The Body as Expression and Speech

‘The Body as Expression and Speech’, pp.174-199, in:
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, 1962. Phenomenology of perception. Routledge, London; New York.
p.179
There is, then a taking-up of others’ thought through speech, a reflection in others, an ability to think according to others which enriches our own thoughts  Here the meaning of words must be finally induced by the words themselves, or more exactly their conceptual meaning must be formed by a kind of deduction from a gestural meaning, which is immanent in speech.
And as, in a foreign country, I begin to understand the meaning of words through their place in a context of action, and by taking part in a communal life – in the same way an as yet imperfectly understood piece of philosophical writing discloses to me at least a certain “style” – either a Spinozist, critical or phenomenological one – which is the first draft of its meaning.
I begin to understand a philosophy by feeling my way into its existential manner, by reproducing the tone and accent of the philosopher.

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Techniques of the body

Mauss, M. 1973. Techniques of the body. Economy and Society 2, 70–88
.
[This lecture was given at a meeting of the Societe de Psychologie, May 17th, 1934 and published in the Journal de psychologie normal et patholigique, Paris, Annee XXXII, 1935, pp. 271-<)3. Reprinted in Marcel Mauss, Sociologie et Anthropologie (with introduction by Claude Levi-Strauss), 4th edition, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1968. pp. 364-386.]
p.70
I deliberately say techniques of the body in the plural because it is possible to produce a theory of the technique of the body in the singular on the basis of a study, an exposition, a description pure and simple of techniques of the body in the plural. By this expression I mean the ways in which from society to society men know how to use their bodies. In any case, it is essential to move from the concrete to the abstract and not the other way round.

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A cultural history of gesture

Keith Thomas, ‘Introduction’, pp.1-14, in:
Bremmer, J.N., Roodenburg, H. (Eds.), 1992. A Cultural history of gesture. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y.
p.2
[Ref Hume]
The human body, in short, is as much a historical document as a charter or a diary or a parish register (though unfortunately one which is a good deal harder to preserve) and it deserves to be studied accordingly.
[The original meaning of the term] ‘Gesture’ was the general carriage of the body. Only later did the term come to be exclusively used in the narrower sense indicated by the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

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Tools for the Hand, Language for the Face

Ingold, Tim. 1999. ‘Tools for the Hand, Language for the Face’: An Appreciation of Leroi-Gourhan’s Gesture and Speech, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biology & Biomedical Science. 30: 4. 411–453

p.411

What might a more inclusive theory, that would accommodate the social and technical along with the zoological dimensions of human existence, look like?

p.412

To read Le Geste et la parole, however, is to realise that Leroi-Gourhan’s contribution extended far beyond questions of art and technology, to embrace a vision of human development of quite breathtaking scope.

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The real terror of Instagram

Crano, R., 2018. ‘The real terror of Instagram: Death and disindividuation in the social media scopic field’. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 135485651775036. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856517750364

p.2

Well beyond photography’s mere digitization, we now have recourse to nuanced notions of the live, networked, and algorithmic image. Such concepts, and the methodological ambits that emerge alongside them, situate contemporary photography, appropriately, within broader trends of and discourses on participatory culture, user-generated content, and ‘prosumption’.

What I would like to do here, in part, is to further contextualize this participatory turn – in culture generally and in photography specifically – alongside broader socioeconomic transformations and emergent techniques of capitalist subject-formation and exploitation.

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On the mode of existence of technical objects

Gilbert Simondon, ‘Introduction’, pp.15-21, in:

Simondon, G., 2016. On the mode of existence of technical objects. Univocal Pub, Minneapolis, MN.

p.15

Culture has constituted itself as a defense system against technics; yet this defense presents itself as a defense of man, and presumes that technical objects do not contain a human reality within them.

We would like to show that culture ignores a human reality within technical reality and that, in order to fully play its role, culture must incorporate technical beings in the form of knowledge and in the form of a sense of values

The opposition drawn between culture and technics, between man and machine, is false and has no foundation; it is merely a sign of ignorance or resentment.

Behind a facile humanism, it masks a reality rich in human efforts and natural forces, and which constitutes a world of technical objects as mediators between man and nature.

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Beyond Machines (but Still within the Phenomenology of Gestures)

Vilém Flusser, “Beyond Machines (but Still within the Phenomenology of Gestures)”, pp.10-18, in:
Flusser, V., 2014. Gestures. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
p.10
During its first phase (antiquity and the Middle Ages), history emphasizes the way the world should be; that is, people work to realize a value—ethical, political, religious, practical, in short, “in good faith.”
During its second phase (modernity), it emphasizes the discovery of being in the world; that is, people work epistemologically, scientifically, experimentally, and theoretically, in short, “without faith.”

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Animal interface: the generosity of domestication

Nigel Clark, ‘Animal interface: the generosity of domestication’, pp.49-70 [not this version], in:

Cassidy, R., Mullin, M.H., Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (Eds.), 2007. Where the wild things are now: domestication reconsidered, Wenner-Gren international symposium series. Berg, Oxford; New York.

p.1

Market-driven pressures to minimize inputs and maximize outputs of animal bodies have led to increasingly industrialized agricultural practices in which technologies of control and modification are applied to ever more intimate aspects of biological being.

One way of looking at domestication is to see it as a shortening and tightening of nutrient cycles: an imposition of `efficiency’ that seeks to exclude links in the food chain that come between human consumers and those living things they wish to consume (De Landa, 1997: 08). Viewed in this way, domestication appears as an anticipation or prototype of the kind of `economic’ logic that is a definitive feature of the era we call `modernity’.

There are many ways of defining what it is to be `modern’, but to put it simply we might say that it is a way of thinking and doing that likes to know its goals, and sets out to attain them in the most efficient and speedy manner.

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Metamorphosis

Michel Serres, ‘Metamorphosis’, pp.3-31, in:
Serres, M., Burks, R., 2011. Variations on the body. Univocal Publishing, Minneapolis.

p.4

Anxiety, of course, occurs before the climb, just as fear returns after; but during it, the body progresses, on the rock face, as though it were protected. But, leaving aside guides, pitons, ropes and partners, by what, by whom?

Stretch out your arms and legs: your twenty fingers and toes attain in space a large rectangular frame or a circle – your starfish, octopus or gibbon’s maximal hold on the world. Your active force and sensibility radiate at the extreme points of this figure.

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Insects’ Meals

Michel Serres, ‘Insects’ Meals’, pp.91-93, in:
Serres, M., Schehr, L.R., 1982. The parasite. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

p.91

The ant does not have as its dinner guest a flute-player or a folk-singer, whose voices constantly fill space. Thus, the ant excludes the parasite.

The dismissal of the para­site does not cost a thing. Chasing out the hare, on the contrary, costs the master, that is to say, results in servitude; it is dearly bought.

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