[NetBehaviour] Szpakowski/Sondheim exchange #1

Michael Szpakowski m at michaelszpakowski.org
Sat Oct 6 21:30:23 CEST 2018

Hi all with Alan's permission ( indeed encouragement!) I'm forwarding an exchange we had about my art and knowledge piece, posted here and accessible to... er...  *some* :https://rdcu.be/7BPg
( Wiley helpfully got in touch to say that they're 'working on' the fact that whether their read only version works is dependent upon 'device and browser.' FFS!)

    If anyone did want to see it and can't get to it through the Wiley link give me a shout and I'll sort something.Anyway, this the first of three:

----- Forwarded Message -----
 From: Alan Sondheim 
 To: Michael Szpakowski 
 Sent: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 2:52 PM
 Subject: Re: your article!, response

Hi Michael,

I read your article, far too quickly; I'm short of time, I do have
some comments about it, and I wonder if there is something about
quoting Ryle, etc. that speaks to British thought; I tend to work more
out of deconstruction, and people like Alphonso Lingis for example.

I'm not sure what research is, what knowledge is, for example. I
wouldn't use those terms. I'd turn more towards Mikel Dufrenne who, in
his phenomenology of the novel, talks about the world of the book,
which relates to diegesis on one hand - that might relate to your
knowledge-with, and I think an irreducible on the other. I've also
used Bourdieu's Distinction, which talks about artworlds and their
relation to the social, and I think of art especially, through
Foucault, as a discursive formation - the object or process or
performance, the focus in a sense or punctum or plateau - is only part
of a discourse which us all over the place, sloppy - for example
imitations and influences on other artists, precedents, reviews, angry
looks, appreciations, idle talk in and out of the gallery if there is
a gallery, etc. I think it deeply resists definition (for example of
_any_ sort of knowledge-x) and instead might be considered in terms of
tendencies, gatherings, plateaus, those discursive formations,
idiolects, and so forth. This to me is where the energy and resistance
and value lies, in its incapacity for fundamental (ontological,
epistemological) focusing, its doing of something, anything, including
indefinable fields, its insistence, in a sense, on a problematic which
at its very core is irreducible. Even art "research" - or maybe
especially art "research" is a trap, just as for me "experimental" is
a trap; art is a doing which may or may not participate in research
one way or another. And art as increasing knowledge? How is this
conceivably defined? Even in mathematics - does coming up with a newer
largest prime really increase knowledge?

I do think on the other hand, the sciences are vastly different, and
that difference lies in the difficult ontology and epistemology of
mathematics, and mathesis in relation to experiment. I think hard
knowledge does result out of this, and on a low level, technology is
the result. Understanding the workings of a neutron star (which are
far more complicated than I thought) is a good example - there is no
way humans can approach one (for that matter, can we approach an atom?
a quark? certainly not a neutrino - you see where this is going), but
we can begin to understand the unbelievaly 'foreign' (to us) dynamics
of the star through a combination of distant observation and
mathematical modeling. For me, I've always felt that science is "that
thing" or process among any others that has an uncanny relationship to
fundamental truths about the world.

Finally, I think that identity politics and their instantiation in
works of art definitely gives background and depth to your deployment
of knowledge-with; this has to do with, among other things, who the
"with" are, what sort of social is implied, and so forth. And here art
supplies a didactic function that is almost uncanny; it relates for me
to mirroring and mirror neurons between one and another body, between
and among bodies, and the problematic, critique, and celebration of

If you think it's useful, please send this on to the netbehaviour
list; I wanted to send it directly to you, of course.

Best, Alan, hope it's a bit useful. -

=====================================================directory http://www.alansondheim.org tel 718-813-3285
email sondheim ut panix.com, sondheim ut gmail.com

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