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Assignment: Avatar Emergency 3

  Situation.What does it mean to approach Everyday Life with an aesthetic attitude? There is nothing novel about framing one’s quotidian roles in some state of mind — wisdom, science, religion. As practice, the aesthetic attitude is included within a situation, adding to the intentionality of some project the distance that generates aura of signification.  “Situation” is a guideword, evoking the existentialist point that circumstances become a situation when considered from the point of view of one’s “project,” the goals of a practice, encountering a scene not indifferently but according to its affordances for some purpose.  In a Visit (for konsult) this project or purpose is given an aesthetic frame.

Ulmer’s Visit documented in Chapter 13 (Wisdom) of Avatar Emergency offers a relay for our instructions.  What is Ulmer’s situation:

  • Family:  Mother’s Day holiday, with three generations of relatives sharing a rented house.
  • Work: Ulmer continues to ponder the perplexities of a theoretical question (the image metaphysics of electracy: the diadoch Damascius).
  • Memory: A formative experience in Ulmer’s past — a night in an olive orchard in Spain, 1966.
  • Current Events:  History of the present unfolding in daily reports and analysis of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
  • Site: Place, Ponte Vedra Beach on the Atlantic coast of Florida.
  • Form:  The Aesthetic Attitude includes familiar forms and genres, constituting a mythology: popular culture for laymen, but for Ulmer (academic) the forms are high art (Titian’s Allegory of Prudence,Kafka’s aphorisms).

A relevant context to Visit as the construction of an epiphany is the common experience in the history of creative insight of the Eureka moment appearing during some ordinary activity:  Archimedes in his bath; Poincaré stepping off a bus.  In Ulmer’s relay, adopting the Aesthetic Attitude means that he consciously scans his setting for some feature he recognizes as an objective correlative for his state of mind, registering the Mood or atmosphere attuning as vehicle and tenor (outer and inner) dimensions of his life world.  The feature he recognizes, promoting it to object @, is the sand castle built by his granddaughter the previous evening.

2018-07-25T00:15:37+00:00 July 25th, 2018|Categories: Assignments, EPS|Tags: , , |

Device: Gestus

Excerpts from Bertolt Brecht’s article “On Gestic Music,” translated by John Willett. This principle helps us see how images become wide.; how the primal scene is generalized into a personal category. The wide image is the generator of a gest. To adapt the analysis to mystory, extend “class struggle” to all the ideological categories, and associate the term creative with “political.” Gest constitutes interface between microcosm and macrocosmic disaster. Pedagogy becomes heuretic when objects of study (such as Brecht or Blanchot) become relays for konsult.


  “Gest” is not supposed to mean gesticulation: it is not a matter of explana-tory or emphatic movements of the hands, but of overall attitudes. A language is gestic when it is grounded in a gest and conveys particular attitudes adopted by the speaker towards other men. The sentence “pluck the eye that offends thee out” is less effective from the gestic point of view than “if thine eve offend thee, pluck it out.” The latter starts by pre-senting the eye, and the first clause has the definite gest of making an assumption; the main clause then comes as a surprise, a piece of advice, and a relief.


The musician sees this initially as an artistic principle, and not a specially interesting one. It may perhaps help him to set his texts in a particularly lively and easily assimilated way. What is more important is the fact that this principle of looking to the gest can allow him to adopt his own political attitude while making music. For that it is essential that be should he setting a social gest.


Not all gests are social gests. The attitude of chasing away a fly is not yet a social gest, though the attitude of chasing away a dog may be one, for in-stance if it comes to represent a badly dressed man’s continual battle against watchdogs. One’s efforts to keep one’s balance on a slippery surface result in a social gest as soon as falling down would mean “losing face”; in other words, losing one’s market value. The gest of working is definitely a social gest, because all human activity directed towards the mastery of nature is a social undertaking, an undertaking between men. On the other hand a gest of pain, as long as it is kept so abstract and generalized that it does not rise above a purely animal category, is not yet a social one. But this is precisely the common tendency of art: to remove the social element in any gest. The artist is not happy till he achieves “the look of a hunted animal.” The man then becomes just Man; his gest is stripped of any social indi-viduality; it is an empty one, not representing any undertaking or operation among men by this particular man. The “look of a hunted animal” can be-come a social gest if it is shown that particular maneuvers by men can de-grade the individual man to the level of a beast; the social gest is the gest relevant to society, the gest that allows conclusions to be drawn about the social circumstances.


  Suppose that the musician composing a cantata on Lenin’s death has to reproduce his own attitude to the class struggle. As far as the gest goes, there are a number of different ways in which the report of Lenin’s death can be set. A certain dignity of presentation means little, since where death is involved this could also be held to be fitting in the case of an enemy. Anger at ‘the blind workings of providence’ cutting short the lives of the best members of the community would not be a communist gest; nor would a wise resignation to “life’s irony”; for the gest of communists mourning a communist is a very special one. The musician’s attitude to his text, the spokesman’s to his report, shows the extent of his political, and so of his human maturity. A man’s stature is shown by what he mourns and in what way he mourns it. To raise mourning to a high plane, to make it into an element of social progress: that is an artistic task.

2018-07-25T14:50:12+00:00 July 22nd, 2018|Categories: Disaster, EPS, Tutorials, Wide Image|Tags: , , |



Introduction to Projects

KE is for anyone interested in adapting Humanities education, and pedagogy in general, to digital media. It is not the only way such an adaptation may be accomplished, but it may be in the mix for those taking into account apparatus theory (electracy names the digital apparatus). The curriculum and pedagogy are organized around the invention, design, and testing of konsult, the genre for learning in an electrate way. The rationale and related practices are inventoried in the following outline, to be unpacked and tested throughout KE.

1) Adopt a Disaster. The invention begins when egents (student konsultants) choose an ongoing disaster as the setting for their konsultation. The choice is based on punctum–a sting or trigger of emotion, a feeling of in/justice with respect to current events.

 –Felt: Electracy constitutes a metaphysics of Desire, underwriting and augmenting across institutions the human capacity of attraction/repulsion (pleasure/pain). These passions include Thymos as well as Eros. A feeling of in/justice is addressed not as a “virtue” (a concept or ideal) but within the full range of passions, treated within literacy as até dramatized in tragedy (and comedy), probing the insight relating individual foolishness to collective calamity. Konsult seeks to do for the visceral order of passion what dialogue did for the intellectual order of reason.

Attitude: Electracy does not compete with literacy as science or oraltiy as religion, but complements them. To the extent that prayer and engineering are sufficient for managing catastrophe, there is no need for konsult. Konsult intervenes when business as usual no longer suffices, disasters persist and increase. Konsult adopts its own attitude to disaster: egents “consult” (seek advice from, attempt to learn from) the disaster. They attempt to transate for themselves and the community the writing of the disaster (Blanchot).

2018-07-12T17:20:02+00:00 July 12th, 2018|Categories: Overview|Tags: , , , , |