The Museum of Vestigial Desire

Self tags: climax

Who are we? How do we know who we are?

Is there an absolute constant answer to these questions or only a wavering inconsistent one?

If there is an absolute answer then why are we not born with it? Why do we need to go around solving a puzzle and accessing a mythological landscape to know this answer? Why is the answer not immediate, why is it elusive?

How do we achieve the mastery over the knowledge required to know ourselves?

Answers to these questions are possible only after experiencing a deep personal stroke of a clarity that comes from self-observation and more important self-reading. How do we know? We read ourselves.

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Conversation tags: gate

Even if conversation never happens, the possibility exists. Because of this possibility, we engage and participate in conversations all the time. But what is a conversation really? A conversation is not just a dialogue with a multi-party contribution. Even if it says nothing, it happens as an outbreak of partnership. Even if no exchange happens, a partnership gets established. This partnership does not have any deep significance. A contribution is not valuable by default. That is where the…

Presence tags: fig-leaves

We still have hope from presence. When you take the trouble to withdraw yourself from everywhere and be here now, some intensity is definitely produced. You have tried to mimic presence many times and each time you have achieved marginal success. Some parameters of presence do successfully get mimicked. In the long run, you have hope to achieve presence through an entirely synthetic means, by either illusion or some extrapolated simulation project. But this hope will be quashed like an ant…

Cinema tags: bread soap-bubbles

Cinema, the original grand narrative which has tried to replace reality itself as a reference frame, is misguidedly celebrating that it has survived all these years. We hold this celebration to be a mistake. We believe a mourning is more in order. Mourning how over the years it has slid down from its pedestal of spectacular magic to becoming a random image on a fifteen inch screen that fills time between advertisements. Mourning how at one time it was actually a living manifestations of the urge to create a life-like fabric, with bends, folds, ruptures, tears and mirror-work. In the act of playing God, very quickly what happened was a break down of the shamanic aura to a material logic of what propels it, the wisdom of awe broke down to the very base conversation about the mechanisms and techniques. So when video offered a fraudulent image as an alternative, cinema got distracted for a moment. Cinema started talking about method, viewing experience and technical quality. Cinema should have remembered that people still go to spas, temples, churches and still crave for a little bit of insulation as long as it is coupled with mystery, sour suspense and emotion. The cinema theatre could have grown up from a popcorn restaurant to so many other things.

But now we have a television at a home and a television in a darkened room. We have home theatres at all because cinema theatres are nothing more. Even commercial jets offer a more adventurous experience. I go to the toilet on a plane and I flush the toilet and I know I am flying through air.

Cinema is deeply wedded to the idea of continuous narrative, an illusion of space, time and emotion. Where does this come from? How did anyone ever think of a storybook which one could stare at and go home with a complete dream running in the head. Insomniacs to this day watch movies all night long, because it is an experience so close to sleeping. Even wet dreams are possible. Cinema is sleep. Cinema is dream-time.

To lovers, embedded deep within the love moment, this will remind them of something else. It will remind of love itself. When you stare at another person and track the fluctuations in their gestures across temporal landscapes, you are experiencing cinema. The first war known to humankind started when she said to him, "You are my cinema."

But how do you experience this when you are sitting by yourself on a dry rock in the middle of what was once a river? Only lovers have the automatic, continuous supply of cinema. Other folk, the cynics, the religious, the traders, the romantic, have no way to ever know this person-propelled-cinema experience.

And the world of cinema, the world of cameras, lights, actors and simulated sex was made to mimic the world of lovers for others. What shall we call the others, we don't know. The desire to copy this world is an unfulfilled desire. Unfulfilled in perpetuity. Vestigial. And this leads us back to the source of the desire. It lives in the heart of yearning. The same organ in the body of our emotion that years for love, yearns for cinema. When you are looking into the eyes of your beholder you don't need to watch a movie.

The need to watch a movie arises in the moments that you are disoriented, lost, joyless, dry, opaque, idle, wasted or nonchalant. And no movie ever made has been able to address that itch. They try to substitute the cemetery of dry as a bone hearts with lush green fields of evergreen emotions. But the replacement only lasts till the movie lasts, the landscapes are reset after that. And because you can't rent an apartment in the middle of the limelight, can't be the movie star's next-door neighbour cinema is peddling biscuits to the dead baby. Just peddling biscuits to the dead baby.

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Being tags: destruction

Being is simple but not easy. To be you do not really have to do anything at all, that is the simplicity of it. But being is a process that is multi-variate and somehow becomes complex. This happens because in the flux of each moment we experience the noise of our mind, and this both distracts and confuses us. Even though we know that we can just slip into the default mode, our cultural programming demands us to listen to the noise in our minds and weed out a voice that we should most give…

Narrate tags: death-wish

Arranging snippets of sensory I/O routines into any kind of coherence. Beginning-middle-end or not. Crazy-as-hell or boring-as-a-tap. Narratives distort experience and memory. Actually narratives are the death-wish of experience. As bio-memory fades slowly, the desire to preserve experience takes over. This desire behaves in a way which is biased towards nostalgia. "Which will be a fun way to remember this disaster?"

Remembering and sharing (there is even a word for it: narrativizing!) is important. Cinema. Distortion is the only choice. Because media exists, because empty media desire to be full. Noise dawns and refuses to die down. Media confuses, further filters and processes experience. I think we need to become split-minded monkeys soon. Split between vegetating-sensory-pigs and undiscriminating consumers of bullshit (narrative media).

This death-wish of experience is deeply rooted in us. There is nothing to do but follow it. Of course the trick at hand can always be applied. Some amount of the-ability-to-decompile the narrated must exist. Rough, faulty, excavated de-compilations are good enough. No one needs to access elaborate compositions. From the de-compiler's perspective, compositions are a waste of time.

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Optics tags:

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Value tags: value

Exchange can only happen when there is an agreement on a common notion of value. Establishing this common notion is an important role and function of culture. This function is performed very slowly and sometimes take a whole generation. Because of the speed of this operation, any possible change of the common notion of value is almost impossible. But still most of us hold on to their notions of value dearer than their notions of themselves. I would like to design games (not digital, real-world…

Civilisation tags: distant memories

If there is to be a conspiracy theory, let it be about how the civilisation was mounted externally into Earth from somewhere out there. This idea was essentially an act of aggression. A simple and sustainable model of survival was disturbed in its infancy and replaced with another. An idea that perpetuates itself through the constant urge to improve, innovate and push further. Nothing is good enough and there is no day like tomorrow. The tomorrow that never comes. Narcotics, business, culture, everything owes its existence to this open, empty and fraudulent promise. Even consciousness is locked into this loop. At least in the form that it is channeled through beings in bodies. Sketching the conspiracy further, the idea was transmitted to our atmosphere by radio and once it was in the air all we had to do was breathe.

The idea is ripe for conspiracy-seeking because it doesn't add up, it doesn't seem stable but has been a part of our fabric for so long. It can't be rationalised by history, experience or biology. It is a purely alien idea that suddenly appeared in our midst and then strangely also became the central idea. Without the idea of civilisation, we wouldn't be restless, paranoid and be so anthropometric. These are defining conditions to forever lock us in the loops of progression and recursion. There has been no reportage about the ascent of this idea. Maybe this happened before the development of culture and language, but that is purely speculative. It could also have happened in the silence of the night and the noise of our dreamworld. We have been confused ever since, not knowing whether we misremember a dream or remember a phenomenon that should be shared and reported.

The idea of civilisation has some more characteristics which might be more obvious. The details can be matched either way. So if the idea is to improve and be more sophisticated, then both the idea of domesticity and colonies on the moon make sense. There is no prescription of choices only a pattern and hinting mechanism for making choices. Potentially infinite things can fit. The myth of the prevalence of autonomy exists but in fact only the tyranny of civilisation prevails.

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Source tags: corn

The source is important because everything came from there and everything goes back there.

At the source of everything is the space for contention. Where is it? What is it? Who can access it?

The source can also be denied, but that is very difficult. To perform denial we have to investigate each and every source that supplies the world with the primary materials and sentiments from which culture is generated and demonstrate that we come up with nothing. This process needs to be exhaustive and empirical, leaving no terrain uncovered and so it is a time consuming process.

The only other way to perform denial is to argue with the very need to model channels of supply as sources and then project critical importance on them.

We will flirt with both these ways.

The SOURCE book was published by Banner Repeater, commissioned by Banner Repeater and for Banner Repeater's serial journal UN-PUBLISH.

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Music tags: hunger

Music is a means to measure time. Clocks measure only absolute time. There is one distinct start and stop point. Continuously staggering sequences of events also need to be measured. These measurements are discreetly performed and have an infinite scale. The scale is vast at all scales of perception. How does this measuring help us? How does this expand the depth of our silence? What we know is that the abstract nature of our experience, our capacity of claiming perceptual drift at slight…

Freedom tags: splinters

Freedom is not just a matter of degrees. It is about the constraints and also attempts to describe the negative space of the constraints. In this description resides the potential of the freedom. In the degree of the opening, the scope of the negative space of constraints is defined. Sometimes through narrow slits and gaps, passionate potentialities are demonstrated. Because how free we feel depends only partly on how free we are allowed to feel and depends in equal parts on the level of our own disinhibition. Disinhibition cannot be rendered as a condition of the external ecosystem. It has more to do with the actor’s persona and how she has framed and declared her persona. What is the pitch of the actor’s voice? What does it say? What kind of response becomes necessary? By configuring herself, the actor defines the dynamic of the field.

The dynamic of the field can be shaped by individual actors as the interpersonal is the truly emergent space that sets chain-reaction off. Zones of freedom are demonstrations of the potential of freedom. These zones are outbursts of the improvised self-configuration exercises of actors.

Actors can self-configure if they choose to. They can also be automatic mirrors to the flux that they witness. Starting to play the game is a consent.

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Evolve tags: devolution evolution aspiration

We are ahead of ourselves. Whereas common concern requires us to focus and deliver on promises, there is a neurotic urge to escape. Of course we never want to be who we are, where we are. 'The grass is greener on the other side,' doesn't capture the anxiety of the moment, the emotion of the moment, it just speaks of aspiration. It is a question of recursive multiplication, a virus, steam. Here the we is not the same as earlier (not just me in multiple projections), here the we is the idea of the human. The idea of the human was a prescription, social and cultural that at best we have been able to rise up to occasionally over the years. It is not a description. We are not human by default. Or all the time either.

The tangential momentum of humanity's common motivation is to get organised and efficient to conserve effort and resources. And to be more elegant. The clean lines of the design I see in magazines tell me that that soon we are not going to be happy with out bodies. Bodies that sweat, need to shit and take a piss, bodies that complain though pain. We will need ones that behave like good computers, don't get heated on overuse, have no disease, are upgradable, don't smell, have accessories and are a mix of born in a cradle and bought from a shop. I am personally attached to the illusion of personality and personal identification. What will I do about it? When it is time to accept the evolution underway, resign to it, surrender, agree. I will think of the person as an instinct, as electricity, the systemic stimulus that lets gadgets breathe.

Into the fluctuation of the voltage of this electricity, I will see gradations and pencil in a full person. Do a naming ceremony afresh, call different ranges of fluctuations by different names of organs and erstwhile-body parts.

Our impatience with evolution to catch up with aspiration is a clash of two scales of time. One is granular, instinctive, throbbing, residing in the pulsating rhythms of our organic body. And the other is an urge to chase tangents.

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Journals tags: barometers

Journals record the content that consciousness produces. These records are not plain and attempts at representation but rather they attempt to mount a web of discourse into view. A view available for examination and a view that is ready raw-material for history to weave its stories out of. These webs of discourse are like theatre, with figureheads who each seem to stand for a position and nuance of their own. From the world of simulation and modelling, journals are actually model simulations of a world with contrary opinions, hard-line politics and reputations built on them. Each journal tries to inherently be the friction and the noise that emanates when ideas with degrees of variation in their world-view have to acknowledge that they cannot be completed without the other. After movements orchestrated to differentiate and distinguish themselves they have to now make peace with other perspectives and agree to forge a landscape together.

Rather than become mastheads themselves journalists are lighthouse keepers who agree to abide by the inflammable friction that the journals contain. They agree to standby even with the risk of being engulfed by the fire that the friction could cause. And this is a real danger. As is the danger that the friction will subside and become just a rumble echoing from history. After a point, journals still have to remain what they claim to be. They cannot start short-tempered chases after social media brownie-points or financial market ambitions. They cannot suddenly desire to be stars in their own right, they have to commit themselves to being channels, like window-panes let the glass pass through. They cannot hope to become redundant specks of dust on the glass. Various rules apply to journalists. Besides the rules that relate to transparency and fidelity there are a bunch of rules that deal with fraudulent use of language. Journalists should be like lab-rats in the observatory of life. They should only relate authentic observations through media. Fabricated material ensures the death of the channel. On repeated violations of fraud they become nothing but stenographers. They become dependent on a voice that dictates something to them. They lose the capacity to write a single world on their own. They become like zombie-journalists, losing any individuality which they might have had.

Journals are maps of arguments, each journal is piece of fabric that holds the strands of a discussion together. But they are also stagings of fake dramaturgy. Stagings of the empty shells of superfluous construction of drama around empty ideas, not worthy even of consideration by the bored and idle otherwise. These are necessary too, of course, to populate the space of dullness, the off-white space that refuses attention and whispers, "go on searching, this is not where you stop." The moment when they whisper this, energies in the synthetic universe get balanced again and sighs of relief are heard all over, at least there is honesty in this space infested with namesake heroism.

Our journals are without much fanfare not interested in multiple voices, in the outside chance of discovering under published voices and becoming a platform for more bullshit than we know what to do with. We are not just self-obsessed, we genuinely find a satisfying kind of content in the mist of togetherness. Between Alishan and me, issues of journals only need to be transcribed from the radio of our misty heads. We do it one at a time and spread across months rather than days because we empathise with you and we want you to have adequate time for reflecting on each issue. We find calls for entries, invitations for content sent out into the vacuum of hope and unknown genius tiring and wasteful. If we already have an idea of what we want, why don't we do ourselves a favour and just deliver it to ourselves. Our journals are webs of postures that Alishan and me strike when we play amateur theatrics. And being such ardent fans of excellence in theatre we pour ourselves fully into our postures. We literally bend our psyches out of all their elasticity.

Rid of the imposed responsibility of having to discover other voices and promote the voices once discovered, we feel free and light. So light that we can dance around the few pages of our journal with a free-footed ease that betrays the betrays flavour in our heads. We know how to shape the many-sided polygons of the complex nature of concepts that humans consume and into spherical pellets that can be swallowed whole. These pellets are nutritious, low-fat and high in fibrous-content. They are fully digested and there is nothing left for you to shit out.

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Superhero tags: sand

The superhero is thought to be a person endowed with special powers, abilities, temperament or wealth. Such endowments help the person overcome extraordinary challenges and come through as a leader for the mindless masses of the world. The superhero is necessary a hero and is interested in being good and is interested in victory and positive PR in some form. We have a superhero amongst us. This superhero has no special abilities. We still see something super in what he manifests in his…

Laboratories tags: structure

Laboratories are spaces for iterative development of solutions for pre-defined problems. They also reserve the right to forget about the problem at hand totally and become spaces for play and exploration. Laboratories are essential spaces for academic tendencies to breakout of their non-stick, hands-free character and become viruses which can effect lives at large and not impose philosophical biases about the trajectories they lead to. Laboratories are wedded forever to a certain idea of industry and enterprise. If business was to be biologically grown and not fuelled by entrepreneurial lust and social warfare then maybe laboratory spaces would be of a different nature, maybe they would even be farms with ample sun and fertile soil.

Laboratories of course can also be oblivious to all of this and design a process with chaos and disarray at the foreground. It can be seen as a clown's errand, a halfway house between a space for therapy and full-scale nihilism. Doing so takes a lot of strength, so much strength that no one has been able to do it yet in the whole world. There was a time in the past when this strength did exist and such laboratory spaces did exist and that time is the sole reason for nostalgia still being meaningful. In that time there were no shared set of goals, no common objectives, humanity was a lost cause and any guess was good enough. The troops rallied in any direction that was clearly pointed out. The group dynamics was wonderfully cheerful. As no one had the answer and everyone was equally lost there was no diabolical layer to society. Politics was not about image manipulation in a terrain where no one was a star, but rather it was a game of chance where it did not really matter because nobody really cared and nobody really had any secretive schemes for taking over and displacing anybody else. Important decisions were taken over casual discussions over a marked table at the local bar. These decisions were then conveyed to the person who happened to be in charge and like a diligent clerk, the person went about implementing those decisions.

But the laboratories that we present here do not have too much to do with these histories. Maybe a little bit but not much. These individual specific laboratories do not even have distinct human minds looking after them. These are rooms in this building where diseases of different kinds can breakout, these are algorithms for predicting the pathways of outbreaks that may happen. When experiments go wrong here and things explode, things still have the potential energy to fly off in the right direction. Things still have a fair chance to conveyer belt that is connected to the main switchboard. These explosive fragments are charged with the laboratory's infectious ambience. In a way the laboratory travels in the particles of the dust, smoke and powder of things falling apart.

Laboratories do not necessarily invoke any cultural traditions at the first instance. Science, technology, industry, secrecy might be part of the history, might be embedded in the backstory but these do not enslave the idea of the laboratory, only co-inhabit it. Such co-habitations are many many and we would only be able to trace out a few here. These traces will emerge and get drawn out of things we do here and also the things we don't of course but also the things we merely sketch in words, merely write about. Because things being the way they are we figure that if you have to die you can die as much from holding a well-sculpted shred of thought in your head as you can from a bullet-wound.

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The Future is Not Distant tags: concentration

Time is a rather odd thing to measure. The origin of the future is always drawn in relation to the present. For this reason the future is used solely for the purposes of the fickle and pithy politics of now. But the future is its own thing. Regardless of what we might want the world to be like and what our opposition the tangents of the current development might be, the future will be what it has to be. We are complex beings in a complex world and our perspectives cannot reflect the simplicity…

Humour tags: velvet

Laughter is just symptomatically related to humour. There is no direct relation. Humour is a very sophisticated channel of communication. There are modes of perception. There are patterns of organising content. Each such pattern comes with its own reading apparatus and a prescribed set of conditions under which the pattern is evident. When the pattern is evident, the body of content makes sense. Humour is one such pattern that allows the body of content which is it represents to make sense.…

Reputation tags: dentures

How are you known? How has your name become your handle in a very literal sense, your handle being the instrument by which you are pulled into surfaces, pushed out of anonymity. Your name used to have a meaning when you were born, but now it has been repeated so often that it has become a mere marker, appellation, label on the box. It has actually even taken on these dark undertones, these associations which are nothing short of evil. These undertones come back to you when you manage to sleep and when you actually manage to sleep. In the dreams, your name becomes a spell and a chant. Which is which you do not know, but sometimes it is repeated a million times and nothing happens except that you go into a trance and sometimes it is spoken just once and everything breaks lose.

In this muddled game you even think sometimes of how others think of you. Your reputation factors in your world view as if it were not a systematic form of distortion but actually something real. Of course distortions are also real, they have residing within them ghost images of other things for sure. But no one sees the ghost image, they are seen with pure artefact value, as a pure anomaly.

But even when you are living within a belief system, even when you stare only at the ghost image, enthused with the emotion of convincing yourself that it is real, the distortion defeats you. Because it is fragile. It is always under attack. Because at any given time, only a certain number of reputations can be loaded and mounted into a system. If you are in you are already on your way out. On the other hand if you are standing outside in the cold, at anytime at all somebody might let you in. Somebody might open the door.

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Play tags: system

Spaces for play emerge in games, sport and often in the business of life too. Play cannot be hidden as easily as playful expression. Play seeps into everything that systems collide with. As an element of the wider epidemic of artfulness, play is a strong deterrent to the fossilification of the urge to create. The plastic of containment of artfulness in rigid modes of behaviour is the failure of the system to restrain from the process of smoothening and calcification as a knowledge terrain.

Playspace can be modelled specifically as a game or generally as a literary space that has ambiguous design parameters and require an experiential description to be conveyed. In the latter case, the description might not even bear the minimum descriptors necessary to make a game but can be accessed as a story with variable content.

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