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Poiesis and Enchantment in Topological Matter$
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Xin Wei Sha

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019514

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019514.001.0001

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(p.89) 4 Substrate
Poiesis and Enchantment in Topological Matter

Xin Wei Sha

The MIT Press

Détourning Antonin Artaud's call for attention to the materials of performance, after interpreting performance more broadly via the technologies of real-time, live performance in responsive environments, Chapter 4 argues for a turn to examining the substrates in which events and objects take shape. In place of epistemic and hermeneutic investigations that require explicit analytic objects like Subjects, Egos, or Roles, organized into a priori taxonomic structures, this chapter starts with an experientially continuous ontology of plenum or field. This requires unpacking distinctions between the discrete, the algebraic, the atomic versus the continuous, and developing some notions of the field, material plenum, substrate, and tissue. This discussion traces a history of arguments that includes Heraclitus, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Whitehead in the West. Of course, bracketing objects does not deny that objects exist. It shifts the ground to considering how objects come to be, i.e., to ontogenesis. In order to articulate plenum and ontogenesis, the discussions turns next to a rich set of concepts from point set topology, topological dynamics, and deeper branches of continuous mathematics.

Keywords:   plenum, field-based approaches, process philosophy, ontogenesis, continuous mathematics

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