Transdisciplinary Integrations of Theory through Cyber Drawing
In relation to:
A) Trace: “Diffuse Memory”[i]
B) Rhizome: axiom; schematic, map like version of the “subconscious turning back on itself”[ii]
This article investigates cyber –drawing as impacting the learning environment through embedding the concepts of trace and rhizome as well as broader implications of such usage on building a learning environment. Further considerations involve drawing as generating perception via intuition of workable connections through new sensorial fields. Correspondingly a poetics of space and poiesis of form, meaning and conceptual theory modality become an intuitive critique of reason through the very need of artifice to develop the intuitive content implicated within contemporary conceptual genesis from axiom to theory.
The semiotics or definition of knowledge production as they pertain to media usage is increasing linked to a neurocognitive model of science analysis. The networking that relates bodily neuro-electric and computer electronic sensorial fields is an opportunity to use cyber drawing in particular for building conceptualizing tools.
Axioms in general are founded on intuition and house the subconscious, therefore one may relate this formative matrix to a version of the collective subconscious at the doors and windows that disciplines elicit of their jargons in a positive sense to hypothesize and analyses. This paper is a study of how such generalizations may be achieved within the ambitions of cyber-drawing as sensory, cortical and cultural integration building on the vision of a new electronic “skin” and the new comport of arranged response that is more complex than the earlier mechanical models of sender, message, receiver.
1- Cyber Drawing as Conceptual Tools within Media Semiotics from Topography to Topology: The collection of fields of knowledge one may compare, excavate or quarry I have referred to collectively as a topography- the grounds of research – the given… However finding the abstract language that bonds their diverse axiomatic content is more like a topology- I would coin the phrase “plastic topology meaning “underlying form” By this I mean I am looking into the field specific principles that generate concepts of underlying form which may meet conditioning factors shared in new ways. The track and trace of this are are accordingly a sense of the tracking as “rhizome” or nonhierarchical portals of knowledge (map like, schematic and functional as software and electronic networks), and the contrast of “trace” in the sense of holding to view as drawing does. Trace, and rhizome as concepts mutually embedded within the scrolling space of cyber drawing will be more closely examined as a formative principle for concepts per cortical integration of sensorial fields.
2- The Wit and Wisdom, Rhyme and Reason of Trace and Rhizome:
Trace is within the poetics of what can be recorded while rhizome references a generative principle that is formative beyond particulars, basically the state of an axiom, it is intuitions link to form as having one foot in the physical and one step in the metaphysical worlds…like a manifold that states general appearances but is too complicated to resource or extricate from enfolding’s in time, circumstance, potential and contingency. If then the axiomatic presence of what a thing is ( rhizomatic) stands in contrast to the conditional referral of what may be said about it, (trace) the latter case is represented per Heidegger quoting Kant[iii] as “ the conditions of experience are simultaneously the conditions of the objects of experience”( objects tending to mean sign). On the other hand the former is posed by Ettinger writing on the drawings of Eva Hesse, in which she remarks that their serial style is relating touch to vision through repetition. For her ( Ettinger-possibly Hesse) this process accomplishes the “symbolic value of the virtual”[iv]
This relating of touch to vision helps to resolve her quote of Lucan’s “objet a” which is the discrimination, essentially, of disruptions in the sensorial field,) this also pertains to psychological contributions to” bracketing” ideas of deconstruction). We can conclude therefore that the mind’s corresponding resolution, movements towards closure, is in Ettinger’s view an intuition, meaning a formative field. This in turn suggests that intuition tends to follow form, is wit, while rationality, reason, as writ follows patterns and cycles.. As Heraclitus queried: “what wit or wisdom have they”…?[v] Forms of course involve patterns and cycles and likewise rationalizations have their own sense of form therefore the modes of trace and rhizome embed and enfold from the get-go as are wit and wisdom.
-3- Virtual Space and Sensory Integra ration:
Sensory Integration is a term from Occupational Therapy which gives a clue to the history of stating neurological perspectives on media. The fact sheet on the American Occupational Therapy Association web page is an analytical tool relating environmental and physical relations according to various accommodation factors such as vestibular and proprioceptive adaptation and response. Structurally these are analyzed in terms of a vocabulary of movement patterns related to primary reflexes which are childhood development stages which gradually cortically integrate into a movement vocabulary synchronizing our improvisation and need. Generally speaking media impulses and circuits are scrolled and patterned similarly to reflexive patterns that mark them as tool which are an extension of our own bodies.
-4-Media and Semiotics
The idea is clarified by Rugghero Eugini[vi] in his paper on media semiotics when he states that the new cognitive threshold per neuro sciences relative media identify the experience itself as “plural, complex, and dynamic, it is based on multiple and simultaneous streams not coordinated by central units, but auto organized in different networks and auto synchronized. Secondly the experience implies an embodied mind, indeed the subject of the experience described by the cognitive neuro- sciences is relational and interpersonal as evidenced by the key role of the mechanisms of comprehension based on embodied simulating and empathic mimicry.”
Congruent with the implications of the last sentence cyber drawing can contribute such a key role. As previously broached;: this can take place as relating to different disciplines as projecting their intuitions within the jargons that support the conceptual base they lend to theory. Intercepting and combining, troping these and thinking one discipline in terms of other new joints can create links. For example poiesis, the formative nature of blood in physiological terms lends insight into formative nature of engineering fluids and mechanical engineering? Visualizing fluids reacting on each other through formative states has the appeal of a Leonardo allegory… How does cyber drawing lend a media semiotics threshold to perception different than a Leonardo drawing?
The answer to this has to do with the rhizome like extent of the software which allows bodily identification to drawing as maintaining and projecting a sense of physical haptic pressure to touch, sensing the body weight increasing with pressure, in accordance with our general gravitational orientation to barometric pressure there is the advance visuality of many streams and modes of visualization itself. These range from the photo software’s ability to mimic photo qualities of different ages which in turn were influenced by art, drawing modes that use and combine sheer spectrum light, mimicry of the whole process between mark as engraving , to paint and substance, distortions and graphing, cartographic forms, overlaying and combining , compressing the scale of forms, etc. These elements are reassigned a cognitive value that belongs to the work in progress and the value is that these easily link to new and unfamiliar terms as t ropes or modes of extending a sequence into a new language that is suggestive to the imagination and hence open to conceptual approaches- what is the shape of the universe- what is the representation of energy levels of the atom? Etc….
Looking into theme areas,- geology architectural projects, structural joints, fluid mechanics, ocean currents, physiological representations, pharmacology, medical equipment proposals, the working potential then is that drawing is a space generating object experienced as perception developed within perception and cyber drawing is placed within the ambit of the virtual realm in which experience is made real by touching upon it through these new methods of “touch’” and intellectual trajectory.
-5- Something About Lillian
Backtracking to the paradigm field of Occupational Therapy, we can see these media potentials exemplified by Lillian Schwartz who originally trained in Asian calligraphy and painting turned her energies to computer art and research. Originally a polio victim in Japan in the 1920s she regained functionality of her body through drawing and painting. In the art of the computer she projected this identification to body through drawing within the new computer realm, emphasizing on the one hand that it was the artist who mad the art, and on the other moving forward in a Leonardo like manner to reach color, art philosophy, inventions, medical and musical advances using the art of drawing approach branching to the parsing of new particulars of a huge topos.
Continuing along these lines, then, I think drawing can continue to develop, as well as such initiatives, the abstract narrative levels that could build drawing as a resource which uses it availability to language building a sensibility of topography or abstract relations towards a kind of universal language which it always indeed presents as.. Future deconstruction will always have in focus how technology socializes, but an endless stream of Benjaminian image is less important to me than the building up of a sense of plasticity, or underlying order that generates images rather than only an aporia, and is therefore a means of aphorism.
-6- Virtual Space:
As we encounter it is the sociological phenomenon of building a new language on a participatory level, and because drawing is a particular faculty for experiencing perception by building perception how can we continue to work productively with that motivation in framing a learning environment.? First of all, the topologies it generates are lined to the peculiarity of the scroll space structure which as a kind of labyrinth invites a bodily identification which Miekha Bal notes is the characteristic of the labyrinth.[vii] However, rather than featuring the sphere and labyrinth per architectural opposition of body and mind the scroll and labyrinth make the organic link between the two. The scroll space is similar to the effect of rolling up drawing that are different lengths and realizing they have mysteriously shuffled- it has its own morphic being and is linked to a kind of reflex arc we diversify and integrate.
In addition, the photo mode of the drawing and the use of photography which may overwrite or modify or refer to an inside outside relation like Smithson’s site non site in a way or Asher’s project where he moved a bronze statue inside a museum, reversing the rhetoric by which bronze is expected to be outside and marble within- altering relations. In my own work for example I have found it interesting to unravel the photograph by photographing my drawings in near environments and then working on the new print object thereby created by forcing the photo to become a print via drawing. This also deflects the photo’s “ single moment” into the psychological perception of the drawing which works in time, creates time, displaces time…building a perception not as record but through integrating experience makes much more than some transpose. If a trace is a diffuse memory as Bal defines it is made so by its relation to time of deferral to its variety of contexts…and disposition to contingency in which experience is completed in the perception. Completion as a moment changes everything to a new level- such is the mystery…
Related to this is the experience of building an archive, the perceptions as drawing, are a general field become organized and formed to a presentation mode peculiar entirely to digital space. Durer for example in making his huge paper house of prints for Maximillian as a project give a precedent in the earlier print- drawing aesthetic which is taken to another level in a multitude of contemporary museum shack installation structures and finally in cyber space has the characteristic of a virtual realm .. To us perhaps psychology meeting philosophy in the neurological groove that finds the draftspersons hand.
-7- Building a Learning environment:
On Trope: in regarding the sense of rhizome which Deleuze identifies as a “multiplicity that undergoes metamorphosis”[viii] and which is “reducible to neither one nor the multiple” it is helpful to return to the idea of analysis as rooted in trope because cyber drawing addresses field of knowledge through streams of information and sensation that rather than locking into the Artistotelian’kinds” compounds the idea of the viewer being formed by the experience which as a compound of these streams is no longer analyzable to a breakdown of parts but always a meeting of tributaries on a shifting plane of dimension.
It is also helpful, nevertheless to return to the roots of the idea of analysis itself in the idea of trope” Hersey relates[ix] how the form of a prickly plant-ancanthus is an architectural decoration, a hedgehog, or sea urchin. Or we know the butterfly as being an insect, a way of swimming, or a mode of hematology… in other words language likes to build meaning around topological features that speak through an element we might call abstract…
Because of the flood of formative feature in the software of cyber drawing this fluidity is able to find planes of experience, points of view, and bodies of knowledge as primary tropes that can be exploded into the stresses and demands of jargons. For example The “synapse” of micro streams that effectuate muscle contraction would be interesting for you right now to evaluate in software potential as an image… there would be lot of ways to do that and how then might another field such as musicology borrow the word and image process as a metaphor?
Kant as quote previously of Heidegger indicates trace through his use of the word condition as he applies it to “experience “ and “objects of experience.” For him condition means apperception- reason turned upon itself. Two other fields have since intercede on that formula- philosophy as psychologized by Lacan and Deleuze opens the possibility that the mind in vectoring to form, is creating an intuition to bridge changes in sensorial fields, while neuro-physics studies how the integration of these fields physiologically suggests that our technology has within it the overtones of multiplicities that are not only experienced as streams rather than fields or objects but dialectically formed to an artifice and sustained consideration in which we meet life and experience in order to find it, rather than arriving as table rosa tablets to be inked by nature.
Thinking one discipline in terms of another is then accorded a working dimension towards conceptualizing modes. Trope as a metamorphic and metaphoric connection inevitably formed between trace and rhizome is inviting the analytical function according to transference from topology to topography stresses the intuitive connection which I like to think of as morphic-plastic- haptic.
Thinking one discipline in terms of another how then out of the matrix of disciplines can we find the strings and threads which can trace through the labyrinth of our bodily connections to the physicality of sensorial extensions into objects, fields, streamings… by conceptually unraveling mental knots through thought experiments in the digital virtual drawing proceed to follow the shifts of dimension the mind creates to climb? The bodily labyrinth into intuition as a topography is formed, dissembled, rebuilt, achieves metamorphic content relating concept fragments to theories as flights and vectors from intuitions housed in the axiomatic signs and traces which jargons use to point towards the problematic that intrigue them…
Michelangelo gave us the trope of what Mannerism also pursued relentlessly namely thinking painting in terms of sculpture, and hence relating touch to vision in a heightened sense to investigate the spatial experience of the culture. In our day geography maps cultural zones, weather zones, climactic, topographic-topological combinations. These accordingly” touch upon experience through the new approaches available to an expansion of sensorial means through objects of technology and its skin of streaming fields. Similarly an architect will trace circulation diagrams, of the expected usage of building zones and stratifications , creating a “program”. “Information architecture takes the process to another level… The colors, shapings and indications of cyber drawing rather than impressing a mark between conflicting materials parses an information architecture out of which the intervolved elements are creating tropes and conceits of extended strings in their own realm while directed outward, and do so through the contingency of the marking experience being suspended in time, using circumstance rather than material to create its deferral to form as intuition both in the form of the making and proposing ,and then, also- in the form of the thought experiment it contemplates as project. It also touches upon the Mannerist sensibility of condensing experience into the sensation of pressure accomplishing an increase of their body weight per gravity, by a haptic element of the software and has also in these modes various working modalities carrying all the traditions of drawing from engraving to printing to drawing in light.
Architecture of course has a metamorphic principle in the transition from earlier times when there was no plan as we think it, i.e. drawing, but instead was transmitted verbally and paced out. Similarly then we can overwrite, ie draw on photographs as a return to this kind of dialectical thinking, for example in the surgical identification of sites with computer in real time. Likewise cans this kind of drawing move from medical fields to say industrial design?–indeed we see some of this in ergonomic design factors…
In these cases we see a mode of thinking outside a discipline shows to have an uncanny ongoing consecutiveness when transported as a metamorphic concept fragment for the theories of another discipline as responsive in the process to intuitions shared upon the event of the object as trace meditating through its rhizomatic intuition as embedded to trace as object and subject yielding to the needs that mark the intuition.
-7- And Drawing for the Sake of Drawing: (As a research allegory of topographical investigation of abstract topos)
Drawing as written about is subject to writings domains of narrative levels. We can see this in terms of the architectural drawing for example which refers the notes to another floor as another “story” If one were to turn the critique around and use drawing to diagram narrative level from out writings jargon of these narrative levels such a diegetic content( personalization of point of view, focal level ie internally focused in the case of drawing would mean focusing on copying, non-focal would mean looking into the objective content of the artist copied – trying to understand while externally focused would be one’s own interpretation… Drawing tends to proceed from point to mark to line to plane to mass- and the point to mark implicates trace, while the sequence otherwise is rhizomatic. Literature is often mapped on to drawing critique as point of view, plane of consciousness, body of knowledge or mass of knowledge….The idea of drawing as isolating functionality does not seem appropriate in this age of sensory integration through media mind to body extenstion and potentials, therefore the topography drawing builds from out of it’s over all instinct to language pertains to its nature of holding forth to view.
The punning quality between image provoking a spatial object and associated wording therefore seems to in the nature of its overall impulse towards underlying multi- language construct. Drawing is so much a part of learning language itself that we can see its own discourse is multi-leveled from the get- go… In the case of architectural drawing diagrams and sketches Pevsnor had hoped to create a dictionary of architectural forms which gave them as linking to an ongoing dialectic proposed from within their own content. Yet socialization factors for Deconstruction bracket such proposals by asking for present appreciation and context. Undoubtedly, the present is in the context of the past and the past in the context of its futures. The “Janus” theory wets this forth of relating past to present and future, but then again we have seen Ettinger[x] question the formulations in either direction as positing objects or traces which as masks are blind to broader intuitions. For example: cave art is something we simply have no real knowledge about other than deductive constructs. We do sense however very immediately that these marks were made by experienced trackers, who knew how to read the ground and they communicate to us this sense of alertness which in a way is quite enough.
A quote by Vidler[xi] of Kaufmann the architectural theoretician seems unexpectedly tame:” In the relation between forms and the systems each epoch establishes its own basic ideas of disposition and interrelation of parts. Either older form are remodeled until they are perfectly adjusted to the new system of arrangements or new forms proffered by new construction methods are adopted if they accord with the new system, or natural forms are interpreted in keeping with a changed idea of general disposition. (To begin with- he seems to miss his own cue that perhaps the concept of nature itself must be reevaluated per epoch as Smithson suggests…[xii])
However, buried in the tameness the note on disposition and interrelation are headed in new direction we can relate to. How are we disposed? The scrolling structure of the digital cyber space provides a sense of labyrinthean misenpage released by the knots we cut. In this sense it seems Eileen Gray’s Tube House is the icon that ushers in the space we use in the electronic dimension…
To consider the narrative levels of abstraction as the discourse which has a topology that translates for me into something like the topography of the potter’s wheel: forms grow out of this digital tube house labyrinth, upon the wheel of the labyrinth the mediums electronic skin is like the sensorial field clay maintains as the metaphor for human response to sensation as a spreading flow. Bernini for example in his famous statement that he could carve marble like butter was building on his unusual penchant for creating clay models that he closely used as a sense of form linked to the hand to clay sensation translated to the chisels motion. In this he was diverting the Michelangelo influence from a focus on the block to a new sense of form as enfolding and knotting. We in turn can carve the digital light as though a column of air wrought in color and transformed to a new topos of visuality and new interpretations of nature and naturalness.
A level also of cultural excavation pertains to the fact that photo methods can be used within the computer that borrow from different photo-technological periods. I drawing is a perception of time as Picasso put it then what are the time zones within drawing? In the photo we see the stamp of technology stamped upon its mode of being in the immediate moment. How does the more fluid drawing thread the states of consciousness? The software allows the mark to imitate the growth from seal like engraving to printing and painting on materials, The morphic pot, and finally a version of sculptural drawing in space in which the emancipation from the page occasioned to the scrolling brings the labyrinthine encounter of virtual space to a physicality which paradoxically builds on the Minimalist conception of no-space or dropped out grounds in photographing sculpture so that its object features predominate. In the cyber context this no-space changes character as it is flooded with spectrum light…and distorting and compressing forms transports a sense of artificial “gravity”.
The successive imageries in an infinite space allow anew experiential factor- how is one playing with the infinite? How is one, correspondingly coding ones experience- mark , point, line plane, mass, , form, hollow, all then have this new metaphysics in relation to the contrast we have already noted between Smithson’s idea of re-conceptualizing nature and Kaufman’s idea of re-conceptualizing culture.
The time zones of drawing then range between recording as trace and the deferment in time which cyber drawing makes in that organization, and the choices entirely out of chronological time which intuition makes madly recognizable to form itself. Correspondingly the value that forwards intuition from out of an impulse to who-knows-what-order, form, balance , continuity, but mostly just form itself. This is the first state of form. Formalism is something secondary. This first state of form is a zone.
I will close by opening up a pair of zone like quotes from Heraclitus on the perspective of technology within art (a topic he is not often associated with). The first,” famously- “It is an attunement that turns back on itself like that of the bow and the lyre” actually has that technological undercurrent in the sense that the bow indicates the trace of technology per the time, and the lyre- pertains to the, well, lyrical, intuitive- rhizome of never- ending associations and improvisation but with an underlying morphic-metamorphic content. Strangely, the lyre is also the record, imbedded as such to trace, of the exploit, namely the bow. Likewise our art is wedded to its technology where cyber space becomes our new skin and larges organ of sense. O the other hand the hardly famous at all quote” “the way of the carding wheel is both crooked and straight” deserves our immediate attention. The carding wheel was the direct ancestor of the computer, via punch cards devised for creating color looms, ( remember the mediaeval- Renaissance were ingenious mechanics) We have likewise in our version of the technology both direct access and indirect accommodations between real time and virtual realization into a metaphysical suspension of the physical at the neurological to electronic connection in the artifices of the language we build that to our purposes is also the strong link to art.
[i] Bal Qc p66
[ii] A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari ( Mineapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987) tr. Brian Massumi p.12
[iii] Heidegger P 138 Parmeninides
[iv] Bracha L. Ettinger. Gaze-and-Touthing the Not Enough Mother edited Catherine D. Zegher, Eva Hesse Drawing 2006. New Haven and London. Yale University Press . p0 183-213
[x] Ettinger ibid