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SINTHOME/Theopraxesis

Jacques Lacan, The Sinthome, Seminar XXIII, 1975-76

Lacan offered seminars annually from 1952 to 1980. Lacan’s seminars make an important contribution to the Theory in the CATTt guiding the invention of Konsult in general, and theopraxesis in particular. In this later seminar Lacan makes explicit some connections with the sources of our project that until now operated as assumptions. The first of these relationships is outlined here.

Capabilities.

Real, imaginary, and symbolic strikes me as just as valid as the other triad from which, going by Aristotle, the juice was extracted to compose man, namely, will, intelligence, and affectivity. (Sinthome 126).

As discussed in the book, Konsult: Theopraxesis, one function of our experiment is to support a transition from literacy to electracy in education (to negotiate a passage from one apparatus to another). The pedagogy is centered on egents, the ones supposed to learn, appropriating the resources of Arts & Letters curriculum as means for students to undergo and develop their capabilities—their faculties, powers, virtues, potentiality—identified in the tradition dating from the invention of literacy in the Athenian academies as the embodied intellectual virtues: Theoria, Praxis, Poesis (theory, practice, poetics; thinking, doing, making; understanding, will, imagination). Kant’s Three Critiques take up this thread. The Third Critique promotes Aesthetics to equal status with Science and Morality, to propose aesthetic judgment as mediator bridging the abyss separating science and religion. Hannah Arendt took up Kant’s project as the best option for a Public Sphere in industrialized mass society after Auschwitz.

The importance of Lacan’s contribution is apparent in this context. His mnemonic image of the embodied virtues is a bag (the body, mathematically the empty set, the one) tied closed with cord (string, ficelles). RSI (playing on rhymes and puns with “heresy” and “airesis” or choice)—Lacan’s updating of the three faculties—Real, Symbolic, Imaginary—interrelate topologically, entangled in a way that Lacan explores through knot topology, with the Borromean knot specifically manifesting the sinthome (unique symptom). We have argued elsewhere that the sinthome helps account for the image of wide scope. One implication to be tested in our experiments is that in experience we encounter the apparatus stack (the popcycle) as entangled, knotted, in a manner articulated by topology. Lacan supplies one guide for the Kant-Arendt project, that we are calling theopraxesis: the virtues and their institutions already are fully integrated in a potential state (dunamis, but in a condition of privation, steresis). The “symptom” of this virtual condition is the polemos or seemingly irreducible conflict apparent in relations both macrocosmic and microcosmic of civilization.

HOGARTH: Line of Beauty

A second affiliation with tradition important to note in this seminar is Lacan’s reference to Hogarth’s curved line of beauty as relevant to the genealogy of his knot topology. This connection makes explicit Lacan’s contribution to the larger question of the gramme, the invention of the plasmatic line in the Paleo apparatus, in continuing service up to the present, now augmented in electracy through animation and digital FX. Sergei Eisenstein cited Disney’s animated film, Steamboat Willie (1928) as a revelation of the new order opened up in media by the plasmatic line. We will have more to say about the ontological properties of this line.

2019-01-10T15:32:44+00:00 December 19th, 2018|Categories: Capability, Diagram, Draw, Lacan, Popcycle, Sinthome, Theopraxesis, Topology, Uncategorized, Wide Image|

Wide Image: Mythology

Structuralism: Claude Lévi-Strauss.  Following the rule of heuretics curriculum, to treat one’s own materials as belonging to the disciplinary tradition, I applied Lévi-Strauss’s insights into the formal design of mythologies to my wide image. The wide mage in fact is a personal mythology, not only metaphorically but formally. Lévi-Strauss showed that individual instances of a myth manifest a system of relationships, covering all possible variations on the aporia (disaster in our terms) addressed by the myth. The system of relationships is that of proportional analogy (A is to B as C is to D), the figure of hypotyposis encountered throughout the tradition. The practice of myth-work applied to a mystory set (including the Career register documented, along with Family, Entertainment, Community) is to determine which stories/scenes are related in this proportional ratio, along what axes? In my case I found Family and Career related on an axis of space (The Sand and Gravel Plant scene, materializing the Choral metaphor of Plato and Derrida); Entertainment and History related on an axis of time. High Noon plays out almost in real time, intercutting between the clock in the sheriff’s office and the gunmen waiting for their boss to arrive on the noon train, while the sheriff tries to form a posse to fight them. Custer took his Seventh Cavalry far ahead of the rest of the advancing army, hoping to strike a quick blow against the Indians, to get the glory for himself, to propel him into candidacy for President of the United States in the 1876 election.. The symmetries formed in the crossings of this four-fold are provocative, suggestive of a diagram capable of translation into an original hypothesis for konsult.

–Noon Star Diagram

2018-07-30T21:17:39+00:00 July 30th, 2018|Categories: Design, Diagram, Mystory, Terms, Wide Image|Tags: , |

Wide Image: Diagram

Wide Image into Diagram. The next step after using the emblem catechism to generate wide image is to begin translation into diagrams, extracting patterns from the intervals and relationships emerging within the matrix. Composing my first mystory in the mid-1980s, “Derrida at the Little Bighorn,” I discovered a match between Family and Career that produced an epiphany I have developed ever since. One of my first jobs when I worked at the plant was to clean the grids of the screens used to grade the gravel into sizes. Eventually the screens plugged up with stones and I had to knock them loose with a hammer. The pea-gravel screen could be cleaned by running the tip of a large screwdriver along the meshed grids, which produced an almost musical sound. This was the actual “gravel plant.” The washer with its three grades of screen, one on top of the other, was fed by a conveyor belt carrying the pit gravel from the quarry, and fed in turn three piles of sized rock, with the sand coming out the bottom. The whole contraption made a terrible noise and shook violently. I realized years later, reading Plato’s Timaeus after Derrida, that this gravel washer was a good metaphor or model for the operation of chora, sorting chaos into Earth, Air, Fire, Water.

–Plato, Timaeus, 52D-53A (Chora).

“My verdict is that being and space and generation, these three, existed in their three ways before the heaven, and that the nurse of generation, moistened by water and inflamed by fire, and receiving the forms of earth and air, and experiencing all the affections which accompany these, presented a strange variety of appearances. and being full of powers which were neither similar nor equally balanced, was never in any part in a state of equipoise, but swaying unevenly hither and thither, was shaken by them, and by its motion again shook them, and the elements when moved were separated and carried continually, some one way, some another. As, when grain is shaken and winnowed by fans and other instruments used in the threshing of corn, the close and heavy particles are borne away and settle in one direction, and the loose and light particles in another. In this manner, the four kinds of elements were then shaken by the receiving vessel, which, moving like a winnowing machine, scattered far away from one another the elements most unlike, and forced the most similar elements into close contact.”

–Derrida, Chora-L As part of his collaboration with the architect, Peter Eisenman, on a design for one of the folies, to be included in the Park for Creativity, Parc de la Villette, in Paris, Derrida produced a drawing and a descriptive concept for an impossible project: to build Chora. “I propose therefore the following ‘materialisation’: in one or three exemplars (with different scalings) a gilded metallic object will be planted obliquely in the ground. Neither vertical nor horizontal, a most solid frame will resemble at once a mesh, sieve, or grid and a stringed musical instrument. An interpretive and selective filter which will have permitted a reading and sifting of the three sites [at the Park] and the three embeddings.”

2018-07-30T20:35:55+00:00 July 30th, 2018|Categories: Design, Diagram, Mystory, Wide Image|Tags: , , |