Towards an ethics of intimacy. Infinite correspondence.
In darkness, Marina Warner spoke of Alois Riegl’s infinite correspondence,
the Arabesque –
to have infinite correspondence is to be capable of indefinite extension.
Of forms, containing infinity, entanglement possibility, cooperation.
The seeming endlessness described by this capacity, of the dancer, invokes a sense of being
that might refer us to a state, burgeoning, posthuman.
Configuring new forms of intimacy
between a body, an image, another body, image – reflections, correspondences, instruction.
A life, its own. A dancing script.
filling the volume.
Coded, to chaos –
In light, the Arabesque appeared, possibly, as the creation of a new syntactic structure;
a generator, though lacking individuality.
In minor – a case of retrieval and recouping, it was said, slowly.
Slowing down and taking time are synonymous it seems with our time at present,
as subjects requiring attention, we volunteer our own to the things made, that require it.
Slowness as a motor. Dancing is slow, not in time
but in utterance. In its possibility to decry our time. In its possibility to have infinite correspondence.
An utterance, in dance, in dialogue is this slowness in action, is this wording in concert with other words.
A slowing to take the time to recoup meaning from the words that signify.
signifies and means –
An intimacy envelopes and blooms, online, in this document,
breathing, marked by a counter.
A counter once marked by a deadline on paper, now, on screen, blinking a marker, signifying a time unfamiliar.
Breathing with others, in time with others, not close,
but intimate and proximate through our blinking guide.
In light, infinity illuminated, bound by a darkness that contains. This is an arabesque
on display, functioning as a means of commune, communication.
Functioning as a means of producing proximity anew, intimacy anew,
of words, utterances on a new page, choreographed, bound by the dark of the window’s frame.
Intimacy is proximate, conditional,
the same online, as off –
it is coded this time by other metrics, still by the slowness of moving bodies.
Towards an ethics of intimacy. Edited commentary.
Google Docs is one of many means of contemporary co–authorship; it is very practical and sometimes novel, it is a space of hybrid, intellectual intimacy. Here, we can think about possible correlations between the composite parts of a contemporary writerly relationship.
Google Docs engenders the concept of proximity anew; it draws on sense and responsibility, and questions the self’s sense of responsibility. And, as such, proximity becomes unbound from location and time, necessarily; the intimate, or space of intimacy here becomes a space ethically unstable. This is because the conditions of sense and responsibility take on new forms, forms which are hidden, based on a different version of trust. This version of trust becomes the contract to which this contemporary writerly relationship adheres.
This idea of sense is important to Google Docs; co–authorship requires a harmony – one which is inclusive of discord – which formulates an exclusive, shared, intimate space. A space of support which is intimate through this new trust, through this new proximity. This support is a sense and can be sensed, marked by a blinking cursor.
We can think of support and intimacy as incumbent ethical positions and conditions of co–authorship, of artistic research through the exposition, of artistic work through the network, of artistic practice through slowness. * If Google Docs is a space of intimate proximity, is a support, an avenue, a virtual studio, office, desk, knee, a space of production and a means of communication, essentially, we are then able to observe quite intimately this new sense of intimacy on an un–geographical scale of the local and the psychic.
Such intimacy marks out and exposes the gradual emergence of a hybrid, operative territory. Composed as such across an ambivalent private self, extremely public self and digital, coded, physical versions of self. An exploration of this territory as a channel of communication, a shared space of productivity and a space of communion – rather like a dance – allows us to question an ethics of co–authorship. It begins to skew traditions of thinking behind the conventions of work, productivity, togetherness, participations, relations, relationships and notions of the embodied and disembodied self and other selves so chaotically post–rationalised today.
How might Google Docs transform the sense of mutuality implicit to co–authorship? How does this mutuality mutate and bend conceptions of integrity between authors and subjects as correspondents?
How can this new understanding of co–authorship, as a space of intimacy, affect the ways in which we validate forms of knowledge?
How can this movement, or mobility – the dance – of knowledge here be reconciled with other forms of knowledge, static, closed, in such a blurred, hybrid space which is both proximate and void?
Céline Condorelli speaks of friendship as a condition of work. As something that exceeds the reliance upon the presumed embodied and physically proximate relationship, or proximity to the subject or subjects of a relationship, for support and transcends this, on to the psychic and cognitive. This assumes a new version of locality. This friendship engenders another local. Condorelli’s friendship therefore, ‘involves putting fragments in relationship with each other, so that the cumulative sum of these things – words, ideas, conversations – somehow proposes something that each part alone could not.’
This friendship is a coded (fragmented) dance (in relationship with/in relation to). This hint at a sense of disembodied intimacy, as a criterion of practice, or of work broadly, valorises the concept of a working relationship as a form of exposition that activates simultaneously the self and other selves – or friends, those or that which ultimately form the present self in its entirety. Such a formation of friends – including the self – surpasses the physical–embodied and lays about a proximity. One that carries between its points – in action – this intimacy of which we speak.
Giorgio Agamben asks, ‘what is friendship other than a proximity that resists both representation and conceptualisation?’ Representation being the named, fast–dancing, photographed friend and conceptualisation as a projection of the essence of this seen friend.
Because such a proximity is the space of collision, communion, of being with between the intimate self and other selves, I wonder, how might this formation of friendship, this relationship become conceptualised or be represented? Particularly when enacted, or in fact actualised on Google Docs. Perhaps this co–authorship is exactly a representation.
Through this act of co–authorship, the exposé of the self and other selves, and thus the reception of the self and other by the self, undergoes a political treatment; what then is this ethics of intimacy? And how does it play out as an infinite correspondence?
Google Docs illustrates this intimacy in a new time–space. It presents live and in real–time, the sense and sensation of writing (dancing) together, of being productive (coding) together, of correspondence, of participation. It presents this beguiling intimacy of cognitive work in a way that exposes its error, sensations, failings and movement.
Getting it when in concert with another – in writing, in dancing, in dialogue – is premised by a commitment. These things are always already part of relational frameworks of production – baton passing.They are acts and events. ‘Co’ is joint, mutual, common. Co–authorship in Google Docs remains to be with before the self.
* A slowness not in time, but in focus.