The cube, which lived for a year or so at SenseLab in Montreal, was the first activator of a more-than human sociality capable of breaking the container of the classroom. The cube could do this work because of its capacity to reorient the frame. Neurotypical frames orient all action in the university. Frontal, they predermine where the action takes place. Emphasis of action delimits participation: the professor speaks in front, the student participates behind. What the cube did was to reorient that relation. Redistributing space, it allowed for a different constellation to emerge. But alone, it could still mobilize a centrality of attention even as it blurred the edges of the container. Patch was the first experiment to multiply – to dimensionalize – its architecture.
What was needed at SenseLab when patch was collectively composed was an orientation toward fugitivity, a way of facilitating an entering that could also segue into a leaving, frontality evaded. An unsettling of geometry, patches, it turned out, could trouble the horizontal-vertical axis, allowing the ground to layer into textures that might allow for what Arakawa and Gins call a “dimensionalising landing site.”
A dimensionalizing landing site lands simultaneously narrowly and tightly and widely and diffusely […] coupling and coordinating direct responses with indirect ones, the formed with the formless. […] [A] dimensionalizing landing site, in landing, hooks onto the environment to gain traction on it. With the hook-and-rope ensemble flung out and an availing surface caught hold of, there comes to be an as-if-tugging-back-to-the-body that conveys a sense of (kinesthetic) depth (2002: :sunglasses:. (edited)
Patch is both line and surface. It is both orientation and colour field. Lines of tape sometimes cross it – particularly if there is a need for transversality.
Patch often appears by happenstance. The goal of a patch is not to create a fixed architecture. Patch is a mobile transformer. It moves with the movements of the space itself.
In the creation of the space of encounter we call SenseLab Spaze, Spaze to emphasize the force of resonance of the detour (the zigzag of experience), there is a collective commitment, through materials, to attend to how the flow schizzes. Working always with what is at hand, with materials re-used, the practice invigorates the field, asking daily how else we might collectively enter. This work is a practice in its own right. It asks SenseLab to invent at the interstices of what is, engaging not with a future-organization but with a present-orientation. In the act, it involves asking precise questions as regards the operationality of the space of encounter. What kinds of affordances allow nervous-systems to be calm enough to do their work? What luminosities facilitate this, and for whom? What kinds of corners can be created to facilitate the hiding of those who prefer not to be seen. What makes a scurrying to those corners possible? Does a colour do a particular kind of work at a certain juncture? What about the tight twirl of a spring? Or the spread of a plush figure? What happens when the blankets become islands and the hammocks hold the plants? Does anything shift when the orientation is more toward the vertical? What does an open cube do? Does it allow for less frontality? If so, for how long? And what about patches on the ground or lines of coloured tape. Do they facilitate a directionality? A staying in place?
While these questions sometimes carry proper names – there may, for instance, be a tendency that is embodied by a certain individual that Spaze tries to amplify – what the work seeks to do in the first instance is not to make individuals feel welcomed as individuals. The work is to cull from the transversal force of the transindividual tendencies that connect across bodies. The work is to fashion an environment for an ever shifting group-subject.
When we imagine 3E we don’t imagine a university, but we do find in the university’s neoliberal decline a place to begin to invent differently. To call it an alter-university, which we sometimes do, is to limit 3E to imaginations already in place. This would be to structure a pre-given self rather than to engage in the undercommoning techniques of mutation proposed by Lygia Clark’s relational objects. We prefer to think of 3E as a practice for growing relational objects, a practice for schizzing what else education can be, a practicing for inventing how else we might live and learn together.
Toward these ends, SenseLab proposes a technique for beginning (again). We propose to rethink, in alliance with Moten and Harney’s concept of study, how the practice of coming together to learn might work. What we most want to avoid is any return to the service economy, and any kind of transactional economic politics. 3E is about asking how else we can value beyond the economy of credit that orients education today, debt here not only financial, but conceptual as well. What is the credit we exchange in the name of neurotypicality? And so we invite those of you who want to participate, who care to invent with us what else learning and living can be, to practice three modes of entry. We ask that you bring to the platform of exploratory learning one of these techniques.
Underspaze is the first site for this exploration.