[NetBehaviour] Language and Object

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Jun 8 06:56:21 CEST 2010

do you have to be anything to do art?

no -

On Tue, 8 Jun 2010, codebreaker wrote:

> do you have to be smart to do art? (sorry to answer your question with a
> question. this statement may or may not help. somebody call me a
> spambulance)
> Alan Sondheim wrote:
>> Language and Object
>> A texture, tested.png, is created with the phrase "i don't understand
>> you're saying" overlaid with the word "ALIEN". The texture is applied to
>> numerous objects in the Second Life environment; the texture is also
>> inserted in the particle generation script. When an avatar sits on a
>> scripted object, particles spew out, carrying the same text as the objects
>> themselves. The result is a fireworks display of tested.png spews from
>> tested.png emitters. The display is like nothing in physical reality; at
>> the same time, it's tethered to the "ALIEN/i don't understand what you're
>> saying" text.
>> The problem, theoretical and practical, is this: How does alienness func-
>> tion, given the self-referentiality of this text? (Or, in fact, any text
>> at all? For it isn't so much the specific content, as the act of scanning
>> and reading familiar graphemes, words, and so forth, that sets the scene.)
>> Does the act of reading take away from the mise en scene (as alien, other
>> worldly - as elsewhere and elsewise) reducing it to a form of concrete
>> poetry - or does the mise en scene "alienize" the inscription - and, by
>> implication, any inscription, itself?
>> The former seems to be the case; as relevance theory has it, a determin-
>> ation occurs, creating a steering-mechanism as habitus for the viewing
>> session. Think of this as a detour or masquerade, the habitus within a
>> potential well, keeping everything in order.
>> In the real world, disguise of anomaly is equivalent to a problematic
>> shift to the familiar. Thus anomaly may be constantly hidden: a bomb as
>> lunch-box, for example - and the real as classical logic, with quantum and
>> cosmological anomalies kept at a distance. This references the phenomeno-
>> logy of nearly autonomous levels, without which life would be, literally,
>> at a loss.
>> In virtual worlds, we can experiment with all of this - keeping the alien
>> or familiar at bay - with (mostly autonomic) gestures whose stakes are
>> high in the real, gamed and (presumably) lower online. Thus the virtual is
>> the safe world/word for the real, until the real overwhelms us all.*
>> http://www.alansondheim.org/tested.png
>> http://www.alansondheim.org/alientalk.mov
>> *And when this happens, inscription disappears, there is nothing further
>> to be said; without memory or organism, the flat world shudders to a halt.
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