Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Swarm of Readers

Behead yourself! Dissolve your whole body into Vision: become seeing, seeing, seeing!
- Rumi

 The mechanisms of identification frustrated, the reader beheaded - one has no option left but to SWARM, to infest the text. Parallel (and perpendicular) venues of entry are sought. Instead of pushing the reader back into the distanced point of view of the objective and omniscient Scientist-Godhead-Reader ("the Third Person" - reeks of moralism, doesn't it?), The Invisibles presents a plenum of perspectives. The Third Person, the omniscient & featureless God-Sphere, is already present within The Invisibles, as BARBELITH. The position is occupied, outered and made explicitly alien and inaccessible. In place of a single satellite-probe circumambulating the work, the reader is injected as a swarm of autonomous nano-probes, suffusing the flesh and coursing through the blood of the world. Denied the position of privilege, he must shift and slide through whichever points of vantage that are presented and accessible.


Life in the late 20th century is a supermarket stocked with appealing self-images. Why not shop instead of hanging around outside, trying to maintain a cool, "detached" attitude?
- Grant Morrison

  Characters themselves mimic the flow of reading - entering nested realities from a higher level (gods and demons entering our world, operatives traveling back in time, magicians negotiating with cultural operating systems), always willingly and willfully reducing themselves, taking on the grammar of a system, the dynamics of dominance and submission, the sadomasochism of drama, in order to interact within it. Bernard Suits, in The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia, defines a game as "the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles". To play a game is to put on its rituals, to operate within its boundaries, to enter a virtual reality. Reading is a game.

 All play moves and has its being within a play-ground marked off beforehand either materially or ideally, deliberately or as a matter of course. Just as there is no formal difference between play and ritual, so the ‘consecrated spot’ cannot be formally distinguished from the play-ground. The arena, the card-table, the magic circle, the temple, the stage, the screen, the tennis court, the court of justice, etc, are all in form and function play-grounds, i.e. forbidden spots, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain. All are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart.
- Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture 


  1. "Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Satan is the third among them." - The Prophet Muhammad

    BARBELiTH as Satan as the third person perspective? No, I probably shouldn't.

  2. You'd be Devil's Advocate, then, wouldn't you? A pleasing role.

  3. I find it awfully telling that the "star" Venus later became known as "Lucifer".