(On the secret and semi-secret life of the digital/pixel--~digipix~ plasma)
Address to the International Dance and Technology Conference
This essay probes the invisible and secretive topology of the amalgam of the electronic-digital-pixel-fiscal-security-network called the~digipix-plasma~. This ~plasma~ is the electronically mediated atmospheric ecology of 21stCentury. In this futuric ~archaeology~ the rules and dynamics of isolated and dislocated consciousness of the distopia called theWhere-Nothing-Happens~ are revealed. Yet within this inexorably grim topology are glimpses or flashes of another ~agriculture~ that inhabits the digipix reality.
Convergence in the ~digipix-plasma~
It nearly goes without saying, that electronic data is converging into a digipix (the digital-pixelated) plasma (data/icon- amalgam), available anywhere at anytime. We will need no longer to be tied to networks or lines, and data no longer linear in form but rather a plasma-weather -system, gas-like structure, that we inhale and exhale and depend upon as the air we breathe. Just as in a snow storm or the drift of fog all things become blurred, just so, in the ~digipix-plasma~ everything melts into a single whiteness - a white noise. Its mistiness secrets everything hiding even itself in an atmosphere of secrecy.
The rules that govern this topology are more akin to a mix of hydrodynamics, a really good mystery, and earth tectonics, as well as those baffling rules of a complex and perplexing dream. With variable technologies, we surf, scan, and click across the digipix plasma wherein the broadcast media, communications technologies, internet, global economics system, and world-wide security systems are more and more convergent. We live in the nearly invisible self secreting ~snowy~ swirl of digipix plasma.
Amnesia and the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~
The subconscious of the digital assembly of technologies and techniques (which I have previously called Digitalia) releases the fluid/gas of the digipix plasma whose innate structures yield an inexorable process of information amnesia and decay. Like the bodies of plankton settling to the ocean floor, where no matter how exciting or violent the initial display, we enter a mirrored hall of endlessly reflected deletes, canceled signals, and soft hiss of white noise. The ~floor~ that accumulates the dead digipix data is far beneath the distant surface above where NO-THING seems to ~happen~, where no story or ~hi(gh)-story~ can be formed or detected either in the digipix swirl or in its drifting decay -- meaning cannot be given form. We can little perceive let alone understand the dynamics of the subconscious floor below. Distracting ripples may play upon the vapid surface,epiphenomena of the gestation and pressures far below, like the implacable and inscrutable surface of a good mystery that we can barely remember.
The Sphinx and the Dreaming Prince
(the pyramid and the sand dune)
In the realm of the digipix plasma there are several fundamental energies in opposition--those of the desire for control against the forceful forms of nature- culture against nature-- pyramid against sand dune. As fast as forms of control emerge, the relentless wind of nature moves and erodes, destroys and covers. Between the nature-culture dialectics of power sits the digipix Sphinx, not so different from the Cheshire Cat, gazing to its ancient solar horizon, with a human asleep and dreaming between its paws. In his subconscious dreamworld a larger relational economics emerges- an economics of dream-sharing, dominating the subconscious life of the digipix desert driven by the assembled ~data-vacuums~ however amassed. There, between the paws of culture and nature, coheres the larger ~tectonic~ pressures that crack and disturb, and gradually emerge, or violently erupt through the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~. Just as in remembering dreams, the dream-like nature of the digipix plasma flees and renders
itself inscrutable and difficult to reconstruct.
The Erosions of the -- Wind and Sand
(Why am ~I~ getting so thin?)
It is in the incessant erosion of decaying data debris, amid the power- illusion of information plenty, that the body of the dreamer becomes eroded. The dreamer dreams of becoming so thin, without notice--as if left out in a digipix ~data-storm~. Digipix data erodes the self/body in such a way that it goes on, barely noticed. This wind of digipixes erases the dreamer into its own storm, a debree of eroded bodies accumulates ~elsewhere~. ( Imagine the displacements of self, scattered in servers around the world, or the inverse seizures by cell-phone at a nearby restaurant table or the endless scrutinies of huge security systems.)
The Implacable Mystery of the Need for Surface
Why is such an implacable media surface so counterpoised to the radical need for data-storms-- the ~everything-happening~ simultaneous with the ~nothing-happening~--this stainless steel surface so clearly demonstrated with such bravura in ~Desert Storm~? Whether at war or conquering space, the swirl of the digipix ~data-storm~ frustrates contact, deflecting Eros toward aggressive consumption, fueling profit. We are caught within the vice of the digipix plasma swirling about the globe of Digitalia with its digipix earthquakes, faults, landslides, magma flows; its hydrodynamics, tectonics, geometries, topologies; its tidal waves, iceberg flips, volcanoes, floods; its hurricanes, tornadoes, climate changes--El Ninos, La Ninas...
Rarely, amid societal floods, (convulsion/obsessions) this alluvial digipix plasma emerges quite suddenly--whole islands or peninsulas instantly appear, where formerly there appeared to be nothing (as with the slow accumulation of the anti-war sentiment in the Vietnam War). On the other hand, rapid accumulations often appear far from their source or cause and hence appear irrational - most often cracks appears far from the pressure that cause them (i.e. LA, or the World Trade).
More violent and disruptive by far, are the great pressures created by repressions and injustices that crack and erupt like volcanoes bursting through the implacable surface of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~(JFK, MLK, Waco, Oklahoma City, O.J., King, Columbine, Seattle, etc.). Even more rarely, are the completely spellbinding paralysis of a Diana or JFK Jr. death. These events are blinding revelations of the topography of the digipix psyche.
Games and the Digipix Plasma
The reason why the idea of GAMES (power, political, sport, commercial, video-games, etc.) so dominate the digipix surface of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ is that game rules do not apply to the flowing liquid yet rigid brownian or hydrodynamic norms of the digipix plasma. Games and game rules camouflage the digipix form and function. Their constant and easy bisymmetry distract from and contribute to the secreting nature of digipix plasma and to the general structuring of AMNESIA where meaning becomes ~game~. The continuous ~game~ creates severe dislocations-- a lack of vital transactional procedures whose absence eradicates memory. (Why any societal structures or institutions--arts, culture, history,language-- associated with ~memory~ or ~culture~ are nearly absent from digipix ~reality~ while game representations- news, finance, mass media, etc.-- ~sport~and game forms dominate, even when there are larger markets for ~memory~ institutions and events. ) ~Everything~ is reduced to ~no-thing-ness~ in the virtual disengaged game formats and procedural forms of the ~Where-Nothing Happens~.
Wave/particle Dilemmas in the Digipix Plasma
In the digipix plasma there appear to be all the dilemmas that inhabit the wave/particle debates concerning light. Does digipix plasma behave as a dynamic wave where various droplet or packets of data break forth from the surface of a breaking wave /crack or is the wave simply an assembly of drops which constitute a dynamic mass, effected by some form of digipix gravitational effects or theories of critical collapse. Perhaps, we may think of such digipix entities more as vortexes displaying both phenomena and that, even in their decay, display vestigial form/energy- a lurking subtext, a mediated retinal reflex after-image that distorts the value of incoming digipix data. What was a ~data-whorl~ becomes a ~data vacuum~ --sucking the unconscious depths toward itself.Walking on Gas
The topology of the ~where-nothing-happens~ is inverted to our normal orientations-- it is an upside-down gravitation of the digipix, geology and tectonics above ---gases and weather below-- we walk upside-down on gases with rumbling earthquakes above! The ground beneath swirls as gas and fog, weather fronts, high and low pressures--a ~weather~ beneath our feet --afloat in the digipix econosphere, our heads caught in the geology of the digipix ~Where-Nothing-Happens~filled with extraordinary gravitational pressures.
The interference phenomena link the flows from broadcast phenomena to internet phenomena. These interactive flows exchange as tides reinforcing each-others ~objective illusions~-- the ~well if its there (on TV), it must be true; and if it is there and here (on the internet, it must be REALLY true!~(witness political conventions) -- colliding signals obliterate each-other completely. Each co-opts each other~s formats, stars and content to create complete dislocations of position and reference. The so-called ~balanced~ reportage style of seeming equality is simply a format for cancellation adumbrated by the obliteration caused by unfiltered internet data avalanches.
Poltergeists, Ghosts and Rust/Dust Devils
Now and then, the surface fractures, the picture breaks up, the cable down, the server crashed, the broadcast interrupted, a bad edit, a hot microphone, ~security~ breached, random messages arrive-- in sum, ~glitches~ crack the seamless digipix surface. When the ~surface~ cracks, which it seemingly, inadvertently does, those cracks are instantly covered by packaging and formatting ~antibodies~, as they repeat and slice, slice and repeat, the disruptive ~content~ to enfeeble it, to reattach it to and tie it to its meaningless surface, where ultimately it becomes one with the very repressive surface structure it overthrew. So desperately does the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ seek equilibrium through its formal devices, (repetition, endless meaningless commentary, bi-polar opinioning, slicing, biting, dislocating and butchering, finally marketing/comodifying, etc.) that the my-story (mystery), or his-story (history) has, but at best, a glimpse which, if remembered at all, is only remembered in a passing and perplexing sense of deja vu.
These ~glitches~ in the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ cause inordinate turmoil as if a poltergeist were unleashed on consciousness. We grasp for limp ghosts that are released and only dimly hear the sighing echoes of Eurydice dying for a second time- the screams of troublesome digipix dust-devils on the desert surface of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~- a whirling distraction, not enough to focus attention or cohere action. The disloged digipix dust is the brownian cloud of digipix debris stirred loose through the winds and tides of deep-structure stress. Digipix rust is that debris shed from the interaction of the eruptive/disruptive event into the atmosphere of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ containing the ghostly remnant of content itself. Both become subconscious alluvium adrift in the ~atmosphere~ of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~.
Earthquakes or plate-shifts that erupt through, or massively disturb, the implacable surface are immediately reintegrated by formal strategies such as over-playing, over-detailing , and over-scripting with theappearance of ~diving-into-the-depths~ and revealing substructures that are more meaningful than their small cracks imply. This is a methodology of rusting or shedding, a particle or fiber which falls and is then blown by digipix storms to accumulate and form far from the eruption or quake which is its origin (the inversion of the earthquake fault model). Within 5 minutes of an eruption, an event is already transformed from event to commodity, from report to commentary, from icon to usable image. Iconic presence or complete empathy is immediately reduced to abstracted image available of symbolic manipulation and commerce. (How quickly commerce is attached to any content immediacy.)
Archaeology of the Dead
Occasionally, the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ seeks to gaze into its own mirror performing an auto-archaeology. This self-reflexive, incestuous, narcissism breeds genetically impotent digipix zombies more ominous than death itself, inflicting a form of even further and more excruciating non-existence in the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ (i.e. the Nixon funeral, the Supreme Court and the Florida vote... ). These gradual accumulations of digipix ~zombies~ or moments of auto archaeology begin to crowd the server catacombs of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ requiring a bureaucracy of digipix commentator/priests whose Max Headroom-like existences render the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~even more self-reflexively impotent---the server serves itself in its disembodied whirl of whorls . Yet, we always remain on the same surface.
Reappearances of the Dead
The seeming dead of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~, when re-surfaced by the unapparent movement of the digipix alluvium, take on a peculiar necrophilic existence whereby their peculiar aroma triggers, deep in the bio-cortex, random aggressions and consumptions. The ~replays~ (forward is backward) aim at the further dislocation of any coherent action. Any significant, seemingly consequential action dissolves in the digipix plasma of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ (in particular, sports and the
otherworldliness of the Olympics where we see the most complete display of digipix formalizations). This is also subtly apparent in the after-taste of internet indulgences, like the peculiar after effects of attendance at the funeral of someone unknown or the nausea of over-surfing.
Exchange with the Dreaming Dead
It is in the vacuum of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ that the lack of symbolic exchange with the dead is seemingly transacted and overcome, both individually and socially, valorized through credit and profit! The exchange of meaning between the living and dead, dreamer and dreamer is artificially transacted and the exchange consummated through the replay of digipix zombies-- a substitute act of seeming exchange, creating a shadow of a depth event --the dreamer cracking through the implacable surface of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~. This vacuum in the creative exchange with death increases, making the conditions for a death-hurricane as seen in the ~Diana Death~ that fractured the entire surface of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ and littered the surface with resultant dust, filling all the cracks, like volcanic ash capturing and entombing the dreamers and their dreams in the illusion of the creative transaction with death leaving everyone even more vulnerable and bewildered than before.
The Economies of Dream/Mare Exchange
In the upside-down, gas-scape desert of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ the dreamer dreams of the ~Sphinx~, dreams of depth-meaning, cleared of the covering of digipix debris, the dream is of MEANING and of the resonance of meaning- which IS the Sphinx, the image of the Sphinx
itself, the horizon of the sun and beyond the starry constellation, Leo. The dreamer dreams his dreams to others- a dream telepathy--seen and felt by other dreamers through the waking exchange of objects through normal daily commerce-- the everyday economic commerce of objects, no matter how packaged by Digipix wrapping they may be. This emergent economics of cross-cultural dream exchange is nearly impossible to model in existing economic formulations--hence it secrets itself, while violently twisting upon itself-- a half forgotten dream of some transaction of meaning that should have occurred or been acted upon, creating vague anxiety.
It is in the meaning-exchange that the value of money and the value of meaning so interestingly interact against the digipix-economics of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~. Within a generation the empty digipix icons (which are only meant to be the empty vehicles carrying digipix products, i.e. Saturday-morning-cartoons and their counterparts in the adulty evening-news) become, within a generation, the tokens of meaning-exchange among various dreamers ~ meaning exchange with each-other. (This retro- conversion is usually first seen in the arts and nearly immediately converted into image for commercial usuary--the meaningful empathy it conveyed is transformed into an empty commercial sign.) In the new model of relational economics the reappropriation the ~dream-undercurrent~ of subliminal exchange undermines the economics of the digipix ~Where-Nothing-Happens~(hence the new popularity of auctions) where the dream value of dead objects is reawakened through money commerce in live social action-- now so suddenly deadened by the invasion of the digipix vacuum of the internet displacing authentic~ritual-location~ to the ~Where-Nothing Happens~... or the endless web-pages signifying interacitvity that only holds the image of value transaction, not any genuine social exchange.
Circulation of Digipix Value
The circulation of electro-digipix value is so vast and so instantaneous that it inverts all value relationships and thereby all meaning referents. In any one moment approximately $350 trillion, yes TRILLION dollars of value, is in instantaneous circulation around this globe. This digipix econosphere has more power, force and immediacy than any other humanly created structure. The exchange, circulation and interaction of cash, metals, loans, bonds, debt, stocks, credits, notes, futures, etc.--all in simultaneous interaction, is controlled and monitored by the huge Federal Reserve system interneted and distributed globally. All interactions must be maintained in energetic balance, everything must be sustained in dynamic homeostasis for it to remain invisible to the inhabitants of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~.
When it cracks through and appears, governments fall and whole peoples are enslaved, wars break out, and fortunes vanish--hence the tremendous prerogative of dynamic invisibility. The force of this global system replaces gravity and inverts all relations-- the down of gravity is relpaced by the pull of the global financial/transactional/ abstracted value-field of the digipix plasma.
When the electro-digipix-value swirl is combined with the broadcast digipix sphere, the sum of a video and computer broadcast combined with global communications systems, as well as defence and security systems and all made transparent and interactive to and with each-other -- it is then that we can intuit the digipix plasma field we can see an entirely new volatile landscape of power that constitutes the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~. There in windswept and frozen isolation we suspend and dream albeit
upside-down, with our feet wading the digipix plasma sky, our heads bound by the geological pressures of digipix techtonics.
The digipix body and the continuous surface of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~
This isolated digipix body/context is dominated by inversions, reversals and inside-outness. One could think of these combinations of relationships as a 4th dimensional ~Kline Bottle~, where the inside and outside are one continuous surface creating an infinite skin/landscape. This is the intimate surface of the digipix body. (X-rays, MRIs, EKGs, all sorts of video/computer probes, etc. and all this ensemble of technologies turned toward the cosmos as well!) The digipix plasma and its technological ensemble turns everything inside out-- self and cosmos.
The traditional set of relationships from inside to outside are: psyche (all aspects of the mind), body (all biological and sensory aspects), nature (the not human, the animal, plant and materially formed world), and wilderness (the beyond, the uncontrolled, the unknown).... Now, the unknowable wilderness is at our core, surrounded by nature, which is now within the body--all surrounded by the mind an its struggle to form meaning. Further still, this inversion becomes infinitely extensive, becoming the layers of an infinite and continuous surface-- the skin/landscape--an intimate infinity with completely blurred boundaries.
These body/context changes are archetypal in nature, and, assembled as a whole, represent a new androgynous plasma paradigm, a new surface, an intimate region exaltation where the natural and the human have been displaced, inverted and turned inside-out by major forces driving the conglomeration that more and more inhabit the digipix plasma swirl: an infinite cosmology--the universe as an infinity; life as omni- presence: DNA--control of life forms, cloning, inside out reversals--DNA controls life-- life controls DNA; brain forming chemistry altering mind/body relationships; internal and external robotics--micro/macro machines; dream-culture, lucid dreaming and telepresence technology- econospherics,...a new surface where meaning search begins to dominate means, etc.!
New Topologies and the Body
The impact of these forces is to fold cultural consciousness back on itself, to re-form and force the body inside-out upon itself, creating an interference surface in which we can dimly perceive an EROS that connects us to our deepest and highest feelings. This framework is flickering back and forth between the intimate sensorial field of mental life and physical substance and energy. On this surface we can enter a more flowing relationship between mind and sensorial physicality. This impact inverts the general intentionally of modern alienated culture and may indeed be a way into unmarked and open ~garden~! These aesthetic elements have the force to flip the underlying negative gravitation, so clearly demarcated by Baudrillard and other post-post modern philosophers, preparing a ground for another set of potentialities.
However, now there are three fundamental vectors converging toward a transformation of these traditional relationships, inverting and reversing isolations and relationships. They are Techne (the combining of science-technological-technique transformation under way -- most recently, the digital and genetic revolutions); Ecos (the integration planetary systems knowledge -- the view of the planet and the cosmos as one living intensely interrelated whole, from DNA, to a life-strewn cosmos.); and finally, Mythos (the quest for meaningful existence and belonging ). Techne, Ecos and Mythos are energized by an overpowering information burst which is, at the same time, a reflection of the other aspects of the digipix plasma.
Desire and the Digipix Plasma
This powerful transformative externalized presence is complementarily balanced by an intense drive for new intimate poetics-- new forms addressing internal necessities, i.e., redemption, propitiation, liberation, transcendence and ecstasy. These internalized forms reach outward through alternative forms of communication, for example, lucid dreaming or gift exchange. This internalized poetic is driven by the desire to transform the world into an intimate reality. Desire and empathy are combining into sensorial interaction with the near-space, the intimate space of objects/images, relationships and procedures which react to the implacable chill of the mediated and controlled surfaces of digipix culture. This emotional and physical domain is a highly charged, differently understood ecology--an externalization of the inward body and vica versa, the ECOS subsumed within the body --the rain forest becomes an ecology of new drugs internalized-- the floating rational Copernican earth becomes the mother's womb.
Discontinuous Perception in the Digipix Blast
At this moment, all these emergent relationships are in a state of floating flux--a flickering if not stroboscopic flashing. We see them in blazing flashes where we need to extract the particulars from the structures that are being shown. This is what we can refer to as the ~zero~ state where one floats among these blinding glimpses and revelations. Hence, the ~zero state~ outside the ~Garden~. This provocative condition requires utterly new ~choreographs~-- a new kinesthetic and dramaturgy- a new theology, philosophy and aesthetics.
The New Sensorium Emergent
Artistic/poetic invention fashions and explores, together with the new technologies, a new vastly expressive, intimate, synaesthetic/multisensory consciousness. Now,there has evolved a vibrant mesh directed inward by a tremendous psychic gravitation toward the goals of intense integration of the senses in synesthesia combined with the integrated coherence of 4D consciousness. This mesh is somewhat like static electricity unexpectedly jumping through the digipix plasma and across the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~. It is stochastic in its behavior and nearly convulsive in its effect, often producing astral or out-of-body effects with attendant ecstacy and fear.page 9Image Property Dissolves
This communicative, interactive multidraft-multidrift ~garden~ constitutes its own new structures and contents. The pre-existing image (photographs, diagrams, paintings, sculpture, architecture, etc.); music and sounds; gestures and touch; do not live comfortably in this new reality. Briefly, they want to be more dynamic, more rapid, more explorative, and inquisitive; they want to be more democratic, more synaesthetic, more polyvalent, more free-associative. In other words, this new framework demands a degestalting and fragmentation and re-assembly on another plane. It requires entirely new types of image formulations which are dynamic, hieroglyphic and synaesthetic in nature and possibly iconic in meaning.
The Dislocation of the “I” in the Pronoun Field
The linguistic/social problem emerges from the dilemmas of the location “I” (me) in the field of the ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘you-plural’. Now the pronounced ‘we’ does not include the ‘I’ the ‘us’ has no ‘me’. Things happen to ‘us’ and to ‘ we’ but not to ‘me’ and visa-versa . The ‘I’ acts but not IN ‘us’ or ‘we’. It is not socially engaged --it has non environs. Multiple disengaged and non-contingent ‘I’s float in a cloud of fractured pronouns, a pronoun field of disengagments, discontinuity, and distances where contingency and responsibility slip and property (nouns) slide. Things crack apart -- the contextual ground erodes. Any connection no matter how illogical or disconnected can be made as long as it serves the general ‘disconnect’, the overarching discontinuity thatengenders a seclusion of the ‘I’ in it fear-filled isolation. The ‘I’ is disempowered and non-contingent while it gazes unpsidedown and inside-out into its own multiple reflections.
Disengagement from Technology and Earth
It is interesting to muse:-- If we took away all the technology, networks, hardware, software, etc., what are humans doing?! What global disembodiment is unfolding? We are disembodying fragments of ourselves to enter into new relationships, multi-nodal and synaesthetic intensities of communication and communion developing an aetheric sphere-- timeless and spaceless-- an earth disengaged from the earth.
The IMAGE of an infinite skin/landscape, a plasmic digipix skin-scape both body and nature in one --all eye, all ear, all touch.... all synaesthetic, dynamic-- having all sensory powers simultaneously, this skin/scape flowing as a moving surface of inverted relationships where the wilderness of the unknown or unknowable is the core, sandwiched by the inverted layers of body/nature, laminated between outer layers of the disengaged mind--- an entasis and ecstasis in one surface. It embodies the disembodied and disembodies the embodied within the inverted topologies rules and formalisms of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~and the mediumistic behaviors of the digix plasma. It is here in the ~Where Nothing-Happens~that a ~garden~ opens in which we, yet again, begin to move from a zero point within the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~-- cracked and torn open by its own incestuous tyranny, where we ~hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow... (take our) solitary way~-- across the infinite surface of the ~Where-Nothing-Happens~ whereupon hovers... dark and dense... huge and perfect...a dodecahedron, invisibly radiant-- the concentration of all ~toxic/radioactive-waist~-- the now internalized, centifugal FEAR accumulated by a century of externalized... explosive aggression, carefully secreted within the digipix plasma the engine of the ~digipix-where-nothing-happens~ tyrany.