AFFECT

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See EMOTION, FEELINGS, REVOLUTION

You walk into a room, you read it, the people in it, the furniture, the atmosphere; you inhabit a world, you get a sense of the real, just don't ask you how; people respond to the version of you that is what you say and do, but also to this other stuff or noise you're emitting, only some of which comes from your mouth or your will. You're in the scene of affect. You are a scene of affect. Communicating and receiving communications that can ground you in the world, and that are often ineloquent and destabilizing, you don't know how you know what you know, but you do, in the moment, and you have to catch up to the how later, if you're forced or inclined. If this mix of assurance and confusion could only be reduced to a relation between what the nervous system knows and what the cognitive brain knows, we'd be clear. But we open up, instead, a question factory here.

Affect produces anxiety--it makes _us _pedantic. Affect is said to be: prelinguistic and bodily, a response to the world that is sensed but expressed only indirectly, acted out; a knowledge or judgment that possesses us, dispossessing us, notifying us of a shift in the wind, a multiplication of winds, a reorientation in the atmosphere and therefore of our own condition. Or sometimes the metaphor is of peripheral vision, what's just to one side of the eye's horizon.

But what's political about that, about a shift we might feel in the sense of things? Is it like what Raymond Williams called "a structure of feeling, "the distilled residue of the organization of the lived experience of a community that's lived alongside of social and ideological organization? Or Deleuze and Guattari's "plane of consistency, whose energy of lived potentiality interferes with, like a shifting continent, the plane of organization that tries to control events? Notating the different pulsations of affect, we gather and offer experiments in naming the responses we all can point to alongside what's eloquent and immediate in political struggle, the relations that ensue beside ideology or critique. This whole project, the toolkit, is an affective one, juggling questions of style and rhetoric and our desire to be useful to you while opening things up, too.

An affect we want to generate with the toolkit keywords, for example, is an _excitement _ about exchanges we might prompt between clarity and suggestiveness, exchanges that can produce a telepathy with unpracticed thoughts and ways of being. A definition can be a perturbation in the atmosphere: that's its affect.

Another affect: _interest. _ Questions of political attachment, interest, investment, and fantasy are bound up in the study of affect. How we learned to have feelings about justice while maintaining affective attachments to forms of life that mainly only promise to deliver it? One might talk about a sense derived from a scene, an example, a phrase or tableau: to talk about experiences of affect requires talking about form, pointing to the ways privilege, power, aesthetic conventionality, and normative attachment provide objects for making the unclarity and contradiction of what's sensed seem already spoken for, decided about. This is about irrational attachments to impossible/unlivable ways of life: hyperbolic emotions about good and bad objects are also tugging at unsaid needs for a situation to be a zone for flourishing.

So what's the relation between affect as inchoate sense and affect as an impact you want to have, as in "to affect something. What does it mean that the affect is and makes an effect? Affect often sounds all dramatic but it also partakes of slapstick and the comic, an opening up to an unpredicted intensity of a thing that might well have remained closed. Snap!

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