378 Fearless Vampire Killers: Aboriginal spider-bots dreaming a living document forever in track changes

«Dear What We Wear,

... in as much as clothes make the man.» We're not why we wrote that, ad-dressed to WWW, xcept it came to us in a dream ... just the language. We woke up + wrote it down last night, followed by the text: «Does anything matter? We're thinking of all the interactions that go undocumented ... all the events not newsworthy. On 1 hand these uncaptured events are nothing in the scheme of things, but on the other they are the most important. The best details remain hidden or concealed, but all the more powerful as triggers. No 1 really gives a shit about anything xcept how it pertains to them. In this way, everything becomes a prompt, including [THIS].

... [THIS] being a (speaking in real-time now) fusion of 1. dream, 2. things we have been reading (Paper Knowledge: Towards a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman, as well as continued readings of Ulysses + The Odyssey) + 3. things we are working on (SSEY + a general Calamari rebranding), as well as 4. conversations w/ people, sometimes complete strangers ... like the other night we met some vampire (in the energy-leaching sense) from Ghana. He initiated the conversation by introducing himself + we asked: «what's up w/ Ghanaians + their strange names like Sunday, Goodluck, Happy, etc.» which segued to a monologue about cannibalism (his father back in Ghana had to change his name for fear of being cannibalized to subsume the powers implied by his name) + eventually to a yelling rant about how we cannot forgive the likes of Woody Allen + Chris Brown + disassociate them from their art, which ok in those 2 examples is a no-brainer, but it gets more complicated when u get to Roman Polanski, or ½ the great writers from last century who, as David Markson singles out, are anti-semitic. It's an age-old argument—the inseparable tethering between art + artist—but what struck us was the frothing venom from this young African inches from our face (his spit at times spraying our lips), to the extent that others in the loud bar interrupted us occassionally to make sure it didn't erupt into violence. This sort of IRL interaction was a refreshing evisceration compared to our every day online non-interactions. What's more, when asked about his art, he said he was a poet/rapper of sorts, whose medium was the sort of 1-on-1 interaction we were having.

Tate + Polanski as Fearless Vampire Killers

If u take a step back (as we tend to do) + think of people as mere delivery vehicles for an underlying code, this guy was foregoing the interfacing mediums of paper + screen + screaming his message right into my ear. Even w/ spoken word poets + performance artists there's always this assumed barrier between artist + audience. While Marina Abramovic's stunts bring this interface into question, she is still the pedestalled artiste. Eliminating the artist from the equation is the easiet way to resolve this dichotomy ... to allow 2 texts or works of art to communicate w/ 1 another directly. This is the beauty of U, Internet. Or it is at least the potential U hold.

At the end of the day, we are art lovers. We'd rather spend time + energy appreciating art then keeping up w/ news on real-world people. Not only do u need to do a background check on every artist behind the art (+ surely every 1 has a skeleton of some sort in the closet) but u also have to research the reliability of the media, witnesses, legal entities, wiki-scribes, etc. making or communicating these claims + also keep in mind the taboos + accepted cultural framework the artist operates in. Art itself is the only reliable source, it is what it is + it outlives the artist. Anyway ... this is our response back to our newfound vampire friend ... [this] is what listening to his rant for an hour or 2 induced us to think. + as always [this] is from no 1 to every 1 + also simultaneously from a collective every 1 (written in 1st person plural) to no 1 in particular (cept for the stray spider-bot). + tho we don't take comments (we don't consider trolling to be a viable or time-worthy engagement) we welcome 1-to-1 correspondence.

(cc: The bourgeoisie had better watch out for me. All throughout this so called nation, we don't want your filthy money, we don't need your innocent bloodshed. We just wanna end your world. Well my minds made up. Yes, it's time for you to pay, better watch out for me. I'm a member of the F.V.K. )

These are things we were thinking about last night that kept us from sleeping. We tried to think of nothing, but even thinking of nothing was something making our mind spin + we'd start dreaming what we were thinking + the obsessive writer in us kept saying wake up + record it ... something about being at a gallery opening where every 1 was dressed xactly the same cept for us ... every 1 in a sort of uniform all turning to stare like we didn't belong. Incidentally, the rest of the Mark Twain quote that we unsoncsciously started this post with, ad-dressed to WWW, is «Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.» Do we detect any sarcasm?

How does 1 not just think about nothing, but feel nothing, be nothing? Then again, why does usual meditation protocol involve thinking about nothing ... rather than restrict the flow, why not open the floodgates + let your mind think about evertyhing all at once? This seems to be the role of dreaming ... collecting + processing all the unthunk thoughts from the day into lucid collage. Meditation should be more about consciously achieving this free-for-all state.

Here's another dream we logged ... actually the 1st entry of the night that initiated the spiraling sleeplessness:

This dream did not have a storyline capable of recounting, but the dream itself was of an actual piece of paper w/ lines of text + in the dream we were trying to read this text which was ½ backwards, like a negative image or typesetters printing plate. We were struggling to read the words backwards, to figure out what the text was about, but as we deciphered it we realized the text was about nothing ... but was just THIS—this very text we are writing now [after we woke up + scribbled it in the dark]. In the dream it also occured to us the lines of text were like the zig-zagging streets of our Maphattan project, as if reading lines of text were the same as walking a street (or vice-versa) ... the streets carried encoded text that unraveled as u walked.

Here's the actual (inverted) representation of the logged dream, after we woke up + transcribed it:

end of August dream trace

We read or saw in a movie once—we forget where (... tho googling now, perhaps it was in a Gary Snyder book, or maybe Bruce Chatwin)—about a guy in the outback of Australia who picks up a hitch-hiking Aborigine. When Aborigines of Oz go on their walkabouts, there are certain stories + myths they associate w/ the landscape, that they recite or retrace out loud as songlines or 'dreaming tracks'. The meandering path or track they follow on this ritual trek is the same line their ancestors took + their ancestors before them ... a path 1st traveled by his 1st totemic ancestor + by reciting this songline they can find their way, calling out the names of plants + animals (such as lions + tigers + bears) + landscape features + thus singing the world into existence ...

the 1st step's a doozie

So when this guy picks up the hitch-hiking Aborigine + they drive thru the landscape, the Aborigine starts telling stories that he has inextricably associated w/ the landscape. He can't help himself ... + since the car is going much faster than u'd walk, he starts talking faster + faster + can't keep up + has to ask the driver to slow down. Maybe he was even telling the stories backwards (since he was hitch-hiking back from his walkabout) ... we forget the details, but we thought of this the other day in a taxi in Manhattan, driving down streets we recentely did in our maPhattan project + our mind started racing much as what happened to the hitch-hiking Aborigine. In this sense, our mapHattan project is our walkabout + these associated 5cense posts are written records of our 'songlines'.

This week we did 85th thru 72nd streets ... again a double-header split by Central Park ... on 8.30 we did the Upper West Side portion ... or Yupper West Side as Pynchon calls it, in the heart of his turf, if u believe the rumors or the hints dropped in The Bleeding Edge.

songline track for 8.30.2014

Forgot to mention in the outing before last, 86th thru 96th, that we were in Furies territory, from 1 of the greatest psychogeographic movies of NYC, The Warriors. In their bid to make it home from The Bronx to Coney Island, The Warriors get derailed at 96th (the subway catches fire or something) ... tho as this site points out, the underground parts were filmed in the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stn + where they emerge (after rumbling w/ some cops) is in reality the 72nd street stn (w/ signs changed to say 96th), where the freaky looking Furies (the 1s w/ facepaint + baseball bats) chase them into Central Park. + it also ends up that the initial scene w/ the big pow wow w/ all the gangs in the Bronx was actually filmed in Riverside Park + 96th.

Nothing too exciting on the Upper West Side to report on otherwise, «you boppers» ... we used to live on 74th near Central Park for a year or 2 circa 2007 so by no means foreign or unwelcoming territory for us. We lived in the shadow of the San Remo where the likes of Bono + Demi Moore lived + caught the subway at 72nd in front of the Dakota, so for us it was mostly a nostaglic stroll thru yesteryear. The most exciting new thing we happened upon was this Banksy that he left on his recent NYC binge...

Hammer Boy Banksy on 79

The plexiglass covering it says «help Zabar's protect this unusual work» ... not that we're fans of Banksy, but it's amusing the fuss people make over it all. Could mention all the other famous people that have lived on the UWS, the Dakota alone there are too many to mention. When we think of the Dakota we think of Rosemary's Baby, which was filmed there ... speaking of Roman Polanski. Rosemary's Baby (featuring a pregnant Mia Farrow) was made in 1968, a year after Fearless Vampire Killers ... + 15 years before the Bad Brains remake. In 1969 his (pregnant) wife Sharon Tate was tragically murdered by Charles Manson's brainwashed groupies. In 1980 John Lennon was gunned down in the same spot where Mia Farrow + John Cassavetes are answering the ad to see the apartment.

Mia Farrow at gates of Dakota

Not sure what the connection is w/ all this, but seems strangely coincidental. We'd show u what it looks like now, but it seems disrespectful ... + there's plenty of tourists taking photos of this spot already.

Speaking of Lennon, we saw the Nilsson documentary last night (Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)) ... there's a guy who never got his due credit (most probly cuz he never bought into the whole touring/performing thing), xcept from The Beatles who thought he was the best thing to come out of America since sliced bread. Dude should get major style points alone for the jacket (not to mention for being from Bushwick) ...

Lennon, May Pang + Nilsson

+ we always thought The Dude stole Nilsson's mojo (see the cover of Nilsson Schmilsson). The NY Tyrant carries the torch now ...

Robin Williams is in the documentary, vouching for what a mensch Nilsson was ... guess 1 of the last songs Nilsson wrote was "How About You?" for The Fisher King, which we also crossed paths w/ on our maPhattan walk 2 weeks ago. After his friend Lennon was shot, Nilsson devoted himself to ending handgun violence (obviously not too successfully as we got more gun-toting killers than ever, including 9-year girls w/ uzis).

... + speaking of 72nd street, here's «Needle Park» from Panic in Needle Park on + 72nd Bdwy ... not nearly as seedy now.

not much panic in Needle Park

The posh Ansonia is a block away, on Broadway + 73, where lived the likes of Babe Ruth, Stravinsky, Toscanini, Angelina Jolie + Natalie Portman (speaking of, also forgot to mention in our last dispatch that the apartment in Léon: The Professional is in the UES, up in the 90s) ... only now looking at the Ansonia wiki did we realize it also had 1 of the 1st urban rooftop farms w/ 500 chickens + 6 goats. Plenty of shots to be found of the front, but here's what it's like if u sneak around back in the alley.

The Ansonia as seen from the back alley

Stopped for pizza at Patsy's ... 1 of the original 1s on 74th + Columbus. The pizza is still good, but the ambience is more like Chuck E. Cheese w/ all the kids running around.

On 77th street we saw Miles Davis' digs (once he had disposable income) + on Riverside near 79 was Marc Chagall's house ... but like much of NYC, it's under scaffolding ... in recent years NYC is reaching epic proportions regarding scaffolding + sidewalk enclosures, much of it not cuz there's even construction but cuz of bureacratic bullshit. Chagall had a few places he lived in tho, including another on east 74th ... which brings us to our next walk, 85 thru 72 on the Upper East side which we did on 9/1.

9.1.2014 walkabout

This was the 1st walk where we started to question the sanity of this project, mostly cuz it was hot + the UES is soooo boring. We felt like were just trudging along to get it over with.

The main associations (besides us living just north of here for 2 years in 2000-2002) we have w/this hood are Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities (Sherman McCoy lived on Park near 74) + it seems at least 1 of the stories in Paul Auster's NY Trilogy takes place in this area. Between 78 + 77 near the river is a small street called Cherokee Place which we never noticed before.

Cherokee Place

+ we came across Finnegans Wake bar ...

... tho we didn't stop cuz we had just eaten pub food before at the Joneswood Foundry (which seemed appropriate enough for our UES meal) ...

Joneswood Foundry

Diane Arbus, John Steinbeck + Frank Sinatra + Mia Farrow all supposedly lived on east 72nd, but we spaced out + forgot to take note ... but that's the beauty of google street view. We also were going to stop at the Met to check out the Garry Winogrand exhibit, but there were too many tourists + it's just better to look at photos online in the comfort of your own home ...

how we found out about shit before the internet

Last night we logged 3 dreams, here's the 3rd:

Then i was at this mountainous, yet coastal place. I could zoom in as if i was seeing myself from above like google satellite ... + i noticed the ground i was on was a different color + there were discolored bands of landslides. So i tried to retreat to where the ground seemed more stable. I was climbing thru these sort of bunkers covered w/ plastic, like makeshift tents or a long hallway in mongolian yurt style. The details of the rocks + landscape (enclosed in the plastic tarp) were very vivid + it occurred to me [in the dream] this could only be the case cuz i was recycling images that i’d seen in real life + piecing them together, but changing the context. I recognized where the original images were from—some alpine mountainous place where maybe i had once rock-climbed. I came to an enclosed hut w/ no exit, poked my head out thru a sort of belfry + could see i was on top of a high peak ... it occurred to me that a summit was like a dead end ... not something to aspire to, but something to retreat from. I retreated back into another room, some sort of Chinese store w/ all these trinkets. There were a few people telling me to be quiet, pointing to some sign (that was in Chinese). But this 1 spinning wind-chime thing seemed irresistible, so i spun it + a lever swung out + kept ringing a bell over + over until it was a continuous tone + then i started chanting “oooommmmmmmm” in the same pitch + the salespeople were trying to get me to be quiet, but only cuz they were jealous that i was able to get in tune on the 1st try. 

Even when we were heavy into rock-climbing + mountaineering, the concept of reaching a summit always seemed pointless + vain. The further up a mountain u go, the less u see of it. Summits are dead dends ... when u reach the top u have to go back the same way. We are more into the idea of circumnavigation. However, there is a certain level of detail afforded by technical rock climbing, that we think inspired the vividness of the above dream.

In this this essay (in The Brooklyn Quarterly ... w/ a nod to Stephen Sparks for leading me to it) "Relingos: The Cartography of Empty Spaces" by Valeria Luiselli, she says:

«Cities have often been compared to language: you can read a city, it’s said, as you read a book. But the metaphor can be inverted. The journeys we make during the reading of a book trace out, in some way, the private spaces we inhabit. There are texts that will always be our dead-end streets; fragments that will be bridges; words that will be like the scaffolding that protects fragile constructions.»

... + then she goes on to compare various writers w/topographical features, such as Deleuze to a summit + Derrida to a pothole, which we take exception with. Deleuze is a path w/ infinitely branching sub-paths, surely not a dead-end peak. + Derrida is derived from rivers. We are interested in this idea of Relingos tho (we got the book)— abandonded or otherwise vacant urban public spaces (her context is mostly Mexico, DF tho she now lives in NYC) ... the odd-shaped public spaces that have fallen thru the cracks ... much like the spaces in books between the lines of readable text ...

The book we finished this past week was Paper Knowledge: Towards a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman ... an interesting retrospective of all the technlogies of printing + publishing + how these methods have affected the outcomes ... particularly interesting to us as the book we are currently working on deals a lot w/ photocopied documents, as back when our brother wrote 'SSES" 'SSES" was the apex of Xerox. Beyond just what we are working on tho, Paper Knowledge stimulated our thinking about publishing in general (an overhauling Calamari rethink is in the works ... perhaps to be «made public» by the next post) or even at the street level, w/ our never-ending obsesssion to document.

«The word "document" descends from the Latin root docer, to teach or show, which suggests that the document exists in order to document. Sidestepping this circularity of terms, one might say instead that documents help define and are mutually defined by the know-show function, since documenting is an epistemic practice: the kind of knowing that is all wrapped up with showing, and showing wrapped with knowing.»

Also of particular interest was the relating of various copyright cases that pushed the envelope of this idea vs. xpression dichotomy ... no 1 can own ideas, even laying claim to the way they are xpressed seems ludicrous + counter-productive to the original idea. This gets exemplified in the xtreme by a few paradoxical xamples of books about book-making + even more reflexively mind-warping in that Paper Knowledge is such a book. In this sense, the book was reminiscent of N. Katherine Hayles' work (her Posthuman book of which we talked about here + here).

Such books knowingly dig their own graves, they die + become dated the second they are published. Specially when they talk about technology + an author lays claim to the ideas. How does 1 make a truly living document, free from technlogy, free from copyright, free from authorship ... is this U, Internet? Et tu, Brute?

Who actually reads anymore? «Copying—as few scholars have admitted publicly—would become a surrogate for reading, displacing knowledge: you can read something and have it in mind, or you can Xerox something and have it it at hand.» Nowadays u can just bookmark or 'like' or 'favorite' something. It seems every 1 is peripherally aware of what's sposed to be relevant, but very few people actually fully absorb the art in question. We're living under the overwhelming tide of «shadow influences» as David Rice put it. The chicken-head of Ouroboros eats his egg-tail over + over ...this is the way of the world + this is the conundrum of documentarians.

«Documentation and its digital subject are inextricable: programmers must document in order to program, and program in order to document. Any effort to "stay up-to-date" is "unbounded" as Thompson and Ritchie put it, because the operating system and its documentation (like digital networks and their specifications, as it happens, or—as Kelty explains—online "recursive publics" and the communicative means of their existence as such) developed through a process of "bootstrapping"," an ongoing "contest" to keep the technlology and its self-description mutually and exactingly germane.»

Paper Knowledge also reconfirmed our belief that PDF is the only viable format for dbooks ... until we complete our posthuman evolution, at which point we can do away w/ language + authors altogether + just scan barcodes + let information shake hands w/ information.

«So the document persists. Like Harpel's specifimens of ink shaped by specimens of labor, barcodes must inhabit or adhere to a page or page image, like the product label stuck on a tangerine or the boarding pass held open on a smartphone. They recall the sort of global positioning already hinted at by job printing, as they help triangulate the self in relation to authority: the authority of documents, on the one hand, and the authority of specific systems and bureaucracies, on the other hand.»

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[  (ɔ)om.Posted 2014  derek white  |  calamari press   ]