The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 17, 2005

here is an example carrying forth
an attempt to slur the digital
it spreads into spikes
it collapses into roar and fissure
it is a broken corporation
it is culture

Universal Studio tour, time echoes, so many memories

these words surround you, Universal Studio tour, welcome!


State of new media from strawberry fields forever -

The work I'm doing isn't much different from the work you're doing.
It will disappear when the net goes down or when it's no longer tended.
Nobody tends things forever.
It's amazingly ephemeral; there's nothing to it; it's stillborn, passed
in email or on a website, that's all.
It's not as if we're contributing to the well-being of humanity; the
idea that art makes any sort of social or political difference is long
outmoded, repeatedly proven wrong.
We're not even making paintings which have a modicum of a chance of
survival, 'being as how' they're concrete, inert, almost idiotic things
(in the sense of Rosset or Sartre).
Certainly we haven't made any contribution to physical theory or the
sciences in general, and our work is rarely entertaining.
At our performances and readings, only the rest of us show up.
The 'culture' such as it is, follows mass media, corporate distribution
systems, subtended radicalities; the best one hopes for is museum
We've saved no one's lives through our art - turn the machine off, and
we're pretty much done for.
We engage in outmoded theories, bouncing one theorist off another, as if
any of it mattered in the universe at large.
We work through fast-forward intellectual fashions, situations in which
phenomenology, existentialism, postmodernism, deconstruction, and so forth
- name your 'movement,' name your theorist - are considered outmoded, as
if philosophy had advanced since Heraclitus.
We ignore scientific theory, or borrow from it, on a simplistic or meta-
phoric level, as a form of legitimation, as if we're somehow connected
with scientific 'advances.'
We confuse science with technology, substituting cleverness for any real
disciplinary understanding, in fields ranging from psychoanalysis through
Our theoretical work is written as if it somehow matters, somehow says
something about the world, which we hardly understand.
We substitute cultural politics for political action and depth; we ignore
war or illustrate it.
We entertain ourselves endlessly, as if our work had nothing to do with
entertainment (some might call us failed comedians, novelists, what have
you, substituting surface transformations for that hypothetical depth that
seems to infest the canon).
I am guilty of all of the above.
We go on and on and on...


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