VVAGNIS (“Hap/hazard”) | A stroll through FUZZY SPACE
Pop-cultural techniques and apophenia
Using the fundamental principles of the academic theory of fuzzy logic, FUZZY SPACE moves around in only vaguely defined social spaces and within societal structures that are in a constant state of flux. In its working processes, FUZZY SPACE uses associative and combinational capabilities. This approach finds expression in the adoption of post-modern cultural techniques: appropriation, bricolage, collage, copy & paste, crossing, cut-up, deconstruction, found footage. Copying, mapping, code-mixing, montage, morphing, remix, sampling, quotation … are just some of the methods of aesthetic production used for a contemporary description of social circumstances.
In this context, we should also mention the tendency of FUZZY SPACE towards apophenia. This term is used to describe the sudden perception of connections, patterns and meanings between or in unrelated phenomena.10 The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad and, in statistics, describes an error of the first kind (type I error) or, in other words, the identification of a pattern where in reality no pattern exists.11 Although the compulsive creation of links between clearly quite unrelated occurrences is often described as a flaw or pathological syndrome, FUZZY SPACE prefers to see this form of free association and perceptual linking as a prerequisite for creative activity.
But what does the drifter through FUZZY SPACE actually look like? Who is behind the stroller in this unsharp space, who describes the dust gathering in the cracks of the grey gaps, who hears that incessant murmuring from the concealed niches? And who determines the extent to which they overlap? This is the point at which we fall back on the words of the German writer and statesman Goethe: in his work “Truth and Poetry” (Dichtung und Wahrheit), of all places, he provides an identikit image of the fuzzy logician: “His greatest delight was to busy himself seriously about drolleries and to follow up without end any silly notion. Thus he was constantly dressed in grey, and as the different parts of his attire were of different stuffs, and also of different shades, he could reflect for whole days as to how he should procure one grey more for his body, and was happy when he had succeeded in this, and could put to shame us who had doubted it, or had pronounced it impossible. He then gave us long, severe lectures, about our lack of inventive power, and our want of faith in his talents.”12
This image is not a totally reliable one. The shadow emerging from the background of grey remains somewhat hazy. Perhaps the blurred contours of the moving shadow may become clearer if we screw up our eyes or blink repeatedly. A dictionary definition of “fuzzy headed” in terms of a “foggy brain” may serve to obscure the precise outlines of FUZZY SPACE still further. A final indication, perhaps, that to linger in FUZZY SPACE could represent something of a “VVagnis”, a (hap)hazardous affair.
10 It is highly probable that the apparent significance of many unusual experiences and phenomena are due to apophenia, e.g., ghosts and hauntings, EVP, numerology, the Bible code, anomalous cognition, ganzfeld “hits”, most forms of divination, the prophecies of Nostradamus, remote viewing, and a host of other paranormal and supernatural experiences and phenomena | Leonard, Dirk M.A. and Peter Brugger, Ph.D. “Creative, Paranormal, and Delusional Thought: A Consequence of Right Hemisphere Semantic Activation?” Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, and Behavioral Neurology, 1998, Vol. 11, No. 4 pp. 177-183.
11 Associated phenomena, relating to the assumption of information on the basis of identified patterns, e.g. clustering illusion and pareidolia. Clustering illusion is the term used to describe the natural human tendency to see patterns, even where none exist. It is based on the Ramsey theory, according to which complete mathematical disorder within a physical system is impossible. The clustering illusion is the tendency to erroneously consider the inevitable “streaks” or “clusters” arising in small samples from random distributions to be non-random. Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus, usually an image or a sound, by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists. (…) Pareidolia is an unavoidable side effect of the brain’s normal perceptual activity. Each act of perceiving is linked to the (re-)identification of abstract similarities (patterns) in repeated sensory impressions, created and confirmed through a process of learning. … | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clustering_illusion, | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia
12 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Truth and Poetry: From My Own Life, trans. John Oxenford