[NetBehaviour] Does this work?

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Nov 14 16:11:57 CET 2006



Does this work?

I'm fairly complicated in this regard; part of me feels that I'm genius
and working on necessary (however defined) themes, part of me is jealous
and troubled that others haven't really read the material (one thing that
happens a lot is that people feel a kind of hatred or awe at the work that
also keeps them from it), and part of me feels just worthless in any
situation - which has nothing to do with any of my work per se, but goes
back as usual to family issues/problems.

http://www.asondheim.org/bones.mov (with Sandy Baldwin)

There's always an issue of legitimation and history. Because my work is
produced in sections and over a wide variety of outlets, but not intensely
within any particular outlet, I feel I have to literally re-present the
grounds I work within, in any given publication. This has led to a fairly
dense writing, which is also fragmentary. I've taught in so many venues
without any kind of stability, that the fragment seems almost second
nature to me, more than the finished text which involves, again, a kind of
stability I've never had.

http://www.asondheim.org/dns.mov (with Sandy Baldwin)

As far as contents are concerned - I think what I do is valuable - at
least the work I do with analog/digital, defuge, virtual/real, the older
material on rewrite, immersive/definable, thresholding, and so forth. The
theorization of sexuality, body, and language, tends to be overdetermined
but these are grounds - abjection, the corpse, arousal, familiality - that
we live within and through, and they're often not confronted directly.
Sexuality sloughs into eroticism, body into body of theory or theoretical
body, and so forth. It's one thing to have theoretical layers between
abject and reader; it's another to have them rub raw against one another.

I felt this at the conference panel today in fact - that we're talking
about Web 3.0 on a dying planet; most people have little, if any, access
to broadband, yet the discussion appeared as if within the 'pure' of
capital, infinite capital, a fecund planet, and so forth. It's short-
sighted. For me, the death of _any_ species as a result of human behavior
is both problematic and dire - and yet we're destroying at a steady rate
of 3/4 an _hour._ It's all too easy to read WOW against that, but theory,
at least on the panel, presented the site of gaming as independent or
immune or oblivious. Again, I think that extinction/pain/slaughter and
virtual pain/slaughter inhere within each other. -

In my secret dreams, I want to produce, work on, processes etc. that are
new, that move in entirely new directions, at least for me, and at least
as far as possible. And while the work might embrace sexuality, it ab-
jures violence; there isn't murder or beatings or rapine in Incidences or
the videos - in fact there are pleasures, sadnesses, fear of death, and so
forth, but no celebration of brute force. I can't abide it; my early
reading of the Nuremberg medical trials still gives me nightmares, and I
have no faith in humans; they/we are capable of absolutely anything. So I
try to make my ecological footprint as small as possible in this regard
(which touches on vegan concerns, and so forth).

I've never seen re/presentations of humans in the manner I work with them
(yes, it's easy to mess up in Poser and produce distorted figures, but
they're not married to motion capture, they don't return to the flesh
etc.), nor have I seen dance/performance in the manner of Foofwa and co.
In the music/soundwork I try to go elsewhere than anything I hear. It's a
kind of migratory/emigrant behavior, a forced nomadicism (at least in the
roots); again I'd have to retreat to family history. (I should say I
identify with Lenny Bruce, Houdini, the Marx bros. here.)

http://www.asondheim.org/azuredanceis.mp4

I want to take theory, however I understand it, to the limit, to the limit
among other things, of its annihilation; theory is as destructive as it is
revelation - it distances the always-already distanced, to the point of
language games, no return, conferencing, capital, enunciation.

I love Lingis in this regard, and Existence and Existents as well. If one
can be made uncomfortable in a positive way, one succeeds; there's some
sort of progress (although I don't believe in progress per se). It would
be even better if one might be motivated to the point of political respon-
sibility, but I think at least in this world, that's asking too much...

So back to the beginning of this meander, I think what I'm doing is
valuable, and I have absolutely no doubt about that, none at all. How it
plays out within and without acad- emia - I have no idea, but for me (in a
safe position of course), that's not the primary thing. The primary thing
is the work - for me, it's always been the work, above anything else. I'm
well aware that this is a neurotic position but it keeps me going. -







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