Shift and Remove. Seeing through devices.

Shift and Remove, my research is focused on how we perceive the universe and how that perception is transmuted through “devices”. One of these is the mobile phone and its facility for taking instantly viewable photographs.

 In particular, I am interested in how we see the life around us – what we term the “natural world” – and the transformative effect of the ideas we learn from the media and the internet.  With Gauttari’s “Singularisation” (Three Ecologies) as a device, and using the Dodder River as a focus I am walking the length of the river noting what I find along the way, and making a “Walking Book” as I go.  This is an opportunity to study the Three Ecologies confluent with the river..

The Dodder rises on Kippure where there is a radio television mast.  Of its 29 kilometres, around 20 are through the city from Tallaght to Grand Canal Dock.  The course of the river is, in a sense, analogous of Guattari’s three ecologies, the social, environmental and mental. 

  • There are industrial estates, commercial development and of course, people live in great numbers and in different income neighbourhoods all along the river. 
  • Many flood prevention schemes and curtailments and other environmental “improvements”are in place. 
  • It is possible to walk the whole length of the Dodder on pathways and through parks, offering the prospect of interaction and interconnections between people and the environment of the Dodder.

Looking at the idea of devices and their transformative properties, devices such as phone and tablet, I am conscious of how they change our focus.  By constantly luring us away from reality and taking our eyes down from the activity around us, they create the passivity and distraction that Gauttari’s “Integrated World Capitalism” (Gauttari p.20) requires in us.  However, we can undermine this strategy by lifting our eyes from the virtual and seeing the real.  The Dodder is real – socially, environmentally and mentally.  Actively watching and listening to it can help us to “reconquest … a degree of creative autonomy” which Guattari suggests in his final paragraph;  it will “counter the pervasive atmosphere of dullness and passivity” (p.47) that our personal devices envelop us in.

Guattari, Felix.  (2014).  The Three Ecologies.  Translated by Pinder, I. and Sutton, P. London.  Bloomsbury Academic.