Saturday, September 19, 2009

Inflection and Inclusion

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (1988), trans. Tom Conley (London and New York: Continuum, 2006).

Inflection and Inclusion
Inflection is the event that happens to the line or to the point. Inclusion is the predication that places inflection in the concept of the line or the point, that is, in this other point that will be called metaphysical. We go from inflection to inclusion just as we move from the event of the thing to the predicate of the notion, or from "seeing" to "reading." What we see on the thing we read in its concept or notion. (41)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reading Process and Reality (04)

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology (Gifford Lectures 1927-28, Corrected Edition), ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne (New York: The Free Press, 1978).

Multiple Contrasts, Emergence and Art
What are ordinarily termed 'relations' are abstractions from contrasts. A relation can be found in many contrasts; and when it is so found, it is said to relate the things contrasted. The term 'multiple contrast' will be used when there are or may be more than two elements jointly contrasted, and it is desired to draw attention to that fact. A multiple contrast is analysable into component dual contrasts. But a multiple contrast is not a mere aggregation of dual contrasts. It is one contrast, over and above its component contrasts. This doctrine that a multiple contrast cannnot be conceived as a mere disjunction of dual contrasts is the basis of the doctrine of emergent evolution. It is the doctrine of real unities being more than the same ground as the objection to the class-theory of particular substances. The doctrine is a commonplace of art. (228-229)
Superject and Feeling
The term 'subject' has been retained because in this sense it is familiar in philosophy. But it is misleading. The term 'superject' would be better. The subject-superject is the purpose of the process originating the feelings. The feelings are inseparable from the end at which they aim; and this end is the feeler. The feelings aim at the feeler, as their final cause. The feelings are what they are in order that their subject may be what it is. Then transcendently, since the subject is what it is in virtue of its feelings, it is only by means of its feelings that the subject objectively conditions the creativity transcendent beyond itself. In our own relatively high grade of human existence, this doctrine of feelings and their subject is responsible for being what it is in virtue of its feelings. It is also derivatively responsible for the consequences of its existence because they flow from its feelings.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Leipniz/Monadology (1714)

56 Now, this interconnection, or this adapting of all created things to each one, and of each one to all the others, brings it about that each simple substance has relational properties that express all the others, so that each monad is a perpetual living mirror of the universe.

57 And just as the same town when seen from different sides will seem quite different—as though it were multiplied perspectivally—the same thing happens here: because of the infinite multitude of simple substances it's as though there were that many different universes; but they are all perspectives on the same one, differing according to the different points of view of the monads.

58 And that is the way to get the greatest possible variety, but with all the order there could be; i.e. it is the way to get as much perfection as there could be.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reading Process and Reality (03)

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology (Gifford Lectures 1927-28, Corrected Edition), ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne (New York: The Free Press, 1978).

The vector character of 'prehension'
A prehension reproduces in itself the general characteristics of an actual entity: it is referent to an external world, and in this sense will be said to have a 'vector character'; it involves emotion, and purpose, and valuation, and causation. In fact, any characteristic of an actual entity is reproduced in a prehension.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Reading Process and Reality (02)

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology (Gifford Lectures 1927-28, Corrected Edition), ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne, New York: The Free Press, 1978.

Philosophy and Religion
Philosophy frees itself from the taint of ineffectiveness by its close relations with religion and with science, natural and sociological. It attains its chief importance by fusing the two, namely, religion and science, into one rational scheme of thought. Religion should connect the rational generality of philosophy with the emotions and purposes springing out of existence in a particular society, in a particular epoch, and conditioned by particular antecedents. Religion is the translation of general ideas into particular thoughts, particular emotions, and particular purposes; it is directed to the end of stretching individual interest beyond its self-defeating particularity. Philosophy finds religion, and modifies it; and conversely religion is among the data of experience which philosophy must weave into its own scheme. Religion is an ultimate craving to infuse into the insistent particularity of emotion that non-temporal generality which primarily belongs to conceptual thought alone. In the higher organisms the differences of tempo between the mere emotions and the conceptual experiences produce a life-tedium, unless this supreme fusion has been effected. The two sides of the organism require a reconcilation in which emotional experiences illustrate a conceptual justification, and conceptual experiences find an emotional illustration. (15-16)

Superject, Objectile and the Baroque perspectivism

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (1988), trans. Tom Conley (London and New York: Continuum, 2006).

If the focus of the object is profoundly changed, so also is that of the subject. We move from inflection or from variable curvature to vectors of curvature that go in the direction of concavity. Moving from a branching of inflection, we distinguish a point that is no longer what runs along inflection, nor is it the point of inflection itself; it is the one in which the lines perpendicular to tangents meet in a state of variation. It is not exactly a point but a place, a position, a site, a 'linear focus,' a line emanating from lines. To the degree it represents variation or inflection, it can be called point of view. Such is the basis of perspectivism, which does not mean a dependence in respect to a pregiven or defined subject; to the contrary, a subject will be what comes to the point of view, or rather what remains in the point of view. That is why the transformation of the object refers to a correlative transformation of the subject: the subject is not a sub-ject but, as Whitehead says, a 'superject.' Just as the object becomes objectile, the subject becomes a superject. A needed relation exists between variation and point of view: not simply because of the variety of points of view (though, as we shall observe, such a variety does exist), but in the first place because every point of view is a point of view on variation. The point of view is not what varies with the subject, at least in the first instance; it is, to the contrary, the condition which an eventual subject apprehends a variation (metamorphosis), or: something = x (anamorphosis). For Leibniz, for Nietzsche, for William and Henry James, and for Whitehead as well, perspectivism amounts to a relativism, but not the relativism we take for granted. It is not a variation of truth according to the subject, but the condition in which the truth of a variation appears to the subject. This is the very idea of Baroque perspective. (20-21)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Robert Smithson/Spiral Jetty (script)

SPIRAL JETTY by Robert Smithson

“Spiral Jetty. Great Salt Lake. Box Elder County. Utah.”

“the earth’s history seems at times like a story recorded in a book each page of which is torn into small pieces. Many of the pages and some of the pieces of each page are missing...”
(from Thomas H. Clark and Colin W. Stearn, Geological Evolution of North America, 1968)

“the notion that the lake must be connected to the pacific ocean, by subterranean channel at the head of which a huge whirlpool threatened the safety of the lake craft, was not dispelled until 1870’s long after people should’ve known better. As a matter of fact, “eyewitnesses” reported the location of the whirlpool about midway between Fremantle and Antelope Islands.”
(from Guidebook to The Geology of Utah #20)

The Lost World

“Nothing has ever changed since I have been here. But I dare not infer from this that nothing ever will change. Let us try and see where these considerations lead. I have been here, ever since I began to be, my appearances elsewhere having been put in by other parties. All has proceeded, all this time, in the utmost calm, the most perfect order, apart from one or two manifestations the meaning of which escapes me. No, it is not that their meaning escapes me, my own escapes me just as much. Here all things, no, I shall not say it, being unable to. I owe [my] existence to no one, these faint fires are not of those that illuminate or burn. Going nowhere, coming from nowhere…”
(from Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable, 1953)

Unsurveyed land on the bed of the Great Salt Lake, if surveyed would be described as follows.
Beginning at a point South 3000 feet and West 800 feet from the Northeast Corner of Section 8, Township 8 North, Range 7 West; thence South 45 degrees West 651 feet; thence North 60 degrees West 651 feet; thence North 45 degrees East 651 feet; thence Southeasterly along the meander line 675 feet to the point of beginning. Containing 10 acres, more or less.” (Special Use Lease Agreement No. 222; witness Mr. Mark Crystal.)

“North of the Lucin Cutoff, the water is red or pink color, due to algae, in the brine.”

“A string was extended from central stake in order to get the arcs in the spiral.”

“Rozel Point is a small blunt peninsula of tertiary rocks extending Southward on the northshore of Great Salt Lake. It is composed of black basalt flows and interbedded irregular lenses of light grayish-tan limestone. The basalt is conspicuously vesicular and the limestone is part bedded and in part massive, with the massive layers fairy porous, much like a spring deposit.”
(from A. J. Eardley)

“Ripping the Spiral Jetty.”


North - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
North by East - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northeast by North - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northeast by East - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East by North - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East by South - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southeast by East - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southeast by South - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South by East - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South by West - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southwest by South - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southwest by West - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West by South - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West by North - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northwest by West - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northwest by North - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
North by West - Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water”

“The crystal steps will actually wind itself into a spiral during growth, at the steady state the spiral will appear to rotate. The right-and-left-handed dislocations give rise to clockwise and anti-clockwise spirals.”
(from Ajit Ram Verma and P. Krishna, Polymorphism and Polytypism in Crystals, 1966)

“Gazing intently at the gigantic sun, we at last deciphered the riddle of its unfamiliar aspect. It was not a single flaming star, but millions upon millions of them, all clustering thickly, together like bees in a swarm, their packed density made up the deceptive appearance of a solid inpenetrable flame. It was in fact, a vast spiral nebula of innumerable suns.”
(from John Taine, The Time Stream, 1931)

“He leads us to the steps of the jail’s main entrance, pivots and again locks his gaze into the sun. ‘Spirals,’ he whispers. ‘Spirals coming away…circles curling out of the sun.’”
(from John Taine, The Time Stream, 1931)

“Sunstroke - This term is usually restricted to the condition resulting from exposure to intense sunlight. In mild cases, it may consist only a headache and a sense of lassitude, persisting for a few hours. In more severe cases, there may be intense headache, aversion to light, vomiting, and delirium. The skin is dry, the pulse is rapid, and there is a moderate rise in temperature. Recovery may be slow in severe cases, and for a long period subsequently, there may be loss of memory and inability to concentrate.”
(from Blacks Medical Dictionary)

Camera: Robert Fiore
Nancy Holt
Robert Logan
Robert Smithson
Sound: Robert Fiore
Robert Logan
Editing: Barbara Jarvis

Tony Smith's Experience on the Road

Samuel Wagstaff, Jr., "Talking with Tony Smith," in Gregory Battcock ed., Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1968).

When I was teaching at Cooper Union in the first year or two of the fifties, someone told me how I could get onto the unfinished New Jersey Turnpike. I took three students and drove from somewhere in the Meadows to New Brunswick. It was a dark night and there were no lights or shoulder markers, lines, railings, or anything at all except the dark pavement moving through the landscape of the flats, rimmed by hills in the distance, but punctuated by stacks, towers, fumes, and colored lights. This drive was a revealing experience. The road and much of the landscape was artificial, and yet it couldn't be called a work of art. On the other hand, it did something for me that art had never done. At first, I didn't know what it was, but its effect was to liberate me from many of the views I had had about art. It seemed that there had been a reality there that had not had any expression in art.

The experience on the road was something mapped out but not socially recognized. I thought to myself, it ought to be clear that's the end of art. Most painting looks pretty pictorial after that. There is no way you can frame it, you just have to experience it. Later I discovered some abandoned airstrips in Europe—abandoned works, Surrealist landscapes, something that had nothing to do with any function, created worlds without tradition. Artificial landscape without cultural precedent began to dawn on me. There is a drill ground in Nuremberg, large enough to accommodate two million men. The entire field is enclosed with high embankments and towers. The concrete approach is three sixteen-inch steps, one above the other, stretching for a mile or so. (386)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reading Process and Reality (01)

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology (Gifford Lectures 1927-28, Corrected Edition), ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne, New York: The Free Press, 1978.

Aesthetics in Naturalism

In the second part, the discussion of modern thought have been confined to the most general notions of physics and biology, with a careful avoidance of all detail. Also, it must be one of the motives of a complete cosmology to construct a system of ideas which brings the aesthetic, moral and religious interests into relation with those concepts of the world which have their origin in natural science. (xii)

Relatedness and Quality

In these lectures, 'relatedness' is dominant over 'quality.' All relatedness has its foundation in the relatedness of actualities; and such relatedness is wholly concerned with the appropriation of the dead by the living—that is to say, with 'objective immortality' whereby what is divested of its own living immediacy becomes a real component in other living immediacies of becoming. This is the doctrine that the creative advance of the world is the becoming, the perishing and the objective immortalites of those things which jointly constitute stubborn fact. (xiii-xiv)

Experience and Difference

Our datum is the actual world, including ourselves; and this actual world spreads itself for observation in the guise of the topic of our immediate experience. The elucidation of immediate experience is the sole justification for any thought; and the starting point for thought is the analytic observation of components of this experience. [...] We habitually observe by the method of difference. Sometimes we see an elephant, when present, is noticed. (4)