Monday, February 23, 2009

Email: Camera as Prosthesis

As I mentioned in a recent post, the art of letter writing is dying with email. But what is born out of the ruins of the older print-centric, epistolary form is another user-friendly form of writing that is still not valued as much as it should be.

My emails influence my blogs which influence my art-writing project development. Emails are more than just source material. They are the life-blood of the nomadic net artist who unconsciously triggers the next version of whatever conceptual persona they wish to inhabit while composing.

To protect the innocent I will not name names, but I am still going public with some short email exchanges I am having with active minds in the network.

An email from an artist-writer friend who recently saw a private preview of the entire 75-minute Immobilité partly reads:
One question I have is about your experience of camera as prosthesis. I have found especially with the flip that seeing through that lens is a form of virtual touch (since the camera is hand held and so small-- rather than sight, it is like a strange form of blindness in fact -- I wonder if, in a more virtual universe, the production of images becomes a substitute for touch.
To which I respond (in part):
Following up on "camera as prosthesis" I guess the question is what role does proprioception play in all of this? What I found when making Immobilité is that you have to move at the interface of cinematography, choreography and what my old prof Greg Ulmer at Florida calls choragraphy.

It's hard to map out via email but imagine

cinematography as the writing of movement

choreography as the writing of dance

choragraphy as the writing of invention

Once you bring a portable if not semi-wearable "camera as prosthesis" into the mix, where you go in blind and hold your eyes in the palm of your hand, then you can begin to enact what dancers refer to as structured improvisation, capturing data as you slide between proprioception and movement-vision. I steal this last insight from Brian Massumi. [...] He refers to movement-vision as "an included disjunction," an "opening onto a space of transformation in which a de-objectified movement fuses with a de-subjectified observer. This larger processuality, this real movement, includes the perspective from which it is seen."


Your sense of "virtual touch" is right on. This is what I felt not only while using the camera, but while "painting" the scenes. It's weird, I never considered myself in any way connected to the history of painting until I began using video cameras and the mobile phone video camera solidified my deep connection, albeit from a totally different angle. If you look at the last scene of Immobilité with the double rainbow you will see the frame "flick" with minute touches as if using the rainbow image as a palette to bring more color into the scene (it's the camera trying to focus its movement-vision but only materializes because of the virtual touch intuited by the body).

Massumi says "Affects are virtual synthetic perspectives" and maybe what we are finding is that with these miniaturized apparatuses at hand, we are able to locate new potentials in the body as it moves.
These new potentials in the body as it moves are aesthetic in nature (aesthetics in/of nature). The virtual eyes of the remixological synner touch rather than see and in touching feel their way into visionary experience.

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