a statement on the Simulacrum & the Sensorium, of all things, inspired by & two unrelated sources gleaned from the discussion this month in <> soft_skinned_space

Brian Holmes’s “Three proposals for a real democracy – Information-Sharing to a Different Tune” [here]

Michel Bauwens’s “Scope, not scale: What do medieval monks, Cuban socialists and Wikipedia have in common?” [here]

The following was solicited by Johannes Birringer’s (of Alien Nation [here])question, a question in turn prompted by previous correspondence through the listserv but I hope worth presenting out of context:

Can you speak more about how this sensorium is politically effective to counterbalance the very symptoms of simulacrum hype (affective intensities of the commodity fetishisms and market imperatives to sell ourselves out)?

… a short speculative role play. It won’t be to
everybody’s tastes, for which I apologise in advance.

The Simulacrum can strike terror into our hearts, an original terror, in which some say the actions of terrorists insist, from which they emanate, as if playing out the drama of postlatecapitalism or the American way of life, arising from an inner tension. The Simulacrum is a monolithic trick, a symbolic joke or the joke of the Symbolic itself, being its Being, universal, irreversible, incurable, inescapable, but also immovable, unplayable, apolitical and yet somehow representational, implicated in representation for the multiplication beyond measure of its superfices, the extension beyond limit of its singular surface.

It offers the terrifying prospect of never again coming up against the real and remaining forever immobile in its circular logic. All action is futile and both resistance and resilience and indeed every participation becomes a mere accommodation and imbrication. To act is complicity. Folded into its surface we are then stretched out, all our good intentions betrayed, all secrets out like lights.

By contrast to this actionable futility the Sensorium offers the prospect of passive productivity: it provides a place to watch the Simulacrum from, in either isolation or alienation, floating, now unable to act. And yet embodying – by bodily affection, through the senses – an essential power, to desire, which we are reminded in so far as it is productive is a political act. There is a paradox here, but it has more to do with the relation between the Sensorium and the Simulacrum than the former alone.

This relation involves the putting into movement or play of what happens in place in the Sensorium when it hits the Simulacrum. Desire and act start to drift and for what they lose in emplacement they gain from playability, from being able to be reconfigured, transfigured – an interactivity and a compossibility. Sensorial capital is made pure data: it is put into play.

The eternity of the Simulacrum; the temporisation of the Sensorium; the depth as intensive spatium of the Sensorium; the pure surface extent of the Simulacrum; the organisation in depth of the Sensorium, its anatomy; and the inorganic fetishisation and inhumanity of the Simulacrum, its anatomisation. Organic, anorganic. Capitalist, capital: the capitalist experiences even as spectacle the speed and interconnectivity of markets. She experiences it as it registers on a surface which is the Simulacrum or the death drive.

The Sensorium connects or synthesises and organises and produces and what it is and what it produces is over time consumable. It wants. It gathers up the little objects of love and constitutes its partial subjects. It participates by participating in itself. It is able to act in networks.

The Sensorium is where what takes place takes place, the focus of a spectacle as much as of the Netopticon. But it is the Simulacrum which facilitates the sliding of this amateur theatrics, the migration of place by setting networks sliding where no point de capiton or place to hook is. Hooked in, you might say, we are set to slide, to join a universal elision.

How move the immovable which only ends up moving us? Because if the Simulacrum is the death drive it is also the spectacle of history. In which we participate passively in sympathy and actively in the desire which constitutes nothing less than the will to inscribe ourselves into history.

The question is wrong. How does the flow produced at the level of the Sensorium enter or alter the Simulacrum?

Production in the Sensorium is not recorded in or on the Simulacrum in the same way that it is produced. The relation is one of inscribability, recording of the Sensorium onto the Simulacrum. This amounts to an accommodation, of the former to the latter, but it is also an inscription of power.

Therefore it is to the Simulacrum that we look for the registration of the Sensorium in terms of political effect, the results of the political acts of the Sensorium, its political effectiveness and effectuality. Registration is the political act, the effect whereby protocols are no sooner written than they are performed.