The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 11, 2012

(I prepared this for a digital archive of my work at Cornell University;
it might be of interest since it gives a reasonable overview of my work.
I had a great deal of difficulty trying to make 'sense' of what I do -
there are gaps and omissions, for which I beg forgiveness, but the basic
structure is present. Thanks for looking. Hopefully this description
will be accepted and functional at Cornell; I need to continue my life
in quiet and mostly hidden ways. - Alan.)



Guide to the Digital Archive (prepared for Cornell University)

The LaCie Setup directory should be ignored. The TEXTINDEX directory
is used for searching for particular files. The search syntax is
accessed by the AstroGrep.exe application, which is more or less
self-explanatory. If you want to find a description for,
for example, you would search in TEXTINDEX\ for ""; you would
then use a standard Windows or Mac application like Notepad to search
within the particular file. Not all files are indexed, but many are.
Note that AstroGrep behaves pretty much like the grep command in unix;
there are other Windows- or Mac- based programs that will do the same.
This program is one of the best ways to 'feel' the organization of
the directories on the hard drives. However, nothing is perfect, and
unfortunately there are orphaned files as well; if there is one that
you need information about, please contact me (contact information
below), give me the name, date, and directory of the file, and I'll
do my best to help you.

There are two top-level directories - one for this hard drive, and
one for the earlier. The difference between them is only the date -
so that the later 3DAR is 3DAR2 for example.

Here's a rough breakdown of the contents, in the order below:
3DAR - 3D imagery, video, raw files, and Augmented Reality files,
including animated gifs, as well as video and images.

5-11ONLINE-SNAP is a snapshot of my online contents
as of May, 2011.

ALPINE contains most of the work done by the dancer/choreographer/
performer Foofwa d'Imobilite, with Azure Carter, myself, and dancer
Maud Liardon; it was shot in the Aletsch area of the Swiss Alps, as
well as in Geneva and Pringy.

AUDIO contains all of the sound files, including the music files I've
made performering solo or with other musicians. There is also an online
archive at which is also accessible
through The files include other soundwork,
using shortwave or crystal or very low frequency radios, as well as a
vibration meter for detecting sub-audible vibrations in buildings.

AZIMAGE contains numerous images by, or related to, my partner and
collaborator Azure Carter.

BACKGROUNDS includes mainly 'background' material, used in all sorts
of productions, ranging from Second Life performances and architecture
(often involving strange texture-mapping), to 'inspirational' material
for cultural work.

COURSES includes the materials I've used in course-work, teaching at
a number of institutions, from Brown University through the New
School, Florida International University, and School of Visual Arts,
among others.

FLOPPY includes work on older floppy disks.

FOOFWA includes the heart of the collaborations with Foofwa d'Imobilite,
Azure Carter, and myself; these include video, still, and audio pieces,
as well as dance performances in Switzerland, New York, Rhode Island,
and elsewhere. A great deal of the work has been shown across Europe
and the United States.

GEOGRAPHIC is a very large category that includes images I took in
resonances with places, ranging from the Great Salt Lake and Antelope
Island, to the Everglades, Hunting Beach in California, Aurora and
Denver in Colorado, Switzerland, Canada, and trips across the United
States (often involved with locating 'quiet zones' for very low
frequency radio recording), and so forth. These images are shown by
themselves, used for texture-mapping and inspiration, used for study-
ing landforms and wilderness, and so forth.

HTML are small pieces written in early html, sometimes using Visual
Basic as well; they're interactive for the most part and self-

MOCAP began with the Virtual Environments Laboratory at West Virginia
University, through Frances van Scoy and Sandy Baldwin, and includes
a vast array of experimental work done with motion capture equipment;
the software interface was rewritten for this. I late worked at Columbia
College in Chicago, extended my mocap experimentation with dancers; this
was through Patrick Lichty. The resulting files were used for creating
and studying 'alien' behavior, using Poser mannequins, abstract avatars
created through Blender, and abstracted/bizarre avatars in the virtual
world Second Life.

OLDERSAMPLER is related to SAMPLER2 in the second hard-drive; both
present earlier work that was formally presented on DVDs at the time.
They were meant to be self-contained.

PARAB was a collaboration made largely at the Experimental Television
Center in Owego, New York, among Foofwa, Azure, and myself; its back-
bone is a text I wrote, The Parables of Nikuko, which was published
as a chapbook by Peter Ganick's Potes and Poets Press. I was influenced
by early Japanese literature, particularly the Kojiki, which forms the
mythological background. At this time, and shortly after, I was making
a number of cd-roms, each more or less themed; these later expanded
to DVDs, and now, sets of DVDs - for example, we've been working on a
set of the Alpine pieces described above.

PDF includes a fairly large library of PDF files I've collected over
the years and used for my own theoretical and cultural work.

PERFORMANCE includes materials related to the large number of perfor-
mances I've been involved in, including mixed-reality, Second Life,
dance and choreography, music and sound, reading, and laptop. As with
many of the categories in the Archive, PERFORMANCE blurs into ALPINE
and PARAB, as well as FOOFWA, SEXUALITY, and SL. For this reason, there
is some repetition of files, but in the long run, I decided this wasn't
a problem if pieces were multiply-accessed.

PERSONAL is a complex category, and includes images and videos, etc.
that generally wouldn't be exhibited as such. They include materials
related to the death of my parents, personal memorials and celebrations,
and so forth. They include a lot of material on my background as well,
including images that might have gone into GEOGRAPHIC for example.
These works might not be indexed through the search function.

PUBLICATION relates to materials that have been, or might be, published
- works that have been 'prepared' for publication, for better or worse.
I should mention that a fair amount of the Internet Text (see TEXTS)
has come out in magazine, zine, online magazine, chapbook, online
publish-on-demand book, or standard book, form; for me, this involves a
regathering/re-editing of materials for that purpose. The works break
down into several categories, ranging from theory, to phenomenology of
the virtual, analog and digital phenomenologies, philosophies of
electronic literatures, experimental writings and plays, and so forth.
Again, the categories are sloppy.

There is one restricted directory which should only be viewed with care:

SEXUALITY: Work that contains explicit images or nudity; this should only
be seem and accessed in-house. No files from this directory should be
duplicated. The directory includes a great deal of work created at the
Experimental Television Center in Owego, NY; much of this was created with
Vea Lucca and Foofwa d'Imobilite, over a number of years. This directory
includes all nude images, whether sexual or not. There are a number of
dance and other performance works here, including Trilby, which was shown
at the Rotterdam Film Festival; and Evam and Crepuscule, which have been
shown at a number of venues in Europe.

SL is a large directory, containing all the work pursuant to my pieces
in Second Life. The pieces fall into three blurred categories: working
with modified avatars and 'distorted' avatar behaviors (see MOCAP for
their original, as we as 3DAR); architectures and architectural struc-
tures which involve 'alien' phenomenologies and modes of avatar move-
ment involving constant negotation of the spaces; and performances,
often with Sandy Baldwin or Foofwa d'Imobilite, using all of these
elements together, in combination with textual work (related directly
to experimental electronic literature), and mixed reality technologies.
Much of my focus has been here, dealing with issues of language, death,
sexuality, pain, and 'wounding' in the virtual, and their relation to
the viewing or participating subject. Much of this work was the focus
of my Eyebeam Art + Technology Center residency in New York this past
year, from September 2011 to March 2012.

STILLS are just that - still images that are stand-alone pieces, or
sequences, that I didn't feel fell into any other category.

TALKSETC are notes in relation to seminars, conferences, or talks -
it's a somewhat miscellaneous category.

TEXTS is a main category; these are, for the most part, sections of
the Internet Text, a continuous meditation on the virtual and the
real, which I have been engaged in since 1994. The texts also contain
descriptions of the media files for the most part; the two are often
interrelated. In the Archive 2 hard drive, the TEXTINDEX directory can
be searched, as indicated above, with AstroGrep; TEXTS2 contains some
additional texts, but these are addenda. In the first hard drive, from
August 3, 2011, below, the full TEXTS directory can be searched. Please
note there may well be subdirectories with personal textual material
that should not be quoted without permission. I wanted to make all of
this as open and useful as possible - hence, the inclusions. But I do
insist on discretion here. TEXTS and TEXTS2 also include separate
articles and other materials that weren't in the Internet Text, or are
in it as separate essays/pieces/experiments. For example, there is
cstalk.rtf in TEXTS2, that constitutes a talk I gave at a computer
science department (I forget where), and the aden.rtf is a series of
notes on talks I gave last year through the invitation of Aden Evans,
to speak at Dartmouth. There are also 'reasembled compilations,' such
as the distillation text that brings together a number of works on
pain - I've used it in various presentations, including one at the
Electronic Literature Organization Conference this year in Morgantown,
West Virginia.

TRACE contains the files created when I was the second Virtual-Writer-
in-Residence for the trAce (sic) online writing community, headed by
Sue Thomas, and originating at Nottingham-Trent University. I held the
position over the millennium 'hinge' and worked on a number of
projects, ranging from writing into and around 'student' production,
to creating two open pieces - a novel anyone could write into (I
designed five 'strands' for this, and the result was multi-media),
as well as a piece called 'Lost' - in which participants listed things
or people they had lost; a long list appeared, separating the things
or people from the participants' names. Both were highly successful.
I also organized a Traceroute Piece, with world-wide participation -
people did traceroutes of Internet connectivity over the 1999-2000
interval, when the Net was considered vulnerable (nothing really
happened). The huge traceroute files documented the connectivity and
speed of router connections at the time.

Finally, VIDEO is just that - video pieces that don't fit into any
of the other categories, Some of these are in series; some of them
are stand-alone. As the years went by, the resolution gets better
and better, but some of the earliest works are some of the best.

In Archive2, there are two additional directories:

ELOCONF contains a number of files related to the ELO Conf. described
above. The panel I was Maria Damon, Sandy Baldwin, and myself, and
dealt with the issues of pain etc. mentioned in the SL description
(also above). The visuals include a set of hand-modified .obj files
for 3D modeling that 'encapsulate' and distort mannequin figures.

EYEBEAM contains a huge number of files related to the research done
during the September-March residency (see SL above). These include a
performance with Monika Weiss, and performances with Foofwa, Azure,
and Chris Diasparra (on baritone or tenor sax). The Foofwa performan-
ces extended over a week, with a final 'complete' performance on
Saturday; during the week, we made a number of mixed-reality work
using a Bambuser video account, Second Life, live dance and sound,
and a stage/staging area where everything came together. Earlier on,
I did something similar during the Open Studio period. The files are
extensive. There were also a number of 3-d printed objects - mostly
distorted avatars - made during the residency; there are images of
these - as well as a series of texts. I did a blog through the six
months which may be found at .
The blog as a whole gives a good indication of my working methods, and
lists a number of pieces present on the hard drive. Please note that
some of the links had to be broken, since my online webpage is
commercial, and I have to keep limiting the size.

Two other things - when you explore the directories on both of the
hard drives, you'll find a fair number of video DVD files, including
one made with Kathy Acker, another dealing with Ciudad Juarez and so
forth. These are fairly self-explanatory, and with a little coaxing,
should run fine. You might have to download them onto a DVD disk or
computer, however.

Contact information:
Alan Sondheim, 432 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11217.
Email: , . Best write to both.
Phone: 347-383-8552 or 718-813-3285 (secondary).
Webpage: (a directory)
ESP directory:
ESP lounge:
Blog at
Second blog at
Blog used for Underacademy Course on Anorectic Avatars:
Facebook: Alan Sondheim
Skype: asondheim
Underacademy college:
Email archive


The following directories were assembled by August 3, 2011:

Total: 3 247 435 776(3096M) Free: 4 188 737 536(3994M)
   Dirs   Files        Usage(b)  Directory:

     31    3874  44 714 283 008  3DAR
     14    3279  10 730 618 880  5-11ONLINE-SNAP
     15    1392 128 243 580 928  ALPINE
    165    4032 132 703 813 632  AUDIO
     33    3388  11 975 135 232  AZIMAGE
     33    1503   5 596 209 152  BACKGROUNDS
    630    9868   1 482 756 096  COURSES
    156    3113     108 081 152  FLOPPY
    112    3466 174 080 950 272  FOOFWA
     15   11890  68 579 143 680  GEOGRAPHIC
     12     325      10 063 872  HTML
     55    3716  99 285 327 872  MOCAP
     35     916  40 772 509 696  OLDERSAMPLER
      1      52   1 190 060 032  PARAB
    370    8982   9 905 655 808  PDF
    169    2704 131 841 875 968  PERFORMANCE
     27    3345  38 352 998 400  PERSONAL
     14     334     194 969 600  PUBLICATION
    127    2513 104 527 392 768  SEXUALITY
     18    5606 105 480 122 368  SL
      5    1218     387 674 112  STILLS
      9     702  14 030 970 880  TALKSETC
     91    4328     446 529 536  TEXTS
      3     111       4 673 536  TRACE
     32    2295 308 243 775 488  VIDEO


Again, please note:

The archive is organized into twenty-five directories. There is some
duplication, and there are files that are difficult to place; for example
a dance performance might also reveal something about a landscape - it
might be placed, therefore, in FOOFWA, GEOGRAPHIC, or PERFORMANCE.

Azure's work may be accessed through


The following additions were made by July 10, 2012:

  Volume in drive G is Archive2
  Volume Serial Number is D2E6-15F2

  Directory of G:\

07/10/2012  04:08 AM    <DIR>          3DAR2
07/10/2012  02:06 PM           241,664 AstroGrep.exe
07/10/2012  02:06 PM               196 AstroGrep.exe.config
07/10/2012  02:06 PM               401 AstroGrep_v4.2.3_changelog.txt
07/10/2012  04:10 AM    <DIR>          AUDIO2
07/10/2012  02:56 AM    <DIR>          ELOCONF
07/10/2012  04:17 AM    <DIR>          EYEBEAM
07/10/2012  02:27 AM    <DIR>          FOOFWA2
07/10/2012  04:10 AM    <DIR>          GEOGRAPHIC2
07/10/2012  02:16 PM                   howtouse.txt
07/09/2012  08:14 PM    <DIR>          LaCie Setup
07/10/2012  02:06 PM            18,432 libAstroGrep.dll
07/10/2012  04:07 AM    <DIR>          MOCAP2
07/10/2012  04:10 AM    <DIR>          PERFORMANCE2
07/10/2012  04:12 AM    <DIR>          PERSONAL2
07/10/2012  03:49 AM    <DIR>          SAMPLER2
07/10/2012  04:02 AM    <DIR>          SL2
07/10/2012  04:07 AM    <DIR>          STILLS2
07/10/2012  01:41 PM    <DIR>          TEXTINDEX
07/10/2012  04:25 AM    <DIR>          TEXTS2
07/10/2012  04:01 AM    <DIR>          VIDEO2
                5 File(s)        260,693 bytes
               16 Dir(s)  1,634,208,178,176 bytes free

The dll, .config, changelog.txt, and AstroGrep.exe are all necessary
for seaching, as described above. These files should be copied into
the first external hard drive as well, accomapnied by this
howtouse.txt file.

Note: Please get in touch if you have any questions about privacy,
use, and so forth. Also please note there is a biog.txt in TEXTS2
at least that gives some biographical information.


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