EXTREME INTERVALS AND SENSORY FUSIONS: THE HINGE

1 03 2009

By SHER DORUFF

The synesthetic hypersurface refracts the activity of matter […] It is the hinge-plane not only between senses, tenses, and dimensions of space time, but between matter and mindedness: the involuntary and the elicited.” (Massumi, 2002)

It can be argued that extreme cognition is always already. Its possibilities and limits expressed in the half-second interval between brain stimulus and conscious perception. In that interstice, cognition, hallucination, memory and perception are indistinguishable as potentiality. Physiologist Benjamin Libet called this durational gap readiness potential (RP). Here, matter meets mindedness and past meets future in the illusory “backwards referral” of conscious experience; neural activity prepares a movement before the decision to move is made. Synesthesia research, the study of cross-modal correspondence and the RP interval together provide a resonant playing field for creatively thinking through the dynamics of thought as it melds with sensory experience of the world. One of synesthesia’s primary conditions – involuntary and elicited cross-modal perception – can be considered a link to unraveling the mysterious processing of “mind time.” Brian Massumi’s concept of the biogram exemplifies one effort to interweave these conditions by speculating on the implications of 1) the recursive duration of lived experience manifested in the half-second interval and 2) cross-modal connectedness.

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