Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thinking About Rhizomes, Beginnings and Endings

The Middle of Something (M.A. Reilly, October 2012)

I.

I made the image above early in the morning--the same morning I was thinking about rhizomes.



II.

It's early morning also when I come in from making images and notice a tweet Gloria Jacobs sent last night--well at least last night via my time zone.




Two things catch my attention: 

  • this idea of coming into the middle and
  • the rather provocative use of the term, curation. 
I am wondering about the way we situate ourselves and how that placement establishes beginnings and ends. I also wonder about the practice of curation.  Curation suggests the preservation/restoration of some type of artifact by act and location. Whether we are speaking of museum curation, digital curation, sheer curation, healing--something is preserved and perhaps restored.  

III.

Curation is the juxtaposition of things; a hybrid that rises out of things placed alongside things. Gloria has me stretching this definition to now include people alongside people. 

Curation is an act of bring another into an ongoing conversation--into a specified context.


IV.

Later in the morning I read this by Bruno Latour (2009) and again am thinking about rhizomes and Gloria's tweet:


Action is not done under the full control of consciousness; action should rather be felt as a node, a knot, and a conglomerate of many surprising sets of agencies that have to be slowly disentangled" (p. 44).

It is the idea of action as a node and how it is a "conglomerate of many surprising sets of agencies" that halts me, even as other ideas swirl around me.  


V.

I am standing in a stream, becoming aware of my position as the coldness of the water swirls around my ankles and calves even as I know that such awareness is fiction.


VI.

Are we not always in the middle? Is that not what makes death so pronounced and beginnings of life so contested? Do we mark beginnings and endings when we (re)frame action, separating a contextualized frame from the stream?  I wonder about this in light of teaching and learning and wonder how differently we might name these acts if we de-emphasized beginnings and endings, and focused more keenly on the middle of things.

VII.


Edward Said (1975) wrote that “a beginning is accepted as a beginning after we are long past beginning and after our apprenticeship is over” (p.76). Said explains “that we make and accept it [such beginnings] at the same time that we realize that we are ‘wrong’” ( p. 78).







Work Cited:
Latour, Bruno (2007-09-06). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies) (p. 44). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. 

Said, Edward. (1975). Beginnings: Intention and Method. New York: Columbia University Press.

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