“In a sense Aegis explores potential shifts in cultural as much as technical pattern, looking for new potentials offered by an electronic creative environment, and for me it begins to venture into psychological territory – into the ‘psychologies of (electronic) perception’. The characteristic cultural strategy of the twentieth century has widely been characterized as that of shock - a dis/re-orienting wrench of cultural expectation. Walter Benjamin, in his essay ‘Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, for instance, characterizes the effective art-work as a shock, which assaults the viewer, similar to Heidegger’s term, ‘Stoss’, literally a blow. It was Nietzche who suggested that modern man “is a reactive, no longer active creature”, and it is perhaps such cultural reactivity which now begins to dissipate as we enter a profligate and spontaneous space of digital creativity.
Stoss – shock – is a reactive strategy, still reliant on a legitimizing cultural origin and the very structures of representation that it calls into question: it is a reactivity-against. My sense is of a dissipation of the shock-effect and the development of irreferent creative processes - metonymic and freely associative rather than metaphoric and representative. Not so much a dis/re-orientation as an endless suspension of the possibility of orientation. This has been characterized, quite legitimately, I think, as no longer a cultural mode of shock but a mode of trauma, trauma occuring almost as a suspension of shock, a stimulated absence…
Classically trauma occurs as the struggle of the mind to capture an event which has escaped registration, occurs on the site of a conceptual gap, the mind searching restlessly for a missing referent. This motivated suspension, or precise indeterminacy - no longer reactive but interactive - seems to mark an emergent form of cultural capacity markedly at odds with accounts of extant cultural patterns. If one looks to Gombrich, for instance, in his ‘Sense of Order’ (circa 1960? and subtitled, interestingly enough, ‘the psychologies of perception’), he continually asserts that the mind cannot tolerate sustained dis-orientation and will quickly ground it in reference. But with computational power, as here, to calculate real-time 10,000 points physically moving in space, where transformation replaces the notion of origin as operative principle, dis-orientation and trauma emerge into a fully interactive cultural milieu. And trauma, as shock, is not simply debilitating - it stimulates wildly, often triggering neglected modes of cognition as a highly activated ‘sampling’ of experience, seemingly calling the bodily senses into play cognitively and creating a highly charged proprioreceptive state.
The terms autoplastic and alloplastic to which I referred are psychological terms, introduced by Ferenczi in his studies of trauma, in which (effectively) he extended Freud’s notion of trauma as resulting from dramatic situations of stress, to a much more generalized social theory. In Ferenczi’s terms an autoplastic environment is one where the subject is challenged by a highly determining context and is forced to auto-adapt in the face of such resistance which can lead to neuroses of trauma. He contrasts this with an alloplastic environment in which there is the possibility of a reciprocal transformation in which both subject and environment negotiate interactively.
The terms I implicate here to make the suggestion that as we seemingly pass to a cultural mode of trauma, we might think this transition in terms of a shift from autoplastic to alloplastic mode. Both in terms of cultural production - the fluid processural negotiations with a software environment - and cultural reception - the transformative effects of an electronic environment becoming actual.”
(Source: generativeart.com)Posted 1 year ago with 1 note
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