Gregg, Melissa & Gregory Seigworth. “An Inventory of Shimmers”

Gregg, Melissa, and Gregory J. Seigworth. “An Inventory of Shimmers.” The Affect Theory Reader. London: Duke University Press, 2010. Print.

Moments to remember/return to [so many moments]:

  • Affect is born in in-between-ness and resides as accumulative beside-ness. 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 through various rhythms and modalities of encounter but also through the troughs and sieves of sensation and sensibility, an incrementalism that coincides with belonging to comportments of matter of virtually any and every sort … At once intimate and impersonal, affect accumulates across both relatedness and interruptions in relatedness, becoming a palimpsest of force-encounters traversing the ebbs and swells of intensities that pass between bodies (2). (revisit this whole section – gorgeous definition work)
  • [theory as] Operating with a certain modest methodological vitality rather than impressing itself upon a wiggling world like a snap-on grid of shape-setting interpretability (4).
  • Perhaps one of the surest things that can be said of both affect and its theorization is that they will exceed, always exceed the context of their emergence, as the excess of ongoing process (5).
  • … singular attempts to address what transpires in the affective bloom-space of an ever-processual materiality (9).
  • ‘not yet’ & ‘promise’ (9).
  • Barthes’s Neutral (as ‘ardent, burning activity’) seeking to dissolve accidental consolidation of meaning … (10).
  • Inventory of shimmers! (Barthes qtd. 11)
  • ‘If the opposite of being a body is dead [and] there is no life apart from the body … [then] to have a body is to learn to be affected, meaning ‘effectuated,’ moved, put into motion by other entities, humans or nonhumans. If you are not engaged in this learning, you become insensitive, dumb, you drop dead’ (latour qtd 11).
  • [body as] an interface that becomes more and more describable when it learns to be affected by many more elements (11).
  • … nurturing differences through affective relay into perpetually finer-grained (and concurrently enlarged) postures or comportments until there are only articulations of a world in its expressiveness: expressions that are only ever the interval between sensings or the stretching of this sensuous interval that comes to progressively produce (when successful) a passion for difference, where the patho-logy of a body meets the pedagogy of an affective world (12).
  • Massumi’s ‘affective twilight zone’/’bustling zone of indistiction’ (13).
  • Sara Ahmed: ‘we may walk into the room and ‘feel the atmosphere,’ but what we may feel depends on the angle of our arrival. Or we might say that the atmosphere is already angled; it is always felt from a specific point. The pedagogical encounter is full of angles.’ … the kind of aesthetically inflected moment that underlies almost any theoretical orientation toward affect (14).
  • The point needs to be stressed: different affects make us feel, write, think, and act in different ways (Elspeth Probyn 14).
  • This engagement of affect and aesthetics is more a matter of ‘manner’ than of essence: ‘not what something is, but how it is – or more precisely how it affects, and how it is affected by, other things’ (Shaviro 14).
  • … anecdotes need not be true in order to function in a communicative exchange … (19).
  • “Mood indicators” and “status updates” kindly invite us to describe how we feel; and yet the software itself remains dubiously positioned to change any of the broader conditions leading to the more chronic forms of expression, which swing violently from ‘rolling on the floor laughing” to illusions of murdering a co-worker in the adjoining cubicle for the most trivial of habits … entrepreneurial selves busily amass a blanket of online contacts to alleviate the pressures of an aestheticized work culture consisting of long hours and an unknown employment future. It is this new frontier of affective labor  that Alan Liu terms the ‘eternal, inescapable friendship’ of knowledge work. And is a world that cultural theory is better equipped to navigate than most (24).


Breadcrumbs to follow:

  • Brian Massumi : The Autonomy of Affect (1995), Parables for the Virtual (2002), The Archive of Experience (2003), The Future Birth of the Affective Fact (2005), Navigating Moments (2002, with Mary Zournazi)
  • Eve Sedgwick : Shame in the Cybernetic Fold (1995, with Adam Frank), Touching Feeling (2003), Teaching/Depression (2006), Melanie Klein and the Difference Affect Makes (2007)
  • Silvan Tomkins : Affect, Imagery, Consciousness: The Positive Affects (1962), Affect, Imagery, Consciousness (1992), Affect, Cognition, and Personalityy: Empirical Studies (1966 with Carroll E Izard)
  • Gilles Deleuze : Spinoza: Practical Philosophy (1988), Cinema 2: The Time-Image (1989), Ethology: Spinoza and Us (1992), Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation (2005)
  • Lauren Berlant : The Subject of True Feeling: Pain, Privacy and Politics (2000), Compassion: The Culture and Politics of an Emotion (2004),  Cruel Optimism (2006)
  • Roland Barthes : The Neutral (2005)
  • Steven Shaviro : Pulses of Emotion: Whitehead’s Critique of Pure Feeling (2007)
  • Elspeth Probyn : Teaching Bodies : Affects in the Classroom (2004), Blush: Faces of Shame (2005)
  • Marcel Proust : Remembrance of Things Past (1992)
  • Meghan Morris : Identity Anecdotes: Translation and Media Culture (2006)
  • Lawrence Grossberg : Another Boring Day in Paradise: Rock and Roll and the Empowerment of Everyday Life (1984), Is there Rock After Punk? (1986)
  • Alan Liu : The Laws of Cool: The Culture of Information (2004)





2 thoughts on “Gregg, Melissa & Gregory Seigworth. “An Inventory of Shimmers”

  1. Pingback: Sedgewick, Eve. “Teaching/Depression” | {kin}aesthetic composure

  2. Pingback: performing empathies [the empathics] | {kin}aesthetic composure

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s