The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

March 23, 2017

you probably already know this...

The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed.  Our
authority is Isaiah 30:26, "Moreover, the light of the Moon shall be as
the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as
the light of seven days."  Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much
radiation as we do from the Sun, and in addition 7*7 (49) times as much
as the Earth does from the Sun, or 50 times in all.  The light we
receive from the Moon is one 1/10,000 of the light we receive from the
Sun, so we can ignore that ... The radiation falling on Heaven will
heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to
the heat received by radiation, i.e., Heaven loses 50 times as much
heat as the Earth by radiation.  Using the Stefan-Boltzmann law for
radiation, (H/E)^4 = 50, where E is the absolute temperature of the
earth (-300K), gives H as 798K (525C).  The exact temperature of Hell
cannot be computed ... [However] Revelations 21:8 says "But the
fearful, and unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which
burneth with fire and brimstone."  A lake of molten brimstone means
that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, 444.6C.  We
have, then, that Heaven, at 525C is hotter than Hell at 445C.
                 -- From "Applied Optics" vol. 11, A14, 1972

Notations: blankspace, Arctic/Antarctic, image and text

Phenomenology culled from texts on Arctic and Antarctic
exploration - blankspace and delay: I've been working with a
group of early 19th - early 20th century texts - journals,
technical papers, narratives, letters, biographies; in the past,
these have been a valuable source for thinking through blank-
space, those regions of the world and mind where projection and
introjection become entangled; from the blank, the edge of the
blank (culture, traderoutes, familiarity) is problematized ...

The edge of the blank is the edge of the other; the delay of the
self who has _left,_ who is elsewhere, selfwhere, indeterminate,
who _thinks and records._

Myopic view of 19th-century travelers - brutal hunting, remnants
of social darwinism, problematic ethnographic theory, 'stages'
of civilization and so forth. Gets caught up in error when
linguistics enters the description.

The blankness of the Arctic and Antarctic; even as late as 1928,
large parts of the arctic appear as black/blank/unknown in maps.

The wreck.

The hallucinogenic of mountains and islands, charted, confirmed,
non-existent. This against the overlay of latinate linnaean

The wreck. The ship held fast in the ice.

The blankness of the _delay_ -  the story-framework: a ship sets
out; get caught in ice; is abandoned; the crew reorganizes, goes
through numerous hardships; travels on boat or ice-floe; is
stranded; many or all die; later, search parties (for Franklin,
Jeanette, etc.); remains are found including photographic
plates, diaries; possibly decades later (1897-1930, or Franklin,
much longer); then reconstruction, publishing, etc. Within the
delay or gap, narratives develop against the blankness (all
knowledge then is local knowledge - arguments about whether
Greenland is an island or not for example - maps of coastlines
with emptied spaces, drained spaces, blankspace.

The problem/s of human groups living in severe conditions - hot
and cold deserts; as if these were determinant; as if groups
lived hand-to-mouth, hard-scrabble; as if material culture
implied fixed or mobile _stages_ of human development; as if the
'sanctity' of rites and doxa were translate into dominant
European values.

The problem/s of projection and introjection from the (mostly
white) travelers; the uncanny; as if the cold regions of the
planet (now melting furiously) were at their most fundamental,
decathecting; as if the world were hodge-podge, bricolage,
inherently dangerous; as if hallucinations were the order of the

The _gamespace_ of this is the European ship-hold or home, the
text of the New Testament; the missionary and his or her church;
the implementations of laws and codes; the implicit colonialist
attitudes over 'natives.'

The _edgespace_ of this is the literal boundaries of the ice-pack
and floes; the shorelines of Greenland and the islands; the
ships held fast, moving only as objects collapsing in the brutal
coherency of flowing ice-fields; the limits of medical treatment,
food, and mindfulness of the crews. The edgespace is also the
limits of communication - passenger pigeons (Major Andree's
balloon), letters, cairns, signposts, journals, photographic
plates, drawings, all susceptible to destruction and delay. It
was possible to determine, with recognized errors, longitude and
latitude; it was impossible to connect one's position with
others in the sense of communication/communality across or
through the totality of a grid; ships and crews were fixed among
each other, but through inconceivable disassociations; temporary
autonomous structures and bricolage ruled the day.

The _blankspace,_ described above, also enters into uneasy
dreams, idle conversations, furious hunting for food and sport,
prayers and bibles; but none of the fabulous, say, of Mandeville
or animisms; the religious narratives were those of the ancient
mid-east, transplanted and tested, but all the more inviolate by
the limits of this testability. The imaginary reaches just so
far; the world is all that is the case, and the world is text-
less in spite of compass and sextant. Or rather, perhaps, the
text is that of the ascertained grid-grip of numbers and
measurements (longitude, latitude, temperature, soundings at
times, barometric pressure, etc.), a Robinson-Crusoesque
approach to the world, touching everywhere on the indexical and

The icebergs give play to fantastic figures of birds, animals,
and what would be perceived as primordial landscape; never home,
never fecundity, in spite of the presence, often, of enormous
numbers of walrus, birds, polar bears, and seals. Over-hunting
was noted, even then, however, and there are troubling accounts
of species perhaps headed towards 'extirpation.'

/Today, the edgespace is always uneasy, tottering, catastrophic;
it is the space of the unalloyed world, where things no longer
operate within a classical or modernist tradition. Increasingly,
this space characterizes our current place on the planet, 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./

my philosophy in a nutshell

think of striations of the imaginary within blankness, strange
attractors, hallucinatory structures, wrong turns, dead ends,
failures. think of edgespace not as glitch but as inherent,
inhering, bridging nonetheless, entangled projects and intro-
jections ('jectivities,' morphisms); think of gamespace as
corporate, closed manifolding, totalities, kernels of clean and
proper bodies:: map all of this onto immersive/definable
hierarchies (mathematical _activity and production_ in relation
to (in)formalized mathematical structures):: immersion appears
_fundamental_ to blankspace, as mutually-generated activities
within edgespace, as the construction of _dwelling_ within
gamespace; definability appears _fundamental_ to gamespace, as
wrong or deliberate well-defined turns within edgespace; as
categorical formalisms after the fact in gamespace:: then think
of _regimes of control_ within and without gamespace (player /
gamemaster / corporation) and their loosening within edgespace
and blankspace (as well as the chaotic and stochastic nature of
blankspace itself):: and you have a way of thinking through a
world or the world:: now consider this in terms of unravelings,
being again with this consideration in mind, in terms of
gamespace, edgespace, blankspace, immersion and definability
(again keeping in mind that these are basically entangled), and
you are on the way to at least an interesting way of thinking
through worldings (which are subject to and suspect of such
categories which are thereby unraveling... )::
- those three terms, gamespace, edgespace, blankspace - and for
example melville's 'whiteness of the whale' or moby dick itself
- the book-archive - a splattering of signs, partial structures,
strange attractors across texts and horizons - consider fall
foliage - the potential randomness in color transformations. for
in blankspace signs jostle - forms of roiling, coagulations,
even fractals filling the space of uneasy dreams - things
brought out from below -
- it's this that characterizes blankspace, the splatter need not
have structure, or rather brings along, with it, partial
structures, partial objects, fragments - from the 'outside, the
realm of structure, of absolute 0 and 1 - they appear broken,
corrupt - from within, they're just 'what they are' - hard to
agree with this, for example against the totalizations of
classical marxism, cultural marxism, semiotics, psychoanalytics,
catastrophe theory, the subaltern of the internet of things in
'chorus' -
within those cracks and fissures of edgespace, fissures grow -
lichens with triple or quadruple organic communities - what
begins as noise ends as inscription - as alphabet - alphabetics
as generators - among the veering gyre of semiotic splatter -
selves as self-organizations - things fall apart - it can't
happen here - as selves tighten hold - all growths die - nothing
is reborn - the blankness of the magic mystery slate - it all
begins again - nothing begins again - among thus, nothing begins
- nothing ends - then, what consciousness perceives - the game
and its negations of perfections - where culture begins - the
clutter - the making sense - the sense - the turning away, the
scapegoat or scapeboat - the refugee - splatter is never self-
contained - never contained - the cleanup of the clean and
proper body, sweep-up of the world, denials of genocide - the
genocide itself - the *cide as an operator - edgespace crackles
on the precipice of construction and destruction - gamespace
names these nonsensical terms, con* and de* and their placement
in culture - lisp comes to mind, programs and potential wells -
the minutiae of gamespace - the game of throwns -

the reading of the world is the writing of the world - world
becomes worlding, origin, its appearance as already written -
the logic of the origin necessarily a reversal - there's no
tomorrow - there's only closure - enclosure - inscription
devouring the ikonic - becoming the understood - someone or
other writes a book -

archive's _origins_, preservation - archive becomes the state -
splatter cleaned up - 99% of all germs annihilated - new
antibiotics from _new_ fungi, bacteria, molecular biologies,
crispr - things are _on their way_ - archive equivalent to
redundancy - someone or other burns a book - chatter of things
among things - apocalypse now and then - our enemy the archive -
the time of time -

Outline for a Talk on Blank that can't be Given (That is
inconceivable that it could be given, that it is inconceivable
that it might occur without contradiction, that it might say
anything, that anything might be said):

- EDGESPACE: (Artworks which explore the phenomenology of
the limits of gamespaces in virtual worlds: how are objects and
behaviors affected, how does the physics change, how does one
"inhabit" these zones? Do the zones have strict boundaries
themselves? Can one speak of a broken game, or a suite of
behaviors and objects that open elsewhere?

situations where structure collapses:

-where structure and the symbolic can't be recuperated (where
there's no return, where the vectors quickly end up entropic,
where chaos dissolves into noise.)

-where the symbolic is limited by the _game of extension_ (so
that, for example, the gamespace or mocap edge is characterized
by particular behavioral regimes: the game then moves the edge
elsewhere or creates a catastrophic anomaly. once this is
absorbed and con/figured, the game moves elsewhere. Sooner or
later, the game of extension dissolves into the cold death of
the universe.)

How are these experienced? Does experience always translate into
text? What is the textuality of experience? What is the
dissolution of textuality?]

Exhaustion of symbolic space, BLANKSPACE: (The blank is a
state where [    ] is emptied but always already virtual, where
the blank is the site of introjection/projection.)

-blizzard whiteout example (whiteout of the blizzard images
and videos: nothing visible but a seething, the fogged details
at the edge of the frame pointing towards nothing, the seething
incapable of geometrical meshing or interpretation as
"mandala.") seething emptiness of the 'far north, far south.'

-recapitulation through contouring (noise reduction operations
on blizzard and similar images: when the contour lines reveal
nothing, where the inchoate roams among and through protocol
suites. a busy seething might blockade imaginary projections;
nothing survives the seething). inchoate emptiness, the 'empty
regions' for example.

the blankness of maps is described early on by the presence of
'dragons' and later by a sense of the uncanny. again, these are
limit spaces, edge spaces, gamespaces defined by no games,
unpopulated except in relation to the imaginary. Here and
elsewhere, what does consciousness _do?_.)

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