On Bacteria, Corporeal Representation, Neanderthals, and Martha Graham

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, ‘On Bacteria, Corporeal Representation, Neanderthals, and Martha Graham’, pp.278-305:
Sheets-Johnstone, M., 2009. The corporeal turn: an interdisciplinary reader. Imprint Academic, Exeter, UK ; Charlottesville, VA.
p.285
Tactility in the service of movement, of recognizing something outside one’s own body and moving accordingly, similarly describes the cilia-mediated tentacle movement if a sedentary hydrozoan polyp toward a food source.
pp.285-286
At the most fundamental level, organisms recognize particular features in their environment by touching // them, and in touching them, pursue a certain course of action.
p.286
To state the same biological truth from the opposite Peircean-colored perspective, we can say that the world is replete with signs that signify for particular organisms depending on their surface sensitivities.
When biologist Jakob von Uexküull spoke of objects in an organism’s Umwelt  having particular functional tones – of an object being perceived as something to eat for example, or something to shun, or something to climb, and so on  – he implicitly acknowledged just such a relationship, what we may term a kinetic semiotics, the tone being created and established through a creature’s possible movement in relation to the object.
The basic dimension of a kinetic semiotics is surface recognition sensitivity.

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What is the measure of nothingness?

Karen Barad, 2012. What is the measure of nothingness? infinity, virtuality, justice = Was ist das Maß des Nichts?: Unendlichkeit, Virtualität, Gerechtigkeit, 100 notes – 100 thoughts / 100 Notizen – 100 Gedanken. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern.

 

p.4

Perhaps we should let the emptiness speak for itself.

p.6

Measurements, including practices such as zooming in or examining something with a probe, don’t just happen (in the abstract) – they require specific measurement apparatuses. Measurements are agential practices, which are not simply revelatory but performative: they help constitute and are a constitutive part of what is being measured.

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Sense and the Limits of Knowledge

Tucker, I., 2011. Sense and the Limits of Knowledge: Bodily Connections in the Work of Serres. Theory, Culture & Society 28, 149–160. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276410372240

p.150

Theories across social and cultural theory have for some time now thought about the construction of knowledge, and considered the option that knowledge may actually mediate and consequently partially obscure the world, rather than provide transparent access to it.

Notions of change, movement and fluidity stand in place of stability, identity and fixity. The human condition is seen as acting as a grounding presence, with questions raised about how bodies are experienced, and how forms of bodily activity cannot be captured through words but have a material existence on and beyond the boundaries with language and knowledge.

Pivotal to Serres’ interest are bodies, the primary materiality of the human condition, through which we feel, touch, taste and see the world. Serres seeks to explore whether knowledge produced through traditional empiricism can beneficially inform as to sensory experience, or whether it acts to shade and mask the senses, rather than enlighten them.

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Not Symbiosis, Not Now

Colebrook, C., 2012. Not Symbiosis, Not Now: Why Anthropogenic Change Is Not Really Human. Oxford Literary Review 34, 185–209. https://doi.org/10.3366/olr.2012.0041
p.187

[…] theory and the humanities in general (along with humanity ‘itself’) have not been eager to consider this rather awkward problem, especially given that unlike questions of social justice, personal ethics and political freedom, climate change does not seem to offer solutions in which anyone might win or even improve their current lot.

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On Aesthetic Plasticity

Tom Sparrow, ‘On Aesthetic Plasticity’, pp. 177-218, in:

Sparrow, T., Malabou, C., 2015. Plastic bodies: rebuilding sensation after phenomenology. Open Humanities Press, London.

p.177

The argument so far has followed two general, intertwined trajectories: one critical, the other constructive. The critical thread has argued that the two visions of embodiment offered by Merleau-Ponty and Levinas are inadequate for thinking how our bodies actually interact with the material world. The constructive thread has assembled evidence which suggests that both phenomenologists were cognizant of the function that sensation plays in the constitution of experience and identity.

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Potential

Michel Serres, ‘Potential’, pp.33-66, in:
Serres, M., Burks, R., 2011. Variations on the body. Univocal Publishing, Minneapolis.

p.33

No seated professor taught me productive work, the only kind of any worth, whereas my gymnastics teachers, coaches and, later, my guides inscribed its very conditions into my muscles and bones. They teach what the body can do.

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Work

Michel Serres, ‘Work’, pp.86-90, in:
Serres, M., Schehr, L.R., 1982. The parasite. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

p.86

What is work? Undoubtedly, it is a struggle against noise. If we allowed things to happen without intervening, stables would fill up with manure, the fox would eat the chickens, and the phylloxera would cross the seas to dry out the vine leaves. The channel is filled with mud.

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Media Archaeography

Wolfgang Ernst, ‘Media Archaeography: Method and Machine Versus History and Narrative Of Media’, pp.239-255, in:

Huhtamo, E., Parikka, J. (Eds.), 2011. Media archaeology: approaches, applications, and implications. University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif.

p.239

The media-archaeological method as proposed here is meant as an epistemological alternative approach to the supremacy of media-historical narratives. Equally close to disciplines that analyse material (hardware) culture and to the Foucauldian notion of the “archive” as the set of rules governing the range of what can be verbally, audiovisually, or alphanumerically expressed at all, media archaeology is both a method and an aesthetics of practising media criticism, a kind of epistemological reverse engineering, and an awareness of moments when media themselves, not explicitly humans any more, come active “archaeologists” of knowledge.

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On the Invention of Photographic Meaning

Allan Sekula, ‘On the Invention of Photographic Meaning’, pp.84-109, in:
Burgin, V. Ed. 1982. Thinking Photography. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

p.84

The meaning of a photograph, like that of any other entity, in inevitably subject to cultural definition. The task here is to define and engage critically something we might call the ‘photographic discourse’.

A discourse is defined as an arena of exchange, that is, a system of relations between parties engaged in communicative activity.

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Fingers

Vilém Flusser, ‘Fingers’, pp.57-63, in:
Flusser, V., Zielinski, S., Baitello, N., Novaes, R.M., 2013 [1979]. Natural:mind. Univocal, Minneapolis, MN.

p.57

I am sitting on a chair. The chair is a product of Western civilization and if it were to be analysed it would reveal the history of the West.

The juxtaposition “chair – desk” is a characteristic structure of particular situations of my culture.

p.58

This is a slight paleo-technological writing instrument (a product of the beginning of the 20th century). The machine has keys inscribed with letters of the Latin alphabet.

My fingers hit the keys in a particular order. This order is therefore determined by the specific order of such a language.

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