The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

August 27, 2002

Might be of interest here - Alan

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 16:03:28 -0400
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim@PANIX.COM>
Reply-To: UB Poetics discussion group <POETICS@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject: Re: The Meaninglessness of Meaninglessness

One thing of interest here - at least for me it touches on the methodology
I'll employ at times - is Eliza and the ability to rework Eliza. Eliza is
available in emacs (under 'doctor'), and it's possible to go into the
doctor program itself, and alter things - I rewrote it as a Nikuko text -
which I then used as a catalyst for producing work and answers in relation
to a litany of seduction that was the final result. Chance operations,
expert programs, are there for the modification/transformation - a MOO is
of course the best-known example of that. And all of this is tremendously
exciting - the ability to take a world and remake it, to create a
dialectic between one's own desires and interests, and what the machinic
is bringing to life. The conflict or coherence that results becomes part
and parcel of the content; it's neither one way nor another.

The same goes for chance operations - the julu/julua/parent/etc. perl
scripts I use as catalysts for writing on occasion all have vocabulary
which I can change - even create a work within the vocabulary itself. This
modification leads to a similar dialectic. Even awk scripts can be used in
this way - I can write a text in which each line is a letter or dipthong
substitute, for example, then begin with a shorter ur-text that organizes
the other.

None of this means that the result has to be final, unless there is a
reason, aesthetic or philosophical, to give the result up to the machine.
But it provides a way to see in/through/ structure, to accommodate and
critique structure, to even create a political economy of structure (as
the 'character essay' pieces I make, do - since each word + its punctua-
tion is used only once).

The world is violent, extraordinary, filled with wonder, noisy, ahd
chaotic (both in the strict senses of the terms); working with these
elements is, in part, an attempt to make, proclaim, enunciate, meaning and
a sememe within forces that are somewhat beyond our control.

To answer another question - the philosophy of publishing daily - this is
a philosophy of distribution; the writing is done online, using online
programs that I write or modify; I write in a shell account, which means
there are up to a hundred other users on the same machine - I can see what
they're doing - and the distribution, like the production, is naturally
electronic. Rightly or wrongly, I also see my work as central to the
subject - Poetics - of this list; for example, the MOO piece sent out the
day before yesterday with the result of interacting with three MOOs in
turn - on two of them, I was Nikuko, and on one, Alan - and so the dialog
spread across domains and worlds. And in the other piece, the same day,
the one dealing with mutilation - I did a series of "greps" on my entire
body of work - all of the online texts I've written since 1994 - and
pulled out the lines with "mutilat" in them; these lines were then
arranged and modified in accordance with current politics, which are a
horror that must be stopped at any cost. And this way of working - harves-
ting previous work, looking for patterns, etc. - is similar to a kind of
dream interpretation - reading through a huge mind-storm of material,
finding the thinking-structures, topic-based, analyzing them, working with
them, opening them up once again. This harvesting is entirely computer-
dependent; what I did would take a week to do manually, for example.

All of this - moving among virtual worlds, distributing on the fly,
harvesting the work of previous writing - seems to me highly germane to
the topics of this list - collusions among distribution systems,
protocols, computers, programs, routers, bodies of previously-written
work, online virtual worlds, etc. -

- Alan, wandering

Work at
Older at
Trace Projects at
CDROM of collected work 1994-2002 available: write

our dance

 our dance -- current:
 in - our dance - 53' curtain & walking azure 42
 ? 49" 1' grid, over text 41 39"- 2' sound weird log up crawling 39 33"
 shinto of mirror fragmented 37 09" writhing foofwa 36 2'05" somersault
 song, 33 48" mud 32 21" us between dancing 28 34" sfx w/log on 22 1'34"
 hands moving sitting, 21 360 fading silen
 t,foofwa 17 (redone) 37" 4' emoting 11 36" ghost shakuhachi, 09 30"
 reverse silent 08 53" wings 07 50" gargling 05 minutes 33-34 about
 curtain 53' & curtain azure &
 walking 42 azure in - our dance - 42
 49" grid, 1' over grid, 41 over text ? 41 49" 39"
 2' log sound crawling weird
 log up in crawling 39" shinto
 of 37 mirror
 fragmented 33" 37
 foofwa 36 36
 in - our dance - 2'05" foofwa somersault azure song, 33 33
 48" mud mud 32
 21" between us
 between 28 dancing 28 21" 34" log sfx
 1'34" hands hands sitting, moving
 sitting, 21 21 in - our dance -
 360 silent,foofwa fading
 silent,foofwa 17 17 in (redone) 37" 37" emoting
 4' azure emoting 11 11 in 36" ghost ghost
 shakuhachi, 09
 in - our dance - reverse silent silent 08
 53" 1' wings
 07 50"
 gargling foofwa 05 minutes 33


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