Ergo Proxy

Forgot to mention what triggered the previous post. I rowed a PB on the ergo today of 6m 35s for 2km (drag setting 10). Previous PB was 6:38.

If you didn’t know, indoor rowing (as it is called) is a competitive sport, and my time would’ve got me into the Australian rankings (66). lol… What a joke!! Below 6 minutes is world class. Below 6:30 is still very very good, and that is my next target. They have a 500m class, too. I would do alright for that as I can ‘pull’ flat 1:30′s for 500 (just not for 2km, which would make me famous).

To a certain degree I have the ‘body’ of a rower. At 194cm I am the right height, but I weigh 115kgs so I am a little too fat. Over 75kgs is classified as ‘heavyweight’.

Oh, and my ergo is just a warm for what is roughly a 2 hour gym session. I have never tried to row flat out with nothing else to do after it (which for gym sessions is a waste of time). I also added a 10 minute ergo to the end of my 20 minute bike, 20 minute skier, and 20 minute stairmaster cardio routine. Remember, powered by daydreams!

EDIT 27 Oct: ANOTHER PB! 6:30.9!!!!!!!! Of course, I was only trying to impress the boy in the zoot suit (zoot suit = proper rowing apparel, looks like a one-piece lycra bodysuit). That, or doing my 20min bike first (because all the ergos were busy) served as a good warm up. However, one can’t just accidently do a good time. It has to be attempted from the start. So I must have definitely been out to do another PB. Sweet. Next target is therefore 6:25, but after I have repeated today’s effort a number of times. I still did the rest of my 2 hour workout…

Powered By Daydreams

The title of this post is inspired by those stickers on the side of race cars (and nowadays computers) that say things like “Powered by Ford” (or “Powered by Intel”) or something. It derives from a phenomenon I have noticed when at the gym. Sinthome notes a similar phenomenon in his post on visceral reactions. He begins by noting he hadn’t had breakfast and was hungry, and describes how he got angry at someone for mispromouncing his name at the barber shop. He takes the psychoanalytic line about fantasy, which can be critically recast as the shifting antagonisms of the social. At one point he says:

I suspect that these antagonistic social relations often occur at a visceral and immediate level, such that we only retroactively find reasons for our hatred and anger.

Later he continues:

On the one hand, if it is true that there is an ineradicable real at the heart of social relations, if it is true that social relations will always be contaminated by antagonistic jouissance, then knowing this can certainly bring some peace of mind in public discussions.

My question is rather basic. Sinthome posits the event of an emotional outburst at an immediate visceral level, but then the retroactive coding of this event by the sense making apparatus of our minds places this event within the orbit of certain narrativised causal chains (‘immigrants’, ‘D&G’, ‘homosexuals’, etc). Why overcode the outburst as causally linked to a transcendentally displaced social antagonism? Why can’t the event of the outburst be an immanent acceleration within the body of a sensation that has more in common with evolutionary psychology (ie an instinctual response to one’s hunger) than the aporias at the heart of social antagonisms? Brian Massumi has explored some of the dynamics between affect and the retroactive coding of affect (as a potential movement between two intensities). That is, at that precise moment, one’s hunger seeks out the ‘social antagonism’ to express itself and prepare the body for acquiring food. Would a fully satiated body seek out social antagonism? Just look at the Australian middle-class…

I thought of my experiences at the gym when I first read Sinthome’s post. I often find myself thinking of funny, sad, acutely embarrassing, and/or frustrating events that have happened or I imagine could happen. At first I thought such intense daydreaming was perhaps because I was mildly psychotic or something. I think about my work a great deal. Arranging certain arguments and so on. I replay conversations in my head. Sometimes for conversations that haven’t yet happened and may never happen. I often think about the stupidity of myself and others. It is not all so morose, sometimes it is just a little bit weird.

I often day dream about a particular pretty girl that also works out at the gym. A friend of mine dubbed her “checkout chick” after she discovered that she works at a supermarket as a checkout operator (and as a subtle dig against me because of my romantic predilictions for bourgies). I would never approach or even talk to someone with romantic intentions in mind when at the gym as it is not an ethically appropriate act for the space. However, I also quickly realised that by not even speaking to her and being able to daydream about a particular fantasy — even if it involves merely focusing on say, for example, her extremely beautiful eyes — then my body is flooded with adrenaline or whatever other chemicals the body has to make itself feel good, and I feel good, and I can go full tilt on the cardio machines for another five minutes and then again and again for different fantasies for over an hour. I have chosen a particular example of feeling good but I often find myself fired up to the point of wanting to kill certain people, all the while working out furiously.

Perhaps a psychoanalytic approach would interpret my actions in terms of my gym work as an outlet for my fantasies — I get to burn off my libidinal energy, etc. However, this is not correct as I started going to the gym because I was using my unhealthiness (smoking, bad food, bad sex, etc) to close my body off from the mulitiplicity of the world, and the mulitiplicity of my own body. I use my fantasies to push myself further, to enable myself so as to see what I can do. Indeed, I have translated the same practice into my writing and scholarly work, I push myself beyond fulfilling the expectations of others (and their fantasies) by getting into a highly-charged affective state where my mind dances very quickly and all over the place. This may not be the most conventional scholarly practice, which is allegedly meant to be slow and patient — more ‘library’ than ‘motor race’ — but I am not much of a scholar! It is something else, a kind of propulsion or, better, a surfing across fantasy and the body that leads to weird ideas.

Media Events Conference!

Ien Ang just circulated a CFP for this conference on the CCR email list!

Wow, should I be happy about this or sad? lol!

Really if I want to do research on media events then I can’t really miss this conference can I? CRAP! From the complete CFP found on the conference website:

In addition, one has to take into account that media events are part of popular culture. In times of the differentiation of media technologies and the fragmentation of media landscapes as part of the ongoing process of global deregulation, the ‘eventization’ of the media is increasingly important for the marketing and everyday appropriation of popular media texts. On the one hand, many Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters, many TV shows, dailies, reality and talk shows are marketed as media events – which, in the case of formats like Big Brother or Who Wants to be A Millionaire, is done transculturally. On the other hand, ‘events’ like blockbusters or mediated concert shows offer people an opportunity for joining situative communities in individualised and fragmented societies. This kind of media event, which in many ways differs from the ritual media events described above, could be called a ‘popular media event’ as it is a main part of present popular culture. It is important to note though that these media events are not just ‘made’ by the media industry, but articulated in the interaction between media actors and everyday people.

You might say that from a biopolitical perspective there are collectively individuated transversal media events? ;)

I’d better send off an abstract

…and start saving!

…and finish my PhD!

GITS: SAC Solid State Society

As I have noted previously, Ghost in the Shell is my favourite anime and gradually becoming my favourite pop-culture text of all time.

The a third film has just been broadcast on Japanese television: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Solid State Society.

The whole thing is available on youtube if you look, although only torrents of the file can be subtitled (with another torrent). I am not sure if I should try to explain any of the plot or not. What I do want to mention is that it provides the clearest indication of what a ‘stand alone complex’ actually is. Let me just say that the term ‘rhizome’ is used about a dozen times in short succession (yes, RHIZOMES! as in Deleuze and Guattari’s notion) along with ‘network’ and ‘collective consciousness’. Someone needs to send Lazzarato and any other of the neo-Tardeans a copy.

From the subtitles:

This is the full scope of the rhizome formed by the collective consciousness of those elderly invalids in the network.

There is no concept of a center in a rhizome, …

… therefore the hub has no fixed position within the rhizome, or rather, the rhizome itself is constantly in flux.

Why can’t we have Deleuzian pop-culture on Australian television?

Event Resource

I just posted a longer version of this to the Event, Badiou email list, suggesting that it would be advantageous to develop a working bibliography of literature on the ‘event’. It would be a functional tool. The idea was floated a while ago, when the list changed from spoons Lyotard list, but I think it is time to kick it into gear.

From my perspective there are three major areas of the ‘event’, and one application that I can think of:

1) the event as exception (lacanian, also ‘truth event’ badiou),
2) event as supplement (derridean, also ‘pure event’ deleuze),
3) the event as actualisation/individuation/becoming (deleuzian),
4) the application as the ‘media event’ (‘event’ Dayan and Katz, ‘non-event’ Boorstin, Baudrillard, ‘vector’ Virilio, Wark).

This is a very cursory representation and there are plenty of other texts, such as those by Whitehead, Lyotard, etc that need to be included here, but i have not read them or am comfortable enough with them to include them in the list, so someone else will need to include them. I imagine debates over the way this resource is organised will trigger a lot of discussion(!!). There are other texts, such as Paul Patton’s essay on Deleuzian media events that would cut across this categories and would need some other non-list form of representation. Other concepts, such as Debord’s ‘spectacle’, can be understood as a synergy of the ‘media event’ and biopolitical ‘individuation’, and so will have to be included at some point.

If you can help update the list then leave a comment or send me an email. Eventually I hope to set up or help set up a wiki-type resource that includes annotated entries.

Lacanian

?

Derridean

?

Deleuzian

Primary

Deleuze, G. (1990). The Logic of Sense. New York, Columbia University Press.

Deleuze, G. (1993). The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Secondary

Foucault, M (1977) “Theatricum Philosophicum” reprinted in various places i have it in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. ed Donald Bouchard

Massumi, B. (2002). Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham, London, Duke University Press.

Stivale, C. J. (2003). Feeling the Event: Spaces of Affects and the Cajun Dance Arena. Animations (of Deleuze and Guattari). J. D. Slack. New York, Peter Lang: 31-58.

Colwell, C. (1997). “Deleuze and Foucault: Series, Event, Genealogy.” Theory & Event 1(2).

Media Event

Primary

Boorstin, D. J. (1963). The Image: Or, What Happened to the American Dream. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Penguin.

Dayan, D. and E. Katz (1992). Media Events: The Live Broadcasting of History. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.

Virilio, P. (1991). The Lost Dimension. New York, Semiotext(e)

Virilio, P. (2000). A Landscape of Events. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.

Wark, M. (1994). Virtual Geography: Living with Global Media Events. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.

Secondary

Merrin, W. (2005). Baudrillard and the Media: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA, Polity.

Historical

Kwinter, S. (2001). Architectures of Time: Toward a Theory of the Event in Modernist Culture. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.