Special Issues: Tech Flesh
“What would eyes be without their caution without lids?”
-Elias Canetti, The Agony of Flies1
“Need to ask?”
“Might be faking” said Facilla.
“I’m not that good” said Warfarin. “Anyway, seemed simultaneous for me. Was it simultaneous for you?”
“Seemed realtimely for me too. Maybe a bit of a lag.
“Or not lag. The other thing.”
They uncoupled from 69-Squared or as Warfarin had petnamed it in his patent speculation, Efferance. You are efferent where your mate is afferent and vice versa, but relayed through as many proxy servers as recuperable dispersions allow and, by paradoxes of temporal chunking, trans-delay vectoring and nonlinear denouements, quicker than immediate premediate. Riding the slipstream of pastward commuting quanta, your caress seems to end as afferent in me even before it begins as efferent in you, though it has coursed around the world in the meantime through a stochastic maximum of chaste proxies. Efferance is more than the death of lag. Origin of the specious precedence. Efferance’s precursion makes realtime look slow. Efferance’s afference arrives only before it arrives your coming is mine before it is yours. This seeming asymmetry where I live your petit mort before you do, couples with the equal and apposite asymmetry where you live mine before me, in a conjugation of incompossibles, and with no conjunctive frame, no duration of a between. There is only the elephantiasis of instancy, a point panting unto its own eskhata, mine sooner than yours sooner than mine sooner than origin, which with each repetition we will both know as if for the first time and as if at the same time. In effect, you eff my afference as I eff yours in an erogenics of mutual preemption. Efferance makes premature afflux sex’s sine qua non CUM reductio ad absurdum but I get ahead of myself. Not all systems can run the position. You need a big augmenter. You need a haptic cruncher or forget it.2
Facilla disappeared behind a divider horizoned by other dividers. “No rest for the banal!” Her voice was jaunty and abstracted as she settled to her console. Facilla is managing postmutual futures in the privatizing of wallfur when she isn’t otherwise greasing the endless ponzi of a soft sparagmos. The peace of all against all. And Facilla bets against her own futures to insure them so her dividends are consummately hedged to yield bigtime in the event of an event, say a socialist reflux, or in the advent of an end.
Warfarin was playing his way toward work, patenting relations between patents. He was currently profiling the relation between the Shroud of Turing re.visor (“the face you wear”) warranted to anthropomorphise anyone, and the Creme de Rien de Mien deep face exfoliation salve. In his patent relations speculation Warfarin figures germing a responsive visor from a face’s own properly quickened sloughs is totally doable. He’s gone through 3 names and some paid protohype and he’s still got to finesse a prototype. Face Value became Slough of Respond became, and this is the keeper, Slough Monkey. The market will cream. The relation augurs well. When work is going well, Warfarin is a sustained quaver on the verge of THE solvent relation. His face becomes an agape tattoo.
It doesn’t take much for Warfarin’s face to get the total gawp on since he had his eyes circumcised open. Also he’s sloughed the need for bulk sleep thanks to the REM rumble-pak he had `smart trepanned’ into his pons in a 24/7/52 Costa Rica sleep lift clinic. The implant compresses REM into a 50 second daily hi-res miasma of associations where the fishing’s real good and translates the rest of sleep into a series of nearly infinitesimal strobings of unconsciousness through the day. It doesn’t so much terminate sleep proper as gather the 3 stages other than the accelerated REM and frag them along all the subtemporal integuments between the moments of a seemingly continuous awakeness. This disappearing of oblivion into the details of implementation of a mind rendered ever diurnal means Warfarin no longer needs to will insomnia. He sometimes finds himself yearning for a discernible yawn, gawping for a yawn like he used to yawn for sleep, but this fades. Likewise, his eyes still tic with an atavism of blink and he sometimes thinks he feels a phantom lid, but he’s sure his face will have sloughed the feeling soon enough and seem always already lidless. Blinking is so analog.
Before we leave Warfarin’s face there’s the matter of tonus. His face never resolves into the temporary, complete desuetude of the deep asleep face. But neither does his face play with the subtle flexions of attendance of the awake. Is Warfarin’s a tonus of neither/nor then? Not quite. The face is awake, composed with the tonus of a continuous attention. But look at it askance a moment, half avert and what happens? Incurious inertia just imperceptible under the day-glo wonder of his elective insomnia. An abulic uninsistence shadows the total tonus of his face. Something flaccid this way comes.
Facilla could hear him now beyond the parthenogenic dividers resuming chronic instant impatience at the samerivertwice streaming re-makes site where parody has no end, queueing The Bradytelic Bunch for a viewing then coming home and settling into Same Difference. A soft theft of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form, Same Difference renders graphic the change prompted on any initial form by the differential values you feed it. Warfarin feeds it.
Diddle with any niche. An infinity of grunt contexts selfnests virtual within Same Difference’s algorithms. Caress your optimums. Rub a desert against a whale or a derivative against whatever and your morph will unfold absurdly loyal to your parameters.
Warfarin sometimes uses it to help picture the complex between of one known life-form and a progenitor or to trace the likely offspring of a given market or to elide one level of abstraction with another. The program not only configures each form as a function of the other, it gives spread-eagle segue-less glosses of the morphic gulf between any given things. Surmise any in-between you want, graphic. Same Difference meats up with intermediary form all those incognito eons between fossils.
This is right up Warfarin’s alley. Something there is that doesn’t love a blind spot.
Same Difference combobulates values for your own chosen coordinates, say those of an onco-rat’s face. You can coax your subject obtuse or acute. You can culture your ratface vertical or force it to slough off a veil of cells even through the fur, which is pure nostalgia for Warfarin who used to culture those real tumors at the Neoplasm Thinktank before he gave up his medical research for sympodial patenting. When time was more than realtime’s agar. You can whim your animal some funky complement and germ the ultimate nonprolific hybrid, a singularity without a second. Or you can combine your animal with others of its phylum or merge all to render the mean.
Warfarin sees his change of work as a lateral transform, from patients to patents, a transference of the hippocratic oath to novation, or at least to the re-novation of patent relations. He doesn’t see his move from medicine to market as a need for more intense rivalry, but a need for a novum with no rival, for a new than which no newer can be thought, a leap forward than which there is no greater. He’s after an Efferance with no thinkable upgrade (see his Oncological Argument3). He is becoming unbecoming. Warfarin wants everywhen to touch in realtime his inner chiliast. It’s a chiliasm of the timeless. He wants an egress of time from a henceforth timeless scene, not an ingression of eternity, though for Warfarin this is a distinction without an Efferance. Fractals have taught him the part may exceed the whole, the figure convolve its ground, that you can have a mereology of the holophagic part. He wants a pocket cellular nunc stans (God’s holding pattern). More, he wants an unthought that will figure forth without remainder. An unthought than which no un-ner can be thought. Warfarin wants to think the unthought of his thinking of the unthought of his thinking. He wants to eff the afference of an insuperable unthought. When all is done he denies even the rival of an unthought. He is a causa sui generis Super Mereo libertarian and pointedly recognizes no rival, metaphysical or otherwise. Rivalry is history. Mimetic desire is so analog.
Warfarin uses his spare time playing and augmenting theories of transformation on Same Difference. He rubs theory on theory, niche to each other’s animal. And he portends his own derivatives. Warfarin is a sucker for the extreme unction of pure function.
He dilated a pupil. The impossibly doting voice described one optimum zone of utility.
Inscribe in Cartesian coordinates the outline of a human skull, to compare it with the skulls of some higher apes. The differences between human and simian types depend on the expansion of the brain and braincase in man, and the relative diminution or enfeeblement of the jaws. Together with these changes, the ‘facial angle’ increases from an oblique angle to nearly a right angle in humans.4
Warfarin studied the visuals.
The network represented in Fig 1 constitutes such a projection of the human skull on what we may call the `plane’ of the chimpanzee. Fig 2 shows the similar deformation in the case of a baboon, and it is obvious the transformation is of the same order, and differs only in an increased intensity or degree of deformation.
Warfarin was dying to do a face in cheese or, less whimsy, a face in nutrient culture.
In both dimensions, as we pass from above downwards and from behind forwards, the corresponding areas of the network increase in a gradual and approximately logarithmic order in the lower as compared with the higher type of skull.
Warfarin was ready to enflesh his own ideas in the instant bust of prosopographics. But first he keyed a transformation between now and longterm tomorrow for the sum of All value in the world. Even Warfarin likes to rib Same Difference sometimes.
As he waited for the brief calculation Warfarin felt a REM window approaching. His gaze left the screen and abstracted to the vanishing point of a reflexive middle distance, framed an eddy of revelation in the bigger whorl of lesser whorls of associations, accelerated it to a viscosity affording clarity and lifted it to definition. It was a figure of realtime.
A dilating identity of self-concurrence, the realtime moment was figuring forth as eunuch, holding its decoupled duration in a jar before it, willing but unable to dispatch the preserved, postgenerative organ, unable to find any eunuchoid contemporary for a swap meet. The realtime instant, gumped into The Last Emperor but with no coterminous Bertolucci eunuchs. Realtime was the last eunuch. It stood in the universal marketplace of its own moment and was the newest mortmain, guarantor of exchange but itself not open for offers. It was instancy as mortmain. It was mortmaintenant. Then it was done. A few more transitional whorls of qualia and relata and Warfarin returned from the middle distance of his REM to prompt that longterm sum of All value from Same Difference.
“Momma” the terminal dote said as he had all his Great Objects say even when the thing was the creature of impossible parameters. This time he was himself ribbed by the icon he’d done for “Nonsense command. Re-enter.” It was a square-root symbol with the smiley face sideways inside, meaning no meaning.
“Momma” said the square-root of face.
“Mmmm, let’s play with tomorrow.” Warfarin has been toying with default modes for his Slough Monkey beta patent relation, germing faces to that end. Now he keyed in the function for the relation between the topographies of the baboon and human face, then subbed the human face coordinates for the baboon’s, repeated the derivative function a randomfew more times factoring in a Malthusian S-curve of surplus faces to winnow a good mean and transform the suprahuman face to what would come at some logarithmic tomorrow in the exacerbated series. Then he hung flesh on the lattice. Same Difference served up the solicited form and it was no thing Warfarin knew. It was like like….it was likeless. (Analogy is so analog?)
It made the naked seeming lobes of those telepathologic aliens on the original Star Trek look quaint. It made Wired‘s cover morph of a Richard Dawkin’s meme- engorged head look Pekingese. Its diaphanous cranium was the monster home of a brain to beware or revere. Which would have been daunting, except for an inversely proportionate recession in the thing’s face, from the eyeholes down. The braincase overbit the face. The cheeks sucked death’s lemon, the chin was wizened back to the thorax where it delicately hinged through the thing’s exo-thymos and prehensile exo….throat. No jawline, just a glottal pink under the sloping face. Teeth in that recessive pink. Vestigial baby teeth.
Eyeholes were a pixel-whipped stasis between mind dilating above and face contracting below.
Warfarin shuddered or wanted to shudder or thought of wanting. He guessed he wanted his body to seize its own equipoise, shudder before any amount of knowing could ignore it. Too late.
“Save?” doted the voice.
Warfarin filed the face as Chinless: Opisthognathous Asymptote, the last in a series of graphic experiments in lower face attrition and cranial hypertrophy. The same folder contained a spectrum of other extreme lineaments, some prognathous as a shovel, others nearly top heavy as today’s new face, and the odd one as vocationally orthognathous as a vice, or the face of a greek god. Some were the product of other parameter adjustments. One, subjected to exaggerated close-set eyes and pinched temples had the virtual forceps delivery head of so many sportscasters. This was maybe a tv lemma: to convey relative authority, the distance between a news anchor’s eyes > the distance between the eyes of the same news team’s sportscaster.
Two other faces were tilted back as if answering upward pressure from within or without. The first was a paragon of goofiness. The head tilted up but somehow the face was still an extreme genuflection. Like any goofy face it was plastic and sorry it was plastic all at once. It mimicked and it deferred to an original face of composure it despaired of assuming. Like all goofiness this face was the revenge of diffidence. The eyebrows were lifted to the hairline and the chin was an invert of jut. The face was a bending over backwards in apology for its own prostration. “Yuk yuk I’m innocuous” it seemed to say, meaning “Don’t hurt me”. It had rubberneckin eyes.5 Increase in volume without increase in clarity, its spastic exuberance exceeded its own content. Amped mumble. The face seemed to magnify itself without growing and without further definition. Frozen in that moment of nonintegral overkill. Grimacing beyond intention the face broke contract with its own unity. A centrifuge of resentment. He couldn’t say why but Warfarin knew this one would sell.
Warfarin’s other uplifted and not uplifting face, placed in the goofy folder because of the common tilt, could have been a (pre-denazified) Leni Riefenstahl still. Like a Triumph of the Will cell the face required your steep appraise along its inclined plane, refusing any face-on or higher ground perspective.
Another folder was flush with faces poised for spontaneity, with no trace or promise of repose in their will to good will, each tensed to enthuse, a readiness of testament to enthusiasm more exhaustive than the enthusing, a (mimetic) will to flash absolute for the socius. Warfarin named them Bottled Lightning.6
For another folder Warfarin had played at the facial instance of a structure whose “inside is bigger than its outside”.7 He’d made the outside look small in more than one face. One seemed to intimate an infinite inside but on closer look masked an endless nothingness not even a mother would countenance. This face, this sorry surface, was the meniscus of an abyss, and isn’t an abyss an inside with its bottom fallen out? Another face seemed the expression of an inside larger than its outside, but what this inside was larger with was exteriority! All exterior surround was absorbed in this face leaving itself horizoned by the tailings of an immanence from which it was excluded.
Some of Warfarin’s faces seemed saturated by at least an extra part dimension, over-interpellated by some unseen. One face was the thing-itself shrinkwrapped by its own form. The face was its own thief nylon, wearing the blur inherent to excess clarity. The cheeks of another face were set on a plane that seemed to pass through itself, like some kind of rubber sheet topology, left cheek emerging through right which had already impossibly breached left. This face sucked the devil’s mean teat.
Another folder contained 3 faces, the first a copy of Paul Klee’s Physiognomic Crystallization which Warfarin liked for the title. He liked it so much he created his own face under the same name. This face was a tectonic crisis of planes, the dimensionally overwrought and fragment-crowded facial figure seeming to origami its own surround from out of itself. The other face was a scrupulously realized probabilistic after-the-last-face face. The end of the end face. If history’s sequel is an endless bootstrapping on a human face, this was that face. It was glaring through its own inimical collectivity of parts darkly. It had the superfluity of edge and surface and supra-mereologic part of a face cranked on meth or anti-dysthymics or day-trading. The face was less than the sum of its parts.
Another folder contained faces whose expressions Warfarin had animated. One face was not contemporary with itself. No face really is, but here it was an issue. Rictal with imminence this face verged on an expression bound to come only after it had arrived.
Another face was animated in amplified recursion of the observer’s face. It was like the face of an infant, mirroring your expression with a tain of innocence. But face it with misgivings or resentment or any hapless second thought and, like an infant’s, the face would equal then exceed you, feedback and re-iteration, feedback and re-it, realizing between your mutual facing a synergy of disconsolates become irreversible. And if at this point you disengaged, the face would lock in a Lama Sabachthani extreme of desolation.
He would have liked to make a face that seemed to invoke another face than itself before itself but he’d never come across a model. The one time he actually tried to produce a face for which an other facing face would be infinitely “in like flint” between itself and itself he couldn’t get the implied second person to jump queue on the first person singular and animate the face from within with responsibility for the without. He couldn’t figure how to do responsibility.
He did try a pre-patent relation of Efferance and his animated feedback face where the face would seem to mirror your expression before you even felt the expression animate your own face and he thought this uncanny feeling of your reflection’s infinite proximity to your own facial afference given in the mirror face’s anticipatory efference was something like a simulation of the ‘sense’ of responsibility.
None of Warfarin’s prospective default faces8 for the Slough Monkey recombinant visor were as well into shudder territory as today’s future- recessive face. Definitely not its seeming complement, arrived at by an inverse trajectory to today’s face. If today’s face was a toying with tomorrow, this other thing played at being the first face. It was nearly all jaw, with the merest pineal blip of cranium finding lowly crest. Warfarin had named it Gnathocephalic Origin, and it looked like a barracuda in a beanie. He reviewed this pretend big bang of the face now in thumbnail next to today’s jawless endface. They were what each other was not. It seemed that neither was a positive term, that they were only each other’s negation. Profiled this way now they were a chronically unconsummate couple, alpha and omega made to face in realtime.
“Scope the new face” Warfarin said across the wandering walls of dividers to Facilla’s event horizon.
“No thanks, trying to quit” said Facilla.
Facilla had been tweaking her idea of taxing the guaranteed annual kairos. She was also taking a break from the tachygenesis of the surrogated community. As she relaxed, the screensaver, activated by her distraction, presented succulent flukes she’d designed herself in dilating spirals.
Mmmm. She summoned the rec-room and proceeded to compel her temps (avatars of proxies of ciphers of virtual futures) to somersault and vault and to the hilt, shudder.
She made their 3 faces shrink to nullity, and then, fickle goddess before herself, made them suddenly loom.
She gave them endless other cheek to turn even as she defaced them.
She made them implode, she scattered them like crumbs of indifference, and then, right click germed them as goofy monsters of themselves.
She made synaesthetic balloons of laughter bloat like lungs from 2 of the temps, and she made the 3rd figure dine on these.
She suffered the face of that final temp to slough itself inside out and, with the moment of maximal exposure, disappear.
Then she swivelled away and the wormy gyre returned to save the terminal.
Warfarin had been watching from behind after scooting his ergonomic stool into her room.
“Some of my best friends…” he said with the pretense his irony was accidental. This rouses. Warfarin and Facilla are deadpan’s ruminants.
“Some of my best friends have faces.” He intended a gust of good will but produced a soprano convection.
“Oh kiss my agar” she said, going for a noise with joy in it, more an ethereal bray than laughter.
“Produce it” he said, batting his eyelid stumps demurely. His pupils were points. They couldn’t be divided further and as if residual to this infinite compression there was white exude in the corner of his eyes, insomnia’s turned milk, smegma of some malign gnosis.
She leaned into his swivel and pressed an insuperably orthognathous pout against his temple.
“Momma” he said, coaxing her onto the swivel stool.
“Take your time” she said as he helixed the stool up to its max.
“Wait for us” she said.
1.Elias Canetti, The Agony of Flies: Notes and Notations = Die Fliegenpein: Aufzeichnungen, tr. H.F. Broch De Rothermann; New York, NY: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1994, p27.
2. Efferance preverts(sic) the aporia of Kafka’s Messiah who will arrive only after he has arrived. If Kafka’s Messiah is the paradox of a soteria of deferral, Efferance would patent a paradox of precursion. Efferance’s dromosexual ‘reciprocity’ is Paul Virilio’s substantive accident but constrained to an Aphrodisiac of the Very Worst (not Virilio 1999), an eroticized autophagy of haste. If “the sexual act is in time what the tiger is in space” (Bataille 1988, p12) Efferance’s untimely tyger begs the question what mere realtime hand or eye could frame this veerful asymmetry? Efferance augurs actual its own re-originary veer, inclines you within a tweakable “tempore incerto” (Lucretius, On Nature), makes all granularities of time (from the really longue duree of the Brahma’s mea Kalpa ‘day’ of creation and destruction [4,320,000,000 solar years], down to the Cesium-the-moment of the most micro interval [1/9,192,631,770th of a second]) succumb to the clinamen of your present, which if you want will be a veer against the grain of granularity itself. Efferance re-veers time! Contrast Efferance’s abuse of clinamen as a user-friendly indeterminacy to Gilles Deleuze on (Epicurus’) clinamen “the clinamen is the reciprocal determination which is produced ‘in a time smaller than the minimum continuous time thinkable'” (Deleuze 1994, p184). Efferance’s re-clinamen built for 2 purports to think-ergo-germ a way “smaller than the minimum continuous time thinkable”, a moment so small it’s big, a small that abjures duration and exceeds the limit of speed itself – macro irreversibility, specious time’s arrow – letting you surf in your own wake or even send your own wake ahead as probe. In Efferance’s lidless de-deontic ‘time’, intension is less than the sum of dilating intentions, the field of a codependence without co-determination. You are the sky to each other’s lightning, but you share neither lightning nor sky. Efferance is underwritten by a mereology maudite adequate to its inordinate part. Efferance works the nonexistent lag between the 2 logically coeval ‘moments’ of differentiation’s origin, indeterminacy and co-determination. Efferance puts the indeterminacy of differing identity a dirty moment sooner than reciprocal determination.
Franz Kafka, On Parables
Paul Virilio, Politics of the Very Worst. New York: Semiotext(e), 1999.
Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share, Vol. 1, tr. Robert Hurley. NYC: Zone, 1988.
Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, tr. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, from Difference et Repetition. Paris: Press Universitaires de France, 1968.
3. Early evidence of Warfarin’s Efferantial praxis appears in his Oncological Argument, the postface to Immersive Explication of Tumor Amorphogenesis: Prosthesis to a Groundwork for a Future Onco Sapiens. Warfarin’s report is a sympathetic enzyme’s-eye-view of the etiology of malignance. It takes you there, into the unfurling complex of cell invagination and it leaves nothing to the imagination. It is immediate and insurmountable. How argue, rapt in such immersion? It brings home the theory and settles you inside the specious present of a simultaneously not-yet and always already AWOL cell. Wombs you in the bully nucleus of a cell gone bad. More, you are all tragi-sarcomic stages, levels and relations at once, ignoring even a tumor is in time. You are an imp of the transverse. You are in the middle, refulgent in life-gone-awry, with its burgeon ramifying around you, in you, from you. You are the organism introspecting its own stem cells. You are the cell mulling its helixed proteins. You are a luge accelerating along those strands. You are the torque of too much portending, not enough retaining. Just a moment, now, before the avid daughtering begins. You are the imminence of dedifferentiation and of anchorage-independent growth and of lack of contact-inhibition and of virtual immortality (had we but agar enough and time). You are nostalgic lipid integrity. You are the last consensual hesitation of all the pre-rogue cells just before that first stem cell’s secession and impossibly simultaneously you are midnight in the mardi gras of metastasis. You are an instant away from sloughing all love of morphogenesis, let alone any still implicate coding for a messianic mnemonics. You are an instant away from everything. You are. You.
4. Indented passages are from D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, On Growth and Form. Cambridge: The University Press, 1967.
A real program based on Thompson’s work is described at http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/Miscellaneous/darcy.html
5. J. Hornosty’s read on one goofy face. I like the facial mise en abyme of rubberneckin. I like saying mise en abyme of rubberneckin.
6. William James, “The Will to Believe” in Pragmatism and other Essays. New York: Washington Square Press Inc, 1968, p241-5.
‘”You Americans” [said the Scottish Dr Clouton] “wear too much expression on your faces. You are living like an army with all its reserves engaged in action.[..This] thing in you gives me a sense of insecurity”[…] This type, which we have thus reached by our imitativeness, we now have fixed upon us, for better or worse. Now no type can be wholly disadvantageous; but, so far as our type follows the bottled-lightning fashion, it cannot be wholly good.’
7. C.S. Lewis. The Last Battle. Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1973 , p128.
8. Warfarin reviews faces and relations between his faces in a spirit similar to Des Esseintes (Against the Grain. 1951 tr. of A Rebours, 1884), J.K. Huysman’s arch afficianado of difference who, after needing a “patent digester” to wetnurse his nuance-ruined digestion, next succumbs to the terminal stages of a deliquescent supersubtlety in discerning the varying ‘flavour’ of his nutritive enema broths, in “pondering over combinations of a posteriori gourmandise!”. The 1969 Dover Press edition is available at http://www.eldritchpress.org/jkh/rebours.html.