SURFACE NOTES

 

By Jonah Groeneboer

Diurnal minds orient knowledge as light. Orientation becomes equation. Knowledge is light. Upon waking, we set our sights to the sun. We are active. We give attention to the activity of light, set our system of time by its rhythms, confuse the cyclical and the linear in its unfoldings, collapse them in radiation.

 

Photons organize in waves. Spectrums interact with matter in forms. Light is reflected and absorbed. Objects subsume chosen wavelengths and swallow them into their dark centers. The rejected (reflected) pass through our retinas and we think we know something about embedded quality. Refusal is mistaken for immanent attribute.

 

The red object rejects red.

 

A peacock feather held underwater gives up its iridescent dazzle. Muted brown is revealed. Structured color is not pigment-based. A microtextured arrangement of transparent material on surface interacts with lightwaves to produce perceived color. Little platelets of matter organize horizontally and vertically. These platelets reflect and absorb at different angles and depths. Reflected light interferes in a frenzy of waves, resulting in iridescence. Color shifts as the angle of perception changes.

 

A stack of layers with great depth achieves better color definition: the gold-ish green of the brown-pigmented peacock feather or the unpigmented marble berry's intense blue. This blue is created by an elaborate microstructure reflecting a narrow wavelength range, producing the most intense color of any biological material. Constructive interference can build a single specific color.

 

Iridescence evokes synesthesia. We hear its great activity. Its visual wave patterns create a cacophony of vibratory incantations. Light and sound flow in a force of waves. Textual superposition is visual, verbal, and aural.

 

Dialogue organizes in microstructual platelets on the surface of words. Historical depth lends specificity. Intertexual reference splatters words with iridescent substance. A certain sheen falls. Reclamation molds, chisels, polishes. Sometimes it leaves great unworked caverns of historical injury visible, palpable, ghost-hungry.

 

Mercurial motion fidgets in the thin-filmed membranes of bubbles. Spherical containers hold the exhaled breath's vibrating waves. Our gaps and stutters spatter. Speech is a sound act not free from the physics of interference.

 

Terms hold communities in translucent membranes: permeable, impenetrable, or selectively semi-porous. The relationship to meaning, what is at stake for the perceiver, shifts as the angle of perception changes. Relational angles develop.

 

Outside we view light hit silky surface matter and scatter. Our relation scope fans to the encounter. Data interferes with data. Constructive and destructive results of wave-interference patterning work meaning.

 

As we pass through the membrane to see the interior surface of the bubble, the sky becomes a swirling dome of variable color. We simultaneously define and absorb the incoming wavelengths. Opacity and transparency meet. We see through and look at the surface of the thin-filmed boundary.

 

Dialogical agglomerations froth. Membranes stack, create structures, systems, networks, forms. Boundaries contain and divide, separate and connect. In thin films, flatness shifts to a narrow surface margin. Surface tension strives toward equilibrium. Membranes evaporate, dissolve, and burst, tension weakens against the force of vibrating molecules within. For a brief moment, the air holds the shape of their former container. Entire structures kept in place by habit before content disperses.

 

The system heaves and lumbers into new equilibrium.

 

Structure is not behind, not an apparatus that supports. It is up front: engaged, entangled. Structure is the surface. Interference waves disturb flat planes.

FORCES OF INTERFERENCE

 

Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway

Alexander Galloway, Love of the Middle

Heather Love, Feeling Backwards

Francis Ponge, Soap

Peter Sloterdijk, Spheres I: Bubbles

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