The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

June 19, 2007

Muybridge A/D

Muybridge is Muybridge's dirty little secret.

Scanning the real in this case is a form of devouring.

The intense sexuality of some of the images contaminates the others.

Men and women do sports, women do narrative, flirt, kiss.

Men and women haul things up and down the obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Some women have shaved is not equivalent to some men have erections.

The analogic digital is transformed into the digital analogic through

Modernism is in a neutral face going back farther than Daguerre.

In Muybridge smiles break through in an engagement with ... the camera.
Some of the plates seems smeared in some of the images, indicative of
a relative inattention to purity.

The digital is a construct of Muybridgian innovation which cannot keep
dust, poor development, dirt, out of the image.

Men and women are never posed together; men are posed with men and women
with women.

Neither men nor women have spread legs or other in/attentive views.

Shaved and erect, the viewer is drawn to the gridwork of the fetishized.

The woman with her hand between her legs is startled into what:
"Turning around in surprise and running away."

Uneasy arousal of abject and packaged death, therefore sublime.

Measurement/tolerance of Muybridgian intervals in contradistinction to
the unique characteristics of each image; development changes from one
plate to another; from one part of an image to another; from one part of
the plate to another. Smears spill, decathect boundaries; in these
primordial artifacts of the digital age, corrosion immediately set.

As in pornography, the authenticity of the image is guaranteed by their
snapshot-like quality in relation to formal framing (of bodies, movements,

"Stripped of all identity," thus women against men, but here in these
images as otherwise evidence.

Then within these images, lack of title, frame, enumeration.

What remains is what remains within any digital: a dream of measurement.

Measurement itself is always otherwise.

What you measure is torn within me.

The whole world speaks (is measured) between one's legs.

Muybridge, the technicians, the models: and here is someone erect.

The apparatus is the inverse of the panopticon: here, the viewer surrounds
the viewed.

{ This is not film. This is not nineteenth century. This is Muybridge.

This is not Muybridge. This is the deconstruction of media before media.
This is not deconstruction. }

Kissing, not fucking: everything concentrated to break concentration.

Someone says "Go" or "Start."

My hands are trembling; it's almost impossible to find the images again;
it's as if the book itself becomes a body, the smell of the page; darkness
where the legs meet.

The signs of the shaved or erect are outward, emblems, of interior states
and the secret holes of the body.

The abject-analogic contradicts, forecloses the measurement of the body.

One can only imagine drives skittering from image to image.

The images refuse their order, their accountancy; instead, what is
revealed, what sort of revelation, where does the body's desire twist to
the breaking point?

It's like this: the developer spews across the plate in its entirety.

Or this: one's hands trembling in the darkroom.

Or this: the grid-place Cartesian dream of a body splayed across time
and four spatial dimensions (the body opened and open, mathesis!) - this
laboratory, scene, stage, now emptied. Night carries its own silence.
Someone trembled swallowing the image.

If these are measurements, they're analogic; separated, one from another,
joined by tissue, joined by skin. The slightest movement registers - the
tilt and wobble of the ass (which is conjoined by its own apparatus
indicating degrees from the horizontal, suspiciously like a harass), the
rise of the penis, anything but speech. And so difficult to see the face.
But a surplus which is not punctum, which spews neitherness, something or
other inconsequential, an escape job.

An escape job because it is in the practice of this signifying that
signifying disappears. The signifying is the virtual; we have always been
virtual. What one witnesses in Muybridge beyond the formality (not form-
alism) of the grid is the imaginary. This is not the birth of the
imaginary, but its appearance at the chiasm of photography and motility:
photographic motility, the motility of the image. But of course the image
does nothing, means nothing, it's waiting for you. It's waiting for your
birth and your imaginary. But of course, it's not waiting.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 14:23:26 -0400
From: Chad Kister <>
Subject: Call Immediately to protect Arctic Refuge: Senate vote today or

Alaskan Senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski are at it again trying
to destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Now, they are trying
to change the name and designation of the coastal plain from a
wildlife Refuge to a petroleum reserve.  The Amendment, called the
"Coastal Plain Strategic Petroleum Ready Reserve Act of 2007," would
open the critical coastal plain, the biological heart of the Arctic
refuge, to oil development.

Please call your Senators (202 224-3121 for the Capital switchboard),
and ask that they oppose the Stevens/Murkowski amendment to the Energy
Bill (S. 1419).  Please call ASAP, as voting is expected as early as
today (Tuesday, June 19).  You can also go to for
more contact information and web forms.

Adding an optimistic note to the climate change battle, my newest
book, Against All Odds: The Struggle to Save The Ridges was released
last month.  It is an inspiring narrative about a so-far successful
effort to protect 700 acres of land owned by Ohio University in
Athens, Ohio.  I think the tactics used, and the gradual build-up of
the campaign can be an example for nonviolent campaigns around the
world.  And it is just a good story.  You can order a copy, with all
proceeds going to the Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign at  I am hoping the book helps to inspire people to
get active to protect lands and combat climate change.

Also, I will continue the polar bear survival speaking tour this fall
with the release of the second edition of my Arctic Melting book with
powerful visuals of the dramatic impacts of climate change.  To add a
stop on the tour, email me at or call
740-707-4110.  Note that if you do not hear back from me, please call,
and make sure you reach me.  Many emails are not getting through to me
for some reason.
The polar bear is the canary in the coal mine for climate change, and
their rapid decline shows that we are in a serious crisis in desperate
need of political action.

With Arctic ice continuing to decline, the US Fish and Wildlife
Service predicts that the polar bear could be extinct in the wild as
early as 2040, when scientists say the Arctic Ocean will likely be
nearly ice-free unless massive changes are made to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions.

I will be traveling nearly entirely by fuel efficient train, which
gets up to 40 times better fuel efficiency per passenger mile compared
to flying or driving, and a major solution to climate change.

Despite the current threat, with the change in Congress, we have a
unique opportunity to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as
You can sign a petition supporting Arctic Refuge permanent protection

Arctic champions in Congress have introduced legislation to protect
the Arctic Refuge coastal plain as wilderness, and this tour is an
effort to show them support, as well as showing the need for the USFWS
to demand a mandatory reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to save
the polar bear, and so much more.  The coastal plain of the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge is by far the densest denning ground of polar
bear in the world. The tour will help spread the word nationwide about
the need to lobby for wilderness protection.

The presentation shows the very latest of climate change's impacts to
the Arctic and Alaska, after having just finished the second edition
updates to my Arctic Melting book.  The presentation shows the
critical need to immediately begin reducing fossil fuel emissions and
replace them with solar, wind, efficiency and other renewable
Polar bear live in 19 population groups across the circumpolar Arctic.
All are expected to go into decline toward extinction with current
trends of thinning ice.

Ice has thinned 42 percent in the last 40 years, as measured by U.S.
submarine data.  Melting in Greenland has doubled in the last 5 years
according to NASA senior Scientist James Hansen.  He also said that
sea levels could rise 80 feet, and that the melting is far more
dynamic and fast than previously fast, and accelerating exponentially.

While some might think a warming Arctic a good thing, nearly all of
the impacts have been found to be very negative.  The permafrost
melting has caused billions of dollars of damage in Alaska, and is
releasing more greenhouse gases.  The melting ice and snow has allowed
more of the sun's radiation to be absorbed, causing more warming.
Shorelines are crumbling into the sea.  And millions of acres of
forests have died because of insect outbreaks caused by climate
change, and are now burning.  The list of negative impacts and their
severity grows every year.

Native American villages such as Kivalina and Shishmaref are crumbling
into the sea.  Millions of acres of forest have died in Alaska,
directly attributable to climate change, and are now burning.

My Arctic Melting book has a chapter detailing a 2004 Pentagon report
that found climate change a more serious threat than terrorism, with
future wars being fought for survival over food and water resources.
Thus it is not just the polar bear who are at risk.  Recent studies
found that hundreds of millions of people are expected to die
worldwide because of the impacts of climate change.

See the first 5 minutes of Caribou People now online, and some of my
Berkeley Arctic Melting presentation (now much improved), as well as
the updates and action alerts at and

My spring tour was quite successful, with venues at:
April 10, 2007:  7 p.m. Urbana, Illinois
April 12, 2007: Loyola College, Chicago
April 14, 2007: Minneapolis, Minnesota Climate Crisis Rally
April 18, LaCrosse Wisconsin
April 21, 2007: LaCrosse, Wisconsin
April 24, 2007: Bellingham, Washington
April 27, 2007: Midpines, California
May 2: Lincoln, Nebraska
May 7: Saskatoon, Canada
May 11: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
May 13: Washington DC
May 15: Tampa Florida
May 16: Sarasota Florida
May 22, 2007 Westerville, Ohio
June 7: Athens Ohio 7 p.m. at the Community Center

Kister is the author of Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened
Wilderness Area and Arctic Melting: How Climate Change is Destroying
One of the World's Largest Wilderness Areas, both published by Common
Courage Press.  Kister is also the Producer of the 2006 film Caribou
People.  His third book, Against All Odds: The Struggle to Save The
Ridges was released in May, 2007.

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