In/compatible, paradoxical, antithetical, the Janusian nature of Revolution, #tmresource

“All is flux, nothing stays still.” claimed Heraclitus. Heraclitus believed that you could not step into the same river twice, that the way up is the way down, that nothing simply is, that everything is becoming. “All things come into being by conflict of opposites, and the sum of things flows like a stream.”

In a continuous state of becoming, nothing has a true nature, but always two conflicting natures, on one hand having the nature of what it was, or where it was, on the other håand having the nature of what it will be, or where it will be.

In Roman mythology, Janus the god of beginnings is two faced. Christian mythology gives us the two-faced demon Bifrons, listed in the Lesser Key of Solomon as a gateway guardian responsible for the transportion of corpses, and Jesus himself, the binato manifestation of god, having two natures, mortal and devine, who is the path to the kingdom of god. To be becomming is to have two-faces, two natures, to be both here and there.

Like Janus, Bifrons and Jesus, all things are binato, as Heraclitus believed always becoming, and thereby always in strife, always in unending struggle to bring opposing natures into harmony. That is the nature of living in flux.

During Transmediale’s reSource research conference last week, I gave a short introduction to a concept that I’ve been developing: A revolutionary structure must have antithetical intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics. An agent of change must have internal characteristics that prefigure what is becoming, but none-the-less, must have extrinsic characteristics that allow it to function where it is.

Tatiana Bazzichelli, who also participated in the reSource conference, noted that many of the artists, activists and hackers she researched for her thesis employed paradoxical elements in their practice. Often assuming, at least by way of parody, the forms they wish to oppose. Venture Communism, CopyFarLeft and Thimbl, projects and concepts from Telekommunisten where included among the examples. The Paradox is clear, all of these are bizarro world simulacrum of their objects of critique, attempts to invert or subvert the forms they oppose by creating their negation, thus being paradoxical, but also antithetical, assuming the outwardly form as they encounter it, but negating that outwardly form with an inwardly form that is it’s opposite. 

To borrow the theme of this year’s Transmediale, “in/compatible.”

The slash between “in” and “compatible” indicates the bifurcation of the intrinsic and the extrinsic, both compatible and not compatible, providing an outwardly in/terface that is compatible, but only as a part of a transformative flow towards an inwardly nature that is ultimately incompatible. The road up to a new harmony, the negation of the negation, synthesis, and thereby also the road down to the new antithesis, the new in/compatibility, the endless flux.

It must seem paradoxical to strive against the existing being by adopting it’s outwardly nature, but disruption requires it. Unprotected by an adaptive exterior, the new nature can not survive, and therefore can never become. Naive attempts to build simple alternative ways of being, acting, or relating, in conflict with what is, while insisting on external and internal harmony deny becoming, and are drowned in the stream, entering into conflict too soon without sufficient development for the negation to become negated.

I’m not sure if Kristoffer Gansing and the Transmediale team see the term “in/compatible” as I do, indeed I suspect they hope the term will inspire different understandings.

During the discussion that followed the panel, Kristoffer asked how this idea of antithetical intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics related to a networked environment, wich led us into a discussion of microcosm and macrocosm. In the words of The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below,” both the microcosm and the macrocosm is in flux, is becoming, and the streams of motion are many, interlinking and overlapping flows.

Cornelia Sollfrank asked if paradoxical forms could lead to peaceful co-existence instead of revolution, if rather than overcome the existing being, having antithetical intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics would simply allow the new nature to exist within the old, to just be along with it. This is a good point, binato structures could just as easily be compositional and not oppositional, so not all binato structures need be oppositional, however all oppositional structures must be binato, as they require two natures to transform.

We also launched the Beta Registration for Telekommunisten’s latest Miscommunication Technology, R15N, at the reSource conference, please register for the miscommunication platform of choice for Transmediale’s reSource for Transmedial Culture. http://r15n.net, the system is currently in Beta, but operational, critical miscommunication will occur on this network.

As for Stammtisch, I’ll be at Cafe Buchhandlung at 9pm as usual. http://bit.ly/buchhandlung

 

 

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