The logic of sensation: an architecture and philosophy colouring book by Kim Bridgland

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The Logic of Sensation (in the institution) an architecture and philosophy colouring book

Kim Bridgland


Readings Sensation

Gilles Deleuze Painting and Sensation

Affect

Brian Massumi The Autonomy of Affect

Bodies

Georges Teyssot The Mutant Body of Architecture

Feeling

Nigel Thrift Intensities of Feeling: Towards a Spatial Politics of Affect

Clinics and hospitals

Museums

Prisons

Michel Foucault Of Other Spaces Tony Bennett The Exhibitionary Complex Michel Foucault Complete and Austere Institutions

Secret societies

Jan Verwoert Exhaustion and Exuberance: Ways to Defy the Pressure to Perform

Control societies

Gilles Deleuze Postscripts on Control Societies + Maurizio Lazzarato Life and the Living in the Societies of Control

Corporate space

Reinhold Martin The Organisational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space

Catalogues

Affect

Susan Stewart The Miniature + Michel Foucault Preface in The Order of Things Gregory Seijworth and Melissa Gregg An Inventory of Shimmers


Gilles Deleuze Painting and Sensation Be still with yourself Until the object of your attention Affirms your presence Let the Subject generate its own Composition When the image mirrors the man And the man mirrors the subject Something might take over Three Canons, Minor White 1968 1

On becoming the poeticised image Deleuze’s Painting and Sensation offers a celebrated critique of the painted works of both Paul Cézanne and Francis Bacon. 2 This critique is earned as both painters are masters of what Cézanne himself calls the Figure, a poeticized image which can bring forth in us a moment of great affect. Here the paintings of Cezanne and Bacon don’t open up a further understanding of the world but do allow us, if we can manage that magical mental act, that supreme transference of awareness, to simultaneously become in the paintings. That is, to embody both the worlds of Cezanne/Bacon and to embody our own worlds within the painted image. The paintings generate representational spaces, 3 that can then be appropriated by us and embodied by the imagination. It is the imagination that draws me back to what these painters are not doing, which is making paintings of figuration; of abstracted signifiers. In the essay Deleuze shows us a forked path. On one side we have the path of the Figure/sensation, and on the other side we have the path of figuration/ abstraction. The former acts directly upon the nervous system, the flesh, with the latter acting only upon the intellect. The philosopher JG Fitchte offers that all reality is brought solely from the imagination… this act which forms the basis for the possibility of our consciousness, our life. 4 If we see all reality as being brought forth solely from the imagination (as a product of our total embodied knowledge, both body and head) then isn’t an understanding through sensation more potent solely because it is more complete? Understanding through sensation, is understanding through sensation and through imagination/intellect; that is both the body and mind. Where as figuration/abstraction is solely an understanding through the mind, and less evocative for it. So, in wanting to become the embodied sensation of a painted figure, should we also acknowledge the conditioning effects of the environment in which we view the work? A painting, as much as it generates an image occupying two-dimensional space is itself an object in space and time. I might view the image of the painting on my laptop while sitting at my dining table, or I might view the image depicted in the painted canvas itself hung on the pre-conditioned walls of an art gallery. Which of these mediums generates a true understating of the image (if indeed there is such a thing)? At the gallery wall I might respond to the physically of the paint on the canvas, bearing the embedded traces of the painters hand and generate a powerful response to the work, or am I just fan-ed out here, pressured by the white box world of the gallery to revere the celebrity artist? While through the acid glow of my laptop will I be too neutralized by my own familiarity to open up to the Figure in the image, or is it only then that I can remove the obstructions of the painting’s own status and finally occupy the representational space it depicts? Though as suggested my Minor White above, it seems that regardless of the venue, it is necessary that I be still with myself first before I can let the subject generate its own composition.

1. Minor White, ‘Three Canons’, in Mirror messages manifestations, New York: Aperture Foundation, 1969 2. Gilles Deleuze, ‘Painting and Sensation’, in The Logic of Sensation, London: Continuum, 2003 3. Henri Lefèbvre, Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith, The Production of Space, Oxford: Blackwell, 1991 4. As quoted in Richard Kearney, Poetics of Imagining: From Husserl to Lyotard, London: Harper Collins Academic, 1991, p 4


Brian Massumi The Autonomy of Affect

The space in-between On reading Brian Massumi’s essay, The Autonomy of Affect, 1 I am struck both by how clearly he illustrates that most elusive of terms (clearly according to the Spinoza/Deleuze lineage of affective discourse, of course) and by how profound the implications of that illustration are. The essay begins by underlining the slippage that occurs between effect and content, which to borrow from Alan Badiou we might also see as the slippage between being and event. 2 It is this slippage, this gap, which Massumi suggests is the realm of the affective. Like Deleuze, Massumi argues that affect is an autonomous, bodily response to an encounter, the figure, 3 as opposed to the intellectual/emotional response to the sociolinguistic registers of an encounter, the figurative. 4 He continues though in offering us a temporal home for the affective. In analysis of experiments performed on the human brain it is found that there is a missing half-second between an event in time and space and our conscious awareness of it; a temporal slip, a perpetually missing present where we form both our selves and our world, where we become. For Massumi, this half-second of becoming is like a temporal sink, a hole in time, as we conceive of it and narrativize it. 5 It is this ‘temporal sink’ that for me is so extraordinary in that it is a feedback site where all of our previous selves/conditions simultaneously merge with our present body and forge our continual becoming. The further wonder here is that this affective state of becoming is an arena of nonlinear relationships. As Massumi puts it, this is a space of resonation and feedback that momentarily suspend linear progress of the narrative present from past to future. 6 Could it be then, that through this temporal/affective field, in each new moment of our becoming, nonlinear connections are brought into play that allow for previously unimagined paradigms to occur? Might we then go on to see our affective ability, our perpetual bodily translation of the real into being, as the site of all new thought, the source even of human creativity itself? 1. Brian Massumi, The Autonomy of Affect, in Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2002. 2. Alan Badiou, Being and Event, London: Continuum, 2006. 3. Gilles Deleuze, ‘Painting and Sensation’, in The Logic of Sensation, London: Continuum, 2003, p 34. 4. Ibid, p.34. 5. Massumi, Ibid, p 26. 6. Ibid


Georges Teyssot The Mutant Body of Architecture Is it really so sad and dangerous to be fed up with seeing with your eyes, breathing with your lungs, swallowing with your mouth, talking with your tongue, thinking with your brain…? Why not walk on your head, sing with your sinuses, see through your skin… Where psychoanalysis says, stop, find yourself again, we should say instead, ‘Let’s go further still… Find your body without organs, Find out how to make it. It’s a question of life and death…’ - Gillez Deleuze and Felix Guattari 1 The prosthethis is not a mere extension of the human body; it is the constitution of this body qua ‘human’. - Bernard Steiglar 2

Architecture’s prosthetic impulse The first task architecture ought to assume, announces Georges Teyssot in his essay, The Mutant Body of Architecture, is that of defining and imagining an environment not just for ‘natural’ bodies projected outside themselves, absent and ecstatic, by means of their technologically extended senses… It then becomes possible and even necessary to logically invert the terms of our proposition on the role of architecture. The incorporation of technology is not effected by ‘imagining’ a new environment, but by reconfiguring the body itself, pushing outward to where its artificial extremities encounter ‘the world’. 3 This decree is announced in relation to the work of New York architecture and research practice, Diller & Scofidio (known now as Diller Scofidio + Renfro – DS+R). Teyssot writes that DS+R, in their predisposition towards the problematic relationships between body-politics & sexual identity with the implicit codes imposed by institutions and by representational codes, 4 are drawing upon a prosthetic impulse in architecture in order to challenge and redefine these blurred boundaries. In a medical sense (the first sense of term being the addition of a syllable to the beginning of a word), the term prosthethis was initially employed to mean a replacement of a missing part of the body with an artificial one. 5 Importantly, from this initial use of word in medicine (and in grammar), the term offers itself up as an addition or a replacement to the body. 6 Architecture has long been seen as an extension of the body, as a protective external membrane beyond both our skin and our clothes, and as an interface with the world, mediating between terrestrial and bodily scale. 7 But as Deleuze and Guattari defiantly declare in A Thousand Plateaus, let’s go further still… Find out your body without organs, Find out how to make it. It’s a question of life and death.. 8 In Teyssot, it is the work of architects and artists such as DS+R who offer us a glimpse of this expanded body of architecture. 1. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateus: Capitalsim and schizophrenia, Trans. Brian Massumi, Minneapolis: University of Minnesoata Press, 1987, p 151. 2. Bernard Steiglar, Technics and Time Vol. 1, The Fault of Epimetheus, Trans. Richard Beardsworth and George Collins, Stanford: University Press, 1998, pp 152-153. 3. Gerges Teyysot, ‘The Mutant Body of Architecture’, in Flesh: Architectural Probes, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1994, p 16. 4. Ibid, p 08. 5. David Wills, Prosthesis, Stanford: University of Stanford press, 1995, p 218. 6. Ibid 7. Kenneth Baker, The Lightning Field, London: Yale University Press, 2008, P. 16 8 Deleuze and Guattari, Ibid.


Nigel Thrift Intensities of Feeling: Towards a Spatial Politics of Affect

An intensity of feeling Nigel Thrift’s intensities of feeling, begins as an attempt to overcome the alleged neglect in the study of the affective register within cities, in a bid to work towards a spatial politics of affect. 1 In the execution of this though, he appears to take any opportunity presented to not talk directly of the relationship of affect to the urban realm, which I see here as a physical/temporal state operating on and by the social patterns and actions of its inhabitants. After isolating four distinct narratives in the discussion and definition of affect he moves to discuss the relationship between our affective states and the political (and capitalist) institutions that seek to engage them, and which, he argues, also seek to hijack them. If we take affect as the richly expressive/aesthetic feeling-cum-behavior of continual becoming (an interface as it were in the continual build up of self), 2 then any kind of direct engagement with our affective registers can and should also be seen as attempt at massive social/cultural engineering. Thrift labels this affective relationship with our institutions microbiopolitics, a system that seems only capable of disabling the greater democratic political institutions that seek to harness it. If we see Thrift’s microbiopolitics as a space of not only facial/bodily empathy with our political leaders 3 but also as a space of image/media saturation and ten second dog whistle grabs, then this practice of microbiopolitics, in addressing our highly charged pre-thought, nascent states in an attempt at effecting our secondary responses can surely only lead to an unintelligible mess of unmediated affect, a mob in other words. So when affect becomes a learned response, a product of social construction, 4 what does that say about our ability to control the development of self? It appears that our control over the self is the key in disarming the threat of a controlled self. By being aware of this field of microbiopolitics can we be oppressed by it? Perhaps not, but it appears the responsibility to become our world is on our shoulders and not theirs. 1. Nigel Thrift, ‘Intensities of Feeling: Towards a Spatial Politics of Affect’, in Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, Volume 86, Issue 1, March 2004, pp. 60,61. 2. Ibid, p 60 3. Brian Massumi observes this quality in Ronald Reagan: It was commonly said that he ruled primarily by projecting an air of confidence. Massumi, as quoted in Thrift, Ibid, p 65. 4. Thrift, Ibid, p 69.


Michel Foucault Of Other Spaces

On relational spaces: the Other and the self Michel Foucault’s brief essay, Of Other Spaces, suggests an epistemic shift from a nineteenth century, Eurocentric obsession with history, with time, into a twentieth century anxiety with space; a shift from an era of emplacement into one of the displaced. 1 Within this era of spatial anxiety, Foucault describes the emergence of two sets of spaces, the ideological space of the utopia, born out of the era’s supposed conquest of history, and the situational space of the heterotopia. It is the latter of these emergent spaces which is the focus of the text and which he proceeds to catalogue and quantify. Foucault describes his heterotopias as real places - places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society - which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture. Are simultaneously represented, contested and inverted. 2 And although I understand his desire to insist that these places do exist, as of course we always want to inhabit the Other, our desire to know the Other only inhibits that access, and spirals into pleasure rather than knowledge. 3 I would argue instead that the heteretopia is a localised, spatial manifestation of the Other; an affective place who’s existence is entirely dependant on our ability to not describe it, and therefore to not know it. In this, I might also suggest that the heterotopia presents a dialectic of access and restriction; highlighting that in our desire but inability to know the heterotopia, we forge a relational self-consciouss with the Other. This understanding of course, is dependant on the fact that self-consciousness needs an external object to in order to define itself, and our desire appears as expression of that fact. 4 Foucault refers to Gaston Bachelard’s great taxonomy of poetic spaces in order to describe his own series of heterotopias, 5 though we can also look to the architectural Uncanny of Anthony Vidler,6 for a similar comparison. As in the above examples though, it is important to note that these Other spaces of Foucault’s don’t exist in their own right, but lay dormant (both within us and within the hetertopic spaces) and rely upon a relationship of encounter and use, such as Henri Lefebvre describes in his production of space. 7 1. Michel Foucault, ‘Of Other Spaces’ in Diacritics, vol. 16, no. 1, Spring, 1986, pp. 22-27. 2. Ibid, p 24. 3. Leigh-Ann Pahapill, ‘Access/Desire: Obstruction, Concealment and Anticipation in the site Specific Installations of Walter De Maria’, Drain 7: Desire, 2006 4. The self-knowing spirit knows not only itself but also the negative of itself, or its limit: to know one’s limit is to know how to sacrifice oneself. G.W.F Hegel, Phenomenology of the Spirit, Trans. A.V. Miller, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977 p 492. 5. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, Trans. Maria Jolas, Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. 6. Anthony Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny: Essays on the Modern Unhomely, London: The MIT press, 1992. 7. Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 1991.


Tony Bennett The Exhibitionary Complex

To see and be seen In The Exhibitionary Complex, Tony Bennett locates a shift in the relationship between the western state and its populace. 1 He sees, alongside Foucault, a move from the state’s domination of the unruly mob through the display of punishment, to the management of a self-regulating public through ideological education. 2 This transformation of the masses, Bennett suggests, began with the rise of the museum and with it the myopic and nationalised meta-narratives of history that they displayed. As the carceral system withdrew from the public’s gaze, taking the didactic, mutilated bodies of the criminal down from the scaffold and placing them behind the concealing walls of the prison, the exhibitionary complex began the reverse process of shifting private collections of objects and bodies out from behind closed doors and into the public domain. This exposition of collected items had the ultimate effect of shifting the public’s gaze from those that had fallen from society, onto society itself, and running behind this new public ‘self awareness’ was the incessant message that hand in hand, the state and the public were working together towards a greater good, and that greater good was progress. With this apparent personal stake in the fortunes of the state along with the rise of the great expositions and a growing retail, consumer culture (and with them the introduction of Benjamin’s Flaneur 3), the now self aware public transforms into a self regulating body, controlled now by its own narcissistic gaze, thriving in the ever-increasing opportunity to see or be seen. The notion of this new cosmopolitan society, shining in the spirit of progress atop the great summit of human enlightenment was dependant on the reinforcement through the great expositions, in the idea of the other; the less successful and inferior societies that had somehow found themselves stunted upon their evolutionary journey and unable then to be seen as equals in a modern society. Thus was the modern project was built upon the back of a prejudiced and racist outlook, demanding the arrested development (and incidentally the labour of) inferior societies in the pursuit of its own vanity. Seeing the institution of art itself as a means of control and coercion by the state is discouraging, but perhaps now we can se the true value of using our accumulated accursed share 4 in practicing art for its own value, outside of any economic system; celebrating the viral heterotopias of our roaming ships of fools lest we remain the parliament of monsters that we’ve become. 5 1. Tony Bennett, ‘The Exhibitionary Complex’, in The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics, London: Routledge, 1995. 2. Ibid. 3. Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, Trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, Cambridge: Belknap Harvard, 2002. 4. Georges Bataille, The accursed share, vol 1: consumption, Trans. Robert Hurley, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1991. 5. Bennett, Ibid, pp 59, 86.


Gilles Deleuze Postscripts on Control Societies + Maurizio Lazzarato Life and the Living in the Societies of Control


Reinhold Martin The Organisational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men! Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments! Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb! Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities! Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind! - Allan Ginsberg, Howl 1


Susan Stewart The Miniature + Michel Foucault Preface in The Order of Things Right from the start, the great collector is struck by the confusion, by the scatter, in which the things of the world are found. - Walter Benjamin 1 A dictionary begins when it no longer gives the meaning of words, but their tasks. Thus formless is not only an adjective having a given meaning, but a term that serves to bring down in the world, generally requiring that each thing has its form. What it designates has no rights in any sense and gets squashed everywhere, like a spider or an earthworm. In fact for academic men to be happy, the universe would have to take shape. All of philosophy has no other goal: it is a matter of giving a frock coat to what is, a mathematical frock coat. On the other hand, affirming that the universe resembles nothing and is only formless amounts to saying that the universe is something like a spider or spit. - Georges Bataille 2

On language Two texts on catalogues by Michel Foucault 3 and Susan Stewart 4 trigger not so many thoughts on any taxonomy of things but rather on the myth of classification itself; my thoughts turn instead to language. The two texts look at various collections and orders of things; for Foucault this is a grouping of animals and is from an excerpt of Jorge Luis Borges where he quotes from a certain Chinese encyclopaedia, 5 for Stewart we are shown here own selective entries into the order of all things miniature. What both writers understand though is that in describing various things by their relationships to others we engage in an act of redefining the essence and limits of the all things, as classification is an act of language and as set down in A whaler’s Dictionary, language is a human construction, and speaks the world’s limit as it speaks the world. 6 We could think of the fall of Babel, of the punishment handed down for that attempted trespass, though not a punishment for what was about to be seen but for what was about to be described. And so, Babel’s curse condemns us to languages opacity, to the solitude of thoughts one cannot speak. And the deeper the thought, the higher its aspirations, the more confused language grows. Belief becomes bafflement. 7 And we could think, like Bataille above, that if it is through language that we create knowledge isn’t it also through language that knowledge is lost, and how knowledge is apt to get squashed everywhere, like a spider or an earthworm? 8 In her writings on the very, very small, Stewart offers that when language attempts to describe the concrete, it is caught in an infinitely self-effacing gesture of inadequacy, a gesture which speaks to the gaps between our modes of cognition - those gaps between the sensual, the visual, and the linguistic. 9 Though is the opacity of language really such a curse, aren’t those gaps in the linguistic, that slippage and the lack in language where we find our sense of wonder in world? When Stewart writes that Raymond Roussel had chosen to ‘rewrite’ his poems in the necessarily incomplete medium of language 10 she is offering us a chance to celebrate that incompleteness, and a chance to focus on the noise that fills the space in between language. In attempting to find a home for his dislocated fragments of possible orders, Foucault dismisses heterotopias as a suitable venue as for him they secretly undermine language… they dissolve our myths and sterilize the lyricism of our sentences. 11 But I suppose I could think that instead heterotopias don’t undermine language at all, but exist within and in-between language. Indeed, I could go so far as to think that heterotopias exist because of language. That much I could think, in so many words.


1. Walter Benjamin, ‘The Collector.’ In The Arcades Project, 203-11. Edited by Rolf Tiedman. Trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999. 2. Georges Bataille, ‘Informe’, Documents 7 (December 1929): 384; Trans. by Alan Stoekl as ‘Formless,’ in Georges Bataille, Visions of Excess: Selected writings, 1927-1939 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985), p.31. 3. Michel Foucault, ‘Preface’, in The Order of Things, London: Routledge, 1970. 4. Susan Stewart, ‘Part 2: The Miniature’, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1993. 5. Jorge Luis Borges as quoted in Foucault, Ibid, p xv. 6. Dan Beachy-Quick, A Whaler’s Dictionary, Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2008. p.60 7. Ibid. p 16. 8. Bataille, Ibid 9. Stewart, Ibid. p 52. 10. Ibid. p 49. 11. Foucault, Ibid, p xviii.