Search results for "ration "


Author: joe

Wednesday, 06 July, 2011 - 18:50

Today I wrote a glossary for the wellbeing paper I wrote in May, following the comments I got from the reviewers. I had no idea which words to gloss, so I picked the interesting ones; and some were easy to gloss, others were difficult. Here they are.

- the power of acting, or exerting one’s will in order to effect the course of events.
- Aristotle’s term for ‘recognition’: the crucial moment of realisation in which a person or character either recognises someone’s authentic identity, or senses their own genuine nature, as if for the first time; the discovery or revelation of the truth.
- more than speaking, to articulate is to be able to connect things and join them together, such as words, sentences, ideas or narrative sequences.
- literally, ‘purging’; a term Aristotle borrowed from medicine to refer to the arousal and release of emotion through dramatic narrative.
- a heavily burdened word which refers to processes in which divergent views or positions are played out, through argument, conversation, dialogue or conflict, hopefully towards reconciliation; an unfolding of point and counterpoint.
- the term borrowed from Greek to refer to the world of a narrative; the internal integrity of the storyworld, which is filled with people, places and customs which belong to that world.
- literally meaning ‘outsideness’, this term is used by Mikhail Bakhtin to refer to the ability of an author to ‘speak’ the authentic voices of characters other than their own.
- the transference of one’s own agency to a symbolic proxy; e.g. sexual arousal through objects (Freudian fetishism), or allocation of value away from human labour and onto commodities (Marxian commodity fetishism).
- mistakes and errors of misrecognition, frequently a crucial element in ancient tragedies whose protagonists often fail to recognise someone they ought to know.
- in phenomenology, ‘intentionality’ refers to the ‘directedness’ of conscious experiences: always towards objects, concepts, feelings and perceptions; hence it is related to but not the same as the common understanding which implies purpose and motive.
- a Greek term used by Aristotle to refer to the ‘likeness’ of stories to the real world: their imitative capacity.
- the implied or actual audience to whom a story is directed.
- at its simplest, a narrative is a telling or re-telling of a series of events which are connected.
narrative configuration
- Louis Mink and Paul Ricoeur use the term ‘configuration’ to refer to the dual act of being able to grasp the different component or sequences of a narrative, while also apprehending the story as a whole, unified structure. Narrators and narratees, authors and readers, writers and audiences, all must be able to see both the figure of the entire story, and the sequences from which it is composed.
- a term used by Mikhail Bakhtin to refer to the diversity of languages and voices that are present in the many strata of societies, the different eras of history, or the lines of great literature.
- the lead role in the story, the main actor in the drama, the self of the individual’s storyworld.
- Augusto Boal’s terms for the new fusion of spectator and actor he wishes to bring about in both his drama and wider society.
technology of the self
- a term coined by Michel Foucault to refer to the means and techniques by which the self is shaped, both internally by the individual, and externally by influences outside the individual’s control.
- a neologism created by the translation of Heidegger’s term ‘unheimlich’; I prefer unhomeliness since it implies a non-supernatural lack of a sense of belonging, rather than the word ‘uncanny’ which is sometimes used as a translation.
- Brecht’s term for drawing attention to the artifice of dramatic performance - variously translated as ‘defamiliarisation’, ‘estrangement’, ‘alienation’ and ‘distanciation’; a mechanism whereby the illusion of narrative is punctured in order to highlight the highly contingent and constructed nature of stories and their worlds.

Categories: agency, anagnorisis, articulation, catharsis, dialectic, diegesis, exotopy, fetishism, hamartia, intentionality, mimesis, narratee, narrative, narrative configuration, polyphony, protagonist, spect-actor, technology of the self, Verfremdungseffekt,
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Author: joe

Tuesday, 16 November, 2010 - 22:52

- on infiltration

My point of view is for me not so much a limitation of my experience as a way I have of infiltrating into the world in its entirety . . . But how is it possible for me to experience the world as a positively existing individual, since none of the perspective views of it which I enjoy exhausts it, since its horizons are always open, and since moreover no knowledge, even scientific knowledge, provides us with the invariable formula of a facies totius universi?
Phenomenology of Perception by Maurice Merleau-Ponty

I am a secret agent, I carry out espionage; I see partially and report back from a labyrinth of mirrors; I dissimulate and double, decoy and delude; I am disguised as I walk among the unknowing objects of my surveillance; I blend in in order to see better; I see only what is not visible, and so deal in fiction.

I am an intruder, I do not belong; I trespass and infringe, perpetrate and interfere; I alter the course, inhibit and encourage, affect and disturb; I change history, divert destinies, I influence the outcome; I violate, obstruct and pervert.

I am an infiltrator; I pass through the walls; an impurity, unstrained from the solution, absorbed by osmosis, diffuse in the world; I repel the substrate, not condensing, precipitating, solidifying, crystallising; but dissolving, melting, subliming, evaporating.

Categories: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, infiltration, espionage, embodiment, immanence,
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Author: joe

Wednesday, 03 November, 2010 - 22:15

- on dwelling in the being of a thing.

Looking for the moment the gap closes: being in the flow of the moment; sincerity; dialogue; thinging. Theoria, praxis and poiesis are the three Aristotelian "activities" of man: theoria - the contemplative, analytical mode; praxis - the mode of action; and poiesis - the conjury, the making, or (after Heidegger) the 'bringing-forth'. But how do these modes play together? Are we entrapped in one or the other, only ever switching between them as we might change gears? Or are they like polyphonic tones, playing together, merging with each other, alternately moving back and forth in dominance and recession, but always humming along at the same time?

I quote Richard Sennet at length here because when I read his account of craft (butchered here), I am thinking of these modes, and noticing the opening and closing of the gaps between thought and action, mind and world, being and withdrawal.

We could find no better guide than Erin O'Connor about how the hand and eye together learn how to concentrate. A philosophical glassblower, she has explored the development of long-term attention through her own struggles to fashion a particular kind of wineglass. She reports . . . that she has long enjoyed the Barolo wines of Italy and therefore sought to fashion a goblet big and rounded enough to support the fragrant "nose" of the wine. To accommodate this, she had to expand her powers of concentration from the short- to the long-term . . .
In learning to make a Barolo goblet O'Connor . . . had to "untape" habits she'd learnt in blowing simpler pieces in order to explore why she was failing . . . develop a better awareness of her body in relation to the viscous liquid, as though there were continuity between flesh and glass . . . Now she was better positioned to make use of the triad of the "intelligent hand" - co-ordination of hand, eye, and brain . . . But she still had to learn how to lengthen her concentration.
This stretch-out occurred in two phases. First, she lost awareness of her body making contact with the hot glass and became all-absorbed in the physical material as the end in itself . . . The philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty describes what she experienced as "being as a thing". This philosopher Michael Polanyi calls it "focal awareness" and refers to the act of hammering a nail: "When we bring down the hammer we do not feel that its handle has struck our palm but that its head has struck the nail . . . . I have a subsidiary awareness of the feeling in the palm of my hand which is merged into my focal awareness of my driving in the nail." If I may put this yet another way, we are now absorbed in something, no longer self-aware, even of our bodily self. We have become the thing on which we are working.
This absorbed concentration now had to be stretched out. The challenge O'Connor met was the result of further failure . . . The problem, she came to understand, lay in dwelling in that moment of "being in a thing." To work better, she discovered, she needed to anticipate what the material should next become in its next, as-yet nonexistent, stage of evolution. Her instructor called this simply "staying on track"; she, rather more philosophically minded, understood that she was engaged in a process of "corporeal anticipation," always one step ahead of the material . . .
The rhythm that kept O'Connor specifically alert lay in her eye disciplining her hand, the eye constantly scanning and judging, adjusting the hand, the eye establishing the tempo. The complexity here is that she was no longer conscious of her hands, she no longer thought about what they were doing: her consciousness focussed on what she saw; ingrained hand motions became part of the act of seeing ahead . . .
The Craftsman by Richard Sennet

The materials of life require a master to give them form, while dwelling in the being of a thing is anarchic and free-wheeling. Hmmm. Ahhh. Hello, and welcome to the tropes of mastery and freedom . . .

Categories: theoria, praxis, poiesis, Aristotle, Heidegger, Richard Sennett, craft, The Craftsman, flow, absorbtion, concentration, focal awareness, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michael Polanyi,
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Draft review notes #3

Author: joe

Saturday, 12 September, 2009 - 15:17

[Some contextual notes for my PhD, regarding the status of participatory media in academia and industry]

So the everyday is always written off: the mass produce trash culture without quality; they fail to rise up and revolt and against the elites; and they are deceived by machinations against which they have no real defence.

A key characteristic of the critiques of the everyday is their insistance on the schism between the real and the ideal, or between appearance and reality. Marxist thought constantly seeks to portray the common man as a duped fool, a donkey of a man suffering under false consciousness: if only we could make him see the world as it truly is, without the miasma of ideology to cloud and befuddle his judgement and ability to act, then he might rise up and take for himself the world that is truly his.

The critique of propaganda and ideology also hinges on the notion that the popular consciousness cannot adequately grasp the real forces, determining events behind the scenes, hidden from view, available only to the most critically engaged and forensically committed minds. Chomsky's line is exemplary of this - his work is largely characterised by 'exposures' of hidden motives and explanatory forces which most other people fail to notice, presumably because they either choose to ignore the evidence or are too taken up in the ideological hegemony to be able to transcend the deceit.

The paragon of this mode of critique is Habermas, who seems determined to project an image of a utopian world - the world as it might be - which can only be reached by the most stringently impossible means. Citizens must be competent, capable, engaged, critically objective and rational, yet willing to listen to and understand other subjective views. The object of this rational-critical discourse is a endpoint at which disagreements will have been ironed out, intersubjectivities achieved - and presumably we will all just sit around gazing at each other in a stupor of silence since we'll have no differences to speak of or dialectical positions to bother articulating.

At the heart of Habermas' vision of rational progress to some humanistic utopia is Enlightenment: the rejection of tradition and any authority that is handed down, seen as so much dogma, in favour of rationally justifiable positions and truths which are available to us to produce without reference to the tyranny of conservatism and prejudice. What an attractive notion - the worldview of science itself, which takes no article on faith, but only on falsifiable and empirical merit!

I find it almost irresistable - the restive rejection of the chains of the past, and the embrace of a world made of iron ration and reason... and yet, yet... why must we constantly fall for this notion that the world is or should be other than it is? What is it about the way of the world that we must always feel it is inadequate? Why must we diagnose the life of the everyday world as somehow being wrong?

Categories: reality, appearance, idealism, Habermas, ration, reason, utopia, Chomsky, Marx, media, phd, politics, propaganda, ideology, revolution,
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Generative vs reductive

Author: joe

Friday, 06 February, 2009 - 08:04

Further to the attraction of Ian Bogost's definiton of system and unit operations, which are each respectively top-down and bottom-up tools of analysis, is the fact that the unit operation he articulates is procedural rather than descriptive.

So just as structuralist analysis is reductionist while post-structuralist analysis is productive, so system operations are like 'black box' simplifications, while unit operations are transformative and generative. Not unlike the comparison between scientific and metaphorical ways of thinking I described a while back in terms of understanding the lives and evolution of cities.

Categories: structuralism, post-structuralism, Bogost, unit, system, operation, analysis, generative, productive, reductive ,
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Author: joe

Thursday, 22 December, 2005 - 01:01

I've recently been working on a web site for Cath, to showcase her artwork and to put her reflective writing online. It's been an interesting collaboration, not least because as well as trying a few new experiments myself, the way the site is developing is also feeding into how Cath thinks of her artwork.

My experiments are mostly technical, using Ajax techniques to feed back search result counts in real time to help avoid the user wasting time clicking back after finding no results, and implementing tagging as a way of content management as well as sorting and searching.

What's been more interesting, though, is that the functionality of the website alters Cath's perception of her work.

CB: Seeing a lot of thumbnails of my images makes me 'see' my own style more clearly, makes me realise I do have a style.

Well, I've been saying that her style is 'dipped in LSD at birth' for the last 13 years :)

But there's something else worth noting too. For a long time I worked with visual artists at the London College of Fashion who conceived of their exhibits as something that they controlled. An artist determines which images make a specific collection, and in which order they appear, the name of the collection, etc. This is a strong desire in pretty much all the photographers and illustrators who were learning Multimedia with me.

At, we've taken a different approach, and used Cath's folksonomy of her work (describing the images with 'tags') to create a gallery builder. The user combines different keywords to construct a gallery of their own. This doesn't seem like a particularly novel thing to do - after all that's what using an image search engine does. However, when you apply it specifically in a space where one artist is presenting their work, the activity is not so much about 'looking for images' as allowing the user to 'curate a collection'.

Cath is also looking forward to seeing how the visual representation of her folksonomy develops, and how it will reveal themes and preoccupations as she adds more work. The folksonomy makes the most frequent tags larger than the infrequent.

Maybe it would be an idea to take snapshots of the folksonomy for different periods of work...?

Categories: folksonomy, art,, ajax, interactivity, curation,
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