Affect, as fickle as Water

February 16, 2012

‘Affect can be understood (then) as a gradient of bodily capacity – a supple incrementalism of ever-modulating force-relations – that rises and falls not only along various rhythms and modalities of encounter but also through the troughs and sieves of sensation and sensibility…’

 ‘Affect is found in those intensities that pass body to body…in those resonances that circulate about, between and sometimes stick to bodies and worlds.’

The various attempts to describe affect lead the mind to associations with water, the fragile fickleness it holds, with yet a mighty strength, resonating even the slightest stirring and conducting energies. The incredibly intensity and forceful power of the water, and yet at the same time the ease of it’s movements, the rhythms with which the currents move at several layers, from the slightest tickle to a flow with a fatal strength.

The swift changes of the progression; every encounter alters the flow, redirects it, gives it strength or slows it down. The most insignificant influence from the surroundings will give an immediate response in the water, a slight tremor gives resonance which can travel for miles and create chaos at the encounter with the next body. The fickle fluidity which persists in captivity, be it a cup or a pool, the labelling of its different states, which are forever changing, the common denominator being the changes within each state, a wave is always a wave, but not one will be similar to the one which came before, or after it.

The moving of the ocean, almost like heartbeats, which one can feel on the body when immersed in it, it is something very palpable, yet abstract, it definitely has a presence, while an abstract such, which one cannot grasp with the bare hands. The surge of energies being interchanged between bodies, like affect – but on a conscious level.

An ocean of affect – tumbling, stirring, tossing – touching, never at rest, always changing. Erratic, incalculable, fickle, in ebb and in flow, tickling, stroking, pushing, forcing, infolding all the energy it is being fed, shifting towards an unpredictable future, which might not be visible from the present, just like affect.

– Sofie Andersson

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