On Feedback, Political and Poetic
by Beauchamp Art
I have been considering the notion of ‘feedback’ more recently, following reading about how Stelarc’s work relates to feedback, in his use of computational and robotic materials the read motions from his body then feed those motions back into to the body, forcing it to mechanical modify itself using inter-limb information. In addition to the notion of Strange Loops and Tangled Hierarchies, in a political sense; like a revolution that revolves, constantly redepositing the order and standing of peoples above and below one another in social standing.
Much as there may be a proletariat revolution that ousts the existing bourgeoisies, and in the process they become the news establishment, the new bourgeois (as in the case of The French Revolution, Lenin and the Tsars, or any number of more contemporary examples in the Middle East; such as various dictators and Leaders whom emerged from lower-class backgrounds and emerged into positions of power through warfare and outside backing; such as Bin Laden, the former CIA backed militant turned anti-US/UN scapegoat; or Sadam, Gaddafi, or any of Tony Blair’s other former business partners.).
Though this is more notably observed with revolutions which seeks to use the People’s struggle as a means of ascertaining power, in order to then immediately suppress those same people. This phenomena is is typically associated political groups which label themselves ‘Socialist’, yet have no intention of doing anything of benefit for the domestic population; they are just seen as a tool to be used, a means to an end, as genuine people’s struggle is squandered. Referring back to the Spanish Revolution, in which the ‘peasant’ class, the farmers and so forth, sided with the Communists who promised them genuine power and representation, were ultimately butchered and eradicated by both them, and the Franco Fascists.
In the reciprocal melting pot of a Tangled Hierarchy, systems of power ebb and flow like a lava lamp, never settling or revolving in a perfect circle, but fragmenting and distorting, forever warping and manipulating itself in the ceaseless feedback that stimulates a hyperactive explosions of irregularities within the faulted loop. Whether that be in sound, with a growing, sharp beep deafening the listener as the microphone drifts before the amplifier, or in video feedback, as the camera and image fuse in one motion forming an endless tunnel of shifting light, or in revolution, where the smallest extreme becomes massively overblown from its original source; nanoscopic blots becoming erroneous eye-soars. As a mirror reflects a mirror, they darken into nothingness, as the near-perfect sheen of its surface gradually absorbs more and more light, until no image is left but that of feedback, and its particles shake with nervous energy, heated by the infinite illusion of a finite solar glare.
The Newsfeed feeds back as it remediates itself and its features increasingly overtly as the stylistic features and semantic groups repeatedly refer back to instantly traceable earlier items. Memes become hyperbolised, pulling in the cultural world beyonds its bounds but never realising a glimmer from its grasp, like a black hole devouring light, compressing into one light-bending, self-effacing, auto-didactic sphere. Revolving and expanding from every microscopic external stimuli that becomes engorged by its perpetual renewal.
Like James Joyce’s infinite, “allnights newsery reel” [McLuhan, 1964: 193], a flat narrative folds round upon is self, relentless restarting with every revolution. The People’s struggle ultimately becomes the People’s oppressors, until the entangled looping system of authoritarian understanding may be unwound, by an unharmonious secondary feedback that shatters the illusion of progress that seeks to disturb the established order, to weave the fabric of the loop to produce a realistically resolving, linear, and finite narrative. In order to thereby generate genuine progress, whether that be social; the destruction of a revolving hierarchy to produce a sustainable Egalitarianism, or moving the receiver away from the omitter, to thus admit and omission of regression into repetitious reciprocity that only seeks to establish itself and existing order.
The feedback must resolve for something distinguishable to be heard, and for it to be said; or sense shall be lost into the ceaseless chaos of noise.
McLuhan, Marshall (1964) Understanding Media. 1994 Edition. Routledge. Great Britain.