Blog9: After Reading 01
— Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle
Pluriverse and the spectacle:
- Inside human / human body: no sensory hierarchy. (Ref: body without organs)
Our senses are highly hierarchical, with vision at the highest level, hearing next, and tactile perhaps third, or on par with smell and taste. How do we have this hierarchy? Contemporary capitalism has developed from the production stage to the unique stage of the spectacle, in The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord, “the spectacle as a tendency to make one see the world by means of various specialized mediations (it can no longer be grasped directly), naturally finds vision to be the privileged human sense which the sense of touch was for other epochs … But the spectacle is not identifiable with mere gazing, even combined with hearing.”
Different cultures have different sensory hierarchies.
China, taste is first.
With the capitalism tendency, most of us tend to be in / are under the visual culture and aesthetics. Trying to break the phenomenon of visual hegemony, seeking out those marginalized senses is a pluriverse framework of our human body.
Ana Maria Ocha Gautier, researched on the relation between aurality and being. How sound confounds the boundaries between epistemology and ontology, revealing the existence of relation regimes of aurality where physics of sound, music form, (im)materiality, sound technology, sound perception all play a part. Through the examination of acoustic ontologies, “local sound” are not static traits meant to represent a particular place, there has always been a kind of “sonic transculturation” that the new fusions bring to new levels of sophistication, thus setting in motion a plutiverse force. For Gautier, she wanted to redress the overwhelming focus of critical design studies on the visual, in other words, from design visual to design music.
Deluze’s body without organs,which defines the body without organs that has not been coded in essence, the body at this time has not yet succumbed to the limitations of each organ (each part) and becomes a single unity, which has the possibility and openness of indeterminacy and infinite development and generation. This description seems to be similar to the concept of synesthesia, which always appears on a baby, but usually gradually disappears when the baby grows up, because of defining the functions of organs.
In the book See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception, there are lots of artists’ explosive and timely surveys that explore the relationship between design, the body, technology and the senses over the last fifty years.
- Human and society: (local autonomy, authentic life, subjectivity)
In Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle, he defines the concept of the spectacle as the “majority” who silently appreciates the performance of the “minority.” Believing that the spectacle is not an external coercive means, under the confusion of the extensive “entertainment” caused by it, “most people” will completely deviate from their own authentic criticism and creativity, and become the slaves of spectacle control. In this spectacle of rejection of dialogue, the only option is passive acceptance. However, most people know it well, but they are always addicted to it and cannot extricate themselves, forgetting their authentic social existence, and thus lose their authentic life.
The development of capitalism to the stage of the spectacle is most effective not in its effect on production, but in its effect on non-labor time. Perhaps automated machines can liberate people’s hands and let people have more time to rest, but most people do not feel relieved, because the spectacle’s manipulation of non-labor time, many people’s desires that they don’t have become the desire that they want to satisfy as soon as possible. Maybe a decision like a trip to the seaside on vacation is what the spectacle tells us.
Pluralism, in the aspect of people and society, should not be that people are completely obediente in or unconsciously caught up in the illusions created by the media such as advertising, TV, Internet, social platforms, etc. (the spectacle often transmits information to people through these kinds of media), and ignoring the authentic demands of their own hearts, unknowingly losing all their ability to negatively criticize.
Under ontological design nowadays, we design or produce a material or tool or technique with its relevant system, then we become the part of this system. This is reflexivity, which we are actually designing ourselves, we have always been the product of design. Tony Fry has a special opinion on design ontology that he advocates rather than human-centered design, but in becoming human by design which should concern with consumer desires and instrumental rationality. In other words, concerning about the “majority”, concerning about our being which is constituted by our own real needs, and reflecting whether the rationality of instruments comes from the spectacle or not (“The spectacle is also based on the constant display of the precise technical rationality that comes from precisely this idea.”).