META-NOMAD

Towards a Serresean Patchwork

Introduction


In this essay I plan to analyse that which shall be called the ‘Serresean patchwork’, a spacio-temporal multiplicity which also acts as global topology, akin to a knitted patchwork quilt pertaining to the work of Michel Serres. Utilizing texts from both Michel Serres and Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, all of whom have conceptualized the idea of ‘patchwork’ within their work. Alongside utilizing Lucretian atomism as the materialist philosophy underpinning the work of the aforementioned theorists. I shall begin by briefly expanding on Michel Serres’ conception of time as a ‘crumpled handkerchief’, for this temporal reading is both relevant at a foundational level and acts as the cause for the contemporary Lucretian process. Following this I plan to appropriate this reading of time onto the materialist framework of Lucretian atomism, extrapolating on the Lucretian process of material becoming itself, from laminar flow to vortex. I then plan to move the Lucretian process from its traditional temporal/abstract root to physical space via assimilation of the process itself onto the ‘smooth and striated space’ of Deleuze & Guattari, allowing each abstract atomist process to be assimilated onto a material movement or allotment between smooth and striated space. Finally I intend to explain how this atomic spacio-temporal triptych of crumpled time, Lucretian atomism and Deleuzoguattarian space allows for a clearer vision of a ’Serresean patchwork’. A patchwork which inherently utilizes each section of this essay as a means for its own structural and topological becoming. Each theoretical underpinning contributing to various factors in relation to the patchwork’s becoming, movement, purpose and realization.

 

Serresean-Time and Lucretian Atomism


I shall begin from the bottom and work my way upwards, axis here being factually useless, but metaphorically useful. The foundation is time itself. In this case Serresean-time. Take the temporal plane and imagine it appropriated onto a handkerchief (Serres, M. Latour, B, 1998: p60). One could, for ease of familiarity, draw a grid, or line onto the handkerchief, plotting points equidistant along the line as a means to track days, weeks or years. Now imagine one is to crumple this handkerchief, one would find points from the line’s ‘past’ meet points of the line’s ‘now’ or ‘future’. Not only does this conception of time reveal the falsity that is temporal linearity – for ancient ideas are still present, as I will show it also conveys the nonlinear dynamics of Serres.

In the act of crumpling, a rigid linear system is transformed into that which can now touch, meet and share data with parts of the ‘system’ further than one ‘step’ backwards or forwards. Of course, in the case of the handkerchief in relation to time, there is no physical sharing going on, there is no literal material time-travel. The crumpling of the handkerchief is a Deleuzian moment of historic-cultural warping, wherein traditional linearity is found archaic, and in specific reference to Serres’ utilization of such a temporal conception, we find that which we now call fluid systems or atomic physics has always been upon the handkerchief in another form, under another name, previously Atomism, or more specifically Lucretian Atomism. Lucretius arrives from the past riding a Serresean handkerchief crumple, allowing the nonlinear dynamics of the ancients to infect the future. And so from this act of crumpling one understands that “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Serres, M. Latour, B, 1998: p93) only retro-temporal discoveries.

This nonlinear temporality is with or under Serres at all times and as this essay deals directly with Atomism and flat planes intended for temporal crumpling, one needed to expand upon this re-conceptualizing of time before moving forward. For if at a foundational level there can be some form of temporal transition, then movement, line, becoming and space are all inherently altered. Keep the potential for crumpling at the forefront at all times, even the dullest of historical islands may find new life via a crumple transition.

There is one specific philo-scientific crumple I wish to discuss in-depth, the aforementioned Atomism, specifically of the variety shared by both Serres and Deleuze & Guattari, Lucretian Atomism. An ancient physics thought and thus made redundant by contemporary science and henceforth resurrected in time via new found evidence and interest within the area of nonlinear dynamics; or, compressed, the ‘ancient’ physics of Lucretius met with the ‘now’ during a temporal crumpling. In either case, the idea pertaining to the form of both Lucretian Atomism and atomic physics remains. A Deleuzian moment wherein the ideas of the ‘future’ were already within the culture of the future, waiting for their chance for materialist assimilation, waiting for two distant points on the handkerchief to meet. The specifics of Lucretian Atomism in its ‘original’ state are relatively simple, a few interconnecting parts and intensities creating a process culminating in compound realities. Yet, this process of Lucretian Atomism in relation to that which I wish to write about – the Serresean patchwork arising from Deleuzoguattarian space – is a little more intricate, as such, the following section is pure Atomist extrapolation as a means for latter clarification. From laminar flow through to vortex, the Lucretian process arrives.

For Lucretius everything flows, “Everything begins with atoms falling through the void.”(Webb, D. William, R., 2018: p4). The flow of these atoms in the void is such that each is parallel to the next, a series of symmetrical atoms falling through an infinite space, forever. This parallel atomic descent is called ‘laminar flow’. The underlying atomic reality prior to the world – this is made clear later – the recurrent element from which difference equals/becomes actuality. The question is, how does change appear within the laminar flow?

My first point of interest is the common comprehension and perception of the laminar flow, attesting to a stereotypical form of sequential order, yet this order, wherein each atoms falls to zero, this order of ‘the same’ is thus of “non-being” (Serres, 2018: p134) and acts as the disordered, allocated and striated plane from which can arise – at the very least – a possibility of the world (Ibid, p133). The growth of something from the void is thus ordered, the void itself is disorder. Yet for there to be a world something needs to come from the ‘non-being’ of the laminar flow, and thus there needs to be some form of difference or division within the sequential atomic parallel, and therefore a beginning of such a form of division. Enter the clinamen, the minimum angle of declination against the laminar flow (Ibid, p25), the diagonal within and from the parallel atomic sequence and the spontaneous breaker of symmetry (Serres, 2006:p15). The clinamen acts as the primary agent of division, underpinning the possibility of a patchwork – as I will show – for the clinamen is “transformation in general” (Serres, 2018: p114). Acting as the ur-transformer, the clinamen is that which quasi-instantaneously begins a chemical reaction, and is that which over the course of a thousand years leads to erosion of a coastline.

The clinamen is only the initial part of the multi-stage process which ends in the formation of things (Ibid, p50). Alongside acting as ur-divider, the clinamen is “the smallest imaginable condition for the original formation of turbulence” (Ibid, p24). The pre-condition of turbulence as it were. To understand turbulence one must return to the laminar flow as seen as a river or stream. A river descending wherein both its periphery and centre follow the same path, that is until a peripheral trembling begins, or in the words of Lucretius “trementia flutant”, ‘trembling thy undulate’ (Ibid, p61). And it is this ‘trembling’ which is seen by Serres as turbulence, an intense halt within the rivers’ flow, stability within the ever-descending instability of the stream (Ibid, p61). Turbulence, a point on Serres’ handkerchief begins to form, begins to darken, begins to stabilise in its ability as temporal transmitter…a historic-cultural point begins, for “time is the fluctuation of turbulences” (Ibid, p115).

To return to turbulence as it is atomically. The wish of Atomism and physics in general is to understand how order comes from disorder, how, to utilize the Serresean tongue, a single sublime form may arise from the general background of noise or static (Serres, 2008: p51-55). The transition from the disorder of the laminar’s atomic chaos to the order of formed things begins with turbulence; it is a transition both acting as turbulence and made possible by turbulence. (Serres, 2018: p47). The clinamen declines into the flow causing an inception of turbulence (Ibid, p25), which in turn “secures the transition” (Ibid, p47) and a point in the flow begins to tremble. From this ‘trementia’ “it preserves the forms” (Ibid, p61). Against the ever flowing laminar decline, against atomic chaos, turbulence acts as a temporary island of stability, a form of transition in the river’s flow, a form amongst a multitude of others. Not sequential, systematic nor symmetrical in their becoming, only spontaneous, “appearing stochastically” (Ibid, p25). Each separate turbulence born via its own repulsion of another, “born from deviation” (Ibid, p114).

Random scattered turbulent stabilities within the flow form a pseudo-coherent system when viewed from a single turbulence’s birth in relation to another’s fall, or when viewed from ‘first’ to ‘last’ to arrive across the tempo-spacial length of a human life. As such they’re often referred to as ‘history’, which in the intelligent materialism of Serres acts as nothing but the stochastic collection of intense impermanent spacio-temporal unstable-stabilities (Lezra, J. (ed.). Blake, L. (ed.), 2016: p28). As with the clinamen, these stabilities stolen from the process as a whole become disconnected, cogs without reception, if only one could maintain each element atop one another simultaneously, an un-halting all-at-once proclamation is the only route to traditional articulation of the Serresean multiplicity.

Yet all of the process thus far has been nothing but transition. Turbulence as transition to that which is the ‘stage’ able to form things (Serres, 2018:p50), to the tourbillon or vortex (Ibid, p49). To think of a ‘children’s top’, spinning top or rhombus (Ibid, p50), for that is the image of the vortex: “unstable and stable, is fluctuating and in equilibrium, is order and disorder at once.” (Ibid, p50) the most stable of instabilities momentarily printed onto the handkerchief of time, for the vortex is “the formation of things” (Ibid, p50) and is thus that which we materially interact with. Born from a hierarchic process of instability: laminar, clinamen, turbulence, vortex, each more stable that the last, yet all temporally mortal and destined once again to deteriorate to zero (Ibid, p41). Each further stage a greater layer of stability atop the laminar flow, concluding in the tangible vortex sitting in the world, a conjoiner of atoms, a stable-unstable safe haven from the cosmic atomic horror of Atomism. “Rotating, translating, falling, leaning and swaying.” (Ibid, p49), the spinning top of the Lucretian atomist idea itself has remained a stable-instability for thousands of years, its velocity slowly dwindling until the 17th century, wherein the spinning top traversed a crumple in the handkerchief of time, allowing it to superimpose its image upon the minds of Galilei, Descartes and Gassendi, wherein the vortex was rejuvenated.

This extrapolation of Serres’ reading of Lucretius will, for now, seem lonesome and without relation to anything tangible. Yet this preliminary framework is necessary for a full understanding of that which is to be undertaken later. The Atomism of Lucretius and the Serresean crumpling of time spills, connects and overflows into much, if not all of the patchwork-structure to come.

 

Deleuzoguattarian Space in Relation to Lucretius


With Lucretian Atomism established as Serres’ atomically recurrent reality (Lezra, J. (ed.). Blake, L. (ed.), 2016: p28), the question remains as to what arises from the turbulent birth, what is it in actuality the Lucretian process forms as its conclusion? Wherein does one find the formed thing which is brought forth by the vortex? Following the process through from laminar flow to vortex I intend to answer the question – along with the questions above – what of the ‘space’ unto which the vortex forms its things? For initial answers to these questions I turn to Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, for both Serres and Deleuze & Guattari both take their philosophical trajectory – in part – from the writings of Lucretius, especially in relation to where space and flow are concerned. And so in terms of utilizing a theoretical reading of space which can be appropriated onto the later patchwork for need of physical becoming, I look to ‘the smooth and the striated’.

Deleuzoguattarian space of the duality, or more aptly plurality ‘smooth and striated’ is much akin to the Lucretian duality of matter and void, one immediately finds that a simple opposition between two parts leads to a complex difference in relation to wherein each coincides, that is, the simple opposition of two camps brings forth a multiplicity of relations. The conceptual pair move quickly away from geometrical ideas of space in relation to material, borders and enclosures and towards a “complex mixture between nomadic forces and sedentary captures” (Lysen, F. Pisters, P., 2012), these Deleuzoguattarian spaces are less – if at all – spaces of tradition, but spaces within which events and movements can happen and the type, intensity and relation of events and movements to the space is key in determining the space’s own type of either ‘smooth’ or ‘striated’.

As I have stated smooth and striated space “exist only in mixture: smooth space is constantly being translated, transversed into a striated space; striated space is constantly being reversed, returned to a smooth space.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p552) and so a definition of one is reliant upon the other, the task of description itself an intertwined nonlinearity. However, I shall begin with the smooth alone, until mixture is mandatory for articulation. “Smooth does not mean homogeneous, quite the contrary: it is amorphous, non-formal space prefiguring op-art” (Ibid,  p554). Smooth space is of events and haecceities (Ibid, p557), directions rather than metrics or dimensions (Ibid, p 556). Striated space on the other hand, is a space in which empires occur (Ibid, p575), a momentary stability much akin to turbulence, for on either side of the striated is the smooth, one side waiting to once again produce striation, the other the smoothness striation becomes; the perpetual transition of one into the other, yet only striation allows a compound reality to occur.

A simple metaphor allows greater clarity in understanding the notions of smooth and striated space in relation to the Lucretian process, the metaphor of the farmer and the nomad (Ibid, p559). The farm and the farmer exist in a closed off, allocated striated space. A space which is a line or shape between points, a stability within chaos (Ibid, p559), each seed a clinamen of its own. The nomad on the other hand is entirely unallocated in its existence, a point between lines, over boundaries, allowing the plot & grid, the natural and the cosmos to pull him to and fro. “The respective role of point, line and space” (Ibid, p560) matters not when the point in question acts upon the whim of intensities, allowing wind – as an example – to control the point’s direction.

However, both spaces in relation to the Lucretian process reveal the strange peculiarities of both the smooth and the striated. For even though Serres attests that turbulence brings order from disorder, with said disorder being the laminar flow itself, the laminar flow is in fact a space of striation, which is a space of order and allotment. For the symmetrical atomic repetitive space has been succinctly allocated and allotted. The homogeneity of the laminar flow attests to the fact that the flow itself is the tightest striation of all – atomically regular intersections make it pure limit-form (Ibid, p566) – this is why Serres places much emphasis on the relation between the clinamen and freedom. Not only is the clinamen an escape from a limit, but it is the birth of all possibility after the recurrent atomic cage. “- the clinamen appears as freedom because it is precisely this turbulence that resists forced flow” (Serres, 2018: p107) the clinamen not just as a chaotic break for the sake of symmetrical-breaking, but the angle deviates in the direction of a spontaneous freedom, it begins the journey “From pure to applied” (Serres, 2006: p15).

The striated fabric exists in a tight, interwoven manner, a fabric allocated and allotted to become a place for the formation of things within axis (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p552), a place of archetypal, physical progress. For “-progress is made by and in striated space, but all becoming occurs in smooth space” (Ibid, p564). So, perhaps we must say that all progress is made within and from the vortex, but all becoming occurs between the clinamen and turbulence – order from chaos, not the reverse as it seems at first glance. The transition of turbulence is the transition of smooth to striated. For one begins with the pure cosmic limit-form (Ibid, p566) of the laminar flow, tight, recurrent striation allocated between successive points, descending eternally. The clinamen comes forth, an atomically smooth nomad deviating across the laminar’s striated totalitarian farmland, no longer allowing itself to be hemmed in, it takes up the angle of direction and in its revolutionary act literally draws smooth space upon the direction taken (Ibid, p433).

Acting as the “shorthand for nonlinear dynamics” (Abbas, N. (ed.)., 2008: p51) the clinamen is that which begins – from its nomadic drawing of smooth space/declination – the process of interweaving, fragmenting, tearing and axis producing whilst simultaneously allowing the growth of temporary points of turbulence atop the Serresean handkerchief. With its inherent attribute of bifurcation and division it acts as the messenger of smooth space, “that smooth space that changes in nature when it divides” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p 563), the clinamen as division’s pre-condition and its intensification of turbulence-becoming-vortex; the clinamen as the messenger of temporal and spacial fragmentation and freedom. And yet this atomic nomad is but the pre-condition for another authoritarian allocation. For the clinamen intensifies into turbulence and the transition from smooth to striated begins, the turbulence-becoming-spinning-top intensifies further into a vortex for a final allocation of vortex-striated. With the vortex or space of striation becoming a “central perspective” (Ibid, p574) upon the global and temporal topology to come.

Beneath both Serres and Deleuze and Guattari is De rerum natura, is an ever-flowing, ever-intersecting and interweaving postulation of freedom, not just within the reductive confines of man, but at the atomic level. A nonlinear uncertain world, making and not-making decisions and from such a text, from such a conceptualization and conclusion comes the possibility of an interwoven reality. Separate atomic retirements existing away from the void within a topological patchwork of their own creation.

 

Towards a Serresean Patchwork


My direction for a Serresean patchwork takes its trajectory primarily from the preface of Serres’ The Troubadour of Knowledge and as such, this is where I shall begin and return to for need of topological clarity. We begin with an emperor on stage, ridiculed by the crowd for his clothing, “A motley composite made of pieces, of rage, of scraps of every size. In a thousand forms and different colours, of varying ages, from different sources, badly basted, inharmoniously juxtaposed, with no attention paid to proximity, mended according to circumstance, according to need, accident and contingency – does it show a kind of world map.” (Serres, 2006: piii), in short the emperor is “enveloped in a world map of badly bracketed multiplicities” (Ibid, pii) It is this ‘world map’, this topological ‘mosaic’ (Ibid, p155) I wish to explore, not the epistemological connection to the emperor, nor the dry satire of power, no, one intends to assess the becoming of the enveloping patchwork. For the plurality of a mosaic is the proposition of a puzzle (Ibid, p154), a puzzle to be worked out away from archaic monism and centrality. The puzzle itself is of the Serresean vein and thus becomes within and from the Lucretian process. The Emperor’s patchwork a world map and allegory of spacio-temporal difference, and so, I view the potentiality for a triple layered actuality: Lucretian Atomism, Deleuzoguattarian space and Serresean topology flow into one another as a means for the construction of a topology.

We begin once again by assessing the foundation, the potentially flat plane that is the emperor’s “map-cum-greatcoat” (Ibid, pxiv) – herein abbreviated as ‘greatcoat’. A temporal and spacial plane, much akin to Serres’ handkerchief, the coat folds, crumples, rips, tears and bundles together, a metaphorical spacio-temporal and cultural map of ragged, patched history crumpling up, for the emperor states “my time has sewn them, then melded them together, tattered rags, certainly, but rags become my very flesh” (Ibid, p147). Prior to this ‘melding’ however we have a composite, the melded coat is of personal attribution, each melded composite is of and for a single being, yet what of the composite, the coat prior to the ‘incandescent assimilation’ (Ibid, pxviii) into unification, what is the nature of the non-unified composite? The patchwork material without owner? And yet to focus on the singular perception of the patchwork unified/melded, one finds “the sum of these individually experienced perceptions creates a global topology that has no common language because it is composed entirely of subjectively gleaned information” (Lee, C, T., 2014: p195-196) and so even though ‘one’ has a sum experience, the underlying dynamic is still at question. The patchwork exists with or without an owner, the global topology of rags and tatters continues to assimilate and flow whether or not a unity of personal relations is found.

A construction mirroring the Lucretian process must too begin with a laminar flow, a foundational layer, the greatcoat’s own fabric. A fabric which “intertwines in this way: over, under” (Serres, 2006: p20) akin to the Deleuzoguattarian intertwining of the horizontal and vertical. The fabric-qua-laminar-flow is the metaphorical embodiment of sequential limit-form, a greatcoat of striation allocated as world-space for the progress of the Lucretian process. Yet the greatcoat exists in a paradox. For acting as laminar flow the greatcoat ceases to materially exist if it is without stray threads, rags, tatters or patches, without the becoming of atomic-difference within its striated-eternal-sewing, the greatcoat simply remains a parallel void of non-being and thus materially ceases. It is not until a nomadic thread divides the fabric that a world may possibly be born. That a single patch may arise from its cloth.

To move from the laminar layer of fabric to the singular parts of the greatcoat: A rag, a tatter, a scrap or more aptly, a patch; “local patches activated or created by contact and brought together into an ocellated fragment” occupying volume and expanding into the global (Serres, 2017: p140). A patch as the shadow of a fingerprint within a topology, within a bouquet, a patch as a single momentary turbulence pulled inwards towards other fragments, to form an un-analysable mingle (Ibid, p172). The singular patch as a state of momentary turbulence entering into an “intelligent materialism” which “considers the world a network of primordial elements in communication” (Abbas, N. (ed.). 2008: p65). The stochastic repulsion of turbulences and thus patches (Serres, 2018: p114) creates in its wake an immanent network, a birthing of difference, actualized into the formation of multiple patches (or a patchwork), each their own mixture of smooth and striated within a vortex-qua-striation, a space trembling vortically until its declination back to zero.

These singular patches, these “Knotted points” in the fabric (Ibid, p150), working at the intersection of many other patches (Serres, 2006: pxvii) become the greatcoat-qua-patchwork. A temporally-crumpling plane, a “combinatory topology in the literal sense” (Serres, 2018: p122) and a cybernetic combination of chemistry and contemporary physics (Ibid, p147), alongside being “-the birth of things – the fundamental mode of existence of all things”(Ibid, p122) and so “the angle of the atom” i.e. the clinamen, is not just ‘the freedom of the subject’ (Ibid, p27) as Serres states, but truly is freedom in the purest sense, away from political, geographical and metaphysical tyranny. As I previously made clear, the Lucretian process is in part synonymous with the transition of smooth to striated space and as such allows for the becoming of a space wherein cities or empires may occur (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p575). The greatcoat-qua-laminar as world map, is atomically indebted to the Lucretian process and thus assimilates the same process onto its own periphery, therefore, to return to the clinamen, we find our single revolutionary atom has transformed into the physical embodiment of a patchwork-becoming; a clinamen-qua-nomad cuts through longitude and latitude, slicing the grid of striation, following the process through, until, atop the greatcoats’ periphery we find a vortex-becoming-city, the birth of a patch. This is how the atomic language allows us to become master. (Serres, 2006: p48)

Not a master of the centre, for a universal centre only exists for a single emperor – hence the never ceasing laughter of the public (Ibid, pxv)-, but the master of a patch or single centre, or unified composite of patches, for “you need a cross to locate the a centre” (Ibid, p18) and as such any idea of subjective centrality implies a composite of interlacing patches. Not a point on a line, nor a line between points (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p 559) but a mixture of both systems, wherein the former point on a line is a nomad-qua-clinamen bifurcating the stable line-qua-relation of the latter line between points, the points of which are vortex-qua-striation, a quasi-chaotic process which gives birth to “a topology of interlacings, a hydrology of what flows through the network” (Serres, 2018: p72) And so each crossing, – not perpendicular, but sporadic –  each line between points is additional communication within the global topology of subjective relations. And so “the world is only laminar flux” (Ibid, p79) the perpetual order from atomic disorder, birthing into lines between points, birthing into smooth spaces from the clinamen, the nomadic clinamen intensifying/drawing smooth space from the greatcoats’ laminar fabric and following the process forward into further spaces of striation, striated vortexes, which are allocated patches of striation upon the world and as such potential empires (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2016: p 575). Each of which flows in relation to that which it previously deviated from, a topology. A topology atop the temporal handkerchief, each patch a historic-cultural stability with the potential for the metaphorical warp, the temporal superimposing. The greatcoat temporally crumpled, ripped and torn, nomadically sliced, divided and transformed, approximately striated, allocated and allotted, topologically connected, related and interwoven. Or put very simply “The world is a multiplicity of flows inclined in relation to others” (Serres, 2018: p79).

One now views the greatcoat and finds it true that “existence is topological rather than geometrical” (Herzogenrath, B. (ed.). 2012: p44). The greatcoat-qua-world-map is a cybernetic wonder, a topological network and a geographical patchwork. All a constant mixture, patches as deviation from equilibrium on their rise from zero into stable vortexes – striated compound spaces -, towards their decline and deterioration back to zero. “Knotted points occur” in the fabric (Serres, 2018: p150) and are swiftly assimilated back into the laminar flow – the dull embroidery-, a patch is a moment, it is an event within the grand greatcoat and is prey to the realities of physics and so many cease simultaneously as others may begin. The patches stagnating and disappearing when moved to the singular melded patchwork, the owned unification, but when moved towards a global topology however, rags and patches grow and die, become and decline in relation to the Lucretian process. In accordance with an intelligent nonlinear materialism.

 

Nonsecular or: Perturbed Over Time


You feel the greatcoat’s fabric against your skin; the stagnated and complacent patches feel all too familiar, it is unification a priori. No one speaks of the emperor’s old clothes, incandescent and utterly complacent in their assimilation, each rag, tatter and patch heralding a part accepted. Why bother with the stage if the purpose of your theatrics is to boast a truth, your own truth. A voice from the back calls out Cast your coat to the floor!” A patchwork wound so tight as to suffocate, each part atomically chained to the next. You cast it into the global, the threads loosen and one can finally breathe. You shed your coat and it crumples onto the floor. You walk to the back of the theatre and take up a spare seat. Surrounded by a thousand languages, bereft of commonality. Amongst the cackling of the audience you ponder what’s so funny, a man to your right taps you on the shoulder, directing your attention to the stage. Your vision surveys the room. Everyone’s naked, their heads rocking in hysterics. You follow their line of sight to atop the staging. At first you see your old greatcoat, a greying heap slumped onto the boards. Minutes pass and you relax into the crowd. Your greatcoat livens, multiple gradients of colour wash across each patch. Your grin begins to widen. Threads begin to dive and fray, dance and duck. The greatcoat leaps from the floor, a few feet into the air, halting momentarily before finally exploding into a web of patches and tatters! Growing and shrinking, thickening and curling they dance along their threads of relation, you begin to chuckle. Until finally, materializing from the void of the stage, appearing from nowhere come a thousand separate greatcoats each retaining the singular for a mere moment before erupting into the dynamic physicality of multiplicity, a world of flows before you, a play of interweaving. You relax into the gales of laughter as the final remnants of your old greatcoat naturalize into the frenzy.

 

Conclusion


In conclusion one finds that not only is the Lucretian process relevant to the formation of a Serresean patchwork, but it is in fact integral to its structure, to the structure of global topological construction.  From the process one understands the clinamen-qua-nomad as that which acts as the pre-condition of the world. The clinamen which in relation to Deleuzoguattarian space acts too as the physical atomic embodiment of freedom against the sequential limit-form of striation. Striation-qua-laminar-flow in its universal allocation as parallel-void becomes the chaotic-nothingness of zero wherein everything can divide from. Division which in its spatially smooth/turbulent transition simultaneously draws smooth space and circuitry of relation; a stochastic bifurcation into turbulent deviation and onwards into topological communication. This process finds its physical conclusion atop Serres metaphoric patchwork-qua-world robes. The global periphery as laminar-fabric transforming via the division of a nomadic-thread which then incepts a turbulence, a knot-becoming-vortex, continuing into an unstable-stable vortical movement of multiple axis concluding in the formation of things, adhering to an intelligent materialism. Upon analysing the ‘Serresean patchwork’ one finds a process of multiplicity which in accordance with its underlying Lucretian flow is only analysable in its separate parts, but only tangible, realized and  sublime in its whole. That is, the Lucretian vortex must be still spinning, for observing this patchwork changes the outcome.

 

Bibliography


Serres, M (2018) The Birth of Physics. Trans. Webb, D. Ross, W., New York, Rowland & Littlefield

Serres, M (2006) The Troubadour of Knowledge. Trans. Glaser, S.F. Paulson, W. U.S.A, University of Michigan Press

Serres, M (2007) The Parasite. Trans. Schehr, R.L. Minnesota, University of Minnesota Press.

Serres, M (2017) The Five Senses. Trans. Sankey, M. Cowley, P. London, Bloomsbury Publishing

Serres, M (2011) The Natural Contract. Trans. MacArthur, E. Paulson, W. U.S.A, University of Michigan Press

Deleuze, G. Guattari, F (2016) A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Massumi, B. London, Bloomsbury Publishing

Lezra, J. (ed.). Blake, L. (ed.) (2016) Lucretius and Modernity. UK, Palgrave Macmillan

Abbas, N. (ed.). (2008) Mapping Michel Serres. U.S.A, University of Michigan Press

Herzogenrath, B. (ed.). (2012) Time and History in Deleuze and Serres. London, Continuum International Publishing Group

Serres, M. Latour, B. (1998) Conversations on Science, Culture and Time. U.S.A, University of Michigan Press

Lee, C, T. (2014) Haptic Experience in the Writings of Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot and Michel Serres. Germany, Peter Lang.

Blog: Organic Economics and TSPDT3

Serres & Nakamoto: Organic Economics

Connections between both Michel Serres’ ‘theorization’ of organisms as a series of interlocking boxes and Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of a decentralized blockchain-based economy (Bitcoin)

It is not a unique black box, but a series of interlocking boxes; and this series is the organism, the body. Each level of information functions as an unconscious for the global level bordering it…What remains unknown and unconscious is, at the chain’s furthermost limit, the din of energy transformations: this must be so, for the din is by definition stripped of all meaning, like a set of pure signals or aleatory movements. – Michel Serres, The Origin of Language

The solution we propose [To the double-spending problem] begins with a timestamp server. A timestamp server works by taking a hash of a block of items to be timestamped and widely publishing the hash, such as in a newspaper or Usenet post [2-5]. The timestamp proves that the data must have existed at the time, obviously, in order to get into the hash. Each timestamp includes the previous timestamp inits hash, forming a chain, with each additional timestamp reinforcing the ones before it. – Nakamoto, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

Serres here writing in 1982 – 26 years prior to Nakamoto’s publication – notices the inherent capabilities and integration of a ‘blockchain’ (or in Serres’ example interlocking boxes) system within consciousness and notably communication. If we are to very roughly fuse both visions, that a single ‘block’ from Nakamoto’s economic system, makes as much sense as a single box from Serres’ series, both are pieces of information disconnected from the whole which makes sense of them. Much alike Serres’ series wherein that which remains at the chain’s furthermost limit is unknown and unconscious, what remains at the furthermost limit of Nakamoto’s blockchain is the distant memory of a proven transaction.

What is there Serres’ conception of an organism e.g. a system, from the blockchain: A globalized, ever-growing, decentralized ledger. Both systematically receiving, exchanging and storing information. However, here’s the part that really interests me:

Serres’ organism as systems retrieve information, but ultimately decipher the signal from the noise (as noted with ‘tiny perceptions’), that is, organisms actively deduce from the chaos of the interlocking boxes that which they need, yet at all times all those boxes and links are needed. I don’t need to feel the weight of my arm, texture and temperature of the can before and whilst I take a sip, yet they are there and always will be. “Organization, per se, as system and homeorhesis, functions precisely as a converter of time.” So it is from this “bouquet of times” we pick our signals.

So what of Nakamoto’s system, which in the same way as Serres’ is related to time, that is as Nick Land states:

“…the claim being made, but the claim being made here is that the blockchain is Post-Spacetime and that means that we are not Post-Kantian. We are not Post-Kantian because the Kantian Transcendental Aesthetic is not disrupted by Einstein spacetime, instead, it is the draft it is the blueprint, it is the precursor for the spacetime of the blockchain which has now been instantiated by the Bitcoin technology. So we have now artificial absolute time for the first time ever in human history.”

A goliath claim to be sure, yet what of its possibility. For if artificial absolute time is a reality and any form of Post-Kantian time is now impossible, this means that Serres’ “bouquet of times” or ‘bouquet of succession’ or successive experiences etc. become locked in, they become interlocked truths which cannot be altered, but can be looked back upon, in and of. One could (when the technology gets to this stage…it’s close) travel down the infinitesimal succession of times and perceptions they previously missed. So Serres’ unconscious is entirely deconstructed, his system of “mobile material points distributed in space and governed by a law” becomes a horrific, or emancipatory (in terms of economics) reality, and that “law” is cryptographically locked moments in time, cryptographic truths decentralized and available to all.

So in short: The utilization of the ‘blockchain’ (Bitcoin protocol/blockchain technology) as an extension of the ‘natural’ organic system, itself a series of interlocking boxes; either an abstract connection between the organic and mechanic via capital, or a material connection via acknowledgment/perception of ‘purchase/consuming’.

Note: The fact they both immensely dislike centralization was the thing that caused me to notice their connection.

TSPDT3

HÄXAN (1922), I could write about this film for a little too long to be quite honest, in fact a re-watch to analyize any single aspect of the film wouldn’t go a miss. This film is the epitome of ‘ahead of its time’. So much so, one wonders whether or not Haxan is some strange found object, as if film was transported back in time and is used in place of a skull during a satanic ritual.

This film embodies superstition, the documentary format is throw into scripture…ancient, forgotten, esoteric, myth comes alive and takes no human prisoners, rooms and lives are awash with literal, viral madness. Nunneries follow insanity, and the Nuns the devil. ‘The Devil Takes Many Forms’ in a general motto to hold onto throughout the film, whether it be gold pieces strewn over the floor, demonic pigs on their hind legs, witch-trials, torture, hate, suspicion, paranoia and more enters into a hellish stew of burning theo-historical documentary madness…from 1922. On a practical note, the cinematography isn’t necessarily sublime, but it is merticulous, everything framed, the costume design and ‘special effects’ (for what those words are worth in 1922) are all on par with that one would see 50 even 60 years later, it feels as if the film is both a debt and sacrifice to an unknown ancient being.

Keaton’s Our Hospitality (1923) isn’t my humour, I mean the 21st century’s cynicism and rorny have ruined my innocence for slapstick comedy, thus a lot of Keaton’s antics seem simply immature now.

Keaton’s Sherlock Jr (1924) is fantastic, the running length helps I must admit, 40 minutes of cut-to-the-chase humour works well, his control of flow is superb and I get this feeling that in comparison to Chaplin he’s not as artsy fartsy…the stunts also are grand.

Listen, I’m not some Rotten Tomatoes rate-everything-pre-1950-highly schmuck, thus, Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris is dull, I mean really dull, at no point did I give a shit about any high society antics, which seemed to exist in a feedback loop, perhaps that was the point, I don’t know, I’m none the wiser.

I can’t find a good enough version of Greed (1924). Also want to read McTeague prior to viewing.

Strike (1925), my first Eisenstein, and boy was I blown away. It’s blindingly obvious to me now which techniques filmmakers owe Eisenstein for. Precisely for the fact his use of montage and quick cuts are/is so well done it becomes near impossible to believe anyone else except this director could have invented such a technique. It’s glaring how this could very easily effect a down-and-out worker, or group of workers, how such a viral and infectious strain of perfectly paced cinema could crawl into the heart of a group and grow outwards, the fuel of utopian dreams. Eisenstein clearly marks the movement from objective reality, towards the forece of the subjective vision, Eisenstein’s utilization or proto-utilization/invention of montage as a means to sway how the viewer views the film is a technique heavily debated (André Bazin), yet without these early political subjective perspectives would Lynch exist, would a film be able to dig its claws as deep. Without Eisenstein’s political montage Lynch’s maggots would cease to exist.