bricolage is the operating system for exploring this new world

la_Jete
“The Traveller searches for a woman whose face has obsessed him since glimpsing her at the jetty as a child, just before witnessing the inexplicable death of a man there. Not unlike Skynet, he must awake to meet the demands of the scientists and camp police.”
rest @ http://enemyindustry.net/blog/?p=6275

18 responses to “bricolage is the operating system for exploring this new world

  1. Recently I had occasion to reread
    a Larval Subjects post from 5 years ago
    where, in a comment, you suggested a correspondence between deterritorialization and bricolage. Bryant quotes Deleuze and Guattari: “A club is a deterritorialized branch.” The branch is exapted, lifted out of one context and placed into a different context. So too with bricolage. Here’s Michael Tomasello (1999), whom we also discussed on that thread, framing the ability to perform this sort of decontextualization in terms of Gibsonian affordances:

    In symbolic play children basically extract the intentional affordances of different objects and play with them. Thus, a two-year-old may pick up a pencil and pretend it is a hammer. But the child is doing more than simply manipulating the pencil in an unusual way. In early symbolic play the infant also looks to an adult with a playful expression — because she knows that this is not the intentional/conventional use of the object and that her unconventional use is something that may be considered ‘funny.’ One interpretation of this behavior is that symbolic play involves two crucial steps. First, the infant must be able to understand and adopt the intentions of adults as they use objects and artifacts; that is, the child first understands how we use pencils — their intentional affordances. The second step involves the child ‘decoupling’ intentional affordances from their associated objects so that they may be interchanged and used with ‘inappropriate’ objects playfully. Thus, the child comes to use a pencil as one would conventionally use a hammer, smiling at the adult in the process to signal that this is not stupidity but playfulness. This ability to to detach the intentional affordances of objects and artifacts and to interchange them relatively freely in symbolic play is, for me, very convincing evidence that the child has learned the intentional affordances embodied in many cultural artifacts in a way that is semi-independent of their materiality.

    • that’s well said thanks, fits in well I think with all of my soapboxing about prototypes (vs arche-types), to push it a bit into the speculative I’ve been doodling with a sense of poetic-dwelling/tooling-around (like with much of Haraway or even JaneBennett’s “strategic” animism) where we collage some things together to see what if any effects/gestalts/aspect-dawning may or may not occur, I like to read folks like Foucault and Derrida along these lines (and against their owngenealogical/philological interests) such that say we might put a prison cell next to a monk’s cell next to an asylum (or Genet cut and pasted in with Hegel) without any haunting/theo-logical/meta-physical sense of there being some overarching/under-girding Logos or the like, but to see if it gives us a new perspective, new assemblages, new lines of flight, or as you say affordances/uses, that’s a bit of ramble but hopefully you get the gist?

      • I like it — “to see if it gives us a new perspective, new assemblages, new lines of flight.” Let’s try it and see what happens: bricolage offers an alternative to strong ends-driven pragmatism and libidinal spontaneity. Or it’s a complement, a third leg for a cobbled-together stool.

      • yes good a complement, not the rigor of bench-science/engineering/etc but not just entertainment*, something broadly in the spirit of experimentalism.
        if you listen to folks who do even high-level modeling (like wall-street quants) they have a kind of pragmatism that I value in that their models/calculations aren’t seen as being right or wrong (as say one might hold for a law of nature, tho folks like Stengers would include them as well in the pragmatism of interests) but more or less useful for specific purposes and this just brings a bit of play (perhaps more like the play in a bike chain than the play of the children) to that as it is more open ended, also a kind of an appreciation of heidegger’s valuing what exceeds calculation while embracing tinkering.
        as you can see i’ve never made a concerted effort to string it all together (writing is hard for me and not sure it has much of a payoff beyond my own idiosyncrasies) so I really appreciate when folks like you help to flesh it out.
        *there can be something akin to this in the arts see:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADdw0yO0lnI

  2. and this third leg becomes a pillar of oppression such as in the much studied Myriad case where the attempt to patent laws of nature, essentially, leads to split in the US where one only sort of ca and Canada and China where one definitely can. Bricolage suffers from many low-rent intellectual put dows concerning literary criticism, art and realy asks the question: how different is Braque from Kanye from Monsanto? Stengers at least attempts to confront this although her laws of nature I think in Cosmopolitics 2 are undeveloped and problematic assumptiions.

    • “how different is Braque from Kanye from Monsanto” as different as things (tho Monsanto isn’t an agent) can be, there are no fundamental differences in existence just differences that make a difference for those involved, but than what else would/could one measure things against?

      • I don’t doubt that capitalism runs on the continual production of new commodities, most of which are modifications of already existing commodities. It’s also clear that the modifications are generated through iteration between ends-driven design and experimental tinkering with materials and means. Is it your sense, JM, that capitalism would lose steam if the “creatives” stopped performing their clever tricks? I presume that the accelerationist Promethians regard intellectual property law and monopolistic control over inventions as inhibitors to innovation.

      • hey JD, is there more to all of this beyond the basic facts that we can always put things to new/unintended uses, and that people with more power/resources can do more of this even in exploitative ways?

  3. wow I go out to speak to an editor at that big lefty mag that just does not get it and all this happens

    so cool to meet JD online. the reverse of what you posit seems the interplay between successive iterations of capitalism reformulating materialism. IP laws are drivers and also restraints and part of the economic ecosytem. creatives, the bricoeurs, are formidable for guile for sure.

    Anyone read Rebekah Sheldon? “There is no law of ‘nature’. Nature is a construction” izzy would not agree.my political push point is that nature is not a resource and the hybrid form must now contain and embody the human. i am personally hoping to evanesce into a cloud

    capitalism will not lose steam or accelerate past the point of optimizing returns and market share. don’t want to preach too much here

    • Good to meet you too, JM.

      “the reverse of what you posit seems the interplay between successive iterations of capitalism reformulating materialism” — I’m pretty sure I’m not following you here. Are you saying that capitalism shapes design, experimentation, bricolage, and other techniques for manipulating matter? That’s surely true. Decontextualizing affordances from objects and other skills of abstraction don’t imply ascent toward transcendent Mind. The 2-year-old pretending to use a pencil as a hammer would likely not run that experiment if she was on the meter. The economy is also an ecology; socialism or communism or anarchism would provide different opportunities and constraints for invention from those presented within capitalism. Is it possible to carve out delimited zones of alternative economies to see how people’s habits of imagining, inventing, experimenting, etc. would be transformed? Would these transformations be spontaneous adaptations to the new context, or (likely) would significant effort need to be devoted to unlearning the old habits?

      “are formidable for guile for sure” You mean that they falsely appropriate as their own the materials they shape and the work of the others on whose shoulders they stand? Okay, but (following my understanding of your earlier point) their guile seems instilled largely by the capitalist ecology in which the creatives and bricoleurs operate rather than being intrinsic to their work.

      “nature is not a resource and the hybrid form must now contain and embody the human” Agreed.

    • Quoting myself now (yes, I’ll take the credit/blame): “capitalism shapes design, experimentation, bricolage, and other techniques for manipulating matter” — here’s something I wrote in March 2014 on my penultimate (as of now) blog post:

      “Reading what the literary agents say they’re looking for in a novel, I’m struck by how similar and bland these wish lists are. They want excellence, which generally comes down to a distinctive voice, sympathetic characters, and stories so compelling they make the agent miss her next subway stop (several used this same image of compellingness). In making your inquiry, you should be able to blurb your book in a single paragraph and synopsize it in a single page or at most two — straightforward linear narratives would seem best suited to this sort of punchy summary. Are these really the indicators of a good book, or are they features that make a book easy to sell?”

      What sorts of fictional writings might be generated if novels were decommodified?

      • this is part of my DIY hopes for the intertubes that folks can share things for the sake of sharing them, now as to how much interesting novelty that leads to…

      • I extracted from my literary agent friend said that in her view novels sold based upon a desire to conform to a societal norm or to be made to feel uncomfortable about not doing so.

        Certainly you offer a deeper axiom concerning the invisible hand of cultural capitalism but other forces are at work. I suppose they all intersect with wealth as a means of throwing of income

        The art of the discussion I was interested in concerned the artistic integrity and valence of new combinations of familiar objects or incremental iterations of same because that is what is considered value in the intersectional marketplace.One might also comment upon the stochatic descent rate of various academics.

        Where the man writes:

        “I don’t doubt that capitalism runs on the continual production of new commodities, most of which are modifications of already existing commodities. It’s also clear that the modifications are generated through iteration between ends-driven design and experimental tinkering with materials and means. Is it your sense, JM, that capitalism would lose steam if the “creatives” stopped performing their clever tricks?” Yes it is everyone’s fear in the marketplace. Look at Tim Treadingwater at Apple.

        “I presume that the accelerationist Promethians regard intellectual property law and monopolistic control over inventions as inhibitors to innovation.” best not to presume. Well accelerationists might ask if IP laws serve as drivers to innovation. Not like everyone is up late on a DiY gene splicer accelerating Engels future into being whether they have crush on the Laboria Cubonicks movement or not.

        ““the reverse of what you posit seems the interplay between successive iterations of capitalism reformulating materialism” — I’m pretty sure I’m not following you here. Are you saying that capitalism shapes design, experimentation, bricolage, and other techniques for manipulating matter? That’s surely true.” Yes

        “Decontextualizing affordances from objects and other skills of abstraction don’t imply ascent toward transcendent Mind. The 2-year-old pretending to use a pencil as a hammer would likely not run that experiment if she was on the meter. The economy is also an ecology; socialism or communism or anarchism would provide different opportunities and constraints for invention from those presented within capitalism. Is it possible to carve out delimited zones of alternative economies to see how people’s habits of imagining, inventing, experimenting, etc. would be transformed?” Yes, the children of Heidegger all are slaves of hedge funds.

        “Would these transformations be spontaneous adaptations to the new context, or (likely) would significant effort need to be devoted to unlearning the old habits?” Where is needs be done an industry of delearning will sprout — wait it already has — mindfulness in the workplace!

        “are formidable for guile for sure” You mean that they falsely appropriate as their own the materials they shape and the work of the others on whose shoulders they stand? Okay, but (following my understanding of your earlier point) their guile seems instilled largely by the capitalist ecology in which the creatives and bricoleurs operate rather than being intrinsic to their work.” We go into the old simulacra/crum thingy here so there is no false appropriation, only appropriation and rebranding. Their guile is monetizing what is done as r&d for free. Street style is now planned. DMF is a Foucauldian for sure

      • hmm, dmf is decidedly not a foucauldian unless that includes folks like paul rabinow who do research that intentionally steps beyond the work that foucault did, as i said above
        “I like to read folks like Foucault and Derrida along these lines (and against their owngenealogical/philological interests) such that say we might put a prison cell next to a monk’s cell next to an asylum (or Genet cut and pasted in with Hegel) without any haunting/theo-logical/meta-physical sense of there being some overarching/under-girding Logos or the like, but to see if it gives us a new perspective, new assemblages, new lines of flight, or as you say affordances/uses”

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