Enlivening the SOPs

During the Florianopolis stage of the SenseLab’s “Schizoeconomies” traveling event series hosted by the Brazilian hub (26 November- 20 December 2017), a workshop was held on the Self-Organizing Propositions (SOPs – see Working Paper 4). The group broke down into four sections, each of which received a SOP to workshop. Each group’s task was to think through the processual character of their SOP and imagine how it might operate. Specifically, they were asked to create an embodiment or material instantiation of how they could see their assigned SOP working.

This exercise is part of an ongoing series of activities at the SenseLab whose purpose is to design the SOPs beginning with their processual qualities, rather than simply thinking about them structurally or formally. The idea is to prototype the design of the SOPs experientially, in the analog world off-line, and only then to program them digitally in a way that translates the processual quaility achieved in live interaction into the online platform. The goal is to fashion the digital system as an analog of the analog, so that the system embodies, down to the level of the code itself, the qualities or processual character of the SenseLab process. The digital platform would then participate in a translative or transductive movement that moves in both directions: the analog in-forms the very structure of the digital system, so the digital system can transmit formative movements back to the process in its native key (in keeping with the manner in which it is lived off-line in the events that the 3 Ecologies projects exist in order to collaboratively seed). Achieving this two-way formative movement is essential to the success of the project as an ongoing experiment in emergent collectivity. The digital system will not be simply instrumental, but will be an active (nonhuman) collaborator in the process of emergence. The traditional idea of a collaborative digital tool as an infrastructure providing a neutral frame for interactions, without itself making a qualitative difference, is a fiction that the 3E project is intent on getting past. The “infrastructure,” however transparent it purports to be, is always in some way determining. In programming, instrumental “neutrality” too often amounts in practice to a normative rule-binding of process. The 3E seeks to develop alternatives to normative digital “governance,” in favor of transductive propositional self-organizing.

What follows are notes from the discussion/brainstorming session following the small-group workshops. The purpose of this wrap-up session was not to report back on what was done in the small groups, but rather to cull from their embodied/material explorations processual characters that might analogically in-form the programming at a later stage. The exercise was meant to be constructively speculative rather than descriptive.


Cat Herder 

The Cat Herder needs a sub-SOP to go with it – the Cat Nipper

The Cat Nipper works in the interval opened by the Cat Herder, between setting of conditions and fulfillng of the conditions

It dangles a lure, to get people moving in right direction – without being linear, regimenting, overly business-like  (SenseLabbers notoriously do not respond well to discipline)

But it can’t be too satisfying, or it won’t relay process forward

It can’t be too object-oriented

How does the completion of a condition register? – perhaps as a shift in the environment associated with an anarchival trace – something that resurfaces from the anarchive related to past event, like a color shift

Example: a food proposition – or other attractors (like the faux fur at the Dancing the Virtual event)

Can’t be just goal-oriented – must be relationally effective – what is the difference between a hunger that triggers a dispersal and a hunger that brings people together around a meal?

Becomes part of the event – not just logistics, as if logistics were neutral – for example: if  apartments rented for housing for an event, the goal of accommodation is not all that is in play, but also how the accommodation will modulate the event – how the location, lay-out, mix of people might make a difference – or things like doing the dishes, practiced as event modulators n (aescape from being oversocialized? an opportunity to mix different people together around informal interaction?)

Must be creative proposition

The Catnipping must have a tempo – not isolated, one-offs – the affect-o-meter could help gauge that


Welcome Wagon

Welcome Wagger

Relays from the Entryway SOP

Partially covers the gift that is given by the person passing through the Entryway SOP to actively enter the process

Only shows a silhouette, glimpse, or imprint of what is behind the membrane (the threshold to active entry)

The gift, however, can modify the membrane without showing itself (like a face or object behind a cloth held against it or brushed against it, or an object behind a curtain wagging in the wind)

What is given is a sense of it, its texture, but it isn’t completely revealed  – it becomes alluring for that reason – it becomes a part of the relational/affective field – a part-subject

In this way, the welcome is not separated from everything else that is happening, so that new person isn’t singled out and put on the spot

The gift is not swallowed whole, not incorporated – the process let’s it leave an imprint

This is also a way of responding to risk, because a gift can be a pharmakon – a remedy that is also a poison

Example: if the gift is a poem, maybe the outlines of the font would be taken, but not the poem itself

Or a volume could be registered a volume, like a drawing – or a surface is registered that dissolves as it appears

The ecology brushes up against the gift – in a way that makes the inside/outside takes on different contours (rather than being an invariant structural feature)

This is a way of affirming the gift, letting its own healing (or poisonous) potential seap in – not as a decision per se – but through an attunement to what enters or resists – like a dance



It’s a formula, translating quality to quantity

Does the moment of monetization carry with it a proposition for the return of a process seed to the anarchive, so that the monetization also acts as a gift?

This would change the model from an owing of shares (the quantities are not indivually held) to a shared transformation

The monetizer is fed with affective information, and at a certain points translates it into a quantity – so there is a duration, an interval – the transformation moment where the monetization occurs could be treated as a creative cut

The Welcome Wagger could also contribute here – it could catch the transformation and return it as a new gift, from the process to itself

So that the Monetizer also has a qualitative influence

The creation of value can be registered on the membrane separating the 3E process from its external economic milieu (along the lines of the Welcome Wagger), so that something is returned to the process over and above the quantification

A rebound effect: quality goes out and is neutralized as money (quantified), but even before the money is spent to move the process forward in that traditional economic way, it echoes back into the process qualitatively (a kind of processual equivalent to double-entry book-keeping across the quantity-quality boundary)

That way, the qualitative value is never fully absorbed in quantity – quantification itself produces a surplus-value

A touch of futurity is emitted – in keeping with the idea that money comes from the future


Creative Cut (Call)

The Creative Cut uses what is already there to move the process over a threshold

It needs certain conditions – and has to be collective

There must be an urgency to it – an importance

Does it also need a sub-SOP?

it definitely needs the affect-o-meter (which is central to all of the SOP, including the monetizer which uses it as the basis for its quantifications)

Qualitative changes have to be registered to indicate when the cut is needed

it’s like a bug that make a reset necessary (like in a computer glitch)

But isn’t there a distinction between a Creative Cut and a Creative Cut Call? – a creative cut call signals the need for a creative cut and does that in a way that catalyzes the change – it is a performative

It’s an opportunity for us to notice what is going on and what the urgency is and to attend to it – this collective attunement changes the field

the Creative Cut Call intensifies the field of relation, and let’s the field know it is verging on a taking-form that will move it across a threshold – but it does not predetermine that event or the exact nature of the taking-form

Creative Cuts are known only retrospectively – on the other hand, the intensification brought on by the Creative Cut Call is felt in its immediacy – whether it will have actually catalyzed the change will only be known later, after things play out

So maybe there is a Cut Call and a Creative Cut that it summons or beckons

A cut might not prove to be creative in the end –there must be follow-through techniques to carry its creativity through