Where now this ache go (jaw)

Telepathy is a generous term. It is both a tactic and a strategy.

Telepathy is future-oriented: tele- is distant, far off and -pathy is pathos, feeling.

Telepathy is a strategy for the debasement of language from understanding, surpassing language as the kernel of meaning.  

Telepathy is a strategy for lassoing the alternative within the actual. The following “thought readings” or telepathic demonstrations attempt to externalize such a process.

This experiment includes 7 people, 1 hanging mic, 1 corded mic, and 2 cameras: one handled by an external agent and a secondary point and shoot camera (which works only when connected to power) to subvert the gaze, and confront the centralization of power from the one who transmits the question.
The experiment proceeds in these steps:

1.    Invocation (Instruction)

2.    Telepathic warm-up – with quince water, wet temples, behind the knees, genitals, other sensitive points in the body to lubricate points of transmission.

3.    Practice: ask a question: others answer it.

I. Why did I smell the hyacinths? Or, the problem of subjectivity.

This was the longest question in that it required three intensive 15-minute periods of transmission. The sender appeared visibly frustrated. At one moment they had their head in their hands, rocking back and forth in a chair. One problem may have been the nature of the question itself: It went from “What did the hyacinths say to the tulips?” to “When did I smell the hyacinths?” to “Why did I…” This meandering that frustrated the transmission channels.

The participants were instructed to ask a question about themselves. This was because the question must be grounded in a structure of questioning that is personal and already imbued with one’s possible answers or ambivalence. The aim of answering is merely to choose one of the answers which already accompany the question. The assumption is that each question already carries a subset of answers. The “I” in the question already implies the course through which it will meet its end. The answer then is the end of the question-transmission, not its resolution. 

It is where the “I” returns to itself.

II. Where now this ache go (jaw)?

Here, “I” recognizes a common task. It disperses across the body in the form of an acute pain. Upon receiving the question, each participant feels it somewhere else: Ami in the brain; Anna in the foot; Eddy in the belly; Fan in the heart; Will in the groin; Ben in the jaw.

Directed subjectivity in this question morphs into the problem of narrative. How can an ache—felt acutely and uniquely—manifest in each body as a shared understanding? As six distinct histories of acute pain which meet at this moment?

This is an emplotment of utopia. Where there is nowhere, let there be time. Where there is time let there be assembly. Assembly in a historical nowhere. Utopia. Anything is historical which asks to be believed.

A deep form of empathy: ishin-denshin. This is where telepathy becomes less than distinguishable from non-telepathy. This is where telepathy as a tactic reaches its end, whose distinction from mere sociality (what is less than felt through the senses) becomes irrelevant.

III. How do I stop intensity from turning into pain? Or, the problem of utopia.

Out of all the answers elicited by this question, the most poignant may be the following image drawn on the backside of one of the scraps of paper:

Back to inevitability. Can capitalism as an ideology thrive under any circumstance, morphing itself into a parasite which reaps what it needs to grow? (The popular choir sings Capitalism is the virus, etc.).

The boon of the experiment is that subjects are not named by name. If anything can take the name of any other thing, then what are the consequences of this? If there are no consequences, can there be gains? Can we win without suffering? Work without pay?

Fredric Jameson reminds us, “Utopian form is itself a representational meditation on radical difference, otherness, to the point that one cannot imagine any change in our social existence which has not first thrown off utopian visions. […] The fundamental dynamic of any utopian politics will therefore always lie in the dialectic of Identity and Difference” (Archaeologies, xii). When the proposition of utopia shifts from content to representation is where it becomes unimaginable. But the failure of aesthetic representability (or, of otherness) is not apathy.

What if telepathy, instead of being a tool for supra-communication, is the seed of unrepresentability? And in being the vehicle for the uncommunicable, it surpasses any ideology of representation, or representation altogether? In this way, it is enough to telepathize, to lubricate the eroded imagination in the name of collective.

IV. How to breathe?

Yes, to breathe.

Rosi Braidotti says that in the evolution of post-humanist theory, representational issues are left behind, which leaves us looking at the material structure, at the code, of the discourses. The breath is the material of all that lives.

And the climax of breath is the kiss.

The kiss is an inscription which takes the fatal risk, like the emancipation of meaning from the predicament of everything always referring to a contingent situation. Its consequences carry the past into the future. It is lingering, through its many valences of “I” and the commensal “is”, the vehicle of amorous frenzy.

Breath is both bread and butter, both substance and form.

The kiss is the articulation of what we want without knowing it.

It is an always new form of encountering. And it is here perhaps that we are introduced to the category of punishment. In breath, punishment. In the kiss, sacrifice.

Here the experiment is no longer thought of as “the experiment” but as the experience which consumes it. The kiss of life! The kiss as the end of life, or as the end of a world which needs life, or “the end of a ‘world’ in which the current situation makes any sense whatsoever” (Moten and Harney 38).

V. Is it worthwhile to pursue a secondary dream? Or, Why do we need words when telepathizing? Isn’t this overkill? Or, the problem of representation.

Language is the consolation of telepathy. Language is the supplement of telepathy, and its failure. Invitation is already a failure. I say, “Come here, dress comfortably” thusly the meeting.

Will’s invitation: “Do you like to do it like that? Let loom the strangeness, no time, no space, just body weave.”

VI. What will summer bring? or, the problem of improvisation.

We meet at 3. We hug and drink tea. Small talk. We wait for everyone else to arrive. Disavow what we keep inside. The music starts after a delay that only ever feels just the right amount of time afterwards. Dink of ice cubes in a glass. Din of whispering voices bend to silence. Music. This is improv but I telepathized it. It happened and I telepathize. I telepathize so it has not happened. It happened. I write about it. Later I telepathize.

Telepathy and improv as rebukes of spectacularization. What is left after exceeding the verbal sign? Sleep, an unending chain of analogies unto the many summers of slumber.

For now, a stern prediction—

Immense thanks to the participants of this experiment: Anna Foran, Benjamin de Boer, Eddy Wang, Fan Wu, William Hunt and Faraz Anoushahpour for camera + sound.