“All I know about method is that when I am not working I sometimes think I know something, but when I am working, it is quite clear that I know nothing.”
“Nevertheless it is important to recognize that they have to be creative producers, and therefore lonely aging people, and that a richer generation of children and youths has already been born, to whom they can only dedicate themselves as teachers. Of all feelings, this is the strangest for them. This is why they cannot accept their existence and are ill-prepared to live with children from the outset – for that is what is involved in being a teacher – because children have not yet entered the sphere of loneliness. Because they do not acknowledge the process of aging, they idle their time away. To have admitted their yearning for a beautiful childhood and worthy youth is the precondition of creativity. Without that admission, without the regret for a greatness missed, no renewal of their lives can be possible. It is the fear of loneliness that is responsible for their lack of erotic commitment, a fear of surrendering themselves. They measure themselves against their fathers, not against posterity, and this is how they salvage the illusion of their youth. Their friendship is bereft of greatness and loneliness. That expansive friendship between creative minds, with its sense of infinity and its concern for humanity as a whole even when those minds are alone together or when they experience yearning in solitude, has no place in the lives of university students.”
“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 It was Nietzche who suggested that modern man “is a reactive, no longer active creature”, and it is perhaps such cultural reactivity which now begins to dissipate as we enter a profligate and spontaneous space of digital creativity.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.”
“Architecture is always dream and function, expression of a utopia and instrument of a convenience.” ((barthes))
“Al igual que una tela cambia de forma al soplar el viento, me parece que la arquitectura que no hace sentir apenas su forma, es la que menos te condiciona para la vida de hoy día … Lo que me atrae no es visualizar el viento, sino pensar lo maravilloso que sería si pudiera existir una arquitectura que no tuviera forma, ligera como el viento.”
“the slave is one who has his tongue cut off, who can speak only by looks, expressions, faces.” ((barthes))
Addendum II (November 5, 1985)
Such reading could be construed as postmodern. Amusing irony and lost innocence… But there is no irony in my rewriting. There is no reluctance to speak innocently, either. Just anger. Anger and something akin to contemplative revindication along the lines of an Indian proverb—raised to the exalted level of a motto—that goes, “Sit on the bank of a river and wait: your enemy’s corpse will soon float by.” And presto: here is Italo Calvino, over there Umberto Eco… Eminently quotable fellows!
“THE ASSOCIATION FOR ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHY calls for a boycott of all products marketed under the Shibboleth of LITE—beer, meat, lo-cal candy, cosmetics, music, pre-packaged “lifestyles,” whatever.
The concept of LITE (in Situ-jargon) unfolds a complex of symbolism by which the Spectacle hopes to recuperate all revulsion against its commodification of desire. “Natural,” “organic,” “healthy” produce is designed for a market sector of mildly dissatisfied consumers with mild cases of future- shock & mild yearnings for a tepid authenticity. A niche has been prepared for you, softly illumined with the illusions of simplicity, cleanliness, thinness, a dash of asceticism & self-denial. Of course, it costs a little more…after all, LITEness was not designed for poor hungry primitivos who still think of food as nourishment rather than decor. It has to cost more—otherwise you wouldn’t buy it.
“To paraphrase Allan Kaprow: life in a gallery is like fucking in a cemetery. We could add that things become even worse as the gallery spills back into life: as the gallery/cemetery invades life, one begins to feel unable to fuck anywhere else.”
“The fundamental level of ideology is not of an illusion masking the real state of things but that of an (unconscious) fantasy structuring our social reality itself. And at this level, we are of course far from being a post-ideological society. Cynical distance is just one way – one of many ways – to blind ourselves to the structuring power of ideological fantasy: even if we do not take things seriously, even if we keep an ironic distance, we are still doing them.”