smoke fog 7: noise 2

Posted on December 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


“Invisible things flit through the teeming immensity. What is below human beings perceives through a fog that which is above them.” Victor Hugo

Most immediately, we can think of that which is below human beings as objects and as all other living things, although Hugo was referring to the statistical phenomena of the crowd, the “impenetrable obscurity of mass existence” (Walter Benjamin). This “teeming immensity” is penetrated with modernist attempts to extricate the ‘crowd’ from its ‘objecthood’, to liberate it from its inexpressiveness, from the fog-like opacity which the material world apparently institutes through the aegis of the psychic aggregate ( mob mentality or the collective unconsious, depending on ones mind set). At the same time, however, these redemptive extrications (such as those of Marxism and perhaps Freudianism) required the presence of the modern statistical mass (the proletariat, the superstitious and pre-critical horde) in order to enact their own enabling liberatory gestures. Inasmuch as these gestures also enact a performative impulse which frames action (as methodologies are always assumed to do), the teeming immensities of the crowd can be easily seen to contain not only demonstrations and chants but also consumption and chance, especially when separated from any chiliastic teleology, all aligned with shock and catastrophe (Benjamin’s angel of history), hallmarks of modernism: the transgression of the gestural frame at virtually the same moment that it is instituted. (Just as, for example, the photograph is framed, time is sliced and frozen; and yet the photograph is exceeded by the photographic apparatus itself, and the ‘optical unconscious,’ the unseen structures, which it reveals. We may take that to be the case with all exemplary re-presentational media structures. It is now possible to freeze not only the individual moment but statistical events and processes on a world-wide basis, perhaps revealing an ‘event unconsciousness’, the search for–or better yet, creation of — ‘secrets’.)

The moment that is being freed for the next millennium is the transgressive instance of the second stage of trauma, the phase of recognition and memory (of secrets), jolted by a demographic telematic apparatus of global proportions, memory freed from the exigencies of experience, released into an ether (of at least two sorts) of virtual experience, a re-ordering of causal orders, befitting a quantum age. This matrix of virtuality constitutes a boundary membrane, the main characteristic of which is porosity, perhaps not the final product of enlightenment but a tuning coming from a slowly dissolving orchestra pit before the collapse of stage into audience.