Posts Tagged ‘rhizome’
The obscure Renaissance scholar Athanasius Kircher’s fabulous system of magnetic divination: “The World is Tied with Secret Knots”
Hidden in sun-drenched Culver City, The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a hoax, an art installation of intimate and metaphysical magnitude, a labyrinth for the scholastic imagination and anything else you can dream of or wish for. Founded by the enigmatic David Hildebrand Wilson in 1989, susbequent recipient of a Mac Arthur “Genius” Grant in 2001 for this puzzling and original endeavour, the Museum is a cabinet of curiosities that tantalizingly frames tidbits of historical minutiae in a fabulous context, very much in the spirit of Mark Z. Danielewski’s legendary House of Leaves, also an ironic mise en abime of scholarly critique folded into an impossible (alhough imaginary) geometric space. Minuscule steroscopic projections visible through copper-articulated glass plates, documentary films with convoluted mystical narratives, whimsically lit diaoramas and glowing orbs: such is that place of perfect delight and incomprehension, the Museum of Jurassic Technology
The micromosaics of Harald Henry Dalton, visible only through a microscope
from the exhibit Lives of Perfect Creatures: Dogs of the Soviet Space Program
from the exhibit Garden of Eden on Wheels: Collections from Los Angeles Areas Mobile Parks
from the exhibit Rotten Luck: The Decaying Dice of Ricky Jay
Drawing attention to Karen Pinkus from USC’s Comparative Literature Department and her latest book, Mercurial Alchemy: A Theory of Ambivalence. Quoting Gilles Deleuze from an interview I saw on Youtube, in which he was (apparently) addressing filmmakers: “filmmakers invent films. Philosophers invent concepts.” Extrapolating theorists/critics from philosophers, then weaving alchemy and ambivalence together seems (at least the suggestion of it) to open up delightful new fields of theoretical imagination…interdisciplinary is the word.
“How can we account, in a rigorous way, for alchemy’s ubiquity? We think of alchemy as the transformation of a base material (usually lead) into gold, but “alchemy” is a word in wide circulation in everyday life, often called upon to fulfill a metaphoric duty as the magical transformation of materials. Almost every culture and time has had some form of alchemy. This book looks at alchemy, not at any one particular instance along the historical timeline, not as a practice or theory, not as a mode of redemption, but as a theoretical problem, linked to real gold and real production in the world. What emerges as the least common denominator or “intensive property” of alchemy is ambivalence, the impossible and paradoxical coexistence of two incompatible elements.
Alchemical Mercury moves from antiquity, through the golden age of alchemy in the Dutch seventeenth century, to conceptual art, to alternative fuels, stopping to think with writers such as Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this is the first study to consider alchemy in relation to literary and visual theory in a comprehensive way.”
(these are broken notes!)
TO BE MOCKED UP IN ‘SECOND LIFE’ – SUMMER 2009
Stuff that you have to put your eyes to, ‘put your head in’ the image to perceive? Mixture of this and a large screen? A large screen enveloping a small screen. PORTABLE OR INSTALLATION ? SCREENS MOVING ON A GRID LIKE PUZZLE PIECES? DIFFERENT SOUNDS COMING FROM DIFFERENT CORNERS OF THE ROOM?
IMMERSION BOX (SMALL PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE TO SIT DOWN CROSS-LEGGED) WHERE YOU ARE BOMBARED BY STIMULI?
Mapping of database space onto real space? System of tunnels and burrows??? In the space of abandoned factory or industrial complex? Turn it into a medium for uploading different work rather than just a one-time thing?? Kafka’s The Mole, real-space rhizome??
You hear sound in one area of the burrow, or perhaps a dim light and you
go to investigate??
A GIANT BLACK BOX RIDDLED WITH TUNNELS,
A MAZE, ONE ENTRANCE AND ONE EXIT –
operated like a funhouse ride
(a person in costume pushes on a lever to start the experience).
“The Burrow”, “The Box”.
Relationship between physical movement and body sensations and light/sound??
See movie: CUBE. Create an ecstatic and terrifying/sublime experience
Movement of the body (what you step on, lean against, press on in space) is the interactive device. But the logic must be clear/ must we have a cathartic movement/moment, an end-point?
Work with sensory deprivation too: the whole cube goes dark and you just hear sublime music coming from different directions, or different discourses –
Signals, flashing icons help you on your way
In A Thousand Plateaus Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari theorize a new way of conceptualizing narrative. What has been obfuscated by a psychoanalytic and aesthetic ideal of coherent and authoritative systems of representation is the fact that “the book is a multiplicity”, a thing with no fixed beginning or end that exists within the non-structural patterns of a “rhizome”. A rhizomatic book, instead of following a reproductive structure of branching points, is written/played by the reader according to her own spontaneous initiative to ‘map’ one signifying element onto another.
To what extent and how effectively does entrusting to the reader the task of ‘mapping’ the narrative, and thereby abandoning the framework of traditional authorship, increase our capacity and desire to, in Deleuze’s words, “experiment with different ways by which one can get a grip on reality”? If linear narrative has restricted the practice of meaning making to the task of producing representations, then we must turn towards an interactive strategy to reverse this top-down process by which images/words signify.
Deleuze’s and Guattari’s theorization of the book-rhizome is a call for action on the part of practitioners – as they themselves admit, “we have not been able to do it”. The layers of hypertext that are the Internet have introduced us to the rhizome model of connectivity. I propose to articulate a possible response to this challenge in the context of storytelling media and examine the properties of the recombinant narrative space defined by A Thousand Plateaus as they apply to the database of an interactive documentary.