The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Hi Sugar, an open letter which is also a text or poetics -

This is the fallingsky series, which occurs in the skysphere; it needs the
base exhibition space to make any sense, I think. There are several
elements in it, including physical objects which collide and may in fact
go out of world, leave the lifespace altogether. That's fine with me; it's
always possible to replenish them. There are other objects that rotate,
and objects that both rotate and shuttle; these are a form of creative
impulse. At small volume, shuttle turns to shudder, frisson, as if there
were an organism within that adjusts itself homeostatically every decade
of seconds or so. The organisms - those with weight, those which rotate,
those which shuttle, interpenetrate and interact with one another; nothing
is produced but the semblance of community, which for all intents and
purposes _is_ community. Another element is a small rotating lozenge which
generates the usual rings; these are small textures sufficiently light to
run on most machines with everything else going. Here, the element clearly
shuttles in a rectangular pattern which is reproduced as a lineage; this
is evident in the shuttled rectangles strung out along the ring-beads
which of course are particles in constant but relatively even movement.
All of these objects and spews, and murmurs of movement, deconstruct the
machine, any such, reconstructing organism out of the remnants, or at
least the dream or miasma of organism. It fascinates me that the show here
in the skysphere has to be constantly tended, to keep the objects within.

The sexuality of these objects is one of apparent infinite or wrapped
pattern - a sexuality which transverses fields which are self-defining; in
other words the transversing is both field and transversal, transgression
and ingression. Thus the textures, mouths, lozenges, against an infinite
blackness that wraps upon itself with the thinnest of shells.

Here, within the skysphere, I find I can work with almost total freedom,
without restraint from gravity - unless desired - and other artifacts
coding and reminiscent of the real/physical world both within virtual and
physical space, what I call the true real. So just as my stay at West
Virginia is coming to an end, so the space has become the most fully
developed I'm capable of at the moment. Since I have, I think, several
months of residency left (three?), I can use this arena or space as a
crucible for viewing and re/viewing phenomenological issues of objects and
their potential inconceivability. Don't forget that even ordinary objects
won't last very long in the grand scheme of things - a scheme in which
plasma, not hardened material substances - is the dis/order of the day.
For me, _every_ object is inconceivable, both intrinsically and
extrinsically, and this crucible, skysphere, gives me the opportunity to
explore these issues - particularly as the entrance to the sphere should
be through the already existing Odyssey exhibition space proper. Just as
there are teleport spheres sending one down into the water and/or out
again, so there should be teleport spheres sending one up as if
indefinitely into the skysphere. The semiotics of the skysphere are set
out in the exhibition, which can be read as a moving and perhaps virulent
book; this coding basis, appearing as a self-generating field of part-
objects, then infuses the demateriality of the skysphere. The skysphere
itself is non-text, and its contents non-textual; there are residues and
residences of the uncanny and abject present, as well as negation,
homeostasis, and intermittency.

(Beginning of problematic claim.) All of this above isn't about Second
Life itself, although manifestations like the skysphere would be different
elsewhere. It's also not about Linden Labs, current server costs,
bandwidth issues, game computers and the like; these will change and the
political economy of the Net will continue to transform (if not disappear
altogether). Right or wrong, I think of this work as concerned with the
phenomenology of the virtual, and the inhering of the virtual in the
physical world. This inhering has existed since dreams, gestures,
languagings, tools, customs, have existed - in other words, since culture
has existed, and one can easily make a case that culture has existed all
the way down; even amoeba demonstrate learning and adaptation. The
phenomenology of the virtual is about our very being, our inhabiting, of
ourselves, others, worlds, signs, totalities and their ruptures. It's
interesting to think of _this_ virtual world at this time as a practical
laboratory for philosophical work, but I claim that it is, and that this
and other spaces create unique opportunities for participant-observation
in epistemological, ontological, and other issues, often considered
off-limits to concrete experimental investigaton. (End of problematic

Please let me know how to activate a teleport sphere to these regions; is
a flight bracelet required or desired? And let's do an announcement to
open it up to a public, if possible. In the meantime, there's always the
fallingsky jpg series, as well as a very short video segment indicating
blackness and blurred potential. fallingsky jpg series

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