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Faraday: Unification of Paradigm

Michael Faraday: Electricity

Electracy (the term) joins electricity and trace to name the digital apparatus. Michael Faraday made a major contribution to the science and technology of electracy (he is considered to be the first electrical engineer). His work exemplifies a principle of heuretics regarding the transdisciplinary character of creativity. His discovery of the unity of electricity and magnetism was guided by a themata (Holton)–the unification of all forces in the cosmos–which directed his empirical work. The following passage holds a place for further discussion.

But Faraday was not wholly without philosophical intent. As a young man, he became enamored of a version of Kant’s philosophy extolled with great force by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It was based on the universe being filled with a web of attractive and repulsive forces, convertible one into the other, with their total being conserved. At the bottom, this cosmic web was woven by God. Everything is here in nascent form, including forces to fill the vacuum, as well as conservation of energy. Faraday was particularly taken by Coleridge’s statement that “Things identical must be convertible.” He believed a relation between electrical and magnetic forces had to exist. As Faraday’s biographer L. Pierce Williams writes, “It was the conviction that forces were inherently identical and convertible that inspired Michael Faraday during the major portion of his scientific career.” (Arthur I. Miller, Insights of Genius: Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art, MIT Press, 2000: 102).

The immediate point to register is to extend the unification of forces (energy) into the cultural and human realm, with respect to the axis of attraction-repulsion as organizing electracy, including the libidinal economy of desire.  An abstract of an essay by Williams notes a further correlation of Faraday with the metaphysics structuring konsult as pedagogy: Capabilities.

This chapter focuses on epistemology and the experimental methods used by Michael Faraday. The methods of all sciences are identical. These methods include observation of facts, comparison and classification of facts, deduction of facts, and verification of results. Science guided Faraday throughout his life. It must have infuriated his contemporaries that the foremost experimentalist of the nineteenth century rejected the prevalent theories of experimental method. In fact, Faraday’s scientific career was founded upon a rather simple, but fundamentally important, concept of the mind and its faculties. The mind consists of basically three faculties—the senses, the judgment, and the imagination. The senses provide the mind with the raw material for its operations but this is not automatic or mechanical. The mind has to be carefully trained in the reception of sense impressions or else it will err in its judgments. (“Epistemoloogy and Experiment: the Case of Michael Faraday,” Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics, Vol 49, 1968).

2018-12-29T15:03:02+00:00 December 27th, 2018|Categories: Capability, Device, Kant, Themata|Tags: , |

TPE: Emblem, Wabi-Sabi

The Expanded Image. Hypermedia students composed an image of wide scope in four steps, extended over a semester: 1) Family Memory, read John Briggs, Fire in the Crucible, on the wide image; 2) Entertainment narrative, read Zinsser, Worlds of Childhood; 3) Community History, read Momaday, Rainy Mountain; 4) Emblem, read Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers. Japanese enjoys a rich vocabulary of aesthetic terms, with Wabi-Sabi one of the most important. Introducing this book to students (which they invariably liked), I asserted that it was the best single book on the poetics of “image” that I had ever read. There were certain books I introduced with some fanfare, using hyperbole as a substitute for experience, to overcome the insecurity of thinking that while Koren’s book was good, there must be other books that were better somewhere else. University of Florida is rated as a “good bargain,” since it has one of the lowest tuitions of any AAU school: $6500 a year. My introduction claimed that this book was as true at UF for $6500 as it was true at Stanford for $45,000. Helen Cixous’s Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing, I continued, is true for $6500. At Stanford for $45,000 there is no fourth step. Similarly Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium, still lacks the sixth memo (the lecture series one short at Calvino’s death) at Stanford, as it is at UF. The motivation for the hyperbole and performative framing was part of introducing students to theopraxesis, the three capabilities received from Avatar, that Koren made explicit in his exposition of Japanese traditional culture and aesthetics.

–How an Image becomes Wide. Koren demonstrates how a detail of the world is selected as a vehicle for a poetic image: for example, a worn shingle on an old hut, with a streak of rust descending from an iron nail. The tenor (theme) of this vehicle is coded in Japanese traditional culture, relative to the wisdom metaphysics of Buddhism, to express an existential insight into time and entropy known as wabi-sabi.  “Wabi-Sabi can be called a ‘comprehensive’ aesthetic system. Its world view, or universe, is self-referential. It provides an integrated approach to the ultimate nature of existence (metaphysics), sacred knowledge (spirituality), emotional well-being (state of mind), behavior (morality), and the look and feel of things (materiality)” (Koren, 41). The instruction was not to seek Wabi-Sabi in one’s own experience, but the equivalent, the mood and atmosphere, to find one’s personal version of what was modeled in Japanese tradition. The folk traditions of Blues into Jazz in global Creole syncretism (mufarse into tango, saudade into samba) is central to the thymotic and erotic dimension of world materialized in digital electracy. Koren’s analysis demonstrates how to expand the two-part vehicle and tenor of image into a six-part inventory. Students generated their emblems productive of wide image by answer six questions posed by Koren: three for vehicle; three for tenor. The three questions addressing tenor (themata) are the same three articulated in the catechism of modernism, directing theopraxesis. One implication, to be developed further, is that the system of capabilities is not confined to the Western Tradition, but functions globally across cultures and civilizations.

–Poetics: Image expanded into Emblem. The expanded image consists of two registers: material; metaphysical. Working with the narratives generated in composition of mystory, students must commit to one pedagogical object (magic tool), some detail found in at least one of the diegesis of the popcycle, to serve as logo or brand icon for the wide image. In Ulmer’s case (Noon Star), the repeating detail (like the dogs repeating in Momaday’s section III) was a five-pointed star: Family memory (the red star on his sheet music of the march, Garry Owen; Entertainment mythology (the film High Noon, Gary Cooper as Will Kane, discarding his sheriff’s star in the dirt after the gun fight); Community history (“General” Custer’s badge of rank, and Indian name, Son of the Morning Star). The three material questions are: 1) what is the prop/ icon? Ulmer chose the tin star sheriff’s badge to represent this materiality. 2) What are its attributes? (what mood or atmosphere is expressed that distinguishes this icon from its archetype, configuring it specifically for me. The context of High Noon star thrown in the dirt expresses rejection and disgust with the  hypocritical authority symbolized in the badge. 3) Archetype: what is the conventional meaning associated with this icon in the archive? (the five-pointed star has an extensive presence throughout many cultures).

2018-07-30T00:51:55+00:00 July 30th, 2018|Categories: Assignments, Device, Theopraxesis, Tutorials, Wide Image|Tags: , , |

TPE: Emblem 3, Readymade

Readymade: Found Emblems. Modernist experimental vanguard arts invented the operating practices (logic) of electracy– collage montage, cut and paste, creating meaning through appropriation and arrangements drawn from the archive of popular and commercial media circulating ubiquitously in the recording technologies invented as part of the industrial revolution. Konsult extends this formal practice (Dadaism, bachelor machine) into education and pedagogy. Egents designing wide images may learn from the likes of Marcel Duchamp how to author and design with image apps.

–Fable: What resources are available for inquiry and expression in the conditions after Nietzsche, the history of an error, after the simultaneous withdrawal of the true world and the apparent world along with  it?  The time is noon (the  shortest shadow).  What remains is fable, Nietzsche said.  What are the possibilities of fable as genre?  Duchamp improvised one approach, perhaps not even yet fully appreciated. His Readymades are fables, albeit weak (faible) fables, in that they provide the illustrations only (the emblems, impresas).  He intimated his variation on the mode with his most notorious instance, whose title “Fountain” translates “La Fontaine,” antonomasia between common and proper noun, evoking the name of the author of many fables in the common “fountain,” itself a euphemistic title for a urinal.  Ulmer’s collage of the urinal with a cover of La Fontaine’s book make the joke explicit. Duchamp’s commitment to the punning bachelor machine logic central to modernism is well known.  He acknowledged his attendance at a performance of a stage adaptation of Raymond Roussel’s 1910 novel Impressions of Africa as a turning point in his career (Roussel’s method of composition used generative puns).  It has been suggested that some of the Readymades at least are comments on dreams described in Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, hence that they use rebus methods (visualizations evoking words).  Freud noted, for example, that many dreams are triggered when sleepers experience the need to urinate (the dream allows sleep to continue briefly). The text of the fabled fountain is provided by its history, being as it is the most influential (if not the “best”) art work of the twentieth century, including its status as a prank, and all the manipulations Duchamp performed to put the image of La Fontaine into circulation, recorded in Thierry De Duve’s Kant After Duchamp.  What is the moral of the readymade fable?


–Martin Kippenberger, “Rameau’s Nephew,” 1988

A few minor changes and some careful wallpapering are quite enough to lend a mundane and utilitarian item a touch of sophisticated polish or at least a bit of homely comfort. The result of these efforts arouses ambivalent feelings of embarrassment and admiration. The beautiful wallpaper heightens the esthetic ineptitude of the box to the point of unbearable bleakness and yet a conciliatory glow seems to emanate from the depths of its decoratively enhanced ineptitude. The man in the wallpaper obviously has no such ambivalent qualms; he only wants to to eat (his noodles?) in peace. Perhaps he mirrors the imperturbability that Martin Kippenberger highlights in his art as a means of reconciling us with the ubiquity of embarrassing banality.

According to literary history, Rameau’s nephew was a Bohemian without character but not without talent, who was plunged into misery upon the death of his wife and children. Diderot’s novel of the same name depicts him as a cynical parasite and a brilliant failure, in short, a paradoxical protagonist beyond good and evil.

Patrick Frey, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should not be silent,” in Parkett. 19 (1989). Observe in Kippenberger’s example the enigma created in what he called the interval–the art of Readymade composition is to create an interval between a title (functioning as motto) and an image or object; in this case between the evocative “Rameau’s Nephew,” and a packing box lined with wall paper. The instruction from the artists is not “look how beautiful,” but “everyone an artist” (literally the motto of Joseph Beuys).

2018-07-29T18:58:12+00:00 July 29th, 2018|Categories: Assignments, Device, Terms, Theopraxesis, Tutorials|Tags: , , , , , , |

Theopraxesis: Emblem

Catechism: Wide Image. The catechism of modernism (drawing on the Western Tradition) is articulated in Kant’s philosophy and Gauguin’s painting. The answers to the questions are specific to each person, and are generated during the composition of the wide image. Several posts are required to unfold this poetics, by means of which egents learn to actualize in their own projects the intelligence potential (latent) in the cultural archive. This archive in its global version functions for electracy the way Avatar functioned for orality: source of absolute knowledge (the project of Avatar Emergency was learning to receive this communication of Avatar). One of the first things that happens in transition from one apparatus to another is the mise en machine of the previous apparatus. As McLuhan observed, the content of the new medium is the old medium (literacy put oral mythologies into writing; electracy digitized the libraries). The remainder of the apparatus epoch is devoted to invention and diffusion throughout society of the new metaphysics (operating practices).

–Emblem. The translation of mystory into wide image is mediated by emblematics. The emblem (having the same structure as a generic advertisement), considering its historical relationship with allegory, expresses in condensed form the image of wide scope ( sinthome, Lacan) that emerges in the making of a mystory (it embodies the pattern of signifiers that repeat when the makers situation is mapped across the popcycle). Studio and Textshop exercises explore the form, including its history from its introduction in the Renaissance through to contemporary advertising. An advantage of the form is just this combination of archival presence and pop familiarity. Ulmer designed this emblem based on his mystory: Motto is “pithy,” aphoristic, allusive, to produce an evocative connotation when combined with the picture. The epigraph is informational, clarifying what is suggested in the motto-picture juxtaposition.

–Advertisement.The Marlboro Cowboy
In 1954 Philip Morris Corporation sought an advertising agency to design a campaign that would allow men to smoke a filtered cigarette in public without embarrassment. Leo Burnett (The Burnett Agency) did some research to determine the most “virile” male image in American culture, which not surprisingly turned out to be the “cowboy.”

2018-07-29T18:09:54+00:00 July 29th, 2018|Categories: Design, Device, Overview, Theopraxesis, Tutorials, Wide Image|Tags: , , |

MYSTORY: N. Scott Momaday

The Way to Rainy Mountain. Son of a White mother and Kiowa father, Momaday was raised on a reservation. His novel House Made of Dawn won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969. His autobiographical The Way to Rainy Mountain was assigned as relay modeling the micro form and overall structuring by means of signifiers repeating across levels of the popcycle. Rainy Mountain juxtaposes Kiowa myths Momaday learned from his grandmother; the actual history of the Kiowa symbolized in the myths; his personal recollections of his childhood on the reservation. The text manifests identification (with his grandmother Aho and his grandfather Mammedaty); the use of pattern (the unity of each section is created by the repetition of a detail within the exposition across the three discourses); the use of setting to express feeling (the memories of scenes from the reservation). Most important is the location of Momaday’s memories of childhood in the context of the traditional stories and actual history of his Community (Kiowa), thus bringing the three levels of his symbolic experience into contact–personal, historical, mythical (entertainment fictions in a modern point of view). The book is a collection of thirty-four three-paragraph units (plus introduction and epilogue) illustrated with drawings by Momaday’s father. Unit 3 is cited as example: the popcycle sequence is always the same: Mythology; History; Memory.


Before there were horses the Kiowas had need of dogs. That was a long time ago when dogs could talk. There was a man who lived alone; he had been thrown away, and he made his camp here and there on the high ground. Now it was dangerous to be alone, for there were enemies all around. The man spent his arrows hunting food. He had one arrow left, and he shot a bear; but the bear was only wounded and it ran away The man wondered what to do. Then a dog came up to him and said that many enemies were coming; they were close by and all around. The man could think of no way to save himself. But the dog said: “You know, I have puppies. They are young and weak and they have nothing to eat. If you will take care of my puppies, I will show you how to get away.” The dog led the man here and there, around and around, and they came to safety.

A hundred years ago the Comanche Ten Bears remarked upon the great number of horses which the Kiowas owned. “When we first knew you, he said, “you  had nothing but dogs and sleds.” It was so; the dog is primordial. Perhaps it was dreamed into being. The principal warrior society of the Kiowas was the Ka-itsenko, “Real Dogs,” and it was made up of ten men only, the en most brave. Each of these men wore a long ceremonial sash and carried a sacred arrow. In times of battle he must by means of this arrow impale the end of his sash to the earth and stand his ground to the death. Tradition has it that the founder of the Ka-itsenko had a dream in which he saw a band of warriors,, outfitted after the fashion of the society, being led by a dog. The dog sang the song of the Ka-itsenko, then said to the dreamer: “You are a dog; make the noise like a dog and sing a dog song.”

There were always dogs about my grandmother’s house. Some of them were nameless and lived a life of their own. They belonged there in a sense that the word “ownership” does not include. The old people paid them scarcely any attention, but they should have been sad, I think, to see them go.

Each numbered section is unified around one “pedagogical object”: arrow, spider, horse, hunting and the like. The importance of Mammedaty in this world is documented in unit XXI, in which Mammedaty appears in all three of the popcycle levels. The Disaster governing this world is that of the reservation itself, the destruction of the Kiowa people.

2018-07-27T14:57:57+00:00 July 27th, 2018|Categories: Device, Draw, EPS, Mystory, Narrative, Popcycle|Tags: , |

Gest 4: Found Allegory

 Event Gest.  The Gold King Mine accident (August 5, 2015), when a company working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mistakenly released three million gallons of polluted wastes from the closed mine into the Animas river, is a good example of the Writing of the Disaster. Disasters are emergent event poets, expressing messages never intended or sent. The most immediate template for manifesting the latent indication is to assume it is couched in the concrete logic articulated by Claude Lévi-Strauss. The principle is to observe the features or actual properties available in the scene and extend them into figures or tropes. Some relevant features include: 1) a mine; 2) gold; 3) supervised by the agency responsible for protecting the environment; 4) pollution; 5) endangering well-being of communities; 6) damaging one of the wonders of the natural world (Grand Canyon).

A konsultant allegory or commentary effect is created by juxtaposing the disaster with an event in a different register or discourse, which is part of Lévi-Strauss’s mythopoetics.  Mythologies in structuralist anthropology address problems in the community, not by offering direct solutions, but by translating the problem across the various discourses of the popcycle. A juxtaposition produces an allegory effect, in which the pollution disaster transfers to and expresses pollution in a different register. For example, the 2010 Citizens’s United decision by the United States Supreme Court allowed unlimited spending in elections by corporations and unions. The result has been the creation of SuperPACs (political actions committees) that most observers agree is profoundly changing the dynamics of politics in America, as may be witnessed in the current campaigns in the GOP presidential primary. The homologies accumulate into an evocative figure: The Supreme Court as EPA, the PAC  money as Gold, and the pollution of an institutional wonder of the world (American Democracy). The plug sealing the entrance to the mine was blown open when engineers, attempting to insert a drain tap, underestimated the pressure built up within the mine by the toxic mix of chemicals.The translation may be extended to the discourse of philosophy, which articulates the allegory with metaphysics. Such crossings begin usually with shared teminology, and such connections should be searched as a matter of course in reading what disaster writes.

There is an immediate terminological crossing provided by the name of the river “Animas.” Translated as the river of “souls,” the name is the plural of Carl Jung’s term for the feminine part of a man’s personality. It is the part of the psyche that is directed inwards, and is in touch with the subconscious, or unconscious. The comment effect conducts association with the semantic domain of Geschlecht (Derrida’s trace).

A major term in Heidegger’s philosophy connects etymologically with the vocabulary of mining. Heidegger made extensive use of invented or creative etymology as part of his poetic approach to metaphysics, justified by “white mythology” (Derrida)– the fact that all abstract terms are grounded in material naming (for example, all terms associated with “theory” reference the sense of sight and seeing). The term is Erörterung.

If we take Erörterung in the sense of de-finition, [Heidegger] seems almost to be quoting Leibniz, as when he says in an etymological passage: “one says place [Ort] and end [Ende], one says er-örtern, but few people know the reason for this; however, we can understand it by reference to the language of mining people, for whom the place is the same as the end [Ort so viel als Ende]. One says, for example: this miner works in front of the place [Ort], that is, where  he stops work; therefore erörtern is nothing but ending [endigen] (definire).” For Leibniz erörtern corresponds to the Latin definire; place and end are coupled as along Heidegger’s path: “Orth is a term of the ancient Germans and of Today’s miners. In front of the place [Vor dem Orth] means ‘where the tunnel ends.'” The analogy between Leibniz’s proposed etymology and Heidegger’s is surprising, not so much in view of the linguistic result, as the theoretical outcome that derives from it. The de-finition leads us to the place where the thing has reahed its fulfillment. This shows how the path of the foundation, the path of reason, has led us to the place where reason is fulfilled, where it is finished, giving rise to a different type of reason. The path and  reason have merged in the initial profundities of the thought of Being, of meditation within the Lichtung of Being. By indicating the unthought-of side of metaphysics, the de-finition also reveals the principle  of reason in its most open form. [R. Cristin, Heidegger and Leibniz: Reason and the Path].

Now we understand the deeper significance of the expression “the light at the end of the tunnel.” This proverbial association conducts a final tunnel–the chunnel, the thirty-one-mile tunnel running between France and England. Thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing the conditions of war and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East, massed at the entrance of the chunnel, attempting to cross into England, believed to offer the best opportunity for asylum and a new beginning.  Citing Heraclitus, Heidegger and many others have reminded us that the Oracle at Delphi neither concealed nor revealed, but indicated circumspectly. The disaster is an oracle, whose diviners are egents. Konsult learns the Writing of the Disaster.

2018-07-25T21:51:00+00:00 July 25th, 2018|Categories: Device, Disaster, News, Terms|Tags: , , , |

Gest 3 (Family)

Family gesture: Nancy Kitchel provides a relay for how to locate mood or atmosphere in a local and family setting.

“Covering My Face: My Grandmother’s Gestures,” 1973 

How a particular Midwestern storytelling tradition resembles the landscape. How my aunt or my mother can tell a story in such a way that the peaks (of violence) are cut off and the low points are filled up (with details, with emphasis), until the whole is perfectly flat and contains the violence.

This family gesture may be linked with the iconic gestures found in religious art and contemporary entertainment media.

Gestures and Icons. Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, Dorothea Lange, 1936

Nancy Kitchel’s “grandmother’s gesture” may be seen as a series of variations on a gesture of worry and anxiety codified in this photograph taken by Dorothea Lange as part of a New Deal project to document the misery of migrant workers, sponsored by the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression. “Migrant Mother” is one of the most-cited pictorial images of our times.

A repetition of gestures of this sort opens a conductive inference path between (in this case) Family and History. If Kitchel were doing our assignment this gesture would justify a search in documentation of “the Great Depression” to find a metaphor to express the mood of her Family circumstances.

–Landscape Gest (Outer Scene = State of Mind). Kitchel provides another example of Existential Disaster (cosmic glimpse), inclulding visionary Whiteness.

“Last White (Interior Landscape)”, 1975

This idea I have that the whole inside of my head resembles this landscape (flat? nothing there?), that the particular, peculiar sense of great space, isolation in space, harshness, clarity, severity, the constant transitions, shifts, reveries, the wild swings form one state to another, forms the visual, auditory, reasoning, base for thought or action. A sense that I have been formed out of the quality of the landscape, that everything unnecessary is being slowly eroded by harsher elements. And the confidence that I will survive, denuded, or that something will survive, something will never stop.” 

Nancy Wilson Kitchel, “Visible and Invisible” Individuals: Post-Movement Art in America
Ed. Alan Sondheim

2018-07-25T21:52:55+00:00 July 25th, 2018|Categories: Assignments, Design, Device, EPS, Memory, Photography, Tutorials, Visceral|Tags: , |

Gest 2 (Wonder Woman)

Iconic Gestures

The artist Dara Birnbaum made a videotape collage, edited from an episode of the Wonder Woman TV series (starring Linda Carter), that looped the moment when Diana Prince transforms herself into Wonder Woman by spinning around. This tape exemplifies the way Pop Art isolates and marks certain faces, scenes and gestures from entertainment culture as “language.” These icons form a kind of writing, a shorthand system for alluding to whole semantic domains of information.This “spinning” movement, for example,  may evoke “Wonder Woman” across media and platforms, wherever it appears (metamorphosis).Exercise: Locate and document the iconic features of each of your popcycle discourses (Family, Entertainment, History, Career). 

Wonder Woman

Powers:She is amazing in power…. She has bracers that can deflect bullets. In addition she has a telepathically controled invisible jet and lasso. The lasso also forces anyone caught in it to tell the truth. In addition to all this she is both really smart and really strong.

Origin: She was created on Paradice island, making her an amazon… where she was a statue of a little girl. Her mother/artist begged one of those Greek gods, Aphrodite or Athena, (The cartoon calls her both) to bring her to life… and just like pinochio she was alive. She was faster than Mercury and stronger than Hercules. She was always great but they hold a tournament for the best on paradice island to find someone to join the superfriends…. And Diana(Wonder Woman) sneaks into the contest in disguise and wins.

Her favorite saying seems to be “Great Hera”

2018-07-25T21:52:13+00:00 July 25th, 2018|Categories: Design, Device, Tutorials|Tags: , |