WHAT GIVES US LIFE?

Bracha L. Ettinger and Akseli Virtanen

 

Published in Psykoterapia Journal of Psychotherapy 2011/2:169-187

Translated by Heidi Fast

 

Akseli Virtanen: Lets talk first a little bit about what we have done, what we have been doing together.

First when we met, there was of course the Trans-Siberian adventure and the Jump, which we have been talking plenty elsewhere.[1]

But let’s go first back to the August last year, to the making of the Co-poiesis book, to the seminary here in Helsinki and the Fragilization & Resistance exhibition.[2] I think it was, or the series of these events were very direct continuance on the study of and on experimentation with the themes which we started explicitly in the Jump-work. And to thoughts which grew stronger and clearer at least in me when we were making the Co-poiesis book.

Since meeting you, since the Jump, which I still think  was really able to “move the soul”, as Deleuze says, of the ones it touched (I don’t think I will ever forget it), since the micro-organizational catastrophies we have experienced in our cooperative attempts here in Finland, since the cruel experience of precarious life, since all the depression and the dead-endness of the future prospects of European societies, since all this… since the experience of these conditions that make it a plain necessity to work with your themes – like fragilization, copoiesis, connecting to the trauma of the other, encounter-event, compassion, wit(h)nessing… –  because it seems that the old ideals and ways of creating autonomy, cooperation and good life lead today rather to more subordination and submission…

Since all this, I have felt to be on the right track together with you, I have felt this strange desire for linking, for matrixial erotic connection, for the increase of the moments of fascinance and copoiesis.

What do you think we are doing?

Brachia Ettinger: The moment of the Jump happened at the last moment of the voyage together.

And for me, most of the process of which I felt a part of was in fact invisible, a long process that sustained my crazy impulse to turn the spontaneous jump gesture into an artistic Jump performance.

During the trip in the train and up to the moment of the Jump, there was a lot of desired and undesired sharing, on many different levels, and there were different conflicts, visible and invisible, but I was in continuous contact with the level of fragilization and resistance in me and in others, a level always reattunning and re-reattuned, where resistance, at least my resistance, addressed the narcissistic self and the pre-organized fixed individual projects on the one hand and the level of collective pre-organized group work on the other hand. I was absorbed in becoming aware of the secret, hidden process of co/in-habit(u)ation, secret in the sense of the unconscious creating of an “heimliche” atmosphere within the destabilizing movement of transportation and connecting.

For my artworking project (within the “capturing the moving mind” perceived as an art project) I brought some of my notebooks in a small portfolio to the trip. During the trip, I discretely left some of them open in the cabin, displaying them by half-hiding them, and was taking notes every day, especially dreams. The process for me followed from lecture-event to notebooks to encounter-eventing to lecturing-events again, discussing, writing, drawing. I connected with others with the notebooks in my hand, as if they were a continuity of my body, mind and hands, as always, casually. I didn’t discuss them, didn’t expose them in any organized manner “to be seen”, the notebooks were a continuity of my studio, an inside in the outside, an inside that connects sometimes with the outside but mostly with other’s insides – the studio that, with the notebooks, is everywhere – and this was already a part of thinking the trip itself as a meaningful but unknown process. From time to time I shared the notebooks with others, showing what is inside them, drawing while listening to others. With them, I physically brought traces from the past and from others to our emerging mental shared space.

Every day I asked you, and some others: What is art? This happened in all simplicity, no ceremony, I wrote down everybody’s answers/statements, and asked them to sign their statements. This was discreet, but already an event. When I asked again the same person the day after: “What is art?” some people gave me a new, different answer, and were sometimes conscious that their reply is changing; others said: you had already asked me this before, or, and more and more so as time went bye: “I don’t know any more”. Some were amused by the question, some were annoyed, but already the question started to accompany many of us, to the extent that we spent the whole night after the Jump discussing, precisely, “What is art?”. This process was fueling my readyness for coemergence in self-fragilization and trust, assisting transconnecting with others from inside to inside via the notebook space which is already in itself very complex, intimate and extimate and liquid.

To keep trusting was in itself a process of reattunement, to keep trusting, keep wondering, keep being amazed, return to trusting, return to respecting, containing anxieties, allowing room for surprises, get over the tendency for reactive criticality which for me is senseless and arrive at a resisting critique – this is not simple.

Criticality in a reactive sense is more simple; we saw how it can burst out for no reason, or for reasons of narcissistic pride. To keep respecting is a complex mental move. If a significative change is going to happen, there are risks to be taken on the individual level. The risk to be ridiculized, the risk of shame, for example, the risk of being criticised, the risk of guilt. For some of us, trusting the process was intolerable, so judgement began, and blaming, and abandoning; the atmosphere was charged.

Life is about insides meeting insides beyond relations, but we tend to look for inter-subjective reasons for many processes and ignore that transubjectivity is at work, a transubjectivity where these mechanisms don’t fit. You can’t trust the other when you feel that you don’t deserve being trusted, and you can’t abandon yourself in fascinance if respect for the others and self-respect were hurt. So, you see, resistance is first of all to yourself. It is different from critique, or it is a different critique, a one that doesn’t use/abuse the others as objects. I sometimes feel that I understand better the bees, the butterflies and the birds. As a child I was fascinated by butterfiles, and by birds, and I realised how they are transconnected; I felt that they feel one another as if from within. I am like that too. This kind of sensing doesn’t lean on the senses. It is about sensing frequencies and vibrations.

AV: In this kind of sensing signs and things connect to each other independent of the subjective control, which we, the subjects of particular enunciations, think we can have over them. This is a kind of machinic logic, or transsubjective space, on the level of which you would like to displace the problematic of the unconscious, and of the production of subjectivity. Machinic in the sense of Guattari, I mean. There the partial components of this production are not necessarily only human, and the processes don’t work through representation or signification but through affective contamination or attunement of frequences and vibrations and bifurcations which just start to happen to you, in a sense, despite of you, free of you. Connecting to this process demands a kind a pathic sensitivity.

BE: Sometimes this becomes intolerable, to be a bee or a bird, and I then need lots of silence, an autistic retreat. This autistic retreat is not against – it is for, for borderlinking with the cosmos. The notebooks are a vehicle for this too, they are turning any space, everywhere, into my studio, a place for closings and openings. They allow for magic moments of silence in just any conditions, and therefore a kind of freedom.

AV: A relationship between a singular drift and a cosmic game can be happy, but it can also become intolerable, a moment of crises and collapse, where the acceleration of pathic dimension amounts to exclusion. The world becomes too much. You are talking about a way to think about our individuation in terms of potentials or metastable set of tensions, intensity thresholds, that we carry with us, in us, beyond us. A moment of disindividualization or self-fragilization that can start a process that is open to future.

It makes me think of the vibration of the voice of Gregor in Kafka which starts to gum up words. It is not part of any meaningful language nor is it organized music of singing even if it seems like it. It just works, but has no need to be interpreted or to take a meaningful form. The perspective moves from meaning to the language itself, to the materiality of language and to the a-signifying expression of materiality which talks directly with senses, with sensual. Also children have this magical ability to touch language by repeating a word, whose meaning is maybe only vaguely familiar, in a way that it starts to vibrate and contort and cease to be representative and to start moving without the limitations of signification. It becomes minoritarian.

And this is not a wordplay or a metaphor. In Kafka, the Gregor-animal does not talk “like” a human being, but rather finds and senses and uses tonalities in language which lack significance, the meaningful dimension. Words are not “like” animals, they don’t have animal qualities, but they really climb, bark, dig and miaow. They are real linguistic animals, insects and dogs and bees. The interaction of such unstable and unpredictable elements belong to the realm of change, they are the matter of change maybe, the place of mutation. This is the field where also Guattari’s skitsoanalysis was intended to work, to deal with the semiotic and material characteristics of such interaction. In any case it is certain that politics which emphases only speech and language and meaning, or sees them as the only viable form of political expression, is today weak.

BE: You are right, we didn’t talk yet about what could freedom mean in all this. Fragilization and freedom… Where there is paranoia there is no freedom. At the second stage, for the exhibition at the Kiasma, you, Marja (Sakari) and Tuula (Karjalainen) as curators presented the Jump video next to the vitrines with my notebooks. They were generous to give me a wonderful space for the installation of the notebooks, a space apart were they could breath. Notebooks in which people’s answers were inscribed together with earlier notebooks that remained close in the portfolio or opened on the train’s shelves and beds joined other notebooks from earlier years. This presentation surely gave the long process of the encounter-eventing in the Trans-Siberian train a certain perspective; it also brought the hidden and the casual to the center. When the notebooks were alreay in the museum I thought to myself that this is crazy to let all those notebooks out of my studio, so I asked Marja and Tuula to see to it that someone scans them, in case they fall in the sea on the way back. This is how the project of scannography of the notebooks was born. So for me, the moment of the Jump was the real and symbolic end of that trip, and it marked retroactively the whole process in a way that makes visible some of its potentialities – some, but not all – and a new beginning for few of us; but this moment happened in the middle of a process, and as a part of a copoietic working-through fragilization and resistance. Like in a spiral, what could close the circle was an occasion for a new beginning, which is what some of us – and you and me – felt.

Being together, and even traveling together, and even aspiring to work together, and even planning projects, don’t promise co-emergence and co-poiesis. You were right to observe during the “Ecologies of Resistance” seminar in Helsinki that there is always the possibility of paranoia and power games that can destroy any grouping process. Co-emergence is promised but not simply given, and the miracle of copoiesis is not at all given, and is not even promised. Fascinance is spontaneous but needs the mediation of awe and compassion in order not to freeze into fascinum or explode into rage and envy, shame and disgust. Certain consciousness, like certain self-abandonment, are a part of the opening of the creative field. What I call co-poiesis involves amazement and therefore some kind of innocence or trust in the process during borderlinking in encounter-eventing. So, not every encounter is an encounter-event. Not every event reaches the level of an inspired-inspiring Thing. We bring into each present a possible “co-,” different experiences as well as different virtualities stemming from earlier encounters, but it takes some awe and also some Eros to reach the level of co-poiesis. Different processes could  lead to a Jump – but what followed in the reality, for few of us, as fruitful cooperative projects, was this huge effort that you and your friends desired to undertake: essays, translations, preparing the ground for exhibition, catalogue-book, books, lectures, a day conference, in fact I am the one who must put the question to you: what, in your view, could sustain such an enormous effort, the renewal of desire after each crisis, the arousal of desire up to the point of achieving all this – what lays in the source of this feeling that something clearly enormous is at stake, for you, for each participant, what made you reach the desire for matrixial erotic connection, what made you glimpse at this increase of moments of fascinance, what sustained the hope for copoiesis, which indeed happens?

AV: I think we need belief, belief in the possibilities of a world which seems to be on the edge of collapsing all the time.  Belief in the world where the whole of the possible seems exhausted, where there seems to be no possibility at disposal. In a world where there is no possible, nothing can change. There the future is not a promise but a threat. That is what is at stake.

Think of for example the economic crisis in Europe at the moment. It is a crisis that cannot be solved economically. The depression and lack of trust are not only economical but much more also psycho-social. The precarization of the labor process has changed the social landscape in such a way that any social conscious recomposition – which means the social and cultural process enabling the fragments of labor and of general intellect to become conscious subjectivity – seems impossible. Migrants, precarious workers, cultural workers, cognitive workers. They share the same condition of weakness, at different degrees, but they are unable to find a common ground of solidarity and fight. This un-recomponibility is the effect of the simultaneous fractalization and precarization of labor, which has become the normal and permanent form of organizing production, and of the cognitivization and affectuation of labour which sucks all our intellectual and desiring energies toward the sphere of work and makes it our only object of investment, both economically and psychologically. This seems to be destroying the prerequisites of living relationship, absorbing and neutralizing the living energies of the cognitive workers. It results to something like an an-estesia (an-aisthesis), being without sensation, of which the states of mind like opportunism and cynisism, and their increasing importance in working life, are maybe the most evident examples.

Also the experience of the first decade of the century, the experience of the global movement against capitalist globalization seems to imply the uncomponibility of labor, and the impossibility of social autonomy. The economic recession is not at all only the effect of financial craziness and greed, but also of this de-vitalization of the social field. Think of the psychotic boom of panic and depression, and the general decline in social desire and in empathy, or its transformation into strategic, empty empathy, as you would say. The question that rises from the collapse is so radical that the answer cannot be found in the conceptual framework of for example economics. The crises can never be solved in economic terms, because it is not economic but essentially symbolic. It looks like the recomposition process, conscious collective subjectivation, is not possible in this new condition, the condition of recombinant capital. How can a group of depressed opportunists do something together?

So your question is really a question of desire, of subjectivity, as a process, as you define it and as we are leaning to approach it. The Guattari master class for example has been really about production of subjectivity, experimenting with the production of subjectivity in this situation.

In these efforts, in doing the Copoiesis-book and your exhibition at the academy of Fine Arts, I think we understood or felt, or felt-understood what you mean when you say that matrixial desire is not lack, but a “space”. Desire is a field, it is a space or an entangled network of different, connecting and conflicting forces and encounters.

BE: Yes, matrixial desire is not about desiring reconnection to some lost object or relation (object a), but rather, subjectivity is about looking for the affective linking (link a) and matrixial connection, moments of fascinance and copoiesis. Desire is not a lack as it is about creation of linking which makes you vulnerable, indeed, but which fragilise you in a creative way only inasmuch as you realize the vulnerability of the other too. Respecting opens a process of subjectivation.

AV: I think this is very important. Because it means that desire is not innate faculty, but rather an effect of an encounter and an encounter is always an encounter with the outside, the other, meaning the heterogeneous forces affecting you – already vibrating inside you, as you emphasise – for which you need to be vulnerable, also because it is these encounters that force you to desire and to think, they force and attract you toward that which you are not already or do not yet desire, urging you to become, to desire and think and connect otherwise. They fragilize you by tuning you into a formless field where the heterogeneous forces at play enter into a relation with one another. But it demands this kind of passive power, I think you have also tried to say, a power to be affected, like with butterflies. I think it is also maybe the most accurate meaning of the word pathic Guattari too uses a lot, to be able to experience, to be able to affectively fragilize oneself, to be affected. It has this active dimension in it, you know, like the experience of life always for the Greeks, the active dimension in “what happened to you?”

I remember you said it in the seminar in Turku, suddenly, quietly, as in a subordinate clause,

like you suddenly realized something and accidentally put your private thoughts to words not meant for anybody else, that maybe now after people have been reading enough Deleuze and Guattari, the time might be ready for your work too, for a rethought analytic understanding… or something like that, I wrote it down, I need to find those papers… What did you mean by this? How do you see this, the role and place of psychoanalysis now?

BE: In Deleuze and Guattari there is the endless glissement, endless fluidity, and in psychoanalysis we have either the subject  (with Freud and Lacan) or thousands possibilities with Deleuze and Guattari. I leave out for the moment the object-relations and the intersubjective models, because they are less to our point right now, and because there is the assumption of subject-subject or subject-object relation, whereas I wish to bring the transrelational into focus. With Deleuze and Guattari, there is no point of resistance! No point of ethical resistance, which needs, in my view, a real possibility of encounter-event, the emergence of severality in the I as a part of particular I – non-I transconnections. I will have to reformulate this better, but I already said this in Fragilization and Resistance essay that I wrote for our exhibition catalogue, but it needs to be digested in a way where the question is put each time to the “I” and not rejected toward the “other”. The I who is responsible, the I of witnessing and  wit(h)nessing. This is the issue that today is misunderstood… Another issue is to realise the extent to which the other is not the product of the subject’s rejection and abjection but a string that vibrates inside the subject. We have to bring into account in all this how on the one hand the self-projected image has become a capital and to what an extent images without “authors” serve subjects without ethics of witnessing. This  is what I meant by “copyrights,” that there is someone behind the camera, and tthat this someone can testifiy that someones were there, to insist on the real behind the image and the imaginary, someone who can tell the story of what s/he sees and hears, that if s/he has the right to do this, and sometimes the obligation, this is a move from the commercial to the ethical. We have to talk on ethical copyrights maybe. In painting I see this better: the aura returns to the oil painting, the aura returns to the drawing, this has to do with the uniqueness of living beings and the uniqueness of their transconnected strings, the frequencies of the bees, the bearing of the vulnerable other upon the self-fragiliazing I. I need to say this in a better way – the passage from wit(h)nessing to witnessing is different from the passage from watching a spectacle and witnessing. Where everything can be reduced to its value as an object this dimension is difficult to grasp. In the matrixial shift in psychoanalysis, analysis and therapy would precisely be the place where the other will not remain an object, the cause of all the troubles of the subject. Before any othering of the other, we are first of all transconnected in com-passion (with the mother) and this kind of potentiality for com-passion is never lost, and is a desiring source.

Psychoanalysis, in the practice, went in few major directions: either there is a “cause” for suffering and for desire, which is to be found in the unremembered personal prehistory – what led to mother and father blaming, and to the effects of the loss of compassion, awe and respect, or the “cause” is lacking, leading precisely to the same effects but without parental blaming. Empathy toward the patient (the subject) without compassion to its objects and to its connected subjects (what I have called empathy-without-compassion) caused a catastrophe to the familial and social web. This is not about the loss of this structure, but about the tear in the web of affective strings, which can lead to perpetual depression and paranoia. The passage to “anti-Oedipus” with the attempt to leave behind the subject in self-identity was an illusion. We have different subjective levels and layers; on a certain level the subject in identity always remain, and to leave it completely behind means to intensify identification with images of narcissism imported from different communication fields that exchange the image-capital. So the idea is not to reject or ignore the subject in self-identity, but to relativise it, and to allow for awareness and symbolization of other levels, the levels of jointness that is not limitless but is working on the borderline between the few. I have articulated such a field, I hope, and from a feminine-pre-maternal perspective, where, I hope, transubjectivity can be dealt with in such a way that it is becoming possible to take into consideration not only the self, the object-relations and the inter-subjective relations, but also the matrixial webs, without falling into endless liquidity. The affective strings are intense.

AV: This is an important specification with direct political consequences. It takes forward and develops the idea of machinic unconscious, and machinic subjectivity in Deleuze and Guattari which they used to replace structure and meaning to emphasise procedure, production, singularities, heterogeneity, irreversibility and time as opposed to interchangeability, homology, equilibrium, reversibility and a-historicity. This was an important opening because the processuality and heterogeneity opened unconscious and subjectivity again towards future. But I have started to think that the concept of “multitude”, even if it has gained success in the contemporary critical thinking (and I too have been writing about it), is a weak concept politically. It does not capture or explain the subjectivity nor the organizational problematic we are dealing with very well. As a concept it is perhaps too weak to catch the real problem of political organization – what I would call, to paraphrase Bunuel, the discreet charm of the precariat – and on the other hand it is as a concept perhaps not weak enough in order catch the nature of the problem of political organization of post-conscious-collective-subjectivity. A concept you use instead of multiplicity is severality?

BE: Transubjectivity works for good and for bad, and that’s why our responsibility as a subject-with-in-severality to transform what is “in us” concerning what is “not us” is crucial. The subject who is becoming responsible and resists can’t condition his or her resistance and responsibility, but works to resist its own paranoia, no matter what. Narcissism becomes defensive and aggressive, even violent, when only “multitude” is recognised. Paranoia is contagious precisely because we are unconsciously transconnected yet not multiple, connected and unique, undispensible, inside each web, and we do have choices, including the choices to make the string more effective or less effective with our own virtual arousals. When we realise how this occurs, we know that the question of human energy is not that of power but that of responsibility. This is why it is urgent in my view to grasp these delicate mental and psychic mechanisms, because we are never really isolated, even in isolation, and it takes a subject-within-severality to transcend the relevant web of severality. Here is a critique of Deleuze and Guattari. The subjectivizing affective arousals are to be taken into account on the levels of each individual who is transubjected. It seems that I had felt, or my working-through antennaes felt a spontanous need for new language and it gave rise to new metaphores, because even the metaphores of radioactivity or of a plague are not precise enough. And “multiplicity” is not the right description, it leads nowhere. The subject is probably more narcissistic today, when narcissism itself is invested as a capital per-se, so the connection to the subject is always kept, in the matrixial sphere. We are transcharged with affective lights and shadows that we must encharge and discharge from within for the inside and for the outside; a double work is needed here. I have always explained that self-fragilization is a risk, that reattunement is not a promise of happiness, that it is painful, that you are first of all more open to anxiety – or you are more open to it as well, the affective arousals travel between people. To start resistance by criticising the outside is therefore putting more of the same into the shared affective reservoire.

AV: It seems that today we, as subjects in self-identity, are unable to cooperate, unable to connect, unable to become conscious collective subjectivities, and still we as if keep banging our heads towards to the same wall. Our group here in Finland has had already disappointed and paralyzing experiences with anxiety, cynicism, opportunism and paranoid defenses, with pretence of cooperation… with this distancing or this pathos of distance that has as if become essential part of our survival today.

In a situation where autonomy, self-organization, self-learning, own production – the old ideas and means of criticism and independent life – are already essential components of the mechanisms of valorization in semiocapitalism, the escape seems to reside in withdrawing totally to oneself, away from cooperation, from solidarity, in total “unemployment” or in only “apparent” participation, in boredom and depression, giving nothing to the enterprise that has taken the form of a self-organizing community or a platform of learning. This is the common frame of mind for us, not only us here in Helsinki, but in whole of Europe I think. That is why the question of resistance is not so much about strategic moves or organization of the masses or of revolution, but of something much more humble and weak, withdrawn and reserved, something much more difficult and fragile. Our Mollecular group for instance is a group of losers, dark souls, sad figures, cynical opportunists and depressed knights. In no way are we tough or macho, like the activist movements usually try to articulate themselves. We don’t march or demonstrate. We have difficulties getting up from the bed. Our problem is simple different, our mode of operation is diffirent.

Guattari talks about ecosophy and the “art of eco”, the art of making our existential territory habitable again.  And he talks about the aesthetic paradigm which should be adopted if we want to deal with these new problems which are not only something  “external” to us (greedy bankers, neoliberalism, financial capital etc…), but reside  already “inside” us, in our own hearts and minds, in our friends and modes of cooperation. So when you say that resistance is first to yourself, I understand very well what you mean. Our contemporary claustrophobia is a sympton of a world without outside. It means that there is no longer any kind of Manichean dualism where the “good” are organizing against the “evil”. What is the most frightening is not the outside, the unknown, but what we know the best: ourselves. That the mechanisms of the production of value have in semiocapitalism disseminated into our mental environment, I think, is today far more important to the analysis of desire than the “mother relation” or the “family”.

The economy does not function only through exchange values, monetary values, but also through mechanisms of subjectivation. Capitalism is today a productive-economic-subjective-compound. That is why we are ourselves integral organs to the functioning of this compound. The essence of the capitalist accumulation is in the very fact that it does not restrict itself within the sphere of economic surplus value, but that it is essentially about production of subjectivity, about the capture and management of subjective abilities and powers, appropriation of its time and desire. Semiocapitalism spreads the structures and risks of production into structures of subjectivity, meaning, desire and relationships. That is also why the demand of good life – a life in which our ways and acts of living are never simply facts, but always and above all about the possibilities of our lives, about creating our own problems – interferes directly in the core of the semiocapitalist accumulation.

The question of such “virtual ecology” does not mean concentrating only in oneself or giving up political commitment. On the contrary, it means re-founding political practices, means of cooperation and co-poiesis which are suited to the historical situation where the traditional representative politics, ideological and social practices have become inadequate.

For us this has meant a kind of turn into existential pragmatism. If somebody has a tool or an angle that we think might work in making our existential territory more habitable, we  want to try it and see if it works. This has been our idea with your work too: intuitively we knew it will work, that it will give us life. The real invention I think was the displacement of your concepts from their more immediate surrounding in aesthetic, feminist and psychoanalytic thinking into political and economical analysis of semiocapitalism and into the development of positive organization  of coming cooperations, of the cooperations of people to come.

BE: And it is even not enough to say that the mechanisms of the production of value have disseminated into our mental environment. It is important also to realise, and I owe this insight to few conversations with my son, that we can call the narcissistic investment of the self by the self per-se (not related to any directly economic value or investment) on the Internet Web: a capital. When narcissistic image of oneself per-se becomes a capital, the question of the value of the real, and first of all real life, gets into trouble, and this trouble is bigger than that of the media-publicity crisis. So, in my own terms, and my artistic route insists on this, when art follows this media instinct in narcissistic circulation it stands for a regressive for the spirit; narcissistic forms become sources for fascinum and block fascinance. But we do have means to sense when the  spirit moves us towards new kinds of beauty and new kinds of sublimity and offers some trembling to our soul which is not regressive. You know when you receive, and also you know when you give. You know because your paranoia is calmed, and giving is not replaced by surrendering but becomes creative. This is something that is felt. A kind of a sense.

To come back to you and your group of friends, the amazing thing was that suddenly a group who tries to function, and fails to function, under an assumption of not-giving, begins to give. And this happened because the members were aroused into desiring by to a sense of a giving that had reached them from an outside which becomes a joint-inside, from within a borderspace whose sharing was offered to them, what makes them larger than themselves. Something started to include them, a sense of virtual encounter-eventing. You don’t simply give, but you are inside a giving because you feel you are given and you want to join the space where this takes place, and this desire infiltrates your aloneness and overcomes your suspiciousness. Each one senses when s/he is given, not only receiving, because we do sense the inside of one another, we know a giving in the other as we know it in ourselves, and we sense this occurrence as beauty. You can’t do any tricks here. It works when the string of giving vibrates and some giving flows. This is art. Art is there already, and you are attracted to its sphere. So there is this fascinance, being attracted to a poetic giving that reaches toward you, I mean, it is the art that does this and enables this. Any art, if art it is. It is sensed also on the aesthetic level of therapy and psychoanalysis. And you sense it, and you sense with it, and it senses you, like music. Painting is musical in that sense. An encounter-event is musical too. The line and the light in painting are musical. And you are seized by the overtones of life-and-art. You reach the poetic sphere which is working with-in art and become copoietic, on the road, you join this thread, and there is a beginning of the ethical at this moment too: the grasping of the sacredness, or of the holy, of a space of shareability between insides of beings and of the spirit. I think that the birds know this, and I feel like a bird.  The bees knows this, and I feel like a bee. I am a bee and a bird and a butterfly. Their force is not in being strong. I hesitate about the butterflies because they are too fragile, and you can easily hurt them. We have to invent a butterfly-bee.

AV:  Like us, butterfly is wounded with its potentiality, it is inseparable from its weakness and suffering, from certain fragility and vulnereability and passivity – which is the condition for a power of another order.

BE: When you decide to co-respond within the poetic field you feel that this is also a space of freedom. You are not reactive – you are responsive. Your group began to respond, and could give up reactivity. You are engaged, and you are free. Maybe the beginning of the attachment to my work was through the sense of this musical generosity that emanated from the work itself, to which you were sensitive, and which is the art in all this. This fueled everybody with desire, the feeling that we are alive and Eros is there, floating in the passage from the aesthetical to the ethical, because, there was an engagement there, and an obligation, a sense of responsibility and of a future, to which you have become engaged, and I have become engaged with you, you felt the desire to bring this forth for others, you started to give, and you felt alive in giving. This overcame anxiety. However, in my view, anxiety is not the major affect behind the aesthetic working-through. It is there, it is around, it is felt, but it is not the center. Anxiety can easily be manipulated, and shame, and guilt; but awe and compassion, on the other hand, which are not less archaic then anxiety and even more so, have in my view an unbelievable force of resistance.

Essential to our discussion, to thinking art today and psychoanalysis today and therapy today, is not only anxiety – the anxiety of encountering the hidden as strangeness (once heimliche but now split by unconscious cut or eternally transformed) – but also awe and compassion, which I see as primary affects.

AV: Here is the key move. Because this is as essential to thinking also politics today, to thinking about the positive organization of a community of those who do not have a community, a community that is as thoroughly real as it is absent or incomplete, only buildable on this metastable foundation, or as Aristotles says, what is potent, can be and not be.

BE: A real encounter-event is impregnated with a paradoxical almost-anxiety worry-caring arousal that signals the impossibility to not-join and the impossibility to not-share and to not become a part of something or somebody else. And this, more than anxiety, composes the aesthetic sphere that informs ethicality. And this was neglected by psychoanalysis: the human need, the subject’s (patient’s) need to feel awe, compassion, and finally respect, to its others. I can see a beginning of an adult ethicality not in the primary affects but in their effect: respect. Primary affects function, like anxiety does, as signals, and correspond to phenomena and occurrences of jointness-in-differentiating, on a proto-ethical level. Their birthing entails a particular kind of knowledge in-of the real, that of the arousal as co-naissance with-in the Other. So, in that sense, in the sense of the kinds of affects being aroused, we know one another as we know ourselves, we know when a giving takes place, intuitively, as you said. And there is an intuitive response, as you said. Traces of oblivion and waves of thoughts and memory that travel along the duration of such affective arousals are transmitted, trans-scribed and cross-scribed in the level of the individual subject, in difference from their joint inscription in the shared level of transubjectivity and even transjectivity, since each one of us is both subject and transject – feeling-sensing alone, according to our autistic trajectories, while transensing-feeling along shareable strings, receiving and transmitting traces and waves at the level of transjectivity while elaborating the same traces and being traversed by these waves in a subjectal – and not only transjectal – positioning (subjectal:  where object-relations and inter-subjective relations are elaborated). Transjectivity and transubjectivity in the matrixial borderspace are never global, never a collective Unconsious, but limited each time to the few who participate in an encounter-event: to the several. This is the kind of resistance that my theory offers. A move toward particular kind of ethicality is enabled by this affective zone which in itself is only proto-ethical. Enabled – but not imposed. A choice, an option, an offer, a gift, again. A possibility for resistance is offered to the subject by arousal, tending-toward and response that are not reactive. The subject crystlalises around these affects. Losing the capacity to respect is a loss to subjectivity. Responding to one’s own passage in a singular transubjective encounter that concerns you by becoming aware of this passage, followed by a passage into new thinking and action upon this awareness – these testify to degrees of freedom. Thus, possible passages that follow from these primary arousals turn them into contributions to Ethics. Jointness of the few resists the Ego and resists fragmentation and endless fluidity. And so a response-able subject can arise. And if en-compassing and aweing turn into respecting and resistance that motivate action, this even informs possibilities of Politics.

AV: Your notion of communicaring opens the question of how to connect with others without a spatial proximity or shared temporal continuity of existence, which are the preconditions of community, into a question of molecular organization of heterogeneity and distance, or of a relation without relating, thinkable only as denial of merger, symbiosis, homogeneity, identity with itself. Since your last visit, our main focus has been in the organization of this impossible community.

BE: We met. Strings started to vibrate. We don’t usually grasp them, but they continue to vibrate over distances. Sometimes these strings can be created without any actual meeting. Once they start to vibrate we are somehow connected. This is on the one hand a transgression of the individual’s boundaries, but on the other hand, if you recognise this trangression, your degrees of freedom grow and your degrees of paranoia are reduced, as long as you can work this through, noises stop and music enters. However, even without spatial proximity, it doesn’t mean that everybody is connected to everybody. It takes specific affective arousals. Arousal by compassion is very different from arousal by anxiety. Is it anxiety, or is it just or mainly anxiety, with which I, as artist, open myself to the Other and the Cosmos, risking, like Eurydice, my own fading and disappearance again and again? What is the Thing or what are the things that overwhelm me so, that make me amazed ? And how this amazement is connected to art? What is art? How do I know something by artworking? I ask myself this question in a double way, because I also wonder about the desire of the psychoanalyst. What is the meaning and the reason for caring?

Do you remember, in our Trans-Siberian voyage, when I kept asking people “what is art?” and wrote their replies in my notebooks, I talked with you on how the notion of care and communicaring is embedded in the idea of the notebooks’ work. I am drawing and writing few words here and there when I listen to my patients too. I do not write their stories, but i write some words when I listen to them, as I said, they are the continuity of my hands, they are real and symbolic, and they stand for all kids of distant continuities. Sometime I draw in water in them, so that everything that I will write will disappear before apearing, while appearing. What is there apears already as a trace of what it could have been, and the same goes for the words, they belong to the spirit, they are not connected, and they are transconnected, they are meaningful, and they belong to whoever wants to look. They only reveal if they hide, and they are a safe place for everybody because everything gets mixed and in bribes, there is no specific identity. The olt mmoments when you find continuity is when I start to write thoughts in it  – the theoretical elaboration, they are coherent. So they are a space of care, and they assist my free-floating listening, my reverance-reverie. There is this human condition described in Hebrew by the word “de’aga” with its verb “lid’og” (and its root “d.a.g”) that means to worry and have concern for, to take care for and about. I am concerned and involved as I take care, I care for your needs while I worry about you. The notion of a giving is already there. it is different from anxiety. The aesthetic arousal, in therapy and in art is about communicaring. Do I necessarily take care of whoever and whatever worries me? When do worry and care meet? What is this worry-caring to which I give the time of my soul, that moves me to artworking and gives my life a sense of a sense in-by an oeuvre? And what kind of care-worry moves the other to participate in the encounter-event and the viewer to participate in the affective sphere the oeuvre creates?  – Think about, consider and seize the passive force of this mixture of grains of compassion and awe without any connectivity to an object, to a supposed cause of their arousal. When you think on this you can realise the passage to art and the passage to therapy. I think of this mixture as a psychic concerned arousal, arousal in concerning. Arousal. Something arises both in itself vesrus something, and as a response in an encounter-event. We take it for granted that any mother, any father, know this arousal, and we usually register it on the account of responsible adulthood, while I suggest that this arousal is primary, that the infant is exposed to it originarily, as an affective way to know the other, (m)Other and Cosmos. Concerned arousal of compassion in awe-full concerning is close in kind to anxiety but is different from it. It doesn’t alert me to a danger for my self, it doesn’t push me to flight even if it raises my defenses. It calls me to transgress my subjective boundaries while it signals that in fact my boundaries have already been transgressed. To en-compass-worry and to awe-worry – these are two affects that call upon me to slip out of my self but not into infinite oceanity. These are two affective ways to know the other, the m-Other and the cosmos, and to make differences between non-I and I. To know, and to structure the non-I – contrary to the position of Freud, and of Melanie Klein after him, that the other is structured as what the self rejects and detests (Freud) and that the first subjective position is schizophrenic-paranoid (Klein) and emerges out of undifferentiated fusion with the world and autism – by transconnection; well, these two affects I consider to be just as primary as anxiety. They signal the arousal of anima in being. And when anima is aroused adjoined with fascinance, what can appear to the senses as beauty and as sublime already offers itself as an enigme to the psyche, as that which is non-I but whose connection to me gives me life and makes me breath. So, as I sayd, we have ways to sense what gives us life, and we can access this enigme only by joining the non-I by some kind of respect that involves compassion and awe on an aesthetical level. These two affective modes are beyond the uncanny anxiety: uncanny awe and uncanny compassion. As you self-fragilise yourself resistance, first to your own Ego, becomes possible.

AV: I see your point, to develop another way to think about anxiety or restlessness that is close to it, or to take the Freudian unheimlich beyond it links to anxiety?

BE: Yes, and what motivated me to do this was that I realised that therapists quite often amalgamate any kind of arousal with anxiety.

AV: In fact the same problem is taking form in political imagination too, it is not clear yet but I can sense its forming. For example in Virno and Agamben. It would extremely important to understand that human beings are charactized by their disconnectedness and distance to any particular environment, a kind of permanent state of disorientation, supplemented with fact that they are beings without any particular (for example biological) task or purpose, which are together enough to make us “open to the world” but also capable of murderous hostility towards our fellow members of the species. So what would be important would be to remember that in addition to this disconnectedness and unfaithfulness and uncommitment human beings have an original fabrique of pathic connectivity, of compassion and co-emergence which moves them, which makes them fall together.

Like in the materialistic tradition of Epikuros and Lucretius they tried to think about time without world, a time where human bodies just fall at the same speed through a bottomless vacuum, a body next to a body, like raining from the sky. But then suddenly something unexpected happens, a “sideslide”, an “evadation” – like Lucretius describes in the Finnish translation (lat. clinamen, i.e. declination, gr. parenklisis) – which makes the bodies encounter and collide, to stick to one and another so that they fall down together in a permanent way. Without the sideslide nature would not have created anything. And it is important to understand that it is not secondary, clinamen is the cause of the encounter… and what connects is not a form, a thing, but a rhythm, a way of vibrating, a resonance, an attunement.

BE: Very often what could have become a creative move, motivated by the discovery of awe or compassion, turns due to therapeutic interventions into anxiety and blaming of parents. This is one of the biggest problems of dynamic psychotherapy. It is urgent to recognise when other affects are at work, and help to turn them into respect, and not into blame. Respect of the self, respect of the other, respect of the Cosmos. The Freudian Uncanny is based on weaning, separation and castration anxieties. Lacan has identified in all clarity that anxiety doesn’t steam from the state of separation but from a state of encounter hinted at after the separation had already taken place, becuae at this stage it is regressive, it is identified with symbiosis which is identified with the maternal body which is identified with psychic death. This symbiosis-death is identified with the feminine linked to the mother. For that reason, the articulation I have made of the difference between non-life or non-living-yet, and death, was very important in my eyes, and I have dedicated lots of writing to articulate the link between the pre-maternal femininity and the pre-life condition (that is not death in life), as well as the process of differentaition in jointness, which is not a symbiosis. In Lacanian terms, anxiety addresses the subjective cut via the cause of desire which is forever lacking: objet a. Anxiety connects to the helplessness of the infant, to the series of weaning the infant must pass through, to an enormous net of notions and concepts that deal with cuts, lacks, holes, loses, splitting and rejects, of which the abject as a rejecting tendency is neither the last nor the least. When I suggest to think an uncanny produced by, and relating to, those other affects that for me are primary and major, i. e.: awe and compassion, I am also suggesting ways to think on art, and on another kind of art-critique that will put forward a self-requirement for self-fragilization, an autistic pact to work for life from the difference between non-life and death. So much so that the critique wouldn’t be supported by splitting mechanisms and wouldn’t support them either, and thus the lacking object of its search wouldn’t be the flip-side of the subject or its shadow but its continuity in the spirit, in the cosmos and in the Other, by which one had already been transformed.

A conceptual frame alone isn’t able to deal with the specificity and uniqueness of a therapeutical process, and of an artwork, in terms of such a continuity and such a string-like sharing. In terms of my own art, on which I think when I try to articulate few ideas, it is clear to me that in the same way that the aura returns to the oil painting, each encounter-event is unique and ungeneralizable. To fragilize oneself but without helplessness in a search for the holy that is not a search for submission and religiousity – one is called upon by art to get involved in a particular way – you enter this time-space as long as you care-wonder-amazed, even when in resistant-criticality. Just observing, standing apart, is not enough. If you feel observing while wonder-caring – continue to observe. You are at a threshold of adjoining in self-fragilization. When resistance adjoins this self fragilization and fascinance is still maintained, in art and in life, an horizon opens. The horizon of Art in Life.

AV: Economy is taking more and more form of aesthetics. The cognitive and affective mode of accumulation has transformed economy from the production of objects to subjects, as commodity production is still often misunderstood, into the production of subjectivity itself. That is why the relationship between economy and aesthetics is crucial for understanding this cultural becoming of the present. The economy is directly acting on our sensitivity (nervous system), affecting particularly our sensibility, our ethico-aesthetic perception. Our sensibility is directly invested by semiocapitalist mechanisms of valorization.

The etymological root of the word aesthetics refers essentially to perception (Gr. aiszanomai, I perceive), but in the philosophical tradition aesthetic thought has come to comprehend not only the production of signs stimulating sensibility (art, poetry, music) but also sensitivity, the mutation of the psycho-reactivity to the epidermic side of social relations and of culture (relationship between skin and culture). Sensibility is an interface between organism and the world, particularly it is the ability to understand the meaning of what cannot be said through words. With the expression of aesthetic paradigm Guattari refers to the privileged position that sensibility has gained within semiocapitalism, where productive and communicative relations lose their materiality and trace their trajectories in the space of sensible projections. How do you use the concept?

Aesthetics is the discipline through which the organism and its environment become attuned. This tuning process is disturbed by the acceleration of the infospheric stimuli and by semiotic inflation, the saturation of every space of attention and consciousness on which the new controls are based. Aesthetics seems to be at the same time a diagnostic of the psychospheric pollution and a therapy for the relation between the organism and its world.

BE: Wondering and being amazed while worrying by-for whatever arouses the experience of the awesome by which you are stirred, during a poietic process of artworking: an Uncanny awe that concerns both artworking that is poietic and also aesthetic, and artviewing that is more clearly aesthetic but is not only such, due to a  participation that is offered by art – a participation in the same affectual atmosphere in which it was birthed. The Freudian Unheimliche angst is primarily aesthetic as it addresses a sensuous experience and the effects of getting in contact with  artistic product: a poetic piece, a drawing, painting. Artworking – the artistic process – was not Freud’s first concern when articulating the uncanny. My use of the expression “aesthetic” doesn’t intend the experience of a sensual passive perceiving, viewing, listening, of what arrives from the outside. Passivity in a matrixial borderspace and bordertime is an affectual attuning in arousal, as you also said before. The aesthetic for me encompasses the creative-poetic producing as well as the effects of participating in, while perceiving an artwork; processual moments as well as the contact with an oeuvre,  a chef-d’oeuvre – master-piece – even, I dare say, which calls for en engagement over a duration of time, which inspires and initiates. We are talking about the spirit. Inspiriting. Inspiration. Inspiration moves us to the sphere of before and beyond sensing, before and beyond perception, before and beyond the sensual, an Eros like that of a breathing. To breath-in different kinds of beyonds where the now is in contact with the unexpected adjoining thereafter, stretched from near or far. But here, the sense of a future is within the way you engage yourself with your non-I(s). So, again, this is a future of a now in which you are engaging your own slef-fragilization and openness. Thereafters-beyonds that are not transcendence in a religious way and not the unreached-for, but a call for ouvertures in the human in search for meaning through its access to others and to the Cosmos beyond one’s own self, found in the future of the real of the engaged here-now and in the virtual futures of the past encounters aroused, again but in difference, in the here and the now. The question of the holy arises – the desire to encompass, to awe and respect and wonder-admire, but without God, or whether with or without God; this crazy desire in the human soul not to ignore the fact of its separation while not ignoring its autistic core either, its being an individual capable of addressing adjoinment with the inside core of the outside while the autistic spiral coils inside and im-presses itself upon the self and the world, working through what I call one’s autistic resistance until an unknown jointness begins to work.

AV: I am still thinking about the butterfly, its weakness, and that as a condition of connecting to the trauma of an other, to the joy of another. I don’t now know how to say formulate this….

BE: A child is being abandoned. Somebody brings a dream. Somebody tells a phantasy. Your habits might lead you to take this for a trace of his earlier traumatic reality. But wait. Wait. A Child is Being Abandoned – but this child is perhaps not the dreamer, not the phantasizing individual itself. If you are opened to the matrixial horizon you know that an individual might be unconsciously metramorphosing traces of the trauma of someone else, who belongs to the same matrixial web. You might suddenly realise that the child that had been abandoned is another child, perhaps even one that is unknown to you, another child of your own father-Other, for example, from an earlier marriage, or a child from an earlier marriage of your (m)Other, an unknown half-brother, someone else who had been abandoned by a parent, sent to some kind of desert, like the Biblical son of Hagar. Perhaps even, a mother is being abandoned – this mother is not your own one, but still, she is someone who belongs to the fabric of your matrixial webs, she could be the ex-wife of your father, and she reveals for you the capacity of the other to abandon, and your own capacity to abandon too. Now, the abandoned person treated by your own phanasmatic mechanism could be the trace within your own Psyche of a half-brother you have never met, or of his mother. We carry traces of the trauma and of the the joy of others who belong to our past and present webs. When you realise this possibility – another dimension for dream interpretations opens. If you are Abraham’s child, sometimes you are the son of Sara, sometimes you are the son of Hagar.

Jocaste and her husband, to begin with, have abandoned their son Oedipus. Antigone carries the traces of the abandonment of her brother/father by her mother and her grand-father. In a psychological structure in which a child/a parent had  already been abandoned (which is most probably a structure we all share to some degree), an individual psyche belonging to a matrixial web can either endlessly absorb the repetition of such an abandonment, or take responsibility over what the subject didn’t cause or didn’t suffer directly, and symbolically and in the real work to stop this repetition. There is no daughter, no son, without a (m)Other, ther is no Antigone without Jocaste.(see my essay “Antigone with(out) Jocaste.” In: Wilmer, S.E., and Zukauskaite, Audrone, eds. Interrogating Antigone. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, 212-228.) Our matrixial webs absorb traces of abandonment of our unknown non-I(s). We treat and can creatively transform these traces, or we can get stuck and start to look for a parent to blame. In our very matrixial Era, it has become urgent that psychoanalysts learn to perceive the traces of the traumas of our others in us, and the effects of the tears in our matrixial webs on our “individual” psyche. A tear in the matrixial web can become a locus of resistance. The attitude that allows to perceive the traces of the trauma of the other in the I is empathy-within-compassion (empathy to the patient, within compassion to its parental figures). Tears in the matrixial webs wake our response-ability and must call for our ethical  responsibility for traces of traumas that we haven’t experienced or caused. Tears in the matrixial webs are occasions for resistance which becomes meaningful if we can tolerate to fragilize ourselves and still keep a certain awe and respect for the different non-I(s) that share our webs, for our others, known and unknown, who belong to different generations. Resistance is first of all to our own self-tendency to split, blame and shame those others with whom we share unconscious matrixial webs.

AV: So we bring in us all the shit too. You said that creating moments of co-poiesis can also be traumatic. It is destroyed when the defences start gaining ground. Something we have been thinking about are the mixed and confused signals, the contradictory affects and uncontrollable signals, rage and awe, envy and compassion, trust and cynisims…. We are never clean, clear or pure, but rather mixed, contaminant or impure. Don’t these unpleasant and antisocial, anti-linking traits follow us to the processes of fragilization and co-emergence, gaining perhaps even more strength? I mean, these processes are not a garden of zen, nor will they end in one?

BE: Together with uncanny compassion and uncanny awe, and even as a reaction to those affects, uncanny anxiety is often experienced (that can become paranoiac or depressive,) and indeed, not only it is difficult to distinguish between those affects when they get mixed in different doses, but also it is difficult to extract them in their special uniqueness once they were followed by anxiety. And yet, it is important to extract them from the reservoir of the anxiety into which such different affects are being gathered, to distinguish between them, and to allow their effects to direct us both at an emotional level and in comprehending, thinking aesthetics and, finally, also, ethics. They are being gathered together because with compassion, the shadows of compassion arise too, shadows that turn between disgust and pity, contempt and sadistic or masochistic traits, the possibility to humiliate. And so, the chord that links between compassion and its shadows is coiled (When I say shadows I mean it poetically; the shadows are just as real.) They are being gathered together because with awe, the shadows of the awe arise too, shadows that turn between fear, shame and envy, affront and sadistic or masochistic traits. And so, the chord that links between awe and its shadows is coiled too. The chords are coiled around-inside the subject, and oppress the subject, first of all on their own acount, but also because of the guilt concerning those shadows. Thus, the beyond-anxiety uncanny affects are channeled toward anxiety. These shadows fall – fall or projected – on the present object, the disappearing object and the a-priori lacking object, on whatever the psyche is missing, which is realized for the psyche in the other to which it is referring. Anxiety follows. All of a sudden – self-relinquishment can turn into surrendering. All of a sudden – self-relinquishment can turn into flight or fight. When one is swimming inside such a reservoir, it is difficult to distinguish between vulnerability and fragility, fragilization and self-fragilization. It is difficult to distinguish between free self-relinquishment and surrendering out of frailty. When the shadows of the affects are projected on the other of the I, the vulnerability of the other becomes transparent: the subject doesn’t apprehend it anymore; the subject moves in the world as if it was on its own. In a similar way, we are unaware of the frequencies and vibrations of the Cosmos – out of this kind of blindness but on a non-personal level, a blindness that is translated into fear from death and a negation of death, which are at the same time fear and negation of all futures. If one is not flooded by the contact with these  shadows and doesn’t look for “causes” to be blamed for their appearance, either in the inside or in the outside, the connecting of compassing with fascinance becomes creative and reveals Beauty, and the connecting of aweing with facinance reveals the Sublime. The capacity for en-compassing and aweing beyond anxiety allows to dignify the other and the cosmos, both at the level of the subject (“inside”, the interiorized others,) and in the world per-se. A return of the capacity to respect goes together with the placement of respect in the site of the other and in the space of the cosmos.

To return to your question, then, paranoia, blaming and victimization are results of splits that block the capacity for respecting. They are also the result of therapeutic misrecognition (on behalf oteh therapist), a misrecognition of the affects of awe and compassion, and of the turning of these affects into sources of shame, guilt and blame. This opens a vicious circle, the search for who to blame. Paranoia, blaming and victimization arise in groups when communicaring breaks and one can’t resist one’s Ego. Then begins a blaming process that only resembles criticality and resistance, but in fact is neither criticality nor resistance but bitterness and fear or rage. This signals the loss of contact with those primary affects that signal transconnectedness and that call forth caring for the non-I. It is therefore urgent to move beyond the affect of anxiety into the realm of other affects, to realise their difference from anxiety, and to realize their inspiriting forces. Beyond the uncanny anxiety there is wonder-worrying the awesome, and there is en-compassing, caring  while fragilizing one’s self, worry-wondering in amzement – with such opening to the spirit and such pointing toward an horizon, the idea of Beauty that originates is linked to an idea of a beyond-the-self, a Sublime. An idea of love arises here too, but not of a sentimental kind. Love intermingled with resistance. Wondering and worrying: not a passive-submissive or religious replique. Communicaring in self-fragilization: not a passive feeling of compassion on the one hand and communication on the other hand.

AV: Fragilization and resistance then.

BE: Exactly, even though we must take few intellectual precautions here to realize what I do not mean – because of our mind’s tendency to assimilate ideas into concepts that have already been formulated in our culture by these same words, we must keep our musical attentiveness in any encounter-event.

Primary affective compassion and primary affective awe arise, like anxiety, during being-with and becoming-with the Other and the Cosmos sensed as the outside but that entered my own limits. Even alone, I am not alone when those affects arise; I am with my archaic non-I(s), pulled to the outside and to future non-I(s) by my most internal core. Primary affective compassion saturated with fascinance is a precursor to the capacity for experiencing Beauty. Primary affective awe saturated with fascinance is a precursor for experiencing the Sublime, but here, a Beauty that moves toward the Sublime and a Sublime that moved toward Beauty, intermixed with knowledge without reject or fusion at either aesthetic poles, when our cognition and our defenses are suspended for a while. Affected fascinance binds transensing with sensing. Affected suspension brings the before and the after into the beyond in the here-now. The introduction of awe and compassion into the poietic-artistic aesthetical field calls for modes of criticality that lean on dwelling and resonating-with whatever arrives over a duration of such a suspended time. Criticism which lean on conceptual tools alone miss this dimension, or rather: this dimension, as generous as it is, evades it. There is a thinking-feeling in the affective and affecting worrying-caring wondering. An active knowledge, an inscribing knowledge, a knowledge concerning  an attraction that is not based on needs. A non-paranoiac knowledge beyond anxiety and reasoning that gives you string-wings with which you can fly.

Transubjectivity in life and in art is always revealed to the subject as a shock – or is negated, refused or repressed. Arousal of anima that disturbs the Psyche is sensed beyond the senses in the unconscious that is stretched between some I and non-I(s) without becoming a collective or global Unconscious. Primary compassion arises as a shock to the Psyche. The uncanny compassion carries and gives birth to experiencing joy while traversing the enigmatic and traumatic becoming-with the Other and the Cosmos in their vulnerability. Primary awe arises as a shock to the Psyche. The uncanny awe carries and gives birth to experiencing joy while traversing the enigmatic and traumatic becoming-with the Cosmos in their overwhelming splendour. I consider them as positive shocks.

So to return now to the question: What is art? Art offers this kind of a shock as a gift to the field of culture and society, to civilization – but culture is not this generosity, and society is not this generosity. And civilization shouldn’t be confound with art and try to offer it. Art’s generosity opens such an access up to the cultural and social fields that cultivates relational exchanges, but its transjectivity and potential transformativity (which culture and society can’t control) are invisible to civilization whose paranoid attitude has become generalized and transparent – a civilization that turns everything into an object to swallow and ourselves into narcissistic images to trade in. The question is how to become sensitive to the string-wings in us and in others, to the beyond-the-image even in the image.

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[1] The well known “Jump” of professor Luca Guzzetti took place in September 2005. It was part of an experimental organization taking place in the Trans-Siberian train, from Helsinki to Moscow, to Novosibirsk to Beijing. In Beijing  in the well known gallery space Factory 798 Guzzetti suddenly jumped into an art work of a Korean artist Won Suk Han: a  big sand box filled with used cigaret buts (Won Suk Han, Rubbishmuseum 2005).  After the initial jump, the Jump was repeated twice and the last one was also documented. See video here. The jumps were followed by a violent conflict where all the potentiality of cooperation within the travelling group seemed to turn into violent hostility against each other. Already earlier a member of the party was tried to be excluded from the experiment by dening his entrance to the train in Moscow, and he was then later left to Novosibirsk without passport. About the Jump and the Capturing the moving mind conference see Brian Holmes, Escape the overcode: Activist art in the control society (Van Abbemuseum, WHW, 2009), Artistic Device: On the Articulation of Collective Speech; Akseli Virtanen & Jussi Vähämäki (2006), ”Kuinka liikkuva mieli vallataan”, ARS06 Kiasma, ARS Art Projects; Ettinger, Guzzetti, Virtanen (eds.), Jump. Aivojen yhteistyön muistivihkot, Helsinki 2011 (ilmestyy); A. Virtanen (ed.), Permanent transcience. The structure of change, Special issue, Framework. The Finnish Art Review, 4/2005, 1–136.; A. Virtanen & S. Böhm (eds.), Web of capturing the moving mind, Ephemera. Theory & Politics in Organization, 5/x 2005; Brett Neilson & Ned Rossiter (eds.), Experience, movement and creation of new political forms. Ephemera. Theory & Politics in Organization, 4/2006.

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[2] A workshop series Ecologies of Resistance  with Bracha L. Ettinger, Brian Massumi and Erin Manning 20.–22.8.2009 Helsinki and Turku, www.mollecular.org. Bracha L. Ettinger’s Fragilization and Resistance exhibition, Kaiku-gallery, Finnish Academy of Fine Arts 21.–30.8.2009  (curated by Tero Nauha and Akseli Virtanen). Bracha L. Ettinger (2009) Yhdessätuotanto [Co-poiesis]. Ed. Akseli Virtanen. Translated by Leena Aholainen, Heidi Fast, Elina Latva, Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Tero Nauha, Marja Sakari. Helsinki: Polemos-series, Tutkijaliitto. See also A. Virtanen (ed.) (2009), Johdanto Bracha L. Ettingerin yhdessätuotantoon [Introduction to Bracha Ettinger’s co-poiesis]. Helsinki: Aivojen yhteistyön muistivihkot; T. Nauha & A. Virtanen (eds.) (2009), Bracha L. Ettinger: Fragilization and Resistance. Exhibition catalogue. Helsinki: Finnish Academy of Fine Art & Aivojen yhteistyön muistivihkot; Judith Butler (2009) Brachan työstä – On Bracha’s work 2009. Limited edition. Helsinki: Aivojen yhteistyön muistivihkot.

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