The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

February 26, 2009

last days and building notes Odyssey lastdays images

I thought it was fine but we need to have the coordinates, how to get
there, your sponsorship, etc. I put a couple (3) almost invisible prims in
the sand, they're hardly there... I need a blurb in .txt form to add to
the chat stuff we had yesterday so I can send to the lists. I've got 37
pngs up already of the installation - you can use any of them - the other
I don't have But I can come back in an hour or two - that would be great!
I'll do that, but I doubt I'll hear from her - I wrote her twice recently
and nothing... Tried the teleport - it made "as if" to move me but I
stayed in the same place. Hi - the piece is finished - extensively changed
textures etc. - thanks Are you there? Could you take my objects? I have to
teach today -

This messes me up, - at the moment I'm teaching and can't remove my ob-
jects - I also have a documentary being done on the site Thursday ess for
me - I can't reply or do anything now I saw that - it really fucks me up
at this point. I don't have time to copy this show and I've put so much
damn work into it.

If you can, could you take copies of the stuff and pass it to me? I'm
teaching this afternoon and can't deal with this until later and anyone
can come in and just erase the whole thing This really isn't right I'm
pasting in the dialog with - but someone put up a piece directly cutting
into my installation - do you think I can return it? now

this isn't right - I don't have time to remove things and anyone can make
them disappear. It was only for a couple of days. I'm teaching in ten
minutes and can't deal with this and by the time I do they'll likely be
gone. That would be a huge huge relierf...,no I've been here everry day -
I wrote you - you must not have gotten it No problem and thank you so
much, maybe write I really appreciate this - I just want to work on the
documentation properly as well.

I'm sorry to h that's not it ... wners are and it's clotting up the upper
regions of what I did - I need to video this - please ask these people to
take this down at least for a week, thanks


  vertically - there's a huge piece which cuts into mine this must have
been put up in the window she left open I might be able to return it but
that seems bad mannered do you think I should return it? I don't know what
to do it's builder and owner right next to the installation cutting into
it in the sky - it's huge. I can teleport you if you want yes Hi - look up
- give me a few minuts, I'm demoing the installation - back soon ok

  sorry - No it's not happening to me. Perhaps I should give you the piece
if I haven't already? But I think I have - Things are always strange like
that - you have three chairs at about 700m above the installation in
Odyssey - which I quite like;  and I talked there.. but I didn't hink you
put them there deliberately? if you want to speak with him Let me know
when the meeting is, but please try and get to reply? The is 3/4 missing -
only one image on the grounds itself and large gaps in the particle pro-
jection thing. Given that, I want to experiment - nothing dirty - haven't
heard from you in a while, back later - done again again are you around?
did you get my messages? Whatever it is, I changed the installation
somewhat radically I'm more concerned at the moment, what we might do - we
only have three days or so dum de dum dum ... it would help if you could
change the texture of the sim to flat black I do. will install his piece
again and I think might put his up as well.

Once that happens it becomes difficult to change things back - and I had
to work on it Documented yes but it will be really difficult to copy all
of this - some of it isn't mine, some of it goes 1km in the air, beneath
the ground, etc. etc. I haven't been able to at least with the tools/
select tool/edit command (or the others for that matter) somehow we'd have
to copy the whole group of parcels -

?? I'm here - I think might have set that because the permissions were
loose = hold on

If I go to world about land objects refresh I'm getting 230 in the parcel
I'm in which is zoneE
Julu Twine (other me of course) has additional 7
ZoneF I have 757 total
ZoneB 138
ZoneD 139
Zone1 524

That seems to be about it If I had the chance and the time and space and
some idea of the length of time it would be up But there are maybe 1400
objects, it would be hard to do that

I can't figure out how to save these as they are. I'd have to reconstruct
from the prims themselves and it would be a different installation. the
thing is now whether to let this thing go or try to preserve the space,
what we were talking about earlier today someone would have to have the
money of course well the problem of history is a big issue nothing lasts
forever but it would be nice to keep this work and your work and gaz' work
up at the moment, and the whole space is nicely configured for that matter
the last is a very real issue you would have to ask her or we would have
to ask together that would mean another land area and moving this or
rebuilding - it would also mean your prims as well and the containing
space you have here maybe you me and that money is way beyond me... at the
moment I'd like to find some way to support this - neither of thsoe is
remotely possible in this climate, take my word for it so it would have to
be moved in any case then - then there's no reason to talk to , etc. -
that's true the piece is really site-specific - your suggestion is good -
all of that's true, but there's a deadline what makes sense it to take
care of the immediate problem if that's possible and then have a group to
work out the future of the space if there is one how is that possible? can
you send me the info = 3 gigabytes that's about it yes

I'm not worried about that but send me information -
Is that the lower one or the one at 1km
the one at 1km was missing almost everything
there was only one slab left on the flat area out of about 20
on the squares that moved with particles coming out of them
maybe 1/2 were missing

just checking again, nada could be but it seems to be an endemic problem
up there. so the black spheres are easier to replace but I do need if you
can to have the floor surface flat black and from below as well (at the
moment it's transparent from below of course) if not we can leave it the
way it is, but it would be better the other I think if it's flat black
texture wouldn't slow up - no shine alpha black yes meet you there

just saw you walk under me
you're below me
at high resolution this is beautiful from outside
are you there?
maybe instead of flat black try just dark red? with texture?
ah maybe not
it's the top that's more important - it does look more organic
without the
bottom black
what if the top were transparent as well - can you try that?
totally clear glass
no! just immediately below my feet :-)
yes, perfect! clear!
this is really mysteriour
this is what is great about SL - the surprises -
the spheres?

neither, they're just slowly rotating in groups but they're enough of them
that they seem to be moving in relation to you if they realy did they'd go
off world up here to be sure where the pin is? I assume it's still there,
a bit hard to see I did that - it works well with this ok keep me informed
about everything I'm going to stay here a bit and look at the changing
silhouettes thanks for this so much! and this is easier to repair

| To access the Odyssey exhibition The Accidental Artist:
| also installation at OCAD Hybrid

somewhere staying alive

culled from De Montfort discussion

(thanks to Tia Azulay, Peter Howard, Jaka Zeleznikar)
(2/23/2009 original)

First, we'll stay here?
Yes, stay here

Hmmm... I thought you could enlarge it, but this is fine.  Second, is
everyone here now? And third, how long are we on for?  You can enlarge it
here, but not there - at least not last time I used it ah, ok

isn't here, but she may not turn up. So we may as well start.  Should I
begin then? It's after I assume, ok hi + its here We have as long as you
like. And it's . in UK

Well, one of the things that's interesting - as a way of beginning - is
the state of the economy, Ah I see, Wow, well-saved then!

There are all sorts of issues of property and ownership there of course
and a fluid economy that translates for some into real dollars
this is why I'm sceptical on worjibn in a cloud so to speak - no control
over own data I've been getting by with a little help from my friends

so I've been using it.  So that's the background of the slight delay.

Now - What I've been thinking about - is that the virtual allows
incredible flexibility in writing and writing practices, which I've been
working throuh of course. If you've looked at the images or been to the
site, you've seen all sorts of languaging everywhere and the language can
follow you, interact with you, etc. I'm a poor scripter but the
possibilities are endless.

So on one hand the economic crisis and capital which is doubly illusory -
first, as a result of bad loans etc. - capital that wasn't there, phantom

and second as a result of the intrinsic nature of capital - the phantom of
capital, the abstraction which is aligned with concrete objects and/or
other transactions in the real and virtual

it's against this that we're all working and as you know, capital in
relation to the brute economic real - roofs over people's heads - is in a
state of corrsion, dissolution

So in regard to writing - I've always thought of it as always already
virtual, just as the material body-for-us is virtual, inscribed and ther's
a dynamics involved in this, a similar dynamics to that functioning in
Second Life

but that may just be my pessimism talking so when we think of writing
we're thinking always of diegesis, carrying or inhabiting the reader -

so writing as linear - it's inhabited, inhabited by whome? by the reader,
by the writer, the diegetic that's constructed in a kind of mutal dialog
otherwise one might as well (not) consider mute signs without meaning

the point of thinking about this for me - is that within virtual worlds
there need not be jump cuts. You can teleport, but you can also move
concretely so to speak within an environment where text, symbols, sounds,
etc. emerge and disperse - you're really dealing with a three-dimensional
textual environment where you still have choice of course, but it's not a
matter of moving in and out of the text, but traveling within it or
virtually inhabiting it with an avatar which seems to me to be something
else altogether. You remain within the text which is iin three parts - the
text of the environment itself, the environment as text the texts that are
presented as language within the environment and the dynamics of those
presetned texts as they move within tne environment in response to your

there's also the level of scripting that underlies everything of course
Well the real world is idiotic.  As in lonely? to the extent that it's
obdfurate, that it obfuscates text and inscription that text and
inscription are at best temporary in a cosmos which pays no attention
which for us is where the effects of capital might be the most acute,
shutting down communicatipn systems, but also affecting housing, the
ability to find food,

one might think that shelter is simultaneously inscribed and obdurate in
this sense (I haven't thoght this through) We assume for the most part
we're reasonably healthy, at least enough to communicate, but that will
probably be less and less true?  in virtual worlds, languaging appears
always dynamic and in any number of modes - it's the pleasure of the
living text (to the extent that anything lives or survives in the
virtual). so there's a power and an incredible simplicity in working in
Second Life for example - the database and software does almsot all the
work for you.  the database / software does the work - you can refine
things so you're working with larger building blocks, pre-assembled, not
in-world so to speak but in your own database.  the next steps are portals
- productions between virtual worlds or sectors of virtual worlds or real
worlds; eventually all sorts of intrusions will be possible.

things betwen real life so to speak and virtual worlds so to speak you can
have video in SL pumped from RL and interacted with in SL and then that
projected back or projects among different sims, different virtual worlds

why "surplus" money?  Because these experiments at this point are at the
higher end of art/tech and cost - and there's no return. For example there
are a lot of dance tech departments and initiatives at the moment, but
these are all superstructural so to speak - they don't pump the economy
really how much does art in general "pump" the economy> Well not death,
you hopefully have copies on your hard drive. My own work is you Ning,
Youtube, my directory, - machines, external hard drives, and DVDs - most
people I know keep stuff like this - I don't know! Do you? It's obviously
a trickle-down effect but slow...  no problem

absorbing all over the place, not giving back ok, back.  , hope jou get
better soon!  Yes, I saw it in the text file I got interested in
three-dimensional "writing" by having an object or avatar move in the sky
leaving streams of particles

What is the significance for you of its being -D?  Depends on how adverse!
Thrives as religion does in adverse circumstances...  That I can create a
sense of wonder, at least for myself, watching these things in motion, the
kinds of dynammics and enveloping I'm used to in the real world, but not
in other forms of inscription...  Definitely thrives, but arte povera of
course, not high tech

For myself I want to explore the possibilites of the virtual as long as I
can Sorry - was looking briefly at the site - I can do some simple command
line It's magic = the command line.  and it gets interesting to mix this
with language all the words in English or Hebrew?  thinking of language as
performative - in some ways the command line seems alive, more so than
real life conversation!  But then it usually gives you just what you ask
for.  because your word become flesh visibly?

Scripting in second life could be thought of as command-line stuff - so
when an avatar say approaches an object and the text changes, it's a kind
of performative yes ()  I've used the word "wryting" to imply a kind of
writing - which I think actually comes from - that involves,
implicates the body in a way that can't easily be seen as abstracted,
distant, or virtual the shape of the "y" in "wryting" makes me think of
"writhing" for some reason I work through that as a pun - writhing as a
state of the body which implies a repetitive movement but the body on the
verge of being out of control so that what's inscribed tends to "veer off"
do you think it involves the body more than writing in the real world, or
in a different way?  do you consicer motion tracking a writing?

one reason was so interesting to me is that it had concrete
affects in the real world, and a sense of discomfort - affects or effects?
or both?  because of the dynamics, possibly more than writing in the real
world - if you have two people communicating through chat for example
they're engaged...

motion tracking is a writing to be sure - it's writing bvh files for one
thing...  effects, sorry what are bvh files?  probably is!  you can
actually go in and edit the files by hand - they're text, ascii.  that way
we produced those 'inconceivable' movements that are in a lot of the video
Is that up on your site? That's interesting.  At one point I played around
with changing the < to > etc. - this won't register one of them did -
anyway changing all the arrows to their opposite on html pages

sorry about foggy description give me a second please wow, gorgeous voice
- Azure?  areas that may well collapse in the future - they're based on
the economy - so what I try to do is move through these spaces, see what I
can do, what sorts of phenomenology I can pull out of them

it takes me places (bad metaphors) that I haven't been before There are
all sorts of places to work with scripts - some of you might have worked
it's hard to articualte in short chat lines but what about the tactile in
d text? There are all sorts of 'tactility' in Second Life - which might be
the easiest way to approach. There are ordinary objects that just sit
there. There are objects that are phantom that look solid but you can walk
through them.  There are transparent (invisible) objects that block your
way.  I meant real life tactility - with user tactile interface More
interesting to me, there are "physical" objects - which act as if they're
subject to gravity - and these you actually do feel (others might not) -
like text of the blind

ah well..  In this sense, I think my work has a lot to do with limits -
the limits of music improvisation, of textual comprehension - I worked at
- is that open to see allrady? These borderline areas are fascinating,
just as they are in text. the chilren stooren stoo ren stoo watching them
out of the town; watching them out of the town; watching them out of the
town; An there's little to earn, an many to keep, there's little to earn,
an many to keep, many to keep, they trimme the lamps as the sun went the
lamps as the sun went the lamps as the sun went own; own; own; An at the
squall, an they looke they looke they looke at the shower, at the shower,
at the shower, They looke the night-rack came rolling up ragge an an an
brown. brown. brown. An en, an waters eep, - the software took out the
spacing -

anyway it makes for an almost "magical" text for me - I know what I did to
modify Florian Cramer's script, but I have no idea why it's doing exactly
what it's doing - I'm just fascinated by it. i find it interesting how we
create meaning out of broken letters/words/grammar The same in SL - I've
overloaded the gallery area with objects - yes! - that make it almost
impossible to move into the space - so what happens is that the space
can't be taken for granted, but has to be "negotiated" in different ways

I should mention the work of Gaz here - s/he's the only artist I really
like in Second Life and the work's brilliant - you can find it online -
I'll take a look and it does things again that are impossible or
inconceivable in RL - s/he literally changes your avatar body - there's a
book = Gazira Babeli - that has a lot of images -

i find it hard enough to change my own avatar body...  and I think s/he is
getting a sim of hir own to set up on.  ... or my own real body, for that
matter...  I literaly felt ashamed when my avatar drop got naked )
S/he's managed to control avatars simultaneously from one site -
...entropy rules..  a master programmer - most of the time my avatar is
naked - it's fascinating andreally opens up the idea that you can do
things in virtual worlds that are literally unimaginable elsewhere

most of the time people play around with fantasy, symbolism, surrealism,
in these places, and I find that boring especially when you can create
things that are utterly different than what you're used to. Someday I want
to meet a programmer who could take, say, Blender and make it produce - or
higher-dimensional objects - the real llimit in SL is the limit of
three-dim,ensions which are taken for granted when (through projection
down to the two-dimensional screen)  there's no reason to stop there

why is it called body art?
Why contested?
  body artist used their body as a primary expresive material (sort of)
because it's not taken for granted, but used expressively as says,
sometimes dangerously so exploring the limits of the body etc.  (I once
wrote "I write myself into existence.  Marina Abramovi. was one from my
geo I write myself out of existence."  like menstrual art - painting in
menstrual blood, etc?

It's almost as soon as something is named, it's defused...  gush, newer
thought on that why on hold?  One of my students was working with her
blood in the late s there ... the menstrual taboo...  there's immense
power in that I think, yes, and also moving inside of oneself, and dealing
with all those issues Mary Douglas write about in Purity and Danger

- one of my favorite books - , sorry about thi thing word sorry about
what?  we = he - I had nothing to do with performances, typo, sorry ??
no prob we had couple = HE had ...

Is there anything you would want to discuss while we're online? - couple
of what? (I've lost it!)  yes what's not considered normal is bringing
menstruation to a kind of forefront - look at the injunctions in Leviticus
for example to what "lies beneath the surface"  (Sandor Gilman)  - there
are phenomenologies that circulate among all of these that I think in a
way kind of drive the virtual as a site of the 'pure' for most people -

- giving everyone a reason to consider them lesser human beings (like
women), no doubt. building blocks of the holocaust just as online
re=enactments are 'pure', emptied out yes as more people "go" virtual,
more people "go" towards that state of decathecting from the problematic
of the real why not look for it?

but you had to sleep in them, eat and drink in them, you could be wounded
etc.  in other words, you had upkeep, you were always aware of your body
whereas in SL, you just login and logout and there isn't even a standard
(common, supplied) gesture for sleep awareness of the body is something
one often loses while exploring the online world, I find you disappear in
a magical swirl of particles - which brings into play the phenomenology of
magic itself, and the avatar as a (deathless) simulacrum , absolutely -
but this also occurs in real life.

most of the time we're communcating, we're leaving our bodies behind one
way or another. don't you think it's text what done that to us?  in
general before writing, we had to use our bodies to communicate?  or weve
done it through text we still do I think we're not faced with the other
person in any radical sense in the real if I ask someone for a date, I
take my life in my hands, especially if I'm !  scared out of my mind!

being turned down affects the very core of my being, or seems to people in
committed relationships still have online affairs as if they're games - my
experience wasn't (lesser) being but (far greater) being - and they're not
games and real life relationships dissolve as a result.  ... but the taboo
operates at a subconscious level.... that's why i say it's complex we
don't have the tools to deal either with purity or the virtual.  yes I

the headlines for those articles were very misleading..... i think the
comparison was that online networking is less good for you than real-life
interaction because the real thing triggers chemical responses that are
good for you... something like that
[I must go away for a / minute]

The claim was that there are physiological effects in real interaction
that don't happen in the virtual.  in RL it would have been a disaster
(for me, I'm weak)  Obscenity's interesting - it literally lights up other
areas of the brain than normative language processing...  [I'm back] maybe
my cells are dead there or something I wonder about the report - certainly
I can be aroused online, angry online, etc. The pheronomes aren't there
but the rest is, so I'm curious about it.  My cells are probably too
active. I have to stop firing them (in both senses of the word - I need
what's left).  maybe it's all in the pheronomes...  .. the health, i
mean..  It could be. Because audio and visual clues are both available
online.  But then "you can smell fear" etc. ...  and that's not
particularly desirable In a way, people think that "scents" themselves -
odors, smells - are "dirty" - you just have to see the commercials on the
television here...  which may have something to do with the power of live
poetry readings -

.... maybe feelings of anger, disappointment, being misunderstood, etc.
are heightened due to the lack of the non-verbals, so there is more
negative chemical activity than positive or something.... highly
speculative one is in a room with a lot of other bodies... and they've
gotten married .... that's a phenomenon I've heard of... vaguely... but
can't imagine it I konw some of them, some have children now

... but i'm mostly a solitary wanderer on the web...  ... ah, and present
yourself better?  maybe less better, but without embarrassment - it's
unclear where a "real you" exists if one does at all...  yes, thank you
very much , and and too...

well, in real life most of us are not in touch with our real selves, or
don't have much integrity in presenting our real selves That's true I
think, - at least it is for me bye - and thak all of you again for
interesting talk!  bye and thank you so much!  Bye all, talk to ya through
the wek week me too, I'll sign off now

FIREMUSEUM SPECIAL SALE on Sondheim releases

[Steve Tobin of FireMuseum is doing a sale on my disks, essentially four
for $20. For anyone interested in my, or Azure's music, or new coasters,
this is an incredible deal - postage is included. Please help support our
music! For questions, you can write . Thanks for
your support! Alan] and

From now until sometime in early March (of my choosing) we are running
a special on our releases by Alan Sondheim. First off is "The Songs", a reissue of the Riverboat Records
release from 1967 with Ritual Al-770. Dan Wharburton of Paris
Transatlantic found the occasion to comment thusly upon reviewing:

.An endearingly ramshackle melting pot of free jazz, blues and folk (if
Eugene Chadbourne later described his work as "free improvised country &
western bebop" then this is "free improvised Hawaiian flamenco gospel
blues music theatre).. its influence resonates in the free folk of today's
New Weird America scene."

After that we released "Ski/nn",
recent recordings on acoustic guitar and alpine zither. The review in The
Wire stated:

.He wades into each track using a strong sense of rhythm to tame and shape
his often harshly dissonant figures. Whether at a stately pace or in rapid
scrabble, the music evokes an ethnographic hybrid of countless string
instrument traditions, from koto to bluegrass, vigorously wiping past
idiomatic technique as it does so. As a rough equivalent, you'd do equally
well to imagine either David Fair or Derek Bailey punking out in imitation
of Robbie Basho. The results are so compellingly idiosyncratic that any
number of newly bearded Americans and brazen improv festival tryhards pale
as extremely corny in comparison."

At the end of last year we released "Boojum", a keyboard odyssey and a
tribute to his feline companions through the ages. Too new to have a

We are making all three of these fine releases available for $20, as
always with these specials the price includes postage, no matter where on
the globe you reside. As a thank you, we will be including a cd-r of
recordings from earlier this month of Alan on electric saz, yayli tanbur,
cura cumbus & ukulele. Alan is joined by Azure Carter on three of these
tracks. To order, send payment via paypal to sales at museumfire dot com - - and be sure to mention "sondheim special" in the
subject header or the text of the message.

So pick up the catalog releases of Alan Sondheim and a disc of recordings
unavailable elsewhere! At Fire Museum Records/Majmua Music, we do it
because we care..

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