it wasn't a dream, it was a flood: content vs. expression & the launching of the ark

puddled starling

puddling starlingual

« at the end of the last post i declared i was waiting for a flood. i also put everything i said between quotes so i could express myself in a language/grammar more familiar to the random reader. i'm continuing to write flanked safely between quotes not because i care enough not to confuse or lose the potential reader that landed here randomly surfing from somewhere else, but because this space is no place for expression, but a place for content (even if contemplating linguistic forms & expressions IS the content). this is a personal space where i muse over the methodology of expression & the inspiration/process leading to these methods, but now that that methodology is more-or-less developed i see no need to re-enact or method act the process leading to the process. which is to say i've come to a place (in "the writing" of Ark Codex) where all the content is there, but now it's just a matter of expressing it, of putting it down on the page.

ark codex 12

Ark Codex 0:3:12

it rains a lot in Rome, especially in November. before moving here we always seemed to visit in November & besides the starlings, the other constant that sticks out in my mind is the rain. now we're into December & that rain has built up & has overflowed the Tiber so i can no longer run down on it's banks. the path i ran on is now 6-12 feet underwater. that's something to think about. this summer we watched some movies on Tiber island (see below)—the screen & where we were sitting is now underwater.

isola tiberina in piena

isola Tiberina flooded

rain is content & a flood is an expression of this content. my fascination with rivers, especially during flood phase, perhaps stems from the fact that they are not definable objects, but time is necessary to understand them. in a 2-dimensional plane a river could be a lake. there is a flux to rivers that you have to be standing on the banks to appreciate.

Tiber flooded

the flooded Tiber looking south from Ponte Garibaldi where it forks at Tiber Island


tiber island unflooded

almost the same view from a photo i took about a month ago

& for another comparison, here's Ponte Rotto when we first got here 6 months ago, & here's Ponte Rotto now ("broken," but still unbowed after 2200+ years of floods):

Ponte Rotto flooded

& here's some video footage (to a song that i made a long time ago about a railroad tunnel i used to walk thru (in the dark) every day in Santa Cruz as a shortcut to the bus stop until one day i discovered it was flooded & the concept of a flooded railroad tunnel struck me enough to make a song about it):

the rest of the images in this post may or may not have a particular reason to be here. they are just images that have inspired me over the last month or two that haven't found their way into other posts. they are part of the amassing of content (or studies in form) for Ark Codex.

birds & cages

birds under a bridge (as a sign)

«The first articulation concerns content, the second expression. The distinction between the two articulations is not between forms and substances but between content and expression, expression having just as much substance as content and content just as much form as expression. The double articulation sometimes coincides with the molecular and the molar, and sometimes not; this is because content and expression are sometimes divided along those lines and sometimes along different lines. There is never correspondence or conformity between content and expression, only isomorphism with reciprocal presupposition. The distinction between content and expression is always real, in various ways, but it cannot be said that the terms preexist their double articulation. It is the double articulation that distributes them according to the line it draws in each stratum; it is what constitutes their real distinction.»—Deleuze & Guattari (most of the quotes herein are from chapters 3 & 4 of A Thousand Plateaus1000 Plateaus)

skeletal tanks of testaccio

contentless form (tanks in Testaccio)



8 umbrellating pedestrians near Largo Argentina passing by stacked arched windows of 5


TNS Lungotevere

graphemic graffiti along Lungotevere Ripa


Macro cats

cats flanking manholes at the abandoned slaughterhouse (Testaccio)


cat in dark

another Roman cat in the ruins


curtain tree warp

double-curtained window

the weekend before last we went to this town called Carpi for an art opening i had at a place called Spazio Meme. it was a lot of fun & a lot of people showed up—great to see such an interest in art & books (i brought a bunch of Calamari pressed objects) here & that space in between where they meet. la mostra √® ancora su (fino al 17 dic.) se siete in zona (nei pressi di Bologna).

j in carpi

j in Carpi

«If contents are said to be economic, the form of content cannot be said to be economic and is reduced to a pure abstraction, namely, the production of goods and the means of that production considered in themselves. Similarly, if expressions are are said to be ideological, the form of expression is not said to be ideological and is reduced to language as abstraction, as the availability of a good shared by all.»—Deleuze & Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus1000 Plateaus)

Trastevere underpass

distressed wall in the tunnel between Trastevere & Portuense

we also went to some other places this past month that i may not have talked about here, like we went to Spoleto again & to Orvieto & Tuscania & some other nearby places that i may or may not have mentioned, some of which are pictured here as they didn't find a home in other posts.

civitavecchia mare

high surf in Civitavecchia


sensory flood

via dei cappillari (Rome)


Red dots

railway underpass between Trastevere & Portuense

«In short, the way an expression relates to a content is not by uncovering or representing it. Rather, forms of expression and forms of content communicate through a conjunction of their quanta of relative deterritorialization, each intervening, operating in the other. We may draw some general conclusions on the nature of Assemblages from this. On a first, horizontal axis, an assemblage comprises two segments, one of content, the other of expression. On the one hand it is a machinic assemblage of bodies, of actions and passions, an intermingling of bodies reacting to one another; on the other hand it is a collective assemblage of enunciation, of acts and statements, of incorporeal transformations attributed to bodies. Then on on a vertical axis, the assemblage has both territorial sides, or reterritorialized sides, which stabilize it, and cutting edges of deterritorialization, which carry it away.»—Deleuze & Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus1000 Plateaus)

view of street cleaner outside our window


moldy billboard

billboard folding in on itself near Ostiense


dead starling negative

another dead starling (negative)

yes, sadly the starlings seem to be waning as the waters rise & temperatures drop. there are still some die-hard flocks (seen in the river video above) but for the most part they seem to have pushed further south.

pamphili puddle

puddle in Villa Pamphili


arching graffiti

graffiti along Lungotevere Ripa


Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica wall


scraped slate

wiping the slate clean


slaughterhouse graffiti testaccio

machinic slaughterhouse graffiti (Testaccio)


agave tips

agave tips


tiled fish ostia antica

mosaic fish (Ostia Antica)

«This can be seen on the organic stratum: proteins of content have two forms, one of which (the infolded fiber) plays the role of functional expression in relation to the other. The same goes for the nucleic acids of expression: double articulations cause certain formal and substantial elements to play the role of content in relation to others; not only does the half of the chain that is reproduced become a content, but the reconstituted chain itself becomes a content in relation to the "messenger." There are double pincers everywhere on a stratum; everywhere and in all directions there are double binds and lobsters, a multiplicity of double articulations affecting both expression and content. Through all of this, Hjelmslev's warning should not be forgotten: "The terms expression plane and content plane ... are chosen in conformity with established notions and are quite arbitrary. Their functional definition provides no justification for calling one, and not the other, of these entities expression, or one, and not the other, content. They are defined only by their mutual solidarity, and neither of them can be identified otherwise. They are defined only oppositively and relatively, as mutually opposed functives of one and the same function." We must combine all the resources of real distinction, reciprocal presupposition, and general relativism.»—Deleuze & Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus1000 Plateaus)

barnacled pot ostia antica

barnacles & tubeworms on pot recovered from Tiber near Ostia Antica


coastal billboard

reclaimed billboard somewhere along the coast

«Now, however, expression becomes independent in its own right, in other words, autonomous. Before, the coding of a stratum was coextensive with that stratum; on the organic stratum, on the other hand, it takes place on an autonomous and independent line that detaches as much as possible from the second and third dimensions. Expression ceases to be voluminous or superficial, becoming linear, unidimensional (even in its segmentarity). The essential thing is the linearity of the nucleic sequence. The real distinction between content and expression, therefore, is not simply formal. It is strictly speaking real, and passes into the molecular, without regard to order of magnitude. It is between two classes of molecules, nucleic acids of expression and proteins of content, nucleic elements or nucleotides and protein elements or amino acids. Both expression and content are now molecular and molar. [...] What the linear form of expression determines is therefore a derivative form of expression, one that is relative to content and that, through a folding back upon itself of the protein sequence of the amino acids, finally yields the characteristic three-dimensional structures. In short, what is specific to the organic stratum is this alignment of expression, this exhaustion or detachment of a line of expression, this reduction of form and substance of expression to a unidimensional line, guaranteeing their reciprocal independence from content without having to account for orders of magnitude.»—Deleuze & Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus1000 Plateaus)

clogged drain

unclogged drain

people ask me why i named Calamari Press Calamari Press & to this this is what i say:

squid ink

calamari bathing in it's own ink

«Even technology makes the mistake of considering tools in isolation: tools exist only in relation to the interminglings they make possible or that make them possible. The stirrup entails a new man-horse symbiosis that at the same time entails new weapons and instruments. Tools are inseparable from symbioses or amalgamations defining Nature-Society machinic assemblages. They presuppose a social machine that selects them and takes them into its "phylum": a society is defined by its amalgamations, not by its tools. Similarly, the semiotic or collective aspect of an assemblage relates not to a productivity of language but to regimes of signs, to a machine of expression whose variables determine the usage of language elements. These elements do not stand on their own any more than tools do. There is a primacy of the machinic assemblage of bodies over tools and goods, a primacy of the collective assemblage of enunciation over language and words.»—Deleuze & Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus1000 Plateaus)

calamari ink art

calamari stirrup bootstrapping methodology

on this note, besides an uncleaned squid, the other day i bought an old Remington typewriter at Porta Portese for 15 €uros. i don't know if i'm quite ready yet to show the raw results, the expressions, or impressions, of some of these experimentations with calamari ink & typewriters, at least not in this context, but here's the aerial view of the space i'm working in (minus the typewriter & squid).

calamari art

calamari ink scratchings

the best part about working with calamari is that you get to eat it after!

fried calamari with chicory

calamari with gnocchi & chicory with jalapeño pesto & an arugula salad

that's all i have to say for now, in this 12th month of 2010. i've completed a dozen or so pages of the Ark Codex 0 in this vein (fusing content & expression, or at least attempting to) but i'm not sure they are things that can be shown out of context, on a website. i'm not sure what to call it/them, but all i can say is that (despite for the most part it being unreadable) my intention is for it to be read, and i'm not sure the pages make sense isolated on their own, out of sequence.

what i do know for certain is that there will be 144 pages & there will be 5 chapters numbered as follows:

0:0:0 — 0:0:8
0:1:0 — 0:1:21
0:2:0 — 0:2:55
0:3:0 — 0:3:34
0:5:0 — 0:5:21

& this will only be Ark Codex 0. there will be in total 5 volumes following a (self) similar numbering scheme as above.

that said, i've only finished a dozen or so pages, from towards the middle of volume 0, section 0:3. Ark Codex 0:3:12 is show at the top of this page to give you the jist of it, at least of the expression type. some may recognize 144 as a Fibonacci number, but 144 is also 12 X 12. time (the medium in which content is expressed, in which a river floods) has a special relationship with the number 12. 12 hours, 12 months. to impose a further constraint on it/them, each piece is either left- or right-handed, odd or even (think like a double-stranded helix). here's two more (opposing paged) examples to give you the idea.

ark codex

Ark Codex 0:3:10 (L)


ark codex 11

Ark Codex 0:3:11 (R)

as i said, all the content is more or less there. my senses have been flooded. now i've finally into the expression phase. what this means, here, is that i'll talk less about what i'm going to do & just do it.»


(©omPostED|tranScribed) 2010 Derek White