Friday, February 23, 2007

Pimping Pimp

Why expose yourself to getting punked when you can get PIMPed?

Reading through the current issue of PIMP reminds me why the London underground scene is still where it's all happening. The new issue has features on the science of music, stylesluts, avant-pop literature, indie film, and body modification visual art. In the mix are Ali Love, We Are Scientists, PMFKA, Kris Moyes, Frank Warren, Jody Barton, Superthriller, and many others.

And yes, blow up page 64 and check out the dialogue with the Publisher of Alt-X who, discussing the fate of avant-pop literature in digital environments, goes so far as to say:
I am not going to try and write the 21st century homage to War and Peace and try to cram that down your iPod or mobile phone. But I might write a fragmented story that samples from porn spam and remix it so that it becomes a commentary on contemporary war politics and our love of techno-gadgetry.
He is undoubtedly referring to his upcoming novel 29 Inches (click on news).

Postscript: Alt-X gets more hype on the MIT Press blog where, as luck would have it, Professor VJ is spotlighted as the "first featured author on Wednesday Blog Watch" ...

Oh, and while I'm tooting, this site keeps generating web traffic to my home page, as does this one (BMW?), both from Italy. Maybe it's my Italian blood?

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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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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Snapshot of New York (Still-Life or Time-Trip?)

I am just back from three days of icy deep freeze and wind chill factors permeating the commercial heart of New York.

Is that Wall Street?

No, it's Times Square.

Was it a money-making trip?

Yes and no. It was a conference (no cash in pocket, but residuals potentially forthcoming).

Do I have any pictures?

Yes. This one:

I just developed it.

But how?

First, let's examine it in the context of web cam performance art. Web cam performance art is a great way to play with video tableau. I'm making a feature-length "film" on that subject by focusing the HDV cam on a fictional web cam persona who plays (with) herself 24 X 7 (does that sound like someone you know?).

But there's more to it than that.

Set aside web cam performance art for a moment. Mobile phone image capturing, especially for the nomadic net artist who experientially drifts through variable scenes of writing as a way of knowing, has less to do with tableau and more to do with plateau.

In this case, I am the cyberceptive attractor, strangely cognizant while improvising, pivoting with my handheld while receiving the signals from the traffic below:

Look familiar?

This is New York City as I see it, 11:02 PM, Mountain Standard Time.

But why is it MST and not EST (Eastern Standard Time)? Did I forget to change my watch?

No, I don't wear a watch.

Then I must have forgotten to change the time zone on my mobile phone, yes?

Well, no, not that either.

What I have done is networked my surveillance eyes back to Times Square using an Internet Earth Cam. My surveillance eyes are the ones I use to obsess over the images just now breaking on the shores of my hactivist thought as I peer over and through and within the network. I have actually "taken the picture" with my Snapz Pro software running on my net connected iPhone.

All of a sudden, this experience of capturing an image of New York from a remote location where I use the network to peer into the distant present while my body still resonates with the psychosocial buzzing of the very recent past (My So-Called Trip to New York) changes the meaning of the term peer-to-peer network.

The image capture from the Earth Cam is REAL.

How do I know it's REAL?

It sends a (deep, icy) chill up my spine.

Have I manipulated the image?


How can I not manipulate the image?

Just by scripting this blog entry I have totally manipulated all of the networked data that informs the capturing of this image.

In fact, the image never had a chance.

To begin with, I have changed the size.


Yes, but only in theory.

In many ways, I am still in New York.

Or, maybe I would be better off saying "New York is still in me."

(And yet, tomorrow morning, nestled in the Colorado Rockies, I will further explore my "experiment in the technique of awakening" ...)

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