Quotidian Quarterflashes Q2.11: past communiqui retrofite con correspondent $tring $equences
¢ Milan Review of Ghosts festa per lancio romano al Circolo degli Artisti stasera [30.6.11].
¢ Ark Codex 0:1:06–11 in jwmw:
¢ Ark Codex 0:3:10–13 in Diagram 11.3.
¢ «The applause of silence is the only kind that counts.»—Alfred Jarry.
¢ from an undated early mathematics text in Arabic from the Harvard open collection/Islamic Heritage Project [Sharḥ al-Nuzhah fī al-ghubār/lil-Imām al-ʻAllāmah Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Bayrūtī [شرح النزهة في الغبار / للإمام العلامة شهاب الدين أحمد البيروتي : مخطوط]:
¢ a few more Calamari titles are available now as Ebook [PDF], including Tortoise by James Lewelling & Ever by Blake Butler. if you get my Marsupial as an Ebook & mention something to do with goats then i'll throw in Poste Restante gratis.
¢ topped up my passport this morning at the US embassy—happiness is 48 blank visa pages.
¢ seagulls in Rome are becoming an epic phenomena. birds in general going crazy. something's up. if only Romulus & Remus were alive to augur we'd know what. my guess is that whatever it is is being carried out by elephants & stingrays.
¢ The Cryptic African Wolf: Canis aureus lupaster Is Not a Golden Jackal and Is Not Endemic to Egypt: «Through phylogenetic comparison with all wild wolf-like canids (based on 726 bp of the Cytochrome b gene) we conclusively (100% bootstrap support) place the Egyptian jackal within the grey wolf species complex, together with the Holarctic wolf, the Indian wolf and the Himalayan wolf. Like the two latter taxa, C. a. lupaster seems to represent an ancient wolf lineage which most likely colonized Africa prior to the northern hemisphere radiation. We thus refer to C. a. lupaster as the African wolf.»
¢ The Ark as Anima Vessel in the Conquest of the Useless: peering into Hearts of Darkness with a sisyphean Kon-Tiki-torch.
¢ throughout the AWOBMLG trilogy, Adam Curtis effectively shows how certain memes inform economic, social & political change in the world & in the 3rd «machine<>monkey» episode he addresses the mother of all memes: the selfish gene, as put forward by Hamilton>Price>Dawkins. & in the process Curtis manages to artfully wrangle & weave in disparate & seemingly unrelated topics [like HIV, hippies, PS2, gorillas, London's homeless, disco-dancing & conflict in the Congo], but doesn’t touch the one topic i would’ve liked to see addressed: interspecies altruism & how to explain it genetically. i'm not talking about the classic examples of reciprocal altruism [ox-pecker<>buffalo or remora<>shark] but for example dolphins saving humans from sharks or why this orangutan seemingly has an interest in reviving this little bird, or even more speculatively [in regards to Ark Codex development], why Noah would even think to build an ark. at first these final lines of episode 3 were a let-down, a cop-out that left me hanging: «.... we have embraced a fatalistic philosophy of us as helpless computing machines to both excuse and explain our political failure to change the world.» but now, waking up the next morning, i can’t stop thinking about it & i’m wondering if it bothered me because it’s true & i just don’t want to accept it? [i've cross-posted this to clusterflock for discussion]
¢ despite the SSES tattoo on my arm i am admittedly not a very good Joyce fan [i'll take The Dead or Finnegan's Wake but don't have the patience [or stamina] for much else in between]. regardless, dare i admit i found myself guiltily eyeing the 11ysses feed through Bloomsday & then attending a soirée/marathon reading in a bungalow in the British Ambassador's compound wherein this passage pricked my ears [the relevance of anyone familiar to the circus of current italian politics would appreciate, including Walston, also in attendance, who explains]: «He turned over the smudged pages. Ruby: the Pride of the Ring. Hello. Illustration. Fierce Italian with carriagewhip. Must be Ruby pride of on the floor naked. Sheet kindly lent. The monster Maffei desisted and flung his victim from him with an oath. Cruelty behind it all. Doped animals. Trapeze at Hengler’s. Had to look the other way. Mob gaping. Break your neck and we’ll break our sides. Families of them.»
¢ endangered script of the day: Cherokee. from the ever-useful ScriptSource site: «The Cherokee script was created by a Cherokee man named Sequoyah (also known as George Guess or George Gist) who believed that the key to the colonialists' success and power lay within their 'talking leaves', the written correspondence they used to exchange information and ideas. Although Sequoyah was illiterate, he noted the shapes of the letters in an English Bible and based the shapes of the Cherokee letters on them. [...] Sequoyah spent 12 years devising the Cherokee syllabary, and presented it formally in 1821. It achieved almost instant popularity and by 1824 most Cherokee were literate in the script. [...] From the 1870s until the early 20th century, the US government implemented formal assimilation policies with the intention of 'civilizing' Native Americans. Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to mandatory boarding schools where they were not allowed to speak their language, practice traditional ways or visit their homes, sometimes for three or four years at a time. As a result, a generation of Cherokee people grew up unable to speak the Cherokee language, and it is now estimated to be spoken by fewer than 10% of Cherokee people. Among those who do speak the language, the script is widely used for writing letters, recipes, folktales, diaries, and for personal record-keeping.» Sequoyah's original syllabary:
¢ two more information streams got me chompin at the bit to read Gleick's The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood [in dead tree format]:
¢ «Why do these animal dramas preoccupy me so? Because I do not want look inside myself. Only this much: a sense of desolation was tearing me up inside, like termites in a fallen tree trunk.»—Warner Herzog, Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo
¢ KB pointed me in the direction of this amazing Adam Curtis documentary: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace [& a nod to Brautigan for the title, not that marginal band from Tucson]. the 1st episode [of 3] has some poignant stuff on the genius of Ayn Rand & Alan Greenspan & the speculative [but oh so glorious] dot com bubble, etc.—if survived the '90s [especially if you worked around computers] & are still scratching your head wondering what it all did to our brains, then this is a must-see. in particular this quote by Carmen Hermosillo [a.k.a humdog, r.i.p.] strikes home [even if said in the '90s]: «It is fashionable to suggest that cyberspace is some island of the blessed where people are free to indulge and express their individuality. This is not true. I have seen many people spill out their emotions, their guts, online. And I did so myself. Until I began to see that I had commodified myself. [...] I created my interior thoughts as commodities for the corporations that owned the boards I was posting to, like Compuserve or AOL. And that commodity was then sold on to other consumer entities as entertainment. Cyberspace is a black hole. It absorbs energy and personality and then re-presents it as an emotional spectacle. It is done by businesses that commodify human interaction and emotion. And we are getting lost in the spectacle.» this, as a few days ago i caved in & got back on twitter after a year off the shit...
¢ «And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...»—Romans 12:2
¢ Ark Codex 0:0:3: after eons of error, the noise formed a cavity with both a tongue & an ear & a desire to sire more of the same.
¢ «The way I grew up, it’s a wonder I don’t still picture chicken wire around people.»—Gary Lutz [from an unpublished piece, Womanesque, from his forthcoming Divorcer collection].
¢ i used to be self-conscious of waiting for a flood for fear others would see i wasn't wearing a certain running shoe from Beaverton.
¢ «Between 2000 and 2010 Italy’s average growth, measured by GDP at constant prices, was just 0.25% a year. Of all the countries in the world, only Haiti and Zimbabwe did worse. Many things contribute to these gloomy figures. Italy has become a place that is ill at ease in the world, scared of globalisation and immigration. It has chosen a set of policies that discriminate heavily in favour of the old and against the young. Combined with an aversion to meritocracy, this is driving large numbers of talented young Italians abroad. In addition, Italy has failed to renew its institutions and suffers from debilitating conflicts of interest in the judiciary, politics, the media and business. [...]. It is time for Italy to stop blaming the dead for its difficulties, to wake up and have a shot of that delectable coffee it makes.»—Oh for a new risorgimento [see also, The man who screwed an entire country]
¢ just when i get to the section [0:5:1] in Ark Codex where i have a note to self to integrate the scorpion dream, i step on this specimen in our doorway [Euscorpius carpathicus if i had to guess googling]. you can be sure this actual scorpion will find it's way onto the page, not just the letters that spell it. no other shape in the animal kingdom strikes more fear in me:
¢ «There’s not much ongoingness, not much of a big picture, in my processing of inner and outer experience; there’s just a stutter of encapsulations, one after another.» & «The most they seem to hope for is an emotional circumstance in which their aloneness can butt up against somebody else’s in a way that offers fugitive and unimproving satisfaction of a kind.» & «If I want to hear people in conversation, all I have to do is park myself somewhere public and eavesdrop.»—Gary Lutz [from interview with Greg Gerke in Big Other]
¢ «Confronto che nell’esperienza del viaggio e in particolare del viaggiare insieme (i protagonisti di questi racconti sono proprio i viaggiatori che accompagnano Galgut) assume una dimensione tanto rischiosa quanto paradossale: quasi il partire, l’abbandono dei luoghi famigliari, invece di “aprire” isolasse le persone in una sorta di mondo parallelo. Il viaggio, inteso come “utopia mobile”, esercizio di deprivazione, spoliazione di qualsiasi eredità simbolica (e la scrittura estremamente asciutta di Galgut ne testimonia, splendidamente) è allora occasione per sublimare l’essenza chimica dei rapporti, la loro nuda meccanica evoluzionistica, al di fuori di pretesti e contesti, liberando l’avvicendarsi dei temi intimi, dei motori immobili dell’interiorità, dove psicologia diventa sinonimo di destino e la sua rappresentazione narrativa si espande nel dominio rarefatto dell’allegoria..»—Carlo Mazza Galanti on Damon Calgut's In a Strange Room [not only inducing me to put said book on my 'to read' list, but also to reinstate the peregrinating modifier to these very quotidian]
¢ «As my reverie took its course, the silence was abruptly broken by a bodiless ally, a short transmission from one of the nine Councilors: “Freedom to mortal affects or die!” The phrase or die was baffling, until I blushingly recalled my own use of long live. The connection broke off again, only this time painfully so, something akin to bathing with a toaster oven, only this time no smoke projected from my ear flaps. Thought fragments, like shattered ice piercing skin penetrated then retracted. The mass of synaptic activity formed an inscrutable word collage. The Councilors then produced a white noise shield by whistling into cupped hands. Next came the psychic distracter in which long, thought-consuming passages of the Archaic Record were broadcast outward to overwhelm the telepathic airwaves.»—Vincent Standley [from the forthcoming A Mortal Affect]
¢ Christian Marclay wins the Gold Lion at Venice's Biennale, for The Clock: a montage of footage from films & TV depicting references to time synchronized to a 24-hour clock. if only i could get a hold of this i would run it in a perpetual loop to use as an actual time-telling device.
¢ «You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.»—Luis Buñuel
¢ the fragmentation of consciousness—akin to dandelions or birds in a basket—is an ontological survival mechanism assuring we don't all die in the same place.
¢ «The function of "unchangeable" stories is precisely this: against all our desires to change destiny, they make tangible the impossibility of changing it. And in so doing, no matter what story they are telling, they are also telling our own story.»—Umberto Eco, On Literature
¢ Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo may have been genius, but Sean Penn as the retard bastard child of Robert Smith & Edward Scissorhands avenging his father execution by Nazi war criminals? please tell me this is a joke.
¢ fourth & final dispatch from Kenya.
¢ «... on one question, there was a difference. We asked all the children if a certain illogical sentence was grammatically correct: “Apples grow on noses.” The monolingual children couldn’t answer. They’d say, “That’s silly” and they’d stall. But the bilingual children would say, in their own words, “It’s silly, but it’s grammatically correct.” The bilinguals, we found, manifested a cognitive system with the ability to attend to important information and ignore the less important.»—The Bilingual Advantage in NYT
¢ posted 3rd dispatch from Kenya, this one from Kitui reading Robbe-Grillet & Moorehead.
¢ after 3 weeks of mile-high hill running in Kenya everything else here at sea-level along the river felt like it was moving in slow-motion, except maybe the F-16s overhead spewing caprese-colored smoke [for independence day].
¢ home sweet Rome. hacking our way through the vines & bramble to open our shuttered windows to let the fresh morning air in.
¢ at least one member of our party has malaria, running around trying to get diagnostic kits & coartem but the pharmacies are afraid to open when the president is speaking & we have our flight tonight... TIA.
¢ back at the Jacaranda in Nairobi, still a male, beard bushier than ever. dispatch from Kitui forthcoming, but in the meantime here's j learning the Kamba grain-grinding song:
¢ headed east to Kitui for a sex change. word is there's a rock there that if you run around it 7 times your gender will change. but i don't know if they have things like internet, so i will report operational status upon return.
¢ «He might have lost his way and gone to the wrong place. It was at a crossroads near a street light. He had not heard clearly, or not remembered the names of the streets. He has relied on topographical indications, following the prescribed itinerary as best he could. When he thought he had reached the place, he waited. The crossroads corresponded to the description he had been given, but the names of the streets did not sound like the vaguely remembered consonants.»—Robbe-Grillet [In the Labyrinth]
¢ «He and the messenger are now facing each other. The latter listens, without showing the least sign of comprehension. The boy talks at top speed, as if his text had no punctuation, but in the same singsong tone as when he is not speaking his own language. Suddenly he stops. The other does not add a word, turns around and leaves by the same route he came in, with his swift, soft gait, swaying his head and body, without having opened his mouth.»—Robbe-Grillet [Jealousy
¢ running in the Tigoni tea fields.
¢ survived another roadtrip in Kenya, dispatch forthcoming. in the meantime there's this:
¢ headed back up near Laikipia again, offline for a long weekend in search of the honey badger.
¢ drove j into Nairobi this morning on the wrong [left] side of the pot-holed road. everything is as we left it two years ago except perhaps a little more progressed. came back & went for a run & a passerby fist-pumped & yelled «Wanjiru». the chickens are scratching in the yard. dogs are sleeping. goat bells are ringing.
¢ forgot about how shitty the internet is here in Kenya. took me all morning, but posted some pics & video. sorry if some of the images are missing, hard to tell if they didn't post or i'm just not able to view them to check.
¢ & a Billy goat smackdown over at Goat Rodeo.
¢ back in Tigoni, dispatch forthcoming, in the meantime here's a herd of elephants that visited us up north:
¢ hanging out with goats et al in Tigoni, north of Nairobi. headed to the base of Mt. Kenya later today, no electricity, so no updates for a few.
¢ back up to speed [literally] & distance [10k/day] just in time to tromp off to our old Kenyan stomping grounds, almost exactly 2 years since we left Nairobi & also 1 year since we came to Rome [the year in between lost in limbo to NYC]. bringing my laptop to the bush but not sure how connected i'll be...
¢ The Milan Review looks to be a promising new literary journal/press started by Tim Small, the editor of Italian Vice. their inaugural issue/project [The Milan Review of Ghosts] features stories by Dave Cull, Jonathan Dixon, Glen Hirschberg, Noy Holland, Jonathon Keats, Tao Lin, Clancy Martin, E.C. Osondu, Dawn Raffel, Nelly Reifler, Rebecca Rosenblum, Deb Olin Unferth, Corinna Vallianatos and Brent Van Horne and illustrations by Matt Furie and Maison Du Crac. you can preview it here and/or go to the launch party on May 12 in Milan if you're in the area.
¢ finished Everything and More—you could call it DFW's ode to Cantor, but it's the ever-skeptical words of Gödel quoted in rebuttal that ring with me: «Despite their remoteness from sense experience, we do have something like a perception also of the objects of set theory, as is seen from the fact that the axioms force themselves upon us as true. I don't see any reason why we should have less confidence in this kind of perception, i.e. in mathematical intuition, than in this kind of perception, which induces us to build up physical theories and to expect that future sense perceptions will agree with them...» & this in response to Cantor's Continuum Hypothesis [which Cantor could never prove & Gödel in the end proved could not be proved or disproved: «For in reality Cantor's conjecture must be either true or false, and it's undecidability from the axioms as known today can only mean that these axioms do not contain a complete description of reality.» in fact, Norton's Great Discoveries Series [of which DFW's book is a part of] has another book on Gödel by Rebecca Goldstein that would probably be more up my alley. [see also my recent post on Hofstadter's take on Gödel's incompleteness theorem].
¢ interesting articles about fake art, plagiarism & legitimacy in Italian news today: it was discovered that Raphael's Vision of Ezekiel is a copy not painted by him [the one valued at 30-40 euros on display behind bulletproof glass in Florence] & this meeting in Turin on «Arte contemporanea e copyright. Copyright or right to copy?» questioning the importance/relevance of the artist to authenticity/legitimacy, quoting the likes of Duchamp: «the work of art is no longer just an object created by an author» & De Chirico: «...what gives authenticity is the idea, not the date of execution.»
¢ one consoliation to pulling a muscle [i'm guessing gracilis since it connects from groin to the pit of knee] is the beautiful & morphing bruising patterns that arise, here's mine [tweaked in Sicily] 2 weeks after the fact:
¢ got to thinking about this because my leg still pains me while i sleep & we are going to Kenya in 5 days: «Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.» thing is Hemingway never even saw the leopard for himself. Eva Stuart-Watt did though & described it in her book [Africa's Dome of Mystery]: «Near the top we found in a perfect state of preservation the carcase of a leopard, first discovered in the snow and dug out in 1926 by Dr. Latham of the Government Agricultural Department of Tanganyika. No one can tell what induced it to venture into a land so cold and desolate; but possibly the smell of meat carried by some safari had led it to follow their trail, until on the wild summit it perished in a snow-storm. Jonathon cut off a piece of its tail as a memento of our little expedition.» [& she took this photo of it]
¢ «The point being that in abstracting away all limits to get ∞ you are throwing the baby out as well: no limit means no form, and no form means chaos, ugliness, a mess. Note thus Attic Fact Four, the ubiquitous and essential aestheticism of the Greek intellect. Messiness and ugliness were the ultimate malum in se, the sure sign that something was wrong with a concept, in much the same way that disproportion or messiness was impermissible in Greek art.»—David Foster Wallace. otherwise only mildly entertained thus far with his Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity, though i suppose if you're looking for a good survey on college math [with an emphasis on everything ∞] look no further.
¢ feliz Cinco de Mayo. if you're anywhere near Nueva York celebrate at the NOON launch party & hear Chiara Barzini read with Brandon Hobson & Diane Williams at The Center for Fiction in NYC.
¢ Joe Salvatore reviews Blake Butler's new novel in the NY Times: «Yet underneath its surface challenges, “There Is No Year” turns out to be deeply honest and emotional, a family drama that by its end brings on feelings as complex and satisfying as those summoned by Faulkner’s simple sentence “They endured.”».
¢ some times when i read the word 'beatification' i see 'beastification'. that's the word today in Rome, meaning pilgrims & helicopters.
¢ finished reading I, Claudius & posted 2nd half of Sicilian disatch.
¢ the Internet archive is in the process of digitizing & archiving the entire Balinese library. «The Balinese are leading the world as the first culture to have their entire literature go online. The documents are centuries-old lontar palm leaves incised on both sides with a sharp knife and then blackened with soot. [...] Very few Balinese have actually read any lontar due to language obstacles and the view that is it sacrilegious. Traditionally, the lontars are read and performed by priests. Forty-one of such performances have been uploaded to the Internet Archive.»
¢ «But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts, and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.»—George Elliot [a.k.a. Mary Anne Evans], Middlemarch.
¢ posted first half of a Sicilian Easter dispatch.
¢ apparently you have Al Capone & the mob to thank for shitty NYC pizza by the slice [he threatened to firebomb pizzerias that didn't use rubbery mob cheese from his farms in Wisconsin]. or perhaps he preserved the likes of Grimaldi's by not allowing them to sell pizza by the slice [if they used their own real mozzarella]. as far as i'm concerned it's not mozzarella unless it's from a buffalo & it's fresh.
¢ looking forward to this [next someone needs to the same with Argento soundtracks]:
¢ off the grid in Sicily.
¢ dying language of the day: «Ayapaneco has been spoken in the land now known as Mexico for centuries. It has survived the Spanish conquest, seen off wars, revolutions, famines and floods. But now, like so many other indigenous languages, it's at risk of extinction. There are just two people left who can speak it fluently – but they refuse to talk to each other.»
¢ «The body in its dreaming tries to come up with a language for light, not-wave not-particle, neither math nor mineral, a vertical emphysema of the eye. It begins to tell itself a story, then stops. It has forgotten something, about birds, maybe.»—G.C. Waldrep, from In Memory of Domestic Life in Ninth Letter no. 13.
¢ «A tension between diversity and universality is a longrunning theme in biology. For example, a distinction is often made in systematics between ‘lumpers’ who, recognizing the fundamental affinities of a clade, combine them in one group, and ‘splitters’ who, emphasizing the differences, split them into multiple groups. A similar distinction can be made among students of language. Nothing of deep significance rests on this distinction, because a fundamental contribution of Darwin’s notion of ‘descent with modification’ is that evolution generates groups of organisms related in a tree-like fashion. It is essentially a matter of taste whether one emphasizes the twigs or the main branches; both are important and both need to be recognized and studied. These observations are as true of glossogeny, the cultural evolution process that generates languages, as for biological evolution, and indeed many of the same tools can thus be fruitfully used to analyse them.»—W. Tecumseh Fitch, Unity and diversity in human language.
¢ went to China last night. j had a «retreat» on some offshore island that i was able to locate because i could see the actual red GPS ball hovering just over it [in the real landscape] corresponding to Google maps. it was a beautiful tiny tropical island but it didn't matter because invited participants weren't allowed to leave the windowless conference center. messages were coded & relayed in this special 1-to-1 language where the more non-intended recipients of the language learned, the less valid the language became—if someone that wasn't the intended recipient [me] was able to decipher or translate a word or string of words, these words were automatically removed from the original language pool. places in any past communications were retrofitted with corresponding sequences of ##### [for words or letters] & $$$$$$$$$$$$ [for strings]. thus knowledge of it rendered it extinct.
¢ in regards to Joseph Kosuth [Zero & Not, 1985-1986]: «Die für sich bedeutungslose Form der Balken konstituiert werkintern eine neue Ordnung, die ein Rezipient im Unterschied zur Schriftzeichen negierenden Funktion auch ohne werkextern erworbenes Vorwissen erfassen kann.».
¢ «The thing I don't understand is why so often one hears discussion of the fruits of human labor as if it's all the creation of some alien race» [Islamic Indian Architecture on But It Does Float][compare the first image of this series with this one from our recent trip to India].
¢ Calamari Press will be publishing A Mortal Affect by Vincent Standley. working on edits as we speak so likely sooner (c. summer 2011) rather than later.
¢ American geneticist J Craig Venter slapped down for copyright infringement by James Joyce's estate for encoding a quote from the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ["To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life"] into a microbial watermark to distinguish the synthesized DNA from that occurring naturally in the bacterium where it was transplanted. Ha-ha. & speaking of packaging your shit as art [ala Manzoni], the above link also includes a picture of William Burrough's jarred turd.
¢ rëflew over the Cuckoo's Nest last night. as part of my exorcise routine this morning i [who j says am bringing back the Björn Borg look] threw a dying cat into the Tiber. by now he's at sea feeding the fishes.
¢ Giorgio Maffei gallery/bookstore in Torino is selling a complete book of «8 Tavole di accertamento» by Piero Manzoni [perhaps most famous for canning his own shit amongst other conceptual stunts]. 8 Tavole di accertamento consists of 8 lithographs of fingerprints, maps, and alphabets, a title page and an introduction by Vince Agnew, originally published in 1962 in an edition of 60 copies [though most have been broken up to frame individual pieces]. for more details contact Giorgio Maffei. [... just in case you're looking for gift ideas, though my birthday is 8 months off].
¢ DIY code [using the statistical package 'R'] to find all [2,752] bi- and multi-furcating rooted trees for a set of taxa [via Phylogenetic Tools for Comparative Biology [includes movie of results]]:
¢ from The Font of the Hand by Joshua Cohen: «Just as letters are connected in clear cursive, thoughts must also make their coherent connections, and it is here, amid the mental ligatures, that the computer, with its programs and access, influences practice by radical fracture: distraction, diversion. Our attention is a fragile state or faculty, being either a passive receptivity or an active engagement, or alternately or simultaneously both. The myriad fractures of the computer so negate the necessary unicity of the writing act that computerwriting can never be a sole enterprise but rather a component, competing, “application.” Words on paper possess less utility than do words stored, coded binarily on a computer’s drive. Now the quest for automaticity—meaning the most efficient way by which ideas become writing, by which the mind can be transcribed—has become the quest for the transitive, for use. What was formerly a dialogue between writer and page is now a polylogue with every option of connectivity. The audience is no longer an ideational second self, the occasion and context of composition no longer the stuff of pure intention.»
¢ N+1 Information Essay as filtered through an Oulipo N+1 machine: «Just as this is an agency of great wean inequity, it is also an agency of great inequity of knuckle or, more exactly, factual informer. For all its democratic potentiality, the faction-filled internet has only heightened the pre-Google asymmetry between those, on one sideboard, loyal to Baconian methodologies of patio, inductive gauge of facts — the wayfarers of the cardigan catalog and the archivist, of the analyst and evangelist of empirical data — and those, on the other sideboard, who didn’t need to read Foucault or the Frankfurt Schoolboy to nut a suture that positivist orderlies of knuckle masochist a hieroglyph of powerboat in which they are meant to occupy the lowest run-ins.» some other unfiltered tidbits from the article: «... the evolution of a style that resembles “information for information’s sake,” in something like the art for art’s sake of 19th-century French decadence. [...] where meaning-making is fundamentally a readerly rather than writerly activity. It also brings to mind Walter Benjamin’s over-cited proclamation that montage is “useless for the purposes of fascism” [...] Unlike the traditional, Kantian sublime, which supposedly restored us to a knowledge of our own freedom of will and mind in the face of the infinite and amazing, here the entire vast machine of knowledge serves only to remind us that we’re trapped within an inescapable totality.[...] Except, as D’Agata shows, “to receive information” can be equivalent to the experience of art. [...] These are “Mandarin” texts, in the sense that they are written for the enjoyment of a certain group of people expected to appreciate the artfulness of the collected information, and breathe a quiet sigh of despair at a form achieving its natural limits.»
¢ Blake Butler drops it like it's shot: «In the mess of it too might come bits of things that cling on the web in there: his name, my mother’s name, numbers, letters that spell nothing familiar, the word HELLO, other. He shows no emotion about the drawings or writing when he’s done with them. He often tears them up.» & his new book also dropped.
¢ Writing on the Wall: «But, both in life and in his novels and stories, until his death in 1982 Cheever never stopped returning to "a country of such detail and loveliness that it could not be described". However, "it seemed to me that a person should live in his own country", he wrote once, in a story called "Boy in Rome", "that there is always something a little funny or queer about people who choose to live in another country. Now my mother has many American friends who speak fluent Italian and wear Italian clothes . . . but to me there always seems to be something a little funny about them as if their stockings were crooked or their underwear showed and I think that is always true about people who live in another country. I wanted to go home." Twombly, of course, stayed. In 1962, while he was busy pushing away from the restrained understatement of his 1950s work, allowing the rawness and sensuality of his Roman surroundings to stain and stink up his paintings, the surfaces of which he was intent on destroying and scarring, dragging pencils and other sharp instruments through them . . . ». & here's some of Roman Notes by Cy Twombly:
¢ let's hope this [The Continuing Saga of the Gene Patenting Case] continues to be upheld: «We've been accustomed to thinking of DNA as a molecule, a chemical entity (which, of course, it is). But in this more sophisticated era, we understand that DNA is not "just" a molecule; its an information-carrying molecule. Genes are better thought of as packets of information, not mere molecules, Judge Sweet reasoned. This reasoning is key to his decision -- because the information encoded by a gene is the same, whether its sitting amongst its natural neighbor genes, or in isolated form.»
¢ «I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain ending—an art (and a politics) in which optimism is kept in check, and nihilism at bay.»—William Kentridge.
¢ «Those, then, are the levels of analysis at which the molecular evolutionist works. He can focus on the ultimate truth contained in the sequence of bases along the DNA, move out a little further to the amino acid sequence of the protein commanded by the DNA, or move still further out to the response of a foreign immune system to that protein. It is easier to work from the outside inwards, and that indeed is how the study of molecular evolution developed historically. But we emphasise that this does not mean that the two protein-centered levels are any less informative than the DNA itself, just that, like everything else about evolutionary biology, the further from the DNA, the further from the truth.»—The Monkey Puzzle by John Gribbin & Jeremy Cherfas [our personal baker who we had over for a grilled tacofest last night & who blogs here].
¢ how to say «get stuck» & «die» in !Xóõ [a click language containing by many counts the most phonemes of any language]... in case you were dying to know.
¢ graffiti removal as subconscious high art: an interesting idea if you can get past the annoyingly patronizing tone [none other than Miranda July]. this was why i liked running around Pier 40 in NYC—it was one long continuous patchwork quilt of rothkoesque removed graffiti [also the backdrop to this video i made with j & krishna]:
2011: Q4 | Q3 | Q2 | Q1 | daily Quotidian
©om.Posted 2011 Derek White / Sleepingfish / Calamari Press