Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Displacement and Worlds


Having just read Levi's post on spectacles (see below), and having read Dylan Trigg's excellent new post on anxiety as an affect of neolithic bodies, I started wondering why I really, really dislike taking the airporter. I got so keen on driving to the airport and parking, and this is the first time in a while I've been obliged to take the airporter. Mostly because parking for five days would be as expensive as taking it.

Of course there's the exhaustion involved in getting up super early and accommodating other humans as the airporter stops at address after address. (Nothing like getting up at 3am to reveal the inner misanthrope.) But that's not it, not completely anyway.

It's that, in the course of picking up those others, I get a totally different feeling about where I live. The airporter drives down different roads in the pitch darkness of northern Cali small town night. I soon forget where the heck I am even if it's only a few street away from “normal.” The journey becomes a stimulating kind of jazz. Town jazz. Playing my home town like a jazz player could pick up your trumpet and make it sound different. Not totally different, but uncannily different.

That's it. The town becomes uncanny, because its withdrawal becomes obvious. This is not my town. It's like that moment as you put on a new pair of glasses but stretched out in time, involving swaying cars and a small group of strangers.

Then you realize how much your world was just a sensual object. And then it hits you. Your regular world was itself a kind of displacement of some real object(s). The sense of place is already a displacement. As the airporter rounds the corner of the block just a few streets away from your familiar haunts, you realize that your town is irreducibly withdrawn from access. That the strange dreamlike airporter interior with its reflections of outer lights and bizarre swaying of your body, is what it is like. More real than the dream you were just living in. Or a transition to a different dream, and the ironic gap between them.

So that what is most uncanny is the sense of familiarity you have just left behind. The jazz you took to be a plastic disposable pop song.

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