[-empyre-] affect, low theory, and capture

Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 20 21:56:07 EST 2012

I saw in the city of Umeå in the North of Sweden a very interesting
exhibition, "Lost and Found Queerying the Archive". The curators Jane
Rowley and Louise Wolthers built the show around some central and
pivotal questions: identity, love and sexuality. Many of the voices
presented are anonymous, people questioning themselves, searching for
some belonging, for some identity, asking themselves about normality
and normativity. The norms are made of conventions and consensus,
agreements, historical memes written on people's experiences and
For me personally it was a great "aha" moment to read Rosi Braidottis
"Nomadic Subjects", a book where she writes about our fragmented
identities, our ability to wander between different identities and
belongings but not staying in one.

On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:44 AM, Zach Blas <zachblas at gmail.com> wrote:
> hi all--
> i’m finally jumping in here again after some great posts from
> patricia, lauren, jordan, and jack again!
> i’d really like to pull in some empyre subscribers to this discussion,
> so i wonder if we can try to tackle some more general questions about
> the stakes and stances around affect and its relations to queerness,
> digital technology/media, and political art.
> patricia and lauren, you have already somewhat laid this out, but i
> think it would be great to hear more about how you parse affect and
> feelings and what those frameworks / structures of thinking permit,
> enhance, delimit, enclose. in my experience, discussions around affect
> always run up against conflicting approaches to defining it as well as
> how it relates to feelings or emotions.
> patricia, it seems that many theorists and writers who focus on
> technology, the nonhuman, and the new materialisms you have already
> mentioned engage affect through a deleuzian / spinozan approach. and
> they do so because it affords them a particular way to think technical
> / nonhuman materials. it seems like one of the critiques we could
> think about here is the one that jack has already brought up, which is
> on the use of high theory and a politics of citations. do you think
> its possible to explore this strand of affect through low theory? do
> you know of anyone who is doing this? in this area of deleuze, affect,
> queerness, and feminism, luciana parisi has talked about a fundamental
> queerness through her notion of abstract sex and claire colebrook has
> also considered how doing theory could be fundamentally queer. i’m
> just really curious how the feminist new materialisms, which engage
> affect and queerness, could align/overlap with jack halberstam’s
> investments in a low theory and what that might look like--or what it
> already looks like if someone is doing this....and for this week, how
> low theory and high theory differently impact and shape our
> understandings and experiences of affect.
> lauren, thanks for bringing in the transitional objects video! i
> wonder if was can all take a look at a recent work by jordan crandall
> called “hotel.” http://vimeo.com/7091631 maybe we can think about the
> relations and (dis)alignments between these two videos and how they
> convey affect. notably, jordan’s piece does not use language, while
> the other piece has consistent speaking.
> maybe another way to think about affect, queerness, and technology is
> around capture, withdrawal, and escape. i’m pretty taken by recent
> theories of escape, invisibility, refusals of recognition, tactics of
> nonexistence, becoming imperceptible. personally, i’ve been really
> interested in how alex galloway and eugene thacker have framed this
> around what they identify as the coming era of “universal standards of
> identification,” which of course are already here with devices like
> biometrics. “henceforth,” they write, “the lived environment will be
> divided into identifiable zones and nonidentifiable zones, and
> nonidentifiables will be the shadowy new ‘criminal’ classes–those that
> do not identify.” this is something phil agre has also written about,
> what he calls the capture model and grammars of action. different from
> surveillance, capture is specific to our information age and grammars
> of action are what capture produces. arge writes that “the capture
> model describes the situation that results when grammars of action are
> imposed upon human activities and when the newly reorganized
> activities are represented by computers in real time.”
> i bring this all up because i’m generally interested in affect,
> capture, and measurability. since i recently read a lot of hardt &
> negri for my prelim exams this spring, immeasurability and beyond
> measure surfaced a lot. this is a pretty open-ended question at this
> point, but i’m just wondering if anyone has thoughts on affect’s
> relation to (im)measurability and capture--and how that might weigh on
> queerness and feminism...
> thanks!
> --
> zach blas
> artist & phd candidate
> literature, information science + information studies, visual studies
> duke university
> www.zachblas.info
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre


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