Unreal Nature

July 31, 2010

Survival of the Most Divergent

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 8:01 am

… Natural selection plays an essential role: the differenciation of difference (survival of the most divergent). Where selection does not occur or no longer occurs, differences remain or once more become free-floating; where it occurs, it does so to fix the differences and make them diverge.

This is further from Difference & Repetition by Gilles Deleuze (1968):

… Individuation does not presuppose any differentiation; it gives rise to it. Qualities and extensities, forms and matters, species and parts are not primary; they are imprisoned in individuals as though in crystal.

… Darwin’s great novelty, perhaps, was that of inaugurating the thought of individual difference. The leitmotiv of The Origin of Species is: we do not know what individual difference is capable of! We do not know how far it can go, assuming that we add to it natural selection. Darwin’s problem is posed in terms rather similar to those employed by Freud on another occasion: it is a question of knowing under what conditions small, unconnected or free-floating differences become appreciable, connected and fixed differences. Natural selection indeed plays the role of a principle of reality, even of success, and shows how differences become connected to one another and accumulate in a given direction, but also how they tend to diverge further and further in different or even opposed directions. Natural selection plays an essential role: the differenciation of difference (survival of the most divergent). Where selection does not occur or no longer occurs, differences remain or once more become free-floating; where it occurs, it does so to fix the differences and make them diverge. The great taxonomic units — genera, families, orders and classes — no longer provide a means of understanding difference by relating it to such apparent conditions as resemblances, identities, analogies and determined oppositions. On the contrary, these taxonomic units are understood on the basis of such fundamental mechanisms of natural selection as difference and the differenciation of difference.

… It is not the individual which is an illusion in relation to the genius of the species, but the species which is an illusion — inevitable and well founded, it is true — in relation to the play of the individual and individuation.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

July 30, 2010

Chinese Pictures

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:39 am

“I feel very strongly the tie between my earlier and my recent works. but I do not think exactly the way I thought yesterday. Or rather, my basic thought has not changed, but it has evolved, and my means of expression have followed. I do not repudiate any of my paintings, but there is not one of them that I would not redo differently, if I had it to redo. My destination is always the same, but I work out a different route to get there.” — Henri Matisse

This is from Matisse: Radical Invention 1913-1917 by Stephanie D’Alessandro and John Elderfield (2010):

Pissaro had said to Matisse, referring to the bathers canvases, “Cézanne is not an Impressionist because all his life he has been painting the same picture,” adding that an Impressionist such as Alfred Sisley “is a painter who never paints the same picture, who always paints a new picture.” Reflecting upon this exchange, Matisse concluded: “A Cézanne is a moment of the artist while a Sisley is a moment of nature.” He learned from Cézanne to view his art as self-expression more than as depiction and to pursue similar qualities in one canvas after the next. He also learned that he could be a modern artist while tackling the deeply traditional subject of multifigure compositions if he understood that expression was not a matter of depicting passionate gestures but rather of commanding the arrangement of the entire picture.

… [on color] As Matisse told his own students in 1908, there are two ways of using color: “one considering color as warm and cool, the other seeking light through the opposition of colors.” Cézanne relied on the former method, using advancing warm colors, from red through yellow on the spectrum, against receding cool colors, from blue through green, in order to form volumes and shape spaces. Matisse also did so on occasion, but from the time of Le bonheur de vivre, he mainly used the latter approach, which he learned from Van Gogh and Gauguin, both of whom exaggerated the brightness of their colors, simplified their drawing, and stressed surface pattern at the expense of the illusion of depth. Cézanne would have hated the result; he had dismissed Gauguin’s use of curving arabesque lines and unmodulated colors, saying, “All he did was make Chinese pictures.” Matisse would continue to owe more to Cézanne than to any other artist; his example had shown Matisse how the perception of nature need not only guide representation but also stimulate a direct and forceful statement of response to it. However, it was the example of Van Gogh and Gauguin that revealed to him how the most direct and forceful statement would mean giving greater priority to contrasts of color and pattern on the physical surface of the canvas than to resemblance, indeed the plausibility of pictorial illusion itself.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

July 29, 2010

Tesseract

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:42 am

” … long exposures … produce images of a strange, ghostly substance that is in fact the tesseract* of water: what is to be seen is not water itself, but the virtual volume it occupies during the whole time-interval of the exposure … he seems to have been the first to accept the ‘error,’ and then systematically, to cherish it.”
Hollis Frampton

This is from an essay Tangles, Time, Solitude, Transformation: Continuities in Eadweard Muybridge’s River of Images by Rebecca Solnit in the book Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change by Philip Bookman (2010):

… a consistent set of themes or preoccupations runs through all [Muybridge’s] work. He was concerned with water, with clouds, with the complex textures of trees and tangles of foliage or stone. He sought out unusual angles and uncomfortable vantage points, preferring the interesting to the harmonious. Many of his photographs were disconcerting, destabilizing, showing the world in unfamiliar ways long before he dissected and reassembled motions made visible as never before. Also evident throughout is an interest in motion and the representation of time, a willingness to break rules and make images that defy conventional aesthetics, a restlessness, a taste for complexity, and an interest in pushing the possibilities of the medium.

… water seen slower than the human eye is phantasmagorical, eerie, and enchanting, especially to this artist who let it come to life thus in his photographs. So too is water captured at a speed the eye cannot match: in both cases water becomes something unsettling, the mystery that surrounds us but eludes our limited senses all the time. As the filmmaker and photographer Hollis Frampton put it in his paean to the strangeness of the man at the birth of his medium, “Yet Muybridge, in some of his earliest landscape work, seems positively to seek, of all things, waterfalls; long exposures of which produce images of a strange, ghostly substance that is in fact the tesseract of water: what is to be seen is not water itself, but the virtual volume it occupies during the whole time-interval of the exposure … he seems to have been the first to accept the ‘error,’ and then systematically, to cherish it.”

… in the 1877 version [of his giant Panorama of San Francisco from California Street Hill ], Muybridge made and used two different versions of panel 5, the view down California Street, easily detectable because the clock at St. Mary’s church is at quarter to two in one and at nearly half past five in the afternoon in the other and the shadows have shifted. The photographer Mark Klett, who rephotographed the 1878 mammoth-plate panorama in 1990, was struck by this version’s discontinuity of shadows in the seventh panel, the one just north of St. Mary’s church. Its shadows clash with those on either side of it. He used to speculate that it had perhaps been made to replace a damaged or unsatisfactory panel taken earlier in the day, but the discontinuous panels I noted in the earlier panorama suggest that Muybridge may have had motives other than necessity for slipping out of chronological sequence. he was always a trickster, making sly and strange things happen in his work.

Solnit then describes how Muybridge added rocks to some of his landscapes, included himself in some of his own pictures, and sometimes sandwiched different clouds into different prints from the same image.

… Perhaps the most direct precedents of the motion studies come in the very different field of architectural photography. In 1870 and 1871, he photographed the construction of the bulky stone U.S. Mint in downtown San Francisco. The site is depicted from various angles and at various stages, but at least three of the images are taken from one vantage point, while two others show development from another spot, and a final image returns to a place near the earlier vantage point to show the almost finished building. Thus, as with the motion studies, you see the process of becoming. Just as water leaping from a bucket in a split second is broken into three photographic images, so the slow rise of a building is made visible and comprehensible by a series of images over time. If the creation of a building can be imagined as motion — a slow, orchestrated arranging of materials — then these are indeed motion studies. … Like the motion studies, the building sequences demonstrate that the world exists as processes and changes, as something far less stable and certain than the solid objects seen in a single instant that are the common subject of photography.

Klett remarks that [Carleton] Watkins popularity in recent decades may be because his work so embodies the values of modernism. Certainly, the world in his vision is made up of solid objects clearly seen and framed and appraised. “Composed” could refer to both their aesthetic and emotional content, for Watkins work often has a classical calm. Like the subjects of modernist photography, they stand apart from time in an eternal moment decisively frozen. Muybridge, even when photographing almost exactly the same subjects, could not be more different. In his sensibility, the world is all but discomposed, constantly in flux. Even something as solid as a government building reveals itself to be a creature of change; the water we think we know becomes eerily unfamiliar whether seen too slowly, as ghostly films, or too quickly, as leaping beasts; his late portraits are not portraits of human beings but of their actions, of movement itself; some of his landscapes, via their clouds, are really two different moments spliced together; and his panoramas often promise a single sweeping glance while actually being made up of several nonconsecutive moments. Even his taste in surfaces and textures runs to the intricate, elaborate, dense, and tangled: they are not smooth, stable, or easily deciphered. Finally, his tricksterish moments of subversion of the supposed truth or continuity of a given work of art render more uncertain and less stable the subject at hand. Muybridge’s vision of a world in constant change binds all the work into a radically original and deeply coherent achievement.


Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope

* tesseract: the four-dimensional analogue of a cube

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

July 28, 2010

Allowed to Run Wild

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:47 am

This is further from the Introduction to the book Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations by Bruno Monsaingeon (2001):

Sviataslav Richter’s career and his impact not only on his audiences but also on his colleagues — he is the only pianist whom they all agree to have been one of the greatest in the whole history of music — cannot be reduced to a classical model. After a childhood and adolescence in Odessa, where he was allowed to run wild and where he received no academic training but taught himself the piano and music, he became a répétiteur at the local opera at the age of fifteen and it was not until 1937 that he left for Moscow. At an age when most great pianists are already starting their careers, Richter became a student.

… He was … the only great soloist of his generation and his country to eschew membership in the Communist Party, an eschewal due less to a deliberate decision than to radical indifference: Richter was no rebel, merely refractory. He had nothing to fear from anything. Nobody had a hold over him. That would be his great strength.

… By the time he finally traveled to the West — initially to Finland in May 1960, then to the United States in the October of that same year — Richter was already forty-five years old. His American debut comprised eight recitals and orchestral concerts at Carnegie Hall that sent shock waves all round the world of music.

… After four tours of the United States, he turned down all further invitations to appear in a country he loathed, with the exception, he said, of its ‘museums, orchestras and cocktails’.

… From the early eighties, he performed only with a score in more or less darkened halls where it was difficult even to make out his massive silhouette, but where he created a gripping atmosphere, convinced that he was preventing the spectator from succumbing to the demonic temptations of voyeurism.

Yamaha placed two grand pianos at his permanent disposal, together with the staff necessary to maintain them, and they accompanied him wherever his imagination took him. Well, not quite everywhere. They remained behind when, over seventy, he left Moscow by car and did not return until six months later, covering the distance from Vladivostok and back, not counting a brief sortie to Japan, in conditions one can barely imagine, giving a hundred concerts in the remotest towns and villages in Siberia.

Previous post from this book is here. [ link ]

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

July 27, 2010

Gravity Agnostic

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:08 am

Today I must take a break from art, art, art, art and chicken boogers to address several pressing issues. After reading this, I think you will agree that the gravity of the current situation demands my immediate attention. But there is not need to panic; one must not expect the world to remain perfectly level at all times (what Photoshop giveth, Photoshop can also taketh away — even from the son of a waterman who is made seasick by simply looking at pictures).

I was alerted that something was amiss while reading the following from an article in Science News, Gut First by Rachel Ehrenberg (July 22, 2010):

… When crawling, a caterpillar’s gut advances an entire step forward before the outside of its body catches up, new research reveals.

… On the outside, a caterpillar crawls by lifting its hind legs and moving them forward, then the next legs and the next legs, until the front of the body finally moves. But inside, the whole gut is moving forward with the very first step, ahead of the rest of the body, Simon and his colleagues report in an upcoming issue of Current Biology.

… It isn’t clear if the gut is stretching itself forward and then moving back to the rest position, or if it is almost at rest when elongated, and then compressed, says Simon. It also isn’t clear why evolution might favor such a gut, which is so heavy that it actually shifts the caterpillar’s center of gravity forward before its exterior moves. Most caterpillars spend little time horizontal — they crawl upside down, on the undersides of leaves, and up and down tall stems. Perhaps the shifting gut is pertinent to this “gravity agnostic” lifestyle, Simon says.

Upon reading that, I felt an immediate and overwhelming sense of kinship with caterpillars. Metaphysically speaking, my daily experience (that includes nightly and morningly as well as eveningly with maybe a little time off for eatingly) is always one of the outside of my body NOT KEEPING UP with what’s going on inside. Which is probably a good thing, but not always, and I’m not entirely in favor of “good things” anyway.

Getting to the subsequent and more urgent consequence of reading the above, it SUDDENLY occurred to me that someone who used to pupate at the slightest provocation, has not, to my knowledge, pupated anywhere in the longest time. Could he have … hatched? Has he become fully mobilized? Are we all in danger?

Of course my first recourse was the Oxford English Dictionary where I found that “caterpillar” comes from “woolly or hairy plunderer.” Yes, we know our man. Also, in passing, I should mention the Caterpillar Club which is:

The Caterpillar Club is an informal association of people who have successfully used a parachute to bail out of a disabled aircraft. After authentication by the parachute maker, applicants receive a membership certificate and a distinctive lapel pin.

Anybody able to observe our specimen might check (discretely) for said lapel pin and membership certificate.

Further perusal of the OED turns up the fact that it is not only caterpillars that pupate; cirripeds and holothurians also do so. Hmmm … cirripeds. We won’t go there. But holothurians — sea cucumbers:

… A remarkable feature of these animals is the catch collagen that forms their body wall. This can be loosened and tightened at will, and if the animal wants to squeeze through a small gap, it can essentially liquefy its body and pour into the space. To keep itself safe in these crevices and cracks, the sea cucumber hooks up all its collagen fibres to make its body firm again.

Could this be our man? Could be, could be. I’m thinking … For further on sea cucumber anatomy, see here.

In the meanwhile, moving on to butterflies, the OED mentions that the word is of unknown origin but is probably “so called from the appearance of its excrement (boterschijte).” Checking this would require very close observation of our subject; I’m not sure we can achieve that objective. Moving on the OED also quotes Somebody Important (i.e. I didn’t write it down) as saying, “And what’s a butterfly? / At best He’s but a caterpillar, drest.”

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

July 26, 2010

Interpretation

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 8:12 am

The quoted story below is here just because I like it. If that’s not enough, there is an interesting subtext of interpretation, which I think is relevant to issues in photography — about the ways in which, and/or the degree to which the photographer can/does/should interpret the ‘score’ as ‘written’ by the camera.

It’s from the Introduction to the book Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations by Bruno Monsaingeon (2001) The author, a documentary filmmaker and writer, had, for years been hoping to make a film about the elusive Richter:

… in 1981, a curious thing happened. For a whole month I had effectively been living in another world. Glenn Gould and I were about to complete the editing of our film on the Goldberg Variations in an underground studio somewhere outside Toronto. In the state of intense excitement in which we found ourselves, it was impossible to tear ourselves away from a project that we had come to regard as our child. There was always a comma to be inserted, a subtle point to be honed, an edit that needed attention. When the editing process was finished, we spent a whole night watching the film, but this time as spectators. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, Glenn turned to me: ‘You know Richter. Are you in touch with him?’

‘Er … ‘

‘A musician like him, such a tremendous pianist and he doesn’t know how to make a recording. He has no recording philosophy and allows records to be released that are a betrayal of his abilities and in no way represent him. He really must learn the specific art of recording. I’d like to make a recording with him in which I’d be his producer.’

‘Glenn, are you serious?’

‘I’m damned serious. He could play whatever repertory he liked, even Rachmaninov, on my own piano if he wanted. Put it to him.’

Three weeks later, at the Fêtes Musicales de Touraine, I raised the matter with Richter, first of all explaining that I had just finished a film about the Goldberg Variations with Glenn Gould.

‘Did he play the repeats?’

‘Yes, the first repeats in the canonic variations.’

‘What! Not all of them? But I spoke to him about it in Moscow in 1957, after his concert. Such a musician, such a tremendous pianist … The work is too complicated; without the repeats no one can follow it. And in any case, that’s how it’s written.’ [I hope you know what ‘repeats’ are in classical music; if not, just know that the composer’s wish for repeats are sometimes (often) ignored in performance.]

‘But, Maestro, that’s not what’s at issue. Don’t you think his proposal is worth considering?’

‘Where and when?’

‘In America, of course.’

‘I never go to America.’ He then reflected for a moment, before adding: ‘Tell Glenn Gould that I accept, but on condition that he agrees to give a recital at my festival in Tours.’

He said this with a smile in his voice, knowing perfectly well that Gould refused to perform in public. And that was the end of the matter.

Then in 1995, for some reason, Richter had is housekeeper/secretary notify Monsaingeon that he wanted him to do his biography: But then Richter wouldn’t agree to see Monsaingeon (in his hotel in France).

… For years I had been trying to make contact with Richter, and now here I was in the entrance hall of his hotel, and he was refusing to see me while begging me to write about him for reasons that I did not really understand.

Monsaingeon then sends Richter a long handwritten letter:

… It so happened that since perestroika Proust’s works had started to appear in Russian, with the result that on each of my visits to Moscow I had gradually been able to acquire copies of all the volumes of A la recherche du temps perdu, with the exception of the final part, Le temps retrouvé, which had not yet appeared and, indeed, has still not appeared. I recalled the episode with Berma, the actress modelled on Rachel or Sarah Bernhardt, in which Proust addressed the whole problem of interpretation: by playing Phèdre, did Berma make a new masterpiece out of an existing masterpiece, a masterpiece of interpretation? I quoted this episode by way of coda, adding: ‘What does Maestro think? In other words, can an interpreter be a genius? Can interpretation be seen as an act of genius?’ I faxed my twelve pages to Richter at his hotel.

The same morning I was woken by a phone call from [secretary/housekeeper] Milena: ‘Maestro wants to see you at once.’

… I found myself a few hours later in the salon of the Maestro’s modest apartment at the Hôtel Majestic. On the music stand of his digital piano, a Yamaha Clavinova, there was a sheet of paper on which he had written some instructions, a sort of aide-mémoire intended for his own private use. (In spite of the totally unpredictable nature of the life that he had chosen to lead, he was always extremely meticulous and well ordered.) While I was waiting, I read what he had written: ‘Clean your teeth properly morning and night, read a little Proust or Thomas Mann every day . . . ‘

During the conversation with the Maestro that followed, Monsaingeon wondered to himself:

… What had inspired me to quote the passage about Berma? This was a sore point with Richter, raising what was a key question for him, the very real problem of interpretation. What is an interpreter? What can he add to an existing work? Or, rather, should he not add anything at all? In Richter’s eyes, the interpreter did not exist or rather he was merely a mirror that reflected the score, the fanatically exact and scrupulous reader of the score. It was a fanciful vision, of course, as the force of Richter’s personality was such that he was one of the few pianists whom one could identify from the very first note. Gould and Richter.

To throw in a bit that’s more directly tied to photography (film in this case):

… While [tape] recording our conversations, I regretted the absence of a camera capable of capturing a face of such overwhelming sadness but that was also often comical and, above all, infinitely expressive. It was a thousand pities that, at least for the moment, the gentleness of his voice and the originality of what he had to say were immortalized only in sound. Moreover, it was often not the actual content of what he was saying that was so fascinating, but the poetry of his silences or the gestures that accompanied them. Only a camera could have captured these.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

July 25, 2010

A Real Writer

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:07 am

… The narrator of a story is at the same time not the narrator. The story itself is the actual narrator, it tells itself; from the first sentence onward the narrative is a surprise to the narrator too, as all narrators know. The real adventure is the narrating of the adventure. It isn’t that the Flaubert narrator exists but is not allowed to exist and must hide; actually he doesn’t exist, while at the same time he of course does exist and tells the story. And in that sense, through its predictable/unpredictable manner of creation, through its free will, a story does after all give a faithful picture of the world — just as physical reality itself is only determined to a certain extent by cause and effect, but in the last instance is subject to fundamental uncertainties, probabilities, chance.

Therefore: a writer who says that his inspiration has dried up because he’s “got nothing more to say,” was never a real writer. He said what he had to say, but a real writer precisely never had anything to say: only his stories have anything to say, first and foremost to himself — and that remains so until his death on the literary field of honor.

from Harry Mulisch, The Procedure (1999)

A real writer …. There’s that pesky word again (real photographs picture the real world). Undefined, it pops every balloon.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

July 24, 2010

Nachtwey

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:44 am

‘… for others, whose powers of recognition are more acute and who perceive force, today as yesterday, at the very centre of human history, the Iliad is the purest and the loveliest of mirrors.’

The above and the first paragraph below are from an essay A Panegyric by Tacita Dean in the book Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons (2008):

‘Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt’ (these are the tears of things and mortality touches the mind), grieves Aeneas (in Virgil’s Aeneid, Book 1), at the sight of murals depicting the Trojan War in a temple in Carthage, a sentence that famously defies translation. Aeneas is overwhelmed as he looks at the images of the destruction of Troy and the suffering enacted upon his people; he weeps for the wanton brutality and wretchedness of all war, and is jolted into appalling sadness and empathy, in part because his experience has been removed from him and is no longer his own; it is already being retold and depicted by others just as Virgil is retelling the story again for us. Even for Aeneas, the Trojan War, by its very evocation, is poetry. Simone Weil writes in the Iliad or The Poem of Force (1940-1): ‘For those dreamers who considered that force, thanks to progress, would soon be a thing of the past, the Iliad could appear as an historical document; for others, whose powers of recognition are more acute and who perceive force, today as yesterday, at the very centre of human history, the Iliad is the purest and the loveliest of mirrors.’ As it is with Fifty Days at Iliam 1977-8, Twombly’s ten-part painting that depicts Alexander Pope’s translation of Homer’s Iliad; like Aeneas’s realisation in the Carthaginian temple, it summons the moment when universal human experience is distilled into frail cultural longing.

I watched the documentary video War Photographer last night. It’s about anti-war photographer James Nachtwey, and it’s pretty good. Not great but good. He is an extraordinary photographer and seems to be an extraordinarily decent man — and that’s what I take away from the video. For that reason, I think the video really distracts from his work; it’s about Nachtwey, and the more aware I am of him, the more that changes how I see his photographs. As quoted above, “Even for Aeneas, the Trojan War, by its very evocation, is poetry.” I don’t believe Nachtwey has any interest in making poetry.

The purpose of his work as stated in the Afterword in his book, Inferno (1999):

… Implicit is an appeal to the reader’s best instincts — a spirit of generosity, a sense of right and wrong, the ability and the willingness to identify with others, the refusal to accept the unacceptable.

… A photograph can enter the mind and reach the heart with the power of immediacy. It affects that part of the psyche where meaning is less dependent upon words and makes an impact more visceral, more elemental, closer to raw experience.

… All we have is each other. We create our own problems, and it is up to us to solve them.

.. In spite of these enormous setbacks [that he has witnessed and photographed], humanity continues to evolve and our means continue to be perfected. In the process, our planet is being transformed from a divided place into a world united by a common existence and shared history.

… I want my work to become a part of our visual history, to enter our collective memory and our collective conscience. I hope it will serve to remind us that history’s deepest tragedies concern not the great protagonists who set events in motion but the countless ordinary people who are caught up in those events and torn apart by their remorseless fury. I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.

The people whose photographs appear in this book are worthy of one’s recognition and the patience that may require. I have witnessed people who have had everything taken from them — their homes, their families, their arms and legs, their sanity. And yet, each one still possessed dignity, the irreducible element of being human.

Would that he were right. It’s my belief that “today as yesterday,” there is no such thing as a nonviolent human population and I don’t believe there ever will be. Culture — especially “frail cultural longing” — can’t prevail over the brute force of evolution. Culture doesn’t happen outside of evolution. Nevertheless, believing that, knowing that, seeing that, thanks to people such as Nachtwey can, in a perverse way, arm the peacemakers.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

Without Doubt

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:39 am

This is from an essay A Panegyric by Tacita Dean in the book Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons (2008):

… No one shows their mistakes anymore, the development of their thinking across the page. Everything appears in the world as unconditional and without doubt: no waver here, no lapse of concentration there: no fissure in which to peer through and see the humanity inside. Soon writing by hand will be the oddest of activities akin to labouring over a daguerreotype.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

July 23, 2010

Afterwards It Is Too Late

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:56 am

… beneath species and parts, we find only these times, these rates of growth, these paces of development, these decelerations or accelerations, these durations of gestation.

… Such is the intimacy of the Leech and the Higher Man: they are at once dream and science, object of dreams and object of science, bite and knowledge, mouth and brain …

This is further from Difference & Repetition by Gilles Deleuze (1968):

… the highest generalities put forward by Baër are generalities only for an adult observer who contemplate them from without. In themselves, they are lived by the individual-embryo in its field of individuation. Furthermore [… ] they can only be lived, and lived only by the individual-embryo: there are ‘things’ that only an embryo can do, movements that it alone can undertake or even withstand (for example, the anterior member of the tortoise undergoes a relative displacement of 180 degrees, while the neck involves the forward slippage of a variable number of proto-vertebrae). The destiny and achievement of the embryo is to live the unlivable, to sustain forced movements of a scope which would break any skeleton or tear ligaments. It is indeed true that differenciation is progressive and serial: the characteristics of the major types appear before those of genus and species in the order of the determination of species; and in the order of organisation, this shoot is the beginning of a paw before it becomes a right or left paw. Rather than a difference in generality, however, this movement implies a difference in kind: rather than discovering the more general beneath the less general, we discover pure spatio-temporal dynamisms (the lived experience of the embryo) with regard to the constituted parts and qualities, beneath the morphological, histological, anatomical, physiological and other characteristics.

… The ‘type hill’ is no more than a stream along parallel lines, the ‘type slope’ an outcrop of hard layers along which the rocks are buried in a direction perpendicular to that of the hills; but on the scale of millions of years which constitutes the time of their actualisation, the hardest rocks in turn are fluid matters which flow under the weak constraints exercised on their singularities. Every typology is dramatic, every dynamism a catastrophe. There is necessarily something cruel in this birth of a world which is a chaosmos, in these worlds of movements without subjects, roles without actors. When Artaud spoke of the theatre of cruelty, he defined it only in terms of an extreme ‘determinism’, that of spatio-temporal determination in so far as it incarnates Idea of mind or nature, like a ‘restless space’ or movement of turning and wounding gravitation capable of directly affecting the organism, a pure staging without author, without actors and without subjects. Spaces are hollowed out, time is accelerated or decelerated, only at the cost of strains and displacements which mobilise and compromise the whole body. Shining points pierce us, singularities turn us back upon ourselves: everywhere the tortoise’s neck with its vertiginous sliding of proto-vertebrae. Even the sky suffers from its cardinal points and its constellations which, like ‘actor-suns’, inscribe Ideas in its flesh. There are indeed actors and subjects, but these are larvae, since they alone are capable of sustaining the lines, the slippages and the rotations. Afterwards it is too late. It is true that every Idea turns us into larvae, having put aside the identity of the I along with the resemblance of the self. This is badly described as a matter of regression, fixation or arrestation of development, for we are never fixed at a moment or in a given state but always fixed in a movement that is under way.

… The larvae bear Ideas in their flesh, while we do not go beyond the representations of the concepts. They know nothing of the domain of the possible, being close to the virtual, the first actualisations of which they bear as though they have chosen them. Such is the intimacy of the Leech and the Higher Man: they are at once dream and science, object of dreams and object of science, bite and knowledge, mouth and brain …

… While it is thought which must explore the virtual down to the ground of its repetitions, it is imagination which must grasp the process of actualisation from the point of view of these echoes or reprises. It is imagination which crosses domains, orders and levels, knocking down the partitions coextensive with the world, guiding our bodies and inspiring our souls, grasping the unity of mind and nature; a larval consciousness which moves endlessly from science to dream and back again.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

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