…woke this morning to swirls of fog and thoughts of prolepsis in re: the never ending Ourobouros-like tail biting. I leave it to the reader to disentangle the parts, if such prophetic possibility present itself. To that end (always pregnant with the beginning), I came across this quote from Leibniz in Roberto Calasso’s book Tiepolo Pink. In passing one might note also the cloudy, clotted scenes from Tiepolo’s work, along with the the scenes of fairy lore of Victorian painter Richard Dadd and the more ‘modern’ work of contemporary artist Maurice Clifford; the enigmatic detail of these artists no doubt leads to an awareness of an occulted sensibility overall :
The outcome of these little perceptions is therefore more efficacious than one would think. They form that je ne sais quoi , those inclinations, those images of the qualities of the senses, clear as a whole, but confused in their parts; those impressions that surrounding bodies make on us, and that embody infinity; the bond that every living being has with the rest of the universe. One may even say that as a consequence of these little perceptions the present is pregnant with the future and laden with the past, which plots all (sýmpnoia pánta, as Hippocrates put it), and that in the smallest of substances penetrating eyes like those of God might read all the concatenation of the things of the universe.
The following is from a perforations issue, subsequently printed in the perforations collection as a hypertext
(When I was a boy, passing hazy summer days in a small southern town, the highlight of the week was the twilight trip of the truck fogger which slowly huffed through the neighborhood spraying out a thick fog of insecticide to stem the equally thick fog of mosquitoes, nano-like and insistent in their omnipresence. Jumping on our bikes, my friends and I would follow the truck, holding our breath and swooping in and out of the fog, intent, no doubt, on acting out our own version of the emergence of monsters from the mist, the combination of twilight and fog too irresistable to ignore. If the fog which we saw in the saturday matinees at the monster triple features would too seldom–if ever–come to us, why, we would go to it.)
The power of ‘fog’ is thus not only an industrial (ala 19th century production modes) effect (and isn’t a bullet preeminently an industrial artifact?) but rather its power resides in its disseminative effect, its ability to flow into the farthest interstitial reaches. (Like an insecticide fogger, set to go off and into every nook and cranny of a room, killing every roach no matter where it’s hiding. Will some future superroach be able to adapt and live off those fogs, come, even, to await with eagerness its arrival?) Modernity and modernism themselves have many of the same traumatic qualities of this search-and-destroy feature of the anti-insect fogger and its inevitable covering-over of every available surface. Inasmuch as modernism has historically been about the “shock of the new” (which has, from a post-modernist point of view, been about the conversion of temporal qualities to spatial, or the substitution of surface effects for depth configurations), the ‘post-modern’ can be seen as the dissemination of modernism through the aegis of capital flow, under the cultural dominance of global multi-national corporations and an imbricated telematic infra-structure of computers, video, and telephone service. A form of indeterminate transfer of systematicity for which the terms enfilade and enfleurage are evocative but inadequate unless they can somehow be combined.
The hallmarks of this tail end of modernism have now passed from shock (is anyone shocked by anything anymore?) to uneasiness, dread, expectation, and anxiety. The sharp slap of shocks, administered repeatedly to a system (by a system), rapidly become, in the first moments of trauma, hidden; the organism learns to cope, learns to encrypt that originary scene, managing to put up with the increasing miasma that seeps out of the crevices, cracks and then starts to define those cracks. Effects begin to be noticed outside the crypt as energies begin to be invested in objects. As speech is quelled under the pressure, the objects begin to speak, but heard indistinctly, seen through a glass darkly (even as the object world becomes ever more insistently present, the 60-cycle humming of nano-mosquitoes).
The second scene of trauma, the scene which establishes consciousness (a temporal cut), the scene of discovery, still has not taken place. And like enfilades’s establishing cut through sortie, abolishing one scene and creating another simultaneously, and enfleurage’s hind brain reliance, scenes of modernist discovery kill at they same time that they discover (or remember) the ‘evidence’. What would be the establishing ‘cut’ for the machinic phylum, spirited (machined?) away from the trembling, shaking, swaying Kore-tic organic? What must be killed and what is remembered? Oleaginous escape from inorganic depths forming from toxic interior to the outside covering the exterior…, pushing toward some ultimate alien aufhebung. “What then is the unhuman? It is, first of all, a limit without reserve, something that one is always arriving at, but which is never circumscribed within the ambit of human thought/” Eugene Thacker