Walking into the warmth of summer

Sponsor week is done, and with it, my thoughts on “mutable recordings” will wait to be found again in a couple of days.

My object paper is done (at least for the class).

It’s past Memorial Day, which by the conventions of the US (and not the moon) means we’re in summer now. I’m hoping to come up with a good selection of things to do, words to read, sounds to hear, places to visit, projects to explore. I hesitate to call any of these things plans, as I’ve had enough of direction in my summers; let me travel without a heading, so that I can find the best one down the way.

Some of the thoughts with which I want to become acquainted are those of Giles Deleuze. Before I tackle some of his (and Guattari’s) more interesting works, I’m surveying the thoughtscape through John Rajchman’s excellent (so far) The Deleuze Connections. What’s makes Rajchman’s book so interesting is the thoughts of Deleuze; who knows if I’ll be able to get from the source what I get from the secondary source, but what I read I find fascinating. A philosophy of “radical empiricism”, of making connections and of multiplicity, of not falling back on transcendence, but finding the most interesting here in the world. Such straightforward thoughts when expressed in Rajchman’s words, but much harder to put into practice. Because this is a philosophy for practice; philosophy for non-philosophers, as they say. But the hierarchical ordering is ingrained from early stories: beginnings, middles, ends, in that order, never the branching or turning upon itself that we actually find in our lives. Things seem to progress from one event to the next, but weren’t you just thinking of something you thought of recently? Aren’t those two ideas connected? And who is to say that the person you are at this moment is the same as that a few days ago? You are not; you changed, and while your understanding of you remains, it can’t be captured in a linear deductive progression.

Thus we need branching, and rhizomes, and a radical rethinking of how we think. And of how we write, and make music, and relate to each other and society. Yet it’s incredibly challenging when analytical philosophy infuses our daily lives, especially at a place like MIT. How am I to relate the actual process of creating the piece Variations 10b (more on this in a later post) when I am (ostensibly) writing a paper for the ACM Multimedia conference? Lack of logical progression is seen as, well, illogical. But what if at every choice among many paths to take, we were able to provide grounded (in some philosophy) reasons for our decision? And what if this gave the reader (listener, viewer) a more complete understanding of not only the topic, but also the author? Wouldn’t this be a valuable thing to do? Yet in most quarters it’s not desired, or wanted. Perhaps someday.

And perhaps someday I’ll learn how to do it. Maybe later this summer. Check back in August.

Comments

i believe that the branching-out philosophy is much more apparent in the most recent networked era; perhaps not uniformly, but even the concept of 'hypertext' really transformed the whole browsing, reading, learning experience. the web isn't a clear linear progression, as it binds together so many bits of content and stirs it up in a person-machine-time-data soup. occasional narratives are multi-faceted, including 'the heart is a lonely hunter', 'magnolia', and 'run lola run.' (sorry for the pop references.) yet perhaps the multiplicity of paths which are inherent in each given moment is simply overwhelming... do you really want that choice to take each forked opportunity? or perhaps the linear structure is an affective architectural choice of the author. logical progression is efficient, and our attentive experience is binded by some physical constraints. but i think that generating creative ideas on different ways to enable and represent methods of 'radical empiricism.' something designed well that doesnt cause one to become information overload'd...

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