4. Showing/Causing

Annual Topic 2017/18

Alongside attachment as an accumulation or connection between heterogeneous or homogeneous sets of elements, more rigorous and precise relational operations will be considered in the fourth year of this research programme. These will be operations that do not relate random and collective elements to one another, but isolated elements, in selective and individualizing ways. They are ontological operations, insofar as they are what brings about the isolation of the element in the first place, by positioning the element in relation to another element.

An exemplary operation of this kind is deixis. As the basic form of a (in the first instance) bipolar connection, it leads from mere selection to enumeration and causation. Correspondingly, whole chains of sub-operations from selection to causation (or the attribution of causal relationships) interact within it. What we are talking about here is any kind of act or gesture of showing, from the physical gesture of pointing to counting, or to the click of a button that triggers an effect. Such gestures have numerous physical tools at their disposal: switches of all kinds, keypads, but also signposts and clues, fetish objects, and even glances. Again, images in their indicatory function can be taken as a starting point. Another, more complex bundle of operations is the act of addressing, particularly important in digital space, with its universal addressability in/of every spatial point. Deictic operations and processes of addressing lead to the more general form of the indexical operations, and the way they are connected, bundled and interlinked in creative fields. The forms of attachment observed in the previous section of the study – such as attraction and attention, but also desire – will be reconsidered here from a new perspective, in terms of object choice, addressing and indexicality. It will then be possible to examine basic problems of agency and control over one’s actions, i.e. questions of causation, causality, and, to take it further, intentionality – questions that arise in complex operational fields or are ascribed to them in and through operations of showing and causing.