The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

May 4, 2002

Hi - We're on the road at the moment; I haven't had that good access and
haven't been able to participate in any of the discussions so far -
apologies. We left Miami two days ago, went first to Cape Canaveral where
Azure knows people, then 19 hours to Pennsylvania, avoiding storms etc.;
we're delivering computers to NYC tomorrow + a cat and instruments, then
returning to Pennsylvania, finally coming in on Sunday late afternoon or

Miami seems distant; after I found out the job was terminated, I was too
angry and depressed to continue any association with the school and city.
I am still in touch with friends and students and student-friends and hope
that stays - I'm also trying to figure out whether to write about what
happened to me - whether that would hurt more than letting things go. If I
do the latter, I'm safe, but the unethical practices of the school and
department will continue; if I write, I relieve my own anger and con-
science, but take a chance on being blackballed. It's a horrible ugly

I'm writing again on the phenomenology of approach, using the Everglades
experience as a basis; it continues to fascinate me. I ended up with 1060
images plus video etc. to work with, edit when I have the chance.

On Tuesday, I'm speaking at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, then
at the end of the month participating in a conference in Toronto. And I'm
looking for any speaking/visiting/presenting gigs - I've been doing talks
and demonstrations and would like to continue -

That's about it - sorry I wasn't more on top of the problems at Cybermind
etc. - and will be back on line, more or less continuously, hopefully,
from Monday on -

love, Alan, writing disjointedly as usual -

Internet text at
Partial at
Trace Projects at
CDROM of collected work 1994-2002 available: write

(the work so far iii)

    phenomenology of approach

    = categories for projected text =
    = approaching the everglades, the city, illness, language, culture =

     1	domain limited or unlimited
a limited domain is inscribed with or without fuzzy boundaries. domains
may be limited in sememe, space, and/or time. example: everglades bounded
by hydrology, ecosystem.
     2	clues and cues from immemorial past
a clue is an interpretable symptom, according to a scheme based on an
articulated methodology. a cue is the activation of a scheme based on an
anomaly or repetitive structure within the domain. the domain in turn may
be defined by clues and cues.
     3	difference between clues and cues
a clue is based on evidence from the past to the present; a cue is based
on activation within the present.
     4	relevance theory and approach
clues and cues are such by virtue of relevance; theoretical methodology is
part of a critical sifting apparatus.
     5	top-down classification schema
this follows for example category theory, chaos/fractal theories; one
always already begins with pre-theoretic presuppositions.
     6	wonder, innovation, contradictions
beginning with a sense of awe - everything signs everything, everything
inscribes. innovation in terms of heuristic projections and introjections
- contradictions in terms of anomalies, revisions, recuperations, returns.
     7	deep ecologies, interstitial
the ecologies become perceptually deeper; gaps are filled in; one lives in
depth in the glades, aware of cyclical time, anomalous events, local
histories, individual plants and animals.
     8	filling in the habitus
from larger to smaller clues and cues - alligators and wading birds to
landbirds and invertebrates for example. as one moves down in scale,
identification becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible.
     9	from anomaly to behaviors
and back again; behavior clusters based on attributes. or from story to
structure, diachrony to synchrony, anecdote to prediction.
    10	sense of occupation and intimacy
inhabitation based on familiarity, familiality.
    11	familiarity, familiality
in the first, equivalence scripts and schemata, universals, typifications;
in the second, identity scripts and experientials, individuations.
    12	maternality
chora and matrix - the inchoate beneath the surface of the subject.
    13	deconstruction of the abject
disarticulation of the abject as such and rearticulation in terms of
microstructure, skein. the muck and clutter in relation to marl/peat moss
and biome or flora/fauna regimes. muck and clutter as regimes.
    14	phenomenology of naming
following the notion of rigid designators, beginning with classification,
classification experience, virtual subjectivity and its relation to
concrete manifestation.
    15	inarticulate inchoate
maternality: see above. the proffering of languaging or template.
    16	the mess and its overcoming
entanglement as regime intrusions, conflicting biomes, collapse or
implosion, niche-construction, problems of scale in space and time.
    17	phenomenology of touch
demarcation of environment on the body - thicket tangle, poisonwood,
against the skin. differentiation of the mass.
    18	reinscription of domain
the domain _as_ continually inscribed in negotiation. linguistic contract
of the subject. increasingly fuzzy boundary issues. refinement of
differentiations - typology to decreasing tolerances.
    19	immersive and definable structures
definable is fully reversible; immersive is fuzzy, vectored. both are
capable of meta-level collocations, i.e. a definable of definable,
immersive of definable, etc.
    20	clue skeins
clues related theoretically, taxonomically, in terms of typifications,
taxonomies - heuristic skeins, established on the run.
    21	the instrumental reason of flows and part-objects
fluid mechanics, turbulence, stases within the flow - non-equilibrium
thermodynamics. the partitioninig, parcelling, clutter, of the world.
part-objects as modules: modules 'on the part of' the subject, and modules
'defined as such' within the continually reinscribed domain.
    22	gestural logics and superimpositions
such that partial information (as in land's experiments re: color vision)
extends across a total domain or spectrum.
    23	delaying conclusions and the settling-in of elements
inconclusivity of discourses which are increasingly refined. elements
noticed and defined 'settle in' - in the sense of familiarity - always
with default tags - i.e. elimination by counterexample. retention of _weak
theory_ - searching for coherency without retention of apparently outmoded
    24	continuous processing and absorption of anomalies
anomalies as generative of domain boundaries, entities, temporary
inscriptions, potential of part-objects, etc. the anomaly as the mis-fit
among the accountable and accounted-for. as unaccountable, uncounted, the
anomaly generates circumscriptions, circumlocutions; these are involved by
the subject in a consideration and absorption of the _detour._ every
anomaly potentially turns everything around, and is turned around by
    25	modes of approach in space and time
diachronic/synchronic approaches - space-time slices. diffusion of
occluded layerings (bay bottoms versus onshore mangrove island
topography). architectonics of the domain.
    26	horizons of 'natural' and 'unnatural' worlds
and horizons of 'subjective' and 'objective' worlds - in relation to
heuristics and experiential structures (immersivities). definition is both
tool and violation; mobile fuzzy domain boundaries participate in the
natural (i.e. given) order as well as ideological political/economic
conscious and unconscious considerations.
    27	weakening of perceptual structures and responses
approach is always already self-critical, self-critique; the critique
itself is withdrawn from the self, sublimated into emergent considerations
of the domain. the phenomenology of approach implies a weakness of
language, definition, inscription, boundary, instrumental reason; it
implies releasement, waiting (not waiting-upon) as well.
    28	releasement and listening
to listen without consideration of the source, the speech, one's answer;
to avoid pausological structures ('yes, but...'); to speak after (what
appears to be) the case.
    29	buildings, dwellings, and habitations
    30	the neighborhood
    31	intersecting populations and worlds
    32	phenomenology of withdrawal
    33	the skein (skew-orthogonal)
    34	the skein (askew and local)
    35  increasing audacity and circumscription
    36  the report
    37  the distribution
    38  the thinking of it
    39  the world of it


On Sat, 27 Apr 2002, Ryan Whyte wrote:

> These texts are impressive, and for me, strangely, there's a distorted
> resonance with German romantic science, of all things -- a deployment of
> science/knowledge to its limit, the sublime and the positioning/experience
> of the observer -- although certainly not the view from the mountaintop
> but rather the risk of drowning -- and I wonder if a phenomenology of
> drowning, if one can think such a thing, operates here also --
The risk of drowning is both metaphoric and real - there are signature
souvenirs from the Everglades - "I gave my blood in the Everglades" - in
some of my photography, I've teetered or approached alligators/biting
snakes/etc. at close range -

But then drowning also connects with emergence/submergence - with sublim-
ation prior to the return of the repressed -

> Also, do you see fragmentariness (thinking of the work of Hans-Jost Frey
> for example) operating as part of the phenomenology/reading here -- i.e.
> in relation to the limits of identification etc.

One of the rangers described Everglades visitors as down 30% since the 70s
- whereas every other park is growing fast. This is because there, I
think, there are no demarcations - drive around, focus on the larger birds
and alligators, leave. She described the park as "layered" - identifica-
tion in terms of the object increasingly magnifies; if we had stayed, we
would have gone to microscopy. There is also the problematic of identity
within the entanglement, which is also the problematic of post-modern
identities, looped, eviscerated in terms of public/private, and caught in
the matrices of what I called "radiations" or (Cantor) dusts - computer,
telephone, radio/tv transmission, inter and intranettings, hackings, and
so forth - not to mention the problematic of _what_ is caught as such -
after Lacan / Foucault, we can't go back to the monolith of the unitary
subject, monad, etc. -

> And is this projected for a book?

If I'm given the time/space to work on such - the problem is my usual
instabilities in terms of income and the stress this produces. Certainly
my thoughts for years have revolved around the issues of consciousness and
intermediations in relation to formal systems - and what happens when
these systems are chaotic, ungrounded, tangled, confused, fuzzy, etc. -



she speaks:

sawgrass among periphyton, periphyton among sawgrass: who can untangle?
buried in algae, across almost certain rotifera, stentor, what is
innumerable?:the land is flat, liguus fasciatus a microcosm of rings,
desiccated alligator weed, the layers crawl across tamiami, they subdue
miami, tendrils across the river, down through lejeune, among the quarried
keys :i don't know how to do this. i don't know how to say this.::

she writes:

to speak is already not to know. claws and teeth mark the boundaries of
analysis. bladderwort surrounds nano-bio organelles. nothing is
complete.:desiccation of alligator holes, everything returning, supine,
writing from a distance - violation and distantiation of inscription :i
don't know how to do this. i don't know how to say this. the flat land
with its swells, innumerable regimens of meter-high mountains, organism
crawling through this body, through this flesh, the highs gauging nothing,
a bit of movement, neural networking, a bit of stasis, world shutting-down

she thinks:

cormorant nothing is complete. noting is complete. on a thin notebook.
through my to speak is already not to know. claws and teeth mark the
boundaries of analysis. bladderwort surrounds nano-bio organelles. nothing
is complete.write


Generated by Mnemosyne 0.12.