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Kapsula: Crisis, Part 3 of 3

Morgenstern, Tyler and Leuning, Grant and Pearl, Zach (2013) Kapsula: Crisis, Part 3 of 3. CRISIS, PART 3 OF 3, 1 . KAPSULA PRESS.

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Abstract

Over the past couple of months KAPSULA has sent subscribers two separate releases dealing with CRISIS. We’ve looked at crisis in art criticism, moments of individual or personal crisis, the crisis of (re)presentation and now, for our final crisis-themed iteration, we turn to focus on our chosen domain: the digital and technological. Considering that many of the most widely publicized and discussed crises have been based in this realm, it may seem surprising that we’ve taken this long. Over the last couple of years the digital realm, and surveillance thereof, has dominated news stories: the Snowden/NSA/PRISM trinity and the Assange/Wikileaks duo chief among them. We’re not going to be investigating surveillance, though—after all, we’ve already infiltrated your inbox. Instead, the essays are more formal in their scope: exploring the shifting implications of the cyborg figure, and the ramifications of four D cinema.
In early (feminist) discussions the cyborg was presented, by Donna Haraway and other theorists, as a potential figure of resistance and resilience—a marker of difference and defiance. It offered, as Tyler Morgenstern notes, “a conception of the body as negotiable and assembled.” Yet, while wearable technologies increasingly make the merging of human and machine an everyday reality, Morgenstern notes that the form of these prosthetic extensions overwhelming veers towards
the invisible and the seamless. This aesthetic sensibility (or, perhaps lack of a sensibility) extends
beyond wearable technologies and into broader conceptions of networks “of all sorts
(financial, military, activist, terrorist).” They aim for erasure. Morgenstern hones in on this
increasing reality, and seeks to understand its ramifications beyond the realm of the formal.
What does this erasure entail? How can it be resisted?
Similarly circling within the realm of recent expansions in corporate technology, Grant Leuning
delves into the topic of four D cinemas, which aim to enhance the movie-going experience
through ‘augmented reality’ à la moving viewers’ chairs, spraying them with water, blasting
them with air and so on. With Leuning, as with Morgenstern, we are in Laura Mulvey’s company.
But the association traced by Mulvey and other film theorists is threatened—we’ve cut
the cord and been expelled from the darkened womb-like state of the theatre. Our comfortable
association with the protagonist character has been disrupted, denied. Instead, our association
has fragmented into each and every element of the highly manufactured environment.
Leuning explains (with echoes of Oppenheimer): “I am become the punch, the robot, the seaspray,
the fight as such, the substance of the film itself.” As with Morgenstern, Leuning searches
for sites of plurality and alterity, even at the centre of “gratuitous capitalist innovation.”
Despite their contrasting topics both authors are congruent in an emphasis on making obvious
and, to a lesser extent, making physical (perhaps even material). In Leuning, the varied effects
of the four D cinema make countless environmental details obvious, thereby altering the
terms of the viewer’s gaze and identification. In Morgenstern, this making obvious is found
in the work of the artists he champions. They use clunky, outdated technology that makes no
attempt at seamless integration, thus embracing incoherence, glitch and the in-between.
In this spirit, then, while reading the issue there should be a few things amiss with the document.
(No need to look hard, it will be obvious.) Text will be garbled, overlaid on top of itself
until it becomes incomprehensible. Be patient; we want your reading to be disrupted, your
attention to be redirected and diverted. Easily achieved, clear reading might not always be the
best reading. Perhaps, if you haven’t already, you will gain some appetite for the imperfect, yet
impassioned.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: KAPSULA logotype and other headers set in House Gothic Bold number Four. Body copy is set in Garamond Premier Pro and/or Century Schoolbook. All text and images published herein are done so with permission of their respective owners. On the cover: Adrienne Crossman, Shawty, 2012, Video still/ Digital Still
Divisions: Faculty of Design
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2016 19:36
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2017 07:53
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/937

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