'Shy birds are slower and calmer, and take their time before mobilizing. And this means they notice things their courageous, speedy colleagues often overlook, such as seeds left over from the previous summer. Because the advantages and disadvantages to being either courageous or shy seem to balance out, both character traits have survived until today' (p. 65).
'Life is constitutively semiotic... Semiosis (the creation and interpretation of signs) permeates and constitutes the living world, and it is through our partially shared semiotic propensities that multi-species relations are possible, and also analytically comprehensible' (p. 9).
"‘Oh, they don’t miss me,’ she said. ‘I’m antisocial, they say. I don’t mix. It’s so strange. I’m very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn’t it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this’" (p. 29).
'At the moment in which things are separated from conventions and have been able to utilize their specific and individual qualities freely, we anticipated, not always through simple automatism, the end of a very short life which often sinks into the red circles of the interior night of our eyes; its hidden expirations, its particular ways of being, absent and present outside of the corporeal, and in the complex and disturbing development of the instant in which these very same things, devoid of visuality, begin to work or find it useful to modify the course of their shadow's projection' (p. 38).
'Flaubert hated newspapers because of his conviction that they slyly encouraged readers to hand over to others a task that no honest person should ever consent to offload on to someone else: thinking... It is hardly surprising that a writer so sensitive to cliché and the mentality of the herd should feel outraged by the constriction of independent enquiry that this mass development represented, by the ironing out of local eccentricity and individual difference in favour of an all-encompassing, monocultural set of assumptions' (pp. 69).
'Walking focuses not on the boundary lines of ownership that break the land into pieces but on the paths that function as a kind of circulatory system connecting the whole organism. Walking is, in this way, the antithesis of owning. It postulates a mobile, empty-handed, shareable experience of the land' (p. 162).
This week I'm preparing for the upcoming Society for Cinema & Media Studies (SCMS) conference in Toronto, March 14–18 where I'm presenting a paper called A Gaze of Cruelty, Deferred: An Examination of Cate Shortland's Berlin Syndrome (2017).
'Literally, a technology is a systematic practice or knowledge of an art, and though we almost always apply the term to the scientific and mechanical, there is no reason not to apply it to other human-made techniques for producing desired results' (Rebecca Solnit, p. 114).
'Evanescent, like dream elements, such impressions may haunt the moviegoer long after the story they are called upon to implement has sunk into oblivion' (p. 52).
I'm very glad to be among those included in artist Mark Farid's current web/plug-in project, Invisible Voice, commissioned by Goldsmiths, University of London. Invisible Voice is a plug-in (for Chrome and Firefox) that blocks a website each week. Individual websites are selected by a different contributor who has penned a justification for its momentary boycott. With the plug-in installed, this written text, instead of the website, appears for one week during its scheduled time, then moves on to the next.
I'm very pleased to have my essay 'The Splintered Self, Digital Otherness and Free Will' included in Con La Red/En La Red, an open access publication of essays in English and Spanish edited by Lidia Bocanegra Barbecho and Ana Garcia Lopez.
'At its simplest, the message, decoded, means: I have decided that seeing this is worth recording' (p. 25).
'While the 20th-century experimental culture was seized by a recombinatorial delirium, which made it feel as if newness was infinitely available, the 21st century is oppressed by a crushing sense of finitude and exhaustion. It doesn't feel like the future. Or, alternatively, it doesn't feel as if the 21st century has started yet. We remain trapped in the 20th century, just as Sapphire and Steel were incarcerated in their roadside café' (p. 8).
'Note that from the beginning of interaction research the idea of a common goal was already in question, and in fact inheres interaction as mutual and simultaneous activity on the part of both participants, usually working toward some goal – but... not necessarily' (p. 10).
'The library was even more hushed than usual' (p. 1).
'But humans are not automatons solving problems by algorithm. They have inherited that peculiar offshoot of human evolution—self-consciousness—which allows them to imagine what others might be thinking of them and to dream up embarrassing scenarios that might not even be close to happening. A computer is unembarrassable. Although it may be hyperintelligent, it is too rational to care what a person, or indeed another computer, thinks of it. A computer cannot be shy' (p. 55).
'Before an image, finally, we have humbly to recognize this fact: that it will probably outlive us, that before it we are the fragile element, the transient element, and that before us it is the element of the future, the element of permanence. The image often has more memory and more future than the being who contemplates it' (from 'Before the Image, Before Time: The Sovereignty of Anachronism' // 2000, by Georges Didi-Huberman, p. 35).
'There are certain moments of looking at a familiar mountain which are unrepeatable. A question of a particular light, an exact temperature, the wind, the season. You could live seven lives and never see the mountain quite like that again; its face is as specific as a momentary glance across a table at breakfast. A mountain stays in the same place, and can almost be considered immortal, but to those who are familiar with the mountain, it never repeats itself. It has another timescale' (p. 50).
'He asks us to imagine what it was like, to put ourselves in the hawk's bewildered, infant mind; to experience the heat and noise, confusion and terror that was its journey to his door. "It must have been like death," he wrote, "the thing which we can never know beforehand"' (p. 60).
'Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive – it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?' (p. 19).