QUOTE CLUB: NOISE / by Kulturfolger


I'm attempting to think time. I'm well aware that time has no unity, no moment, no instant, no beginning, no end, and that I have no knowledge of its eternal completeness. For all the times that I've been able to tell, all of them were unities. I am now attempting to rethink time as a pure multiplicity. Thus, perhaps, can history be born. History is in the midst of these hazy midsts, commonly lived, uneasily thought, it is, as it happens, information neither total nor null, without a clear-cut boundary between the observer and the observed. Like the observer, it is full of sound and fury. A meditation on pure multiplicity, this book, is seeking, beyond the sea, the plain, the branch of the river-noise, hate, time-seeking a philosophy of history. The multiple is the object of this book and history is its goal.

These are objects I seem to live through more than view. I think I pick up noises from them more than I see them, touch them, or conceive them. I hear without clear frontiers, without divining an isolated source, hearing is better at integrating than analyzing, the ear knows how to lose track. By the ear, of course, I hear: temple, drum, pavilion, but also my entire body and the whole of my skin. We are immersed in sound just as we are immersed in air and light, we are caught up willy-nilly in its hurly-burly. We breathe background noise, the taut and tenuous agitation at the bottom of the world, through all our pores and papillae, we collect within us the noise of organization, a hot flame and a dance of integers. My acouphenes, a mad murmur, tense and constant in hearing, speak to me of my ashes, perhaps, the ones whence I came, the ones to which I will return. Background noise is the ground of our perception, absolutely uninterrupted; it is our perennial sustenance, the element of the software of all our logic. It is the residue and the cesspool of our messages. No life without heat, no matter, neither; no warmth without air, no logos without noise, either. Noise is the basic element of the software of all our logic, or it is to the logos what matter used to be to form. Noise is the background of information, the material of that form.

Michel Serres, Genesis


Rigorously speaking, there is never silence. The white noise is always there. If health is defined by silence, health does not exist ..Health remains the couple message-noise. Systems work because they do not work. Non functioning remains essential for functioning. And that can be formalized. Given, two stations and a channel. They exchange messages. If the relation succeeds, if it is perfect, optimum, and immediate ; it disappears as a relation. If it is there, if it exists, that means that it failed. It is only mediation. Relation is nonrelation. And that is what the parasite is. The channel carries the flow, but it cannot disappear as a channel, and it brakes (breaks) the flow, more or less. But perfect, successful, optimum communication no longer includes any mediation. And the canal disappears into immediacy. There would be no spaces of transformation anywhere. There are channels, and thus there must be noise. No canal without noise. The real is not rational. The best relation would be no relation. By definition it does not exist; if it exists, it is notobservable. This is the paradox of the parasite. It is very simple but has great import. The parasite is the essence of relation. It is necessary for the relation and ineluctable by the overturning of the force that tries to exclude it. But this relation is non relation. The parasite is being and non being at the same time. Not being and non being that are the names (or the non names) of stations; but arrow and non arrow, relation and non relation. Hence its metamorphoses and the difficulty we have in defining it. The ancient topic depended on an ontology, an ontology of the pure, simple, and unique relation. The Sophist and the Statesman are inside the functioning of the Dialogues. The same goes for the Symposium. Or rather, the sophist and the politician (the statesman) are interceptors of every relation in general ; they are the relation itself and, as I have said, the collective. The parasite is being and nonbeing, relation and nonrelation.

Michel Serres, Parasite


"Go first to your old plant and watch carefully the watercourse made bythe rain. By now the rain must have carried the seeds far away. Watch the  crevices made by the runoff, and from them determine the direction of theflow. Then find the plant that is growing at the farthest point from yourplant. All the devil's weed plants that are growing in between are yours. Later... you can extend the size of your territory by following thewatercourse from each point along the way." Music has always sent out lines of flight, like so many "transformational multiplicities," even  overturning the very codes that structure or arborify it; that is why musical form, right down to its ruptures and proliferations, is comparable to a weed, a rhizome.

Deleuze & Guattari, Thousand Plateaus


And yet it is hard to believe that anything
in nature could stand revealed as solid matter.
The lightning of heaven goes through the walls of houses,
like shouts and speech; iron glows white in fire;
red-hot rocks are shattered by savage steam;
hard gold is softened and melted down by heat;
chilly brass, defeated by heat, turns liquid;
heat seeps through silver, so does piercing cold;
by custom raising the cup, we feel them both
as water is poured in, drop by drop, above.

Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, Book I, lines 487–496.


Space as inventory, space as invention. Space begins with that model map in the old editions of the Petit Larousse, which used to represent something like 65 geographical terms in 60 sq cm., miraculously brought together, deliberately abstract. Here is the desert, with its oasis, its wadi and its salt lake, here are the spring and the stream, the mountain torrent, the canal, the confluence, the river, the estuary, the river-mouth and the delta, here i the sea with its islands, its archipelago, its islets, its reefs its shoals, its rocks, its offshore bar, and here are the strait, the isthmus and the peninsula, the bight and the narrows, and the gulf and the bay, and the cape and the inlet, and the head, and the promontory, here are the lagoon and the cliff, here are the dunes, here are the beach, and the saltwater lakes, and the marshes, here i the lake, and here are the mountains, the peak, the glacier, the volcano, the spur, the slope, the col, the gorge, here are the plain and the plateau, and the hillside and the hill , here is the town and its anchorage, and its harbour and its lighthouse ...Virtual space, a simple pretext for a nomenclature. But you don't even need to close your eyes for the space evoked by these words, a dictionary space only, a paper space, to become alive, to be populated, to be filled: a long goods train drawn by a steam locomotive passes over a viaduct; barges laden with gravel ply the canals; small sailing boats manoeuvre on the lake; a big liner escorted by tugs enters the anchorage; children play ball on the beach; an Arab wearing a big straw hat trots down the shady paths of the oasis on his donkey ...

Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces


I stub my foot on a stone lying on the path. Surely, you will say, the stone is an object. Yet it so only if we artificially excise it from the processes of erosion and deposition that brought it there and lent it the size and shape that it presently
has. A rolling stone, the proverb says, gathers no moss, yet in the very process of gathering moss, the stone that is wedged in place become a thing, while on the other hand the stone that rolls – like a pebble washed by a running river –
becomes a thing in its very rolling.

Tim Ingold, Creative Entanglements