Transversality, or the Playground for Dancing

28 Mar

As we move towards a world where stimulated environments can be held in the hand and accessed at the touch of a button, many theorists wonder what this individualisitic approach to reality and making our own environments, solely, will do to our relations with one another. Chris Grayson in his blog at GigantiCo sees many companies adopting practical applications and uses of “augmented reality”, realities in a sense shaped by the user. Lego has long worked on this marketing principle, so has Ikea but more and more companies for example automative companies or even Ray Ban are adopting them online and in the physical marketplace to enable users and buyers a chance to augment the product they are receiving, in a sense helping to produce a version that is applicable to their personal needs and desires. Grayson sees an ‘exponential’ speed and pace of progress which is only growing faster. A prime example in today’s culture is that of the iPhone, which through a convergence of realities provides the user will a multiple choice of realities at the touch, or tap of a button.

An element that links ecologies to these stimulated environments is the transverality they exhibit. In Murphies entry on The World as Clock: The Network Society and Experimental Ecologies he sees ecologies are “riddled with transversals” (p.118). These transversals in turn cannot be confined to one ecology as they transverse, to situate or to extent across something, producing and stimulating new connections and environments before that where unseen or unknown. Lar’s von Trier’s 1996 experiment Verdensuret which the way a group of ants moves determines the way 50 actors in Copenhagen perform in a space. He sees transversality as the way different environments breach one another to create a new, maybe more connected, sense of reality. Guattari believes transversality is the way in which nature and culture operate together across all disciplines, meaning they connect at various points, and that is successful, so then they break of in different directions taking that knowledge and information with them elsewhere and starting all over again. The natural then produces culture to move across the boundaries of disciplines.

This does not mean though that we abandon what has been learnt, in one environment, no. We take that into a new one actually stimulating it with our previous knowledge and create more and more ways of doing. We here network with political, social and natural ecologies as much as we do with our own internal ecologies. In externalising ecologies we have to be aware that we are part of a networked society where we must engage, and as Alfred Whitehead puts it in order to “transmit”. If we are open to these transmissions, we can often be surprised and taken in ways never before previously experienced. Providing us with a greater sense what it means to network and what it means to function as a community, together. To operate of this level of interconnectivity, is in a sense what it means to fully exist. Whether it be with an iPhone or another person, I favour the person, it is a sense of effervescence that surprises us all.

An example of transversality at the Sasquatch Music Festival:


Grayson, Chris (2009) ‘Augmented Reality Overview’, GigantiCo overview.html

Murphie, Andrew (2004) ‘The World’s Clock: The Network Society and Experimental ecologies’, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 11, Spring

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