The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Meandering Areas In Competence
  (bass recorder w/ revrev)

1. Second Life / Mac Grid / Localhost

But: I've exhausted these; without a programmer, my abilities
are limited.
But: architectures of desire, untoward architectures, alien
But: the altered motion-capture dances, untoward behaviors.
However: salvaged by texts entered one way or another into the
virtual world.
Nevertheless: no ability for true virtual reality, no equipment,
no technical help.
Still: attempting to avoid repetition and a descent into style,
which is the death of creativity.
So that: I continue to try new things, then find I've done them
The worst of it: that the longer narrative and convoluted films
and videos I did before are no longer possible - no actors, no
So that: I burrow in my work, inhabit it, peer out, disparage
the world; uselessly apply for residencies (none forthcoming);
and so forth.

2. Codework

However: I modify my little linux programs, already stale;
continue to produce texts; cull texts.
But: the texts are immobile, dead on the page, no gaming, no
However: the artifacts are dead before they even see the light
of day.

3. Theory

Whatever: theory comes and goes; I'm a theorist manque; nothing
will stop me from the production of nonsense or respond to it.
However: there are no resources for journals or books.
Nonetheless: more and more sources are available online.

4. Music / Sound

But: I'm a musician manque, without training, working my way
through instruments and styles.
However: there's very little audience for this and historically,
no sales at all.
Still: outside of Rhode Island, there's always the possibility
of working with others, if I can get out of my self-pitying
little jail.
And: there's always the possibility of charting new ground with
a philosophy and production of music based on universal
constants and their modification.
Nevertheless: there's even less audience for this.
And: I have no interest in melody or harmony, which makes
everything problematic.
But: the exploration here is always rewarding, always gives
back, even when working in isolation.
Yet: I can produce cds, tapes, and vinyl; so that there is at
least a record.
But: I give them away as gifts or trades; there is no real
market for them.
However: if I were only Taylor Swift this would be entirely
Still: you might note the use of the subjunctive, my favorite
tense, in the previous.

5. Three-D Printing / the Cave / AR

But: I have no access to tools of these sorts, although I've
worked in all three environments to good effect.
Nevertheless: the end result is that my research in these areas
immediately dead-ended when the opportunities dead-ended.

6. My Little Artworks

However: my little artworks 'go up' in social media and a few
email lists; are visible for a day or two; disappear; as if
permanently dissolved; within a year or so they may be removed
from the web; I'm paying for twenty gigabytes of space; these
are filled quickly.
But: of course these works are all for free, gratis, a gift,
potlatch; you are always welcome to download them; salvage
operation; appeasement; therefore yours as much; no, more than

7. Radio

However: work with shortwave, very low frequency (VLF), crystal
But: poor reception in New England for VLF; nowhere to present
the crystal setups; shortwave is poor in our area.
Still: the National Security Agency (NSA) is across the street.
However: have found very little use in that.

8. Photography

But: who really looks at photography at this point; my one film
camera (large format) is cranky; my one digital camera may be
giving out.
However: I can afford a new digital camera sometime in the

9. Fungi

Yet: we are expert at finding and photographing slime molds and
fungi, including jellies and other untoward forms.
However: our ability to identify such organisms is less than
Still: I have learned a great deal about the epistemology and
ontology of organic forms.
However: through observing stromatolites and other
extraordinarily early organic colonies (live and fossil) I have
gained an understanding of the long view, long time, long space.

10. Maps / Unknowns

But: I have studied earlier maps of unknown regions; coming to
an understanding of projections of the uncanny into undefined
'blank' spaces.
But: I have written extensively on such blanks; nevertheless,
there is no audience for any of this.
For: outside of any institutional context, these texts as well
remain stillborn; con-text in the sense of textual connotation,

11. Organology

Still: I find instruments from other times, other cultures,
mostly non-western; I restore them to playable condition and use
However: I see myself as a steward at best of such instruments,
and pass them on to other players, luthiers, or museums; they
leave me, enter into wider dissemination.
For: I worry about the disappearance of music's variety, outside
the constructed domains of the digital; for example the
disappearance of scales or rhythms; vocal techniques; anything
that speaks of an elsewhere; it is my belief that every such
artifact, scale, or song, opens up worlds we may learn from; new
However: this also continues in isolation; for example, what
constitutes a miniature instrument or toy instrument; what are
the cultural categories at work; who plays what.


For: there is no end to this.
However: production continues uselessly.
Still: nothing is to be done.
Yet: I have certain skills.
But: there is no point to this.
Nevertheless: summing-ups are always useful at any time or place
of life.
And: this finality connecting to everything else

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