Writing Under Influence (2-19-2017): Blind spots, Epistemological plurality, Survival of perspectives

The problem of audience participation is not about having audience member X partake in the totality of the piece. It is, on the contrary, of the piece partaking in the totality of audience member X.

Problem of influence is that you cannot take it off. Takes time to realize one has been influenced. Many times the take over is an unconscious process (which explains unintentional rip offs and copy cats). It is like installing a virus or a malware–it works without realization. Influence works from one’s blind spot, or becomes/constitutes one’s blind spot.

The multiplicity of epistemologies (epistemological plurality) is still important. It is a concern about one’s blind spot–which is lost in realism and ostracized in ontology. Ontology generalizes blind spot, but a blind spot is something you can never generalize. Everyone has a blind spot and everyone has a different blind spot. The particularity of individual perspectives. Blind spot impedes generalization by bringing to the fore the condition that one cannot see everything. One cannot see one’s blind spot by generalizing it–that is precisely the blind spot.

Blind spot is not a spot–it is the perspective itself. The perspective cannot see itself, it is blind to itself–it is own primary blind spot. Difference between perspective A and perspective B is not the particularities of the blind spot, but the particularity of the perspectives themselves that is defined, among other things, by the particularities of their respective blind spots. In other words: perspectives are different not because of their blind spots, but blind spots are different because of the perspectives they pertain to.

Surely one must observe as much as one can, regardless of the blond spot (i.e. perspective). K’s book is all about perspective. But how does that reflect upon his own theorization of perspective via writing? From which perspective can one write about the multiplicity of perspectives?

No such thing as universal observation (truth). But there are particular, situated observations (truths). Just like blind spots, these truths cannot be generalized. Which is to say that one cannot say: “every observation is situated.” No observation can place itself in a position to say this. There is no meta-observation. Observation of observation (von Foerster) remains local and situated.

The author cannot frame everything, but by making the reader X an analogy–through a synecdochical structure that portrays/arrests the audience’s position inside the work–the writing/reading can be installed in X. Then totality will be not presented to, and imposed upon, X from the author, but will become X’s own totality. The work thus becomes the blind spot = perspective of the audience. (Cage: “every object, that is, plus the process of looking at it—is a Duchamp. Say it’s not a Duchamp. Turn it over and it is.”) The artist’s ultimate wish is to install your own epistemology onto somebody else. You want somebody else to hear/see/think as you do. Or more accurately, you want somebody else to not hear/see/think as you do–to inherit your own specific blindness/deafness/dumbness (epistemological negatives), which defines your perspective. A work expresses not so much perspectives but perspectives as blind spots. Ontology, from this perspective, is simply the strongest of all epistemologies (blind spots).

But why such a desire? Simply put: in order to survive. Because there is no such thing as ontological survival. Ontology does not die. What dies is the utterly particular epistemologies. Particularity/situatedness is the condition of death. Only particulars die–dying is a particular/situated act (Duchamp: “Besides, it’s always the others who die.”) One cannot die in general. And although one cannot think of oneself except by generalizing one to the full extreme, one cannot think about death except as an utterly particular problem. The difficulty of thinking about one’s own death is precisely in this double-bind between the general and the particular: an extremely particular event that befalls on otherwise extremely generalized self.

Therefore, a perspective longs to survive. To infect and influence others so that the particularity may multiply. Contagion is always particular. This is a kind of generalization, but not like the ontological one. The difference is that epistemological generalization takes time and is always local (it is only pseudo-generalization). Against the instant and instantly universal generalization of ontology, epistemological contagion is a gradual process that spreads over a long period of time from one location to the next.

Time is the measure of particularity. If one disregarded time, the particularities of space disappears. One is possible to be in two places, just not at the same time. But the same is not true with time. If one disregarded space, the particularities of time still remain. It is not possible to be in two times even if not at the same place. And since time is particular, what one wishes to do, in the end, is to infect others with one’s own time (particularity).

For instance, without this desire, one would not write a book. Ontologists (who writes books) therefore always behave as epistemologists. Every book and every theory is particular, and therefore seeks to survive through influence.

Past Past Perfect? No Collective’s technique of making components seem as if they were intentionally chosen. Temporal shaped-canvas. Not a time-bracket. Time bracket is simply an empty frame. But one has to treat the frame as a shaped-canvas (does not pre-exist outside the content’s influence). As opposed to Past Future Perfect, which is the imagined future in the past, the logic of temporal shaped-canvas posits, from the present, an imagined past in the past (as if the riser given in the past were chosen deliberately in the past of that past: e.g. ECO)–therefore, Past Past Perfect.