How to do things in a Bazaar

Posted: June 21, 2008 in Becoming, capitalism, Ecology of Sensation, Swarms

To understand what is a more or less effective practice in a given bazaar, one must have a sense of a set of functionalities that emerge in resonant unity in that concrete universal called a bazaar. There are many other names for the bazaar: informal economy, piracy networks, Linux (see: http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/index.html), proto-capitalist trade, an essentially barter economy, one that has a negotiable relation to money. These names or descriptions are denotative and connotative at once, as Metz once said of the language of cinema. They refer to a set of relations, in continuous, pure duration, interpenetrative moments in pure sucession, without symbolic representation as Bergson reminds us. In that sense, regardless of the names we use to describe this fluid, or fuzzy set of relations what we must specify as rigorously as possible is the relation to rhythm of the ensemble of relations, as resonant unity. A student of mine Iskandar Zulkanain is writing interestingly on subalternity and priacy in Indonesia, and he notes what is clear from the history and secondary literature on piracy is that it produces a set of habits or capacities that are internal to the control modulations of global capital. The hegemony through piracy of Microsoft is an obvious example.

Let us return to the bazaar. What does it mean to attempt to diagram–and in what way does the diagram escape the circuit of symbolical representation, in what way is this circuit unescapeable in media studies, in philosophy?–the bazaar in its nonlinear processes, to see it as constituted by a set of resonant intensities, that are first and foremost pure duration, a paradoxical and pre-linguistic process unfolding, time without space. The bazaar is typically conceptualized as space. It provides Bollywood cinema with some of its most memorable scenes. Amitabh Bachchan’s product goes sour after his betrayal of Nutan in Saudagar (1973, S. Roy). The most memorable scenes are the moment of triumph and defeat at the bazaar. Always, a material force of communication and contagion, rumor works it way through the population, changing fortunes, confirming fates, but always and everywhere catalyzing mixtures of chance. But what narrative can only give us, by its very nature, is a symbolical rendering of processes that cannot be rendered, unless we reduce time to space. This is why Ranajit Guha’s notion of the transferences of power practiced through insurgent rumor is a theory of media assemblages. The rumor can be reduced to a few sentences at most, but the processes of its agency But to think the intensities of narrative as intimations of unbearable life, unbearable lives, that the utterly other inhabits this moment as pure potential, as affirmation, as pure joy, without forgetting its genealogy of tragedy, what more can we ask of a politics? What more can an ethics offer us if not this ultimately: that potential difference is the becoming undone of habit.

But to diagram movement through the trajectories, asymptotes, forces of attraction or synergy, the history of various resonances, and their branching, their co-evolution, and the emergent properties of the feedbacked interactions: this requires some time.

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Comments
  1. krishna says:

    “But to think the intensities of narrative as intimations of unbearable life, unbearable lives, that the utterly other inhabits this moment as pure potential, as affirmation, as pure joy, without forgetting its genealogy of tragedy, what more can we ask of a politics? What more can an ethics offer us if not this ultimately: that potential difference is the becoming undone of habit. ”

    this is Beautiful Amit! Wow. Are you saying here that the viewer who views the star goes through a moment of transformation in the theatre when he indentifies with the star, and that connection, that membrane, is a portal into the potentiality of the viewer to “make a difference” in their life, or that the difference is already made in that moment, whether or not that moment has the makings of a perceived lasting duration. It seems like you are making alot of this micromoment in the theatre, and I like it! We could ask, what are the non-linear dynamics of this moment? But then is that asking too much, to study the N-LD of moments like that. But that is precisely why it is worth asking as well because I think you’ve stumbled onto something so powerful in cinema, something that is rarely given the attention it deserves, the “point” (if by point we are time-alizing space) where the viewer and the screen, is more than sutured at the surface (brain-eye-screen), but sutured to your soul. That is the soul as a destaticized locus.

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