Thursday, February 28, 2013

Part II: Fla4 (Fla Vor; Flavor) Florida Still

Part II of the seminar begins now, continuing with the project to invent konsult. Konsult is to the EmerAgency what dialogue was to the Academy in Athens. We are inventing a discourse on method for electrate consulting -- pedagogy among institutions, for (in)corporate beings.  It is self-help deliberative reason for citizen decision on behalf of well-being.  The heuretic project begins with this name for a practice that remains to be designed and tested.  Konsult may occur within tourism or other leisure experience (skole = "leisure" in Greek), reoccupying the ancient practice of Theoria (theory tour), supported by Appiphany and related devices of ubimage.  It  is not only equipment of ubiquitous computing, but a practice of deliberative rhetoric, framing experience with an aesthetic attitude, to receive counsel (der Rat) from avatar (function).

The prototype encounters Cabot-Koppers Superfund site in Gainesville, Florida, included within Region 4 of the 10 Regions organizing Superfund administration.  Konsult appropriates the discourses of popular culture that inculcate aesthetic attitude as vernacular discourse:  tourism, cinema, television, digital games, to develop a behavior or conduct of sitesensing.  Call it flavor for short -- #Fla4:  fla (Fl) vor (four), to use conductive (Wake) linguistics.  Vor as German preposition carries us to the matter.  Place (Dative) of course: "though in referring to place only when it indicates condition or rest (if it answers the question 'where?') before, previous or prior to, ere, antecedent to (in time); before, in front of, ahead of (in place); in presence of; for, on account of, through, because of, with (joy, etc.)' from or against (with verbs of protection, warning, etc.); in preference to, more than, above."  Let us skip to the adverb: "only in nach vie -, as always, as ever, still, now as before."  Still (guide word).

More to come, but to review:  konsult functions as flash reason in dromosphere conditions, turbulence of Entstellung (distortion) as norm. Tropics of dreamwork, condensation, displacement, mise-en-scene, secondary elaboration:  defenses, nescience, resistance to thought and feeling, diversion as constant turning (away) of attention, framing not just gaze but every part object and its sense:  Perception and its cultural project are created (deliberately) to filter out stimuli/information/realization. The logic known as "fetish" operates freely and seemingly without resistance (it is resistance as such):  I know, but still... (current locus classicus:  "I know Obama has a U.S. birth certificate, but still...").  Cynical reason (Sloterdijk). Against but still, there is flavor.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Outline: CATTt

Smile Now, Cry Later (Francesco Clemente)

The challenge of heuretics is that of creating a discourse on method:  The method you need has to be generated even while you are applying it.  Blogs are a good support for this generative practice, since they enable a developmental unfolding.  A project experiment is set (the design of konsult for EmerAgency catalysis of public policy dilemmas), a set of resources are chosen as generators, assigned to slots in the CATTt, and each resource is inventoried in turn, in a sequence from which emerges an intertext, to be synthesized and integrated into a working recipe.  Blogs document this process, inventorying each resource as it is encountered, itemizing instructions from the operating features of the resource, testing them in part, while moving through the sequence, integrating instructions for further testing.  The result is both a commentary on and demonstration of the desired poetics.

What are the operating features available in the CATTt for Part One?
Theory:  Avatar Emergency
  • Rationale:  "Prudence" as a "time virtue," good judgment integrating experience of past and present for a decision promising optimal outcomes in the future.  Prudence must be updated for electrate conditions of dromosphere.
  • Relay (Model):  Titian, Allegory of Prudence -- the artist's decision resolving a family dilemma, celebrated in a painting associating each relevant person with an animal selected from an iconographic tradition.
  • Encounter:  Titian updated by Francesco Clemente for a museum exhibit of artists's appropriations of famous works from the archive (collection).  This update opens up the original relay to further invention.
  • Epiphany:  Poetics of sudden thought (encounters between microcosm/macrocosm) established in both religious and secular versions, codified in modernist poetry as correspondences, objective correlative and the like. Some ordinary feature of quotidian circumstances (external setting) triggers (catalyzes) a feeling of recognition, of identity, as a figure (tenor) of Mood (Stimmung, Heidegger).
  • Memory:  Catalysis (outside environment triggering inside recognition) happens through memory:  some past Moment of experience, enduring in subconscious memory, matches some sensory aspect of the present situation. Ulmer reflects upon the formative events of his year studying in Spain, including enduring memories of a night sleeping outside with a companion in an olive orchard, as well as his adoption of the diaries of Franz Kafka as a tutor author for his own journals that year.
  • Event:  Ulmer constructs an allegory through reflection on family vacations, situations in which the family travels to Florence Italy, Key West Florida, and Ponte Vedra Beach. 
  • Image/Pastiche:  the allegory is formalized in a collection of three snapshots (White-crowned pigeon, Gelato sign, sand castle) associated with three members of the family) plus anecdotes about the events associated with each image.  In addition, Ulmer composes a pastiche of an aphorism selected from Kafka's Blue Octavo Notebooks, offered as "motto" for the allegory, using Kafka's form and style to express a philosophical version of the commemorated judgment.
  • Ubimage:  it may be worth putting a point on this outline:  konsult is designed specifically as an electrate contribution to the technics of ubiquitous-pervasive computing.
The further step of using the CATTt is to extrapolate from these operating features, to adopt them as forms only, substituting one's own materials suggested by the relay, to test an allegory of prudence (aesthetic judgment) drawing on equivalents of the features found in the source Theory.

The related point is that the exercise defined in AE is not left as is, but is modified by intertextual synthesis with subsequent resources:  Contrast (Universal Experience) and tale (Once).  Universal Experience develops the setting of the encounter as within the institution of tourism (the community already has an aesthetic structure for the gaze or collective attention --attraction).  Once (Wenders) as tale specifies how to represent the allegory in photography and anecdotes, including Einstellung as an extension of epiphany into photography.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


 Two or Three Things I Know About Her (Godard)

These diagrams reference different but related aspects of "aesthetic experience," which is the frame of mind within which konsult functions.  The famous "coffee scene" linked above is an example of how an ordinary item in a quotidian situation (having an espresso in a cafe) may become an occasion for a philosophical reflection on the meaning of experience.  The diagrams and charts below outline the formal, rhetorical, and theoretical features operating in that scene. 
Mythologies (Barthes): Extended Version

C. S. Pierce (Sign)
Lacan (Borromean Knot)
Bloom (Crisis Poem)

Plato (Allegory of the Cave)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Aesthetic Attitude

Moment Against Now
 Konsult includes aesthetic attitude in the public sphere, to exercise and enhance capacity to be affected.  The attitude is modeled in several areas of common experience:  tourism, movies, the arts.  Konsult applies the vanguard project of merging art with everyday life, not to make art, but to put the stamp of being on becoming.  Moment against dromosphere in any case attempts praxis as poiesis.  Orhan Pamuck, in his novel Snow, tells the story of Ka, an exiled poet who return to Turkey to report on a wave of suicides, and also on the possibility of reconnecting with a woman he had known in his youth.  He has not written any poetry in a number of years.  But during the events of his visit, the old creative capacity returns, at least briefly, and he is able to write a poem.  The example is relevant to us not for the poem, but for how the feelings of significance arise in the midst of ongoing events, pursuing both professional and personal projects, while reflecting on the meaning and purpose of his life.  The immediate lessons may be derived from the gradual dawning of inspiration as the circumstances of recent incidents begin to form into a system of correspondences producing epiphany, Einstellung (Wenders).  The citation is selective, just to note the flavor of the account.
He made his way along the train track, past the snow-covered silo that loomed overhead like a great white cloud, and was soon back inside the station. As he passed through the empty, dirty building, he saw a dog approaching, wagging its curly tail in a friendly way.  It was a black dog with a round white patch on its forehaed.  As he looked across the filthy waiting hall, Ka saw three teenage boys, who were beckoning the dog with sesame rolls.
There was a long silence.  A feeling of peace rose up inside Ka.  They were so far from the center of the world, one couldn't even imagine going there, and as he fell under the spell of the snowflakes that seemed to hang in the sky outside, he began to wonder if he had entered a world without gravity.  When everyone had ceased to pay any attention to him, another poem came to Ka.  The poem was made up of many of the thoughts that had come to him all at once a short while earlier: the falling snow, cemeteries, the black dog running happily around the station building, an assortment of childhood memories, and the image that had lured him back to the hotel: Ipek. How happy it made him just to imagine her face--and also how terrified! He called the poem "Snow."
Much later when he thought about how he'd written this poem, he had a vision of a snowflake; this snowflake, he decided, was his life writ small; the poem that had unlocked the meaning of his life, he now saw sitting at its center.  But--just as the poem itself defies easy explanation--it is difficult to say how much he decided at that moment and how much of his life was determiend by the hidden symmetries this book is seeking to unveil.  Before finishing the poem, Ka went silently to the window and watched the scene outside: the large snowflakes floating so elegantly through the air.  He had the feeling that simply by watching the snow fall he would be able to bring the poem to its predetermined end.
Ka's Snowflake Diagram

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rebus (Letter)

Life (EPS)

By about 2,800 BC some of the Sumerian glyphs were being used to represent sounds using the rebus principle. For example, the symbol for arrow, pronounced 'ti', was used to represent the word for life (til). There were also many glyphs which were pronounced the same but represented different words. Later a system of determinatives, which gave you a hint at the category a word belonged to, and of phonetic components, which indiciated how to pronounce a word, developed, and helped disambiguate the meanings of glyphs.

The Rebus device is fundamental to writing as such, across all media and modes.  Lacan extends it into ontology with his letter (l'├ętre) linking cultural Signifiers with libidinal Sinthomes (Symptoms) in the extimacy of the split subject ($ = daio).  A parable of Existential Positioning begins with the ambiguity of the switch-word "here."  A traveler, exhausted from a difficult journey, consults a map in the terminal.  The momentary confusion of location and existence in here renews her determination to continue.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Outline: Rationale

The readings in the seminar are selected as generators for a CATTt, designed to produce a poetics or recipe for our project.  The project proposes to design and test a practice of konsult, applied in EmerAgency consulting on well-being in the context of community public policy formation.  The seminar develops the design in two parts.  The readings for Part One include Avatar Emergency (Theory), Universal Experience (Contrast/Analogy), and Once (tale/Analogy).  Here is an outline of the logic motivating this selection (it will require several posts to fill out the rationale for the Part-One CATTt).

I. Dromosphere
  • Frame:  Avatar Emergency takes up concept avatar (the avatar function) to develop a practice of citizen participation adequate to the conditions of the dromosphere (dimension collapse) theorized by Paul Virilio.  Virilio argues convincingly that the light-speed of the digital apparatus has made possible (inevitable) a General Accident that occurs everywhere simultaneously. 
  •  Dimension pollution compresses time-space into Now, challenging literate formations of individual critical thinking and the democratic public sphere.  This challenge is the crisis motivating the "descent" of avatar (EmerAgency modified motto:  "Avatar B Us").  Dromos (race) consists of three positions (moments, opportunities, openings):  start, turn, finish.  Konsult practices Turn.
II. Prudence
  • Konsult draws upon the experience of Arts and Letters traditions with immediate intuitive judgment to formulate flash reason as the logic needed for deliberation (community decision-making) in the dromosphere. 
  • Prudence (Aristotle's phronesis) is the virtue of good judgement. A person with good judgment is able (posse) -- in the midst of an ongoing situation -- to draw upon past experience to make the right decision about how to act that brings about the best outcome for the community.  In oral culture this kind of judgement on the fly was associated with metis, a skill of savoir-faire demonstrated in its purest style in the conduct of a race.   
  • Kairos is the mode of temporality proper to metis (the term refers to the weaver's art of throwing the shuttle at just the right moment). Kairotic time displaces cyclical (oral) and linear (literate) models of time to become the primary temporality in electracy.
III. Flash Reason
  •  The lightning flash of insight (intuition, inspiration) has been fully theorized in Western thought, especially with respect to Moment (Augenblick).  Moment is taken up in konsult as the answer to Now.  Sudden thought draws together all human faculties to take in a situation in one glance.  The limits of this glance relative to the human sensorium are codified as "beauty," however that experience may be understood in a given culture.  The invention of Aesthetics as a separate faculty at the beginnings of electracy (Kant et al) recognized and anticipated the challenge to Moment in the notion of the sublime.  The conditions of the industrial city are sublime, producing shock experience of alienation, reification, objectification, in which denizens lose connection with agency (with the categories of experience: space, time, cause).  
  • The arts take up the dynamics of Moment, focusing on a poetics of epiphany.  Epiphany (secularized revelation) is the formal structure of flash reason, transformed in Romanticism (German Idealism) as the "crisis poem" (Bloom), reconfiguring the operations of allegory and symbol, promoting tropology as supplement of inference and narrative as primary skills of the cultural interface.  The project evolved across the arts, leading to a new structural mode of correspondences addressing the disjunction of microcosm/macrocosm in the city.  
  • Relevant versions of epiphany include Baudelaire's correspondences, Rimbaud's illuminations, Rilke's world-inner-space, Eliot's objective correlative.  Proust (involuntary memory) and Joyce (epiphany) extended the function to the novel, as did Brecht (gestus, V [A] effect) and Artaud (cruelty) in theater.  Freud's transference, Benjamin's dialectical image, and Merleau-Ponty's flesh are key instances of theoretical elaboration of flash reason.  
IV. Mechanical Reproduction
  • Manifesting a certain (happy) correlation across the levels of the apparatus, the invention of the camera makes available one of the new supports of communication displacing alphabetic writing in the electrate economy.  The camera is just the first in a series of major innovations lending technological augmentation to the sensorium, continuing today in digital computing.  The camera augments the glance, making it more adequate to the sublime, especially when the optical function is understood in its temporal dimension as Moment.  The snapshot is kairotic.  The insight of apparatus theory is that a general electracy of the society must be developed as institution and practice to coordinate digital equipment with flash reason.
  • The aesthetics of Moment was formulated most precisely in photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment" (shooting a la sauvette).  This design principle has a long history in the visual arts, with painters choosing the telling instance of an action to lend a narrative dimension to a picture. The principle reaches its theoretical completion in Gestalt psychology and phenomenology -- the principle of Pr├Ągnanz: the combination of expectation and perception to produce default continuities or groupings in experience.  Gestalt manifests the limitations of glance, inadequate to dromospheric sublime. 
  • Avant-garde poetics invented during this same period (nineteenth-century Paris), whose prototype is Duchamp's readymades, such as "Fountain," extended Kant's Judgment to include the automatism of the snapshot.  Chance as a formal device, coordinated with recording equipment and flash poetics, were integrated in support of a new attitude towards everyday life, beyond both knowledge and will (the constitutive stands of Pure and Practical Reason).  
  • Theoretical complements of vanguard poetics include Georges Bataille's informe (formless),  Deleuze and Guattari's rhizome (swarm), Lacan's stain, and related engagements with sprawl complexity. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Prism of Conatus

Avatar Function
To understand identity formation native to electracy AE uses the avatar function as a relay.  "Avatar" (descent) -- experienced as the reception of divine counsel (revelation) -- in the Western tradition, is dramatized as Daimon.  Heidegger's method of reading the tradition was to follow the translations.  Greek "Daimon" becomes Latin "Genius."  In Medieval Christianity "Daimon" splits into Angel/Demon.  Goethe in the Enlightenment translates "Daimon" as "Grenze," "Limit" in English.  The most recent version of this experience -- the capacity of the human subject to split and encounter itself (daio) is theorized in Lacan with reference to topology, foregrounding the operation of "edge."  Topology of the split subject (daio) maps the events of threshold (Catastrophe).  Thresholds are the location favored by daimons.  Before departing to attend his trial, Socrates paused at the threshold of his home, to consult his daimon.  Boundary is on the move again in electracy, and it is the function of choragraphy to map this movement. 

Meanwhile, the diagram showing embodiment as prism (the prism-house of being) evokes the relationship of well-being to the collection of demi-gods including Daimon.  It is important to consider this set together as an inventory of Measure or Limit, as a shorthand for the forces still operating in electracy.  The avatar function must include all of these forces.