P is for Preacceleration

| March 22, 2014

From the first time I saw a video of the sport, wingsuit jumping has fascinated, captivated and terrified me. It seems so enticing to me because it allows the person inside ultimate, unrestricted freedom of movement (as long as you aren’t trying to put your arms overhead). But, this is precicely why it is so dangerous. How can one move accurately (without hitting into things) in space they’ve never encountered?

While I don’t think I ever got a full grasp on what Manning articulated in Relationscapes, these quotes seemed, to me, to apply equally, if not more clearly, to the movement involved in wingsuit jumping:

“not as a movement through space but as a process of in-formation whereby space becomes what it is not-yet. Forming to deform the body composes to recompose” (p. 27)

What happens to this relationship when the space is open, unlimited? What does the space become and to what does the body compose?

“movement is incipient action: a dance of the not-yet” (p. 28)

I can see how this applies to all movement, but it feels particularly present and alive in the case of the unchartered spaces – places where humans have never been before.

“movement is not explained by sensation, but by the elasticity of sensation, itsĀ vis elastic.” (Deleuze – Logique de la sensation) – (p. 29)

I have been told that moving in a wingsuit is quite a different feeling than any other type of movement – walking, skydiving, basejumping, etc. Whatever movement you can think of, chances are the sensation experienced during wingsuit jumping is something quite unique.

“Prearticulation fuels preacceleration, inciting a reaching-toward, not into a space predetermined, but toward a curving of space-time. Curving space-time moves the relation, activating a becoming-body. Movement’s intensive unfolding creates an embodiment of pure plastic rhythm. The fulfillment of the occasion is not the step but the recombination of forces out of which future movements will take form” (p. 37).