The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 30, 2011

Woundatar and text by virtue of translation,

'gurbet fell ill from Anam anam anam By God, do not water your employer
anam. S.lada my mother does not know my father's mother mother mother
mother strange. Send me abroad s.lama Jove anyone anam anam None. Yetis
mother imdade Yar Jove destroyed me. Anam anam anam anam of of of of of
strange. Oh, my doctors said to me now , there is no choice anam anam
anam. back to the doctor, lord, lord will return to the doctor, there is
Billah takatim anam anam anam, can not go from right to left can not go
from right to left there are many many many many many many Jove agony.
Yetis Anam anam anam imdade validated against. Jove Jove half me me me
destroyed. Anam anam anam anam anam of of of of strange,' the wounded
avatar, woundatar,

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Wounded Avatars

"when i was young i was told i wouldn't live past twenty-five.
i gave the ugly lie to that interpretation.
now these words resonate but only briefly with my voice.
you'll read them in your own, nothing otherwise will remain.
the back-theory is that fragile, look how the letters line up.
one, two, and three, they appear different to you
than they ever did to me."

Wounded avatars are inconceivable; however what is transmitted across -
from the visualization of the data-base to the user - may reflect a
surplus of inscription.

This is accomplished in at least two ways: 1. the augury and presence of
the human voice, as voice-over or apparently emanating from the avatar,
whose movement of the lips can reflect the pronunciation of the phonemes
in real time; and 2. the use of photographic textures, of the wounded
and/or sexualized body, attached to objects and avatars. The first is
resonant with the 'grain of the voice,' which is easily transmitted
(occupying a fairly small audio bandwidth, simple to channel and receive)
and yet perceived as _of_ the body, intimate with and within the body, in
other words an aural tissue inhering in the speaking subject, and listened
to, in that regard, by the receiver. The second, the use of photographic
(photographed) textures, is based on the gaze, and its function as a
proscenium of arousal and empathy; the body gazed-upon is my own (taken as
my own, inhabited), the wound and genitals are my own (inhabited), and so
forth. The silencing of the voice, the portrayal of the death of the body
are my own as well, and the more obdurate the silencing and portrayal -
the more these appear to deny the epistemology of the data-codecs that are
at the heart of their transmission - the more the viewer succumbs to them,
the more they are lodged within the him or hir, the more the flesh appears
beyond what otherwise defaults to the usual (notion of the) transparency
of data.

So that, to re-mark within the virtual, within virtual worlds, the
presence of the body, wounded or aroused or dying for examples - the use
of voice and texture are useful portals to those journeys we all take at
various times in our lives, and towards their ending, when the flow of the
body becomes insistent in its very becoming-object.

In the nightclub, the sleazy can predominate, as can elegance, brilliance,
glitter, and monstrosity. Imagine a windowless space, dark but for the
presence of club kids, who emerge as rare birds of the night, a metaphor
done to death and stereotypical, but clear in its depiction of a menagerie
which appears self-illuminated, self-controlled, self-presented. In this
way, ontology is self-determined, what is, is brought to the foreground by
the club kids themselves; this is the world of the club, the world of the
night, the world of flat black texture in virtual worlds where what is
visible is always already a detour or bypass, an inversion of the usual
roles of light and shadow.

Further, what appears in the nightclub, in this self-illumination, self-
ontology, is nothing more or less than the image or flash, evanescent and
always on the verge of disappearing. This image appears simultaneously
real (for it is there, before me) and virtual (since it seems grounded in
translucence and the ephemeral; in fact it sutures inscription to the
flesh, perhaps erring on the side of inscription. For what is occurring
(but does not occur) within a depth psychology here, is the aging of the
image-body, body-image, outside the club, which then is visible (as the
club kid is visible) as a framing-device remote from time, forestalling
time. The time of the club is always a detour.

So here is the third device within virtual presentation, beyond voice and
photographic texture, the device of the glow or self- or narrowed-
illumination, which isolates and creates, which effaces architecture
through architectonics, and which insists on the wounded or dying avatar,
the sick or aroused avatar, the avatar brought to its/our knees at its
limits, which are the limitations of representation among transmissions,
codes, protocols, and so forth.

I can imagine a solitary avatar, whose body is that of carefully-recon-
structed wounds and violent demarcations, mouthing almost autonomically
the audible narration of a woman starving in the Horn of Africa, a
survivor from a Rwandan massacre, a soldier chewed up by a roadside bomb,
or an American dying from malnutrition; I can imagine an avatar whose body
is mapped from aroused or used and debilitated flesh, audibly murmuring
the caress of sexuality, or sexuality's violence... So many difficult and
un/comfortable modes of presentation, carrying the real of the body into
the virtual, returning it to the real of the observer, who may become a
participant in spite of hirself, and for what end? For experience and
empathy that inhabits the lived world, breaks down virtuality, or better,
demonstrates that virtuality and inscription inhabit all of us, that it is
not an escape, that our bodies and desires follow us and paint the world
in colors which are often abject and denied. I would like famine and war
brought home to second life, in a semiotic close to the ikonic, not the
usual cartoon-indexical which all too often colors 'magical' representa-
tion. I would like arousal to move other than Vaihinger's as-if or Ben-
tham's fictions, to bring the body and its consequences to the foreground
(as speech often does). And I'd like death to appear as other than
commodity as representable in its non-representability; I'd like that
death to appear as _our_ death, not the death of the other, not the death
which is named, but the death which is unnameable. And finally, I'd like
the wager which comes from all of this (and there are other means to apply
as well, of course; I'm just scratching the surface), to be seen for what
it is: not a wager in the sense of a zero-sum game, but a wager within the
real, within organism, where we all are lost in the end, but may have
moments of clarity and action on the way there. Otherwise we spend our
lives as separate 'real' and 'virtual,' both skittering across data-banks
and back-ups, as if such constitute how the world is turning or has
become. And the danger there is that, to repeat myself, that real war,
starvation, arousal (it is not all negative), wounding, cessation, is
always just around the corner, and we ignore this, politically and
somatically, at our peril.

Some texts -

Reporting Vietnam, Part 1 and 2, includes Herr's Dispatches
The Body in Pain, Elaine Scarry
Tibetan Medicine, the Ven., Rechung Rinpoche
The Matrixial Borderspace, BrachaL. Ettinger
Leaves of Grass, Second Annex: Good-bye My Fancy, Walt Whitman

thanks to Monika Weiss

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