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transiency notes - nik gaffney

20160208 to 20170129~20170211 {CE} as part of transiency_conversations


“Time did not so much elapse as grow less relevant”–Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day

Becoming fallow has it's own logic, it is not shaped by an absence of growth or activity, but a lack of deliberate 'planting'. the logic of letting things drift and take root. letting things grow or wither of their own accord. not weeding, not planting nor tending.

questions/concerns/openings re.sabbatical/transiency; finding a balance between drift and 'new purpose', manage the pressure of finding 'what's next' and the process of leaving oneself open to possibilities. making time for recovery, fallowness, expansion. what possibilities/potentials/options appear when unclouded by past inertia, or the reactionary 'overcorrection' of avoidance?

Reduce reading about news or 'current events' and more generally shift from 'keeping on top of things' to 'descending into the depths of things'. towards an increase in aimlessness, further reading, things in depth, focus of attention, expanding filter bubbles. clarifying what constitutes 'optionality' and 'stochastic tinkering' (Taleb) in this context.

How to reconcile the 'rational' desire for clarity, precision and density with the more ethereal, circumspect, ambiguous desire for understanding complexity, 'thickness' and multiplicity? quality and/or quantisability?

the recurring question of how this period is framed, or held together, how the internal logic shifts time, space, interests and commitments. as a 'sabbatical', it's easier to explain yet suggests a focus on learning or studying something. providing another angle on 'work' within a shifted frame, it requires focus and particular types of curiosity. as a 'transiency' there is a continuity within foam's programme, a sense of transition, finding out, uncovering, unfolding and reflection. an expectation of productive space, a resulting change or direction. this requires effort and sustained reflection, experiments to test nascent theories. as a 'fallow period', it requires doing nothing, leaving space for things to emerge, being open to situations as they develop. amidst the danger of perpetual distraction, external whims, choice and rejection. can a field remain fallow when it's used to store agricultural equipment and threshing machines? there is an implicit assumption that any transition requires a period of laying fallow, or rest, before determining which directions are most interesting. ideally, in ways that are self-evident rather than as a reaction to (or against) things that have worked out (or not) previously. proactive rather than reactive, crossing a river by feeling the stones, following the seams.

crystal universe

slow oscillations in salience, shifts, gradual settling of dust. expanding the 'day' to more easily make room for ereyesterday and overmorrow


“technology and the focus on invocation rather than divination”

emacs quiet mode. function to disable wireless (optionally re-enable after a given time). straight forward to write, uploaded to github (public) and melpa (testing packaging systems) perhaps as part of a wider intention to package or present things in 'current state of abandonment' rather than as 'finished'.

what do we 'do' with computers and the wider artifacts of partial automation? computers as; automated systems, augmented phenotypes, generative creative partners. inspiration rather than organisation, digression rather than conversation, tangents rather than efficiency.

expand paradox/dilemma with in-breath rather than in-depth understanding of the world and it's various complexities. there are clear paths for establishing 'fundamentals' with in-depth, yet lacking wider context (mostly, unless fundamentals create resonance with another field at points of mastery). problems with in-breadth and missing details, not being able to understand the context in which critique occurs within a field or how strongly or widely held a position may be within a field. missing 'common' arguments or 'obvious' criticism within a field can be a disadvantage (ideas not taken seriously, or too easily dismissed, seeing the forest but not being able to name the trees) or a advantage (avoid conceptual quagmires, challenges to existing assumptions, 'naive' questions leading to insights). so, how much time/energy/effort to put into deepening and/or furthering understanding of 'fundamentals' at the expense of finding patterns across the breadth of context? obviously not enough lifetimes to understand entire fields, or even the 'cannon' of several fields, languages, philosophies, sciences, worldviews, strategies, techniques, etc+

threads/spikes determined by descending/ascending from contextually important nodes to a wider pattern.

re. Radical alterity is just another way of saying “reality”

  • where is the contradiction in 'magic works' and a scepticism of the methods, mechanism and madness?
  • mesh of realities, superstructure of perspectives, tunnels weaving through each other.
  • both magical and material realities form as emergent interactions with each other, loops, whorls, feedback
  • etc+

It is also the paths not taken that have led here. defined by absence, loss and missed opportunity as much as joy, wonder and chance. The Red Queen Effect.

quiet descends with the rain, city becomes background radiation and the telescopes are in shadow. the entanglement, the mesh, indra's net, the reenchantment, etc. as reaction to neo-reaction, a reclaiming and refiguring of the enlightenment to longer timescales, the 'irrational' and 'unknowable'. features of expansion, acceleration, with limiting, damping factors of accretion, agglomeration, synthesis, deceleration, exploring limits,

fleeting attention, surface attention and deep attention.

Kintsugi (金継ぎ), Kaiseki-ryori (懐石料理), Ikebana (生け花 and esp. Jiyūka) and Shakkei (借景 borrowed scenery) as more appropriate metaphors than acupuncture or growth or (…) aspects of both devotion (to practice, moment, others) and craft/cultivation along with presentation and impermanence.

(during may) psuedoiterative. morning meditation, exercise, drinking tea on the terrace. some typing, various distractions, etc+ don't yet have the sense of 'settling into' anything, glimpses of flow, reopening the layout for 'stillness', or however it may be renamed. along similar lines, feels like it should be like itself, but 'more so'. ..

a triangle composed of three aspects;

  • romantic machines. (panpsychism, animism, etc) vegetal mind, human scale systems, non-human technologies.
  • futures. long now, preparedness, inhabiting uncertainty, visionary adaptation, antifragility (optionality), holding open, staying with the trouble.
  • experience design. situation, peak experiences, rituals, synesthesia, etc

what lies in or near the intersection of those 3?


lunchtime concert w. maja & stevie, Flemish 'countryside' for hurdy gurdy searching

rathspalk fm sessions w. opt and hiaz. drift between experimentation, digression and soundscapes. obvious focus on atonal performance, yet sense of collective fumbling toward aesthetic coherence. feedback, folding, reconstruction. aubio slices, various supercollider, spatialisation, etc. atonal. russ, pita, mego recapitulation, etc. etc. (various shifts in perception, energy levels, drones, erratic rhythms, misplaced histories, parallel present, etc… ) a spaciousness, berlin repurposing, subtle and not so subtle shifts.


Touch Radio 127 | farmersmanual

farmersmanual - Berlin Atonal 2016

concerning attention, gradual drift to more diffuse, more easily 'distracted'. contrast focus and flow. flow of directed focus, attention fixed in a well defined context, absorbing, challenging, etc. flow of free-association or subsequent engagement. focus-flow enhanced by low dose stimulants, mostly coffee, sub-euphoric amphetamines, nicotine etc. association-flow enhanced by alcohol, opiates, etc. maintaining a middle ground, stretching, contracting. the various compensations (compensatory behaviours, advantages, etc) for lack of 'willpower' and ability to focus attention at will. close study of distraction, attention and drift. problems and psychic defences re. being immersed in an environment which is based on extracting capital from distraction.


Japan; Kenrokuen Garden, Kaga Onsen, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Daisuke Yokota, owls, abandoned desolate roads, after images of landslides, autumn leaves, sushi, soba, kaiseki, whisky, second dissolve into a Murakami story.

then back in brussels, post japan

peculiar afterimages, opportunities, compression, aesthetic closeness, spare sparsity, density. (etc) no clean sense of direction, but a general suggestion that we'd like to spend more time in japan. find ways to make it possible. a more determined sense that it's time to leave brussels, the belgian marshlands, for other edge habitats. finding paths that take us closer to 'interesting' activity and where our activities are more appreciated/relevant.

ways to find perspective in extinction and duration. self & species & life emergent over shared timescales and absent timescales. a flicker at the end of history, a blink between epochs, yet the only time one has. aesthetic/ethical layering.

“Wait for it patiently—annihilation or metamorphosis.”


reading notes (to incorporate)

transiency_nik_gaffney.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/02 09:36 by nik