Brian Massumi. PARABLES FOR THE VIRTUAL. Movement,. Affect,. Sensation. Duke University Press Durham & London In Parablesfor 1/ Virtual Brian Massumi views the body and media such as thc post war French philosophy ofDeleuze, Guattari, and Foucault, Massumi. Brian Massumi_Introduction of Parables for the Virtual - Download as PDF File . pdf), Text File .txt) or read online.
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Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Aug 1, , Angela Ndalianis and others Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation by Brian Massumi. Leggi «Parables for the Virtual Movement, Affect, Sensation» di Brian Massumi disponibile su Rakuten Kobo. Although the body has been the focus of much. Massumi, Brian: Parables for the virtual: movement, affect, sensation. London: Duke University Press, In: European Journal of Cultural Studies 8 (), 3 .
The sounds of Torment are breathy.
Rhythmically, it is very fast and shaky… - 55 - Each creature has its own designated series of vibrations that change as you interact with them. For instance, Conflict starts pretty harshly and it becomes harsher, until it starts to shake you. Webster, 69 - 56 - However, not only do the participants feel the specific differences of the various creatures.
This gives the experience an ethical pull. Recall that the haptic quality of the work in particular enables one to feel the force of this. At this stage, the work allows for more individualistic tendencies: yet it does so via a diminishing of the experience of the work and the worlds of the creatures.
For a start, Intimate Transactions is not competitive Armstrong, Also, instead of a destructive individualism, as we have seen, in the more rewarding phases of the collaboration a kind of transversal group Eros is at work. The game was Pterodactyls.
We paid a fair amount of money for about three minutes spent in two different support systems, wearing large helmets and holding handheld controller-guns. My co-player saw this. Can we think a body without this: an intrinsic connection between movement and sensation, whereby each immediately summons the other? If you start from an intrinsic connection between movement and sensation the slightest, most literal displacement convokes a qualitative difference, because as directly as it conducts itself it beckons a feeling, and feelings have a way of folding into each other, resonating together, interfering with each other, mutually intensifying, all in unquantifiable ways apt to unfold again in action, often unpredictably.
Qualitative difference: the issue, immediately, is change. Felt and unforeseen. Cultural theory of the past two decades has tended to bracket the middle terms and their unmediated connection.
It can be argued that in doing so it has significantly missed the two outside terms, even though they have been of consistent concern perhaps the central concerns in the humanities.
Attention to the literality of movement was deflected by fears of falling into a nave realism, a reductive empiricism that would dissolve the specificity of the cultural domain in the plain, seemingly unproblematic, presence of dumb matter. The slightness of ongoing qualitative change paled in comparision to the grandness of periodic rupture. Against that possibility, the everyday was the place where nothing ever happens.
Culture occupied the gap between matter and systemic change, in the operation of mechanisms of mediation. These were ideological apparatuses that structured the dumb material interactions of things and rendered them legible according to a dominant signifying scheme into which human subjects in the making were interpellated. Mediation, although inseparable from power, restored a kind of movement to the everyday.
If the everyday was no longer a place of rupture or revolt, as it had been in glimpses at certain privileged historical junctures, it might still be a site of modest acts of resistance or subversion keeping alive the possibility of systemic change. These were practices of reading or decoding counter to the dominant ideological scheme of things. The body was seen to be centrally involved in these everyday practices of resistance. But this thoroughly mediated body could only be a discursive body: one with its signifying gestures.
Signifying gestures make sense. If properly performed, they may also unmake sense by scrambling significations already in place. Make and unmake sense as they might, they dont sense. Sensation is utterly redundant to their description. Or worse, it is destructive to it, because it appeals to an unmediated experience. Unmediated experience signals a danger that, if anything can be, is worse than nave realism: its polar opposite, nave subjectivism.
Earlier phenomenological investigations into the sensing body were largely left behind because they were difficult to reconcile with the new understandings of the structuring capacities of culture and their inseparability both from the exercise of power and the glimmers of counter-power incumbent in mediate living. It was all about a subject without subjectivism: a subject constructed by external mechanisms.
The Subject. The Body. What is it to The Subject? Not the qualities of its moving experience. But rather, in keeping with the extrinsic approach: its positioning. Ideological accounts of subject formation emphasize systemic structurings. The focus on the systemic had to be brought back down to earth in order to be able to integrate into the account local cultural differences and the practices of resistance they may harbor.
The concept of positionality was widely developed for this purpose. Signifying subject formation according to the dominant structure was often thought of in terms of coding.
Coding in turn came to be thought of in terms of positioning on a grid. The grid was conceived as an oppositional framework of culturally constructed significations: male versus female, black versus white, gay versus straight, and so on.
A body corresponded to a site on the grid defined by an overlapping of one term from each pair. The body came to be defined by its pinning to the grid. Proponents of this model often cited its ability to link bodysites into a geography of culture that tempered the universalizing tendencies of ideology.
The sites, it is true, are multiple. But arent they still combinatorial permutations on an overarching definitional framework? Arent the possibilities for the entire gamut of cultural emplacements, including the subversive ones, pre-coded into the ideological master structure?
Is the body as linked to a particular subject position anything more than a local embodiment of ideology? Where has the potential for change gone? How does a body perform its way out of a definitional framework that is not only responsible for its very construction, but seems to prescript every possible signifying and counter-signifying move as a selection from a repertoire of possible permutations on a limited set of pre-determined terms?
How can the grid itself change? How can what the system has pinpointedly determined flip over into a determining role capable of acting on the systemic level? The aim of the positionality model was to open a window on local resistance in the name of change. But the problem of change returned, with a vengeance. Because every body-subject was so determinately local, it was boxed into its site on the culture map.
The idea of positionality begins by subtracting movement from the picture.
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This catches the body in cultural freeze-frame. The point of explanatory departure is a pinpointing, a zeropoint of stasis. When positioning of any kind comes a determining first, movement comes a problematic second.
After all is signified and sited, there is the nagging problem of how to add movement back into the picture. But adding movement to stasis is about as easy as multiplying a number by zero and getting a positive product. Of course, a body occupying one position on the grid might succeed in making a move to occupy another position. In fact, certain normative progressions, such as that from child to adult, are coded in. But this doesnt change the fact that what defines the body is not the movement itself, only its beginning and end points.
Movement is entirely subordinated to the positions it connects. These are pre-defined.
Adding movement like this adds nothing at all. You just get two successive stases: multiples of zero.
The very notion of movement as qualitative transformation is lacking. There is displacement, but no transformation, as if the body simply leaps from one definition to the next. Since the positional models definitional framework is punctual, it simply cant attribute a reality to the interval, whose crossing is a continuity or nothing. The space of the crossing, the gaps between positions on the grid, falls into a theoretical no-bodys land.
Also lacking is the notion that if there is qualitative movement of the body, it as directly concerns sensings as significations. Add to this the fact that matter, bodily or otherwise, never figures in the account as such. Even though many of the approaches in question characterize themselves as materialisms, matter can only enter in indirectly: as mediated.
Matter, movement, body, sensation. Multiple mediated miss. The present project began almost ten years ago in response to these problems. It was based on the hope that movement, sensation, and qualities of experience couched in matter in its most literal sense and sensing , might be culturally-theoretically thinkable, without falling into either the Scylla of nave realism or the Charybdis of subjectivism, and without contradicting the very real insights of poststructuralist cultural theory concerning the coextensiveness of culture with the field of experience, and of power with culture.
The aim was to put matter unmediatedly back into cultural materialism, along with what seemed most directly corporeal back into the body. Theoretically, the point of departure would have to be to part company with the linguistic model at the basis of the most widespread concepts of coding almost always Saussurian in inspiration, often with Lacanian inflections and find a semiotics willing to engage with continuity in point of fact a major preoccupation of the founder of the discipline, C.
This was undertaken not in a spirit of opposition to Theory or cultural studies, but in the hope of building on their accomplishments, perhaps refreshing their vocabulary with conceptual infusions from neglected sources or under-appreciated aspects of known sources.
If at any point I thought of this refreshing in terms of regaining a concreteness of experience, I was quickly disabused of the notion. Take movement. When a body is in motion, it does not coincide with itself. It coincides with its own transition: its own variation. The range of variations it can be implicated in is not present in any given movement, much less in any position it passes through.
In motion, a body is in an immediate, unfolding relation to its own non-present potential to vary. That relation, to borrow a phrase from Gilles Deleuze, is real but abstract. The positional grid was abstract, despite the fact that it was meant to bring cultural theory back down to the local level, since it involved an overaching definitional grid whose determinations preexisted the bodies they constructed or to which they were applied.
The abstract of Deleuzes realbut-abstract is very different from this. It doesnt pre-exist, and has nothing fundamentally to do with mediation. If ideology must be understood as mediating, then it equally has nothing to do with ideology chapters 2, 3, and 9 tackle the description of non-ideological mechanisms of power.
Here abstract means: never present in position, only ever in passing. This is an abstractness pertaining to the transitional immediacy of a real relation that of a body to its own indeterminacy its openness to an elsewhere and otherwise than it is, in any here and now. The charge of indeterminacy carried by a body is inseparable from it.
It strictly coincides with it, to the extent that the body is in passage or in process to the extent that is dynamic and alive. But it is not itself corporeal. Far from regaining a concreteness, to think the body in movement thus means accepting the paradox that there is an incorporeal dimension of the body. Of it; but not it. Real, material, but incorporeal.
Inseparable, coincident, but disjunct. If is this concrete, the project originally set out on will take some severe twists. One way of starting to get a grasp on the real-material-but-incorporeal is to say it is to the body, as a positioned thing, as energy is to matter. Energy and matter are mutually convertible modes of the same reality. This would make the incorporeal something like a phase-shift of the body in the usual sense, but not one that comes after it in time. It would be a conversion or unfolding of the body contemporary to its every move.
Always accompanying. Fellow-traveling dimension of the same reality. This self-disjunctive coinciding sinks an ontological difference into the heart of the body.
Parables for the virtual movement affect sensation brian massumi
The bodys potential to vary shares the same reality as the body as variety positioned thing but partakes of it in a different mode. Integrating movement slips us directly into what Michel Foucault called an incorporeal materialism.
Paraphrasing Deleuze again, the problem with the dominant models in cultural and literary theory is not that they are too abstract to grasp the concreteness of the real. The problem is that they are not abstract enough to grasp the real incorporeality of the concrete. When it comes to grappling productively with paradoxes of passage and position, the philosophical precursor is Henri Bergson.
The slip into an incorporeal materialism follows the logic of Bergsons famous analyses of Zenos paradoxes of movement. The problem is that between one point on a line and the next, there is an infinity of intervening points. If the arrow occupies a first point along its path, it will never reach the next unless it occupies each of the infinity of points between. Of course, it is of the nature of infinity that you can never get to the end of it. The arrow gets swallowed up in the transitional infinity.
Its flight path implodes. The arrow is immobilized. It was in passage across them all. The transition from bow to target is not decomposable into constitutent points. A path is not composed of positions. It is nondecomposable: a dynamic unity. That continuity of movement is of another order of reality than the measurable, divisible space it can be confirmed as having crossed. It doesnt stop until it stops: when it hits the target. Then, and only then, is the arrow is in position.
It is only after the arrow hits it mark that its real trajectory be point-plotted before, for all we know, the arrow could have taken a different path and missed.
The points or positions really appear retrospectively, working backwards from the movements end. It is as if, in our thinking, we put targets all along the path. The inbetween positions are logical targets: possible end points. The flight of the arrow is not immobilized, as Zeno would have it.
We stop it in thought when we construe its movement to be divisible into positions. Bergsons idea is that space itself is a retrospective construct of this kind. When we think of space as extensive, as being measurable, divisible, and composed of points plotting possible positions that objects may occupy, we are stopping the world in thought.
We are thinking away its dynamic unity, the continuity of its movements. We are looking at only one dimension of reality. A thing is when it isnt doing. A thing is concretely where and what it is for example a successfully shot arrow sticking in a target when it is in a state of arrest.
Concrete is as concrete doesnt. Extensive space, and the arrested objects occupying the positions into which it is divisible, is a backformation from cessation. The dynamic enabling the backformation is intensive in the sense that movement, in process, cannot be determinately indexed to anything outside of itself. It has withdrawn into an all-encompassing relation with what it will be. It is in becoming, absorbed in occupying its field of potential.
For when it comes to a stop in the target, it will have undergone a qualitative change. It will not just be an arrow.
It will have been a successfully shot arrow. It is still the same thing by definition but in a different way, qualitatively changed by the passing event. But if it is qualitatively changed, isnt it only nominally the same? Shouldnt we assert, with Leibniz, that all the predicates that can be stated of a thing all the accidents that might befall it even those remaining in potential are of its nature?
The concept nature is of modification, not essence chapter 9. The latter are not false or unreal. They are truly, really stop-operations. Or if they have movement, it is derivative, a second-order movement between backformed possibilities a kind of zero-point movement that can be added back, against all odds. The models criticized earlier do not need to be trashed. They are not just plain wrong. Its just that their sphere of applicability must be recognized as limited to a particular mode of things being, or a particular dimension of the real the degree to which things coincide with their own arrest.
Einsteins theories of relativity did not prove Newtons laws wrong. It showed them to be of limited applicability. Accurate, but only at a certain scale of things where the law of entropy holds. The same goes for the Bergsonian revolution. Cultural laws of positioning and ideology are accurate, in a certain sphere where the tendency to arrest dominates. Right or wrong is not the issue.
The issue is demarcate their sphere of applicability when the ground upon which they operate is continuously moving. This limitation does not belittle the approaches in question. In fact, it brings wonder back into them. From this point of view, the operations they describe are little short of miraculous.
Like multiplying by zero and yielding a positive quantity. Miraculation should figure prominently in the semiotic vocabulary. Position no longer comes first, with movement a problematic second. It is secondary to movement and derived from it. It is retro movement; movement residue. The problem is no longer to explain how there can be change given positioning.
The problem is to explain the wonder that there can be stasis given the primacy of process. This is akin to late twentieth-century problematics of order out of chaos. The distinction between stasis and motion that replaces the opposition between literal and figurative from this perspective is not a logical binarism. It follows modes of realitys passing into each other. Passing into is not a binarism. Emerging is not a binarism. They are dynamic unities. The kinds of distinction suggested here pertain to continuities under qualitative transformation.
They are directly processual and derivatively signifying and codifying. They can only be approached by a logic abstract enough to grasp the self-disjunctive coincidence of a things immediacy to its own variation: to follow how concepts of dynamic unity and unmediated heterogeneity reciprocally presuppose each other.
The concept of field, to mention but one, is a useful logical tool for expressing continuity of self-relation and heterogeneity in the same breath chapters 3 and 6. Embarrassingly for the humanities, the handiest concepts in this connection are almost without exception products of mathematics or the sciences. They must be ontogenetic: they must be equal to emergence.
Social and cultural determinations on the model of positionality are also secondary and derived. Gender, race, sexual orientation also emerge and backform their reality. Passage precedes construction. But construction does effectively backform its reality. Grids happen. So social and cultural determinations feed back into the process from which they arose. Indeterminacy and determination, change and freezeframing, go together. They are inseparable, and always actually coincide while remaining disjunctive in their modes of reality.
To say that passage and indeterminacy come first or are primary is more a statement of ontological priority than the assertion of a time-sequence. They have ontological privilege in the sense that they constitute the field of the emergence, while positionings are what emerge.
The trick is to express that priority in a way that respects the inseparability and contemporaneousness of the disjunct dimensions: their ontogenetic difference. The work of Gilbert Simondon is exemplary in this regard. The idea is that there is an ontogenesis or becoming of culture and the social bracketing for present purposes the difference between them , of which determinate forms of culture and sociability are the result.
The challenge is to think that process of formation, and for that you need the notion of a takingform, an inform on the way to being determinately this or that.
This act of standing became one of the basic premises of exploring the principles of communication first evident in Magnesium, and then in the research and technique, that today is known as Contact Improvisation. Gil concludes that expanding the inner consciousness can produce two effects on the movement. The first effect concerns the awareness of the possibility of expanding the scale of movements.
The second effect consists in realizing that consciousness itself changes, no longer remaining in the exterior, as an object, but rather impregnating itself, thus, awareness becomes body consciousness. For Henri Bergson , in Matter and Memory: an essay on the relation of body and spirit, the sensation is the protagonist of memory and the body that triggers itself, that acts.
The immediate past as something perceived is a sensation since every sensation translates a long succession of elementary stimuli, and the immediate future as it determines itself is action or movement. Therefore, my present is simultaneously sensation and movement; and, since my present forms an undivided whole, such movement must be connected to this sensation, it should prolong it in action.
Therefore, I conclude that my present consists of a combined system of sensations and movements. My present is, in essence, sensorimotor Bergson, , p. The body is the center of the action. The body of the memory is a sensorimotor system organized by patterns and habits called procedural memory. It is an almost instantaneous memory, which relates mainly to the embodied movement. Procedural memory also contains the potential for action, the possibility of actions that have not yet been committed.
In this sense, memory is related to the sensorimotor experience. A trace of memory that becomes real is a natural process since memory-image is already partly sensation. Some practices access precisely this awareness.
For example, standing up with the eyes closed, breathing deeply, opening up the spaces in the lungs, and directing attention to the spine and lungs. Breathing in and slowly out are essential guidelines in the work of Material for the Spine which aims at expanding inner consciousness and impregnating it with specificities of bodily sensations. Gil , p. Therefore, our perception of a moment or an event is constituted through bodily images that relate to and are modified in our bodies.
For Bergson , our perception of a whole does not correspond to the materiality of that event; however, the perception that we have about the same event is infinitely variable.
This image occupies the center; all other images are regulated around it; each of its movements changes everything as if spinning in a kaleidoscope. How to explain that these two systems co-exist and that the same images are relatively invariable in the universe but infinitely variable in perception?
Bergson, , p. Perception is never granted as finished, just as our perspectives lead us to explain and think of the world which encompasses and surpasses them, announcing itself through sensible forms as dazzling as a word, an arabesque, a fold, a movement.
In this sense, it is necessary that our world of expression becomes sensation, that is, to awaken and reinvoke in its entirety the pure power to express, beyond the things already seen.
Perception, therefore, is a process of becoming aware of something, of knowing. It refers to the ability to differentiate information found in the world. This process of understanding the information found in the world is mediated by experience, which requires the use of the senses.
For instance: for a sensation to be perceived, it passes into the body through one or more sensory organs. Interpreting a sensation is what we know as perception, but not in a chronological sense; rather, as a tangle without beginning or end. Thomas Reid, author of Essays on Intellectual Powers of Man in Perception , explores the theories of immediacy and their relation to perception.
For Reid , three stages occur during the perception of a phenomenon: firstly, a notion or an idea of what is being perceived comes to mind; secondly, a strong and irresistible conviction of the current existence of what is perceived; lastly, such conviction is immediate, and not a result of a rational activity.
The immediate relates to an a priori notion which is given. For John Dewey , perception is not only what we see nor what we understand of what we see, but rather a balance between what we see and what we understand, simultaneously. Perception is not something fixed or constant, but it has fixed elements in a system of constant change. There is an immediacy in what we perceive, but what we perceive is rarely unmediated. Massumi , p. The properties of the thing perceived are also properties of the action, more than the thing itself.
Perception is located between the one who perceives and what is perceived. Thus, such in-betweenness that is this perception process adjusts itself in the subitem Dance and Culture, part of the section Cultivating, in which Steve Paxton discusses the role of dancing and dancers today by questioning the ambition that separates them from a sensitivity and physicality that would take place in a more natural environment.
Such arrangement stiffens bodies and transforms them into uncreative tools since the city and urban civilization are devices that discipline and control bodies. Paxton pays attention to the necessity of returning to a knowledge of nature in which dancing focuses our perception onto rather basic aspects of perceiving time, space, and gravity that comprise our creativity.
In this sense, dancing is a wake-up call to work on a tamed body, since it will remind it of its own feet, vertebrae, and reach. Whether in Contact Improvisation, in the guidelines of MFS, or in other forms of dance, there is a knowledge produced in the body from the investigation of such relations of physical forces, in which the body consciously organizes and acquires abilities to dance and create or collaborate in creation.
Such abilities are intrinsically related to bodily sensation, to the acquisition of a palette of internal sensations that sustains the movements of the body and gives them formal precision.
Perception and Performativity in the Contemporary Scene In the context of live arts, an emphasis on perception has been traditionally conceived as an external and hermeneutical look: exterior, like ballet in front of a mirror, and hermeneutical in conceiving the body and above all, as a means of expressing a meaning to be interpreted.
From a practical standpoint, this hermeneutical emphasis is articulated by focusing on a representational work in which the movement exists to represent an emotion, for example and in which the bodywork of the dancer is subject to this goal.Thought and language bend to it, like light in the vicinity of a superdense heavenly body.
I might as well also admit that my prose has been compared to a black hole. This disqualifies any fundamental reliance on stimulus-response or input-output models, as well as any simple active-passive framework. Or is it: with miraculous lucidity? It remains in continuity with itself across its multiplication.
For John Dewey , perception is not only what we see nor what we understand of what we see, but rather a balance between what we see and what we understand, simultaneously.
This was undertaken not in a spirit of opposition to Theory or cultural studies, but in the hope of building on their accomplishments, perhaps refreshing their vocabulary with conceptual infusions from neglected sources or under-appreciated aspects of known sources. Make and unmake sense as they might, they dont sense. What makes this material interesting for theoretical reflection is that it discusses the interaction between movement, body consciousness, and artistic potential.
The Spinozist problematic of affect offers a way of weaving together concepts of movement, tendency and intensity in a way that takes us right back to the beginning: in what sense the body coincides with its own transitions, and its transitioning with its potential.
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