The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

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I'm safe writing here in the blog. I write in a window, an apparent
opening in the surface of the screen. I extend myself. I recognize that
the window is indefinite in size, that font size for example changes the
apparent dimensions, which only exist as virtual measurements, idealized
numbers somewhat along the lines of capital.

And tonight, this body not _of_ the screen, shall have a panic attack. For
this body is perhaps a third of a meter in depth, of soft skin and bone,
easy to smash, dissolve, decay - a body which starves quickly without food
or water, a body more than halfway on the road to death.

It is a body which, as you read this, may or may not remain alive. It is a
body always already smashed, punctured, at war with itself. It is a body
of misrecognitions, malfeasance, inopportune moments. Yes, a body of the

I attach yet another drive to my computer, two-hundred and fifty
gigabytes, spelled and spilled out. The machine does not recognize it. I
recognize it; it is here, on my left, next to, adjacent to, the screen. It
has a certain feel to it, and it is powered and connected. At first it was
assigned a letter or a name, P:, and now that has disappeared, and there
is in fact nothing to assign P: to, and nothing assigned to the drive. The
symbolic link is broken, although, from without the machine, it is all
that is in evidence. But not the protocols, which, like cybernetic flows
in general, exist only problematically - something which gave the old USSR
trouble as it tried to fit information technology into dialectical
materialism. Now, here, at this corner of space-time, the material is in
evidence, but the line of communication is broken; the virtual is

Perhaps I write P: on the drive itself. Perhaps I write +P: on the drive,
and -P: on the USB socket the drive plugs into. I demonstrate, perhaps,
the relationship to the cat, to my partner Azure, to anyone or anything
within calling distance. But not within interiority. And if the machine,
the computer, is opened, so that interiority spills out onto the table, I
would have to say, not within _that_ interiority.

What I recognize, in the silence of the drive and its inane uncoupling, is
my death. This is the end of the depository, of capital, the beginning of
death, faltering of memory. Death will not come among the epistemology and
ontology of the real or the virtual; it circumscribes ontology. I remember
a student of Lyotard telling me how frightened he was of dying, how
_scared._ I still read his words, in books, layers of crystalline
information dependent upon the _times_ to make sense, cohere, to be
<+P:-P:> - bra and ket. "Dirac is dead and all knowledge with him."

The dead reach out; it's the smallest distance, this trick of memory which
remains unrecognized - this distance, perhaps a centimeter - I may reach
out for example, and touch that plate of macrobiotic food I could see, and
smell, so clearly, at arm's or finger's length, nothing more, Proust's
madeleine, but _outside_ - where epistemology, materiality, hold sway, the
disconnect is permanent - a stretch of time or movement of three decades -
or a week or a second. It doesn't matter. It doesn't connect. No amount of
capital will help.

Every letter, here, is a nail, holding skin and bone in place.

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