The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

January 31, 2007

Reduced De Montfort University Creative Writing and New Media guest 
lecture chat

This is fascinating - I'm always curious how many of
the old IRC commands are retranslated or reinterpreted in these newer
chats 14:52:20
No problem - let me knowwhen to start 29-Jan-2007
***MUZAK** 14:52:53

                        MUZAK 14:53:02
                MUZAK 14:53:07
                 heh! 14:53:11

music... 14:53:22


14:53:52 hello 14:53:57 where are we now? 14:54:13 here we are then...
14:54:39 now we are one 14:54:45 one 14:55:11 going out and coming back in
- 14:55:28 left the session 14:55:34 joined the session 14:55:46 left the
session 14:55:51 joined the session 14:57:21 displayed the following URL: 14:57:45 Alan 14:57:48 Some of them are
working! I've been playing around with html tags and couldn't get out of
bold! 14:58:10 But Im not in bold now -are you? There's no bold at this
end? 14:58:26 This is wonderfully strange... 14:58:42 - you're bold?
14:58:48 Hi everyone! 14:58:52 Must be the diluted blood... 14:59:16 Well,
I've got the URL up - yes, it's difficult, you have to use the slider.
15:00:12 I'll try and be spare. 15:00:17 Wow! Stumbling over Brooklyn -
15:00:35 Ok I'm ready whenever anyone else is - 29-Jan-2007 15:01:20 Can
you scroll the text I've put up? 29-Jan-2007 15:01:34 It's just the first
file in the Internet Text, which I've been writing for fourteen years;
I'll switch to an 'examples' text in a bit 15:02:01 Ok, thanks 15:02:05
Why don't you start with questions and we'll see where it goes - 15:02:26
Hi - 15:02:41 Yes of course 15:02:53 It's odd because those seem like
different operations - I'd say something close to obsessive compulsive
behavior combined with a real wonder about the world 15:03:24 I can't not
work 15:03:43 Too much neurosis on this end - which then becomes part of
the content - 15:04:18 Well, what gets rid of the "I self Me" - which is
narcissism - is the world itself - 15:04:36 the protocols etc. - 15:04:43
I'm not sure - I do all my writing online - possibly 5 hours a day -
15:05:00 god no 15:05:05 the protocols - coding - 15:05:24 I'm not
struggling with that. 15:05:31 It's a hideous anti-semitic tract -
29-Jan-2007 15:05:49 The protocols reference code and the breakdown of
code 15:06:04 it's amazing I could stop there - 15:06:20 and it's between
code and its breakdown that I'm interested in - that 'liminal' space
15:06:40 which is partly interpretable in a classical sense (hermeneutics)
and partly not 15:06:58 She disappeared a while ago; I didn't want to
write into the character any more. I felt I had done all I could - and
with Julu, Jennifer, Travis, Alan, etc. 15:07:28 The space-between code -
what underlies writing here and the surface itself. 15:07:59 I started
calling this 'codework' which has taken on a life of its own. 15:08:17 So
the subtext so to speak ruptures the text which collapses the subtext etc.
15:08:34 As if the bones of the tomb of writing were made visible.
15:08:52 - as if the bones had some sort of presence in the world without
the flesh of writing (which in a way is a kind of etiquette) 15:09:14 So
that the writing in a way is 'lurid' - cutting through in other ways.
15:09:37 As in the 'Anita Berber' pieces that I've put up at the blog -
15:09:57 Mistakes in print, and in the traditional Tanach, five books, all
those misplaced letters, etc. 15:10:18 displayed the following URL: 15:10:32 There's the "skeleton" of a piece of
writing - which started with a short piece paralleling Berber's and
Droste's own writing,and then expanded it using the 'dict' command -
29-Jan-2007 15:11:20 which gives you a huge list of synonyms. The first
entry is the skeleton - the entry immediately following is the piece
itself. 15:11:46 Which is a kind of overflowing of synonyms, burying the
original text - 15:12:04 and there's a parallel with Berber's life here,
at least for me, and also a sense of over-accumulation, "surplus" 15:12:33
- a surplus which goes nowhere. 15:12:41 If you click on the link you
might get the .mp3 file which is made from tabla playing heavily filtered
- a kind of stuttering/heartbeat that again parallels the text 29-Jan-2007
15:13:43 How so? 15:13:46 This isn't my 'best' tabla work, but I thought
it interesting to put up - 15:14:28 I wonder what happened; I'm always
afraid of clicking on links here - at one point everything closed down.
29-Jan-2007 15:15:01 No problem 15:15:04 The first bit - the short bit -
is a poem... 15:15:30 There are better tabla pieces here! I think
something called metrical.mp3 is one of them at the same site -
29-Jan-2007 15:15:53 Think of the rest as both an expansion and a
suffocation of meaning - meaning flying off 15:16:11 in so many directions
that nothing coheres... 15:16:20 It a strange interface with a mysterious
life of its own. When I was using html tagsa bit ago, everything was going
a bit awry - 15:16:57 two bits in that sentence will get you a quarter
(bad pun) 15:17:13 yes, but you might want to ask away here? When I enter
a URL then the box closes - 15:18:06 displayed the following URL: 15:18:20 You ask about code poetry?
15:18:38 There are so many terms - I mentioned 'codework' because it seems
the most genearl; for me, the rest - e-poetry for example, electronic
poetry, new media poetry, etc. - all create genres/canons 15:19:14 which
just about close everything down in a classical form/at - in other words,
the usual politics and decisions make themselves felt. 15:19:39 If you
think of say Lautreamont - what he was doing hadn't been done before
(think ofthe space - again liminal) between Poesis and Maldoror and how
that operates) - and that is fantastic! 15:20:16 But if had to attent a
conference on his own work, that would have been something else...
15:20:33 What I've put up here - and you do have to shuttle back and forth
- is an example of a 'standard paragraph' - the "Normal" - and then
various manipulations ranging from simple to complex... 15:21:16 There's
also a few code snippets (most of which I've asked other people to write,
or found elsewhere etc.) 29-Jan-2007 15:21:36 I tend to write in Unix or
Linux - I've been doing that for a dozen years now - 15:21:54 which allows
me to use all sorts of sophisticated text manipulation tools and script
languages 15:22:13 Just briefly - the first is Normal, then 'Back" takes
each line and reverses the words, not the letters... 29-Jan-2007 15:22:43
Rev reverses everything 15:22:55 Tac reverses the line order 15:23:08 tr
A-Z a-z just gets rid of the capitals 29-Jan-2007 15:23:20 transposition
does group substitutions 29-Jan-2007 15:23:33 substitution is simpler but
similar 29-Jan-2007 15:23:43 Pig-Latin is a program that comes w/ linux
and turns everything into pig-latin! 15:24:03 Punched Cards is another
linux program that turns phrases into imitation punch-cards which were
used in the 50s and 60s 15:24:32 Eliminate which was written by Florian
Cramer for me just eliminaes any duplicate works in a piece 15:24:55 so
that "the dog and the cat" becomes "the dog and cat" for example. 15:25:12
Elimx is one I wrote from Florian's that makes a mess of "eliminate" and
creates a kind of poetry out of it which reminds me of John Giorno or
William Carlos Wiliams 15:25:53 Cramer made a program that eliminates
duplicate words. 15:26:09 The program is above. It counts different words
for example as "cat" and "cat," - the comma makes it another word.
15:26:40 The "mathesis" program I love - Jim Reith wrote it for me - and
it creates a "filter" for a text - 15:27:08 like a photoshop filter.
15:27:14 You can enter a mathematical function (the very first line) and
it pulls out words from an "array" that match points of the function. The
details don't matter here; the results, though, are something that would
be very difficult to get otherwise 29-Jan-2007 15:28:00 GoogleScrape - is
just using the Google program (API and WSDL - forget what the
abbreviations stand for) to create files which can be "scraped" - turned
into texts. I think this is what the flarf group does - 15:29:15 It's just
a more sophisticated way of using google results as a basis for literature
- 15:29:33 Then there's the "Simple perl program results" - which is based
on a program I wrote years ago that's interactive and allows me to 'write
into' it - it then rearranges things in somewhat technical ways - 15:30:23
Yes of course, that would be a lot better than this blithering on my part!
15:30:33 Yes to both, that was also a while ago. Shinto fascinated me and
still does to some extent - a kind of animism and heavy mythology that
exists coherently with high technology. And the language (I can't read it
in the original) is so arcane - 29-Jan-2007 15:32:13 Not so much; I've
been very moved by Red Pine's translations of Chinese poets, mostly of
Zen/Taoist outlook like Cold Mountain (Han Shan) - the spaces that these
poems create - and the kind of language used by, say, Dogen in Japanese
Zen 29-Jan-2007 15:33:02 because I can't get myself "around it" - which is
wonderful. 15:33:15 On the other hand, I could never 'submit' to Zen or to
that sort of discipline - I'd be interested in wild Zen, wild Buddhism,
without training, kind of yamabushi stuff without the community 15:34:02
Well, that's complex. I don't have a traditional relationship to Shinto or
to Japanese culture - 15:34:29 and am alienated by, say, Mishima, by
whale-hunting, by what happened at Nanking, etc., all of which relates (I
think) to State Shinto. but that's really another topic... If this is the
Mu you are speaking of then yes, I do (for some reason I started thnking
of 'the continent of Mu" 15:35:37 The one book that stays with me, now, is
the Flower Sutra, possibly the full translation of the Tibetan Book of the
Dead as well. 15:36:18 These are openings for me, and the sutra is
incredible. 15:36:29 By the way (while waiting) the Yipes! text is made
from some of the rules above. 15:37:13 And the "Using Chat" was made by
recording one of thesesessions by myself. 15:37:30 ok 15:37:32 Ok - but
they're not appearing here - 29-Jan-2007 15:38:10 One second 15:38:24 Ah I
see - for me in relation to D Turner's second question - 15:38:55 about
Youtube and so forth - the work skitters among all of these. I do laptop
performance and actually musical performance in rl (the latter I'm dubious
about) and video/audio/dance/image are all part of this; 15:39:31 I also
work with dancers in Geneva, Switzerland, and this has gone back and forth
with my other work. 15:39:51 Yes, the meaning shifts in each context, but
the concerns are pretty consistent. 15:40:05 Edting in relation to suprlus
- that depends on what I'm working on; with vidoe I tend to pare things
down greatly, especially for the web - 15:40:36 but I prefer also to work
on an idea, get through with it, and move on, rather than finesse it; the
latter in a way is too easy, I know where things are going, so does the
audience - 15:41:06 Code and text interact for me; sometimes the structure
is evident, sometimes it isn't. 15:41:46 When I'm working with software (I
work at the Virtual Environments Lab at West Virginia University at
times), I try to take the software 15:42:16 to some sort of limit - seeing
what happens at the edge. I did a piece in Second Life where the
character/s try to escape and keep coming up against artificial barriers
of the edge of the mapping 15:42:49 I work in both darknet and a/v - the
presentation in some ways 'fills out the form' - whatever is available...
29-Jan-2007 15:43:20 Text-based work allows me to think the
hardest/clearest in a way - it's unforgiving 15:43:55 I write a great deal
of theory, and it's so easy to slide into nonsense... 15:44:10 Sometimes
it matters, most of the time it doesn't - if the code is present, one can
usually get some idea of the structure in it 15:44:33 whether or not one
understands it fully. There are times I don't understand it fully.
15:44:49 I did some work in visual basic (you can download the exe.tar and
open it on a PC - they'reexecutables) - and I can't tell you where the
effects are from. 15:45:22 Exactly like lace, and just as ephemeral...
15:45:33 It makes it seem as if the world is both obdurate, inert, and
interpretable, transparent. 15:46:09 I think of Jacques Lacan in this
regard - reading his text is a kind of psychoanalytical working-through
itself 29-Jan-2007 15:46:34 But of course I may be fooling myself.
29-Jan-2007 15:46:47 There are also political concerns here - trying to
scrape away at etiquette - I relate this to the usual obfuscation in our
government's policies. 15:47:27 Which effects in the films? And you should
sometime see the originals - the compression makes a mess out of them -
15:47:47 There are avatars that are constructed from motion capture
equipment 15:48:08 and images from laser scanning equipment (big lasers)
15:48:23 I'm not sure which this is! I think that's the laser. 15:48:34
The Wolf piece - that's using motion capture and feeding it into Poser,
which models figures - then distorting the files so the figures literally
break down. 15:49:02 The bones of the wolf come through. 29-Jan-2007
15:49:18 Poser is a 3d mannequin modeling program. 29-Jan-2007 15:49:28
Yes, Bellmer fascinates me, but thenI worry - in my own work as well -
about the gender implicatons of al of this - 15:49:53 It's separate, it's
faster than Max I think - the mannequins are already formed to be
manipulated. 15:50:18 A lot of teen-age boys make 'ideal' girlfriends with
the stuff. 15:50:33 I think my work walks an edge of being lurid and
almost violent almost overtly sexual, but not quite (this is the video
work, not the writing or sound pieces) 15:51:28 I do think at least in the
US these images are the kind of imaginary one lives within 15:51:50 There
was a book years ago which talked about Jewish (and one can apply this to
any minority that feels beleagured) 15:52:25 culture as breaking down the
'etiquette' of middle or upper class Anglo-American culture - 15:52:48 for
example Freud scraping at the psyche, Marx at classical economics,
Witgenstein at language itself, etc. 29-Jan-2007 15:53:20 Thank you!
15:53:28 And these people were - again perhaps like codework - 15:53:39
partially-assimilated Jews, but not 'really' assimilated - so they existed
- again - in the liminal space which they recreated for themselves.
15:54:06 Einstein as well. 15:54:10 This is obviously a gross
over-simplification but it started me thinking... 15:54:27 You have the
same thing, say, in the blues, with people like Patton 'between' African
and 'white' rhythmic/tonal structures. 15:55:07 Ok - 15:55:12 Whew. I'm
not sure 9something else opened up here, sorry).. 15:55:55 When I'm
surprised by the result, it's a success, no matter how awkward. 15:56:10
when I know 'what I'm doing' - it may well be a failure. 15:56:21 I coined
the term 'defuge' to reference those moments which are akin to disgust
15:56:43 for example when you try to read a novel several times 15:56:56
and the writing itself becomes distasteful, 'decathected,' unworkable.
15:57:14 The same thing happens with pornography, but that's another
issue. 15:57:28 - if pornography were 'ideal' - one image would do it all
- but that's not the case. instead, the industry is fueled by continued
transmission. The same thing of course in the entertainment industry, etc.
15:58:04 In sports it's another related issue - one wants one's team to
win, but if it's a massacre all the time, the 'sport' disappears. 15:58:34
So there's a kind of disinvestment at work here, and that also occurs in
my writing I think when I'm too sure of myself, 'filling out that form'
again. 15:59:04 Such as what? 15:59:28 Yes, lots of time. 15:59:52 times
16:00:00 I think it depends. I haven't been thrown out of anything at all.
But there's controversy definitely - the worst was probably on nettime-l
which went on for an entire month. I left the list but came back later.
16:01:00 I also cross-post a lot which bothers people. 16:01:07 The sexual
content of some of the work bothers people. 16:01:19 And at my end I have
little patience for what I think of as the right-wing which gets me into
trouble; I just start blustering. 16:01:41 I don't know, some tame, some
not tame - it depends on how it's defined... I don't mean to offend
anyone, but most people don't I think. 16:02:19 AI? It's only a matter of
time... 16:02:53 "don't I think" - I'm not sure where this typo was
going... 16:03:19 No problem - 16:03:24 I'll be on the board, except for
Tuesday/Wednesday, when I'll be on but not that much (traveling). 16:03:55
With my work? Just to be able to keep doing it. And with technical things
like music (trying to learn to play the erhu now) - just doing a better
job 16:04:17 I'm terrible at programming, okay with borrowing or asking
for help. 16:04:35 I want to explore more 'body-avatar' issues in Second
Life, but I'm not sure i'll get to that... 16:04:55 I feel exactly the
same way- 16:05:23 for me, at least the aesthetics of coding... 16:05:50
Well, she may return, but there are other things - working with live
dancers (who are fairly extreme and we shot in the Alps and so forth) has
been wonderful 16:06:32 The 'parables' (they're in the book .echo)
29-Jan-2007 16:06:57 I don't thin I need an editor but I might have
tobother people less! 16:07:11 The dancers are like live avatars yes -
29-Jan-2007 16:07:18 In fact some of the work they do is imitating avatars
exactly as much as possible - 16:07:32 When you getto something like the
Wolf, it'sdifficult. 16:07:43 How to who feel about? 16:07:53 - 16:08:32
We tend to inspire each other. I can't do much physical (except music) and
the dancers are incredibly athletic. 16:08:58 I agree re: Butoh, I
haven't, but would like to work with Butoh dancers of course 16:09:17 The
Cunningham technique is very complex, so I can explore pretty much what I
want... 16:09:51 Or I'm the material for the dancers; it's really back and
forth. 16:10:09 At times I'm not sure who is doing what with whom or
whether it's ultimately real or virtual 16:10:25 I'll be on Joanna. -
16:10:34 I can stay for a few more minutes if there are any questions -
16:10:53 Oh someone asked why the webpage is a directory? 16:11:03 That's
the simplest way I can present the materials; I'm not good at design; when
I send out texts, they usually include URLs. 16:11:27 The Trace materials
are different - they were done with Simon Mills and are fully
interfaced... 16:11:51 Good night! - 16:11:56 Take care - 16:12:05 There
are six left; before I leave, are there any other questions? I'll check
the discussion board later 29-Jan-2007 16:12:26 down to two! 16:12:34
board with more 16:12:41 Yes 16:12:56 No problem; I'm about to sign out
unless there's a question - we're really down to you and Christine who
might have left... 16:13:27 I'll be on the discussion board later this
afternoon. 16:13:59 , please send the recording if you can! 16:14:08 Well,
if there's anything else... 16:14:17 Oh, good 16:14:32 Thanks - 16:14:40
Thank you as well - I'm constantly worrying about the quality of these
answers... 16:14:56 - bye - 16:14:59 left the session 16:15:08 joined the
session 16:15:17 left the session 16:15:19

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