images 1: electracy [day-night]

  "The truth is that in philosophy and even elsewhere it is a question of finding the problem and consequently positing it, even more than of solving it [...] but stating the problem is not simply uncovering, it is inventing. Discovery, or uncovering, has to do with what already exists, actually or virtually; it was therefore certain to happen sooner or later. Invention gives being to what did not exist; it might never have happened." (Bergson, cited by Deleuze 1991:15) Or, it may never happen. We are familiar with this approach in art making, and in poetics. A method, or logic of invention necessarily works in ways other to instrumentalist, positivist responses to trouble which seeks to 'fix' or 'solve' a problem.

The second example I want to use here, is Gregory Ulmer's keynote address to incubation 2000, (an internet writing conference organised by trAce Online Writing Centre, Nottingham, England)~. Ulmer's thinking/making is dedicated to the articulation of an internet practice that is attentive to the design of category formation (language). His methodology maps the shift from literate to digital societies - a move he calls electracy, ('electracy is to the digital as literacy is to the book'). His performance here, as scholar and 'expert', is that of the grammatological trickster willing to appear as fool to expose the complicity of each of us, and our inadequate (not enough) or incorrect (in error) understanding of 'problem'. It's a performing of theory rather than the explication/critique of instrumentalist Aristotelian logic. This is a method that produces (initially) the laughter of recognition ('we' are not that); and then discomfort - confusion - complicity and perhaps even anger ('this is inappropriate, impolite'). It is non-communication, non-explication. It doesn't have to be practical or useful. It is a monstrous excess that operates in what Bataille categorises (and Ulmer outlines) as, the general economy rather than the restrictive economy of accumulation - 'the economy of building up and saving and getting more and acquiring'.

~ all unsourced citations from Ulmer's presentation. You can hear it streamed from this url: http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/incubation/archive/2000/audio/ulmer.mp3
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