The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

May 25, 2011


Above all, my work is philosophical. It insists not on the letter of
philosophy, but on its dissemination contamination, of and through media.
It insists on the visual as always already ikonic, inscription as present
and concrete. It insists on the final grounds of unutterable pain and
death and the cipher that exists, not as replacement, but as fool's

The mistake is to read my work otherwise, as neurosis or autobiography;
the latter is always lies, fabrications and the narratology of the
predicate, and the former is no better or worse than anyone else's,
certainly nothing that structures the text. If my text is a symptom, it is
a symptom of the well, not the hospital, and of a deliberate abject that
refuses concealment or conciliation.

When I write what I might consider codework, the issues exist, not in a
traditional reading of the surface, but in the production of a forest of
signs that ground the surface as residue, hardly symbolic, but abject
debris of the future anterior of the written. I am always aware of this,
this structure and its motility, in every 'literary' text I write; I am
more concerned with this level than that of the surface, which seems a
production in the sense that a play may be a production, but is a playing
as well, with or without the theater.

In other words, the forest of signs are trees, im/plants, physiology.

In other words, the signs are signposts.

When I write a text on mathematics, it is not an exercise, but through 0
and 1, a penetration among analogic and digital discourses, an entangle-
ment refusing an unraveling. To the Borromean knot I oppose the plate
trick of braids rotating through 720 degrees of 3-space, deeper melding of
structures than meets the eye, or rather structures that meet the eye only
dynamically and not at all through a laid n-dimensional diagram with time
as afterthought. Not a formal exercise, however defined but the concrete
movement of organisms through space, taking up time, proceeding.

In this regard my motion capture work is not an exercise in topology or
choreography, but a philosophical investigation into the topology of the
body, opposed or adjunct to a topography which is thereby rendered
political or environmental, not to mention medical, within and without a
phenomenology of pain and pleasure.

My characters, Julu, Jennifer, Alan, Nikuko, are actants in Heideggerian
drama among MOOs, talkers, and other virtual worlds. They stand for
nothing and do not stand-in; they are ikonic, one might say abject, on the
order of a thud or philosophical gesture. This is especially true of Alan
Dojoji or Julu Twine, who have inherited what Nikuko originally proffered
in MOOs or internet relay chat.

I cannot force a reader to apprehend the philosophical content of my work
- what I see as the heart of what I do, but I can say that anything else,
anything bypassing or ignoring that, is a form of misrecognition that
mistakes my circumstances for a world or word or ward, or rather attempts
to interpret the world or my vision of it, through my (personal) circum-
stances which are known to varying degrees, as usual for all of us and
among us. This is in direct opposition to how I think the world, what I
grapple with: the ultimate alienness of a existence that can only be
hinted it - surfaces, for example, skewed within liquid architectures of
virtual worlds, or languaging decoded to the point of abject exhaustion,
where non-sense borders on truth's frenzy in the face of an unknown.

The world is an unknown; knowledge is always already on the bring of
annihilation, catastrophic; it cannot decode its own hunger or power; it
cannot exist without extraneous and useless style. All mistakes are to
assume otherwise, but it is only through mistakes, miss-takes, that
anything is acknowledged or apprehended. Decoding is endless; multi-
verses fill incomprehensible gaps; it is within the diacritical that any
progress at all is made. The chasm I acknowledge is the chasm within all
of us; the flesh that falls apart here is the same as elsewhere. It is the
philosophical that is the obvious beyond of religion; it gives the remnant
a voice, and is itself the remnant of voice. The 0-1 brackets nothing.
Murmur escapes the wall. Beyond neither 0 nor 1 is the murmur.

But it is philosophy, in the guise of philosophy, and hopefully, in the
midst of the noise of my endless klein bottles of texts, this is what
comes through - not a philosophy of axiomatics or foundations, not a
philosophy of absolutes or technophilias, but a philosophy constantly
under erasure - an erasure in which, it turns out, the flesh is scraped
raw, without an emergent. Synergy only goes so far, and only inso-far as
one might deterritorialize the world, which means nothing, reduces to the
ashes of the grave, the cries of the wounded, the anonymities of the
leading-to-slaughters, all on the levels of histories under erasure as

the accompaniment of quaking aspens
industrial / visual transformations of wood and fire

(& there's a move afoot to open up hunting season on manatees)

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