The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

June 30, 2012

ECO Communique: What is Electronic Literature

1. The ECO asks: What is literature? Literature is already a matter of the
archive, expanding genres, mutable canons. Literature is neither necessar-
ily intended nor produced by particular species. Literature is either a
moment of speculation which has been released, or a curtailment of loose
and fluent ontologies. The epistemology of literature has traditionally
been the diegetic, the gaze, not the glance. Literature perseveres now
within the glance.

2. Organisms are electronic, quantum; the digital is slurry; inscription
is always interactive. Games are literature and electronic, films are
literature and electronic, intentionality entangles with literature when
and where inscription is. Inscription and culture are entangled; culture
and literature are entangled.

3. The label of literature is useless because it's extended to the
breaking-point; the extension attempts conformal mappings from past to
future. The label of electronic is useless because it's immanent; virtual
particles fall under the aegis of electronic literature, even if
uncharged. Just as the Higgs field draws out mass, inscription draws out
the categoric and literature dies and exists on local terrains, drawing
out the _field_ of literature. To inscribe is to augment and divide; to
inscribe is to simultaneously negate and assert.

4. Any definition falls by the wayside as fast-forward culture clutters
the imaginary with manifestos and definitions as so many uncanny ghosts.
The real question (if questions, suspensions, are real in the sense that
the answer is captured prey) is how to observe, absorb, without limitation
and with a situational criticality that offers, as if Vaihinger's as-if,
meandering with expectation under erasure.

5. Beyond literature and electronics, there are bodies. Beneath literature
and electronics, there are bodies. Above literature and electronics, there
are bodies. Most of the bodies are dead, most of the archives are vacant,
most of the caretakers have disappeared, most of the inscriptions have
never been read, most of the literature will never have been read.

6. The ECO states: The electronic literature of slime molds, of dinosaurs,
of hemiptera, of prions; the electronic literature of cuttlefish, of
starlings, of bacteriophages; the electronic literature of DNA, RNA,
cellular processes.

7. At the limit, the analogic body is digital; at the limit, the digital
body is analogic. At the limit, the electronic body is abject; at the
limit, the abject body is electronic. At the limit, inscription _may be_ a
gathering; at the limit, a gathering _may be_ inscription.

8. The ECO insists: A literature without limits is a literature, not
degree zero, but degree infinite. What is _not_ literature is already
circumscribed, prescribed, a writing. Fast-forward culture: what is _not_
literature, _is,_ and what _is_ literature, _is not._

9. Special America is electronic literature, arduino is electronic
literature, choreography is electronic literature, the body is electronic
literature, makerbot is electronic literature; sex is electronic
literature. Fastforward IRC, Fidonet, BBS, and newsgroups are literature;
should they be archived?. Should the archive be archived? Should _a
literature_ be _the literature_ be preserved? Does _a literature_ exist?
Does literature?


11. Within the ECO - Electro-Cultural Organization, the Crisis is central.
The Crisis is the literature of the becoming-extinguished, of the extinct,
of information glut and universal controlled-transparency; of the tyranny
of Fundamental Corporations: Google, Facebook, Apple, [...] of the tyranny
of colonialism and neocolonialism; of the tyranny of the One Percent: of
the Drifting Tyranny we confront on a daily basis. The ECO is the shadow
organization of the ELO and is political to the core. The ECO acts ON
Literature and THROUGH the Electronic. The ECO DOES NOT EXIST. LITERATURE

(This was sent to our block association. Beware the police: at least in some 
situations, they're useless.)

Assaulted on Dean and Fourth

The following is a current story in the New York Times:

"Crime Report Manipulation Is Common Among New York Police, Study Finds
Published: June 28, 2012

An anonymous survey of nearly 2,000 retired officers found that the
manipulation of crime reports . downgrading crimes to lesser offenses and
discouraging victims from filing complaints to make crime statistics look
better . has long been part of the culture of the New York Police
Department." [...]

This is exactly what happened to me on Tuesday, on the corner of Dean and
Fourth. I'm just now becoming able to deal with it. Please take note: The
police are _not_ our friends, and in some circumstances, are not
responsive at all.

Around 11:30 a.m. my wife Azure and I were walking to our doctor's office,
at 185 Montague. We reached Dean and Fourth. We began to cross the street
- the light and walk sign were with us.

As we reached the middle of Dean, a white SUV swerved and literally almost
killed us - it had to be going at least 20-30 miles an hour. It came
within an inch of my body. I slapped the side of the vehicle with my hand
and yelled 'what the hell are you doing' - it was instinctual. The SUV
immediately stopped in the middle of the road and the driver got out - he
looked like he weighed around 250 or so and had a gold earring. That's all
I remember. He was screaming at me that he had the right of way and then
assaulted me, kicking as hard as he could; I still have the bruise. He
then got in the vehicle and sped down Dean Street. I remember that Azure
was crying hysterically; we were both in shock. Azure got the license
plate number and we immediately called the police. There was also an eye-
witness, a woman with a baby carriage, who said she'd never seen anything
so violent. We called the doctor and said we'd be late. The police came.

There were a policewoman and policeman in the car. I explained what
happened, and that we had the license plate of the SUV as well as the
witness's name and phone number. Then the troubles began. The woman said
it would be useless to file a report "because anyone could be driving the
vehicle - how would you know if it's the owner?" I kept saying, "Look, we
were almost killed, and I was assaulted." She then said I shouldn't have
touched the car. I said I didn't slap it hard, I wanted to get the
driver's attention. She then said at best I could file for "harassment,"
that I couldn't file for assault, because "you don't have any broken bones
and don't need to go to the hospital." I said I was hurt, and she said
that didn't matter; that I could have been hit in the face, and unless I
had broken teeth and had to go to the hospital, it was only harassment.

I then said I'd file for harassment. She said it wouldn't do any good,
the papers are just placed in a file and never looked at again. I said,
what if the driver did this to someone else? Is there any cross-
referencing. She said no, the file was dead, it was never looked at. She
then said she "hated this city." I agreed.

I didn't file; I was in pain, had to get to the doctor's office, and she
basically talked me out of doing anything. Meanwhile, again, we were
almost killed - I'm not exaggerating - and I was assaulted and hurt, and
apparently that meant nothing. By not reporting, she bravely kept the
crime stats down.

I was in shock for at least half the day, yelling at the doctor's office,
etc. I didn't know what I was doing. I would, now, report the event at
this point, but we lost the license plate information as well as the
witness's name.

Is this the kind of care and protection we're going to get when the arena
opens? I'm writing this to the block list (as well as sending it out
elsewhere) - people should know that there are attacks on people, as well
as property, going on in our area. And I'm still shaky - almost as much by
the action of the police, as by the perpetrator himself.

Thanks for reading, and be careful.

The NY Times article:

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