TURN | Words and potency

Posted on 29/03/2012


I was going to say that it’s been an interesting couple of weeks, but really it’s always interesting. This current couple of weeks just had a few connection and pause points with particular potency, with the Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement masterclass, a roundtable on social design, a seminar on data art and the built environment, and a lecture on socially engaged art. Also, the little group formed for Enabling Suburbs seems to be struggling; not helped by the recent state election that swept in a conservative government. Our own question is not just what we can do, but what we will do. The new government will deliver so much more of the same by stripping encumberments, emphasising the ideological plasticity of planning. My stomach churns, my body pulses and my head spins at the thought of this. I would like to spit out this distaste.

My experience of situatedness and presence is tense, seemingly a problem of both place and being. I feel both implicated in and extricated from the exploitative and discursive condition of the suburban and urban environment. This is as much about an experience of place as it is about embodiment and politics. But some words, as lines of inquiry, are suddenly more resonant. Agency. Action. Affect. Public/s. Practice. Praxis. Entanglement. Relationality.

“From now on, politics is something entirely different from what political scientists believe: it is the building of the cosmos in which everyone lives, the progressive composition of the common world”
Bruno Latour

“AFFECT/AFFECTION. Neither word denotes a personal feeling (sentiment in Deleuze and Guattai). L’affect (Spinoza’s affectus) is an ability to affect and be affected. It is a prepersonal intensity corresponding to the passage from one experiential state of the body to another and implying an augmentation or diminution in that body’s capacity to act. L’affection (Spinoza’s affection) is each such state considered as an encounter between the affected body and a second, affecting, body … (Massumi, Plateaus xvi).”
Eric Shouse

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