…The Interlude… (or Can the body of Wolverine be a finalize unquestionable image?)

Two, which stands between one and three, is a gift – a gift of space – a space where one can inscribe residual thoughts, thoughts that remain a secret if undisclosed. This is a space of enchantment. Do not be fixed or settled. This is a temporary passage in the hypertext, a passage between the two main texts: the text prior and the text to come, serving as a bridge, bridging the ‘between’, servicing and serving as a text-bridge, or a bridging text between two different lands of interiority, ‘outside’ and never inside, an extro-bridge that extends to two territorialities: a territoriality of the past and a territoriality of the future.

This writing is a residue, a precipitate, an excess of thought from numerous engagements with other texts, images, gestures, residually escaping from the coding process of the brain. Residual thoughts are weak forces. It has a liminal spirit – part of a ruin but out of place, a remainder, a microscopic dust left underneath a productive machine. A residue can be an interlude, a peripheral malaise, just like this, just like the moment when I wrote this in an exchange: “Minsan may legibility siya like in mainstream cinema, we have the abs of wolverine sa Days of Future Past. abs yun kahit anong gawin natin.” [link]

The residue comes in a form of a question: is the body of Wolverine in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), as seen in the series of photographs on top, be a finalized unquestionable image, an image that cannot be undone, destroyed and rethought? Is the image perfect and enclosed? Will it, in the course of time, preserve its musculature – its dents, curvature, bulges – as a ‘fully’ inscribed image?

These questions are peripheral threats. They threaten the cleanliness of the finalized image. Dusts can be small, but their very smallness, their microscopic constituents, their dissemination across the field of question creates a peripheral mess, the very undoing of the main structure. We assume, in many ways, that the main structure – the apparent body of Wolverine – is more important than the residue – that which is folded in the image yet disembodied, undisclosed, a secret musculature beneath the musculature within which the residue arrives as wastage, as remnants of the violent process of hegemonic inscription, composing the marginalia of a central machine – the Hollywood machine. It acts as a subversive force, subverting the dominance of any text: an image, omnipresent in our society – the image of hegemony – the Hollywoodized, extrasexual image. This political gesture of residualizing, which is a form of questioning, also enacts a forward stance – an insistence that this image of Wolverine cannot be final, that it has, hidden beneath its affective structure, the very mechanism of its undoing.

The residual power of thinking participates in the image’s undoing. To undo this finality, this capture of Hollywood, we have to rethink again of what the image is. Residual thoughts are ontological and, at the same time, ontogenetic. It offers the image a chance to live, and it opens our eyes to new ways of seeing, an image is always in co-evolution with its ontogenetic material. The image is self-positing, as Deleuze would say in What is Philosophy?. It is independent of its viewer or its creator. It has a ‘life’ on its own, preserved in blocs of sensation. An image is mobilized by sense i.e. seeing, proprioception, etc. not because it has an agent that controls the propagation of its affects, but it is self-positing. It is also independent of the viewer. Why? Because the viewer is no longer necessary in the life of the image, as in the case of Mona Lisa (La Gioconda), its passage in time is not dependent on its viewer. It is, on its own, self-preserving and its life is preserved in the blocs of sensation that constitutes its body.  But how do we undo this image? How can it escape the capture of language?

Affect escapes – it always escapes language, confinement, and consolidation. Affect is what preserves the image of its vitality, its likeness, its morphology, its living ‘body’. It is nonlinguistic, out of phase with matter, and it’s where the image’s emergence begins. This “escape of affect” is continuous, which gives the image an imperceptible layer – a residue, a shadow, an asymmetry. This imperceptible layer remains untranslatable: in looking at the body of Wolverine, one no longer seizes words. One finds oneself at a breaking point of language. From the image of Wolverine’s body, affect takes over the body. This is not a linguistic event that has means and ends, an objective with a determinable start to finish. It is an affective instantaneous flash. Contours of Wolverine’s musculature are figures of intensities. We do not take them as is (a denotative ‘is’), because it leaves us in a state of unease. The image slips, mutates and transforms in our minds. Our mind wishes to organize it, to perform a regulation of its intensities, but some of the intensities escape because the image does not reside in language. Some of its parts can be ‘seen’, ‘perceived’, but not spoken, written or described.

The image of Wolverine has its own harmonics – a vibrational character. It is in fact a harmonic string, positing its own music. Why is that? It releases an intensity transduced and attenuated by lenses of material excesses within an empirical field. But is this arousal or sexual response a bodily event localized in the body of the observer? The empirical field extends beyond the body. Let’s look at this way: the image and the receiver’s body are not the only participants of this transversal movement of intensities. The receiver’s body is not the subject of intensity closed in on it. When the body is aroused, it also releases an expressible set of intensity, which also affects the surrounding bodies within his periphery. His body might give off heat to the surrounding air, or he might give a laugh or a sneer, which is an aural affect, heard by himself and by other ‘hearing’ receivers around him. Transduction of affect is always within a field in which the interaction between the image and the body is not a binary relation, but rather a field relation, a relay of various signals across an array of sensible objects within a specific field.

The empirical field renders all images and expressions in a state of deconstitution or deconstruction, not finally inscribed or present. It does not impose the present or presence but rather it recomposes a past-future of the image. In the propagation of image within an empirical field, the present (or rather the presence) of the image deconstitute as it constitutes itself. It is an immanent body – not yet there but going there, in process, a becoming, still emerging, bulging out, emitting light particles of different quality. For the power of the image resides not it is perfection, but its ability to deconstitute, to produce a spectre – a haunting presence that would titillate the sensing body – the viewers – to their very ends.

Pornography works that way. A pornographic image is powerful not because it is perfect and finalized but because its power resides in its spectrality – it titillates the brain via erotic haunting – the brain is literally ruptured by the process of erotic haunting, sending shock waves across the geography of the body, transforming the body anew. During the haunting, the brain is at its height of creative process. It circulates the intensities from images of naked bodies on screen as a vortex of sensations. These intensities are disseminated and dissipated in every nerve ending across the body as a violent jolt. In this way, pornography becomes a form of incorporeal violence. This creative impulse is not a natural process. It is learned by multiple viewings and multiple ‘performances’ to oneself – a habituated pleasure. Masturbation is a creative act. It requires the brain and the body to co-produce and co-create network of signals, intensities and sensations: all of which moving at hyperspeed within an empirical field. This pleasurable moment is irreversible and infinite, the similar infinity one feels in a state of hallucination. It is asymmetrical, decentered, and subversive, with a temporal dimension out of phase from the dominant, linearized present time. Arousal is, in other words, a differance, a pleasurable differance, no longer of the present but a multitemporal event, differed and continuously differing from the present.

It can be said that the body achieves a creative evolution when undergoing a process of pleasure. Pleasure is emancipatory and radical. It brings the body to a place ‘beyond’ place, to an event ‘beyond’ the bodily event. Pleasure is a residue of the signification process, a remainder of stratification, neither outside nor inside the main text, but distributed across an empirical field. The image of Wolverine is not a finalized image, inscribed perfectly. It is not totally hegemonic. It rather contains a microscopic emancipatory potential because of its immanent and asymmetrical character. One more thing: the image of Wolverine does not have interiority, because as all images are, it is always pointing outward. It is always exteriorizing itself. Nothing remains. Its base, which one cannot see, the 1/0 codes simulated by the digital machines of this website, runs in parallel to this extensity, this intensive extensity of the image. Its transmission from base to the empirical field is feed-forward.


Mendizabal, A. D. (2015). …The Interlude… (or Can the body of Wolverine be a finalized unquestionable image?). Retrieved January 17, 2016, from http://adrianmendizabal.blogspot.com/2015/08/note-4-nonface-interlude-lav-diaz-and.html



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