Sally Jane Norman on Sun, 27 Jun 1999 15:29:19 +0200

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Syndicate: the Duke of York and communicational transducers or how to get stuck halfway up the hill or is Schrödinger's cat really dead

Kia Ora
Oh the grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men 
He marched them up to the top of the hill
Then he marched them down again
And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only halfway up
They were neither up nor down
This nursery rhyme wonâ??t go away, for some stupid reason on this grey, 
rainy day in south-west France. Like a particularly silly koan. It was good to 
hear (from) you, Edi. Yes, Andreas, those heterotopes of differenceâ?¦ 
definable as such as a function of the distance from which one contemplates 
them? And the optical apparatus one brings to bear on them? At what scale are we 
talking about difference ? In a concerted sweep last week, French politicians 
from left and right refused to ratify the European Charter of Regional and 
Minority Languages ; our Minister of Internal Affairs flippantly evoked a risk 
of " balkanising " France, which brings to mind Melentieâ??s 
posting of a couple of months backâ?¦ Back to the scale issue, though: what 
kinds and degrees of difference are compatible with coexistence, coexistence 
ranging from merely conceding the otherâ??s presence, through to 
productively, creatively interacting with the other? From forms of controllable 
difference, cherished for their prophylactic value, like some kind of 
vaccination against boredom (the basis of tourism), through to violent forms of 
uncontrollable difference that explode like Netanyaouâ??s latest raid?
There seems to be a peculiar kind of energy involved in the effort to 
overcome difference, in this "transduction" operation. In the social 
setting, this dynamics would seem to invariably and profoundly change those 
caught up in the equation. Perhaps the revelatory and transformational portent 
of art â?? nothing mystical there, cf. the verb reveal â?? with its 
enclaves of singularity, its affirmation of the necessity for difference, 
resides in this communicational energy, produced by avowedly and consciously 
different people, who (nevertheless) actively seek "correspondence". 
Friction. Rub two sticks together. I guess thatâ??s why Iâ??m on this 
list. Itâ??s a transducer. The dynamics of encounter. Translation. 
Curiosity and respect, sure. Fresh (and sometimes not so fresh) perspectives, 
changes in scale and viewpoints, zooming in and out of familiar and unfamiliar 
terrains with othersâ?? eyes and minds. Verbal roller coaster â?? in 
French we say "montagne russe", but that might spark off a polemic in 
these troubled times.
â?¦ and when they were only halfway upâ?¦
sisyphean, nâ??est-ce pas ?
salut, les amis