12 Critiques on
The Logic of Sensation By Barry Lim (s3335187) __________________________________________________
Sensation Gilles Deleuze – The Diagram
In ‘The Diagram’ by Gilles Deleuze, it is discussed on many levels the process of painting from preparatory work, mode and approach to painting up to the tools used in the process plays a part in how the artist battle against expressing more of sensation or failure to, resulting in figuration. In this argument, sensation is deem as an understanding felt though the nervous system or can be said to be felt but the human body. Unlike the notion of figuration which allows an understanding through the logical and figurative thoughts of the mind. Tools used in the process are brought into the argument over the control it gives artist for painting art. As understood from the reading, figuration and logical organisation is an involuntary traits of human behaviour and by taking away the control in the notion of painting, the tool liberates the artist from the inherent behaviour to allow ‘sensation to incorporate into the art piece. Reflecting on the reader, the field of art shares many similar perspective and approaches with the field of architecture. Similarly architects utilize tools to translate the mental image into physical realm to convey a set of expression and language. Some thoughts I had when reading the reader was the impact of tools used in designing architecture and how changing the mode of design can result in a different outcome of building design. In art, the sensation is still very much residing in the optical translation of artwork whereas in architecture, sensation can be felt or translated spatially. Not implying that architecture is superior in any manner but a passing thought that the sensation from art still remains very much in the optical realm. It is the complexity and contradiction in both fields that give rise to depth of works. Bibliography ‐Gilles Deleuze, ‘The Diagram’, in The Logic of Sensation, London: Continuum, 2003.
Affect Brian Massumi – The Autonomy of Affect
The notion of ‘Affect’ is differs to each his own and is always evolving over time by external stimulus. It is sub‐conscious and involuntary. The evolution of ‘Affect’ does not begin from scratch as argued by Massumi , “Even one body alone is pre‐populated by instincts, by inclination, by teeming feelings and masses of memories, conscious and non‐conscious.”. ‘Affect’ changes and adapts with each occurrence the body experiences and explained in two key term, ‘relation’ and ‘tendency’. Relation being the ability to relate past event to create new potential outcomes for the future, in a reductive perspective would the past event opens up new possibility for choices to be made while tendency of situation creates a hub of relations that eventually becomes something similar as an advisor in mental thinking to decision making. Described as a momentary interruption or cut, microperceptions can be unnoticed by consciousness but still induces it effects subconsciously. It can be a subjective event or a collective event. This has given rise to another crucial concept by Daniel Stern, the “Affective attunement” and explained by Massumi in the concert example. Massumi mentioned “There is no sameness of affect. There is affective difference in the same event”, was interpreted by me that every body is infused with the same instinctive qualities in the beginning but takes individualistic forms over different experience and is reflected in the subtle difference in reactions over the same event. Bibliography ‐Brian Massumi, ‘Of Microperception and Micropolitics, in Inflexions online journal, no. 3, October 2009. http://www.senselab.ca/inflexions
Bodies Georges Teyssot – The Mutant Body of Architecture The reading of the Mutant Body of Architecture by Georges Teyssot has given new insights into the complexity of sensation within the body. Exteroception, proprioception and interoception were introduced to categorise the body complex sensation and behaviour triggers into the exterior senses, involuntary sense of balance and positioning in space and the sensation of visceral organs hidden from sight respectively. My understanding of the totality of these 3 layers gives rise to the notion of sensation and the conscious mind identity reacts to this sensation, forming a loop between the subject and the objective realm. The past readings lead me to question which part of ‘affect’ it inhabits in. What intrigued me in the reading was the complexity of exteroception and beyond the bodily senses; it also complies to the understanding of extension of the body with tools. Stated as ‘A border envelope of the flesh, the body’s armour – skin separates and isolates’, our exteroception is a membrane between the physical world (object) and the individual (subject). Besides sending messages from the exterior to the body, our exteroceptic senses also display signs or language from proprioception and interoception. Involuntary blushing or goose bumps are signs that flip the course of action from object to subject towards subject to object, this form a loop as described in Massumi’s text. The extension of body is can be a physical or virtual one in this modern time. By virtual I mean through technological advances such as the now popular Iphone by Apple is one such device that allows the extension of receiving information to the body. Teyssot mentions, ‘As time passes, these repeated habits are definitively incorporated and disappear from our view.”. In a way, the constant use of multi‐functional phones overtime becomes a hub of information we rely on and take in into our ‘body’. On the physical realm, all things man‐made are created for a purpose to serve but vary in purpose. Similarly, the function of clothing and habit of being clothe changes the notion of tool for covering and sheltering the naked body to one that codifies a subject. It inherits an exteroceptic quality and acts as an extension of the body to convey and signify. This extension of being clothed becomes so inherent in most culture that law has made it illegal not to be clothed in modern society. This however leaves much discourse for another day.
Bibliography Georges Teyssot, ‘The Mutant Body of Architecture’ in Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, Flesh: Architectural Probes, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1994.
Feeling Nigel Thrift – Intensities of Feeling Throughout the essay, Thrift compared and argued with several objective perspectives of the notion of “Affect” and its understanding such as monist approach of Spinoza. This has led me to question in the idea of Affect that is individualistically moulded through different forces and experience; it is partly their individual affect that also influences their perspectives on the notion of affect itself. Having said this, the human understanding of “Affect” is just as varied as the readers and thinkers who came across it, there is no absolute. Sedgwick quotes, “Affects can be, and are attached to things, people, ideas, sensations, relations, activities, ambitions, institutions and any other number of other things including other affects”. Recalling the reading by Georges Teyssot and cross referencing this quote allows me to understand the idea of Exteroception, proprioception and interoception applied in Mutant Body of Architecture. The notion of attachment of Affect in relation to things, can be seen in the involuntary salivation of the saliva glands at the verbal mention or mental envisage of perhaps a sour fruit or sweet snacks (this is entirely subjective). This reflex is a form attachment of Affect on the human organs or termed as an interoception. This is particularly interested for me in the comparison of the effects of affects in different perspective. Thrift argues on the temporality and permanency of affects and its possible influence physically and mentally. Affects is a cycle or loop between the body and its surrounding with the subject as the core. With this, I am reluctant on the monist approach of Spinoza. The subject is an entity of becoming (entity by that I mean emotionally, mentally, physically, etc.) and this means each individual level of affect and level of influence of affect differs. Two subjects may be experiencing a similar situation but experiences a different level of affect and a different level of influence that the affect causes. I linked this understanding to the example Thrift gave on the conditioning of soldiers in military training. Having underwent military training myself, I can relate to the reading of conditioning the mind for the unforeseen. Stated heavily on the affect relies heavily on an individual experience and exposure, the safe environment we enjoy have dulled our affect in various fields such as that of fear of death and adrenaline of battle. It is through these training that exposes and re‐heighten the affects influencing this area. Affects is adaptive and mouldable but not controllable. Bibliography
‐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. 57–78.
Clinics & Hospitals Michel Foucault – The Birth of the Clinic Michel Foucault’s ‘Birth of the Clinique’ investigates the origin of clinic as a form of political move within the civilised community. As he states philosophy is a perspective looking into the origin or source of an issue, interest or subject and provide perhaps a different perspective to the ‘cure’ for subject which he has also provided at the end of the reader. In my perspective, his suggestion to the ‘cure’ of the complexity and complications of modern mutated disease by “free spatialisation for disease, with no privileged region,” (Foucault, 1989) is rather naïve. I believe, the birth of the heterotopic clinic and hospital is due to the human nature of self‐ conservation that we have the tendency to group and ostracize any abnormalities of the general norm and that of which poses a danger to self. No commoner would understand and accept the Foucault presents as what the zeitgeist knowledge notes as ‘no common sense’. My true interest of this interest lies in the heterotopic nature of the human body and does Affect plays a role in the Affect notion of a person. I will begin with the latter which quoted by Naomi – ‘Emotion is the effect of affect’; disease as known to produce uncomfortable symptoms and even the possibility of death. This notion of uncertainty can imply an affective stand for our emotions of fear and unhappiness. Thus my interest in this reader was the affective role within the body resonating within the body itself without external influence. The loop of affect is self‐contained. The clinic and hospital is a form of heterotopia with the idea essentially to segregate the abnormalities from the normalities in the society. It is also a locus of affect where many emotions arises from this one single spot in a city. People find relieve, fear, sadness, and happiness with its sense of security and insecurity the clinic and hospital provides. Just the idea of going to such an institute produces a strong affect of insecurity (family member landed in hospital) or happiness (birth of a new family member). There is a strong duality of affect spatiality. In ‘Birth of the Clinic’, the human body can be seen in Foucault’s understanding as a heterotopia, a heterotopic vessel. Through the medical gaze, a professional can separate and isolate the disease with the body and the person as an individual (personality). This heterotopic (inclusion and exclusion) quality influences and brings the medical practitioner into a heterotopia much like that of a cinema when one finds himself in a space of duality spaces in a single real space. Bibliography
‐Michel Foucault, ‘Spaces and Classes’ in The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception, London: Routledge, 1989. ‐Michel Foucault, ‘Of Other Spaces’ in Diacritics, vol. 16, no. 1, Spring, 1986, pp. 22‐27.
Museum Tony Bennett – The Exhibitionary Complex ‘The Birth of the Museum’ by Tony Bennett studies into the multi‐tiered role of exhibitionary movement and carcerational movement which in human history evolves into civic architectural spaces. It is implied in the very early in the reader the evolution of the two roles are utilised in the play of power relation throughout the shifting social structure of civilization of different times (Bennet, 1995: p. 60). Capable of creating strong affect through physical and boundary defined control, the carceration complex such as a prison retrains an individual back into a ‘human’, a ‘citizen’ (Bennet, 1995: p. 62‐63). The specific use of terms, ‘human’ and ‘citizen’, indicates and implies occupants are the misfits of social norms and these facilities forces and mould them to conform to a set of acceptable social behaviours. The carceration nature is a loop of interaction within the tangible world with influences external to the body. Whereas the nature of exhibitionary complexes such as Museum involves the looping effect of affect between subjects and objects. It possesses no physical control but the rehabilitation occurs within the affect and mental state of the subject. Similar to the concept of the 2010 Hollywood move, ‘Inception’, the exhibitionary complexes attempt to plant a thought, a consequence and allow an individual to manifest. The enforcement of power relation affecting social control varies distinctively but seeks the ultimate same social control on a political purpose. It is interesting in how Bennett noted the grand shift of anthropological segregation, from diverse culture, races and languages, the exhibitionary qualities played the role of uniting differences through the play of Affect, sharing similarities more than differences. In more recent times, the international exhibition (Bennet, 1995: p. 66) now possesses the quality of allowing people to view mankind as a single body on Earth. There is a relationship between the scale of comparison as an individual, a race, a country, and on a planetary scale, a single species. The role of museum and its typology does not hold a single form, playing the vital role in civilization; the museum constantly changes and evolves to cater to its social requirements to continue its duties. Bibliography ‐Tony Bennett, ‘The Exhibitionary Complex’, The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics, London: Routledge, 1995, excerpt, pp. 59‐79.
Prison Michel Foucault – Panopticism In the early paragraphs of the reader, Foucault explained the birth of the social action segregation and classification on a city scale due to the control of epidemic spread. Through this action, the city of varied individuals turned into a single hierarchical body with the drastic power shift to the government and officials (Foucault 1991). The epidemic is now an invisible enemy against a singular social body. When the epidemic is over, this understanding of power relationship can be applied similarly to lepers of the socially un‐norm individuals of society, like plague or virus. In a humane context, this power control does not aim to eradicate but to reform lepers into people. Foucault also quotes, “individualize the excluded but use procedures of individualization to mark exclusion…” (Foucault 1991), in this case the individual as the societal norm while exclusions are those bodies that fails to conform, much like quarantining the ‘virus’ of the body. It is interesting to note the city as a single body while institutions of reform acts as medicine to cure and re‐correct the body. The birth of Panopticism has emerged from this concept of power control and is a device that revolves on the most primary sense of sight. Sight is the most fundamental sense we rely on to understand and read the world through colours, depth, form, in a three dimensional perspective. By taking away an individual’s sight and allowing him to be seen (like a naked body on exhibition with nowhere to hide what he wants to hide), sets the subject in disadvantageous position, a lowered plane in the hierarchical order while another subject with the reverse condition, sets him on the opposite plane, a top plane of the hierarchical order. The Panopticism allows me to make a comparison between Japanese houses where the sense of affect emerges largely from audible sounds as compared to optical sight. The affects created by the difference in power authority allows the disadvantaged to not further put himself in a more disadvantageous position by obeying what the advantage party has to say. However this is the ideal situation but in previous readings, affects is individualistic and the opposite affect of resistance can occur. Foucault recognises the explanation he gave throughout the reader is unprejudiced and untainted by the individualistic aspect of Affect. (Foucault 1991) Bibliography Michel Foucault, ‘Panopticism’ in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, London: Penguin, 1991.
Secret Societies Jan Verwoert – Exhaustion and Exuberance Reading Jan Verwoert’s exhaustion and exuberance infuses a sense of vigour and empowerment into his reader as compared to the previous reading of Panopticism by Foucault which is rigid and does not encompass a sense of the human factor. The terms ‘I can’, ‘I can’t’, ‘I care, etc., are the very words we use almost every day, allowing us to relate deeply to this reader. In the beginning of the reader, Jan Verwoert describes the high performance based society as a form, similar to a machine where we either perform what is asked of us, like the binary code of 0 (I Can’t) and 1 (I Can) in computer coding. This can be seen as the society is now singularizing into a single body and not a multitude of varied individuals, working together to perform what is asked of us. This is further discussed during tutorial on the source of power which no one ever seems to find, for example, the consumer market of its demand and we are aware of a general direction where the demands arrive from which is translated into orders for suppliers and further brought downwards to the workers. However this specific source of demand is vague, like a subject behind a wall of veil. In today’s forward moving society, at a fast pace as well, the speed of progress is emphasize by the expression of ‘I Can’ as it can empower an individual to convince himself and others he is capable and forces him mentally to take action. Like a trend, human are psychologically social animals and seek to become part of the collective body, by even starting to doubt the system, one can portray himself as a ‘resistance’ to this trend of progressive nation, an abnormality. As a collective body, we lost our individuality and our exuberance is denied, latent capacity hidden. While the notion of ‘I Care’ as described by Jan Verwoert as the empowerment of action through an external source such as a loved one, cast a network of ‘I Can’ on an individual scale, without the conditions of the macro context (city, nation). However we should note ‘I Care’ does not superimpose a forceful nature the likes of society pressure but rather of an initiative one, a self‐thought action.
Bibliography Jan Verwoert, ‘Exhaustion an Exuberance’ in Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want, Sternberg Press, 2010.
Control Societies Gilles Deleuze ‐ Postscript on Societies of Control Time is a constant flow that shifts and changes everything, in this discussion, Deleuze draws upon Foucault observation of the shifting nature of society over time. Previously a disciplinary society, which functions upon a series of confinement spaces, tracing the body in motion step by step and this, allows dedication of time to event or place for every individual. Foucault understands the fragility of this model of society as more vectors acts upon it. These factors I would associate would be the dynamisms of modern technology which complicates the society yet simplify and ease modern lifestyle. Taking the hospital as an institutional example, diagnosing illness would be mostly done in hospital as it possesses most accurate equipment and partly affordability, only minor illness could be done by house visit but as manufacturing and medical technology advances, the possibility of small nodes of clinics opens up and these nodes increase the complexity of the society, breaking the disciplinary society into a control society. The control society revolves the idea of individuality, choice and power is invested into ‘self’, allowing the society to be highly dynamic and continuous in the form of evolutionary as we constantly seek to improve for our own interest. And the convergence of this source of power in control society is currency or mode of exchange / value. Thus capitalism comes into play where the notion of power equates to dollars and this image of power is embedded into tangible (assets) and intangible forms (brands, trends). There is a close relation between the amount of control an individual has relates to the value within the capitalism structure, like an inverted pyramid, the toppling of the foundation and result in subsequent sub branches of power to topple or be affected as well. Thus in a way the society is given a falsehood of control and power invested to us, hiding the fragility of the control society from the norm. Bibliography Gilles Deleuze, ‘Postscript on Societies of Control’ in Negotiations: 1972‐1990, New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.
Corporate Space Reinhold Martin – The Organisational Complex Reinhold Martin described the organizational complex as a network of networks which network in this case can mean a civilization, a national structure or within a company. The networks that exist within a bigger network constitutes to the understanding of organizational complex which will lead to the understanding of ‘Control Societies’ by Gilles Deleuze. Martin draws upon the World War II as the catalyst for a societal shift in many aspects and in this reader, in particular, architecture. War has been a part of human history since the beginning and has always shown a drastic shift in the post‐war periods. Looking at this phenomenon, society seems to behave like humans as discussed before, changing sub consciously and involuntary after micro‐shocks (war). Particularly WW2 is focused on the notion of ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’, perhaps this has been reflected in the military/disciplinary society through the freedom of control and choices, materializing onto the ‘customizable’ architecture module systems and various industrial products. In this argument, this would be seen as the zeitgeist theme of post‐World World II, propelling the fragmentation of networks into finer grains. This increase in ‘surface’ area works parallel to the notion of capitalism which focuses on individualism. Even more so, this organizational complex can be seen in Singapore’s public housing scheme where the superstructure is proposed by government, design by architect but the individual dwellings are on a design or customized by future house owners. The procurement becomes much more dynamic compared to times in a disciplinary society where the projects merely consist of the builder, client and architect while in current times; multiple bodies are brought into the equation. “if the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are the age of clocks and the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries constitute the age of steam engines, the present time is the age of communications and control” – Weiner With the advancement of digital communications, each individual is given so much control they are capable of creating their digital halves, a digital avatar that represents an individual that is capable of communicating with little or no reality constraints. This lack of control of communication is capable of another control on social level, the self‐organization of similar individuals to control a social problem or trend. A contemporary powerful social network would be Facebook and individuals’ avatars are given the power to subdivide the Facebook universe into groups, creating the organizational complex on a digital level. The control can be manifested into the ‘real’ realm and one such example would be the viral uproar on an animal abuser (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Find‐Maiki‐Garcia‐in‐Mexico‐Who‐ Tortured‐and‐Killed‐a‐Cat/167070203378046), translating communication into action.
This acttion is then being passe ed on to leggal bodies aand this crea ates a porouus networkk within society where everryone is invvolved in som me extend to the notio on of controol within society. Bibliograaphy
Reinholld Martin, The Organiisational Coomplex: Arcchitecture, Media, andd Corporatee Space, Cambridge Massacchusetts: MIT Press, 20003.
Catalogues Michel Foucault – The Order of Things In “The order of things”, Foucault questions the limitation of language as an expression or method of understanding but also capable of undermining meanings and essences. Information is lost within the use of language due to the highly structure perception and meaning of words. As information is categorized in to groups, described through words, the individuality of the subject is lost, fusing multiple slightly varied objects into a common species. That is the downside of language. The syntax of language has always been interdependent on one another to create a legible understanding while meaning has always relied on binaries, you need to know ‘light’ to know ‘darkness’, ‘left’ from ‘right’. As a language becomes more refined with more terms within its universe, less information are lost in the construction of description and sentences but we become highly dependent on the term, ‘rounding’ off what is seemingly similar to identical. “Absurdity destroys the ‘and’ of the enumeration by making impossible the ‘in’ where the things enumerated would be divided up.” It could very well imply that the unclear perhaps is the clearest similarly in society where Laws and Order acts similarly to languages, imposing, definitive and preconceived. In cases of misjudged cases, what seemingly is clear to the masses might turn out to be the most unclear (of the case) while the clearest is very well the accused who is most informed (being on the scene). It goes to wonder, Law serves an ‘order’ of society while languages is the ‘order’ of communication. Language is a variable and not a constant. It continuously evolves to suit the zeitgeist and it is this phase of evolution that interest Foucault and he deems the evolution occurs when the ‘fundamental codes of culture’ meets ‘empirical orders’ to create or changes the meaning of a word. Between these two worlds exists an intermediary space which governs the evolution code, it is this intermediary space Foucault expresses interest in. What interests me would be the possibility of a separate ‘order’ within this intermediary space and might it have a further sub ‘order’ subsequently, creating recursive logic within the idea of ‘order’. Bibliography ‐Michel Foucault, ‘Preface’, in The Order of Things, London: Routledge, 1970.
Affect Conclusion Gregory Seijworth & Melissa Gregg – The Affect Theory Reader Perhaps affect is dwells within the heterotopia as described by Foucault as well. Being a notion yet does not have a form nor is a place, the term subjective like the example given in “Of Other Places” of the boat in the middle of ocean, the boat is a place but does not have an address or ‘place’, ‘Affect’ is a term lost in transition as well. Much has been discussed and explored in the potentiality and interest of interstitial spaces; they mediate, separate and define entities, forms, meanings, etc. They are the white spaces between words and alphabets that give rise to meanings. This is the explorative perspective of ‘Affect’ in Roland Barthes argument, as neutrality. An interstitial ‘space’ is essential a construct of two entities (not restricted to physicality but as well as language, meaning, understandings of the world around us) and juxtapose for a new understanding or decision. It was further discussed and widely accepted that Affect is a cumulative process and if affect is a construct out of juxtaposing, I question if it is fundamentally our understanding of meaning (and what is around us) that essentially construct each individual’s affect over time. How diverse would the construct of affect differ is two subjects from different culture witnessing an identical affective moment or object (e.g the action of killing) versus two subjects from similar institutionalisation. The author shows an interest in the reason for debate over understanding ‘affect’ and with each release, a new field of exploration opens up. It seemingly suggests there is a notion of ‘gravity’ attached, constantly pulling the topic across all fields, propelling the investigation further. I can further relate the similar ‘gravitational’ force as ‘affect’ embodied on all objects (human and non‐human), to animate life as it is to “learn to be affected, meaning ‘effectuated’, moved, put into motion by other entities, humans or non‐humans.”. Here is it interesting to understand with this example that the human body continues to affect even after death, the physical remains turns into a ambiguous object (non‐human anymore yet humane), perhaps the interstitial meaning gives a greater gravity of creating affect. Bibliography Gregory Seijworth and Melissa Gregg ‘An Inventory of Shimmers’ in Gregory Seijworth and Melissa Gregg eds. The Affect Theory Reader, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010.