20211029

In the contemporary milieu, the idea of being negative is either regarded as a destructive mentality or else defeatist fatalism. But, at least in passing shades, negative emotions can hold great power. There resides in negativity the seed of critical thought and a beneficial duty to engage with one’s internal feelings.

The Art of Negativity – On Rejecting Positive Thinking (2021) Enis Yucekoralp. The text draws a link between capitalism, positivity and the “Likes” which social media devices employ. There is a determinism at play in positivity… As if things would “get to” or need to “go towards” to exist or feel good to be meaningful! I’m reminded of a previous claim that bitterness is in fact an emotional response of class awareness #ॐ. This is framed in a sentence: “Judgmental bourgeois attitudes towards revolt and protest necessarily represent hegemonic support for the status quo”. The text brings forth a useful concept: “toxic positivity”, which is deployed to against the stagnative argument that “negative emotions are inherently ‘bad'”. The author identifies trades of “cultist optimism”, which approaches critical world-views as a sin. Also loving the critique of “wellness capitalism” (Yucekoralp is citing Audre Lorde).

… the English Romantic poet John Keats formulated a concept, one which he termed ‘negative capability’. At root, it describes a propensity for living in the midst of mystery; or, more accurately, the power to accept enigmas and uncertainties with an open mind free from the imposition to hunt down order and clarity. His very use of ‘negative’ is not meant derogatively, but to represent absence in a more abstract sense – the positive potential of ‘being without’ something. In this case: knowledge or certainty.

Wellness capitalism is the symptom of a much more corrosive condition; as if more consumption were the answer to healing the wounds of capitalism. In reality, the promises of ‘mindfulness’, ‘positive mental attitude’ and ‘healthy living’ pledged by the industrial wellness complex are exposed as just one more arrow in the quiver of exploitation.

We should work to destroy ourselves nicely, not only to maintain the current but to destroy it! Authentic movement and authentic drunken slumber can possibly be equally healing. Authentic Drinking (or getting fucked up in other ways) was recently discussed with Leena and Heini.

20210927

An entertaining talk by Jaron Lanier How the Internet Failed and How to Recreate It (2018). Not digging the naturalist vs. political human rhetorical device but forgiving it thanks to an acute description of addictions in social media. They are asking journalist to quit social media, to step out of the loop of addictions in order to engage in candid discussions about big tech and how they seek to alter behaviour. Also digging the analysis that we are not witnessing an emergence of far right political power, we are witnessing the emergence of cranky old people who are fuelled by social media engagement algorithms (which reward rapid responses that biased comments provoke). Lanier argues that voters align with cranky political leaders because they feel humane and are provoked, mortal and moody just like the rest of us. The behaviouralism/algorithm link feels like an interesting trail to follow. Inspirational oversimplification: Algorithms impose a mechanical world-view. #ॐ

20210908

Fluxus scores are performance as aphorism. #ॐ Artist-researchers like them because: Its text (a quote can fill a paper), they are short, its techniques are canonized by popular artists (no need for introductions), it requires specialization to interpret (but is revealed simple, even un-intelligent in close reading), scores are forgiving (gaps in the text get filled with performance know-how and gaps in the know-how get filled with text). They work on all fronts of artist-researcher life: On paper, seminars and as art. Scores are optimized products of presents knowledge industries.

Anything longer then a paragraph is gray-literature.

Social revisions without communism are like care in the context of art. #☭ Send a a resignation letter to Left Alliance and a message to SKP to announce my eagerness to join the party. I don’t want to feel better – I want to do good.

20210907

Preparing a workshop for Pori Art Museum. I’ll host a seminar for kids about p3rm46r4ff171 and serve them dirty waters. Later this week I’m running a workshop for Frame at the Experiments on Togetherness: Herding in Helsinki Central Par event. Exited to present my work in junction with Mari Keski-Korsu’s herbal-horse audio-meditation session. I’m preparing light gymnastics bundled with horse-behavioural theories and anecdotes about the Helsinki Mounted Police. The mounted polices night shift are planning to pass by to offer their greetings. The upcoming RH3 Frame publication, where I contributed a text titled “On the Other Side of the Paddock”, marks the closes I’ve gotten to Eyal Weizman. We are listed as contributors on a list which is organized alphabetically. Being the two last entries, we are only separated by the conjunction “and”, which is more then a comma but feels more intimate.* I’m referring to Weizman in two upcoming texts (the other will be out on the 17th and the later published in a book on performance pedagogy).

DIY electronics are way more expensive then buying instruments used. I will have to put this hobby on hold. I decided to build Paths RYO a cycling sequential switch for developing my system towards a cybernetic device, possibly using the electronic qualities of different waters as inputs. I sourced the pcb from an online shop in the US, electronics from Digikey, some rare components from Banzai Music (Germany) and odd bits and bobs locally from Uraltone. Just the mail, vat & service fee expenses of the packages would covered the costs of a used unit. Making by hand is more expensive then getting the same factory built. It might also be more ecological. I think I’m diy-ing stuff only to make myself feel better about being a consumer. Also sourcing parts for an Aperture unit (and I want it just for fun).

DIY-ing new modules
to hide all traces of my
consumerism

Today is an anniversary of EWS 1# and someone called “Petsamo” has added it as a tourist attraction to openstreetmap! I’m proud to say they have classified it as an artwork (a mural to be specific).

*edit. Got to ask Weizman a question on a Frame/RH3 related discussion & chat! Bassam El Baroni conveyed my question: Does intuition have a role in investigation? Weizman explains that they don’t know what intuition is but that investigations are involved with imagination. They explained that truths are simple and lies require imagination. Does this make counter-investigations processes where imaginative effects are removed? They continue depicting imaginations as having a fogging characteristic, which is obstructing the truth. I’m disappointed by the response. I don’t think truths are rational (simple) #ॐ. I don’t think counter-investigations necessarily reveal  rationalities (indoctrinated racism and biases etc.), they reveal something horrible: War machines are not liable because they don’t make any sense.

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.