Wednesday, June 18, 2014

from kathleen stewart 'ordinary affects'

Something throws itself together in a moment as an event and a sensation; a something both animated and inhabitable.

Attention is distracted, pulled-away from itself. But the constant pulling also makes it wakeful, "at attention." Confused but attuned. .
We're busy if we’re lucky.
For some, the everyday is a process of going on until something happens, and then back to the going on.
For others, one wrong move is all it takes.
Worries swirl around the bodies in the dark.
People bottom out watching daytime television.

The potential stored in ordinary things is a network of transfers and relays.
Fleeting and amorphous, it lives as a residue or resonance in an emergent assemblage of disparate forms and realms of life.
Yet it can be as palpable as a physical trace.
Potentiality is a thing immanent to fragments of sensory experience and dreams of presence. A layer, or layering to the ordinary, it engenders attachments or systems of investment in the unfolding o f things.
positions are taken, habits loved and hated, dreams launched and wounded.
And just about everyone is part of the secret conspiracy of everyday life to get what you can out of it.
She thinks it's sort of like being a water bug, living on the surface tension of some kind of liquid. Seduced by the sense of an incipient vitality lodged in things, but keeping oneself afloat, too.
And nimble. If you're lucky.

Things have started to float.
It's as if the solid ground has given way, leaving us hanging like tender cocoons suspended in a dream world. As if the conditions and possibilities of a life have themselves begun to float. . We notice our common drifting and the isolation and conformity in it. We know it's fueled as much by circuit overloads and meltdowns as by smooth sailing. But there's no denying that it has a buoyancy too. A vibrancy alive with gamblers, hoarders, addicts, and shopping malls.

We will follow any hint of energy, at least for a little while.
When something happens, we swarm toward it, gaze at it, sniff it, absorb its force, pour over its details, make fun of it, hide from it, spit it out, or develop a taste for it. We complain about the compulsion to participate. We deny its pull. We blame it on the suburbs and T V and ourselves. But we desire it too, and the cure is usually another kind of swarming, this time under the sign of redemption: a mobilization for justice, a neighborhood watch committee, some way of keeping our collective eyes open. Something to do.·

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