's kin: For Sean

(This post is dedicated to Sean Smith and his weblog diary, sportsBabel - a great source of inspiration).

Over at Babylon an investigation on 'skin' has been going for quite a while now. The general question is perhaps: How are we to apply hapticity? The answers to this, probably and hopefully, will lead away from politics of identity, toward politics of touch, affect, and hope in the coming community.

What will life be like in HaptiCity (the capital of Vuvuzuela)?

Skin is a prime unit to understand and modulate this citizenry with: Gait as the skin of gesture; the audience as the skin of the stadium; 'Radio Vuvu' as skin tectonics; the jersey as the skin of the athlete; traceurs as mobile freckles -- mouches -- on the architectural sk(yl)in(e) of Babylon.

Being the largest organ of the body, the skin, according to Michel Serres, is the place where one's soul plays. Soul emerges when skin meets skin, especially when your own skin/s meet/s. Lovers, Serres says, trace on each other's skin to search for each other's scattered souls (The five senses, p. 24).

Skin withers and returns eternally at the same time. Skin is interface-and-relation-in-the-world. To investigate skin is to dive in to the molecular flow of the collectivity. Skin is what on the molecular level makes possible the formula of us being plural and same synchronically.

Although not as nihilists, Agamben, Serres, and Deleuze share an attraction toward the concept of 'whatever' (or the latin counterpart of quodlibet). Agamben comforts us that in the coming community '[t]he coming being is whatever being ... being such that it always matters' (The Coming Community, I). The plethora of whatevers communicate with gestures and through touch, why skin always must be taken under consideration.

But how do we assess the kinship of these quodlibets? One thing we know is that it always takes two to tango (tangere is Latin for 'to touch'), and that touch and skin will be the place of exchange when species meet. In search of African stars, therefore, always start from Tangier. Tangier, the capital of HypheNation, is the place and space traced out when we touch, and there by sweep up each other's scattered souls (or when we, unlike the frightened city dweller in Sandman, wake up the dreaming city).

The following concept is a semantic pun, but hopefully a fruitful appendix to the 'whatever'/'quodlibet' of contin(g)ental philosophy. Skin, as the panta rei kind of space where interaction takes place, is the source of kinship itself: skin = 's kin.

... 's kin is whatever's kin is whatever's kin is whatever's kin ...

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