a p p a r e n t   h o r i z o n

... point, threshold, boundary, limen ...


“Perhaps that’s what I feel, an outside and an inside and me in the middle, perhaps that’s what I am, the thing that divides the world into, on the one side the outside, on the other the inside, that can be as thin as foil, I’m neither one side nor the other, I’m in the middle, in the partition, I’ve two surfaces and thickness, perhaps that’s what I feel, myself vibrating, I’m the tympanum, on the one hand the mind, on the other the world, I don’t belong to either, it’s not to me they’re talking, it’s not of me they’re talking, no, thats not it, I feel nothing of all that, try something else, herd of shites, say something else.”

— Samuel Beckett

There is a seeming conflict between Deep Time and the on-going regularity and haecceity of Now Time, the time in which bios (and zoé for that matter) lives and dies. Our perception falters and fails at the very beginning of Nowness, that is, birth, and its end, death. We only can perceive bits and pieces of the great hyper-objects and events which protrude into the current space of Now but which seem to extend to unknown regions before and after our tenure on earth. Even the overlapping of generational institutions through the millennia gives us only scant comfort that we have anything like a correct perception of these enormous (a word which doesn’t begin to give deep time justice) objects, processes and events. The tumult of earth bound storms, our astronomical observations of deep sky objects and events, certain archaeological excavations pointing to the beginnings of the human adventure on earth seem like mere scribbles by firelight once the enormity of the task of attempting to perceive ‘what is really going on’ (the very aim of all surveillance: the attempt at simultaneity of knowledge globally for local ends) reveals itself. (Even our most sophisticated surveillings of space can only give us a time-bound snapshot solely relating to the time on earth NOW, as cast by the stream of light which has traveled unimaginable distances, telling us nothing about the conditions of a simultaneous Now over There and in fact raising certain questions about recordings and observations in general to the point of questioning, under the regimes of quantum mechanics and general relativity, what is even meant by ‘now’, ‘then’ and ‘there’.

There is a point at which all art takes on a vexed nostalgic cast, becoming kitsch, and all philosophies crumble in the face of perceptions so uncertain, fates so vast and uncontainable. It is as if an event horizon surrounds the earth itself, and we live in the apparent penumbra.


We are certainly englobed with the foam of things nowadays, to the extent that we have a difficult time keeping up with even a surface knowledge of events. (Post modernism’s great attempt was to declare that such surface knowledge was the ONLY knowledge that could be had.) Thoughts of the sea (or space or deep time) can seldom be discerned through the daily slosh of froth on our windshields. At times, all events simply merge into a blur, as they must under the conditions of the now-questionable postmodern condition (that is, neo-liberal global hyper financialization). Under the hubris of that placement of time and space, the formations of archipelagos of events (Jean-François Lyotard) leave us all grappling in the Inoperative Community, hoisted on our own petard in the service of our own selfies, no matter how out of focus they often seem to be.

But it must be asked: what is an event (or perhaps more mysteriously, an Event)? There are ‘ultra events’ (Richard Polt) of the most primal happenings, birth and death; there are ‘quasi-events,’ which chart topographies of failure and irresolution; there are events which mimic other events; events which only eventuate if correlated in a constellation of other events (Walter Benjamin); there are ‘shadow events,’ which somehow hide within the glaring klieg lights of real, ‘mega events,’ every large event generating a portal though which pass the most incredible assertions, almost but not quite provable. The very largest of the events — the Resurrection, the holocaust, world wars, contact with radical environments and worlds in outer space, evolution, extinction—cause shadow events to flood though the portals of ostensibility [apparentness] into potentia, a potential energy/form which, like dark matter and dark energy, surrounds and folds upon the apparent world, a skototropic dispositif lying in wait for inraptment by the seeker of esoteric truths. And there are events which cannot be so easily subtracted from what formed them, intractable tentacles flowing from the past (and maybe even from the future, who knows) forming steady accretions which eventually erupt. Even so, easily seen after it happens, not so much before, other than perhaps inchoate forebodings and the sense of inevitability when an event happens and only then reveals its mechanisms of approach. But Events are invariably monsters of energy, quilting points of energy and information, even the least of them having moments of surprise, rupture, rapture, and capture. And the largest of events seem to be about nothing less than rupture itself, cracks, crevices opening onto the void that waits within everything. so much so that, along with all things that reek of transcendence, there is an immediate leveling that accompanies the great events, a turn into a scene from a movie (how often have we heard the refrain from witnesses to great events that it seemed just like the witness was in a movie). Thereby does the ‘unknown unknowns’ begin to lose its power and domestication sets in. The apocalypse is the first to fall prey to kitsch.

Modeled on and through the event of language, all becomes event, pared down to the monosyllabic, since, in order to be an event it must be named and like Adam creating a world, bubbles of events proliferate, ink spreads, assuredly minor froth for the most part since all existence must participate (and precipitate for that matter). But the essential thing is that events must be first performed before they/it can be said to be truly in this world and not simply teasing and casting about at the threshold, flickering gumptive wannabes hanging at the tease of The Open, the abyssal fall into our very own human Fall into/with matter. But now (and it is a very big now, encompassing all other nows and thens), all foam, every bubble must be placed under observation, placed under the continuous gaze of a temporal Medusa, solidifying the now which continually threatens to erupt into some mega event though which fly the hordes of Odin (pick you own numinous entelechy) to capture the cool green hills of earth again away from the machinic into the sorceric. (You may be getting confused now, thinking that WE are confused by bringing the kitsch of silvery planets of mythology into the heavy HEAVY too heavy air of ontology and surveillance apparatuses, and the weariness of trying to shift the furniture on the Titanic of neo-liberalism and the turbo charged cyclone of hypercapitalism. BUT! [And it is a big but, have no fear!!] there is the place to which we are stuck, the gravity of identity making it so … and that is where the modern always drops us soi-disant common all-too-apparent folks: back into the grinder of the beginning and end of everything and not into a Nothing but into a Some Thing: if nothing else, things turned event-wise, those things which have always laid astride us, the para-sites of ever new/always ancient portals — those places which ‘experts’ attack and dissimulate first, leaving us–soi-disant remember) — common ones waking at 3 am in cold sweats, penetrated and perforated by feverish foggy phantasmagoria, unable to identify one thing from another (real) Thing, that place where all events seem to mere into a foamy haze, washed up on Valéry’s skummy beach side lot, already partitioned for quick sale. No escape clause once you sign on the dotted line. (“The most notable symptom is revealed here as the ache of what escapes content, the earworm nagging at us all, that which infects even as the lock snaps shut on the quarantine cell.” Stephen Michelmore / This Space blog)





“As the German expression has it, the last judgement is the youngest day, and it is a day surpassing all days. Not that judgement is reserved for the end of time. On the contrary, justice won’t wait; it is to be done at every instant, to be realized all the time, and studied also (it is to be learned). Every just act (are there any?) makes of its day the last day or – as Kafka said – the very last: a day no longer situated in the ordinary succession of days but one that makes of the most commonplace ordinary, the extraordinary.” ― Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster
  “And at a distance from pathology, from the vicinity where language folds in upon itself still saying nothing, an experience is about to be born where our thought is headed. This imminence, already visible but absolutely empty, remains to be named.”
– Michel Foucault, Madness, The Absence of Work 

The whole show pays homage to the impossibility of complete vision, no matter how comprehensive the theory and powerful the means of observation. We can influence the direction of nature’s immense processes, but we cannot fully control or even observe them. It is all, literally, beyond us.

Review: Public Domain’s meaning not apparent in “Apparent Horizon,” at Eyedrum June 18, 2015

The viewer’s task is to integrate the projections of collapsing glaciers and underwater coral with projections of abandoned steel infrastructure and of yawning canyons – and to integrate all these projections of environment at massive scale with the intimate paintings of eyes set in study, above a tiny horizon of ink, and, with the back and forth millings of a surveilled mass of you and of me.

Review: The Loss of Searched Time: Public Domain at Eyedrum
– Al Matthews / June 26, 2015

We head for the horizon, on the plane of immanence, and we return with bloodshot eyes.

— Guy Deleuze

It may be the case that the biggest Event, the most horrible catastrophe, will not be of the order of climate, or asteroids, or food production, or extreme financialization or any of the other Dooms which seem to await us, riding along side of us as we rapidly futurize (or indemnify) the human. It might just as possibly be an invention, that unprecedented Event which causes a global collapse into another phase state away from the human, away from the organic; a product of the foreign body which forms part of the human, will be responsible for everything that we fear from catastrophic interventions and intrusions, something which simultaneously wipes out and restates, something which, much more frightening than Ebola, will be something which we desire and want to come about, something we have created: an invention which is hollow inside.

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