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Coloring the Virtual

Erin Manning

Configurations, Volume 16, Number 3, Fall 2008, pp. 325-346 (Article)

Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.1353/con.0.0063

For additional information about this article

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Coloring the Virtual

Erin Manning Concordia University

Jim Campbells sculptural installations and lmic images have pioneered new ways of looking: the closer you get to the images, the more intangible they become. The more you perceive their movingstillness, the more they move you. This essay explores how Campbells work creates propositions for vision that alter not only how an image is seen in its framed stability, but how the instability of its composition occasions kinesthetic experience, activating a lively dialogue between the analog and the digital in a way that calls forth the future cinematic.
If you even try to measure something, you affect it Jim Campell1

Jim Campbells Ambiguous Icons includes a series called Motion and Rest (2001)six panels of red on black, black on redthat bring to perception the movements of disabled bodies. You look for the image, you see the pixels, and then the image appears. The image is black, its background red. But as you look again, you see red in black, the black appearing as the force of red backgrounding itself. And then youve lost it, and you see the black only as the shadow of red, foregroundingpixels and image in a tangible struggle for recognition.
1. Jim Campbell Electronic Interview with Jim Campbell, with Heather Sealy Lineberry, in Jim Campbell: Transforming Time, Electronic Works 199099, ed. Marilyn A. Zeitlin (Phoenix: Arizona State University Art Museum Press, 1999), p. 68.
Congurations, 2008, 16:325345 2010 by The Johns Hopkins University Press and the Society for Literature and Science.




You move back. Now the red seems like a side note to the appearing black gure. You stand at a different angle. The red reappears and the image stills. You move again and this time, the gure moves with you. An accident of perception? Cinema or photograph, what is apparent is that this movement is with you, it is a moving-with that relationally alters where you stand. You cant stand still. Jim Campbells series of moving stills Motion and Rest is a selfdesignated accolade to Eadweard Muybridge. But looking again, I dont see MuybridgeI see Etienne-Jules Marey, I see the enchantment of perceptions play on the imperceptible, I feel movement in its incipiency. Whereas Muybridges work was about capturing the still to attach movement to it, Mareys focus was on making felt the incipience of movement in its very taking-form. Marey was never interested in how poses could be combined to elicit a sense of movement; his main concern was mapping the imperceptible within movements continuum.2 It was never an outspoken concern of Mareys to develop a vocabulary of the relational interval or to make apparent the affective force of movement in the making; his efforts were consistently empirical and concerned chiey with documenting the imperceptible at the level of quantiable knowledge. Yet the quality of perception taking-form remains artistically palpable in Mareys work, especially in his experimentation with gases. In these experiments, he sought to make apparent that which cannot be seen: the movement of air. This radically empirical explorationradical because it makes felt the force of the virtual within the actual brings to the fore the force of the imperceptible taking-form. With Marey, as with Campbell, what stands out is not the cinematographic habit of adding movement to a pose, but a direct encounter with perception in the making. The poses are always already moving. Campbells Motion and Rest makes the morphogenesis of perception felt by staging a force eld for vision: we feel the pull of co-attraction between the red pixelation and the black-appearing image. In the perceptual remix, as the screen begins to hold our gaze, we

2. For a detailed exploration of perception and relation as they come together in Etienne-Jules Mareys work, see Erin Manning, Grace Taking Form: Mareys Movement Machines, in Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009). My reading of Marey is inuenced by Marta Brauns Picturing Time: The Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (18301904) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), who makes a similar argument with respect to the important difference between Eadweard Muybridge and Marey. See also Franois Dagognets Etienne-Jules Mareya Passion for the Trace (New York: Zone, 1992), and Georges Didi-Huberman and Laurent Mannonis Mouvements de lair: Etienne-Jules Marey, photographe des uides (Paris: Gallimard, 2004).

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nd ourselves surprised by an emergent becoming-orange, a yellowing of the redwhite light in a vibratory tuning in and out of the black foreground. It is not that we choose to look at foreground or background, black image or red pixel or oranging of red, it is that looking itself becomes a tug of war, an activity of foregrounding and backgrounding that activates a coloring which pulsates between the pixel grid and the becoming-image. This vibratory mode of vision alters how we stand with respect to perception: viewing becomes a fury of pulsating seeings-with. How can an image stand still when perception is making felt the jump-cuts of its very process? The panels of Campbells Motion and Rest are composed of hundreds of tiny light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which compose a red grid that is covered by transparent Plexiglas lying against it at variable distances. The further from the LEDs the Plexiglas lies, the more apparent the moving gure is to perception as an outline of a body. The closer to the display the Plexiglas lies, the more present the red grid. What we see, however, is never the grid as such, or the image as such; what we see is the feeling of a body appearing in a vibrational pixelation of the active passage of the between. Our vision elds the intervals of light and form such that what we perceive is a bodily feeling coming into appearance. This feeling colors our vision. We see-with the in-between of the forms coming into appearance as gure, our vision taken over by redness oranging. To perceive is always to see more than the actuality of appearanceit is to see-with the relational tendencies that gather to propose a oneness of form or gure. What we perceive when we see a moving gure in one of Campbells panels is a virtual remix of what is actually there: red pixels tending toward an image constellation proposed by the transduction of digital code into light. How we see is specic to the conguration of the screening as machinic process. No single element of Campbells complex screenmachine can be separated from the other. The image comes forth in relation to a series of tendencies: the Plexiglas, for instance, is not a passive support for the image, but an activating force for its takingform. To perceive a gure in Motion and Rest is to see a subtraction emergent from the relational eld of lines, edges, and contours. To see is to subtract form from a relational eld of potential. The gure emerges in the active backgrounding of the resonant eld created by the red pixelated grid. To actively background is to move-with. This incites a seeing that is implicated in its own movement, a movement here tuned to red. Infused by red, the image of the gure taking-form tends in its appearance toward a certain coloration, even if we note



that the gure is clearly black. In the seeing-through-subtraction, the black gure becomes tinted with the experience of our having seen red. We look to the gure through what we do not actually seered. The black body resonates with the coloring of our experience of having seen through subtraction. The gure vibrates with the morethan of its actual representation. We see in movement. The movement is not what we see, it is how we see. When we perceive the constellation of the red grid giving into form, we see-feel the reddening of an image in composition. The reddening is the virtual aftereffect of having seen red. It is virtual, not seen as suchthe actual image remains blackfelt in a movement of seeing that tends to red. What we perceive when the gure appears in Motion and Rest, I am suggesting, is a more-than blackness of the gure in a tending toward red that animates the perceptual movement-with of the gure taking-form. The Plexiglas as transducer of light to form is one of the activators of this virtual coloring. The coloring of the virtual makes felt the tendency to always perceive more-thanin this case, more-than grid, more-than red pixels, more-than black gure. In a sustained looking-with, Campbells redblack series Motion and Rest begins to tend toward orange. How to account for this becomingorange that suddenly takes over vision? Orange is what happens when perception can no longer lock in on the strict differentiation between gure and background. It takes over when we are no longer seeing the grid as such, but cant quite get beyond it; when we nd ourselves looking-with the light of the pixel, but still see the image. In this still-seeing a becoming-orange emerges that colors perception in the making, infusing the experience of seeing the black gure with an oranging of the eld. We feel the gure moving: gure not as xed form, but as apparition of light modulating. This is a paradox of Campbells movement-images : 3 the more the pixels are backgrounded, the more the image appears; but the more the image appears, the more the pixels are foregrounded as more than pixels, as colors shading in and out of the moving image. Coloring the
3. Throughout, I am indebted to Gilles Deleuzes concept of the movement-image; see his Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Thomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986). For Deleuze, the movement-image refers to an image that is not conceived as stillness with movement added, not an immobile section + abstract movement (p. 2). Building on Henri Bergsons theories of movement, Deleuze emphasizes the idea that movement expresses something more profound, which is the change in duration or in the whole, which means that each time there is a displacement of movement, there is also immediately a qualitative change in the whole (p. 8).

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virtual, the pixels are no longer a discrete grid, but a vibratory machine for an image taking-forman image that is always more than black, more than still gure. The how of seeing activated by Motion and Rest is never a representation of movement, nor is it a projection of movement. It is a moving-with of perception in the making. The abstract movement of the vibrational pixelation tending toward the coloring of an image taking-form gives us a feeling for seeing. This feltness of seeing is itself colored: perception reddens, oranges, blackens. This coloring comes through virtuallywe never see it as such. The image appears in an activation of light and movements in-between, in the interval of the red tending toward its pixelation and the black tending toward guration. This tending makes felt the light itself, giving the appearing of the contour of an orange hue. The virtual interval contributes to the actual imagean actuality that remains fragile. The fragility of the actual is due to the continual variation in the eld of vision. Perception moves, unstable as it hobbles to the rhythm of the disabled bodies activated in Motion and Rest. To perceive Campbells screen-machines is to move with the fragility of the gures incipient displacements. Motion and Rest makes felt the force of movements taking-form, a movement-with that does not perform itself without struggle. In Motion and Rest, movements preacceleration4its incipient becoming-actualmakes its apparition through red, red coloring the activity of perception. Red is the dots, the pixels, the LEDs themselves; red is what stays the same, what is programmed digitally as the background to the becoming-image: red is the direct expression of the algorithm poised to transduce light into form. It is through red that the image appears, the image taking-form in the reddening blackness of its appearing disappearing. And it is because of red that orange appears in tandem with a foregrounding of what appear to be black shadow-pixels. This suggests that while red is the stable support theoretically, it is more than that in the event of perception. Red activates a pulsating variation for perception even as it continues to be a support for a discrete process of image taking-form; red sets the conditions for its own de-territorialization. We see red even as we see through red, a seeing that is not a variation on possibilitiesthe either/or of grid or imagebut a variation on the potential that activates a new eld for perception.
4. Preacceleration refers to the virtual tending toward displacement that precedes every actualized displacement. I discuss this in depth in a piece titled Incipient Action: The Dance of the Not-Yet, in Relationscapes (above, n. 2).



In its transductive potential,5 red is much more than the support through which edge becomes gure. Red is the fabric for the renewal of process. Transduction is not translation, it is a shifting between planes that requires a simultaneous shift in process. When red pixels become reddening perception, what has happened is that the process has captured red not as a given, but as a tending toward. Red stands in for the impossibility of stability in the event of perception. Paradoxically, it is the strength of the grids dominion that gives red the opportunity to be innitely more than an array of objects (LEDs), shifting the event toward the variability of perception itself. Despite its so-called xity in the form of a grid, it is nally because of reds overdetermination in the interplay between planes of experience that the image never appears xed, that the stability of red shades into orange-yellow-white. Motion and Rest makes apparent the activity of relation that is perception; it makes felt the relational interval that becomes our experience of having seen. Looking with the woman limping is a looking through color. Background foreground pulsing, pixelating, looking through color is an experience of light and movement resonating. When perception colors, we see not a gure on its own, we see-with the active interval of its taking-form. In Motion and Rest, the interval is seen-with as a variation on color. The interval is the active in-between of the preacceleration of perception coloring the virtualmovement taking-form as a gure haloed in a coloring that is more than the pixelated red of the grid, more than the blackness of its edging into form. Red dots make black shadows. Black shadows tend toward red dots, which merge into yellow-orange-white halos. The gure is blackness emerging from the unstable ground of color, color as variation on becoming-gure. Neither strictly red nor black, what we see is the relational activity of intervals coloring perception in the making.

Coloring the Virtual

Perception is a question of movement. Color is a question of light in movement that folds through differential intervals of hue and vibration.We never see a color as such. We experience a worlding of color that resonates between different coloring tendencies. Motion and Rest makes this felt: its becoming-image pulses between movement and

5. For more on transduction, see Gilbert Simondons LIndividuation psychique et collective (Paris: Aubier, 2007).

Manning / Coloring the Virtual


light to make appear the vibratory constellation of the actual taking a virtually colored hue. This taking on of the virtual in its effects feels like movement: we experience a shift from the still-movement of the display to a moving-still of the open screen-machine. Perceiving becomes a moving-with the screen-machines foregrounding of the moving-into-shadow of the gure subtracting itself, a subtraction that creates a becoming-orange of perception. This coloring infuses the blackness of the gure with a virtuality that colors not the gure per se, but our experience of seeing it move, of moving with it. In Motion and Rest, the digital meets the analog. Analog images are digitized, and digitized images are, in turn, activated for perception through a re-becoming analog: the digital pixel is transduced into the analog through the becoming-actual of the gure-image in perception. Digital meets analog in a play of perception taking-form, making viscerally apparent the relational constructedness of how vision is experiential. This is a play between what the machine can do and how experience can feel it: machinic perception. Campbells work situates itself at the very site of machinic perception, emphasizing how perception involves much more than eyes. Perception as activated and foregrounded in Campbells digitalanalog machines is a complex interworlding between animate and inanimate movement, past seeings and future viewings, preconceptions and anticipations. His machinic interventions are not representations of this process. They are machines for the coloring of perception that make felt the experience of moving vision. Campbells perception machines are neither strictly digital nor analog: they make use of analog and digital tendencies to make felt the strange interplay between the actual and the virtual in perception. Here, it is important to remember that the virtual is not simply the not-seen of actual experiencethe imperceptible. The virtual affects experience in the making. In this regard, it is as real as the actual. This aspect of the virtual is key to Campbells work. His concern is less with the mechanism of the digitalhow the digital renders images through pixelsthan with the activation of our sensing bodies in movement, themselves vibratory taking-forms of virtual actualizing tendencies. The digital is a means to an end: code operates within strict parameters at the level of possibility, not potential.6 Where potential
6. For a detailed exploration of the relationship between the digital and the analog that focuses on the role of the virtual in the experience of perception and the regimes of possibility/potential the digitalanalog mix call forth, see Brian Massumi, On the Superiority of the Analog, in Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002).



might be thought of as the springboard that holds in abeyance the innite variability that is the open whole of experience, possibility is rmly rooted in the realm of the already-thought. There is no virtual actualizing tendency in the strictly digital realm, no potential. This is where Campbells work makes a difference to the digital: he creates machinic processes that reach beyond the actual algorithm, beyond the limits of the digital, toward potential. Motion and Rest is more than a strictly digital phenomenon: it is a recombination of the digital with experience. It takes a quantifying system and activates it qualitatively. Motion and Rest calls forth a virtual interval felt in the oscillating perceptual experience of seeing beyond the image toward its vibratory potential. Its panels are forces for virtual activation; they make palpable the potential active at the cut where experience takes over the mechanism. The mechanism becomes a machine for perception. When mechanism becomes machinic process, there is a felt shift from the preconditioned parameters of possibility toward an open individuation of potential. Campbells processual machines attend to an in-between that is neither strictly cinematographic nor digital, neither moving image nor still image. Motion and Rest is a proposition for a new kind of imaging process: a moving-still that emphasizes not the pose, but the sense of the always in still. Motion and Rest moves stillness in a regime of aberrant continuity. This concept of moving-still is Campbells proposition to the future cinematic, the realm where digital and analog coexist in an open eld of potential. It is a proposition for the force of vision transduced into an outside of thought7outside not because it is outside the process, but because it attends to the more-than of actual experience. When the force of vision tends to an outside of thought, the complex interplay between the actual and the virtual is made palpable. We feel itit colors experience in the making. Campbells work plays with the interval of force taking-form. He creates a cinematic movement of thought where digital meets analog in a complex and incessant return and remix of measure and open whole, possibility and potential. David Rodowicks The Virtual Life of Film addresses the issue of how the digital alters modalities of seeing in the cinematic realm. He writes: where analog media records traces of events . . . digital media produce tokens of numbers.8 The celluloid or 35mm lm catches
7. The thought of the outside is a concept that Deleuze uses with respect to the concept of the diagrammatic in Michel Foucaults work; see Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, trans. Sean Hand (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988). 8. David Rodowick, The Virtual Life of Film (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), p. 9.

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life in the passing, recording it in a one-to-one relation whereby the input and output are conceivably the same. The digitalization of the same input undoes this one-to-oneness, transducing the event into numbers that can, in turn, be transduced into image. Rodowick suggests that in the era of the digital, the image that once seemed so cinematically stable has become divested of its real-time pastness, its potential to express duration as the force of the virtual. The digital images structure is not based on an input to output model. It is modular, with values that are highly variable: the powers of the digital image derive from its mutability and susceptibility to transformation and recombination.9 The key difference, perhaps, for Rodowick, is the question of the image itself: Can the digital be said to work with images? Or does the digital forsake the image as such, operating instead strictly with coded possibilities, only one of which may be to reconstitute a semblance of an image-based constellation?10 Deleuzes cinema books provide a vocabulary for the ontological difference between an image that portends a certain organicitya composition that attends to continuity of movementand a regime that concerns itself less with an image per se as with the opening toward potential the direct experience that time provokes. He locates this second kind of image, which he calls a direct image of time, in the crystalline regime. In the crystalline regime, what is at stake is less the image itself than a relational constellation that re-gathers light and movement toward an internal aberrance of time and space. When time is directly experienced as aberrant movement, truth of continuity at the level of movement or narration is no longer at stake. Here, what Deleuze calls the powers of the false, are foregrounded. The powers of the false of the crystalline regime imply a will to deviation that leads us away from the question of truth or realism, which too often animates the discussion of the turn from analog cinema to digital cinemaa discussion that tends to focus on loss. What is lost in the passage from the analog to the digital is not the
9. Ibid., p. 103. 10. While the question of the relation between digital cinema and celluloid-based cinema may not be relevant to all in this post-cinematic age, it remains a key issue in many lm departments, where the move toward digital is often referred to as the loss of something. This something is rarely dened, but my sense is that it has to do with the perceived loss of a quality of perception, a certain completeness of vision afforded by the material of celluloid itself in its machinic relation to the projector. To experience this attitude, one has only to enter a lm class and observe the reaction of students and professors alike to the showing of a lm on disk instead of in its true celluloid format.



real, but a certain vision of light meeting movement in a mirage we call realism. This realism is a mutating quality, as Rodowick suggests, and may therefore be a false starting point for a discussion of the ontology of digital cinema.11 How the light moves through a projector to animate a moving image has little or nothing to do with realism. It has to do with a particular mechanistic process for making the perceptible appear. In the move toward the digital, there is no question that the quality of light changes, and in that way, what seems real will also change. But this is not about the truth of the real. It remains a question of ontological difference at the level of perception itself.12 What is lost in the passage from analog to digital projection is the specicity of the machinic support and its singular uses of light. While there is no denying that the machine has an effect on the image, this loss is another machinic processs gain. At its best, what the digital can do is make propositions for perception that go beyond the mimicry of an analog process. Campbells digitalanalog remix is such a proposition. Experimenting with the role of light for perception, Campbell extends the problematic of the future cinematic beyond medium-specicity. He machinically intervenes at the level of the perceptual experience, focusing on the effect the digital pixel has on the coloration of visual experience, thus
11. Every realism relies on formal effects, and no doubt, perceptually, these effects are cognitively conditioned. But cultural criteria are also needed to comprehend a shift in the nature of how effects of realism are produced; see Rodowick, Virtual Life of Film (above, n. 8). 12. Digital projectors no longer shine light through a semi-transparent material such as celluloid, but they do use light as a mechanism for projection. They project an array of pixels that produce an image at a relatively small size ranging from six to twelve inches (1530 cm), [which is] then magnied with a lens onto a large screen. The LCDs used in digital projectors are approximately the size of a small color slide, and in fact the projectors operate very much like a traditional slide projector. The main difference is that the slide is constantly changing. . . . Both CRT and LCD digital projectors are known as transmitive projectors, meaning that light shines through the image to project it. There is another class of digital projectors, however, known as reective projectors, which provide a much higher quality of image. These digital projectors have an array of tiny mirrors, one for each pixel. As these mirrors reposition themselves to either place light on the screen or not, they produce shading which creates the illusion of a complete image (from John Belton adds that [t]hrough output to electronic displays, the digital images fundamental form is . . . tokens of numbers that neither occupy space nor change through time. . . . Part of the image that remains constant over several frames is therefore given to us in frame one, then replaced in successive frames by a numerical code that refers us back to frame one. For that particular part of the image, we are seeing one brief moment of time and space again and again (in Rodowick, Virtual Life of Film [above, n. 8], p. 137).

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experimenting with the experiential openings the digitalanalog remix provokes. In the mainstream digital-cinematic realm, the constraints of the medium are not often explored in as much complexity as they might be: digital cinema is created to look and act like analog cinema. Therefore we tend to locate the digital in the realm of the cinematic phylum. When, however, the machinic constellation proposes new experiential potentialas it has already done in a long tradition of video art13what occurs is the creation of a new phylum. Thus opportunities are created for the foregrounding of new processes for perception. The creation of a new phylum stands out in Campbells work. Motion and Rest is a proposition for an opening toward a future cinematic that is not the future of cinema so much as the future of perception activated through machinic means. Campbell does not work within an existing vocabulary for the seen in movement or the movement seen. His proposition to the future cinematic moves toward an ontogenetics of perception before it lays claim to a medium. The digital is characterized by Campbell as a medium for quantication. He expects no more of the digital. Its strength, he says, is that it can count. Where he sees the creative process at work is in the exploration of the open entanglements of the digital with the unquantiable. For Campbell, the artistic process is an investment at the level of a qualitative intervention that asks what engineering can do at the limit where it turns experiential. Engineering, he says, is about solving problems, and art is about creating them, but in both cases the important thing is to ask the right question.14 Asking the right question means experimenting with the works modulations via the works own ecology of process, such that the work begins to ask its own questions: I almost always put what I would call aesthetic/electronic adjustments into the works, so that when I have nished I can tweak the work both visually and rhythmically . . . to change a work as my understanding of it grows.15 To develop an understanding of a work as it grows is to become attuned to the ways in which a process creates relational intervals constellations of potential that open it up to prearticulated thoughts,16
13. See, for instance, the work of Steina and Woody Vasulka (http://www.vasulka .org) and Bill Viola ( 14. Campbell Electronic Interview (above, n. 1), p. 64. 15. Ibid., pp. 6465. 16. Prearticulated is used here in alignment with preacceleration, suggesting a virtual force for articulation that envelops acctual articulation. It should not be mistaken with the pre-thought. Prearticulation is the immanent force of thought/articula-



concepts, perceptions, movements. It is to make palpable the potential that animates actual experience in the making. Analog processes have access to this potential in its wholeness: they eld the event with all of its noise. The potential of the whole is retained in analog processes, gathered into the time-pressure of the works becoming-form. To perceive is to catch the images becoming remarkable in the vista of wholeness that makes felt the virtuals effects within the actual. To perceive is to feel the rhythm of an ecology of processes taking-form. In a digital process there is, strictly speaking, no such open ecology. Nor is there direct access: we cannot experience code unless transduced into an analog display. The ontological difference with a digital image is that the image we see is actually one possibility among many, its recomposition not a copy of what was, but a rendering of a determinate set of parameters into an innite of possible formats. The digital has no object. It plays with the futurity of perception by proposing different real-time outcomes from the parameters of its algorithm. It is not image-specic. But it is event-specic. The projection of an image, analog or digital, requires light to make apparent the contours and edges that become image, their shadows receding into a three-dimensionalizing background. Light is constitutive of the coming into expression of the image. What we see when we see an image is the subtraction from what Deleuze calls the whole or the plane of immanence: The plane of immanence is entirely made up of Light. . . . The image is movement, just as matter is light.17 That matter is light means that in perception, there is no actual object as such, only movement: active backgroundings and foregroundings that create relational intervals that activate edges for perception. Edges and contours can be thought of as attractors for the becoming-form of movement transducing into matter within an ecology of relational intervals. We see through them when we catch an image in the passing. A singular image comes to light through a subtraction from the wholeness of potential perceivability. As an image takes form, the relational intervals of its edging into gure become inected with imaging/objecting potential. Edge becomes line becomes forma form always in contrast with that which does not actualize as form, remaining light. This coming-throughedge of image taking-form occurs through movementnot because
tion that intensies and complexies lived experience. For Deleuze and Whitehead, the prearticulated rst expresses itself affectively. This concept is explored further in Propositions for Thought in Motion in Erin Manning, Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Technology (Cambridge, MA., 2009). 17. Gilles Deleuze, The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), pp. 6061.

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the interval moves, but because movement activates the relational opening through which perception takes place. The image we see is the activation of an incipient movement transducing an interval into forma transduction of movement into mattering-form. Movement becomes matter in the taking hold of the now that is the event of perception. This is a taking hold not of the image as such, but of its relational coming into appearance: we see-with the virtual interval in an actual taking-form of light becoming shadow. Light forces form into appearance by backgrounding itself as light. We see matter taking-form as gure always in a play of appearance disappearance, where what is foregrounded is not the image per se, but remarkable points. These remarkable points are in counterpoint to the plane of immanence: they are lights shadowings. Lights shadowing in Motion and Rest colors the virtual. Light and movement, movement and color are co-constitutive of perceptionmovement, not as quantitative displacement but as qualitative activity, bringing into relation perception as worlding. We see-with as much as we see through: In the movement-image there are not yet bodies or rigid lines, but only lines or gures of light.18 The quality of seeing is always in step with what we see, which is in step with how we see. We see the feeling of perception taking-form. As Vertov says, the eye is in things.19 Experientially, there is therefore little difference between the cinematic and the digital phylum, even though their machinic processes are markedly different. Campbells work articulates an experiential vocabulary for their coming together that foregrounds the transduction of the machinic into the perceptual. Motion and Rest is the creation of a machine for light that situates us at the cusp of two kinds of light events: that of the pixel, and that of the analog image. Our approach to the artwork is not one that chooses between these two modes of experimentation with vision. The perceptual elds us before we control it. What we feel in the seeing is not one or the other mechanism, but the unresolved tension of their being brought togethera bringing together activated by movement, in movement. Campbells work makes us move. We are moved to perceive.

Electric Perception
Rodowick writes: On electronic screens, we are uncertain that what appears before us is an image, and in its powers of mutability and velocity of transmission, we are equally uncertain that this perception has a singular or stable existence either in the present or in
18. Ibid., p. 61. 19. Paraphrased in Deleuze, Time-Image (above, n. 16), p. 40.



relation to the past.20 Electronic screens have no objects, yet neither are they passive displays. Active interfaces for the constellation of dynamics, electronic screens activate electric perception: they coincide with perceptions relational activity. Whether we situate this relational activity as the experiential in perception or whether we understand that the digital screen itself mimics this process of perception is moot, because how we see is what we see. Perhaps the issue is that of the object itself. If perception is characterized as the replaying of an object-based renderingas though perception came fully formed in object-contoured constellations then there must be an ontological difference between analog perception, where screen equals image/real world, and digitized perception, where screen equals mutability/falsity. But if we agree that perception does not in fact come fully formed, that it is not the adequation of objects preformed into vision received, then what we experience in the interplay between the analog and digital is less an ontological difference than a new machinic process through which perceptions inadequation with so-called realism takes place again under different conditions. To each event its own process. The experiences of watching Alfred Hitchcock on celluloid and experiencing Campbells Illuminated Average #1Hitchcocks Psycho (2000) might be a case in point. Both the celluloid version of Psycho projected onto a silver screen and Campbells piece are events for the watching that activate imagistic tendencieslight and shadowwithin a Hitchcockian vocabulary for cinematic perception. But their conditions for emergence are signicantly different. The silver-screen event of watching Psycho is experienced from a seated perspective in a darkened room. It is a narratively enhanced event for the perception of singular stylistic parameters associated with Hitchcock. That the projector is moving the lm is secondary to the experience: what we see from the perspective of the theater seat is an image taking-form for perception in a context of a terrifying interplay of light and darkness that brings to the fore objects and gures in the making. There is no single scene in Psycho that exists for perception fully formed. Campbells digital recasting of Hitchcocks Psycho, which involved the scanning of every frame of the lm to create one composite stillmoving image, is equally an event, albeit one that foregrounds a different posture. Now we are no longer sitting in the cinema, but standing in the gallery. The loss of imposed stillness guaranteed to some degree by the seats in the theater opens Campbells
20. Rodowick, Virtual Life of Film (above, n. 8), p. 94.

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Illuminated Average #1Hitchcocks Psycho to a different kind of viewing, one that is activated in a moving back and forth that alternates the perspectives for the taking-form of images. The gallery experience of moving in and through space is one of the factors that alters the conditions for the taking-form of the event: Campbells piece proposes movement in space, catching us in an incessant receding and return, a moving-with that animates the shadows, light, edges, and contours of Campbells thickly textured screenmachine. Campbells still-moving is not a simulacra of Hitchcocks Psycho. It is what William Forsythe would call a choreographic object: a proposition for movement in the making.21 Campbells screenmachine creates an active interplay not of, but with Hitchcocks lm, moving the lm beyond the cinema even while building on the very experience of watching Psycho on the silver screen. Machine for perception activating the present-passing of a memory of having seen. Do we see the same lm? Of course not. But do we have an experience of perception that activates the movement of images through light within a Hitchcockian regime of perception? I would say yes. In Campbells piece, we experience the singularity of light and shadow that animates Hitchcocks lm under new conditions. In this instance, there is no need of narrative. The activity of our moving-with is animated by our having-seen, which is intimately tied to our havingheard. We see in the context of previous conditions: Campbell proposes Psycho reframed. This is a framing in action, a direct investment in the rhythm of the lms perceptual multiplicity. What we see through Campbells work is cinematic futurity at play. The open frame makes the machinic phylum of perception felt. We see through the interval of seeings. We see with Hitchcocks vision of light and shadow. We see with our experience of having seen. Campbell asks not that the digital and the analog stand alone as mechanisms for image creation. He demands that they cooperate to create a new machinic phylum. He asks that their active doing be their coming-together. The issue thus becomes less one of digital or analog, than one concerned with the specicity of the conditions for viewing different mediums propose. A similar concern faces Michael Snow with respect to the archiving
21. For a more detailed engagement with William Forsythes notion of the choreographic object, see Choreographic Objects on his Synchronous Objects website, An in-depth exploration of the concept can also be found in Erin Manning, Propositions for the Verge: William Forsythes Choreographic Objects, Inexions: A Journal for Research-Creation Issue 2 (2008).



of his early work. In an age concerned with extending the lives of works created by machines that are becoming obsolete, Snow must contend with the problem of the disappearing slide projector, a key component of many of his early pieces. The work in question is titled Sink (1969), which is a photography-based installation work composed of eighty slides of the lthy, paint-ecked sink of Snows New York studio during the 1960s. The installation-based work is made up of one wall-mounted photograph of the sink, and one continually changing image of the same sink projected next to the photograph by a slide projector. These images share the same dimensions and are, in essence, the same sink, their difference being a question of light. Light is the key concept for this installation work. Each of the slides was created through a process of lighting the very same sink. The result is a constellation of colored images, which tend toward greens, reds, and yellows. For each photograph, different-colored gels/transparencies/lters were held in front of two standing lights set up on each side of the sink. All changes in the perception of color in Sink are created by a double process of light: once at the level of the photographic process, and a second time through the projection. What we see when we encounter the installation is less a series of different images than an experience of the continuous modulation of light through color variation. As Snow says, the matire was, and is, light.22 To conserve such a work means conserving not only the photographic content, but the play of light on color. The concept of the piece would be lost in a digital transfer. A PowerPoint presentation could be made to reect the same images, but this process would forego the specter of light and movement as it couples to create the color effects in the piece. Snow has therefore decided to retain the play of light in the analog composition of Sink by photographing the installation in each of its illuminations. The resulting eighty photographs of the installation will become its future composition. These will act not as mimics or simulacra of the content of the work, but as a riff on the concept of light in the changing dynamics of machinic process.23
22. See 23. It is also worthy of noting that Snows engagement here is not with realism or with nostalgia, but rather his concern is with a singular concept and its recasting under new conditions. To play with the light through a completely different mode of exhibition (eighty doubled photographs, rather than one installation of rotating slides in tandem with one hanging photograph) is a pragmatic and creative way of inventing

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Movement-images are not framed shots disconnected from one another by the presence of the cut. They are serial. They make vision appear not by cutting off the image from its nextness, but by energizing the relational whole of perception in the making. The frame is a limit-concept that activates the interval. Framing is limitation not in the sense of holding apart, but in the sense of foregrounding remarkable points that come to expression through the relational interval activated in and by perception. Framing delimits a vision of the now from the whole, transducing lived duration into present perception. This now of perception is mobilea force for activation that makes felt the virtual passage into the next now of the lights realization as image. Movement-images are experienced as arrays of activating contours for the felt relation of perception in the making. In Campbell, movement-images are ensconced in a crystalline regime. They activate the felt continuity of durations virtual eld in the same gesture as they foreground movements aberrance. Motion and Rest foregrounds movementimages at the relational ede of direct perceptionaberrant continuity. The disabled, still-moving body in Motion and Rest is more relational contour than hard edge. It is equally a stilling of movement in the making and a movement of stilling in the making: stillmovement. It expresses duration in its halting, making felt the activity of holdingsaturation or rarefaction, depending on the status of the limitthat characterizes movement in-forming. Campbells gures are movement-images on the cusp of the virtual; they frame a setting into place of the image, tending toward color. They make felt the dividual aspect of perceptionperceptions taking in of the changing eld of relations, such that nothing can change without the whole set of relations themselves changing. In Campbells words, if you even try to measure something, you affect it.24

The Experiential Digital

Deleuzes direct image of time, or time-image, is an ode to the experiential digital, which is cinematic in the sense that it brings into complex conguration the relation between time and movement. With the collapse of sensory-motor schemata, the movement-image is backgrounded to make way for a time-imagethe crystalline regime.
productive means at the intersection of analog and digital technology (Erin Manning, conversation with Michael Snow, September 2008). 24. Campbell Electronic Interview (above, n. 1), p. 68.



Not opposed by any means to movement, the crystalline regime is the tending-toward aberrance that makes felt not the continuous ow of movement so central to continuity editing, but the indiscernability of the virtual and actual within a given experience of time. This cocomposition of virtual actuality within the becoming-image makes time feel out of joint. The force of time is directly felt. When the force of time is felt, we feel a productive tension in the now of the event of experience. Time doesnt simply pass: it is active on several planes at once. Motion and Rest is a time machine that makes felt this activity of becoming in a resonant rhythm that moves on several planes within the same event of experience. What claims our attention is less the image as such than the rhythm of its continuous appearancedisappearance. We see with the coloring array of pixilation, which has now become less a grid that a coloring of perception in the making. To look is to look-with this taking-time of the image taking-form. To perceive is to catch the virtual in the making, but so briey that it gives time not to the seeing, but to the unseeing: we see the image appearingdisappearing into the coloring of its background. Attractionsubtraction: from black and red to orange-yellow-white, we see less the figure than its coloring into the virtuality of perception-forming. Actualization becomes an effort, and with it comes a certain vertigo. Time machines give us not the linear time of pastpresentfuture: they activate the futurepast in the present. The foregrounding of the gure in Motion and Rest fully merges with a present that is always more than one. The experiential time of the digital as experienced in Campbells work is of the crystalline regime where the actual and the virtual coincide in the same image event. It makes felt the time-pressure of the actual at its limit. This time-pressure is rhythmic, oscillating in the betweenness of direct-time and aberrant movement. Campbell speaks of tweaking the work both visually and rhythmically.25 Tweaking the work rhythmically suggests giving texture to the intensive passage of the between that is the relational interval between the analog and digital. Campbells is a technogenetic technique for transducing the ontogenetic force of the virtual into a coloring of perception: perception colors rhythmically in the active interval between grid and moving image. Technogenesis expresses itself in Campbells work as the process whereby the work begins to take form in understanding, which doesnt mean understanding the works content, but rather becom25. Ibid., p. 65.

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ing one with the works process as it develops, moving into the thought of the work as it expresses itself.26 Campbell explains: This gestation period is common in my working process. Often Ill have a purely structural or technical idea for a new work and I let it oat around in my head for a couple of years before I actually do the work, waiting for the content to complete the whole.27 The content completes the whole when the support shifts from being a mechanism to becoming machinic, when it activates its own complex rhythm in the modulation of time and movement. What is sought at this level is not the adequate workings of the system as it stands alone, but the qualitative openings created in the active relation of the constellation artwork-world. Campbell creates choreographies for perception, not perceptible objects. Objects make me nervous he says. He designs processes for perception in the making, choreographic interventions into the space-time of the gallery. Choreography here is not of the order of the already-thought or the already having moved; it provokes movements in the making that enhance the artworks individuation in an open eld of experience. Campbells moving-stills are stillmovings. They are propositions that initiate the elding of a virtual circuit that reroutes perception toward movements as yet unthought.

The Future Cinematic

Perception in the making reveals time as sheets of the futurepast. Nonlinear time foregrounds aberrant movement, making apparent that the feeling of continuity was just thata feeling. Linear, quantitative, continuous movement is a mirage of experiences innite complexity. The event will always take its own time and make its own seeingit will create its own time machine. And its time will be false, invested as it is with the powers of the false. This falsity will express itself from within the event as the events will to power.28 The will to power expresses not a subjective will, but a force for thought that activates the virtual wholeness of potential. This virtual wholeness is not the event. The event is the singular plurality of the nowness of experience in its opening to innite recombination and invention.
26. For a more detailed exploration of technogenesis, see Dancing with the Technogenetic Body in Erin Manning, Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Technology (Cambridge, MA., 2009). 27. Ibid. 28. See Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1968).



The event takes place in the direct-time of the specious present:29 direct because the event is here and now, specious because the present lives as the impossibility of a now that already was. The direct-time of the event is the living-out of the powers of the false. Its coordinates are devious, determined to confound. It is perception active in the contouring of the impossibility of seeing all there is, because what there is is inter, in the between of relational intervals from feeling to thought, vision to movement, black to red. We see across, through, with, in direct relation with the disjunctive impossibility of total connection, total conjunction, total continuity. What remains? According to Deleuze, [t]here remain bodies, which are forces, nothing but forces.30 There remains the force of thoughtnot objects, not mediums, not discrete mechanisms, but effects and affects propelled by enabling constraints. How we see is what we see, and what we see is how we think. Lived relations not analog or digital, but experiential. With the force of thought comes not medium specicity, but combinatorial alchemy. Technology becomes technogenesis, a shock to thought.31 A shock to thought is another way of saying that thought moves beyond articulation to the direct expression of time that makes felt the powers of the false. Thought here is no longer denotative: it functions at the level of incipient action. Thought is of the order of feeling movements aberration taking-form in the time of the event, willing perception to liberate itself from a subject. There is no preexisting subject here that thinks time into being or comments on a pre-existing function of time. Thought emerges as the force of prearticulation, activating the play of time out of which the subject subsequently emerges. Thought individuates, populates the intricacies of the taking-form, elds the directc time of the event in its unfolding. Thought is in the realm of the technogenetic, activating potential within an ecology of lived practices. This ecology includes an individuating subject, but is never limited to it. Motion and Rest is a technogenetic event that activates perception in a digitalanalog remix. It proposes not subjects or objects for viewing, but a machinic intervention for thoughts prearticulation. This is a thought of the outsidenot outside the event, but with the events outside, thought as the force of the whole the event makes felt, thought as the more-than of an events actualization.
29. For more on the specious present, see William James, The Principles of Psychology (New York: H. Holt, 1893). 30. Deleuze, Time-Image (above, n. 16), p. 139. 31. For more on the idea of a shock to thought, see Brian Massumi, Like a Thought, in A Shock to Thought: Expression after Deleuze and Guattari, ed. Brian Massumi (New York: Routledge, 2002).

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Technogenesis works with the outside of thought not to resolve the content of the problem of the work, but to turn the problem into an ontogenetic opening. When asked about his process, Campbell says, maybe I create physical problems by applying science to art.32 Motion and Rests eventness propels a thought of the more-than of its present iteration. It technogenetically alters the ontology of thought, making felt the unthought in thought. It forces thought beyond the already-imagined toward the relational interval of emergent events for thought in the thinking. Deleuze writes: the cinematographic image must have a shock effect on thought, and force thought to think itself as much as thinking the whole.33 Thought becomes a force for the powers of the false when it enters into relation with the undeterminable, the unreferable, into the realm Antonin Artaud called the cinema of cruelty.34 The cinema of cruelty, unrealized as yet as far as Artaud is concerned, is where cinema [expresses] . . . the dissociative force which would introduce a figure of nothingness, a hole in appearances.35 The cinema of cruelty is the future cinematic, to cinema that seeks not to make apparent what we are already thinking, but to force thought toward the creation of new techniques for thinking-feeling.36 It is no longer a question of analog or digital. It is a question to thought itself. The future cinematic creates expression in the making by foregrounding not the mechanism of cinematic perception, but the machinic potential of thought in motion. Blanchot writes, as quoted by Deleuze: what forces us to think is the impouvoir of thought.37 To not yet know how to think: aberrant movement spurs aberrant thought. Thought of the outside is directly felt in the relational interval of perceptions taking-form. It is a seeing-with, a thinking-feeling. This thinking-feeling extracts the seeing from the subject: subjectivity no longer has a ground to stand on. Thought is the activating force for an event ecology that itself alters how we see. In an event ecology, we see not pixels or gure, but the disjunctive ow through which image becomes movement of thought. We participate in the disquiet of false continuity even as it reinvents where we stand.
32. Campbell Electronic Interview (above, n. 1), p. 68. 33. Deleuze, Time-Image (above, n. 16), p. 158. 34. Ibid., p. 167. 35. Ibid. 36. For more on the idea of thinking-feeling, see Brian Massumi, The ThinkingFeeling of What Happens, Inexions: A Journal for Research-Creation 1:1 (2008). 35. Deleuze, Time-Image (above, n. 16), p. 168.