What begins as a
Multimodal - Touch - Stories.
When I observe and come close to a green, vegetal being, even without seeming to touch it, it enters into my body through my senses, and we come in closest contact. As I watch, its appearance, color and shape imprint themselves onto my retina, and the plant becomes a reflection, a memory, an extension of itself outside of itself and into me. I look at the plant, knowing that all its leafy surfaces eat up the sunlight, transforming this heat into matter. I watch with my eyes and try to feel the transformations of the immaterial into the material, infrared into green pigments of chlorophyll. As I put my ear close to a blade of grass, I hear how the wind blows through and around its thin, hollow leaves; in small vibrations my eardrum moves and I imagine it resonating specific organs and cavities deep in my body. I listen and can hear only a small range of frequencies, yet the plant emits much higher ones. So I listen with my ears and attempt to feel in my body these inaudible movements.
These are my own perceptions of my body and a plant's body; however, as Merleau-Ponty articulates in his book "The Visible and the Invisible", there is something else behind the perceptions of the body I perceive that I cannot know or see or hear. I imagine this behind-ness as a kind of void, always beyond my comprehension, and following Karen Barad's queering of Quantum Field Theory, always intrinsically part - of the body. I begin to approach that void in my practice of phenomenologically, diffractively and multimodally coming closer/closest/touching plants. I begin to imagine what is behind the plant's perceptible attributes. The more time I spend with each particular plant and in general with plants, I begin to notice the ways in which my own body's voluntary movements and thought processes begin to minimize and deaccelerate. Another kind of rhythm becomes prominent, and I wonder if my void is part - ly the parasympathetic nervous system, the subconscious, the not - yet conceived story? I wonder how to touch these parts.
If I consider touching to be not only the closest possible encounter of body surfaces, but a material/immaterial intra-action with our voids, might bodies be perceived not as bodies in that specific moment of touch, but as part - icular elements of minute pressure, heat, and sound in touch with each other and with the imperceptible - void? Might the awareness of touch alter the awareness of bodies; no longer entire body touching entire body, but index-fingertip touching centimeter-of-inner-bark touching dying-particles touching heat-red-carbon-green-oxygen touching behind-ness?
According to Barad, there is no such thing as touch; on a part - icle level, electrons magnetically repel each other. So I contemplate where the touch / repelling can occur and consider it a form of dialogue; which parts of me desire a multimodal conversation with which parts of the plant? In this developing dialogue, parts - of the theories of Barad graze parts - of the theories of Michael Marder: the encountering of all alterities and infinities by the implosive touching of oneself (Barad) with the radical openness or touching of all others of the plant (Marder). The plant and I are the macrocosmic stories of the electron. Scratching me, the plant scratches its void. Embracing it, I embrace mine.