"Year Zero": victor.j.vitanza (c) 0000.

YES, I am talking to you! Are you listening to me!

Let's begin with Agnes--with her most brilliant gesture that I can recall:

"But I know that the discovery of the self must have been intoxicating. Yet there comes a time when you stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself: this is my self? And why? Why did I want to identify with _this_? What do I care about this face? And in that moment everything starts to crumble. Everything starts to crumble."

   --As spoken by Agnes in Kundera's Immortality

We will return to Agnes in a minute. But first, Business! I wish--not really--that I could tell you that I have a claim with supports to offer you. I have no claim, no supports. What I am going to say to you today is POINT.less. I have no interest--I cannot have any interest, when speaking of faciality, or for that matter.less inter/face--I cannot have any political, academic exclusionary interests in

  • point
    line (-------------------)
  • point
discourse; rather, in speaking or alluding to faciality, taking as my guides Deleuze and Guattari's disgustion on faciality in A Thousand Plateaus and Brian Massumi's back-informative discussion of "intensive space" in Parables for the Virtual, I can only speak inclusively by ways, or rather (wayves, ~~~~~~ ways + YESes) of lines of flight, which by definition, of course, are point.less. Unless you desire to ride them as the surf
    ~ ~ ~ that ~ would ~ drift ~ ~ ~.

In the curl or in between.

     Need more help in terms of What I am up to here? Then, think of Henri Bergson's discussion of Zeno's arrow (Creative Evolution 308-13; Massumi 6). Massumi has and, consequently, has and has and has made more intense the differences between extensive and intensive thinking, writing, reading. We should. But that's another matter.

     So the difference here is that of point-line and waves (wayves). IOW, I am going also and more so with Virginia Woolf's "We make an unsubstantial territory" (Waves).

     Therefore, take note: I will be tossing your way.ves not expositions or arguments, but parables of the virtual mixed with contestations and tests.

     If, however, I had a claim to stake here, it would be that "I" and, I think, "we" do not have a clue as to what a face is, or what facialilty might be and what it hides from us in terms of holes and surfaces. But let's be a little more specific in terms of What is commonly, dyadically, said about a face: One is, e.g., that a face of horror is but a copy of the emotion of horror in the mind or body or both. Hence,

Outer Face of horror
(copy, surface)
<--- Inner Emotion of horror
(form, or Ideal, depth)

     This seems rather reasonable, i.e., commonsensical and, I would guess, "we" would be predisposed to think such a grounding for face, especially if we were thinking analogically by way of computers. But really: What does a face have to do with a computer and its screen? I mean, the analogy is there. But What does a face, faciality, have to do with such a machine! Stay with me on this, for I am not raising the most thought of objection at all. But anyway, here is the apparent equivalence:

(desktop interface
/ logical interface
[code, the-thing-in-itself])

even though it is rather Platonic (or Darwinian and vulgar Freudian and Marxist). Such a presupposition is easily grounded (point-and-line routeen) if we but think of a computer screen-application (MS Word, or MSIE Browser) as effect and then the code that the application-browser reads and renders (HTML, whatever) as the cause. But we know this by now and by way of Sherry Turkle's "A Tale of Two Aesthetics" in Life on the Screen. It's the difference between what she calls

the "culture of simulation"
(PoMo, The Apple MacIntosh)
& the "culture of calculation"
(Modernism, Apple II)

     Turkle clearly sees the problem. In extensive ways. But this is the first notion of faciality (interface). There is another one that is basically the flip--or intensive, metaleptic--side of this thinking--or so it would seem so--and it is to be found primarily in Deleuze along with Guattari's work. And this is the often not known side that is not a side that I want us to get to. For Deleuze, there is no depth, except for the thinking of the aesthetics or ontology or hermeneutics of depth and suspicion. For Deleuze there is the surface or rather the virtual or compossible that is not a cause contributing to actuality as the effect. Cause/effect have no bearing here. Have you noticed in your readings in theory, say, during the past three or so decades, that everything is an effect without a cause? There is the reality effect, the subject effect, etc. But even this effect is not what Deleuze is talking about (nor was it what Barthes et al. were talking about). But you must know that part of the problem of following what Deleuze, as well as others, has to say is that as soon as we read his discussions on faciality without cause, we, in order to understand him, reinscribe all that he says back into the ontology of cause/effect. It is a struggle; it takes years of many readings and seminars to grasp this effect without an effect. One must wait with patience for the Gestalt switch to be turned, so as to see, to be able to theoreyeze events (E-Reignis) without cause.

     Richard Rushton in an article in Cultural Critique ( 51 [2002]: 219-37) makes it somewhat clear--but then, clarity, like cause, is for me one of the most mysterious of metaphysical concepts!--that "the face does not conform to the cause-effect model of communication; . . . it does not conform to . . . notions of sender-message-receiver" ("What can a face do?" 225). Or whatever communications triangle you might be able to conjure up to think b(y)e. Nor is the face the locus for phatic communication, or even chewing the phatic communion. For Rushton the face establishes the virtual conditions for communication; nothing else. First, there is the virtual-possibility of communication and then actuality. The face is potentiality (dynamis). It apparently is in the liminal zone between communicative acts.

     How to explain this absence of cause and effect! This is quite a problem. For even the way that I phrase this question makes for an ontological grounding by way of what is called abgrund, or mise en abyme. Deleuze, in fact, encourages us to think about faces as abgrund; after all, he speaks of the holes [eyes, nose, pussbuckets] arranged semiotically across the white surface. Why white? Well, we will get to un/just this white face soon enough!

     For Deleuze, faciality is "the white wall/black hole system." He suggests that we see this system semiotically as two axes of significance and subjectification.

     So if I had a claim to stake here, it would have much to do with nothing, but this nothing, that is in reference to the holes, the wholly holes, in our "white" (?) face, is not a mere nothing. It is the big nothing that can make something like a face appear, only appear. The real task that would be a claim here would be to lose
I am alluding here, in terms of the interzone, of course, to Steven Johnson and his Interface Culture ... S, when he refers quite brilliantly to "that strange new zone between medium and message . . . that zone is what we call interface" (41). What I also like about Johnson's discussion is how he talks about bringing together the engineer and the artist into a new hacker of cultures. So also, what I am going to be concerned with here, in this point.less presentation is Whether or not "we" (C&W people) can deal with hacking cultures so much that "we" can even consider losing face..
this face, all faciality
. I know that this is rather difficult also to think as a possibility, especially if you have read Kobe Abe's novel The Face of Another, which is about a man who, as a scientist, has lost his face in a laboratory accident (cf. Angela Carter, Shadow Dance). Yes, he, like other narratives based on this kind of loss, makes a mask that is so perfect that no one can thereafter tell, but then, he has the problem of the mask becoming an alternative self. . . . Have you seen the film Face/Off? There is something of this loss and regaining of one's face in that film itself! (This is such a rich topic.) Too rich for this occasion with its conferential limitations.

Are you listening to me? Following me?

     Anyway, this will become more unclearly clear to you as we progress through D&G and a few others who speak of losing face. But who do NOT speak in relation to losing face in the interzone known as interface.

     I do not throw this metaphor of losing face into the discussion lightly. Our cultures have already experimented plainly in working through the possibilities of losing face. There is not only Abe's novel, but there is the film The Hollow Man (2000) of the man who, through experiments, becomes invisible. Here is what he has to say to himself and to us when he gets up in the morning and washes his "loss" of face:

"It's amazing what you can do when you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror anymore!"

     Are we making any progress toward something meaningful here? Or Is our task to lose both face and meaning altogether! In any case, I will be giving you a test event.ually. A Test Drive, as my mentor Avital Ronell calls it. We are on a virtual test drive now, thinking about faces, but I am the steersman now, while you will be y.our own steerswo/man later. So Be Prepared! To steer, but not steer clear, but toward, yet a.waYvES ~~~~~ from, faciality altogether.

So where are we now? Are you listening to me, talking to you! ~~~~~~~~~~~~drifting on...