Wednesday, February 21, 2007

About "Aboutness"

First. to start your morning, a slice of Wittgenstein:
"Philosophy ought really to be written only as a poetic composition."
Is it possible to write poetically "about" anything?
A writing which is never "about" anything is never limited as to what can enter in. The furniture is endless. In a funny way, that is what David Antin was getting at when he compared "language poetry" to a stroll through Sears. All those shiny sentences stacked in a row. But, of course, retail layout is a hierarchical structure; it's a narrative with a conclusion "you buy." That is why the impulse items are by the register.

But the possibilities of complexity and plenitude are there. Which is why a writing which renounces "aboutness" can be so rich at precisely the level of content...

Still hungry? How about a bowl of Vilém Flusser who chimes in a few decades too soon to encapsulate the writerly edge that cleaves the seam:
"The reflections in this text propose that there are really only two escape routes from writing: back to the image or forward to the codes. Back to the imagination or forward into calculation. These reflections put forward that these two directions can merge surprisingly into one another: figures can be computed to images. From textual writing/thinking we can try to escape into imagined calculations. If we succeeded, the calculating and imaginative thinking would be sublated into textual thinking. Writers then would have swallowed and digested mathematicians and image-makers and thus lifted themselves onto a new level of thinking."
This is image écriture writ large. Stadium-sized imaginative writing ported through customized philosophical filters designed in-house.

Others are on to this more poetic drift into the philosophical as well, including the latest book, Make Dying Illegal, from Arakawa/Gins who wax eloquent on the "biotopological" and the way we cleave:
By definition, it is within and by means of bioscleave that all that happens does: some might wish to call bioscleave a thoroughgoing actualization, but that is not what we have found ourselves inclined to do. The sum of all that contributes to lives being led: bioscleave.
Bioscleaves actualize along. They do more than "go along to get along," that is, they target a landing-site with no predetermined outcome and see where it takes them.

A Poem
Waiting to be Disseminated
into a Field of Action
where the artist-medium
shape-shifts into

Or so I just imagined/imaged (improvisationally).

A Throw of the Dice Never Abolishes Chance?

Meanwhile, what Arawaka/Gins call a landing-site configuration is something to look forward to. Our architectural bodies merge with these landing-sites (figures) so that they are computed (manipulated) into images that we are happy to hang around in, navigate through, copulate with, or otherwise coordinate our persona in. Arawaka/Gins refer to this throughout their book as becoming an organism that persons.

On impulse, the organism that persons actualizes an engagement with the landing-site configuration as part of its constant struggle to person. This can happen anywhere at anytime. A stroll through Sears, a psychodrift through Whole Foods, a wander in Second Life.

And what happens when one organism persons multiple actualizations in asynchronous realtime? Is that what it means to become a networked domain? It certainly feels that way while drifting.

In Making Dying Illegal, the artists, who refuse to die and are busy building architectural bodies against death, tell us that the "organism that persons" is "shifting its cleaving borders that are layered so as to become that which strives to person."

This morning, we wonder: what does it take to nourish an organism that persons? And why, to be more sure of our bodies, do we also need to be less sure?

Does it have to do with our lingering erasure? Auto(chthonic) insurance fraud? It has been said that "you are what you eat." When people can no longer eat food-food and are looking for nutritional supplements, they turn to ersatz drink products like Ensure. The only people I know who drink this fake elixir are those who are stomach and throat cancer survivors as well as loser baby boomers who are perpetually looking for a quick fix to put off the inevitable.

But Arakawa/Gins insist we resist what is being force-fed to us as inevitable. In their world, death is not destiny and there is no reason to glide in that direction. In their minds, it should simply be made illegal.

In closing, I would say that whereas these notes are "about" nothing, in that nothingness they somehow declare their bioscleave with "aboutness" in general.

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