Lines and Folds - an aesthetic theory of being.

First of all - why bother with aesthetics, isn't a dead notion?

Aesthetics is not popular topic, but we need to evoke it here because it is part of the group of notions that is a thorn in the side of state philosophies. The other members of this group are rhetoric and ethics.

Aesthetics, ethics and rhetoric stand in a spiky relationship to dialectic and morality because the former are contingent and local while the later are strategic and global - and constitute the inhibatory practices practiced by bodies of power. Aesthetics conjure the phrase `life is a work of art', most broadly developed by the Decadent movement.

While the adoption of such a stance may seem narcissistic, it's actually of vital importance and marks the will to a creative identity that escapes the fascist/anarchic duality.

- narcissism? what's that?
Lines and Folds.

Every person traces a line that is enfolded: The line is the `will to X' which wants to go at full speed. The fold is the processes of life that get in the way of pure speed - the fold is the condition of life.

While I would like to be able to write along a vector in one go, I need to stop and attend to life, I need to stop and consider where the line is taking me, I need to be enfolded to develop a critical relationship with my own work. Both processes are necessary: To fold without tracing a line is to stagnate (to become BUGS, to become subject to force mechanisms of power states). To trace a line without folding is to have a line with no substance, a line that is useless, and in extreme cases, to `lose the plot'.

What does the line trace? Well that's up to you... It can be fractal in nature, splitting over several attractors into plateaus, it can challenge static powers or reinforce them.

The line I'm tracing in this essay is one that explores the phase-shift area between the `motor' model and the `network' model and goes on to try and take in some of the `virtual' model.

The Acid casualty is a classic example of an unfolded individual. LSD culture is valid only so much as the experience can be held on to.
Renegade Ideas

The Line and the Fold are renegade notions; strictly philosophical, they abandon Phenomenolgy and inhabit Epistemology, they oppose the moral and favour the ethical, they engage in rhetoric and try and out run the dialectic. It's `living on the edge' in that it simultaneously creates the edge and cuts itself on it. Hence the term `bleeding edge' for new developments is a very appropriate term.

The Network Line

In the context of this hyper-essay, the networked line becomes the net or web - the lines are what take us from site to site, while the fold is the node. The commercialisation of the Network line is crystal clear in Microsofts tag for Windows 95; "Where do you want to go today?". The implication is that they will give you the means and the support to go the network line - and hopefully get you to follow the Virtual line.

The Virtual Line.

The Virtual line has no folding. The embrace of pure speed makes it entirely unaccountable and a effect unto itself. The only way to fold a virtual line is to crash it; either it exists or it doesn't. And because it has no need to fold, it stands as an alien force to mere mortals who can only jump on for a short time - even William Gibson's characters don't remain jacked in forever...

The Virtual Line is a new imperative; if you don't like what's happening to the enfolded world then come with us, become a new version of the religious ascetic, waste your body in favour of a God of pure speed, everywhere at all times... and be colonised in the process.


As Kroker points out, the `will to virtuality' reverses Deleuze's `Body without organs' concept to one of `organs without bodies'.

Suspension: Networks, Identity, Creativity...