Friday, February 11, 2011

Instructions for 'Theory'--The 'play' of the commodity.

For our CATTt, we are substituting the focus of "narrative," coming from our Hollywood film for 'tropes'. According to our discussion, we are substituting Game Theory's primary 'game' of poker with another type of game. Callois, who we will read next, tells us that there are only 4 types of games, the first two corresponding to money economies, the second corresponding to gift economies. Since we are trying to see our own 'money economy' from the perspective of the gift, we need to look at the second two

Four Games

  • 1.       Agon--competition
  • 2.       Alea—chance

  • 3.       Mimesis—theater (simulation)
  • 4.       Ilynx—“vertigo”  (game of Vertigo?)
(class notes)

Baudrillard focuses mostly on mimesis, but the absolute commodity is 'Illynx', which is a game of 'vertigo'.

Vertigo, n:

1. Pathol. A disordered condition in which the person affected has a sensation of whirling, either of external objects or of himself, and tends to lose equilibrium and consciousness; swimming in the head; giddiness, dizziness

2. fig. A disordered state of mind, or of things, comparable to giddiness.

3. The act of whirling round and round. (OED)

The 'act of whirling round and round' can also be framed in terms of Baudrillard's idea that our fundamental task is Appearance and Disappearance. I related this in a previous post to peek-a-boo.  In a state of "vertigo', there is no equilibrium and there is no 'dialectic' (class notes).

. . . . . . . .

Instruction: To see the accident as a commodity, which seduces people into serving it. 

In order to do this, we need to rid ourselves of the trappings of 'narrative' in order to create a figure. Andy Warhol's work, for instance, contains no narrative--neither external mythology (Pollock) nor internal diagesis.

. . . . . . . .

The late George Carlin, more than perhaps any other comedian, could be considered the comedian of the accident. He shows us that accidents, disasters, catastrophes indeed do fascinate us--he shows us that we are seduced by them:

We need to look at the accident as something that wants to happen and as something that fascinates us. Thus, instead of looking at Mountain Top Removal in its utilitarian aspect--to get coal for energy, I need to look at it as something we are seduced by. I need to locate this seductive aspect, from the perspective of the object--is the object coal slurry? Are we fascinated by coal slurry? Are we fascinated by coal slurry poisoning rivers and destroying homes? Or are we fascinated by coal? We obviously aren't fascinated by the mountains. 


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