Álvaro Seiça Neves
THE HIPERPERIFERY OF THE POINT
In defense of the fox
Quoting Roland Barthes, when is about photography analysis, became the indispensable sugar without which the coffee cannot be drunk. Any thought on photography, that wishes to be self-legitimated (as a way to confirm us – I don’t like confirmations), or to be blistered seriously and scholar, it would have to include always a reference to La Chambre Claire (1980). Well, those who prefer coffee without sugar surely understand that we should go beyond the notions of studium and punctum. Abandoning the Latin concepts of Barthes, we arrive into a Greek word: periphéreia, as a way to observe the photographical image, as a way of thinking its own specificity.
In the photography there are focus of interest that are associated not with the punctum, but to its periphery. In this point periphery, in this neighborhood area, one can find more details that are symptomatical than the punctum (sting, puncture). If we think that there are specific areas and that they are distributed around the image as a mapa-mundi with temperature incidence shafts – oscillating between hot spots and cold spots, but always with shafts in the hottest spots and in the coldest spots, never in a point but in a neighborhood area, we could call this areas a point hiperperipherical areas.
It’s in the neighborhood of a shaft, or in the neighborhoods of several shafting points, that we find the most relevant information of a photographic image. The punctum, which until then was central and axial, but not obviously the geometric center of the composition, swap its fulcrum for an installed position on the periphery.
In an essay written in 2006, The discontinuity of the intersections, about a reading of Contingency, irony and Solidarity (1989), of Richard Rorty (2), I defended that two texts – a fictional text and a metatext, that comes from the critical analysis of the first – when compared, when placed in an intersection, could never result in a simple point Whether they were seen as a plan and a line, or line and line, the intersection of this two masses in progression will always be a perimeter of possibilities, whose
…substance it will be no more than the structure of ambiguity, the relation with the untouchable. In this perimeter of possibilities, takes place the encounter of readings. This is where a microscopic universe becomes autonomous and reveals itself with great difficulty, or rather, with the persistence sagacity
therefore, an image of the encounter process of two works or two readings, understood as two lines, as continuities that we want to be intersected. Those continuities have empty spaces, discontinuous, and it’s in the empty spaces that the neighborhood occurs, the sense of the proximity. The place, that it’s not a place, because is about time and a mode, may signify not the usual ambivalent characteristic of authors correspondence – made by reproductions, slides simulacra – but rather, the interpretation seized in the negatives of the matter. Because, the common is not made only with visibility, neither one can deduce with enough clarity and precision this space of similarities. It’s why it will always loose the objectivity aim, the one that attempts a total approach to the evident.
This metametatext (without being ridiculous), building the periphery (neighborhood) or the periphery network as textual analysis figures, approaches us from the point P formulation, in the way of a critical model of understanding and thought.
Why the fox and not the horse? Because we were taught that the horse was good and we could ride, that could be domesticated. Because we were taught that the fox was bad. That the fox steals, that to be a fox is to be shifty. Fox is to be foxy: is the noun with adjective qualities, which was spelling us that we would be sneaky, that we would pass in the shadow of a sunny day, to usurp the hunting, to clean the creeping nests and the bright eggs, and to bite, with a large jaw, the neck of a young lamb. But if we refute this mental process alter-acquired, or if we try to deconstruct the stone that formed inside, to rebuilt it in a mosaic, we could think that doesn’t matter so much if it’s the horse or the fox that stays good in the story. That not everything that is domesticated is immediately good, or relevant. That doesn’t matter so much the A point, where the fox is motionless, neither the B point, where the fox is already with a rabbit between its teethes, in a quick speed over the shadow. It doesn’t matter so much that B point, of arriving, of evil acceleration. We are interested the route between the point A and B. We are interested in the possibilities of the route, that one where the fox killed the rabbit and that where the fox just wandered over the plains – observing the route as potency and not as an act. Having this route as a question – be the one of the fox, the one of the photography, of the literature, of architecture, dance, cinema or music. In a defense of the route it’s necessary to build a defense of the fox.
Arrived at this point, we can conclude that the route is one of the most important characteristics of art. The allegory of the fox shows us that we must learn to distrust our beliefs and to avoid the automatism. Think about a classic music concert. Think about the audience. Think about the public. When our bad-tempered ears sense a silence (dot) in the music (course), the brain receives an anti-stimulus (impulse), giving immediately orders to make noisy applauses. Making more relevant the arriving point (silence) than the course (music). That’s why the piece 4’33’’ from John Cage is so unbearable and the outside tiny noises, before silenced by the orchestra sound, earn so much relevance – the brain doesn't stand the silence; has to interpret it, has to fill it, give it a tangible form. The brain doesn't stand the empty.
Once the human being will achieve to flood the coastal area and leave little territory inhabited, seeing him, therefore, compelled to urgently colonize other planets, we will see what is already happening in small scale, in Spain, Portugal and in many countries. In Spain, in the edges of the urbanized areas, takes place a very curious kind of archeological surgery. With the help of a careless scalpel it’s possible to generate specialized roundabouts in a specific historical period: keeping a 19th century gate, cutting an emaciated roman bridge. In Portugal, a short trip around an old national road, punctuated with small places, immediately return us an excellent open air museum – the most genuine of all, the one that reflects in 1:1 the long history of Being. There we can find remnants of old constructive systems obsolete edifications, as well as old cars models and the compiled history of the last decade’s signage, publicity and logos. In the future, the space museum it will tend to disappear and, in the impatience of an entertaining society rather than meditation, the thematic park will substitute the museum. The human beings of the future, flesh and bone with prosthesis will have touristic trips organized to visit the spots of the old planet, a mist of nostalgia and popcorns. They will visit the remains of the great metropolis and total uninhabited areas. Their touristic tours will forget the micro-scale to embrace the macro-scale, in trips of an historical and leisure aim.
The cities of the future will have no more a neuralgic center, punctuated, but will be connections between the peripheries of this old point, indistinct clusters of neighborhoods – the conurbation will be the figure of speech of these uninterrupted masses, without borders. If we think about an urbanization (colonization) out of the planet earth, this tendency will be even more clear, if we think about the fact that the city will be no longer thought as such, but as another space-urbanistic typology. This typology will live of connections between virtual and real spaces. The center will no longer prevail, giving primacy to the route and to the connectivity. The human being, an apparently free individual, will be pushed to be in constant motion between spaces; will be pushed, through the antroproducts and infoducts (3), to the non-fixation, and to the non-meditation, to ubiquity, to respond to different social stimuli in a simultaneous and instantaneous way, without space-time barriers. A society of conduction, in space and to the Space, in permanent movement, will be developed – a society between points, a society that will not remain in a certain point (sedentary), but will always be in transit between two points (nomadic).
Man it will be updating is virtual profile, that is, living its virtually replicated self, in a faster way than its own real profile. We will assist to the virtual individual, absent from is body. Join to this last paragraph a lucid analysis of the contemporary society, add the complete reading of Paul Virilio, add some science-fiction, stir slowly over low heat and wise handling. Think!
1. The Hellenic culture always seduced me much more than the Latin culture: the Romans, worst than the barbarian (and note that barbarian is converted in synecdoche, because it generalized itself in the contemporary lexicon as primitive, rude, brutal; fact that doesn't differs much from the Romans), that is, undercover Barbarian, were rough figures, dresses with borrowed suite (from the brand Hélade).
2. Rorty, in turn, makes a reading of the works of Orwell and Nabokov.
3. Antroproducts are not only lifts that connect to stationary points in the Outer Space, but also, the conductors of human beings in an urbanized space, without meaning necessarily the vehicles as we know. The Infoducts (note that for a technological and material dimension, immediately arise Latin words), that include the existing information conductors (TV, internet, communications), will suffer a large mutation, hardly guessable, but including the three-dimensional holograms of transmission (in real time).
ÁLVARO SEIÇA NEVES
Writer. Editor of Bypass Magazine. Évora. Lisbon
Other Articles in the same issue:
PEDRO LEVI BISMARCK