"A primary precondition for a livable life is the ability to impact, in however constrained a manner, on the world and one's own position in it. The mere fact of having one's position as a subject capable of acting acknowledged, before any actual taking action, already signifies a form of agency, as agency also includes the ability to be seen not to act." (Esther Peeren, The Spectral Metaphor, p 17)
"Following Butler, agency is not taken as entailing autonomy, since all behavior, including the ability to act and speak as a subject, is at once made possible and restricted by social norms and power relations:
"Because the agency of the subject is not a property of the subject, an inherent will or freedom, but an effect of power, it is constrained but not determined in advance. If the subject is produced in speech through a set of foreclosures, then this founding and formative lim- itation sets the scene for the agency of the subject. Agency becomes possible on the condition of such a foreclosure. This is not the agency of the sovereign subject, one who only and always exercises power instrumentally on another. As the agency of a post-sovereign sub- ject, its discursive operation is delimited in advance but also open to further and unexpected delimitation.""
(Esther Peeren, The Spectral Metaphor, p.16)
2 Prompts for MTHA call on 11/26:
conduct a performance/movement embodying a more than human timescale.(how do i visit a deli like a glacier?)
identify a piece of infrastructure that influences cognition (highways creating binaries of moment, where one is either not moving and working, or moving at a rapid rate of speed). How can we describe these dreams? How can we transform such binaries into a gradient?
Restraint vs Constraint
Restraint is typically understood as an exercise in human discipline / willpower to enforce certain behaviors and disallow others. (ex. I will not allow myself to go into the pantry where my sugary sweets are.)
Constraint is typically understood as an enforcement or encouragement of particular behaviors by an assemblage of physical / social elements which prevent certain knowledges or actions. Often times we don't even know we are constrained. (ex. I cannot go into the pantry where my sugary sweets are because the door is locked, and the material of the door is sturdy enough that I cannot pass through it.)
There is an easy dialectic between internal restraint and external constraint.
How does More Than Human Agency manifest as constraints, and how do we identify as constraint as existing in the first place?