Tuesday, May 23, 2006

parasitical confession

The parasite glides on the tongues of theoreticians, philosophers and dancer/artists. Some are marked as students, a rhythmed space on the canvas of transition, perhaps? Some are invited senior guests with a discourse (pragmatic and otherwise) exfoliating in the virtual. Some are both and/or neither. The parasite is an effective chameleon hiding in the crevices of these organs for years. It is rarely alone. No one suspects it/they would dare move through the wet moisture of a thought or forge an unspoken relation with bodily resources (even virtual ones!).

A parasite may mutate into a viral load that slides through the skin of thought and say very little. These viruses are neither alive nor dead, but awaken to the memory of the movement of thought. This is neither a poetic nor a metaphorical gesture. To represent viruses as a metaphor of movement is to misunderstand its relation to the flesh and bodies without organs. The viruses infect through a transition in relation. They cannot become without the touch of translation. The viruses reach a terminus once the RNA has decoded and re-encoded DNA, replicating themselves. Or they perish once the concept has reached satisfaction. This movement dances without the knower knowing. If the knower knew the dance there would be no more dance.

The viruses lives for and with the dance. They recycle into the parasite. The singular merges with the multiple. The abstract dances with the concrete. The concrete dances with the abstract. The dance, then, is polyrhythmic. This parasite moves with the dance, unbeknownst to the most seasoned dancers. It is a pragmatic dance, and an everyday occurrence for the parasite that is also the dancer. It is the being of the parasite dancing, not the parasite being that moves the relation of dancer/parasite. This flow of movement is imperceptible—but do you feel its weight and force?

Termini, Arrivals and Outcomes (and real work)

When you go through U.S. customs and immigration in Vancouver (when you're not even going to the U.S.), the question of arrival becomes a strange one. Arrival here seems premature, to arrive before departure, to have in fact pre-empted it, even replaced the experience in total. Stranger still, you are asked to evaluate the customer service afterwards. This is in order, I assume, to see if the customer service outcomes were arrived at (they were – everyone was very pleasant and professional). What does it mean, however, when your only real sense of arrival at the U.S., experience of the U.S., is the satisfactory fulfilment of customer service (maybe this is something Australians just can't understand)?

Or, when flying to Sydney from Montréal, each new arrival at an airport just seems to take you to a new departure or transit lounge. There only seems to be something like Blanchot's non-arrival of arrival made quite literal and simple (as Christine described it to me during speed dating, or was that the arrival of non-arrival?). I never really feel I arrive, not even at Sydney airport (even when I declare my can of maple syrup bought for me by Pierre at the markets .... only after my bag has been x-rayed, the final clearance of thresholds, do we all feel that everything has been satisfactorily pre-empted). Even Sydney airport seems a place of blank transition, another place from which to immediately depart. Finally home, it is true, I feel I have arrived. So of course, I immediately go to work.

The relation between arrival, departure and transition was something that came up for me time and time again during Dancing the Virtual - in different guises: arriving in a new (and wonderful) city; discussing the terminus (and for me, misunderstanding it – I know I was not alone but I felt I misunderstood it in the best possible way); wondering if the workshop would get there in the end, that is, whether we really would "dance the virtual" (and I think we did – even if I myself did it clumsily). If there was a dance of abstractions at Dancing the Virtual, it was perhaps one between arrival (terminus), departure (forward address) and transition (microgestures, infralanguage, or "simply" activating relation in movement).

How appropriate then to be reminded of the fragility of this dance. We can in fact be thankful for the reminder. Here I refer not to flying around the world, but to the idea expressed shortly after the event, from outside of it, that it would better for people to be doing "real work", presumably focussing on pre-determined outcomes, rather than on transitional processes. It is as if the latter – not safely pre-empted – had to be reduced to "just fun" (they were fun of course), without purpose, without direction – experiences that would never arrive at anything important.

Of course, the case is the opposite (and not just because I know for a fact that the postgrads I am involved with would have loved to have had this experience, and not only because all the postgraduates I spoke to at Dancing the Virtual were thinking so deeply and so sensitively).

Perhaps at airports at the moment pre-emption makes sense (or at least we know why it is happening). But do we want our every action, every thought to be pre-empted (even when this is entirely unncessary and in fact unproductive), to be tied to defined outcomes, put to "real work", drawn away from creative research, inventive thought, the kind of thought that pays attention to transition, that moves with it, that is moved by it? I wonder, as one so often focused on outcomes myself, whether to focus too much on outcomes is never to be able to arrive.

This is perhaps a technical question. If so, it is a question full of irony, particularly when it comes to the technics of outcomes and pre-emption. Outcomes and pre-emption attempt (futilely but with a kind of sad passion) to float between real abstraction (the kind that bridges and assembles experience) and actual events. Outcomes and pre-emption try not to touch either real abstraction or actual events. In fact they actively avoid both. This is why they never arrive, or at least only arrive "blankly", and endure only as dessication. For their posture is frozen - it contains no microgestures, no potential for preacceleration (or it is a posture that denies it might be engaged with such things). As such, the technics of pre-emption and outcomes can never go through the necessary transitions in order to arrive, or even simply to live, without twisting the whole process towards a frozen posture, a sad passion. This is a technics that is afraid to dance the virtual, the actual, or anywhere in-between. And, it is a technics that wants to round us up, like so many wayward cattle, towards outcomes, and away from transitional experience.

There are, fortunately, other technical forms of expression, with their own rigour and precision. These would include the simple but (for me) beautiful movement exercises, or the (technical) direction to "create a movement of thought", the extreme discipline of calligraphy, of tango, of coding the remix, of being able to think with the transitions with clarity. These direct us towards experience (as Susan said in one of our pods, we had to begin to move at the beginning, to move immediately into the the transitions, before even thinking of the "outcome", to continue to feel our way through the transitions). And, obviously, it is only by experiencing transition that we arrive. This is the arrival not of Blanchot, or at least not with his accent, but of James, for whom the terminus is absolute in the sense that there is no ambiguity about having arrived somewhere in experience (even if the sense of the transitional experiences involved is to some extent retroactive, in the remix).

It is an arrival that seemed simple enough perhaps for James in his walk to the Memorial Hall, but is today sometimes harder to feel. So for allowing us to re-invent some of the subtleties in this sense of arrival in Dancing the Virtual, I remain extremely grateful. And if it is true that we have to go back to our "real work", as of course we do, this does not mean, I think, that we have to abandon the dance. It always was our real work.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

At least we scrub!

Don't worry Erin, over-security as exemplified by the department has always generated another big stupidity : self-destruction. At least, you won't be part of that disciplinary explosion. You're exfoliation is safe and their bad skin will remain for the rest of their life. At least we scrub (and smell good)!


Today I was told that by stimulating the creation of Dancing the Virtual and by encouraging the students to read together I was "distracting the students from doing their real work." I was told that while "we would all like to have reading groups" there simply was no time in the academy for these kinds of ventures. I fought with everything I had to protect those who have made exfoliation not only a way of learning, but also a way of living. Institutions (in my experience) are about consolidation. Consolidation for the instution is inscribed within a moral framework of "doing" where doing involves ascribing to what is perceived to be the very real limits of the discipline. Dancing the virtual was an experiment in resisting discipline even while acknowledging the very real need for constraint. Constraint and discipline are not the same thing. Constraint creates an opening for improvisation. Discipline holds you to a representation of that which has already been done. Teaching and learning go hand in hand for me. If teaching is to discipline I will not teach. I am proud of the students who have taken this provocation seriously. At the same time I am deeply sad and angry that this initiative is considered worthy of punishment. I am writing this not only because of what Dancing the Virtual set out to do regarding this tenacity toward discipline (and thoughtlessness) but because when I thought I would drown this afternoon I felt the effects of the event and it strengthened my resolve.


Joao & Ronald moving towards the interval
temporal and spatial disjunctions

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

calligraphy dancing



Pastness and forward address

I wake up this morning feeling exquisitely nourished. I thought I would be exhausted (that may still come!) but instead I feel a richness of experience coursing through me. Thank you for creating this event with us.

For months, the event lived within a shifting actual occasion, alternatively composed of the brian-erin pod, the erin-nadine pod, the nadine-marie-evelyne-alanna-nasrin-ronald-troy-celine pod, the all-of-us-at-the-sense-lab pod, the at-the-table-at-Erin-and-Brian's-pod, the reading-group-pod, the alexandre-karmen pod, the freida-karmen-harry-erik-antoine-sense-lab-topological-media-lab-workshop-in-radical-empiricism pod, all pods regrouping regularly, finding new points of attraction (and dissension), working to conceptualize an event that could create a movement of thought.

In February we became affected (literally - you were contagious) by you, each one of you, your names, your interests, your virtuality (yes, we checked up on you in any way we could, spending hours surfing the internet, getting way-layed regularly on Steve's blog) and we began to conceive this movement of thought with you. But virtuality demands consistency to be experienced as such, and the consistency you brought (I think of chocolate cake batter) was more delicious than we could have imagined (and we have good imaginations). These come to mind in my desire to regenerate the present:

Jose, Alanna, Nadine, Ronald dancing the new version of Twister last night (Troy got this one on camera!); Nadine on the old (and better) Twister trying to convince herself that her legs were a meter long; looking across the room during the last speed dating and seeing Alexander and Jose on the inflatable mattress in the tent intensely engaged in conversation; experiencing Tagny and Troy in relational movement body to body (Tagny's eyes were closed and Troy was smiling!); getting wrapped up in Christine's exquisite elastic with Joao becoming Erin's hair; podding with Joao and Jose telling us about becoming-sunset; listening (enraptured) to Steve (Shaviro) talking about Whitehead and explaining abstraction; remembering (again) the becoming-airplane of the child and the wonderful example about love Jose so generously shared with us (and loving the conversation always happening twice - theory should always happen in repeat-mode); delighting in a conversation with Steve (Goodman) about exfoliation and dj-ing where the dj becomes-sound in the convergence of the milieu (the milieu of the synchronicity of the records, the milieu as environment-body); revelling in Susan's exquisite intensity as she furrowed her eyebrows and exclaimed "but I want flesh!"; feeling enriched by the generous and warm and brilliant presence of Sher (impossible to forget Sher's half-smile, a warm look she carries with her always, it seems); loving Stamatia's infinite intensity (and even her capacity for self-deprecation which allows me to re-tell how wonderful I think she is); wondering still about how Andrew manages to navigate the cusp of virtuality and actuality that seems to me to make him otherworldly, infinitely intense and infinitely becoming-child - I think he knows about the plane of immanence; remembering a great conversation with Derek about weather and parachutes and loving that we have a geographer amongst us who donates ripped maps. And I haven't even mentioned the wisdom of Joao, the enthusiasm and intensity of Alexandra, the infinite openness of Philipa (who knows so much and yet stays so open to learning), the rigor of all the students (who have impressed us beyond words), the quiet and very intense magnetism of Brian (and for those of you who got closer, his extraordinary sense of humour), the warmth of Xin Wei and his ability to encapsulate always generously, Harry's smile, Erik's capacity to work the example, Paul's enthusiasm (even though he was documenting the whole time), Michael's great comment about cinema and the dark precursor in the last regroup, Jaime's willingness to share and learn, Alexander's joy, Ronald's intensity, Nadine's real-ness, Celine's courage, Marie-Evelyne's gaze, Alanna's smile, Nasrin's laugh, Tagny and Jhave's blog (and there is so much more to say about them both separately and together), Antoine's dance (behind Sher!), Elinor's curiosity and enthusiasm, Ken's infinite capacity to become-child(especially when he is tracing c's with his body), Tom's amazing capacity to translate (and not only literally), Heidi's heidiness (generous, serious, funny, knowledgeable), Chris's capacity to become-multiple (but can be become-one?).
Thank you. Let's not let the dust settle.

Brian actualises

Here's Brian actualising (or perhaps virtualising, or both). There are some more low light pics at my flickr site.

Monday, May 15, 2006

moving thought in the departure lounge

hotel abri de voyageur was a noisy place. when i could not sleep i read bob dylan's chronicles. in it he describes the music producer daniel lanois as a 'walking concept'. here, waiting for the plane, in that transitional terminal (not quite terminus), i have a sense of continuing to walk, perhaps polyrhythmically, with the affective resonance of concepts (the moving walkways help). looking forward to future participation in the processual promise of what Guattari calls an 'ecology of the virtual', sustained by multiple refrains.

hope the potluck is fun

what it was like

I'm posting this during the José Gil session. José is speaking with such clarity about Deleuze - about differentiation, identity and series in which identity is the maintenance and development of the singularity of an ongoing differentation. He is also talking about the dark precursor - perhaps this afternoon is the dark precursor for next year, or perhaps we shall have to wait until, like the dark passage before the lightning, it strikes nearby. The fur is still on the rostra, and people have folded themselve onto these and the inflated bed at the centre of the space. They look a little tired but interested still - there is much to bring into new series, new forms of living, of working). There is a string of lights "falling up" the steps of one of the rostra, and the tent still stands. Tom, Erin and Brian are translating José faithfully, although José's French is so clear even I can understand. In fact, we are getting a wonderful commentary along the way from them, in a slightly divergent collection of series (four series). How do we understand this discussion with regard to our new found relationality in movement (which I'm sure is really Erin turning everyone into tango enthusiasts), and the dance DVDs we have just seen (I had never seen that Paxton video from the 1960s - still the divergence and flow shocks), or the interview with Cunningham (for me the point is that Cunningham always seeks a structure to enliven the series, to proliferate them, but that this is a structure which sometimes perhaps seems to leave behind aim, perhaps even terminus if this is taken as a kind of aim through transitional relations - where are these left, and what would it mean to take Cunningham's giving of his aims, his termini, to the open world, its rich ecologies of divergent series, which after all are not quite the same as walking to the Memorial Hall?). Perhaps it is only with the terminus (and it seems to me that Cunningham multiplies termini, brings them forward) that we are freed into new ecologies, moving towards what José has called (as Erin says beautifully) the "dust of micro-vibration". Heidi's mobile (cell) rings with a very beautiful tone - perhaps this is the first sign of what follows the dust of micro-vibration. The discussion continues, but it is perhaps important to allow this dust some time to collect ...

"How do we make what makes us?" Stengers

Greetings from the nomadic pod (Jamie and Elizabeth),

As we orbited the inside of DTV as a nomadic pod, we attempted to become "topological equivalents" of DTV participants to come: that is, people who have done the readings for the event, who are wholly interested in the event and in participating in its creation with great anticipation, but who have not had direct experience of the event.

As a nomadic pod, we have thought and acted experimentally about makings of "us" ... and how makings of "us" exist in relation to strangers. We have been thinking and acting exprimentally with how "we" of the current DTV exist in relation to unknowable DTV participants yet to come ... how "our" forward address constructs both a "we" and "strangers."

Our nomadic transmissions from outside/inside DTV "back" to DTV are an attempt "to communicate in some kind of divergence" ---not too much divergence, and not too little. We attempt "a new kind of communication that holds together the differences and different intensities." Jose Gil

We have attempted to think/act experimentally about translating DTV "to" "strangers":
"...instead of uniting ... a transduction of energy, between two intensities, one belonging to one series, another to another series." Jose Gil

MAYA LIN (architect, artist):

Though I have become more aware of my shared cultural identity through my work, I also am aware of the feeling of always not quite being from either place (China, the United States). And this feeling of isolation or remoteness has also been an influence on my work. I sometimes think that the works I have made, especially the more emotional ones, were done by a distanced observer. I remain somewhat emotionally detached in order to make works that evoke so much emotion in others.

More from Friday Night at the TML

Some of the experiments from that evening anticipated many of the movements of thought that have emerged, prematurely, and transduced from this weekend. As well, these experiments, such as the movement/fire and the bright reflective form with the lights move us forward to "Housing the Body" and the "Society of Molecules."

Friday Night at the Topological Media Lab

Thanks to Xin Wei, Harry, and the other members of the Topological Media Lab for the Friday night 'tour' of Concordia and Hexagram's Black BOx experimental space.

a few questions that might constitute a contigent core

silent sensing

we gather to think about thought: what is experience? pure perception?
direct recognition? affective tonality? an actual occasion?

these are words discursively defined within a metaphysical milieu
they are reflective of specific core resonances in western thought
mind is embodied
in both matter and time

spatially extensive, temporally experential

how is it i see you
how is it i hear you
who is it who hears
who is it who sees

can words describe what goes on within the body beyond thought?

before words
before thought
before feeling
before analysis
is there anything?

is there truth that exists outside or more-than sense?
is everything data?

phenomenology traverses a line of history emerging from pre-history
in the first apprehension of space, the calculus computed by the
membrane of a cell
develops denotations and connotations about the direction of that
which is external-other

the task of interpretive faculties is always to track paths, assign
meaning, generate symbolic meaning and references

emotionally subjective experiential questions like:
when will i die? who am i?
or socially-contextual queries such as:
how should i be?

are replaced by ruminations over the fundamental quanta of consciousness:
is self emergent at the moment of awareness?
what is the pure gesture? how is mind immanent in matter?

Sunday, May 14, 2006


ter minus

known knower

movement of thought 0.0000

movement of thought 0.000


movement of thought 0.00


movement of thought 0.0

movement of thought 0


Concept Capsule

Greetings from the Nomadic Pod:

We invite you to collaborate with the Nomadic Pod during Monday's lunch break at DTV.
We are offering a "concept capsule" from outside/inside DTV.
The concept capsule consists of the following movements:
1) go outside during lunch for 15 minutes and put your experiences of being "inside" DTV into relation with those "strangers" who are not moving with you at the moment.
2) during that time, create a "postcard" (addressed forward to future participants in future DTV's) that releases (passes on in a non-representional mode) experiences and sensations of DTV.
3) post it to the blog.

Saturday's movement

Photos From Dancing the Virtual

Between May 13th and 15th an intensive event happened : Dancing the Virtual wich was an experience for exchange, relation and so much more...

Have a look



From the firts pods

From Relational Mouvement I


From Relational Mouvement II

From the seconds pods


From our Conceptual Speed Dating

From our regroup talk

From a mouvement experimentation

From Relational Mouvement III

From the caligraphic pods