The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 2, 2016

The trip to date, summing-up! the partial summing-up.
the tentative.

(thank you everyone, everywhere!)

We have traveled around 7250 miles so far, and I'm beginning
this in Las Cruces, New Mexico; tomorrow we return to Denver.
My sleep's constantly disrupted, and I wake with a sense of
hurtling somewhere undefined.

I would then think it's time to begin a summing or summing-up -
of what? A journey which is always unfolding, my work so far or
the work already finished if not accomplished in both senses of
the term.

I keep going over the three terms, gamespace, edgespace,
blankspace, with the caveat that 'game' is a term for nothing
more than a somewhat well-defined arena within and without which
there are rules of some sort, which might be, I think now, in
the shape of the McCarthy formalism, "if A then B, else C"
entangled with the little I understand of category theory -
let's have objects become morphisms, morphisms become objects,
let's deal with dynamics across loosely-defined skeins, etc.
etc. What might emerge is a fluid space and equally fluid
descriptions of that space, which is among other things, a life
space - and I do not think that "life" is a "game" except in the
limited sense I'm using it. Think biomes, inputs and outputs for
examples, or emissions intended as signals among backgrounds
which may also be interpreted as signals or noise. And so forth.
These concepts bounce.

And edgespace is then part of the bounce; on a simple and wrong
level it might be thought of as a region where rules are
diminished or broken or forgotten or annihilated or transformed
or objects themselves. It might be said that if gamespace is
based in a definable hierarchy, edgespace is where the leaks,
the abject happens, where the hierarchy becomes immersive, and
where symbols may, by intention or otherwise, be replaced by
others, or where symbols may even default; one is immersed in
edgespace's structure, without inhabiting it; one inhabited and
and is immersed in gamespace's structure. Or hierarchy/holarchy
of structures among them. In edgespace one might come across a
process or sign and ask "what's this" and there is no answer and
it's not an (equally logical as gamespace itself) issue of
hacking or cracking, but something else - a 0, an alien
punctum, an embodied datacrash, something "of some sort" which
doesn't resolve. Which is untethered. Which is at a loss,
unaccountable, uncountable, unaccounted-for. So bear with these

Then blankspace is jectivity (as I've noted before), projection/
introjection, processes and entanglements whose ontology as well
as epistemology are problematic, whose habitus is immersive,
whose definability would always procure a loss and anchoring in
a fictive gamespace/edgespace regime. So there is the triad
game/edge/blank and the dyad definable/immersive, and we're off
and running, let's say, towards categorizations (Peirce's
triads, Celine's three dots) that obscure the fundamental _thud_
that is Rosset's reality and I think our own, that basis/bases
entangled among everything, whose resolutions are problematic,
whose morphisms are simultaneously close to spectral
efflorescences and disappearances. Without being either a
physicist or a mathematician, how can one even think, for
example, why the fundamental constants are what they are, and is
it always to be assumed, for examples, that their values might
be a form of jostling? (The definable/immersive dyad is summed
up, perhaps, in Whitehead's comment (somewhere) that 2 + 2 = 4
formally, but in fact there's a processing going on; I was
always interested in the latter.)

In everything here, I'm overstepping my bounds; I run and hide
among the forest of symbols and processes of game/edge/blank, of
immersive/definable, which are sufficiently based on mind and
organism as to operate successfully within the dominion of
theory, as long as that theory doesn't rely on Sokal effects, as
long as the entanglements, which always point to those effects,
can operate within limited domains as well, however game/edge/
blank that might be.

So that is the thinking here, and then as the trip continues, we
find ourselves searching out organisms that are new to us, plant
and animal behaviors we haven't seen before, and even music we
haven't heard, types of music we haven't heard, and even musics
which are untyped, uncategorized, as if they were untoward or
undone in the process, continuous or segmenting, of their
making. So for example I'm playing giraffe banjo, and an
Albanian cifteli, constantly wondering why I'm behaving in such
a fashion, jumping from instrument to another in a form of what
might have been called primitive accumulation; I'm not a
collector of instruments but a collocationist of musical
structures, unstructing, and deconstructions - just as I video
and photograph everyplace and everywhen that both 'suits my
fancy' and 'I can learn from this,' however confused the notion
of learning is. So there are videos of violent storms and
steady-state landscapes, audio of 'theory conversations,' images
of chitons, Western kingbirds, fungi, old-growth forests,
friends, colloquia, performances, communication towers and
disease models.

I am writing about contagion, about the problematic of any
boundaries, about the real within the virtual and the virtual
within the real until these categories disappear, about
entanglements that would have seemed inconceivable a few decades
ago, about contaminated digital regimes and the breathing and
cicatrice of the analog, about the world which is worlding and
unfolding. And about the inconceivable detailing of worldings,
how contagion and contamination tend towards wear, and loss, and
utmost annihilations; how the trace itself disappears into what
I've termed the 'scorching of the scorched,' a bad phrase for a
bad absenting. Azure's grandmother, in Las Cruces, went over and
through a detailed family history I found close to unbelievable
in its amazing detailing; of course this is one family, one side
of one family, one side of one side of one family, and so
forth, and the records themselves are, for me, unbearably
fragile and perishable, and with each and every death in the
world, every landslide and flood, worldings are lost and turmoil
is the (dis) order of the day; this is what has been termed the
inconceivable fragility of the good in catastrophe theory, that
beyond that path which, for example, might result in a file or a
book, there are so many other paths of disappearances that
ultimate win out. Did dinosaurs have proper names?

(And summ is a sample of videos; bctrip1854 is an image of a
small flowering tree; the cifteli are cifteli improvisations
almost running away with me.)


The three resonant signs on our journey

Gusty Winds May Exist

Vowels Rd.



Rhetorica ad Herennium II xxix 46: The Summing Up

The Summing Up gathers together and recalls the points we have
made - briefly, that the speech may not be repeated in entirety,
but that the memory of it may be refreshed.
(Loeb, trans. Caplan)


'summing up.' No one knows how much time they have, and my work
seems so kind of summing up, metacommentary, analysis. a
summing-up In lieu of book or interview - a summing-up: sea yet
direction Watanabe summing-up absence every other. To sum up, in
other words, the film experience is hardly alienating, most
artists, it is difficult to sum up what he is trying to do in
simple Now Lyotard continues here, and the quotes are almost
over: "To sum up ing." So to sum up here: The temporal power
aspect has s/m components; it To sum up, in other words, the
film experience is hardly alienating; however, reality _is._

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