[NetBehaviour] Messay (finished on my birthday, ah well)
sondheim at panix.com
Sun Feb 3 09:28:09 CET 2008
(really apologies for sending so much material out recently. i've been working
furiously on 'emanent' materia and wanted to 'capture' what's close to a book
as it comes. right or wrong, there are implications for poetics, phenomenology,
etc., i think, or would like to think. anyway, here is the most confused essay
of all. after this, back to image/sound, both of which are easier for me,
shape-riding into oblivion.)
Messay: The Mess of the True World
This text is culled from an outline of current work prepared for my re- search
group at West Virginia University (Virtual Environments Laboratory, Center for
Literary Computing), Morgantown, WV. Questions dealing with substantive content
were taken in the order they appeared, and embedded in the following m/essay.
Topics again center around issues of the 'true world,' emanents, medical and
other modeling, avatars, organisms, know- ledge and its management. The
relative disorderliness reflects the disord- erliness of the world, or so I
hope to believe - not an inherent defect in messay style.
what does it mean to be in-carnated within the real/virtual/
Carnated/carnal/knowledge - We could begin by introducing the true world, the
world of mind in relation to ontological/epistemological shifting. The true
world is primordial, in other words backgrounding.
..."however, we use the word [_materialism_] in its dictionary definition of
_embodiment,_ in contract to _mind._ Thus, virtual reality, as dis- cussed
within the art literature [...] is materialist, regardless of whether this
experience is _real_ or _illusory._ Mental constructs, on the other hand, are
nonsensory and so have no material existence." Paul Fish= wick, An Introduction
to Aesthetic Computing, in Fishwick, ed., Aesthetic Computing, MIT, 2006. In
this sense, the true world is materialist; how- ever I would argue that mental
constructs cohere with the sensory, that a fundamental entanglement exists. For
example, love or hate create sensed bodily transformations, mathematical
thought creates the sensation of per- ceived 'symbol-clouds,' and so forth.
what are the edge-phenomena/plastic and static limits of the body?
The limits of my body within the true world are the limits of my world; here I
include ontological shifts such as mathesis, semiosis, emotions and the like.
Given the limited bandwidth of receptors of all sorts, and the limitations of
mind (for example, in thinking through the appearance of the eighth dimension,
calculating, speaking non-native languages, etc.), thought and the true world
are based on extrapolation - the _gestural_ - as fundamental being. (See Tran
Duc Thao on the origins of language.) The gestural follows quantum
non-distributive logics (see the early experi- ments by Land on color vision),
not Aristotelian distributive logics; this being-in-the-world is partial
reception of part-objects transformed into inherency through gesture. All
organisms have this in common.
The _plastic_ limits of the body are the limits of body-inherency, whether
'real' or 'virtual' or other category - the limits of the image carried by the
jectivity (introjection and projection) braid. The _static_ limits may be
considered formal-measurable limits, whether in one or another space.
of the geopolitical body? of the political-economic body?
As soon as one brings domain-extrapolation of the body into play (i.e. sexual
body, material body, imaginary body, natural body, and so forth), cultural
nexus is paramount, and the body itself moves within theory as phenomenological
token or punctum.
And as soon as one brings variegated ontologies and epistemologies into play,
analysis becomes a mush/mess/mass or miss. Terms slide against terms, carrying
enormous overdetermined histories with them - but these are the only histories
what are the signifiers of bodily arousal/violence/meditation?
how are these constituted within the true world?
Herewith bee a liste of signes, or some such. But where is the arousal,
violence, meditation, if not brainward, wearing the exposure, softening,
hardening, quiescence of the body which simultaneously is foregrounded and
absenting. In terms of emanents, the signs are symbolic; one calculates,
applies them. In term of organism, the signs are ikonic, upwelling. The brain
manages none of this; the brain manages, is managed - everything becomes a mess
as inquiry tangles uselessly. It's this uselessness, this nexus, that is of
interest - an analytical failure in the close-rubbed maw of the world.
readings: what does it mean to read the real body? the virtual body?
One might begin by considering language as fundamentally ikonic, that within
the preconscious ('repository' of syntactics, short-term memory - another
metaphor) language is clothed, associated with the true world. Language then is
structured like the unconscious, and the unconscious does not necessarily splay
the real. Bodies, organic and emanent (and 'organic' references the machinic
phylum as well), inhere to mind, minding, tending, a posteriori interpretation
and hermeneutics. Reading the body is embody- ing, is against the background of
incarnation. Sheave-skins need not react or appear to sense as organic skins;
the feedback is often visual or aural, not proprioceptive. Within the jectivity
braid, this is an epistem- ological issue, not one of fundamental locus. On the
other hand (real or virtual), one can abandon the emanent; abandoning the
organic is deadly. Proceed backwards from this, from the irretrievable,
intolerable, finality of death, and reading bodies, and bodily risk, become
wildly disparate. Nevertheless both inhabit the true world, mind inhabits both,
albeit often in qualitatively different manners, depending on ontology.
what are the ontologies and epistemologies involved here?
ontological status of the so-called virtual -
Schroedinger's cat paradox and collapse of the wave function as model
for simultaneous analogic/digital readings -
seeing through microscopy (tunnel, scanning, optical, etc.):
are ontology and epistemology equivalent at the limit?
(are analogic and digital equivalent at a parallel limit?)
What difference does it make? Begin with the mess, with the corrupted reading
of whatever consciousness has placed there, on the page, the rock, the emanent
body, the organic body. The last carries ikonic signs, simultaneously
indexical, pointing out the mute history of the being. If there were only
readers of everything! If only the book of nature existed! The Ladder! Great
Chain of Being!
Ontologies occur in local domains, rub raw against each other, problema- tize
each other. Who decided this one or that one as primordial? What's fundamental
is the mixed mess, the braid. At least as far as we're con- cerned, the braid.
internals and externals, static/dynamic. remnants of the visible
human project, gendering of the visual/internal
Human skin under the microtome, sheave-skin burrowed into by camera position.
Here is the necessity of Madhyamika, co-dependent origination, depend
co-origination, braided mind, image, imaginary, entity, real and virtual
within, inhering to the true world. Striated, variegated trans- formations
characterize life; the Visible Human Project transforms organism into emanent,
habitus into data-base.
comfort, dis/comfort, ease, dis/ease, hysteria and abjection/fluid-
ity (laycock's 1840 essay on hysteria, kristeva, chasseguet-smirgel)
Clearly the abject lies within the primordial, the braid is braid of
dissolution, corruption, decay; definitions flux in relation to the constricted
passing of time. Organisms flood themselves, emanents decay with their
corporations, software updating, diminishing dreamtimes as elders die off.
Hysteria is convulsion, but also spew, contrary and wayward, the refusal of the
body, just as death is such a refusal and catatonia. Do others refuse the body?
Use it? Reuse it? Are sheave-skins exchanged? Does political economy depend on
dis/ease, hysteria, and so forth of emanents
Dis/ease, etc. may be modeled; turning the emanent towards abjection is
necessarily a conscious decision. The hysteria of emanents is the hys- teria of
the steering mind. Proliferation of emanents, duplications and other hacks, may
be considered a form of hysteria. But hysteria is on the surface; emanents
which are autonomous or semi-autonomous agents may exist the full range of
symptoms, generated from within, without external steering.
medical model and technology
A medical model implies internal flows, striations, identities, vulner-
abilities, immunological defenses, maintenance and so forth. Emphasis is on the
cohering of parts, membranes and molecular channels. Organism runs from within;
emanent runs from without. An emanent may be defined as _an image or apparition
whose body and mind are elsewhere,_ an entity that exists in relation to the
jectivity braid, and has apparent, but not genidentical, identity. Of course
the organic body itself is genidentical only to a limited extent.
One might say then that both ontologically and epistemologically, _an emanent
exists within data-bases or other entities spatio-temporally distant from the
visual or other residue._ What we see is surface, but surface from both within
and without. _The dissection of an emanent image is the result of camera
psychoanalytics and technology, psychoanalytics of emanents
The psychoanalytics of emanents are two-fold: the psychoanalytics of mind
steering, and the internal psychoanalytics of the machinic phylum. Or
three-fold if the former is also embedded within/embedding the psycho-
analytics of organically-embodied mind. I would begin with Freud's
metapsychology, since it's illusory clarity allows the possibility of
equivalence, attribute classes, and the like. I would attach this model to one
of drives and instincts dealing at least in part with homeostatic maintenance
(which I have covered elsewhere).
analogic and worn emanent boundaries
How does the emanent wear? How does it wear the analog? For an emanent to
_wear,_ an ontological shift must be crossed, the wear occurring in hard or
flash drive, in the material world of atoms and quantum probabilities.
edge / boundary phenomena - physics and psychophysics of the game-world
edge in second life
Psychophysical remapping of (motion, behavior) steering phenomena. What else to
say here? Camera views must be independent of emanents; they move beyond,
behind, below the sheave-skins, constructing visual feedback of morphed
transformations. For a moment nothing is autonomic, everything is relearned.
But there are asymptotic behaviors and motions at the edge of every game-world,
behaviors simultaneously permitting approach and refus- ing escape. The
game-world edges harbor autisms, palsies, deconstructions - chatterings which
take on the guise of everyday life, just as everyday life elsewhere within the
game-world might well take on these chatterings as style or news from afar.
phenomena of the sheave-skin and sheave-skin internals
Sheave-skin externals read as internals: anatomical mappings within Poser.
First that the visual mappings are just that, indexicals, residue, from
codings, reports from another frontier, that of the software processes
themselves. Second, I have pointed out elsewhere that sheave-skin and
environment, visuals, all exist within the same ontological habitus; the split
is between this habitus and deeper discrete or digital processes. The split is
absolute ontologically, constructed epistemologically. If there is an Absolute
in sheave-skin or game-theory or game-world, it's this ontological split which
even a representation of software processes cannot penetrate: from
electron-movement and process configuration/deploy- ment to
visual/aural/tactile/etc. appearance - the gap is permanent, imminent, and
phenomena of medical models in relation to edge/boundaries
The medical model is for learning, for analogy of surface to surface. The
medical model requires a (human) viewer. Any dissection into the substance of
an organic body results in exposed and constructed surfaces; interiors always
lie elsewhere, revealed by X-ray, MRI, and so forth.
edge phenomena in literature, codework, mathesis of the text
In a sense all writing is edge, phenomena of the edge; writing exists as
surface, sheave-skin, emanent. Inscription coats the orgasm of things,
constructs both things and orgasm, wryting into the body of the true world
helter-skelter. Codework in this regard is mute, ikonic; code and text scrape
one another, none dominant, both structured and structuring.
generalization of edge phenomena into the dialectic between tacit
knowledge (polyani) and error (winograd/flores)
At the edge, the world is manifest between lived experience and corrup- tion,
between trial and error, between inhering/cohering and construction, between
dwelling and building. into the forest of error, where does the body go? From
the edge, one can look back or down, into the windows of the comfortable houses
across the street - if one still has the capability of sight. Is the edge
sharp? Does the world cut? Is the edge equivalent to death, both blank, beyond,
both miasma of theory and practice? Think else- wise of the possibilities of
worlds of closed manifolds or recursions, one repeatedly returning, to
something in the vastness of space or mind. and then think, what a construct,
what comfort, and to what regard, what proof or results, what Signs?
what constitutes worlds? constructing?
world of the text, inhabitation/dwelling/building (heidegger,
It's too simple to insist on worlds cohering, or that within their do- main
(ontological, epistemological), there is closure. One might say that, for all
intents and purposes, worlds are nearly closed, that blurred boun- daries are
distanced, rarely in evidence. The construction of worlds is no more or less
problematic than the construction of anything at all. A world is characterized
by inhabitation; a world is a homing.
The world of the text forgets its coding, its double-coding. Without that
forgetting, erasure, the text is anomalous, problematic, non-cohering. The
willing suspension of disbelief begins within the absence of will; will returns
when the text ends or fails.
what constitutes the true world? worlding?
'true world' in which lines/angles are 'trued' (affine geometry),
'true world' in the sense of 'trued' phenomenologies within which
virtual, real, and ikonic are blurred and interpenetrating, somewhat
equivalent, and within which traditional epistemologies of symbol/
sign/signifier/signified/index/ikon etc. break down (kalachakra
tantra, jeffrey hopkins)
'Worlding' references ongoing inhabiting and making of the (true) world,
inhabiting memory, making and dwelling in memory, the truing of the world. All
worlds are not true worlds, all true worlds are worlding. ikonic signs inhere
within the true world, reading bodies (organisms, emanents, approp- riated,
misappropriated) are ikonic, true world, the body stands for everything and
nothing; ikonic, the body stands in for the body.
'reading' underlying (substructural, configuration files, guides)
organization of mocap/scan through surface phenomena
(and the relationship of this reading to waddington's epigenetic
Oh, one has to read the cinema I produce, held taut through diagram and
substructure. Reading here involves decoding, retaining the decoding against
the memory or remembrance of absent code. There are epigenetic landscapes of
decoding, tendencies and tending of the true world sending the reader one or
another wayward or contrary way. Landscapes lead toward coagulation of
landscapes, tethered desire of inhabiting an other. We can't let go of
ourselves, even to read; we huddle, in order to write.
who is world? communality, consensuality?
the problem of other minds and the problem of consensual other minds
(group hallucinations, vijnanavada, dwarf sightings, ufos, etc.)
We can't answer this. We can't answer this without further future know- ledge
in terms of mind. We have experienced, at least once, the connect- edness of
mind, but to generalize from this is problematic. I have no doubt of minding
the world, minding the world of minds. And that one time may well have been
untoward coincidence. Certainly "who is world?" is a proper question to ask,
emanent and organism alike entailed. And certainly we are all emanents, and
certainly we receive differently from different skins, tissue-skins,
sheave-skins, molecular-membrane-skins, one-pixel- thick-skins, true world of
inhering/cohering skins. It is not communality or consensuality that beg
definition, but their absence: what cause the illusion of individuation, the
At this point, defuge sets in, the intolerable directing of the messay
increasingly turns towards entanglement; nothing is answered or accounted
(nothing is accountable). What to do but abandon the true world to a certain
trembling at the edge - an edge which increasingly moves towards an unknown
center (the real edge where damage begins). And what to do but abandon this
attempt at another accretionary formation or inscription, living in the world
as-if there were a certain human, if not organic, order. As-if is the pleasure
of our senses and disfigurement of slaughter, as if these were speakable
between the axle and the rim (the spokes, too, have their gaps). Let it go. Do
let it go.
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