Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Image/Device (2)

[An expanded version of my comment to the last the post.]

I think the most precise statement I've made about (my older ideas about) the image can be found in "The History of the World".

The image is detached
from appearances,
and applied to surfaces
with equal ease.
The image is what can be done
without effort,
and seen,
without strain.
The image is easy.

On my new hypothesis, it would look like this:

The image is detached
from appearances;
the device is applied
to surfaces.
Both, with equal ease.
The device is what can be done
without effort.
The image is what can be seen
without strain.
The image is easy.
So is the device.

You just glance at it.
You push the button.

It is important here to keep in mind that neither the detachment of the image nor the application of the device will necessarily "work". The operation may fail.

The point is that "operating" the device demands an insignificant amount of effort compared to the results it can achieve (if it works). "Insignificant" is exactly the right word. It is not the act of pushing the button but the operation of the device that is significant. Herein the comedic force of the child or tramp who pushes an unmarked button out of curiosity.

("Operating an image" would be the wrong phrase. I can't think of the correct pangrammatical homologue of "operating a device".)

The role of the image (originally) or image/device (hypothetically) has to be to offer a "free" experience, i.e., a way of engaging with our experiences in an unconstrained way. We must be (absolutely) able to take them or leave them. Note that you can't just take or leave your perceptions and your actions, nor your sensations and motivations. You're to an important extent "stuck" with them. Images and devices are different in exactly that regard. (Just as intuitions and institutions are different exactly in regard to their immediacy.)

Looking for that older statement, I also found a post on "apparatus" and "machination". There might be something there.

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