To articulate more-than-human insights, we have to identify what limitations we have already let creep in about how thought can move, what a body can do, and how intentionality can emerge in technical ensembles.
We cannot capture intention, at least so far as intention is commonly construed. What is captured by intention in systems of categorizations like scores or code represent intention as a proxy — that which we authorize to act on behalf of processual intentionality. Systems of categorization impose an *image of intention*. Schematizing both from top-down but also from the past into the present, categories reach forward into the moment of intention’s emergence to retrofit to the already past; they mask the processual with the static. These masks have many names: poses, states, vocabularies. . .
It is in the mode of the proxy that we can capture intention, we may however wish not to; these proxies are real in the sense that their effects are real (e.g. our intentional potentialities are tokenized by the so-called Big Four to open advertising portals made for users *just like us*). It is trivial to create such a system today; so much so that we may come to regard them as a core technique of a computationally engaged research-creation practice.
Plenty of works explore the free play of categorization, what 50-years ago we called moments of Cybernetic Serendipity. They ask what the moving thinking becoming cyborg body can be, about the more-than-human, but these projects are human-all-too-human. Their questions will go unanswered by their interlocutors: expensive productions of Siri, Eliza, or Tay which differ from their antecedents in appearance, not in kind. To ask new questions and construct new problems, we’ll need to lift our gaze from the lurid lure of Narcissus’s lake, lest we drown in the echo of old Humanism’s hubris.
-Garrett Laroy Johnson, Synthesis Center – Arizona State University