20210326

The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (1979) James J. Gibson feels like a solid leeway towards performance-architecture and animal-built-enviroment-queries (the document I have is messy and I think it suits the theme well). He includes the non-living world as a key factor in the relations of the living, channelling proto-new-material views and I think a particular asset of the text is that it gives a lot of agency to non-humans. “In making life easier for himself, of course, [man] has made life harder for most of the other animals.” he writes and I agree. Sustainable designs would benefit from approaches which teach us how to deal with discomfort and suffering.

If a terrestrial surface is nearly horizontal (instead of slanted), nearly flat (instead of convex or concave), and sufficiently extended (relative to the size of the animal) and if its substance is rigid (relative to the weight of the animal), then the surface affords support. It is a surface of support, and we call it a substratum, ground, or floor. It is stand-on-able, permitting an upright posture for quadrupeds and bipeds. It is therefore walk-on-able and run-over-able. It is not sink-into-able like a surface of water or a swamp, that is, not for heavy terrestrial animals. Support for water bugs is different.

Some parts read like an alchemical liturgy and need a serious uphauling. I begun reading Gibsons introduction to affordances as it were linked to behavioural sciences because the way he talks about animals and terrains makes me think about survival. I was provoked by his writing because I don’t believe in survival: People and animals may prefer colours and textures (instead of comfort) and are open for adjusting their bodies in favour of interesting designs (even if it kills them). But a closer reading revealed that he is reaching for something else entirely: A development of a “naïve realism” which he describes in a lecture from 1974.

As an affordance of support for a species of animal, however, they have to be measured relative to the animal. […] an affordance cannot be measured as we measure in physics.

An important fact about the affordances of the environment is that they are in a sense objective, real, and physical, unlike values and meanings, which are often supposed to be subjective, phenomenal, and mental. But, actually, an affordance is neither an objective property nor a subjective property; or it is both if you like. An affordance cuts across the dichotomy of subjective-objective and helps us to understand its inadequacy. It is equally a fact of the environment and a fact of behavior. It is both physical and psychical, yet neither. An affordance points both ways, to the environment and to the observer.

Naïve realism is a nice basis for a theory for visual perception. It underlines visual as a multisensory experience and acknowledge perception as a relationship. Perception is aided by movement which enables us to read ambient light which reflects from surrounding surfaces from different angles. We determine the quality of our environment from an array of “information” this process provides us. Gibson believes that ambient light contains information (and not merely data which our intellect makes sense of) because the reflecting ambient light is a result of a surfaces physical attributes and effects the world. This process is not dependent on us. I understand this as: Stuff performs.  If we like we can naïvely take this information exchange as being real. He argues that we are sharing and perceiving a real world!

By focusing on ambient light and by underlining that we see only surfaces, he criticizes the theory of optics (which he calls a 17th century fluke). Gibson argues that the optical structure of the eye, which produces the “outside world” to the inside of human body (similar to a camera obscura) should not be understood as evidence that we merely see and interpret images. He argues that we are not seeing objects, things or other beings, we in motion and forming relations to different surfaces. Because visual perception is not merely an image formed by the eye, he speculates that we can see behind walls (in the 1974 lecture). As relationships are presented as the foundation of experiences, we must acknowledge that there is a world outside of our bodies – Which is how his approach to affordances becomes a critique of dualism. In short: Our perception of others is not a distinction (between us and them) but a realization of a relationship. #ॐ

I became interested in Gibson trough Parikka who refers to him in a 2015 article on Mutating Media Ecologies in an effort to “deterritorialize a notion of media outside that of the human body, and look at non-human things as part of an embodied meshwork of agencies”. I’m currently midway a The Ecological Approach to Perception & Action (2013) Harry Heft which seems like a good resource for a broader view on what Gibson stood for.

Tim Ingold refers to Gibson in The Perception of the Environment (2010) saying “I cannot think of any other work that has exerted a greater influence on my thinking over the last ten years or so.”. The book has a chapter on ecological phycology.

Perception, Gibson argued, is not the achievement of a mind in a body, but of the organism as a whole in its environment, and is tantamount to the organism’s own exploratory movement through the world. If mind is anywhere, then, it is not ‘inside the head’ rather than ‘out there’ in the world. To the contrary, it is immanent in the network of sensory pathways that are set up by virtue of the perceiver’s immersion in his or her environment.

Living In A Reversed World – Erismann & Kohler (1954) narrated by Gibson is a great companion for the text.

20210218

Conservatives are concerned that handwriting its getting worse, when in actuality we are witnessing it being liberated from the shackles of past institutions. Handwriting is revealed as asemic blur, an expression of interior tremors and the body. Eventually we will witness handwriting detaching itself from words  all together. The more we write with computers the more liberated our handwriting is becoming. #ॐ My mother participated in a computer course in the nineties but she refused to learn graphical design with the machines: “What’s the point? My handwriting is good!”, she argued.

The upcoming Performing the Fringe – Vaeltelua laitamilla [Wandering in the Outskirts] exhibition is announced at the Pori Art Museum pages. Preparations for the show are progressing steadily.

20210127

Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors and Other Articulations of the Real (2015) Bernhard Siegert proposes that “culture is a humanoid-technoid hybrid” and advances media theory as posthumanistic practice. The chapter on Door Logic works great for drafting an understanding how build environments author behavior. After defining doors as ideological apparatuses, which construct a distinction between the inside and outside, Siegert branches out to read logic gates (in computing) and religious processes which carve out a distinction between profane and sacred, as belonging to the same genre of binary categorization.

Adorno places gesture and mechanism, human and nonhuman actors into a relation in which both sides are invested with agency and in which the nonhuman actor has the power to decenter and disable the very being of the human subject.

Doors and door sills are not only formal attributes of Western architecture, they are also architectural media that function as cultural techniques because they operate the primordial difference of architecture—that between inside and outside.

The text feels wild because it presents doors both as metaphors and physical barriers. The materialistic reading of metaphors Siegert offers feels comfortable. For example: “[…] the closed door is both closed and the sign of this closedness” is particularly true in relation to horses, who respect fences and gates even thou they can pass them at will.

The Greek nomos, usually translated as ‘law’, is connected to the concrete operation of land division. […] it separates a circumscribed space from an outside, thus creating a difference on the basis of which political, social, and religious orders can be established. […] law is constituted in the first place by an opening that grants access to the law. A door is a place where the difference that constitutes the law has to negate itself in order to become effective.

The last part feels like an utter abstraction but I think this “negation of law” is something we can witness in computer game speed-runs: Players outsmart game intelligence’s by idling between rooms (staying right at the threshold of a door frame) to confuse the game AI’s which are programmed to confront the player when they enter or leave a space.

As long as doors functioned as operators of difference between inside and outside, they also helped to create, in line with the public-private distinction, an asymmetry of knowledge.

Thinking about this makes it easy to read reindeer herd separation acts as a process where the animals are coded. The reindeer as a species, with all its species specific trades had been authored.

Their (and our) genes are a receipts of transactions. #ॐ

20210123

Morality is an application of sustainable law and governance practices. No stress on infra. #ॐ

A lady at a coffee shop asked me and Jussi to hangout with their puppy while we had tea so that dog would get familiarized with men. She was brave to ask and the dog was nice too. A nice exchange, we got to pet a dog in exange for manifesting a gender publicly.

20201212

There is a mug with the old TeaK logo in the Sturenkatu 21 Posti logistics backroom. A positive trace. The work easy.

Mailmans short term memory is infrastructure. #ॐ

Customers have five digit codes which correspond to packages they are picking up. To speedup delivery I memorize them and keep the numbers in mind for the twenty steps it takes me to reach the shelfs where I collect the packages. For those twenty steps, the internals of my brains are a part of the logistics network.