(a) Frequency of Occurrence

(b) Acoustic Prominence

(c) Simplicity

(d) Maximal Differentiation

(1) The performative should be doing something as opposed to just saying something,

(2) The performative is happy or unhappy as opposed to true or false.

J. L. Austin

If the union of a soul to a machine is impossible, let someone prove it to me; if it is possible, let someone tell me what would be the effects of this union. The peasant who sees a watch working, and who, not being able to understand the mechanism, puts a spirit into the hands is neither more nor less foolish than our spiritualists.

D. Diderot

...Everything that makes a sound does so by the impact of something (a) against something else (b) across a space (c) filled with air; hence it is only to be expected that no animals utter voice except those which take in air.


Chimpanzee Sign Language:

chimp: Please
person: What you want?
chimp: Out
chimp: Please
person: What you want?
chimp: Open
chimp: More
person: More what?
chimp: Tickle

The invention of the other is not opposed to that of the same, its difference beckons toward another coming about, toward this other invention of which we dream, the invention of the entirely other, the one that allows the coming of a still unanticipatable alterity and for which no horizon of waiting as yet seems ready, in place, available.

Jacques Derrida

If you think you're describing thought when you describe a selecting and tabulating of data, you're silencing truth. Because data aren't given, but giveable, and selection isn't choice. Thinking, like writing andpainting, is almost no more than letting a giveable come towards you...(like the) emphasis...put on the sort of emptiness that has to be obtained from mind and body by a Japanese warrior-artist when doing calligraphy, by an actor when acting: the kind of suspension of ordinary intentions of mind associated with habitus, or arrangements of the body...this soliciting of emptiness, this evacuation—-very much the opposite of over-weaning, selecting, identificatory activity—-doesn't take place without suffering. An enjoyment of what we possessed is now lost Here again, you will note, there's a necessity for physical experience and a recourse to exemplary cases of bodily ascesis to understand and make understood a type of emptying of the mind, an emptying that is required if the mind is to think. . . . In what we call thinking the mind isn't directed but suspended. You don't give it rules. You teach it to receive. You don't clear the ground to build unobstructed; you make a little clearing where the penumbra of an almost given will be able to enter and modify its contour."
Can Thought Go On
Without a Body?

J.-F. Lyotard

For the job:

1) you think about it.

2) you figure it all out.

3) you tell everybody.

4) you buy the paint.

5) you check everything.

6) you paint it.

7) you recheck everything.

8) you recheck everything.

9) you work the whole thing over some more.

10) you make it go,

Nicolas in Jean-Luc Godard's A Married Woman

Whirls without wind—-to put the best spin on it, to give it the maximum
lift. Who cares if it never leaves the ground? The ground has already left
us—and left us suspended and possibly spinning, if not weaving. And who
knows? maybe weaving too, staggering like a drunk or stitching like a little
well-oiled sewing machine. Three places at once — staggering, stitching and
weaving (and also stuttering—but that is no-place). Spinning in place, deep
and deeper (like an augur?) — or upper and upper (like a copter?) How do
we know any more what direction that is? We're weaving , staggering and
...................stuttering in free fall. A little bit of weaving first (which may look like dodging to some—and..........................
they're right!) — the history of modern rotary wing aircraft and its origins
in psychodynamic lift — then the history of light chopped in chunks by
being/space — and always the history of me (after all the only history
which counts and yet still comes to an end).
Sew many carriages precessing in (s)p(l)ace
Turning and returning — destination and departure
identical, a whirlwind, a psyclone, furiously turning without moving:

"An invention always pre-supposes some illegality, the breaking of an
implicit contract; it inserts a disorder into the peaceful ordering of
things, it disregards the proprieties."

Psyche: Inventions of the Other
Jacques Derrida


The Helicopter Project / The Extinction of the Ammonites



So where does that leave a contraption? Not entirely original — but not devoid of a certain cleverness. A contraption gathers proprieties but then disperses them under a different sign, that of cleverness and contrivance, a confabulation and conjoining of disparities to achieve a unified effect —- and a contraption is all effect (even if a genuine invention does underlie its workings), all joints visible and contributing to its effectiveness. An effectiveness based less on its utilitarian working-ness than on its conveyance of a certain appearance of working-ness.

The word contraption is an amalgam of 'contrivance' and 'deception' (according to Webster's). It is thus a volatile re-working of events or most particularly things whose assembly is not guided by some sort of rectitude, verisimilitude or representative efficacy but rather by a willful and deceptive collation of things in parataxis.

We can suppose, then, that a contraption is (1) a physical assemblage which is (2) not guided by 'true' inspiration, genius, or originality (i.e., it may possess all those attributes, however, they are not 'true', but misleading, often intentionally) and which is (3) somehow at odds with the reality which it purports to represent. Perhaps it is that a contraption is thought to represent only the cleverness and the contrivance that went into its assembly but not the 'deeper', 'truer' events of which it could be said ture genius, inspiration and invention would provide. If invention is a dislocator of values, a contraption would be a confusion of values; or perhaps better yet, a bricolage of values which would be a suspension of closure by mastery or 'coming to a head' (that is, can never be truly productive in the sense that true invention would be) because it is the product itself, is the result of the machineries of productivity (it thus represents re-productivity) and does not give rise to an originary productivity or fruitfulness; it is always a worn and patched hand-me-down. It is barren and threadbare but wishes us to think otherwise. "Invention begins by being susceptible to repetition, exploitation, reinscription." (Derrida, Psyche...) The contraption is the end result (and the beginning), being nothing but repetition, exploitation and reinscription; the ghost has left the machine. And yet... There is work, of a sort, that still goes on: not in the contraption but around and about it. It still generates activity but it is the type of work that polynesian cargo cults celebrated. It is a machine with a vacuum at its core, an eviscerated machine but one which still walks and proffers an all-too-apparent 'present-ness'. The invention's fate is always to generate a double. Every invention/machine is accompanied by a contraption almost as every human is said to be accompanied by a geist or spirit. With this major exception: the terms of embedding are reversed. The contraption, techne's soul-equivalent, amounts to a mere assemblage of visual elements, its distribution along a heterogeneous network but arranged to homogeneous ends, Its fetishistic quality is apparent (or should we say re-presentative?) but the whole to which it refers — the invention\machine — is simply another collection of parts. The invention/machine, in other words, is clothed (or surfaced) with its soul in contrast to human physicality which is said to be inhabited by the soul.

* * *
"(Invention) institutes a repetition or an imaginary reflexivity
that, even as it divides the inaugural Act, at once the inventive event and the relation or archive of an in-vention, also allows it to unfold in order to say nothingbut the same, itself, the dehiscent and refolded invention of the same, at the very instant it takes place."

Jacques Derrida
* * *

The point of torsion is not easily found. (The point of torsion being that moment when translation commences: the movement from one realm to another.) It is always too early to determine the nature/depth of those realms: ontological or 'merely' epistemological. (Always too early — or maybe too late; at any rate the time is never just right — because we can never get behind that moment of translation.) The torsion never snaps loose after the realms are joined, seemingly merged; the twisting of language in its description, its meeting of its other is simply subsumed into this region.

The contraption thus becomes a kind of translation device, a mediator (one not without its own ontological pitfalls) between formerly incom-mensurable realms. However, the contraption also embodies the twisting characteristic of translation, an off-axis displacement, which is itself the result of torsional displacement. (It is a twist based on a twist, etc.) What is the contraption translating from and to? Ostensibly from pure 'machine-ness' to pure 'human-ness', the contraption being an admixture of effects jerked from both realms (in this the contraption joins with the concepts of the monstrous and the grotesque), thrown and twisted together such that the identities of each become confused. (Of course, in a very real sense there are only contraptions, in the sense that there are no pure, untangled identities or meanings that can be gotten at for either the machine or the human.)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary another formative meaning may come from the word 'trap'. A contraption certainly seems to trap meanings, its semiotic surfaces particularly sticky along certain vectors, determinable for each human/contraption/machine vector (by an analytic which actually owes more to the contraption at least in any performative sense).

In quite another sense, as indicated by the term pit-fall, a heterogeneous assemblage, as an example of all double-hinged structures, has an element of indeterminate-ness which functions as loss (for the identitiy of the human component) and gain (in the form of complexity which might perhaps lead to identity) for the machine. It is not clear that this second trap component is weighted solely in favor of the machine, although the modern era would lead one to such a conclusion. It is clear that that somewhat entropic modifications of human identity occur at the interface/representation of the contraption such that modifications of the terms 'human identity and nature' are necessary.

Jacques Derrida describes two types of invention: (1) unveiling discovery and (2) productive discovery, thus: "(1) 'first time', the event of a discovery, the invention of what was already there and came into view as an existence or as meaning and truth; (2) the productive invention of a technical apparatus that was not already there as such."

It is not exactly the case that the first sort of discovery/invention is a propaedeutic for the second, but it is also not apparent the extent and manner in which they are linked. Certainly, as Derrida points out, the idea of invention is nowadays linked almost exclusively to a certain logico-mathematical apparatus, one which increasingly has little need of the idea of an 'unveiling' of a certain sort of truth, discovery or invention.

However, for the moment, let us consider the possibility of precursor effects, operating in the first sphere of invention which herald the arrival of the apparatus or contraption (unlike actual cargo cults which are about prompting the re-appearance of a now-disappeared artifact. Can the 'event' precede the 'apparatus'? Tom what extent can history and consciousness be parsed into event and apparatus? In the modern world there would seem to be mainly the sequence: apparatus——-> event, logico-mathematical structures in programmed development giving rise to circumstances to which we must adapt. Even in an overt sense, event giving rise to apparatus appears not to have much currency, the sense of control and intentionality being at odds with a larger movement (the movement of apparatus to event).

Where would this primal event, which would precede its embodiment in a physical (logico-mathematical) contraption, come from? Not from the more circumscribed limits of human 'nature' as we now understand it since that understanding includes a virtually dis-entanglible imbrication of apparatus/event, precluding any sort of primal, or originary phase which would be outside the sphere of operation of tekhne'/psyche'.
And yet...Perhaps this loaded nexus (vectored in the direction of tekhné), in its foreclosing of the event-horizon, is not as omnipotent as its very formidable appearance would indicate. Perhaps its formidableness comes less from a position of complete power than from the ability to curtail and control a certain sort of vision (or rather: the power to substitute visibility for vision). Perhaps the modern is mainly the rise of the logico-mathematical apparatus and associated reactions and a nostalgia (in the arts) for invention #1, the 'unveiling' of truth rather than its programmed discovery. Where do we find the idea of the pure event? The ability to think the event is not the event but rather the programming of the event and impinges on invention #2, the logico-mathematical.

"How does it happen that we no longer speak of the invention of the Cross or the invention of truth (in a certain sense of the truth) while we speak, if not exclusively, of the inventor of printing, of steam-powered shipping, of a logico-mathematical apparatus, that is , of another form of relation to truth? You see that, despite this shift in orientation, it is still in both cases the truth that is at issue. A fold or a juncture separates while joining these two senses of the meaning, which are also two forces or two tendencies, relating to each other, the one settling over the other, in their very difference. We may have in these texts a momentary bridging, a furtive and unsure instance of 'invention' still meaning the invention of truth in the sense of a discovery unveiling what is already there, while also meaning already the invention of another type of truth and another sense of the word 'truth': that of a judicial proposition, thus of a logico-linguistic mechanism. Then the concern is with production, that of the most appropriate tekhne, with the construction of a machinery that was not previously there, even if this new mechanism of truth must in principle still be modeled on the first type. The two meanings remain very close, to the point of being confused in the relatively common expression 'invention of the truth' yet I believe they are heterogeneous. It seems to me that they have never stopped accentuating what separates them, and that the tendency of the second one, since its appearance, has been to assert its undivided supremacy."
and:"The two extreme types of invented things, the mechanical apparatus on the one hand, the fictional or poetic narrative on the other, imply both a first time and everytime, the inaugural event and iterability."
Jacques Derrida

The interesting thing is this: The anomalous event is always and only a first time even when it is repeated (unlike pop culture where there does not seem to have ever been a first time). And not only that: the anomalous event conflates the mechanical and the narrative, for example UFO sightings, so that it is not clear which is predominant: a narrative 'method' or a mechanical 'substance'. The event uses one extreme to invalidate the other, a collision of contraries wherein both evaporate.
However, if there is any truth to the concept of the dialectic, the contraries have not disappeared but have sublimed or sublated. The only traces that a precursor event provide are in a 'forward' direction. That is, they come to us as 'to be' not as 'was'. The archaeological strata which they inhabit may only be excavated in the future, although the faux 'presenting' of a precursor event does provide a form of re-presentation.

* * *

To be addressed: the question of producibility, re-producibility, re-production, in anything other than the biological sphere, belongs to the province of tekhne, that regulated mainpulation of material in recurrent, punctuated and self-same patterns (a primary event may only be self-same with itself, Benjamin's loss of aura of the manufactured object is really a saturation of aura, where it no longer has any relevance, because of multiplication of apparent self-sameness. Nothing has disappeared. It simply has more competition, both from copies of itself and through other copies (or copies of the Other, and for the most part the only Other that most people encounter is through a copy - or a contraption) and of course translation (mostly) takes place between copies or systems through which copies find their existence and their production, rather than from one primal event to another.

'To be addressed:' addresses assume locations within grids, capable of stabilized, repeatable returns to nodes characterizing identitiy. But suppose that our identity papers become lost or burned or confiscated. False or anomalous address? Return to sender.

Still...'to be addressed:'