The Museum of Vestigial Desire

Presence

tags: fig-leaves published on:

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 crawling wantonly on your arm. This will never happen. Presence unfortunately will remain forever trapped in actually being present. In being. There will never be any other way.

Because of this dependency of presence on actual co-location of beings, imagining transmitted presence will remain difficult. We can model thought experiments and we can choose to keep saying that the difficulty has been crossed but what we can hope for is just the fragments of possible solutions and not a real fool-proof method.

Presence depends of co-location because we depend on immersion on a multi-sensory feed of sensed experience.

Culturally we have very few interfaces which rely on singular feeds of sensory data and therefore have to struggle with our unshakeable faith in the rationality of co-location.

When we read, we are confounded with the task of keeping track of reading as an act of literacy and making meaning as an act of cognition. We consume data of the reading experience via a very isolated stream of information and that is its reality. Reading is a feasible way of transmitting presence.

But we still need to hold on to presence. We cannot replace presence with text as yet, and need to allow more time to this process. When text becomes liquid, when stanzas become bodies, then it will be time.

Although a certain kind of poetry exclusively deals with the silence mediated by togetherness, the comfort of slipping into a silence and escaping the distraction of the neurotic urge to speak cannot often be done justice in words. One way or the other, a conscious thought is amplified whereas the thing to be amplified is the lack of it. There is no conscious thought involved in the act of slipping into a silence. A moment arrives and it feels comfortable enough to disengage in the production of content and the self-conscious eye is blackened and silence arrives. Even descriptions of silent moments spent in togetherness end up adding the sounds of a murmur to it. Silence only manages to remain silent when it manages to remain absent from thought and narrative.

So presence needs to be understood more, we need to engage in many more ways than the inevitable rise of passion. Passion needs to be consummated and is inherently a short-term game. What if we extend one heated wave of passion into a span of time so vast that it gets dissipated into the noise of presence itself?

Such games need to be played and such thoughts need to be modelled for an expanded understanding of presence. Can the textual be laid on the body, along the contours of a three-dimensional reading surface? Can the optical nature of three-dimensioned space counter the relative security of a two-dimensional reading surface?

Presence still needs ways of being talked about that describe its particulate nature. There are some parameters of presence that we just do not know how to talk about yet. Text just cannot handle it. Transmission of presence is an active area of study for us. We are stringing together experiment to experiment to make meaning of the unresolved experience at our hands.

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