Friday, October 1, 2010

Manning/Massumi Day 4

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.

We spent some time discussing Manning and Massumi's evening lectures from the previous two nights.

Moshé Feldenkrais, mid-20th century scientist, developed techniques for investigating how the body learns without cognition (the Feldenkrais Method). In our movements we largely operate within our idiosyncratic movement habits. Feldenkrais used, among other things, distraction to overcome these habitual movements.

Jamie Burke, a typing autist.
Spinoza's joy is a kind of affirmation that relies on an ecology.

Manning wants to foreground the craft of autistic thinking.

On this day we had to develop techniques. Our assignment was to develop a clear, concise, precise that can be shared in a 15 minute meeting with another group. Our aim is modulation, exodus, disruption, transduction of the event. How do we move the relation?

We needed to develop a transduction of these technicities, a platform for relating.

What is the representation(demonstration?) of affective tonality?

Our technique was incorporated a group being intertwined in a sheet such that if one member went in a direction the others would also have to respond to their subtle movements. The question stands, how do we transduce the sheet experience to a non-sheet experience so that the lesson can be appropriated?

Consider Gilbert Simondon. His theory of individuation holds that as we develop we alter our trajectories. In the attuning of the direction we realize that the individual points along the way are not moments of stoppage but a metastability that is always on the verge of falling apart, a precarious equilibrium.

This precariousness creates a de-phasing, what propels the transduction, a shifting of the system itself?
The choreographic object catalyzes the relationship and activates other possible interactions.

We have to develop a technique dealing with water; propositional such that it's not in an active/passive dichotomy. The key to ethics is the loss of self/ground.

The dance of attention includes human attentiveness but is not limited to the human. How does the environment attend to the unfolding of the event?

"The Thinking-Feeling of What Happens - A Semblance of a Conversation"
Brian Massumi (2008) Inflexions, no.1.
What is central to interactive art is not so much the aesthetic form in which a work presents itself to an audience [...] but the behaviour the work triggers in the viewer. [....] First, since an interactive work aims to evoke a behaviour in the audience, can it really do without a form that is “interesting”, and therefore in some way aesthetic? Is putting a sign up saying  "You may touch the work" or "You may interact with the work" enough? When is the interaction “interesting” enough to keep the audience interacting? Can or should this interaction generate the sort of aesthetic experience that we associate with the phenomenon of art? Or is interactive art about a different kind or type of experiences, compared to more traditional art forms?
Brian Massumi: If “please interact” were enough to define a category, it would be gaming, not art. Beyond gaming in the strict sense, there is a gaming paradigm that has moved into other domains. You see it massively in communications, but also in marketing, design, training, education. Places where it becomes serious and useful. Interactivity can make the useful less boring and the serious more engaging. It is performance-enhancing.
Immediately the question of form comes forward, and the assumption that vision is passive rather than active.

Technology that is supposed to be interactive has to act as a lure (from Whitehead) that announces its relevance in shifting our interrelationality.
How do you speak of form when there is the kind of openness of outcome that you see in a lot of new media art, where participant response determines what exactly happens? When the artwork doesn’t exist, because each time that it operates the interaction produces a variation, and the variations are in principle infinite? When the artwork proliferates? Or when it disseminates, as it does when the work is networked, so that the interaction is distributed in time and space and never ties back together in one particular form? To begin with, you have to get past the idea that form is ever fixed [....] The idea that there is such a thing as fixed form is actually as much an assumption about perception as it is an assumption about art. It assumes that vision is not dynamic – that it is a passive, transparent registering of something that is just there, simply and inertly. If vision is stable, then to make art dynamic you have to add movement. But if vision is already dynamic, the question changes. It’s not an issue of movement or no movement. The movement is always there in any case. So you have to make distinctions between kinds of movement, kinds of experiential dynamics, and then ask what difference they make.
Hardt & Negri's "common" is pointing-out that the tragedy of the commons occurs when we assume that the commons is a resource "out there" only and can be appropriated. The Commons he (who?, I suspect it's Massumi, Hardt, Manning, and Negri) promotes is the surplus always being produced in the multiplicity.
Langer reminds us that we see things we don’t actually see. We all know it, but we tend to brush it off by calling it an illusion, as if something is happening that isn’t real, and doesn’t have anything important to say about experience. But isn’t something happening the very definition of real? The question is: what exactly does the inconvenient reality that we see things we don’t actually see say about the nature of perception? Well, it changes everything. [...]That could be another definition of real: what we can’t not experience when we’re faced with it. Instead of calling it an illusion – this movement we can’t actually see but can’t not see either – why not just call it abstract? Real and abstract. The reality of this abstraction doesn’t replace what’s actually there. It supplements it. We see it with and through the actual form. It takes off from the actual form. The actual form is like a launching pad for it. [...] The actual form and the abstract dynamic are two sides of the same experiential coin. They’re inseparable; they’re fused, like two dimensions of the same reality.
The virtual and the abstract are capable of making effects felt in the world without re-dichotomizing the real and the abstract: the virtual cannot be known as such, the virtual can only be known in reference to the actual.
For example, to see an object is to see volume. We don’t infer volume. We see the voluminousness of an object, directly and immediately, without having to think about it. [...]
We see the “backedness” of it without actually seeing around to the other side. That’s precisely what makes it a perception of an object, rather than a deduction about a surface. We are really but implicitly – abstractly – seeing the object’s voluminousness. The perceived shape of an object is this abstract experience of volume. [...]
For example, We see weightiness through texture. Voluminousness and weightiness are not in themselves visible. But we can’t not see them when we see an object. In fact, we see them in the form of the object. Form is full of all sorts of things that it actually isn’t -- and that actually aren’t visible. Basically, it’s full of potential. When we see an object’s shape we are not seeing around to the other side, but what we are seeing, in a real way, is our capacity to see the other side. We’re seeing, in the form of the object, the potential our body holds to walk around, take another look, extend a hand and touch. [...]
The potential we see in the object is a way our body has of being able to relate to the part of the world it happens to find itself in at this particular life’s moment. What we abstractly see when we directly and immediately see an object is lived relation – a life dynamic. [...]
That’s the doubleness: if you’re not qualitatively seeing what isn’t actually visible, you’re not seeing an object, you’re not seeing objectively.
Baudrillard's thought is still in the logic of representation and as such requires the injection of difference.
When people talk about the visual, what they are actually talking about is almost always a certain mode of what in perception studies is called a cross-modal transfer – a certain way different senses inter-operate. How, for example, does classical perspective painting create an experience of depth? By composing lines and colors in such a way as to trigger a direct experience of the potential I was talking about in relation to object awareness in so-called natural perception: the potential to advance, move around, bring backsides into view, and touch. This is a direct visual experience. [...]
Perspective painting doesn’t “trick” object-perception. It activates it otherwise. The experience of depth is not an optical “illusion.” It’s a real experience of depth, minus the depth. The experience of depth has been made to take off from its usual experiential framing and enter a different frame. [...]
When you are experiencing painted depth, you aren’t looking at a canvas, you are seeing a scene. You’re seeing through the canvas into an abstraction that it has taken off from it, and is a qualitatively different perceptual event. Your perception has been siphoned into the semblance, the canvas’s ghostly perceptual double. The semblance can’t happen without a perch in objecthood. But when it happens, it is in uncanny excess of actual objectivity. [...]
A semblance isn’t just like a force. Its “likeness” is a force, an abstract force of life. Lumière’s moving images were literally capable of launching live bodies into flight.
What we perceive is an act of faith - we trust that there is water in the cup in front of us (even if we can't see the water in front of us). Deleuze calls it a belief in the world - putting faith into the world -  contra theology, where faith is from without.

If the virtual can maintain its form in the abstract and never appears in the real, then what is the point of that concept?

The virtual shifts and molds itself in response to the actual, a dynamic conceptual tool that is constantly reinvigorated  and retooled in the shifting of its affects in the real.

The mountains of Saas-Fee seem flat and fake in the absence of clouds; we have to have the relational perception to understand their forms.

Habit holds the world up - there is no "it's just" habit.

We see, in vision, something that can't be seen without being felt - vision never just sees. There is some form of judgment in perception.

In memory we can bring out a detail that we weren't aware of in the actual experience. We can't say "we only see what we want" because we haven't been constituted by the experience yet so we can't yet put volition into the equation.

Priming in experimental psychology is preparing the following moment; our perception modulates or transitions throughout the day and we cross thresholds always being tangentially-oriented by perception as it primes our habitual action.

[The uncanny valley - how might that be part of our proprioceptive discussion?]

Perception for Massumi isn't a perception but all modes of perceiving together.



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