[NetBehaviour] Somatic Ghosting 2 - the "pure circuit pure loop"

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Wed Aug 14 03:32:48 CEST 2019

Somatic Ghosting 2 - the "pure circuit pure loop"

-- (new texts, rewritten texts) --

(background and other materials for a talk at London ICA)


https://youtu.be/V7uj5nUGueM VIDEO

"impure circuit, impure space, impure vector field; it's
prosthetic space itself that speaks here, a second skin, uncanny
body, the circulation of the planet. i love the expulsion of agency
in all of this, or the shell of agency, its bouquet. original
2008, again from WVU VEL, thanks to Frances Van Scoy, Sandy
Baldwin, Gary Manes, Azure Carter. welcome to the network always
already in the process of dissolution. again, signals sent around
the world through access grid nodes, planetary orbits."

But it wasn't dissolution; prosthetic space is fecund, replete, a
process of the production of somatic ghosting, neither present nor
absent, again neither here nor there, as if a wormhole (but of
course neither a wormhole nor a black hole).

Similarity of Scale 2


The Matrix Piece - Thinking about the flatness of the ontology,
up and down - closure, system within system - surface geometries,
topologies, change, nothing more - Produce this live? Video?
Ongoing? So how does this relate to somatic ghosting? There's no
room for ghosts within the digital - only within a second-order
representation - etc. So flat. In spite of AI, Life and other
games, dead in the microbiome maelstrom of the planet.

Then below - two earlier works and descriptions: sending this
around the world - two examples which still take my breath away.


https://youtu.be/j9CPU9XP5ys video

Beginning the work with the Access Grid, a minimum 3-computer
multi-audio/video/location large-scale Internet-2 conference
application - this was over a decade ago. So we were able to
bounce signals around the world, picking the path; here are two
experiments - presented again - examples of somatic ghosting -

what is carried by the digital are problematic and uncanny
emanations of the body or the space of the body - the ghosting
shape-riding the digital streams, neither embedded nor adjacent -
as if it was fundamentally alien (which it was and is) -

some quotes in order: "the access grid which allows multiple
cameras and microphones from a single location to connect to the
same at another location. designed for invisible walls classroom
use. we used the access grid at the VEL at WVU in a number of
ways; one of which involved bouncing an audio/video signal around
the world through other nodes, back to the lab in Morgantown. by
using video feedback, i.e. the camera and mics aimed at the
receiving monitor, we were able to create closed circuits or loops
from morgantown through various other sites, including one in New
South Wales, Australia. in other words, the usual video feedback
occurred, but with delay occasioned by each layer looping the
entire globe. we used azure carter as subject for the most part,
looping sound and site and motion; in this earlier experiment
(which btw involved multiple computers in morgantown as well), we
used my waving hand for proof of concept. the delays and color
shifts were the result of the voyage. the procedure reminded me of
the even older email bangpaths that allowed one to send text
anywhere through specified nodes."

"the only originality i could claim here is the use and present/
presencing of the body itself, the somatic and almost punk
register of the process or piece, something i continue to think
about and work through. because we have our bodies have us and
it's the appearance of this momentary thickening we call a
lifespan that's dependent on the permeability of the world's

"this quote from a letter by Dylan Thomas to Pamela Hansford
Johnson, in October 1933, is relevant i think:

'I fail to see how the emphasizing of the body can, in any way, be
regarded as hideous. The body, its appearance, death, and
diseases, is a fact, sure as the fact of a tree. It has roots in
the same earth as the tree. The greatest description I know of our
"earthiness" is to be found in John Donne's Devotions, where he
describes man as earth of the earth, his body earth, his hair a
wild shrub growing out of the land. All thoughts and actions
emanate from the body. Therefore the description of a thought or
action - however abstruse it may be - can be beaten home by
bringing it on to a physical level. Every idea, intuitive or
intellectual, can be imaged and translated in terms of the body,
its flesh, skin, blood, sinews, veins, glands, organs, cells, or
senses.' (p. 27 The Notebooks of Dylan Thomas, ed. Ralph Maud.)"

the gendering is a problem of course, but the thinking of earth,
what i consider emanant, emanation or effluvia, avatar imaginary
or dissipating rootedness, relates well to the body immersed
within the access grid, or rather the imagine/imaginary of the
body traversing the access grid, and i, we, they will stop here.

& access grid around/above the earth, atmospheric channeling
(relates to VLF radio, lightning VLF antipodal channeling, etc.)

& I've continued to think about emanation, hence somatic ghosting
- uneasy mix of ontologies at work -

( see also http://www.alansondheim.org/emanent.rtf )

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