[-empyre-] nanoFiesta 3.0

Ricardo Dominguez rrdominguez at ucsd.edu
Wed Dec 17 21:59:26 EST 2008

Hola all,

Here is an incantation by a member of the *particle group* that I thought
echo some of the rush and sickly cures - and even a vision of the
nano-sublime as anothe
type of magic to bubble bubble - a short nano-play to follow later.

Very best,

nanoFiesta 3.0 (2007)
Dr. Amy Sara Carroll
(critical particle mama/cita, otherwise known as first assistant
to meta-director, Dr. Zé Carroll-Dominguez)

(for Dr. Diane Ludin, Dr. Nina Waisman, and Dr. Ricardo Dominguez)

“For the market, nanoparticles hold the 21st century’s great promise. For
critics, they are a vision of pure horror, as long as the toxicological
risks are not known. The era of unregulated nanocapitalism has already
(*particle group* http://pitmm.net/).

The nano-sublime’s focal range

Recently, Inuit activist Shelia Watt-Cloutier was recognized with a
lifetime achievement award from the United Nations. Watt-Cloutier, chair
of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, has brought to public attention blips
in the quotidian, inspiring adversaries like Al Gore and John McCain to
lipsynch the same refrain: the robins are singing in the Artic Circle. The
Inuit have a word for the planet’s climate-changing ambience. Roughly
translated into poetic English, it echo-locates, “a familiar friend now
behaving strangely.” In a parallel line-of-flight, in a doubly post-9-11
performance, poet-artist-activist Cecilia Vicuña laments that the Chilean
government has sold the land beneath the Southern Cone’s glaciers to
transnational corporations, who short-sighted as Hernando de Soto, plan to
move mountains in search of gold—never mind that the glaciers’ already
accelerated drip appears or anticipates some meta-biological clock’s tick.
Eco-activism has the viscerally magical on its team. What once sounded
apocalyptic has slipped into something more comfortable—to repeat—the
quotidian: robins are singing in the Artic Circle.

Eighteenth-century philosophers such as Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant
identified the sublime as monumental, as that which exceeded their own
imaginations. The focal range implied intelligent design, larger than
life, approaching infinity—a picture screen going dark with the
remaindered allowable for string theory. Post-contemporary critical
assessments of climate change often enough stumble on the remains of the
sublime. Freeze-frame the most believable as unafraid to discard quixotic
searches for purity—those which belong to the classically beautiful and
the military-scientific-industrial-complexes’ clean-rooms. For, often
enough, in poignant testimonios of global decline in circulation, the
visible amounts to circumstantial evidence. In contrast, the proof perfect
of another viscerally magical quotidian, a focal range, equally
mind-boggling, one nanometer (1/1,000,000,000 of a meter), the contrived
size of a single molecule, vibrates, nano-sublime in and for the human
being/becoming part and particle, depth-defying.

Infinite jest or infinitely demanding—is that a nano in your pocket or are
you happy to see me?

In Engines of Creation, K. Eric Drexler provokes, “Not much difference
between a banana and a human. Same Atoms, just arranged differently.”
Recombinant as codes’ rhizomatic roots, the banana-human promises to fade
in and out like a radio station, testing sound’s judgment. In Brazil,
absence is the order of the day: bananas, like condors, are disappearing,
although the latter’s endangerment remains puzzling. Nobody knows why the
banana’s leaving, why it’s no longer branching out horizontally.

Nano-nook of the North: in the Artic Circle, twice as many girls are being
born than boys. Some speculate it’s the rite of the rain: toxins in the
water, and, by extension, the landscape become squatters in pregnant
bodies to reshape trigger-happy hormones. An ironic “natural” reversal of
cultural mandates to reproduce the Son? Quizás, quizás, quizás

Environmental racism? No doubt. But more than one species sinks-or-floats,
lost in translation, i.e., this promises to be the critical winter of the
bees. Hives, literally emptying, foretell bleak-house futures of scarcity.
Like A Day Without a Mexican, this twenty-first century “fable of the
bees” accents labor taken for granted, the hum and drone of
cross-pollination, the hitherto multitude’s endlessly deferred arrival at
social cont®act, rescinded (Latin rescindere: re-, re- + scindere, to
split) at the level of neoliberalisms’ nano-contact zones. One ominous
hypothesis: “colony collapse disorder;” for our purposes, the particulate
matter of particle capitalism. Not liquid words (“grey-becoming-green goo
syndrome” eres tan intelligente que hasta los mocos te comes), but that,
which, dispersed, “all creatures great and small” involuntarily imbibe and

A few years ago in P.S. 1’s Mexico City: An Exhibition about the Exchange
Rates of Bodies and Values, D.F.-based performance artist Teresa Margolles
showcased Vaporization. Everything was aboveboard: the viewer, armed with
the opacity of artistic transparency, had to sign a permission slip before
entering the installation’s domain—more than corporate culture currently
supplies its own rhizomatic constituencies (no nanotoxicological warnings,
only the unbridled glee of divide and conquer).

Consisting of the vaporization of water taken from the washing of corpses
in Mexico City’s central morgue (SEMEFO), Vaporization interpellated its
suddenly participant-observers into a looping intersubjective relationship
with the corpse, where breathing involved the partial inhalation of human
particulate matter, the enactment of a Manifesto Antropófago (like
breathing in New York City after the collapse of the twin towers).
Cannibalistic, cabalistic, the installation performatively forced
audiences to acknowledge that, while all that is solid may melt into air,
it does not disappear. Taking seriously Theodor Adorno’s claims for the
artwork as apparition, Vaporization’s “ether is bound up with
particularization; it epitomizes the unsubsumable and as such challenges
the prevailing principle of reality: that of exchangeability,” reminding
participant-observers that the aestheticization of neoliberalism does not
diminish the violent undercurrents of transnational global flows, which
structure the tenets of the biopolitical. Vaporization begs a question
that seeds, but does not cede to, the rhetorical: who and what qualifies
as disposable?

Meet the proto-ticklish particle: artist Andrea Polli elected to travel,
to track the carbon footprints of a particle as it globe-trotted. Caught
in the current, winds of change, she witnessed and documented her particle
rearrange the furniture on this sinking ship, formerly known as the sun’s
thrice-removed planet. A molecular over-identification qua politics? Maybe
predetermination is as random as this, quid pro quo—we (always-)already
slipped on Drexler’s banana peal, on the siren-cyborg/(la llorona)’s wail
of a laugh. To mince words: we’re not waiting for the Machiavellian
prince’s kiss, now is the time for sleeper-cell (sinthomestiza!)

The BIG b*a*n*g (bits*atoms*neurons*genes) or particles of interest and
their ticklish schemes

Redux—a word deserves to be massaged as well as minced. The Word is our
transference point and projection; in what follows “a familiar friend now
behaving strangely.” Sample a focal range of parallel universes in which
the Particle Group invites collaboration (bend timespace to site-see

One— Prometheus unbound—steal the fire of the epic’s languish. “Particle
poetry” replaces the omniscient forces in epic poetic narratives with
nanotechnological method, both attending to the detail of the line
(formally speaking, remember the iamb!) and content-wise, “Particle,
particle, burning bright—”

Two—catch the wave of transpatentry, mine corporate science’s creative
writing. “Transpatents” post-humanize the potential drama inherent in
nanotechnological patents, tweaking and casting a spell on neoliberalisms’
juridico-scientific pageantries of possession, i.e., “Trans_Patent
6608386/Sub-nanoscale electronic devices and bacterial processes/[
Sometimes Lila would feel a bit itchy as she floated in her partner a few
hours before integration. Most birthing was now a trans_patented condition
involving sub-nanoscale trading—”

Three—keep contributing to the larger picture we’re outing as “particle
capitalism.” Challenge, cherish, corroborate, revise, revile, deafen,
denounce, defy definition and the data-World Bank. Might we suggest
? Fuse
ideological and philosophical improvisation with marketing critique and
economic theory to trace, map, manipulate, gerrymander, parody so-called
behavioral enactments of the matter market under the neo-sign(age) of
Globalization: “Particle Capitalism is but the latest phase in the
quantification of the world

Four (post-Berlin)—split the atom of language (“dwell between – PAR/T (i)
C-L=E/s”), chase the shadows of the energy released. Visually, maximize a
storyboard’s break, a sentence’s cleavage, a word’s syllabic divisive
decisiveness. Sonically, scratch, cut, remix, trek all of the above (one
through three) to the top of Babel’s tower (Any chance you’re caught in
the sway of a vertigo?) and cast the project into the polluted waters

In Formless: A User’s Guide, Yve-Alain Bois reads minds (like ours),
The essence of language is to be articulated. Such articulations can be as
smooth as one wishes; they are no less divisive for all that. In order for
language to function, signs must be isolable one from the other (otherwise
they would not be repeatable). At every level (phonetic, semantic,
syntactic, and so on) language has its own laws of combination and
continuity, but its primary material is constructed of irreducible atoms
(phonemes for spoken language, and for written, signs whose nature varies
according to the system in question; in alphabetical writing, for example,
the distinctive unit is the letter). Whoever says “articulation” always
says, in the final instance, “divisibility into minimal units”: the
articulus is the particle. Language is a hierarchical combination of bits.

Dream small to dream big (nanosubliminal messages), Other epic proportions
of vis-reality—ni mamacita, ni Pachamama, but, the filagreed indelicacies
of maternal tongues. We’re not ready to pass judgment on Latin America’s
genre that’s tumbling into disrepute. For, visceral realism, the too cocky
son of the afore(not)mentioned magical realism, in its worst moments reeks
of an Oedipal complex, while, at its best, like Hamlet, seems overscented
as a teen.

We’ll stick to the ribs of queer mother-love, refusing/reusing the
commodified Trinities of father-son(-holy-ghost). A word’s fracture is
magical AND visceral, not the cult of the cut of language (yes, we
know—fingers’ drumming—we live in the width of the without), but, that
“something you have to figure in before you can figure it out,” the
sinthome of the nano-sublime, the sin of the home one cannot define. Just
as, “(k)nowing how to love does not mean remaining a man or a woman: it
means extracting from one’s sex the particles, the speeds, and slownesses,
the flows, the sexes that constitute the girl of that sexuality,” we’ll
begin “in the (sic) beginning”: knowing how to (in)cite-read
his(hiss)/her-stories of the vanishing present entails heavy trading in
futures’sonification, the conception of primogeneses sans ownerships’
tethers and tendencies. Utopian as plagiarism, we want to boggle-toggle
minds, to fabricate the arc of an over-the-rainbow focal range that
responds-corresponds to that of the nano-sublime’s as an emergent
paraliterary “aesthetic,” replete with attendant specters of the
politically indeterminate (the unnatural resources of our tactics’

Ricardo Dominguez
Assistant Professor
Hellman Fellow

Visual Arts Department, UCSD
Principal Investigator, CALIT2
Co-Chair gallery at calit2
CRCA Researcher
Ethnic Studies Affiliate
Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies Affiliate

Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics,
Board Member

University of California, San Diego,
9500 Gilman Drive Drive,
La Jolla, CA 92093-0436
Phone: (619) 322-7571
e-mail: rrdominguez at ucsd.edu

Project sites:
site: http://gallery.calit2.net
site: http://pitmm.net
site: http://bang.calit2.net
site: http://www.thing.net/~rdom

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