“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Materials: Objects: Environments Liveblog 3 (Jill Bennett)

Michel Serres: the air, an indistinct mixture...penetrates our bodies, ears, mouths, noses, throat and lungs, envelopes our skin: it is the medium for every signal that reaches our senses...a thing to be sensed, at the very limit of the insensible
air as a vector for everything
as a basis for aesthesis; milieu of air; body and environment as reciprocally unfolding
body as mingling of matter, situated by virtue of its capacity to sense and absorb the environment

Susskind, Perfume; orgiastic frenzy then collective denial; the protagonist Grenouille as object of misplaced affect
cumulative mood as atmosphere, momentarily sustained as an environment
Atmoterrorism (Sloterdijk)
social relationship conceived as only metaphorical but it’s equally physical (interaction with airborne chemicals)
atmosphere not an inert backdrop to human activity; socioclimate

thickness that envelopes bodies and regenerates experience; affectively binding; buzz, vibe, mood
defined by intensity, excitement
as the affect subsides the crowd dissipates
transmission a great not-well-studied phenomenon
Theresa Brennan, The Transmission of Affect: we focus on expression and reception but not on in-between

ecological thinking comes into being across a whole variety of disciplines and practices
not just in explicit goals but to render the sphere of atmosphere as a dynamic inhabited zone

Turner and Constable establishing atmospheric phenomena as part of the landscape
Serres on Turner as genius of thermodynamics; Turner as first industrial artist; humans as onlookers to that spectacle
consumption of climate theater (Sloterdijk) as spectacle

contemporary immersive art practice
space in between subject and object is no longer a space but an envrionment
Antony Gormley Blind Light installation at the Hayward: when you encounter someone you’re already inside their intimacy space

Eliasson, Feeings are Facts http://www.olafureliasson.net/exhibitions/feelings_are_facts.html
Ma Yansong
to enter the building you have to pass through fog and water nozzles
smart raincoat encoded with personality data with lights that light up

anti-spectacular experience, far from anti-aesthetic
embodied experience of seeing in a mist

Serres, Background Noise is not a phenomenon; there is no such thing (!); noise as a matter of being, it’s just around and upon us before we think it (it has no specificity!)
I’m happy I’m not a Serres-ean then
it does uncercut habitual perception
constituting the ground not replacing one experience with another (I don’t agree with this by the way)

Phillippe Rahm installation, Digestible Gulf Stream; current of air; atmospheric momentum

immersion: ambience can be an end in itself, warm bath of indulgence, the necessary qualifier of place
cf deep ecology and romantic environmentalism
idea that simply being there is virtuous (well put, Jill!)
Serres versus armchair phenomenology (gymnastics, mountaineering)--but that could also suck!

art historical skepticism on immersive art (Hal Foster): appeal to affect eradicates the critical distance
at the general level these critiques can simply be resistance to the medium
but they work at a particular level
as a beginning of inquiry into ontology it could produce a critical quality

Avatar: natural utopia of Pandora as a technosublime fantasy
deep ecological immersion as absorption into the Pandoran ecosystem
excess of tech now required to get back to nature

Hilda Kozari, Bertrand Duchaufour, Smell of Helsinki

Duchamp’s Paris Air, 50cc’s of it

Rahm’s experiments with invisible architecture, Pulmonary Space from Radical Nature show
breath from the musicians collected and inhaled
kind of critical and cool as opposed to Kozari, not just an abstract cultural entity

trying to break the specator/object divide
movie space and narrative space (diegetic space) in cinema theory, viewer in fixed relationship, an inside–outside boundary
this is undercut by an immersive viewing experience; connected with environment through a series of discrete encounters including all kinds of different sensory connections

mingling of matter, need to develop a richer modeling of what goes on in space
new realism and sensory geography is emerging
Shona Illingworth in the Hebrides, military bombardment zones
sound not ecomimetic
The Watchman (about Belsen) http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/the-watch-man.aspx

Sylvia Eckerman, Breathe My Air
Chinese notion of “borrowed scenery”

Bergson: subjects and objects are “nothing more than relations and reciprocal unfoldings”

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