Asignifying Semiotics: Or How to Paint Pink on Pink

Marc Boumeester
2014 unpublished
creating an arena of strange attractors and other topological vector fields in which our own unconscious drive is as effective as that of the steel ball in a pinball machine. How, then, can we isolate the intrinsic drive of the medium from its subservient position in the aesthetic, freeing its desire from the anthropocentric dominion? The point of departure lies in the concept of meta-media, which is not to be mistaken for cross-media, trans-media or multi-media. In all of the latter categories
more » ... e latter categories , the particular media specifics are combined, connected and transposed to achieve a higher goal, to create a stronger expression of communication. A specific denotation of meta-media is found in the reversal of media-philosopher Marshall McLuhan's conception 4 of meta-media, referred to as 'the total-izing effect of media'. Media theorist Lev Manovich 5 expounded this concept by referring to it as a field of new interactions between form and content in the field of emerging media, and the convergence of technology and medium. Elaborating specifically on a particular part of the meta-media system is the state that occurs when a certain concept, belief, or idea is heavily present, or cultivated to such an extent that it dominates all other potential notions. This state of the 'real virtual' 6-as opposed to virtual reality-saturates the mental-medium (the concept is therefore often referred to in terms of highly volatile media, like air or ether) to such an extent that the mere expression of it can only be demanded by a particular medium. Yen Amongst the most difficult words to translate into English are the Portuguese word Saudade and the German word Sehnsucht, which-to a certain extent-cover the same lemma. Deeply rooted in romanticism, they both express a resilient and intense longing for something or someone, which comes with the admonition that this state does not necessarily require an actual object of desire: yearning for yearning's sake is an independent, auto-referential condition. The English expression, yen, dates from the era of the passionate consumption of opium, and indicates the intensity with which the 'prolonged unfulfilled desire or need' would have been felt, although the reference to physical addiction does not include all its capacities. It is exactly this unfulfilled-ness which French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan 1 calls Spaltung, an equation involving two prosaic human drives (appe-tite and demand), leaving a definitional gap for desire, which is not (able) to be satisfied. 2 It is in this part of reality-the part that is not materialised, the part we call the virtual-that we find another vector field moving towards the one containing our mundane tendencies. Political theorist Jane Bennett calls it the vitality of (nonhuman) bodies, by which she means 'the capacity of things-edibles, commodities, storms, metals-not only to impede or block the will and designs of humans, but also to act as quasi agents or forces with trajectories, propensities or tendencies of their own'. 3 This exposes a mayhem of non-anthropocentric desires,