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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2014

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2014

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Subject:

Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] on interpreters and compilers

From:

Curt Cloninger <[log in to unmask]>

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[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sun, 23 Mar 2014 19:13:17 -0400

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Thanks Barbara,

That helps. I will read more DeLanda. Regarding emergent becoming, Whitehead nails it for me (but he is problematic for others). His explanation of ingression feels like the right balance of agency distributed amongst "entities" (ideas, things, humans).

Humans are unique (at least) in that they are able to speculatively imagine that expressivity exists beyond humans. Rocks don't speculate on the agency of dirt. 

cf: http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/manifesto-theory-%E2%80%98new-aesthetic%E2%80%99

We Aim Above The Mark In Order To Miss The Mark,
curt



On Mar 23, 2014, at 5:38 PM, Barbara Lattanzi wrote:

> Hi Curt.
> 
> The impression you have that I am reducing all experience to matter is not consistent with what I have described.  (But, at the same time, I do not mind your question at all.  If only I could answer it.)
> 
> For example, I have never brought up A-Life.  I do not find A-Life useful for this discussion (regardless if a certain text by Christopher Langton is mentioned by me, for provocative ideas that led, in his case, to A-Life....Langton's ideas do not have to lead us to the same place).
> 
> But I do think that DeLanda's ideas are also useful.  He is/was both an artist and a coder (doing codework in the 1980s to make a living).  His writings do not depend on reductivism of any kind and explicitly argue against a reductivist approach.
> 
> btw, he has never said anything remotely like "humans are systems of stuff"....wow!  Where did you get that idea?!?  
> 
> :)
> 
> As I understand DeLanda's emphasis on affect, he constantly refers generally to "the capacity to affect and to be affected" as an immanent capacity of material entities, whether we are talking about human capacities or nonhuman capacities.  Immanence implies that actions based on capacities cannot be predicted, precisely because capacities are interactive in the world...In other words, there are too many ways for the knife to cut.  This means we cannot predict affect (the results of the ability to affect and be affected) and we don't "own" affect.  And, given the state of the planet, we need to recognize that humans don't own expressivity either.
> 
> If codework gives us a hint of the ineffable, unpredictable ways that immanent processes of being and becoming arise (on the edge of chaos), I want to "go there".  But I am not a scientist.  As an artist, I have other lineages, from Blake to Artaud and further down the line.  DeLanda is an artist as well as a philosopher.  In my opinion (just an opinion), he's nailed it.
> 
> Barbara
> 
> 
> 
> On Mar 23, 2014, at 3:32 PM, Curt Cloninger <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> Hi Barbara (and all),
>> 
>> I do agree that there is a kind of affective aporia which certain undecidable language judos (like apophasis and paradox) cause. And I also agree that such aporias are way more than merely semiotic/syntactic/grammatical. But they are also way more than merely chemical/biological. I would say they are lived and historical. Per Alex Galloway (via a facebook post, no less), I suspect DeLanda skews Deleuze more toward analytic philosophy than is useful. Affect doesn't reduce to matter. Affect is a mechanism of Deleuze's overall topology of becoming (de/re-territorialization). It's not reducible to the (mere) plateau of biology. Affect is what escapes such reductions and in so escaping makes the emergence of something like the historical understanding of biology possible in the first place. Similarly, Bergson would say memory is "spirit." Memory is some*when*, not some*where*. Similarly, Whitehead (and deleuze via Proust) would say that the virtual isn't *actual*, but it's nonetheless *real*.
>> 
>> But I haven't read a lot of DeLanda, so I'm surely oversimplifying (as is my listserv rhetorical mojo). I do like DeLanda on metalurgy and swordmaking and folding and the radicality of state change thresholds and all that. I guess I trust him more on stuff than on humans, but then he would say humans are systems of stuff, so there you are.
>> 
>> Why do we all so desperately need every last "thing" (there's the reduction already, wired into our nouny language) to reduce to quantifiable matter? I'll never understand it.
>> 
>> Best,
>> Curt
>> 
>> 
>> On Mar 23, 2014, at 1:58 PM, Barbara Lattanzi wrote:
>> 
>>> I was speculating that our experience of puns extends beyond linguistics.  There is the linguistic approach via analysis of lexicons.  Then there is an approach that focuses on the *matter* of language processes.  
>>> 
>>> Is the system that makes possible our processing of language itself language, or something at a level "below" language? e.g., the chemistry of neural networks, etc.
>>> 
>>> If we are "struck dumb" with laughter at a pun, we are experiencing something viscerally with our body.  But it is a process that is unavailable to us.  Freud, the Surrealists, Artaud, et al, made a stab at it.  Freud dodged by calling it the Un-conscious.
>>> 
>>> My speculation is that we are experiencing the "halting problem" at another level of experiencing language.  Maybe this is just a metaphor.  But I like the idea that the incompatibilities of a pun allow us a brief window onto an intensive process of our own becoming, which is where life is said to happen...at the edge of chaos.
>>> 
>>> I suggest checking out DeLanda's assemblage theory.  His discussion of emergence (here, we are talking about the emergent self, but his theory goes farther) presents the idea that emergence takes place through interactions of a population of whole entities at a level below.  This population of components are not defined by their integration into the whole.  The components are equally independent.  As he puts it, the emergent entity (e.g., a person) is both irreducible AND decomposible.  He gives a vivid example...how a dog can have its heart taken out of its body, but the heart itself can be put into another dog and resume its regular function.  I think that DeLanda is aiming at the expressivity of the non-human, a way of thinking about all matter as immanent process...expressive...anything but inert.
>>> 
>>> So, in a way, I think that the human might equate to a sense of self, but only as long as it is recognized that the sensing of self is not a subjective vague idea, but an actual material process constantly occuring out there in the populous world.  
>>> 
>>> Puns, and maybe code itself, give us a clue to computability and expressivity and their linkage.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Barbara

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