maandag 29 november 2021

The parasite (barber’s pole worm) in the first image is caught up in a fungus parasiting the parasite. The second image (wizards net) is a one year parasite that grows on other plants
I got caught up with these images because they mapped seemingly effortless onto some internal representation of the contemporary liberal subject caught in a web of datasystems evolving towards some increasingly intelligent, self-observing colonizing meta-system (or immobilized by a global pandemic). This getting caught up by images that have a tight fit within some internal neurological constellation is almost inevitable when your eyes are 24-7 exposed to an enless variety of millions of images.
Entanglement is one thing, being caught-up into something is another.
What are the options for the parasitic worm to gain some kind of agency when it finds its self taken-over by the fungus? The entanglement is not just a knot to be unravelled some eco-bondage experiment. In both images there is also a crossing of the physical boundary, a penetration of the body of one parasite by another. This caught-up self may still exercise voluntary muscular movement, but this does no longer result in the habitual walk towards a self-determined goal. It is a pushing and pulling within the tight grip of the fungus that now not only constitutes the environment but is directly facing the self within.
One thing that made parasites parasites is their ability to progressively adapt by simplification. For example by losing limbs and eyesight in the case of intestinal worms. Or by exaptation. An extreme example maybe how mitochondria may have been parasites caught up in cells and now have become a kind of energy plants within the cell. Depending on ones standpoint, the mitochondria have been imprisoned and enslaved by a larger system or the body maybe an extension of the mitochondria cunningly manipulated to believing it is taking the necessary for its own survival while it is actually guaranteeing that of the parasite. The drawing imagines two possible -somewhat megalomaniac- storylines in which a fictional group of worms caught up in some parasitic system adapt by simplification to regain some form of self-determination:

1.give up individual goal directed movement and focus on collective coordinated movement by exaptating the web into a collective body.
2.give up individual as well as collective movement and reverse agency by coercive reprogramming from within the infected self