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The Ultimate Conjuncture

The Ultimate Conjuncture

What Shadows the Brain-Mind Merger?

(p.51) 3 The Ultimate Conjuncture
Ribbon of Darkness
Barbara Maria Stafford
University of Chicago Press

This essay examines the physical and metaphysical, literal as well as metaphorical concept-phenomenon of shadow. By analyzing a range of sooty silhouettes and dusky patterns spanning the geometrical to the shapeless, it asks how such strange and uncanny variations on the intensity of darkness from blackish to dim operate not only across the spatial arts but cloud what is happening to our brains in times of cognitive automatism when tracking and collecting algorithms rule. By investigating this emerging shadow- land of troubled conjuncture wherein the brain-mind is no longer seen as a tightly encased organ but is ambiguously merged with other bodies, species, materials, machines, key aesthetic and philosophical implications come to the fore. Identifying the opaque socio-cultural forces pressuring for the creation of this shady combinatoric sheds light on the disturbing turn to universal datafication and our aggregated online selves caught up in the obscure flows of information.

Keywords:   Algorithms, Brain Science, Conjuncture, Combinatoric, Darkness, Obscurity, Pattern, Silhouette, Shadow, Spatial Arts

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