Logo of the Museum of Vestigial Desire
The Museum of Vestigial Desire

The abstract

tags: leaves published on:

When you summarise something, you actually claim that you are being more efficient and concise in the use of language by being able to communicate more with less. The fact of the matter is that in the context of a specific message, you have no choice but to do justice to it. You have to state a message in the vocabulary that it demands. You have to let that vocabulary be as expansive as it needs to be. The idea of doing more with less or less with more is as distorted as any other idea that stems from the logic of capital. These ideas inherently involve a certain extrapolation or reduction in being able to deal with the constraints and materialities of entities. They do not accept the currentness of the moment, they do not accept the fact of the matter. They do not accept that what is there is there and what is not is not.

In this scenario, we could either declare the abstract as fraudulent or we could propose a replacement.

But we will do neither.

We will go on to declare the desire to abstract, the desire to represent content with another item of content to be vestigial and as something that does not need any attention or facilitation.

For instance, in this moment, we will invite you to imagine entities abstracting themselves. We will invite you to think about optics, about lenses that allow you to see through content in a way to weed out its essence, like maybe pulling a crocodile out of a navel. You do know that abstractions are incredibly unstable, unreliable and fragile. You do know that abstractions can only be momentary sources of pleasure. After a point the hunger is reborn in your elements, after a point you will crave for the real thing again and this craving, this hunger will be so potent that you will have to address it. You will not have any other choice.

So even if we accept the abstract as a source of momentary pleasure, what is it? How is it to be accessed?

The lens that we describe gathers the pulses of attention that get stuck on like magnetic dust on the words during the act of reading and collate a continuous summary for us. As we consume the content, we also experience a summary being produced in our cognition. We experience meaning in its expanded and condensed forms simultaneously. In fact the bit-stream of the long hand of content hits our perception much later and there are actually some moments in the process of consumption in which their scent lags behind the past. We understand the incident in the present moment only after we perform an act of reflection in the future. But this is a simple linearity. The other way round also runs true. Sometimes we are able to trace the tangents of the summary that gets compiled in our heads, and by doing that, we trace our way ahead of the present even. We can roll into the future. And by doing that, the abstraction stretches further than the content.

And things do get a bit shaken up then.

Because that act of stretching further is not supposed to happen. You are only supposed to know the meaning of what you have consumed. You are not supposed to be performing the code of the pattern of the content that is being performed in and on your sensory surface. In that moment the abstraction becomes more real, becomes a more significant surface of witnessing the unfurling of time than the immersion of consuming a content-bitstream.

‹ index