas Bourriaud's Relational Aesthetics - the works tend to be radically non-communicative, there needs to be not just riffing on the idea but rigorous examination.]

Not a community of individuals but a fusion of tendencies in an event. Community has to perform its own failure and recompose, what is common? A differential (here it is from the mathematical sense meaning non-identity: two vectors share movement and the area between them is the differential). See Aden Evens "Math Anxiety." in Angelaki (2000).

Differential is not debate, it's merging into the affective tonality, attunement.

Another place to look would be Arun Saldanha's Psychedelic White which is an ethnographic study of racial difference in the trance scene of Goa, India.

Robert Irwin
check-out Lawrence Weschler's Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees which is a biography of Irwin.

Irwin started as a painter and early on realized that he was being held back, curiously, by being too good of a draftsman, by being too good at producing images. So he gave up what he was really good at and spent the next ten years in the desert so that he could learn how to see. Can the canvas do what perception does?

He creates a kinosthetic vision that is not the movement of images but shows the movement of seeing itself.

His scrim walls show that a wall is intelligible in perception by the shadow. The scrim quivers and so no such shadow can fall, thus it's indeterminate. The determinate room has become inchoate.

This is a relational aesthetic but without making any claims to participation and alters the way in which one perceives the world.


Giorgio Agamben Evening Lecture, 2010

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

The students are required to attend evening lectures given by the faculty each evening as part of our curriculum. Giorgio Agamben was the second person to give an evening lecture during the August sessions.

What Is a Mystery?
(This talk is related to the research he's been conducting over the recent years, and resonates with his evening lecture last year on uficium.)

Imagine yourself in Germany in the 1920s, in a Benedictine Abbey in Rhineland. Odo Casel (also known as Johannes Casel) and his book, Das Christliche Kultmysterium, gives birth to the Liturgical Movement. This was the age of movement. At the heart of Casel's work is that the Catholic liturgy is a mystery.

My first thesis is that the Pagan Mysteries are not a secret.
My second thesis is that there is a genetic relation between Greek and Catholic mysteries/dramas and at the heart of this is a practice, not a doctrine. The Church is defined by the participation of the body to the mystery of the liturgies.

The immediate political relevance of this is the primacy of the action on the doctrine. Liturgy comes from a word meaning "public activity." [NOTE: from Ancient Greek λειτουργία < λειτ-, from λαός, people + -ουργός < ἔργον, work (the public work of the people done on behalf of the people)]

The Church, then, is a community of action.

The Christian Mysteries are not a symbolic action but an actual presentation, not of the historical Christ but, of soteriological effectivity. He is present in His effects.

Thus what is at stake is an effective action. These effects will be produced in any case. We are here to hear about the effectiveness of Christian liturgical action.

The sacramental acts have effectivity regardless of what the intensions of the priest committing the sacraments might be. (Though, if you recall from last year's discussion of uficium, the only time the effectivity is compromised is when the priest is joking.)

It is thus effective not because of the work of the person but rather because it is Divinely designed.

We are released from the false notion that a Mystery (see also the Disciplina arcani) is an inarticulatable and secret. Rather, these are actual (from Latin actus, the perfect passive participle of agō make, do.”), an action (cognates include Ancient Greek ἄγω)  of effectivity/efficacy.

Let's return to the Pagan Mysteries:
"Precarious" is what is obtained by a request (prex). In the Pagan Mysteries there is not certitude (extended form of Latin certus and of the same origin as cretus whose two meanings are "to be separated" and "to have become visible"), this is the opposite of the Christian Mysteries.

There is a strong link between Mystery in this sense and the novel.

In the Mystery and the novel we see the individual life related to the supernatural such that they become mysteric. The plot is what constitutes the mystery. What takes place in the novel is initiation into the Mystery.

Life itself is the initiator and content of the Mystery.

Q&A starts here. Wolfgang says something like, "My heart is full." The joke becomes, because he is the author of artificial life that he actually said "My hard drive is full."

Agamben clarifies:

Truth is doctrine because Christ is operating in them, thus the Mysteries have efficacity. Liturgy is the most perfect paradigm of action for Western Civilization. There is nothing that is not effective in the Mystery/Liturgy.

There is this strong influence, then, in our civilization for finding an action that is perfectly effective. This liturgical pattern spread and was secularized. It's in our pursuit of an effectivity of operationalism.

Life is an initiation into life itself - this is what the novel also does.

Agamben finds it suspect to find a perfect efficacious action - perhaps we must abandon that quest. Today we have no other idea of life outside of effectuality, this should change, no?

We do not perceive the liturgical basis of our contemporary lives.


Erin Manning/Brian Massumi Day 1

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

Erin Manning holds a University Research Chair in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University. She is also the director of the Sense Lab, a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement.

Brian Massumi collaborates with Manning at the Sense Lab and is is also known for English-language translations of recent French philosophy, including Jean-François Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition (with Geoffrey Bennington), Jacques Attali's Noise and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus.

Manning & Massumi together offered two classes with us, “Emergent Space(-times)” and “The Choreographic Object – or, How movement moves us.” They were taught together and it created a fantastic experience for me. I am inclined to

How does the writing do what it does?
Space will be a key concept for us.

Beginning our thinking with an ordered nature boxes things in and can limit our ability to understand ethical and political action. Process theory sees an open, emergent ground and the question becomes pragmatic and technical: what kind of order will we create?

It's the opposite of the bracketing of all presuppositions as in phenomenology - in process there is an over-rich field of presuppositions.

For William James and A.N. Whitehead this means not starting with the cognition of the world through the subject-object dichotomy.

We start with the assumption that the world exists but in what way do we find them? For Deleuze the matter is how to maintain the intensity of the qualities of the world. So we will be focusing on feeling in the world and what is the relation between action and agency.

Whitehead uses the term "affective tonality" rather than "feelings"

We're going to explore a radical rethinking of space and time where the event is space-time. Rather than the subject there is the event.

It's not eliminative thinking it is additive -- everything in the world is real, under what mode do they have an effect? What mode of action?

Agamben's "example" (from The Coming Community) fits into a class and so is of that class simultaneously. Every event is exemplary and there is this constant focus on the context.

William James' "The Perception of Space"
(from The Principles of Psychology, 1890)
So far, all we have established or sought to establish is the existence of the vague form or quale of spatiality as an inseparable element bound up with the other peculiarities of each and every one of our sensations. The numerous examples we have adduced of the variations of this extensive element have only been meant to make clear its strictly sensational character. In very few of them will the reader have been able to explain the variation by an added intellectual element, such as the suggestion of a recollected experience. In almost all it has seemed to be the immediate psychic effect of a peculiar sort of nerve-process excited; and all the nerve-processes in question agree in yielding what space they do yield, to the mind, in the shape of a simple total vastness, in which, primitively at least, no order of parts or of subdivisions reigns.  (145)
James problematizes the term by sandwiching it between simple and vastness in the phrase "a simple total vastness." In his own language he is problematizing language itself.

Extension and intensivity have to be thought together in this James text, he is stating that to measure the extension we have to use a qualitative approach.
IN the sensations of hearing, touch, sight, and pain we are accustomed to distinguish from among the other elements the element of voluminousness. We call the reverberations of a thunderstorm more voluminous than the squeaking of a slate-pencil; the entrance into a warm bath gives our skin a more massive feeling than the prick of a pin; a little neuralgic pain, fine as a cobweb, in the face, seems less extensive than the heavy soreness of a boil or the vast discomfort of a colic or a lumbago; and a solitary star looks smaller than the noonday sky. In the sensation of dizziness or subjective motion, which recent investigation has proved to be connected with stimulation of the semi-circular canals of the ear, the spatial character is very prominent. Whether the 'muscular sense' directly yields us knowledge of space is still a matter of litigation among psychologists. Whilst some go so far as to ascribe our entire cognition of extension to its exclusive aid, others deny to it all extensive quality whatever. Under these circumstances we shall do better to adjourn its consideration; admitting, however, that it seems at first sight as if we felt something decidedly more voluminous when we contract our thigh-muscles than when we twitch an eyelid or some small muscle in the face. It seems, moreover, as if this difference lay in the feeling of the thigh-muscles themselves. (134)
Proprioception, the sense of movement, is probably the most important sense for James. He doesn't use the term affective, nor affectivity, but that is what is being presented here. There is a complication of the sensible because they are synesthetic.
Our entire cubic content seems then sensibly manifest to us as such, and feels much larger than any local pulsation, pressure, or discomfort. Skin and retina are, however, the organs in which the space-element plays the most active part. Not only does the maximal vastness yielded by the retina surpass that yielded by any other organ, but the intricacy with which our attention can subdivide this vastness and perceive it to be composed of lesser portions simultaneously coexisting along-side of each other is without a parallel elsewhere. [2] The ear gives a greater vastness than the skin, but is considerably less able to subdivide it. [3] (135)
A panic attack is intensely felt locally, but generally distributed; there is a difficulty in understanding where the body begins and ends, and where the world begins and ends such that we are unable to understand from where the feeling originates.
Now my first thesis is that this element, discernible in each and every sensation, though more developed in some than in others, is the original sensation of space, out of which all the exact knowledge about space that we afterwards come to have is woven by processes of discrimination, association, and selection. 'Extensity,' as Mr. James Ward calls it [4] on this view, becomes an element in each sensation just as intensity is. The latter every one will admit to be a distinguishable though not separable ingredient of the sensible quality. In like manner extensity, being an entirely peculiar kind of feeling indescribable except in terms of itself, and inseparable in actual experience from some sensational quality which it must accompany, can itself receive no other name than that of sensational element. (135)
To talk of "original sensation of space," is not to only talk of a "once" but a "making of feelings" -- the emergent quality, a constant beginning that is always occurring.
It must now be noted that the vastness hitherto spoken of is as great in one direction as in another. Its dimensions are so vague that in it there is no question as yet of surface as opposed to depth; 'volume' being the best short name for the sensation in question. Sensations of different orders are roughly comparable, inter se, with respect to their volumes. (135-6)
The cup (was holding one in class) presents itself extensively because we have accustomed ourselves to the ways they have been filled by us; James is highlighting the presuppositions that we have about how the world is selected by us.

Knowledge, selection, emphasis, association -- these are modalities of expression of intensity; the process of the formation of knowledge mediates the actual and the virtual.

The way we think of space as the distance between two places: this gridding of space took Western civilization a very long time to create but has become second nature in the Modern era. This is such that when James talks about this presupposition he seems more abstract than how truly abstract this thinking of space as a grid really is.

(This is an essay of how unheimlich our own sense of sense is, me)

Habit is a generalization. It jumps to what comes next based on association -- it's a thinking without thinking, an automatic reenactment. We are eliding the moment. The habit is about technicity: the years of developing one's technique come to the object of habitual use such that to only speak of what we and our developed technique have done to the object ignores what the object does to us.

(Habit-at: our home is the site of mutual influence, me)

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri's so-called "map series" are fascinating examples of how this gridding and abstraction of the real world is a presupposition.
James is trying to discuss space but it's not of the same language - not 3D vs. 2D, for example. There is something vaguely indiscernible, a species of experience and how do we create the formal dimensions we call 3D, etc?
The point at which experience distinguishes itself but is not separable from the situation, what do we do with the experience? 
In the sphere of vision we have facts of the same order. 'Glowing' bodies, as Hering says, give us a perception "which seems roomy (raumhaft) in comparison with that of strictly surface color. A glowing iron looks luminous through and through, and so does a flame." [6] A luminous fog, a band of sunshine, affect us in the same way. As Hering urges: [p. 137]
" We must distinguish roomy from superficial, as well as distinctly from indistinctly bounded, sensations. The dark which with closed eyes one sees before one is, for example, a roomy sensation. We do not see a black surface like a wall in front of us, but a space fined with darkness, and even when we succeed in seeing this darkness as terminated by a black wall there still remains in front of this wall the dark space. The same thing happens when we find ourselves with open eyes in an absolutely dark room. This sensation of darkness is also vaguely bounded. An example of a distinctly bounded roomy sensation is that of a clear and colored fluid seen in a glass; the yellow of the wine is seen not, only on the bounding surface of the glass; the yellow sensation fins the whole interior of the glass. By day the so-called empty space between us and objects seen appears very different from what it is by night. The increasing darkness settles not only upon the things but also between us and the things. so as at last to cover them completely and fin the space alone. If I look into a dark box I find it fined with darkness, and this is seen not merely as the dark-colored sides or walls of the box. A shady corner in an otherwise well-lighted room is full of a darkness which is not only on the walls and floor but between them in the space they include. Every sensation is there where I experience it, and if I have it at once at every point of a certain roomy space, it is then a voluminous sensation. A cube of transparent green glass gives us a spatial sensation; an opaque cube painted green, on the contrary, only sensations of surface." [7](137-8)
This example of the shaded room is not a human "they" this is the inclusion of nonhuman perspective: an emergent becoming, order.

There are certain quasi-motor sensations in the head when we change the direction of the attention, which equally seem to involve three dimensions. If with closed eyes we think of the top of the house and then of the cellar, of the distance in front of us and then of that behind us, of space far to the right and then far to the left, we have something far stronger than an idea, -- an actual feeling, namely, as if something in the head moved into another direction. Fechner was, I believe, the first to publish any remarks on these feelings. He writes as follows:
"When we transfer the attention from objects of one sense to those of another we have an indescribable feeling (though at the same time one perfectly determinate and reproducible at pleasure) of altered direction, or differently localized tension (Spannung). We feel a strain forward in the eyes, one directed sideways in the ears, increasing with the degree of our attention, and changing according as we look at an object carefully, or listen to something attentively ; wherefore we speak of straining the attention. The difference is most plainly felt when [p. 138] the attention vibrates rapidly between eye and ear. This feeling localizes itself with most decided difference in regard to the various sense-organs according as we wish to discriminate a thing delicately by touch, taste, or smell.
"But now I have, when I try to vividly recall a picture of memory or fancy, a feeling perfectly analogous to that which I experience when I seek to grasp a thing keenly by eye or ear; and this analogous feeling is very differently localized. While in sharpest possible attention to real objects (as well as to after-images) the strain is plainly forwards, and, when the attention changes from one sense to another, only alters its direction between the sense-organs, leaving the rest of the head free from strain, the case is different in memory or fancy; for here the feeling withdraws entirely from the external sense-organs, and seems rather to take refuge in that part of the head which the brain fins. If I wish, for example, to recall a place or person, it will arise before me with vividness, not according as I strain my attention forwards, but rather in proportion as I, so to speak, retract it backwards." [8]
[...] We are considering now, not the objective causes of the spatial feeling, but its subjective varieties.... (137-9)
We go from roominess to movement, but the movement isn't actual. We are allowed the roominess first introduced above and we are called into that roomy space. The roominess calls our attention to it and we think we are deciding but we're actually only habituated to that movement.

Strain pushes/pulls attention in this spaciness and James later talks of a "moreness" because every space calls us to that roominess. All the spaciness of the senses, all added-up doesn't give us the totality of space, except by allowing the overlaps of their perception. This is how we understand their roominess.
So far, all we have established or sought to establish is the existence of the vague form or quale of spatiality as an inseparable element bound up with the other peculiarities of each and every one of our sensations. The numerous examples we have adduced of the variations of this extensive element have only been meant to make clear its strictly sensational character. In very few of them will the reader have been able to explain the variation by an added intellectual element, such as the suggestion of a recollected experience. In almost all it has seemed to be the immediate psychic effect of a peculiar sort of nerve-process excited; and all the nerve-processes in question agree in yielding what space they do yield, to the mind, in the shape of a simple total vastness, in which, primitively at least, no order of parts or of subdivisions reigns. (145)
The dream as a place where the extensive pull meets the intensive attention....

The challenge of relation is that we presuppose an abstract universal. We could think of translation between two points, but here we'd rather think in terms of Simondon and transduction, a chemical change.
Position, for example, can never be a sensation, for it has nothing intrinsic about it; it can only obtain between a spot, line, or other figure and extraneous coordinates, and can never be an element of the sensible datum, the line or the spot, in itself. [...] 
'Relation' is a very slippery word. It has so many different concrete meanings that the use of it as an abstract universal may easily introduce bewilderment into our thought. We must therefore be careful to avoid ambiguity by making sure, wherever we have to employ it, what its precise meaning is in that particular sphere of application. At present we have to do with space-relations, and no others. Most 'relations' are feelings of an entirely different order from the terms they relate. The relation of similarity, e.g., may equally obtain between jasmine and tuberose, or between Mr. Browning's verses and Mr. Story's; it is itself neither odorous nor poetical, and those may well be pardoned who have denied to it all sensational content whatever. But just as, in the field of quantity, the relation between two numbers is another number, so in the field of space the relations are facts of the same order with the facts they relate. If these latter be catches in the circle of vision, the former are certain other patches between them. When we speak of the relation of direction of two points toward each other, we mean simply the sensation of the line that joins the two points together. The line is the relation; feel it and you feel the relation, see it and you see the relation; nor call you in any conceivable way think the latter except by imagining the former (however vaguely), or describe or indicate the one except by pointing to the other. And the moment you have imagined the line, the relation stands [p. 150] before you in all its completeness, with nothing further to be done. (149-50)
Rather than moralizing that process philosophy is better or that more is better, we should look to how the "moreness" that James discusses operates and is accomplished.

For politics we would consider the privileging of the endpoint to a given problem such that we subsume the journey to the endpoint.

A.N. Whitehead's "Objects and Subjects"
(Chapter 11 from Adventures of Ideas)
§2.  Structure of Experience. - No topic has suffered more from this tendency of philosophers than their account of the object-subject structure of experience. In the first place, this structure has been identified with the bare relation of knower to known. The subject is the knower, the object is the known. Thus, with this interpretation, the object-subject relation is the known-knower relation. It then follows that the more clearly any instance of this relation stands out for discrimination, the more safely we can utilize it for the interpretation of the status of experience in the universe of things. Hence Descartes' appeal to clarity and distinctness. 
This deduction presupposes that the subject-object relation is the fundamental structural pattern of experience. I agree with this presupposition, but not in the sense in which subject-object is identified with knower-known. I contend that the notion of mere knowledge is a high abstraction, and that conscious discrimination itself is a variable factor only present in the more elaborate examples of occasions of experience. The basis of experience is emotional. Stated more generally, the basic fact is the rise of an affective tone originating from things whose relevance is given. (175-6)
The subject-object relation is really important, but the knower-known relations are not stable positions.

Don't expect clarity here because we're really thinking vagueness.

Affect: Spinozist definition is in Whitehead and Deleuze, the ability to affect and be affected. It's in-between bodies and has to do with capacities. A change of state such that the body capacity is impacted and thus it is something endured. This is accompanied by the feeling of this shift in capacity. Qualitative feeling of that transition. All of reality starts in affect, the glue that holds existence together and fills those transitions.

The relevance of the situation is given -- this is before our understanding, otherwise we wouldn't pay any attention to any of it. Importance is what wells-up to our attention. The quality of experiencing color points-out our own perceptual biases.
§3. Phraseology.- Thus the Quaker word 'concern', divested of any suggestion of knowledge, is more fitted to express this fundamental structure. The occasion as subject has a 'concern' for the object. And the 'concern' at once places the object as a component in the experience of the subject, with an affective tone drawn from this object and directed towards it. With this interpretation the subject-object relation is the fundamental structure of experience.
Quaker usages of language are not widely spread. Also each phraseology leads to a crop of misunderstandings. The subject-object relation can be conceived as Recipient and Provoker, where the fact provoked is an affective tone about the status of the provoker in the provoked experience. Also the total provoked occasion is a totality involving many such examples of provocation. Again this phraseology is unfortunate; for the word 'recipient' suggests a passivity which is erroneous. (176)

Concern -- how does the event have concern for the object? What we see is that Whitehead doesn't have a strong commitment to a subject, maybe a superject because it's about negotiating our togetherness.

"Provoker" perhaps Trigger or Catalyst. The Provoker is the object, it is what enters with its own affective tonality.

Whitehead is working hard to get us to think of perception without assuming that the metaphysically established subject isn't the given doing the perceiving.

What constitutes an event is activity, not just extension of a subject onto an object but the resonating, mutually-activating. The world is activity and at times these activities are moved toward stability, they are not inert matter.

Matter is chaotic potential that is captured in particular formations and modalities. Every form is an accomplishment in the venture of nature's unfolding.