Some thoughts on Cybersemiotics:

“Peirce operates with a triad composed of a sign vehicle (the Representamen), an Object (a certain aspect of reality), and an Interpretant that is a more developed sign in the mind of the perceiver/observer/communicator. These three categories were so basic that he called them Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness… In the sign process, Representamen is first,
Object is second, and Interpretant is third. In Cosmogony, mind is first, matter is second, and evolution is third. In cognitive psychology, perception is first, experience is second, and understanding is third. Ontologically, chance is first, mechanical law is second, and the tendency to make habits is third. Peirce defines his Firstness as a chaos of living feeling with the tendency to assume habits.”

– Soren Brier, Cybersemiotics: Why Information Is not Enough

In Pierces semiotic Triad, the symbol is Primary – the representaion of an object. As one assumes this primacy, the open ontological chaotic “system” becomes a closed system upon evaluative parameters. Within this closed system, a triad can be developed between the representation, what it represents, and the interpretation. Although, the object it represents is in many ways outside of the triad. I think the object must take on a purely denotative (“topographical”) role, and not an ontological role. So, most of the object becomes lost in the system. Also, at another corner, the interpreter takes on another role where certain aspects of it become lost in the evaluative importance of the symbol. The symbol becomes full, where the others become partial. The system already has within it possibilities of other systems, as well as the possibility of merging these systems through cybersemiotics.

The interesting thing about systems, I’ve found, is that they are analagous to different types of lenses – The lense of our eye to the “lense” of an electron microscope.  As with our eyes, when we focus on a single point in space, the point is of primacy as everything else becomes peripheral. Focul Points and periphery seem to be the general problem of all human enterprises. The steroscopic vision is unnatainable. It can only be attained through transrational means, where the focul points merge with the periphery in equilibrium. The only way to eliminate evaluations, isolated systems, high and low probability, plausibility and implausibility is to eliminate the current paradigm of rationality and go beyond it, but not without it. That is, if you’re not shooting at pragmatic targets, but at a chaotic ontological “totality”.

Though, ontology will never be total as it will always be reduced to mnemonic metaphors.

Sub-symbolic and pre-logical neural networks – the organic matter of the brain, in other words – in a few fancy terms is, what I think our linguistic and logical (meaningful) faculties emerge from. These neural networks are physical structures in a (cybernetic) autopoietic (automatically produced) feedback loop with perception. They are considered foundational to perception, even. For instance, the nerve endings in the eye (the retina) process light into perceptual information by transforming light into a digestable nerve-compatible material, that the optic nerve sends to nine nuclei that relay this information into the visual cortex which actually makes the initial signals from the optic nerve more complex. This example, I think illustrates how nerve digestion and processing of light is an increasingly complex process that is a pre-logical, sub-symbolic material process. After the additive complexity within the primary visual cortex, it becomes even more complex as the brain, through neural communication and organic mutation, processes the perception with hyper-complex (cannot predict it mathematically) logical and symbolic faculties. This hyper-complex structure of “buzzing” neural networks become meaningful only to the extent that “difference makes a difference”. What this means, I think, is that meaning is not something that nerologists will find in the brain. It is emergent from neural networks – but these neural networks are a historically continual process; meaning that there is never a physical gap in the evolution of bodies (and brains).

Evolution is a continuity that never ceases, in other words. Neg-entropy is an explanatory tool that combines thermodynamic entropy with informational entropy in hopes of creating a new evolutionary theory that combines matter, energy, and information. (Soren Brier) Meaning, then, under this theory is understood to be a methodological combination of Cybernetics, Neurology, thermodynamics, linguistics (particularly Wittegenstein’s language games), and semiotics in a field called, Cybersemiotics.

So where, how, and when perception becomes meaning, can only be answered partially right now, I think.


Climb Back Up the Ladder

January 13, 2009

Stable Two-Dimensional Animated Three-Dimensions


I hope for immediate access to the scale of experience. I think (and I’m not alone on this) we are getting further from experiencing the scale of the eye and the ear, as one “descends”, or “ascends” the ladder of the analytical, technological mind – the two-dimensional mind. Language seems to strengthen the analytical mind that almost pulverizes the eye and ear to a death. This is to say, only, that we are moving away from the experiential scale of the eye and the eear – not to say becoming closer to the “thing-in-itself”. The experience of the enantiomorphic eyes and ears are in an inextricable, paradoxical relationship between the expressive power of the “thing out there”, and the expressive power of the eye and ear (and even the analytical mind for that matter). This makes experience, an inseperably intertwined “loopy” or spirialing paradoxical seizure, or apprehension (not an understanding) of expressive-impressiveness. It is both expressed, and impressed at the same time. The analytical mind rejects these paradoxes of the eye and ear, because it is calibrated to another scale(s). These scales are rendered uni-directionally causal. 

The articles “the”, “is”, “has”, as well as present tense nouns like, “runs” “walks” etc… create, I think, a belief in stability, and present moments that could be frozen.  This, however, is a result of the technological scale that language operates in.  It is not the scale of the eye and ear.  It is the scale of the analytical mind.  The freezing of moments into two-dimensional pictures of memory, has scaled the mind down to a place where the cybernetic exists – a place far from the senses, that makes us cyborgs.  We are human-machine, because of the practical power of the analytical two-dimensional maps.  They have nearly destroyed all belief in reality.  The project of art and peotry is to bring back a lost belief in reality – a lost scale.

“… [Merleau-Ponty] indicates this aspect of time when he notes that “a point of time can be transmitted to the others without ‘continuity’ without ‘conservation’” (Visible 267). These flashings of time in which one moment comes to be joined with others “without continuity” suggests how moments of time become “piled up,” enjambed, as “sudden reversibilities.” The time of aspects of the “inbetween” may be more like a fractal constellation than that of a continuous “spanning” among moments. We may see that it is in this way, even though we may think we are not directly working with machines, that we might have become enfolded in distant mechanical processes that have restructured what our own histories have come to mean to us.” – Glen A Mazis, “Cyborg Life: The In-Between of Humans and Machines”

George Kubler, like Ad Reinhardt, seems concerned with “weak signals” from “the void”. Beginnings and endings are projected into the present as hazy planes of “actuality”. In The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things, Kubler says, “Actuality is … the inter-chronic pause when nothing is happening. It is the void between events.” … The future criss-crosses the past in an unobtainable present. Time vanishes into a perpetual sameness.” – Robert Smithson, “Quasi-Infinities and the Waning of Space”

The “in-betweens” of time, from one moment to another – the criss-cross of time, are possibly what allows for the cyborg. Our ability to follow rules, making tools and using language is our use of the temporal fractals, and not its continuity. The overlapping, “folding over”, criss-crossing of time is an ebbing matrix wallowing somwhere in the elsewheres of the mind. It is, as I see it, a technology itself. The matrix of time is a technology, not much different than a spear, a smudge of paint on a wall, or a computer. It is a design that is also the designer.

The designed-designer of Time, it seems, would look like this:


With a stick drizzling, splattering, and splashing paint onto a canvas, Pollock seemd to paint his temporal fractals.  The stick twists, with the flick of his wrist, into a prosthetic of his aesthetic expression.  The paint becomes “the past, and the canvas becomes the future.  This play of time freezes the past and future into an “unobtainable present”, or an indeterminate certainty that resembles the fractaled past of grey, blue, black, red, and yellow.  The white future, or the “blank canvas” is at play, criss-crossing the fractal of time.  The present is no longer there in this painting.  It is the fractaled matrix of Pollocks past and future.  Pollock, the expressionist, is an agent of the criss-crossing past and future, animated between the past and the future, where time is the “loopy” animator.

To me, it’s violent, joyous – all of the attributive adjectives to humans. It achieves this through an abstract anthropomorphic rendering. That blasts back at you a myriad of fragments that make non-sense. Sometimes there is something thier – a three-dimensional “skull”, and attribute nouns to the adjectives. This spawns the imagination to bound itself into a fictional world of psychosis. These are the power of adjectives – the power of the world in the middle of the Fruedian triad. Language is at work here in this painting. It becomes alive.