A heuretic museum, online exhibit of cultural inventions, of the sort from whose aggregation will emerge the electrate rhetoric of "flash reason against the internet accident" (my working title). I will be referring to my own entry for the museum: neo-prudence.
The KaChing: online consultant for contemporary global wisdom (imageplaces of the multitude).
The extent to which we have come to regard art as an afterthought of place is the extent to which we have forgotten how (in Heideggers term) to "poetically dwell." Le Corbusier famously called buildings "machines for living in," and eschewed "ornamentation," artistic intervention, or, for that matter, any local references at all. He simultaneously imagined that he transcended both art and place. Against this machine plan the Situationists performed unitary urbanism to map the moods of place. This problematic opposition between reason and imagination may be resolved in the new image logic of electracy.
This conference responds to the imperative to image places to solve sociopoetic problems using strategies borrowed from the arts and humanities rather than the empirical or social sciences. The primary example of this type of work is the EmerAgency, theorized by Greg Ulmer and tested in the experiments of the Florida Research Ensemble.
Imaging place asks for abstracts building on a history of works on place in the arts and humanities. Poets, writers, and artists have represented place through the depiction of landscapes and interiors. Those artistic works create an understanding or sensibility of place through their representations: Paris takes on a particular character after Monet, as does London after Whistler; Great Neck after Fitzgerald. Writers and artists closely tie their art to specific places. Steinbeck writes about Cannery Row, Smithson ties his work to specific places where he sites his earthworks, or Christo positions his projects in specific places (where the place is part of the work). On a smaller scale, Bloomsbury artists painted on walls, Renaissance painters painted ceilings, and drawing room novels describe interiors. What may be learned from these (and other) precedents, with implications for inventing the apparatus of electracy? The imperative (in the words of Basho) is not to follow in the footsteps of these masters, but to seek what they sought. The question then is: what about your place?
The purpose of this conference is to portray and discuss how places themselves become not only sociopoetic art -- works where the places and expression become imbricated one upon the other -- but categories and logics of thought and decision. What better locus in which to explore "chora" than one of the four "exotic sites of otherness, of 'elsewhere,' of anyplace-out-of-this-world, available to a Romantic imagination," one of Coleridge's sources for his hybrid Xanadu--Gainesville, FL (Internet Invention, 97-98).
The Florida Research Ensemble was formed originally out of a desire to shift from a "reading group" format for interdisciplinary faculty to a "working group" practice. If we apply this principle to the conference, then the purpose for meeting is to put ourselves in position to collaborate on a more extensive consulting project, coordinated across the locations of those attending. The first step is to get up to date with one another's work and interests. A second step is to formulate a consultancy methodology (imaging place). Third: a plan to test the consultancy in ways relevant to the interests and locales of the participants. The goal would be to have the conference itself be a working session, not (only) a representation of work already accomplished. Part of the planning should concern how to support sustained distributed decentralized inquiry via e-tech.
The grammatological interest in imaging place is the possibility (by analogy with the invention of conceptual categories, topics and the like) of inventing a practice of electrate reasoning. Here are a few considerations for discussion, in relation to the basic question: what are we doing when we make/design images of a place/region?
2--the "features" that appear or that are selected/designed are no longer ruled by the conceptual structure of subject/predicate, thing/attributes, not limited by the distinction essence/accident. Or rather, only the textual dimension of the representation is guided by these literate formations of definition.
3--what are the visualization qualities of imaging that may be exploited for reasoning, for information storage and retrieval? for provoking thought, evoking feeling, supporting communication? An assumption is that no two places are the same, just as no two concepts are identical. The purpose of imaging a place in this context (chora) is to notice what is specific to it, as at least one dimension of its availability for thought. This difference is also relative to that of other places (we are looking for patterns across places).
4--imaging goes beyond functioning as a support for established disciplinary/popular knowledge/opinion to make available a new capacity for noticing and attending to what "is" (metaphysics). The EmerAgency contribution to public reason is precisely in this invention of a new category system, working with the principle that the apparatus of a society filters what it is possible to identify as a "problem," and determines the choices of possible solutions. Problem-Solution is itself a structure of literacy. A new apparatus = reconfiguration of a society's understanding of its "discontents."
5--the point is not to assume that we may jump to the end of this line of discussion and state in one email a description of electrate metaphysics (the topic of my keystone in any case). Rather, this project is the basis for our possible collaboration, to be articulated here, culminating with some specific proposal in the Gainesville meeting.