Invalid Task

As usual we find ourselves moving over the surface, skimming on anxiety’s seepage. What first emerges, as a possible rejection of terms, is the precisely articulated survey of risks being run… dangerous uncertainties so forcefully described. There should be little indulgence of surety in such circumstances, yet it may be that these couplings (what might be called an ‘integument’ – a bridging structure that separates and brings together difference… In a short essay, David Foster Wallace once described a person’s mouth as a “bloodless hyphen”, an image that suggests a drained, neutered ligature sitting between expressions. One wonders what might have been set off, in terms of the necessary doubts and anxieties of the described project, if the two terms, ‘digital’ and ‘hybridity’, had been connected by a hyphen – a superfluous, or at the very least over-complicating marker that links up a supposedly accepted concept with the very principal of combination) constitute a method by which purchase can be established, against which our efforts can be braced, generating leverage for our grasping, digging hands. Of course, these are further open barbs, ready for uncoupling – who would claim to know the levels of adhesion in these grafts? To suggest hybridity is to open up all manner of possible adherence and deviation, successful extensions and shrinking failures. And it is the ambivalence of these possibilities that is the persuasive motor here – that which might be traced or worked with according to concerns other than optimistic disregard. Even though a rhetorical gesture of proposing hybridization may be addressed to a purely ornamental feature, it may also be the case that what can be opened up is a further discussion concerning the affective force of different forms of ornamentation, wherein the possibility of unexpected and multifaceted arrangements of (supposedly) inconsequential decoration nonetheless signal or permit different attitudes of reception and interpretation of given circumstance. Across the many extrapolations of the word ‘hybrid’ – with structural, numerical or biological associations – there already appears to be contained within it the possibility of its own rejection. This is why we recognize that we are operating in a half-light here, that the repository always clipped by the shadow of its refutation and the prospect of hybridity variations coming to nothing. But are there not also different speeds of rejection – from the chronic refusal of transplant organs, to the slow atrophy of one side of a concatenated ‘equation’? Doesn’t this confirm the importance of not judging too quickly what constitutes success or failure for hybridity, for interconnections, either in relation to the ‘host’ body (be it ‘digital’ or ‘analogue’) or the parasitical attachments that cling to it (and it seems striking that these relationships might be switched, and their relative dependencies altered, according to the perspective, concerns and requirements of each)? At what point does it become absolutely necessary to sever one from the other, the healthy from the sick? Perhaps it is a question of waiting, letting consequence fall where it may, before being in a position to declare anything to be definitively ‘working’ or not. At this point, this is what we are doing in relation to the repository. At this moment we are waiting, under a mule-shaped shadow.