Thursday, April 5, 2012

Understanding Affect

Affect is the “capacity for interaction”. Every component of media affects, the lighting, the narrative, the sound, methods of interactivity as well as the environment from which the media is received all have the potential to interact or affect the viewer. These ‘affective maps’ hold a mutualistic relationship with space itself both born from such space as well as working as part of the assemblage which constructs it. This space is not flat nor is it three dimensional, there is no ‘real’ space only space which is representational. Space is thick, thick with affective mechanisms that can interact with the viewer. In terms of interactivity, thick space entails an infinite feedback loop by which the viewer is affected by the media and then responds through action. This affect operates at different levels of intensity while the audience has thresholds at which these intensities affect at. The strength of such interaction is variable, meaning that affect is not an on/off operator, in fact, it is hard to judge the level at which an element may affect as the outcome can be both conscience and subconscious as well as generating different responses when experienced by different people. 

This is a useful paragraph I found from Steven Shaviro's Post-Cinematic Affect
"Visual space is empty, extended and homogeneous: a mere container for objects located at fixed points within it. But audile-tactile electronic space ‘is constituted of resonant intervals, dynamic relationships, and kinetic pressure’ (McLuhan and McLuhan 1988, 35), and constructed out of ‘intercalated elements, intervals, and articulations of superposition’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 329). Such a space is a heterogeneous patchwork, continually being curved and folded and stretched. It is traversed by ‘densifications, intensifications, reinforcements, injections, showerings’ and other such processes (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 328). Movement through this space is therefore not smooth and continuous, but abrupt, nonlinear, discontinuous and discrete. Tactile space has ‘lost its homogeneity,’ Deleuze says, and ‘left behind its own co-ordinates and its metric relations’ Deleuze 1986, 108-109). In consequence, it must be apprehended – and indeed, it can only be apprehended – bit by bit, ‘fragment by fragment,’ and from moment to moment, through the constructive action of ‘linking’ one space to another, materially feeling one’s way from one space to another (Deleuze 1986,108-109 Film-Philosophy 14.1 2010)"


  1. I wonder instead of thinking affect space or thick space as representational you could think of it as productive - productive of affect. Maybe there is a further level that is more signifying or representational and that these work both to enhance each other as well as to create tensions with each other. Your engagement with affect is developing and similarly the selection of the quote from Shaviro is useful to develop. Remember concepts are tools that have little meaning until you utilise them for yourself and by doing so they becoming empowering. I feel as though this is happening to you and for me that is very exciting.

  2. Jordan are you on holiday or something? Whats happened to all your new explorations and investments? Robstar is more prolific at thye moment it seems.