Friday, September 22, 2006

Other Lives

To each being, several other lives were due. - Rimbaud

Today I am a novelist, blogger, flaneur, and fluxy post-Situationist "mark on the dérive."

Yesterday I was an artist playing lead vocals for an impromptu mix-band called Electronique Écriture (we have since broken up).

The day before that I was a sentimental art historian pining for the good old days of net art when nobody knew what they were doing and would never, not in a million years, consider moving to New York to "find a gallery."

The day before that I was a digital photographer and mobile phone "cinematographer" capturing new streams of data for a forthcoming film project that I am still imagining (hint: if all goes well, it will end up becoming part two in my "Foreign Film" series of feature-length works that models itself after what we used to call film but that now feels more like a new media narrative environment that integrates aspects of expanded cinema, net art, mobile blogging, and electronic literature into its conceptual framework).

The day before that I was a glutton, eating two breakfasts (a bowl of quinoa-corn flakes with grapes, raspberries, strawberries, mango, banana, plums, blueberries, blackberries, figs, raisins, dates, and soy milk [all organic/bio, naturally] and a huge poppyseed bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese), two lunches (new age ginger and vegetable pasta followed by North African vegetarian couscous with numerous [spicy] side dishes), one mid-day snack (salade nicoise), a small loaf of organic nut bread, a round of fresh goat cheese, two mangos, one and a half avocados, a slab of sesame-almond tofu, two bottles of French red wine, a rare Belgium beer made by organic monks (yes, the Trappist monks themselves are also organic!), five cups of espresso, two bars of 76% Venezuelan extra bitter dark chocolate, actually two loaves of organic nut bread (with hummus and pesto liberally spread atop their lightly toasted crusty textures), one cup of real hot chocolate (not the usual "pre-mix watered down with milk" variety, but basically melted dark chocolate with a small amount of milk mixed in so that it pours), a double scoop of homemade ice cream (bottom scoop praline made with pine nuts, top scoop made with figs which turns the ice cream a luminous bright red so that you feel as though you are sucking the velvet blood out of a passive cone-victim), one half of a melon, a Zen smoothie (peach, mango, banana, soy milk), three servings of ratatouille served with a side dish of rocket (arugula) with fresh cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced and very aged Parmegian cheese, a bowl of cured black olives soaking in a pool of fragrant olive oil with a hint of rosemary and thyme, five pistachio baklavas, and many other things that I can't remember, especially after the unexpected hit of Absinthe that one of my colleagues insisted I drink as a way to get over pining about the good old days of net art (which is itself a fictitious pining, since the good old days were never as good as some would have you believe, and besides, is twelve years really that old?).

Tomorrow I will be a producer raising funds for yet another project that will be a multi-media documentation of various digital personas whose liquid identities enable them to create an internetworked art-making machine out of the scraps of data left behind on the other World Wide Web, the one that has its secret protocols, handshakes, codes, and missing links. One day the public password for this underground WWW will finally be revealed so that everyone, even the consuming masses, can experience the ultimate pleasure one derives from becoming the kind of "live currency" that turns dreams into actions thus enabling themselves to destroy the replicant agenda of the all-pervasive corporate media.

(And soon, yet again, I will be a Professor, as always, narrativizing these fluid personas and experiences via an ever changing array of imaginary plug-in filters that I prepare especially for the occasion [of teaching].)

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Myspace, Meatspace, Anyspace ("Whatever"?)

Excerpt from an email from a prominent French critic to moi:
[...] makes me think first about Bergson's speculations on the body as "center of indetermination." If that is what you mean by the artist as unconscious medium whose nerve-scales "scintillate" when creating art in the passion of the moment, then your own blog-art (as you call it), specifically Passagen-Work, has special resonance for me. One can see in both the literary collage methodology of Benjamin's Passagen-Work and your own blog "remix" of Benjamin's sensibility, the teleportation of a kind of "digital Any-Space-Whatever" (to bastardize Deleuze), one that taps into the underlying potential of the "non-place place" of practice that de Certeau investigates when considering narrative, or every story, as a travel story. "Cut and past(e) as you go" you say, or perhaps quote DJ Spooky who I must admit I have never heard of. But your post-Burroughsian cut-up method, if I may call it that, especially in GRAMMATRON, though perhaps even more so in Passagen-Work (even though the former is so much more the epic than the latter!), points to the sustainable forms of écriture I still find possible, possible because they point to the cinematographic grammatization of the new media apparatus' creative potential (that word again!), which must make perfect sense to you since your own literary sensibility, like Benjamin before you, is playfully taking into account the way our bodies become contaminated by technicity itself and - through acts of unconscious mediation (?) - attempt to jam (like a jazz musician high on the adrenalin rush of live performance with overstimulated colleagues who push him to the limitless beyond!) - with the phenomenological dimensions of a spectatorial synthesis one cannot help but become while engaging in this process of infraempirical embodiment.
While I must admit I never exactly thought of my early or recent net art work in these terms, I do see why a good deal of my work resonates with those who love to flirt with the ideas of post-structuralism and everything that has and will come after it. It's true that when making GRAMMATRON (soon to celebrate its 10-year anniversary) I was well aware of the fact that academia was becoming totally hot over the connection between hypertext and deconstruction, and that even in the title itself, I was locating a memorable neologism that suggested a link between Derrida's "Of Grammatology" and the machinic aspects of recombinatory writing's unconscious apparatus. Still, GTRON, and Passagen-Work some nine years after it (and with many net art works, museum installations, artist writings, and VJ performances in between), were never about the narrativization or aestheticization of a particular theory. For that, you can follow some of the work of N. Katherine Hayles (for example, Writing Machines , which I admit I have not yet read) who has found electronic texts much more accessible to the flirtations of academic theory (some might go so far as to say that these electronic texts were designed ("dressed up"?) for theoretical readings). Non, Le GRAMMATRON is much more about the influence of the rival tradition in literature and as part of its investigation looks to see what happens when this non-tradition tradition finds itself unconsciously using "cyberspace" as its metamediumistic co-conspirator in the act of creative composition. This metamediumistic tendency in the rival tradition of literature goes way back (Sterne's "Tristram Shandy" seems most relevant here), but also includes my own writer friends like Sukenick, Federman, and Acker, as well as my undergrad teacher Robbe-Grillet, some of the cyberpunkers, and yes, Burroughs.

Benjamin is another story altogether.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Foreign Tongue

My French is terrible. Non. It's non-existent. Oui (pronounced with a wee bit of the "way").

It's like a - foreign language.

But foreign to who?



I understand spam better than I understand French. Par exemple:

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 12:51:01 +0400
From: William Burroughs
Subject: rectilinear


_95%0ff for

all-V _i- a- g_r a ; __
C-i a- -l- is , &
L-e vi__tra.__

khmer,to the procurator,scuffle,on the ground,
breeches,white shirt dark,belch,tverskaya in nothing.
protoplasmic,and what does,resume,reason at all!,


Artaud (not pronounced "are toad"):
All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar's teeth.

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