The plastic arts when they are delinked from com- mercial enterprise create a multiplicity of forms and variation. This variation is coupled to an inherent variation in the brain. This primary repertoire is the brain one is born with at birth. As these events are particular to each individual each brain at birth is very different from each one another.
Through its relational coupling, not correlation, with the unspecified world of objects its variability is sculpted by those con- sistent relations or features characteristic and essential for the animals survival. For this becoming is the site of modern day capitalisms interventionist tactics. For how that matter is sculpted details the on- togeny of the neural zoe as it becomes the neural bios.
Or do they? For importantly each successive generations neural architecture is sculpted anew. This is a profoundly creative as well as destructive and aggressive act. It is about understanding the logic of becoming form, breeding forms, and understanding form as a result of com- munication processes and the ability to decode within a system, rather than form for forms sake. Cognition is ex- tended: the world and the inhabiting organism constitute a single system.
Their differences are fuzzy and nondescript. What this means for the brain is that in a world of non- linear, distributed intensive systems the brain is also a non- linear and distributed network system. Charles T. To do this he utilizes Balwinian Evolution or the Baldwin Effect.
I explain this construct in detail in my own text so there is no reason to do so here except to say that read- ing popped into the cultural repertoire about years ago with the Sumerian Tablets and most evolutionary biologist believe that there has been too little time for genetic evolu- tionary factors to have played a role in the explanation of how we now have areas of the brain that light up during reading when we are being scanned in an MRI machine.
Dahaene , Two complimentary theories could explain this. First is that this area called the Visual Word Form Area, located in the posterior brain, is the product of neuroplastic modulation from the pressures of the symbolic environment upon it as suggested by Terrence Deacon. In this case a given afferent message will cause long term stabilization of the neu- rophysiology of a given set of synapses that regulate each other forming a maximally intergrated and efficient network while others will regress. He points out that there is an area in macaques called the Inferior Temporal Area that does very similar things.
That it is related to the Visual Form Area and is most likely its analogue. That in fact over generations the Inferior Temporal Area evolved to become the Visual Word Form Area through a series of small steps in which the primary area sculpted reading in accordance with its proclivities so that it would fit its already elaborated neurobiological architecture.
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Over time language would adapt itself. But there is one more key to this and that is what Wolfe alerts us to. That is to say Baldwinian Evo- lution Deacon As we saw previously the brains of hu- mans are highly variable.
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First, during human development as a result of different genetic contributions from the mother and father but also because of events occurring during pregnancy and subsequently as a result of very different events occurring during their lives especially early on during what are referred to as critical periods. This variability gives certain members of a population different adaptive capacities for the wide vari- ety of changes that they might encounter in the environment: reading in this case being one.
Some members of the popula- tion could adapt better and take advantage of what reading provided in a broader cultural context. This is where reading comes in and Wolfe quotes Peter Godfrey-Smith. Selection will favor these mutants, and in time the behaviors which once had to be learned will be innate. To confront a cynical materialism in which research on the complexities of the brain are being used by neoliberal and capitalism formations to produce a normalized citizen consumer.
It is my hope that the knowledge developed in these various events will begin a search for new methods with which to con- front this trend or at least to slow it down. We need to produce an emancipatory materialism in the world and in the brain too!
Johnson ed. Oxford: Blackwell, p. Crary, Jonathan, London: Verso, p. Deacon, Terrence, Weber, D. Depew eds. Cambridge: MIT Press, p. Deheane, Stanislas, Dehaene, J. Duhamel, M. Rizzolatti Eds. Cambridge: MIT Press. Deleuze, Gilles, New York: Continuum. Lazzarato, Maurizio, The Making of the Indebted Man. Los Angeles: Semiotext e. Malabou, Catherine, London and New York: Routledge, p.
Moulier Boutang, Yann, Cognitive Capitalism. Malden: Polity Press, p. Neidich, Warren, forthcoming. Resistance is Fertile. Berlin: Merve Verlag. Sporns, Olaf and Tononi, Giulio, San Diego: Academic Press, p. Vercellone, Carlo, Vygotsky, L. Mind and Society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, p. In an age of ubiquitous camera functions, video seems to present itself as an autobiographical medium par excellence, a technology at the service of subjects continuously tracking their existence on digital devices big and small, cheap and expensive, stationary and mobile.
But the coupling in fact goes back to the early days of analog video. The 18 lb. Not only did a tape reel allow an entire 30 minutes of continuous recording as opposed to the 3 or 11 minute runs of Super 8 or 16mm film rolls , you could also connect the camera directly to a monitor, eschewing the temporal limitations of tape.
From this moment onwards, video emerged as a signal-based corollary to the first person narratives of the modern novel—a literary form that not only veered towards the self-exposure of actual living persons, but that had its historical roots in the handwritten private letter. This subject was at once self-observed and presented for observation. Analog video at the hands of private individuals was just the latest and most efficient technological framework for the production and exposition of the self-monitoring being, otherwise known as the modern subject.
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Clearly video was to become a key technology of the so-called culture of the self-alternatively defined as the open-ended production of subjectivity characteristic of cognitive capitalism and its real-time media environments. To review the close association between video and autobiog- raphy is, inevitably, to revisit a key question in the debates on the recent transformations of capitalism: the relation between media technologies and processes of subjectivation. Real-time technologies are here seen as apparatuses that capture and exploit the forces of intellectual and spiritual labor.
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Since such technologies produce rather than represent time, they establish relations of proximity and collaboration with the production of time that takes place in the human brain and that is a key feature of mental operations. Hence, real-time technologies do not just control and augment the consumption of intellectual and aesthetic materials but, more importantly, access the creative processes of memory and self-relation that are an inevitable part of any affective and cognitive activity.
It is in this precise sense that video technologies may be called the machineries of subjectivity- production Lazzarato , For an art historian interested in the introduction of real- time technologies in the sphere of art production, these per- spectives are suggestive insofar as they also resonate in the discourses of early video art.
More precisely, they resonate in the specific forms of social imagination that emerge in a practice in which the close interaction between human and technical forms of memory have been exposed and ex- plored. Yet if early video art tended to produce a close asso- ciation between video technology and the memory-genre named autobiography, this autobiographical tendency was at the same time marked by dilemmas and conflicts, bifurca- tions and divergences.
And these divergences touch on the question of who or what actually count as memorizing agents in the theories of recent subjectivity-production: how they are to be defined, from what elements they are consti- tuted and how they interact in the production of the social. The most readily evident feature of video in this context seems to be its intimate association with the very question of subjectivity. When it comes to video, technology tends to be more or less equated with subjectivity, to the extent that, conversely, subjectivity also emerges as a technical medium.
In relation to the richness of human autobiography and subject-formation, video here often appears in a reductivist guise, i. However, the same artistic context also opens toward a parallel form of autobiographical existence—a related, yet very different phenomenon.
To study early video art is notably also to be confronted with a marked investment in the plu- ralization and individuation of the various affordances of real time technologies, to the extent that video itself may come to appear as an electronic subject exploring its own capacities for cognition and memory. Video, in other words, appears as an autobiographical agent.
And with this point of view comes the realization that those capacities might not necessarily converge with human perception and memory.
In the context of early video art, the widespread intuition that video may operate as a human-seeming quasi-subject, taking on specifically human temporalities and forms of cognition, also alerts us to the tenuous nature of all such identifications: Instances of apparent identity are often precisely those sites where all-important differences emerge.
In early video art, such differences may involve competing takes on the place of technology in its relation to human subjects, attesting to competing social ontologies. Tracing the autobiography of video may therefore be a process in which the coupling between video and autobiography is at once asserted and opened up, its logic reconsidered, perhaps even reconstructed.
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At stake here, obviously, is a politics of memory—a key feature in a form of media capitalism closely aligned with the modern effort to govern the very forces of life. The life forces modulated by real-time technologies are then approached in terms a capacity for memory shared with all living entities, including a number of technical machineries Lazzarato , This question opens up the new horizons of control, exploitation and regulation as well as the new margins of freedom.
The early association between autobiography and analog video appears as a site where this question is raised to a principle—explored, excavated, and turned into a crisis point. And yet, the work of Paik and a number of other early video experimenters show that the allocation of a self-memorizing agency within a general and expanding memory culture could in no way be taken for granted.
The notion that there is some impulse at work here obviously indicates the presence of something automatic, not fully willed or consciously thought out. Interestingly enough, the authors for the most part takes this as their cue to remain strangely passive or uninterested when it comes to the question of the more specific features or functions of the technologies that would produce such an impulse. The reason for this technological disinterest may stem from the fact that focus here is invariably on the subject of autobiography—notably the human subject and the way in which its auto-representation through signaletic media seem to open for a destabilization of specific ideas about subjectivity and identity.
The drama surrounding such questions of subjectivity all but cancels out more detailed perspectives on the material substratum of the autobiographical technologies. From one perspective it could be seen as another story of technological servitude. Video, it appears, is fundamentally, ontologically, tied to the first person perspective of an individual subject at once reified and dynamized, asserted and displaced. Life in all these latter senses does not stretch back across time, but extends down to the roots of the individual being, it is atemporal, committed to a vertical thrust from consciousness down into the unconscious rather than to a horizontal thrust from the present into the past.
It is simply a vital impulse that asserts itself through what Olney calls the medium of the individual. It is a pure consciousness and an existential force that finds in the individual its technol- ogy of inscription, self-relation or expression.
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