at full speed at full speed at full speed

Aleatory materialism in at full speed, 2007

22 June 2008

A rubber band ties a pencil to the bottom of a Venetian blind in at full speed, 2007.  The point of the pencil hits a paper taped to the tangential wall of the window sill that holds the Venetian blind.  The wind moves the blind, moving the rubber band, moving the pencil which draws a scribble on paper.

A line makes a drawing.  For instance, without a line there would have been no noticeable effect of the wind in at full speed.  Thus, the line represents the wind by signifying its trace.  The wind continuously and invariably moves the pencil until it stops, making the points it began and ended entirely arbitrary and immobile.  These points create a syntax from which beginning and end mean nothing by their absolute arbitrariness. 

Like untying a knot the line follows from latest to earliest.  Of course, the line gets seen simultaneously as a formless mass.  Yet, imagining the wind requires a retracing of the line from the end to the beginning, like an excavation.  The layering of pencil marks an index of wind movement that has no form because chance determines the beginning and end of the line.

All shown is the present when no logic other than locating the beginning and end at the limits of a day draws a difference between beginning and end; without cause and effect other than time moving a point of lead on a surface.  The past is a heap of knotty lines, none better than another.  No essence exists since the line must encounter something to constitute its very movement and chance invariably determines something which has no essence beyond its object.  All this pertains to the philosophy that there exists no anterior space and time or meaning than the present.  Like Louis Althusser says:

from Epicurus to Marx, there had always subsisted—even if it was covered over (by its very discovery, by forgetfulness, and, especially, by denial and repression, when it was not by condemnations that cost some their lives)—the ‘discovery’ of a profound tradition that sought its materialist anchorage in a philosophy of the encounter (and therefore in a more or less atomistic philosophy, the atom in its ‘fall’, being the simplest figure of individuality).  Whence this tradition’s radical rejection of all philosophies of essence (Ousia, Essentia, Wesen), that is, of Reason (Logos, Tatio, Vernunft), and therefore of Origin and End—the Origin being nothing more, here, than the anticipation of the End in Reason or primordial order (that is, the anticipation of Order, whether it be rational, moral, religious or aesthetic)—in the interests of a philosophy which, rejecting the Whole and every Order, rejects the Whole and order in favour of dispersion (Derrida would say, in his terminology, ‘dissemination’) and disorder  (Althusser, Louis, Philosophy of the Encounter: Later Writings, 1978-87, edited by Francois Matheron and Oliver Corpet, translated with an introduction by G. M. Goshgarian, London: Verso, 2006, pg.188).

What gets shown is the aleatory materialism of the present in the absence of a reasonable end or beginning.  In other words, Althusser says, “no determination of these elements can be assigned except by working backwards from the result to its becoming, in its retroaction” (Ibid. p. 193).  To work backwards means deriving meaning from the present as a series of differences in memory producing cause and affect.  Without thought of the present there can be no thought of the past and the thought of the past has no definitive end in itself:

Whence the materialist precept that no individual, class, society or historical period should be judged by its ‘self-consciousness’.

This recommendation implies the primacy of the real over consciousness, of ‘social being over social’ (and individual) ‘consciousness’  It further implies that one can distinguish consciousness from being, and thus presupposes a certain conception of ideological distortion, as either simple distortion or inversion (the way the image is inverted on the retina or by the camera obscura)  (Ibid. pg. 137).

Memory measures time by designating cause and affect which, when taken as a sum, designates an aleatory encounter.

at full speed
Blinds, paper, pencil, rubber band, masking tape
Dimensions variable
link-stephen garrett dewyer


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