THE INDIFFERENCE ENGINE

FROM MONTAGE TO ALIENISM

 

The Alienist conception of montage is not composition in the shadow of an idea, but an open assemblage in which the ideology of self-evidence is ruthlessly negated. To assemble, an intransitive verb.

Darya Kulbashna 1

By assembly montage intervenes in the alienation of everyday life in the manner of class of facts intervening in a closed political conversation – forcing a word in edgewise. It is a question of bringing to consciousness that which is unspoken – by an assembly of elements overdetermined by ideology & so indifferent even to their own state of affairs. To perceive & act edgewise is to perceive & act incisively, to cut across & through (or with) prevailing thought – or rather unthought – & by means of this to affect unforeseen or unexpected states of affairs.

Darya Kulbashna 2By becoming at odds with themselves, elements & their conventional relation are transformed, & in this process reveal the contrary nature of their objective form. Alienist montage is thus a critical praxis, but even more so a critical poetics (a poiēsis). It begins with the premise that consciousness itself arises from an assembling of materialities (in varying & variable signifying arrangements): a multidenominational edifice of the real in verbicovisual timespace, describing a topology of sense. But this edifice of the real is more than simply a matter of geometry – of a set of relations between points defined in spatiotemporal duration. Each of these materialities constitutes in itself an open set of alternative possibilities. Such an edifice therefore constitutes a material situation for which it can neither account nor determine a fixed meaning, while nevertheless constituting a technics of signification. It is the unsublatable element of Benjamin’s “dialectical image.” Alienist montage isn’t the delegation of sense to a regime of representation; it is the convulsion of “pure possibility.”

Darya Kulbashna 3The work of open assembly contradicts the apparent limits of meaning (architectonics) taken as self-evident in any given class of elemental relations. Alienist montage is the contingency of ulterior forms, as configurations. Contingency without which signification could not happen. In the same manner, everything that “takes place” (& doesn’t “take place”) does so according to a generalised mechanics of possibility. Possibility, moreover, that remains indifferent to (disinterested in) those singular constructions it gives rise to – & which are conventionally deemed possible according only to an observable reality (that is to say, through the lens of ideology). Possibility thus as the obverse of any REALISM. REALISM IS THE DREAMLIFE OF TAX-COLLECTORS! It points instead to a material situation in the process of becoming. The world of things, those primitive commodities, always has the capacity to be otherwise, & detecting this the Alienist approaches the world with such possibilities in mind, in order to subject the myth of the real to the reality of the unpresentable.

 

*Photomontages: D. Kulbashna.

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