[UN]CONSCIOUS TRANSIT AND THE ZONE
Excerpt from Gamrot A. Floating in Ease and White Noise Sameness.
Or how to reclaim ones right to sensory transit.
MA Contemporary Art Theory. Goldsmiths. London. 09.2017
Full thesis accessible here
Experiencing the moment of transition in between spatiality is enabled through the constructingand layering upon of established city fabric DNA components, within which the “body” expressesitself through its flesh - aka it is feeling the external world through one’s own materiality. It isencountering/ sensing the surrounding, this must be seen as not only a way of reterritorializing itself within the ocean, but as the foundation for stating one’s own subjectivity within thatenvironment. The confrontation is being the only way of living the literal experience of the cityscape, hence, the body is aiming to perceive the notion of “sensing the city”, and configuring one’s being within.
“The confrontation lasted about five minutes; then the display died out as quickly as it had begun, and everyone drank his fill of the muddy water. Honor had been satisfied; each group had staked its claim to its own territory.” ― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Fighting, hands and feet on, to claim the right to one’s territory - “swallowing the muddy waters”that are lying in front. Stating the bodies presence, fusing the thresholds between the being and the event of interaction, what is more than just a stimulation of the body’s system and itspresence - it is resulting in real sensations. Let’s go as far as saying “over sensation” which the body is so much longing for, taking in the every single break, the every single crack, attracted by the layers of stimulating components of the system, just to feel its own bodily presence. The over stimulation is taking place in all senses and in all nerves. Driving towards a never ending, rapidly growing radiance and nerve signal transmission through the physical body. The more nerves and sense are stimulated, the more we start becoming immune to them. It is as if stuck in a vicious circle, which restricts the body from growing within the landscape of the system. Resulting in the aimless, lightweight drift in the ocean of the capital, which constructs the draining components of our daily experience. Losing its existence within the never ending loop of into the backdrop pushed white noise frequency, the rest remains quite.
Stalker: “We are home!” - “It is so quiet out here, it is the quietest place in the world.”
- Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker, 1979
Systems are bounded by a physical boundary, as a skin, coat, etc. as if a structure given to support and protecting its coherent integrity. Yet, that skin is a subjective perspective, dependant on the observer, whether the systems skin is being considered as an autonomous entity or as dependant boundary, which inter-collaborates with other boundaries. At this moment of entering the boundary it is not only considered as a hull but, in relation to the it approaching body as a membrane, a threshold, that is being projected onto the skin – a zone the body transmissions. [Fischer T. 2017, pp.36-41]
“Roppongi she remembers as not so nice a place, one of those interzones, a border of town of sorts epicentre of the Bubble’s cross cultural sex trade. She’d gone here with crowds, to bars hat were hot then but now likely weren’t, but always there’d been an edge of some meanness, she hadn’t noticed elsewhere in town.”
– William Gibson, Pattern Recognition [p.146]
Constructing experiences, to imitate the stimulation of the body, which it is longing for. Introducing single, primary components that not only reassemble the complete experience but take off the attention, as if the driver making one experience less, but wanting more. As in example, the neon colour lights as an over layer of an encounter - a visual trigger.
“Pretend it is the sea. The individual buildings are incredible narrow, their restless street level facades seeming to form a single unbroken surface of neon carnival excess, but overhead are small neat signs, identically rectangular, arranged up the fronts of each one, naming the services or products to be had on each small upper floor.”
– William Gibson, Pattern Recognition [p.131]
A mass culture driven image, a “real estate” leaflet, representing the perfect neighborhood, inhabited by ghostly happy families, playing children, smiling and socializing individuals. It is an imitation of the everyday. The images transform into pseudo realities – spectacles. It is a copy of a reality we think we are wishing for. A simulation coming into life within our urban environment, [Jameson, 1991, p.18] constructed out of exchange value and profit as if "the image has become the final form of commodity reification". [Jameson, 1991, p.18]
Leading towards the question whether one experiences the city the way one actually does. Or is the system covering some of the real experiences, buffering or just only milden them. Restructuring events or even potentially illuminating spectacles through any instruments and technologies possible it has available, just so to only make the body briefly and faintly feel, further, to abandon it as an empty hull - lonesome - to its drift.
The “landscape is an oeuvre, [it] emerges from earth, slowly moulded, linked originally to groups which occupy it by reciprocal consecration to be later desecrated by city and urban life” [Lefebvre, 1996, pp.118-121], as Lefebvre states in his writings on cities. So, what is it what I actually see? Is it really only a hallucination, a visual stimulation?
She passes one of those spookily efficient midnight road crews, who’ve set up self-illuminated traffic cones prettier than any lamp she’s ever owned, and are slicing into asphalt with a water-cooled steel disk.” – William Gibson, Pattern Recognition [p.130]
The experiences, illuminating spectacles, are taking away the attention from the literal road work. Using its stimulating presence as a reciprocal addition to what our body experiences, and “outshine” the encounter with the real image. Triggering the body towards giving up its DNA, dispossessing it from its rights and leading to the existence of an empty body.
“By entering the Delos Destinations Port of Entry, you acknowledge that Delos, Inc. controls the rights to and remains the sole owner of, in perpetuity: all skin cells, bodily fluids, secretions, excretions, hair samples, saliva, sweat, blood, and any other bodily functions not listed here. Delos, Inc. reserves the right to use this property in any way, shape, or form in which the entity sees fit.” [Westworld, 17.08.2017]
Yet how would we experience the traffic with an ugly traffic cone?
Taking in consideration the experience and encounter constructed by the system and examining the guidelines for the spatial experience of the narratives and its rules, within the HBO’s series, “Westworld”. A new amusement park, allowing wealthy individuals to enter an artificial world setting and pursue one’s desirers through the artificial consciousness and established narratives. [Which is also where the above quote was extracted from – as a part reserving the right to the cell and conscious being of the guest – seems like a small price to pay, considering the fact of gaining real sensual encounter. Is it though?] Pre to the enter of the site – [the new territory] - a contract is being established, to outline what shall be expected from the forthcoming experiences, laying out that every stay in Westworld is “covering everything one may need”. It seems like there is something for everyone. “Whether you are white hat itching to join the bounty hunt of the decade, or black hat looking for more mischievous opportunities in Pariah, the Silver package can equip you with the resources necessary to find those mission-critical elements – and have you pushing yourself in ways you never expected.” [Westworld, 17.08.2017] Establishing a clear communication between the body and the experience and being upfront honest about what can be expected from the encounter. Although, the contract is stating that the experience will “push” one upon the boundaries, it is a resource, already produced – as are the hosts narratives already written. Already, the use of the word “resources”, implies something like a “spatial surplus”, simply only produced. Especially, looking into the more “expensive” Silver and Gold amenities and narratives, which allow a faster and more intensive existence. The contract phrases out what is being offered by the “system”, in order to, satisfy the guest’s desire and fully indulge into its fulfilment without any consequences. The individual approaches the site, fully content with the contract, the body enters with the hope to be able to expand its experiences beyond the narrative – feel more and hence be more sure of its presence. But what gives it the right to decide what it is the body really needs? How far can we go in countering the system? Is there a way to play with the rules? Regain the right of going beyond the narrative.
“No. Putting her feet down firmly as she walks on. Walk lie a man. I fought the law. Hand in pockets, the right clutching the sunglasses.
And the law won.” [Gibson, 2011, p.130]
The transit within the network is accompanied by change and traumatic experiences. Resulting in future expectation slowly to deflate parallel to the emptying of the body’s shell. Altering the perception of the everyday life over the point of it being recognizable and even comparable to reality. Introducing technologies, images and moments of sparkle, quickly fainting and dissolving. Without being able to be articulated through our perception nor able to be grasped through our presence. It is a spatiality, with rules of its own. That sensual transmission is potentially agitating the skin, resulting in blistering, penetrating it and disconnection it from its usually experience of symbiosis, which the body expects from its presence within the fabric. A field of traps positioned, where the bodies are defenselessly left to its own fate.
“The Zone is a very complicated system of traps, and they're all deadly. I don't know what's going on here in the absence of people, but the moment someone shows up, everything comes into motion. Old traps disappear and new ones emerge. Safe spots become impassable. Now your path is easy, now it's hopelessly involved. That's the Zone. It may even seem capricious. But it is what we've made it with our condition. It happened that people had to stop halfway and go back. Some of them even died on the very threshold of the room. But everything that’s going on here depends not on the Zone, but on us.”
“The Zone wants to be respected. Otherwise it will punish.”
- Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker, 1979
Fischer, T. Richards, L.D. Constraint-Oriented Design. The Cybernetic Intersection of Design Theory and Systems Theory. LEONARDO: Vol.50, No.1. 2017
Gibson, W. Pattern Recognition. London: Penguin, 2011
Jameson, F. Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Duke University Press. 1991
Lefebvre, H. Writings on Cities. ed. Kofman, E. Lebas, E. Blackwell Publishers, 1996
Westworld. http://www.slashfilm.com/westworld-map-and-contract/, 17.08.2017