Organised Chaos — the blurred binary boundary
“The danger of crossing the line” or the fear of interference is demonstrated in a film called “My Octopus Teacher” in two manners. This film is a documentary about how a middle aged man reconnects to himself through observing, interacting with and learning from an octopus in south Africa for more than one year. The first occasional fear of interference was evoked when the octopus got attacked by a shark and resulted in the lost of one tentacle. The man was terrified when he noticed the potential threat towards his “lover”, however, he made a decision to not interfere with it because his belief in non-interference after scientific spirit to respect the law of nature. The second occurrence of “The danger of crossing the line” was however insinuating since it is related to the discourse of love and a more “shady” topic about erotic imagination. As he narrated in the film, “ I am in love with her (the octopus)”, while the octopus attached on his chest, culminating a beautiful scenario between human and beast resembling the classic fairy tale between Belle and the beast. Since here, there are some doubts about the efficacy of the film title “My Octopus Teacher”, or should it be renamed “My Octopus Lover” because of the sensational arousal imbued in their “romantic” yet “pedagogical” relationship. The recoiled narratives and concealed emotion can be clearly spotted during the documentary, which ends up in an awkward bigotry in dualism probably stemmed from an overarching sense of erotophobia in our modern society.
Any “sex” related topic has been strictly controlled, categorised and demoralised since modern civilisation. It is never properly confronted either domestically or educationally for most of the people in the world. It is forged into a dangerous zone that inevitably develops into a lure as well as a power-wielding tool according to Foucauldian theory on sex and power. As a result, all sexually related issues have been used to build a strong boundary which is supposed to embarrass ourselves in the daylight. Erotophobia is hence lingering around the notion of ethic- dichotomy. It is probably worthwhile to form an organised chaos that accepts the deepest lure and the immanence of being an authentic lovable human being.
Zero-interference is already impossible after the universe matter combined with antimatter, generating our consciousness— a tendency of unconditional love to probe outwards, yet being organised inwards. The pseudo-organised entity tends to eradicate its fear of chaos through all forms of erotic rituals, physical and metaphysical. For us human being, the inhibited and concealed sexually evinced verbalisation and textual manifestation historically fostered the straight power game in our governance. Those long-time observed, analysed, experimented critters could bear to offer us their flesh and bone, yet umbrageously embracing the nature of their organised chaos or so we called “degenerating”. The automatisation of their existential causality thrives to retrieve life and love. As brutal life it is, octopus’s aesthetically pleasing chromatophore pleases no one but sustains her life. As permeable love it is, octopus’s tentacles gently adhere on one’s chest or tentatively evoke one’s titillation to reach the vibrating climax rippling in the salty water. There is no line to cross and hence no entity to interfere. Nevertheless, there is an oriented objectivity to love, around love and so to fear. There is no -phobia but a backwards emotional rejection to your organised chaos, which is endurably beautiful. Why not just swim in the organised chaos? Becoming the aesthetic automatisation to your organised chaos.
Actions in inaction: Flexibility, Passive reinforcement and Physicality
Object-oriented feminism (OOF) anchors object-oriented ontology in a non-ontological position that embraces speculative realism and new materialism. Its intervention into philosophical discourses opens the acceptance of wrongness, which affords OOF dynamic aperspectival objectivity for adopting multiple sometimes contradictory perspectives through its programmability in politics, erotics and ethics.
As Sara Ahmed writes in her “queer phenomenology”, “being oriented towards something is ‘to take up’ that thing as a thing, but being oriented around something is to be ‘taken up’ by a thing so that that thing becomes the very ‘content’ of one’s being or action”. The notion of ‘being taken up’ appropriately addresses the approximability of OOF towards a progressive analysis and decoding of physical objects. Similarly, the new materialism reveals underlying methodology that is often manifested through scientific experimentation with all manner of objects about time, identity and subatomic quantum phenomena.
In Morton’s definition of hyperobject, all objects perform an internal deviant self-differing, which in his words, is concluded as the immanent characteristics as hypocrisy, weakness and lameness. This recoiling mechanism resonates with OOF’s assenting to erotic self-erasure, insistent self- implication and meticulous modesty. Taking the perspective of OOF, according to the immanence of hyperobject, all objects are also intrinsically characterised with flexibility, passive reinforcement and physicality, compared to hypocrisy, weakness and lameness. The quality of “flexibility” responds to one of OOF’s key methodology as the evoking of humour. The adoption of humour has become less frequent among scientists, theorists and philosophers. In contrast, it has often emerged in artistic practices to deviate philosophical and ontological value from its unavoidable severity to a tender approach of self-implication. Furthermore, compared to “weakness”, the notion of passive reinforcement admits its weakness by passively fomenting the given objectivity from the social-ethical-economical contexts. By breaking through the overarching reductionist mechanism, such as Bratton’s model of the six layers of stack, the passive reinforcement collectively transforms the individual weakness to the automatisation of non-linear complexity of connected networks. The weakness could hence be passively reinforced by non-human agencies that derived from algorithmic prowess in democratising segmented units. Last but not least, taking Whiteheadian’s idea of panpsychism, the lameness of objects are enabled to ascend to its imperceivable physicality. In new materialism, especially the domain of subatomic physics and quantum phenomena, the invocation of concrete evidence is constrained by the progression of technological advancement. The objectivity of materials deflects the perceivable from lameness to physicality, whereas physicality constantly evolves as the relevant theories and experimentation are propelled. OOF facilitates the processing of objective cognition through its intervention to approach all objects from the inside-out position of being an object. Fortuitously, the same notion has occurred in the main doctrine of Taoism as there is no fixed or right(wrong) perspectival objectivity that manifests the truth of any objects. Therefore, aligned with OFF, the fragmentation of the pathway to approach truth can only be an amalgamation of epiphenomena arisen in-between “being oriented to something” and “being orientated around something”.
The deviation of OOF from ontological speculation to the rejection of noninterventionists has shed light upon the progression in a modest manner to achieve non-anthropocentrism. The political arrangement, the realism of self-possession and relation as well as the object-hood as a situational orientation should result in making us apprehend and alter objects’ intersectional prospects for self-determination, solidarity and resistance.
Escape while embrace Hyperobject — cybernetic contingency and breathe
The abolishment of a metalanguage in idealism indicates to a well-known Chinese Taoist saying “Once is spoken, the truth is gone”. The processing of linguistic expression is baked by thoughts, as thoughts invoke a notion of relativism from different vantage points of view. We are constantly locked in our perception and identification of objects that limit the speed of thoughts which might be the only object we human can produce that is faster than light. The recursivity continues to grow and shrink, finally turning into the end of the world. The phenomenological experience does not defend the existence of the world but explores the existence of thoughts. Does the world exist beyond the thought? Do we agree with the anthropic principle at all?
The notion of sub-quantum infinitesimals “an all-pervading, non-local and atemporal regime of determinacy where classical relativism and Quantum tenets break down” resonates with what Lorentz had noticed that electromagnetic waves shrank mysteriously as if foreshortened, as they approached light speed. As all hyperobjects are immersed in electromagnetic fields, can we escape from them by reaching the speed of light? So the potency lies in our utilisation of thought. It does establish the whole human civilisation regardless of its omen of numerous apocalypses. It does generate technology to slowly moving our steps to whatever we call idealism regardless of its initial aggressiveness to thrive. Still, here we stand, queer everything we have done, propel nothing but everything to embrace the end. The ultimate entanglement of paradoxical thoughts hit the primordial desire to eat, drink and propagate. The only condolence for myself is through the cybernetic contingency and breathe.
Cybernetic contingency retrieves its shyness by the rising prowess of luck and the spontaneity in thoughts. The canalised development of energy always seeks its pathway back to the origin, where ‘luck’ is fortuitously encountered by chance. This is not a pathway towards ultimate optimism but a tendency of recoiled pessimism. Lingering in-between leads to correlationist circle while we evoke the notion of speculative realism to position ourselves in a non-local nothingness. The situatedness of nothingness is spawned by breathing, not the physiological need for air but an intensive focus on breathing itself. The sound and the conscious intention of breath-in and out fills the Kantian gap between phenomenon and thing, hence annihilates the immanence of hyper objects namely hypocrisy, weakness and lameness. It leaves no objective materials to deflect from or reflect on, gradually hollowing out a non-existent space beyond spatial-temporality. Yet we can never escape hyperobjects unless we embrace them. There is always a choice of playfulness and surrender to contingency and spontaneity. The manifestation of truth contributes to aesthetic value. However, it can hardly reveal the truth since its total trajectories in its allocated spacetime become its truth after the end of its world. And what remains after its end might just perpetually and ephemerally hide within the breath.
In Yuk Hui’s ‘Algorithmic catastrophe — the revenge of contingency’, the automatisation of agencies cause the unavoidable algorithmic catastrophe which is structurally necessary according to Paul Virilio. As an accident of knowledge, it is imperative to address our material and social affordance when confronted with the repetitive arrivals of catastrophes. The main issue sits on the pondering over whether these catastrophes can lead to the apocalypse in human civilisation.
Aristotle’s definition of 'contingency and luck' can not be determined by other agencies, on the contrary, his definition of ‘spontaneity’ can be determined by thoughts. As all exteriorised algorithms that drive machines are totally detached from the human brain where all the thoughts are generated, human’s beings decide the process of computational automatisation which inevitably causes catastrophes. However, according to Meillassoux, the necessity of contingency becomes the signifier of immanence. In other term, human thoughts could bring allocated spontaneity, which becomes the signifier of uncontrollable contingency. Probably, the immanent property of human thoughts belongs to the causality of the catastrophic phenomena from an anthropocentric perspective.
In my opinion, some algorithmic catastrophe can be seen as opportunities for both mankind and nature. My definition of ‘algorithmic catastrophe’ is however a derivative of the law of nature blended with human intervention caused by thoughts. For example, the increased Keystoneness of jellyfish is caused by both the immanence of jellyfish’s propagation and the rising global temperature. This fact sheds light upon the notion that human intellectual by far is still far away from understanding the complicated automatisation of nature itself. Instead of using the most powerful computer to simulate the processing of thoughts, exploring other organisms for their congenital system of automatisation probably will open more chances to discover the evolutionary pathway for machines. In addition, we should also be reconsidering the notion of an algorithm that it is only detached from human brains. Modern and contemporary botanists have discovered the hyper-sentience from plants, revealing the potential that plants can become a perfect wireless sensor or mediator for information and emotion processing. The improvement of such technologies will indeed transform our cognition from a mechanical reductionism based paradigm to a transfinite state of being where technicity and systematicity are automatically assumed within other living organisms. By including a broader recognition of the universal consciousness as organic algorithms, the algorithmic catastrophe might turn into algorithmic contingency for human to grasp and learn.
As Quentin Meillassoux stated ‘Absolute contingency characterises the aesthetics of the algorithmic catastrophe’, after all, the universally shared emotions in all organisms can collaboratively weave the epiphenomena of kalology. Maybe the most bedazzling contingency is still waiting at the non-material realm of unified field theory that can someday redefine the ramification of our entangled thoughts and emotions.
All materials are perceived through individual lenses that are proportionally and ethnographically biased through the process of observing, manually engagement, and collective thinking. In the long run of human civilisation, culture could be moderately considered as an epiphenomenon that arises from the differential fragment of heritage, but most importantly, the influence caused by environmental and circumstantial factors.
From a perspective of atomic physics and vibration theory, atoms or particles’ (the unit of material) inherent property materialise themselves through the dynamic structures of atomic forces which decides their mass, shape, and texture as well as the deflection and absorbing of different spectrum of light, hence manifesting themselves with various colours and the shadow cast behind. These two phenomena reflect the properties of light as the immanence of being both particles and waves. As Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs) claimed, everything could probably be frozen or condensed light. As light is considered as a form of energy, the initiated approach to discussing materials should be commenced from the discourses on energy — light.
As this might be seemed like a metaphysical ideology, orthodox(mainstream) science never truly embrace these ideas in human history. The reasons vary from political entanglement to the epistemological gaps among different subjects. The unproved or in the process of being corroborated knowledge gaps require more openness and interdisciplinary discourses from a wide range of institutions and organisations from science, sociology, politics to culture study, and art.
To respond to Chris Salter’s question as a start point — “what the world does rather than is”, it is imperative to address this philosophical question based on the interrogation of the universal dichotomy between energy and matter, subjectivity and objectivity as well as doing and being. The notion of ‘Intra-action’ coined by Karen Barad speculates on the fact that the being of materials materialises itself through spacetimemattering that is seen as the notion of doing. These two factors are inseparable but separate from the angle of the human-centroid perspective.
Recently, as reported by MIT Technology review, PDE’s (partial differential equation) unsolvable enigma has been cracked by AI and supercomputers, allowing the human to predict future from planetary motion to plate tectonics. However, my question is, do we really need to primarily concentrate on the past or the future when we can focus on the momentary epiphany. Traditional science leads us to believe each separated state of being rather than figuring out what is the force or energy distribution patterning that weaves the constant dynamic realities. Is it approachable to first identify different realities and then to queer the casualty? Or it is better to make alignment of different subjects by exploring and locating their similarities underneath the logics of development.
In ‘Alien Agency’, the author brings a central set of materials to describe and analyse multi- disciplinary art projects. As quoted in the book “(1) sound, (2) tissue cultured cells, and (3) sensorial matter, such as light, vibration, and chemical, mechanical, or electrical stimuli that we render as taste, smell, touch, temperature, and other forms.”, all materials could provide us a different perspective of observation, logic, and its related scientific methods. This analytical method fortuitously opens the possibility to decentralise the ‘governing position’ of anthropocentrism, allowing non-human agencies, inanimate to participate in the collective making of material memories.
In the end, I would like to elaborate and emphasise a bit more on the utilisation and integration of science, which is intended to be expressed through art with the help of computation. The uncanny expression and phenomena of art do not directly contribute to the course of scientific study, however, it does open more gaps for the audience’s imagination to fill. What matters is the presentation and organisation of different materials and how they intertwine each other by adopting related science and art theory. From a personal angle, there is no fixed procedure to produced either science-based artwork or art-based scientific speculation. These two subjects are constantly mutating through the process of researching, materialising, organising, and endless reiterating without a strict order. With the development of modern science and computational power, these issues are more likely equipped with the right tools to embark on a long journey. Presumptuously, a pathway to achieve an effective or meaningful interdisciplinary project is to delve into the notion of transdisciplinarity through finding connection, correlation between different subjects, in another words, paving the roads among centralised ivory towers and building decentralised agencies to explore our new ways out. Finally, I would like to use Bruce Neuman’s neon tube installation to end this article, “ The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths”.