Logo of the Museum of Vestigial Desire
The Museum of Vestigial Desire


Certain ideas need to be allowed to persist, even if there is no evidence of their having any value. The reasons for doing this might not be immediately apparent but they need not be known for this allowance to be given. Ideas need to be allowed to continue on the basis of what they need. If they do not ask for attention, do not ask for money, do not ask for practitioners and do not ask for validation, what is the harm in letting them do what they need to do? Sanctuaries are structures that give such inert desires that do not require much a nestling space. A nestling space only means that a space to develop from a spark to a fire is available. Resources for adding fuel to the fire exist.

But what are the criteria of such an offer of nestling space? The criteria is purely instinctive. When we feel that a desire has yet not become enveloped in a puddle of cynicism, we include it in the sanctuary. Cynicism does not allow a desire to achieve its ends. The desire gets stuck in limbo, not being able to reset and not being able to go ahead and pursue its ends either. This sanctuary does not have only a personal implication for us. It has a wider implication even if you do not care about us or the Museum. We are not saying that culture is infectious so we indirectly and invariably have some influence on the way things will shape up. But we are stating that till the total annihilation of all the sanctuaries that offer nestling spaces is completed, there is no victory for either side. Sanctuaries are detested and their role in fermenting opposition is not easily tolerated.

But this depends on what the nestling space offered is able to trigger. Provided the nestling space is actually able to seed a drastic set of alternatives, it will really end up meaning something. The truth is that there are far fewer resources available for causes that are taking a bet on the future that might never be realised. There is a simple one-to-one correlation between investable futures and liveable realities. If an idea does not have the desperate desire to become investable, then it is an empty symbolic gesture and cannot be taken seriously. Not being take seriously means that there we retain no power and remain a benign entity on the landscape.

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 script comes in.

If conversations were to be scripted dialogue and not mere speech with an unspecified intensity, then they could actually matter more.

Scripts are not static, pre-cast entities. Scripts are puddles of programmatic logic. They are algorithmic. Algorithms only define the structural basis of an entity and leave the content alone.

This is on the whole wise. Because a structure can accommodate multiplicities of content-types. There are no restrictions except the delivery of a certain reward. And rewards are only desirable. Actually as far as conversations are concerned, they are the only desirable outcomes.

Not having a script is not a sign of openness. It is a sign of disinterest. Openness has a value only if it offers a genuine possibility of escaping the conversation and the need to converse. And that is never going to be possible anyway. All claims of freedom from the entanglements of life are false.

The closest we can get to this freedom is having a closeted space for improvisation. Improvisation is a practical reflection of freedom. There is a scope for variation. And there are limits. That is all that is needed.

After the scripted conversation has taken place, the question can be: who spoke? The writer or the actor? And this is not a simple question. Both have contributed at different stages.

To pursue authorship in this case is futile. But authorship was never interesting anyway. Because no matter what the public declaration might be, the perception of a stake is another matter altogether. If an actor feels close to an experience that was scripted by someone else, that closeness cannot be either dismissed or questioned.

We hold on to the potential of conversation. And do not give up. We place it in the sanctuary. We do not get locked into a battle with the casual notions of conversation. Within the window of a conversation, you never know when a script kicks in. A script is too hidden a tool to be possible to defend against. It can be deployed anytime. And then no amount of analysis will help.

Value tags: value sshop

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 civic games, games as a public activity) to be played by children, senior citizens, women, men, artists, others, scholars, the nonchalant. A set of rules to analyse the playtime of a given game will be made and analysis of all the sessions played will be done.

The games will be designed as a part of the classroom and workshop time. The games will be analysed publicly. Others can join if they find it interesting - but they can be sure that the analysis process is deeply transparent. In the mode of following symbols and their representations, the analysis will be able to tell the notions of value that groups possess. The groups will need t0 comprise of homogenous groups of people for this to work.

This game design and analysis will be prepared in collaboration with graphic designers there for exhibition and possible publication.

This game’s rules will be the laws governing the process of assigning value to organic activity. These laws will be studied in the second part of the process in another workshop. The motivations behind the will to frame a law are unknown. They are a curious mixture of morality, ethics and spirituality. This deeper understanding of social law will help participants in doing a deeper social analysis and work at the roots of that analysis.

Optics tags: lens

What do we see? And do we see it? It is true that we only experience the remnant flavour of the nature of our vision in our dreams. The quality of our dreams is very important. We seem to be able to choose what we see in a pretty simple way, but there seems to be no way to choose our dreams. Textbooks explain that dreams are only re-synthesized memories. In CINEMA we have already laid out an argument against that perspective.

And that is where the concept of a LENS helps us hold on to as well as walk away from the field as it exists. Our minds are lenses, if nothing else. Everything we manage to see is through the faculties of our minds. If our minds are programmed in specific ways, our experience will have that specific flavour. And there is no way to work on our minds directly. It is like shooting at a figure, when you can see them in a mirror. All the figures we can see are only reflections in the mirror.

We work on our mind only by applying it in specific directions. Practices are directions. Writing, Thinking, Walking - each is a practise because we can script the actions, but not the experience. Ways of performing practices can be gestured towards but the content has to emerge.

Child pages:

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 provocation, is the reason for our reliance on music.

Music is a very bad descriptor. What exactly is implied but the word we will never find out except by experiencing it first. Music is memory. If it relies on the performance of the memory, it needs to identify its core building blocks clearly. Similarity is one such block. Measure is another such block, the ambiguity of experience occupies fixed positions with this measure. Density is another block. The air into which music has been transmitted and the air into which music has not been transmitted is different. We understand this difference from the perspective of density.

Music is produced from a memory of patterns but also the memory of music is difficult.

When music is remembered only the felt experience is remembered and not the specific detail and schematic of the musical moment. When music is not remembered the mind is capable of filling in and creating fiction. Music remembered is often sweeter than the music in the actual past.

Music is often simulated in mathematics, but a simulation is always aware that it is not real. A simulation never deludes itself of its make-shift arrangement.

When a musical note resonates in the air, the environment thickens with the expectation of the resonance passing into perpetuity.

Music is a promise of eternal continuity.

When music is the answer, the question is not known. What does it answer? What is the need to come up with an answer? What is the negative space of music?

If musical archives were the notebook of experience, if narratives were getting recorded in musical form, then music would be known as a kind of shorthand of natural language.

The other half of a musical tendency is the urge to project clearly the ability of sound to break free from the responsibility to merely transmit language. This autonomous sound packages itself and plays with its own pattern of being.

Music is the absence of narrative. If the negative of positive identification were to be the norm then music would have a clear function irrespective of the allegiances of the institutions that support it.

Music is a developmental bias. We learn how to listen to music, and form sophisticated filters and functions to recognise musical pattern. But the compositional urge only gets strengthened this way. The compositional urge isolates fine experience from coarse. The undesired nature of composition determines our preference for the state of music irrespective of the kind of music the state contains.

We experience states and do not care about the contents. The surface of music contains the essence of musicality without needing to engage with music at all.

This surficial ability saves us from the pain of having to progress from aesthetic category to category restlessly.

The ability to be static stems from a state of featureless harmony. Noise and music can be be packaged together without any differentiation.

We are interested in this hum that precedes quality and manages to remain distinct within the package of sound.

In a hum, all musical strains can be found and all harmonies can be distinguished. It is the singular flat surface of sound that escapes all other formats and bounds.

What will we do with the hum?

We will use the hum to centre ourselves within a universe of featureless obscurity. If we do not need to filter the harmonics of experience, we accumulate the corpus of all that there is to be churned and assimilated.

The honesty required to be able to listen to all voices as same is developed on churning this corpus.

When you open your eye after honesty has set in, ambiguity saves you from the pain of having to distinguish actors and agents. Things and people are rendered as same.

Superhero tags: sand shop

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 experience.

The superhero has been much maligned. Being seen as a construct of a superlative identification with the ego, the system, with the desire for order and virtue.

Such an extremely polarised persona is unbelievable and unrealistic. How can the soil of the world not colour you? How can hygiene exist?

The problems with the super and with the hygienic is same.

We do see merit in these critiques of the superhero but we have something else to offer.

We perceive the belittling way the world approaches its constituents as insulting. There is nothing that should be said and nothing that can be done. If that is the way we are approached, how can we respond?

We realise that what the superhero persona is good for is responding.

The world views the superhero as an irrational being. More powerful than the human, more intelligent and more motivated to take on challenges. The world is intimidated by the superhero. But at the same time, the superhero-claimant is treated like the claimants to sainthood. First, miracles must be observed and then any renegotiation can occur.

If you can overcome the limits of the human body or mind it is a miracle enough. If you can overcome the limits of the reality that we live in, even better.

So walking on water or producing cash from thin air are miracles that the world wants to see.

We find this possibility of renegotiating our role with the world very pragmatic and doable. If after staging a miracle, we are going to be accepted as a superhero, then we don't mind producing a miracle.

Miracles are easy.

We are working at shell-shocking the world's very low expectations from the human mind. If a particular mind is sane and balanced, it is good enough. It need not perform in a more sophisticated way than that. The filters embedded within the world do not even seek a mind that overwhelms its functioning. They just search for excellence in degrees and capacities so that it can put such minds to work. Excellence is required when productivity has to be improved upon. The better the capacity of the output, the less time it takes.

We decided to surprise these filters by producing an unnecessary amount of meaning in an impossible amount of time.

We started bending the rules of correspondence. Instead of being casually wasteful with our chitchat, we started offering ourselves whole in every piecemeal encounter.

By first being considered just a random weirdo and then gradually misfiring all the alarms that the world had setup to warn against aliens, we earned our superhero position.

We are a kind of superhero who is constantly dismissed and written off. Because we are a super producer of meaning and the world doesn't need meaning. We are are a super producer of intensity and the world doesn't need intensity.

So yes, as far as the world's filters are concerned, we are superheroes. But we do not have any use-value in the world. This allows us to find the notion of the superhero worth preserving in our sanctuary.

The notion offers a lot of unexplored potential for renegotiating individual roles with the world and securing functional invisibility.

What you don't need, you don't see.

If your grand plan is to offer the world only noise and spam, you need to throw back the expectations that the world projects on you.

You need to place yourself on the outside. You need to devalue your self and at the same time manage to meet all the practical criteria for being considered a superhero.

With the superhero persona it is still possible to still to poke holes in the veneer of the world.