The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

June 4, 2016

Talking Domains

Notes for upcoming talk,
Digital Humanities Summer Institute, University of Victoria


1. Advantages of using virtual worlds. Suppleness, universal
2. Rough guide: packaged movements, avatars, objects, variable
3. Second Life, MacGrid, localhost
4. Ideas of Gamespace, Edgespace, Blankspace
5. What happens at edgespaces? Everything is still contained
6. Blankspaces and the imaginary
7. Languaging - see Use of Writing below. Idea of lived writing.

8. dynamics, category theory, morphisms and arrows, objects:
think of gamespace/edgespace/blankspace as dynamic, striated:
how do these meld?
gamespace as kernel: Trump the bully totalizes this: what occurs
internally (truth functions) is irrelevant. edgespace: regions
of contestation again circumlocuted. blankspace: contestation of
the imaginary.

Directory Categories (of examples):


In Sl, supple and indefinite modeling.
What happens at the _edges_ of models?
Models as gamespace structures.
Epistemology of gamespace - speak to Sandy re: online/offline
gaming -
  cosplay etc. -
Blankness, substance (fissure, not cut/inscription)
  - the problematic of same/same/same/ the _queasiness_
  - of structurelessness - unstructured - loss of structure -
  - the imaginary - deprivation chambers -
  - what's down there, what's all around us?


Language, Accident, and the Virtual

In this talk, I focus on concepts of blankness, geography,
gamespace in virtual worlds, and what I term edgespace - the
limits of the gamespace, where language occurs and seethes. I
argue that the phenomenology of the real comes into play when
living spaces are abandoned, where broken geographies are signs
of a future already present. I present instances of digital
language production in such spaces, working through virtual
worlds such as Second Life and the Macgrid, as well as
self-contained Open Sim software that can be run on most

The edgespace is always uneasy, tottering, catastrophic; it is
the space of the unalloyed digital, where things no longer
operate within a classical or modernist tradition. Increasingly,
this space characterizes our current place in the world, with
its fractured media histories and environments of scorched
earth, environmental depredation, and slaughter. We can work
through and within such spaces, developing (as perhaps Occupy
did) new forms of production, resistance, and digital culture.

Use of writing:

The creation of texts within the videos is in real time  think
of a jazz improvisation.
So its not like a text pinning down the videos, but more like
talking within them:
The texts are an immersive experience. Its not illustrated
poetry; its being there, being within these spaces. If you were
in them when the texts are being spoken, you would read them as
part of your immersive experience as well. This is a fundamental
difference compared, for example, to conceptual art, where
writing is a structural orientation to illustration.


emphasize the problematic of codes, organisms, classification
schemes - what constitutes gamespace (ARG? the game of "life"?
the game of life?) - how is everything entangled?

how can one disassociate gamespace/rules for example from other
domains? are there clear-cut distinctions?

in Wittgenstein, games and "game" and "language game"
disassociated these things. Wittgenstein was _clean_ - language
games occurred with loose referents but within language. he

we're language-centric of course.
consider "completely" entangled - what does that mean?
what might "surface symptomologies" tell us about the
coruscations beneath the surface?
where image/imaginary comes in - reading among chaos, chaotic

when Weyl's notion of hunting for automorphisms falls through
structures of examination and abjection.

"What we have learn from our whole discussion and what has
indeed become a guiding principle in mathematics is this lesson:
_Whenever you have to do with a structure-endowed entity E try
to determine its group of auto- morphisms,_ the group of those
element-wise transformations which leave all structural
relations undisturbed." (Weyl, Symmetry, p. 144.)

Generated by Mnemosyne 0.12.