[NetBehaviour] Resonances 1970-2020

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Fri Oct 30 21:18:18 CET 2020

Thank you! And I wonder if you might not make a garden of forking paths
yourself, how all of these things relate to you, and cross-relate to each
through you? That's what's fascinating to me, and full of interest!
And that leads elsewhere of course. It's a bit like Kabbalah (something
else I have trouble following!)

Best!, Alan

On Fri, Oct 30, 2020 at 4:14 PM Max Herman <maxnmherman at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Alan,
> Yes far too many bits and pieces on my part, apologies for that!
> I've been in the habit lately of assembling excessively large lists of
> fragments and trying to see patterns, which often are not there.  Note to
> self, this process is not a final product!   🙂
> Did very much enjoy the *Resonances* book/let however, so many thanks
> again,
> Max
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Sent:* Friday, October 30, 2020 2:51 PM
> *To:* NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Cc:* Alan Sondheim <sondheim at gmail.com>
> *Subject:* Re: [NetBehaviour] Resonances 1970-2020
> Hi Max,
> I have a hard time following you; I trace very little myself back to
> Leonardo; I haven't corresponded with Hofstadter, I read Calvino years ago
> but haven't drawn anything from him, and so forth. For example, it doesn't
> matter to me whether Leonardo drew the spirals or not or what relevance
> that has. I was drawing figures that could only reverse by pulling them out
> of 3-dim and turning them in 4; this is the usual stuff about gloves - to
> make a left-handed glove right-handed, you'd have to turn it in 4
> dimensions, an impossibility of course. There's lots of writing on this
> stuff. As far as the Quanta article goes, I can't comment either; Susskind
> and Hawking have argued this as have thousands of other physicists. We're
> very much on the outside of actual research, and without the mathematics,
> for me, I'd just be playing around. I worked w/ David Finkelstein at one
> point, proofreading his stuff as I mentioned somewhere I think, and he also
> felt the divide - "time" in physics doesn't translate easily into daily
> life for example.
> One thing I'm sure you've looked at? Mandlebrot's fractals - but also
> fractal theory itself; that's heavily related to all that self-similarity
> stuff of moving in and out; I've even worked with plotting/mapping fractal
> paths in QBasic years ago; check out Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of
> Science, Mandebrot's book, etc. etc. Or for that matter, work on surreal
> numbers or studies of the continuum. The problem is you can find anything
> anywhere, I think, if you jump metaphorically from one place to another.
> For me, I'd look at Euclid closely and then jump to 19th-century
> geometricians, then maybe dimension studies, etc. I can understand using
> Leonardo as a basis, but I think you might try doing that just as well with
> say Caravaggio, or painters like Pontormo and Fiorentino who were breaking
> with totality. I love your writing, by the way, just not sure where it's
> going and its veering seems to loosely lose its subject at times, at least
> for me; I'd rather have a better grasp of mathematics and mathesis than
> Leonardo or any other literary figure.
> For me, I know I don't know recursive function theory, and that's what I'd
> need here. I used Rosza Peter's Recursive Functions book, which I couldn't
> follow in its entirety; I also spoke to mathematicians at the time. I was
> fascinated by Wittgenstein's TLP, in particular the use of primitive
> functions not-both-a-and-b and neither-a-nor-be, not this not that. I did
> understand that well enough to write on them and that was published in a
> philosophy journal.
> The picture of the knot is beautiful; you'll find similar things in
> Islamic architecture. Erasing WCBS was a metaphor for a return to a ground
> state, an empty carrier wave which is already a contradiction, since
> carrier waves are at specific frequencies. I was also interested and
> wrote/talked about the idea of a news "story" since "story" implies a whole
> bundle of conventions - stories are "killed" for example (which parallels
> the killing of a process in linux, and all those metaphors in operating
> systems from daily/organic life).
> For me, these are all different worlds; I majors in English lit. in
> college (unfortunately), studied some physical anthropology, got Brown's
> first MA in creative writing poetry after studying Middle English, and have
> found no place to rest/roost since.
> Keep going!
> Alan, thanks!
> On Fri, Oct 30, 2020 at 12:52 PM Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
> One other thought Alan, have you ever corresponded with Hofstadter?  He is
> still working at the University of Indiana and would understand much more
> than I can about the series and set theory you discuss.  I contacted him
> about the many references by Calvino in *Six Memos* to his book *GEB*,
> and he replied that he had never heard of such references and knows of but
> has not read *Six Memos*.
> I think it could lead to a great conversation if Hofstadter was to read *Six
> Memos*, and its contemplation of poetry and math, but I have no idea how
> to motivate him to do so!  I floated the idea of an article about *Six
> Memos* and *GEB *to a well-known author who had interest for a time but
> got too busy.  🙁
> Must keep trying, I suppose, just like our redoubtable hero of the
> *Odyssey!*  🙂
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Max Herman via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> >
> *Sent:* Friday, October 30, 2020 11:21 AM
> *To:* NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Cc:* Max Herman <maxnmherman at hotmail.com>
> *Subject:* Re: [NetBehaviour] Resonances 1970-2020
> Hi Alan,
> Just read this now, it is extremely relevant I think!
> First off, the spirals in the JPG Leonardo pretty much drew those
> constantly from what I can tell in the notebooks.
> The "removal" you write of might correspond, I wonder, to the idea of
> "less" in the novel.  Because, in a way, when you do a recursion and return
> back to and resume from where you were the recursion "disappears"; but of
> course not really.  Or, in what what does it and in what way does it not?
> I saw this article from Quanta yesterday after writing about all this
> chiastic structure stuff and *Less *to my three mathematician friends
> (who correct me constantly):
> https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-black-hole-information-paradox-comes-to-an-end-20201029/
> I'm not qualified to judge the validity of the physics being discussed, but
> the visuals are evocative and seem to echo the removal/trace idea you
> describe.
> The concept of the 4-hour tape being made and erased reminds me a bit of
> Bjorn's concept of works that do not exist.  But in a way, they do?
> I asked my mathematician friends what if anything in math might compare to
> chiasmus, and one replied that anti-isomorphism would.  This makes sense to
> me, because "antimetabole" (or reverse change) is a sub-type of chiasmus
> where the words are exact matches (all for one and one for all).
> Here is a potential text chiasmus from Leonardo; the first sentence
> resembles ABCD-BADC:
> Painting is poetry which is seen and not heard, and poetry is a painting
> which is heard but not seen. These two arts, you may call them both either
> poetry or painting, have here interchanged the senses by which they
> penetrate to the intellect.A Treatise on Painting (1651); "The Paragone";
> compiled by Francesco Melzi prior to 1542, first published as Trattato
> della pittura by Raffaelo du Fresne (1651)
> Actually now I'm kind of "tripping out" because the Leonardo sentence is a
> "linked" chiasmus pair exactly like the links in the neckline of the *Mona
> Lisa*.
> Here is an image Leonardo made for his "academy" which was, I think, an
> imagination:
> https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1877-0113-365
> In reading the Resonances pamphlet, the reference to symmetry and
> encoding/decoding on page 7 makes sense.  With Leonardo, I'm trying to
> understand if there is kind of a text/image method going on that he wants
> us to first "figure out," then "listen to," (or in his term, "experience"
> or "esperienza").  One idea I have is that we are meant to look at the Mona
> Lisa as a mirror equal of ourselves i.e. a peer (not servant or master).
> Then we are meant to notice the difference between the living awareness,
> which is present (the person), inanimate nature (the rock/water landscape),
> and the art/technology flows (which are the garment and the bridge).  The
> whole composition is then chiastic, in a way, kind of based on a symmetry,
> but "dislodged" if you will by the passage of time (which I see as
> represented by the shallow, inverted V of the horizon line, splitting
> "before" if you will on the left from "after" on the right, with the apex
> somewhere around the sitter's eye).  This dislodgement would yield for
> example a spiral or helix rather than a point rotating around a circle.
> So, your reference to extrapolating to higher dimensions (mainly 2 to 3 I
> think for Leonardo) and rotating are very much part of the Mona Lisa,
> especially if on views (as I do) the notebooks as a fundamental part of the
> Mona Lisa, the latter being in a sense merely an anchor or fulcrum with
> which to leverage the preservation of the notebooks or more accurately what
> the notebooks represent.  Hence the knot, VICI, etc.  Maybe relates to the
> IPL ideas of stack etc. too, but I know virtually nothing about computers.
> I had never heard of Greer before reading *Less *last week so my take on
> him is brand new; but since he lives in SF among SV people and half-time in
> Tuscany among Calvino readers I can see how he would go into these kinds of
> inquiries.
> One article I found argues that Nabokov in *Pale Fire* was actually
> referring more to *Hamlet*, which he did not state openly, than to *Timon
> of Athens*, which he did.  The phrase "pale fire" is from Hamlet, but
> appears interrupted by other words.
> Here is a quote from Wikipedia:
> Explanation of the title
> As Nabokov pointed out himself,[14] the title of John Shade's poem is from
> Shakespeare's Timon of Athens: "The moon's an arrant thief, / And her pale
> fire she snatches from the sun" (Act IV, scene 3), a line often taken as a
> metaphor about creativity and inspiration. Kinbote quotes the passage but
> does not recognize it, as he says he has access only to an inaccurate
> Zemblan translation of the play "in his Timonian cave", and in a separate
> note he even rails against the common practice of using quotations as
> titles.
> Some critics have noted a secondary reference in the book's title to
> Hamlet, where the Ghost remarks how the glow-worm "'gins to pale his
> uneffectual fire" (Act I, scene 5).[15]
> The title is first mentioned in the foreword: "I recall seeing him from my
> porch, on a brilliant morning, burning a whole stack of [index cards of
> drafts of the poem] in the pale fire of the incinerator...".
> Now, one possibility we must consider is that Nabokov was lying or
> concealing when he said that the title was from Timon.  Why would he do
> that?  Well, I think for a range of reasons but one is simply to assert
> that art is not passive.  The artist does not deliver it to us like a
> package in the mail.  There is much assembly required!  🙂  Or as Hamlet
> said, why would the artist want to let the viewers play him like a flute?
> Also, Greer mentions glow-worms several times, which to me blares "yes it's
> a reference to Hamlet everybody" but that is my bias.  (I see Hamlet and
> Oedipus in many works -- Oedipus is the chiastic hero detecting and
> punishing his own crime -- such as in *Less *when the protagonist steps
> on a sewing needle.)
> If this is true, then Greer's reference to Lolita in *Less *might be more
> a reference to Pale Fire, and his reference to the Last Supper might be
> more a reference to the Mona Lisa, and his reference to aging backwards
> might also be a reference to Dorian Gray.  But they might not!  I could be
> projecting, but in a sense projection is also "on purpose," in the sense of
> all probabilities playing themselves out.
> For example: it struck me while reading *Less *that he mentions
> everything in the fictional world tour being closed, or already passed, or
> not happening yet, so the protagonist misses almost everything.  This hit
> me rather sharply, because one of the main reason I got to thinking about
> the Mona Lisa in summer 2019 was because the Louvre was closed on the day I
> had planned to visit.  My companion and I just had to read the sheet of
> paper on the door of the glass pyramid "closed due to one-day staff strike
> to protest the excess number of visitors" and walk around the square.  It
> was still a very vivid memory however.
> Or in another reference from the book, it mentions "the spiral nature of
> being" and Nietzsche's eternal return.  I had always thought of this as
> "modernity always having to return to antiquity, as in daily" or the
> present/future always having to digest the past, or not being able to jump
> over your own shadow.  But maybe it is not that -- maybe it is about the
> universe being born, expanding to total entropy, collapsing again in a big
> crunch, and starting over.  I don't know which it is, both, neither;
> uncertainty persists.
> One note on Greer is that if Calvino's *Six Memos* was a reading list and
> syllabus for America in 1985, which Calvino died before being able to
> deliver to us in person (though he concretely imagined doing so), Greer has
> probably completed the course.  *Less *is a mixed book however, it seems
> to me, something too overdone about it, but that is very well just me
> projecting.  In fact, one image in the book is about the kaiseki meal --
> overdone, done, underdone, so to speak, one cannot seek perfect
> homeostasis.  There's no such thing.  Or as Blake said, "Enough! or too
> much."
> Your page 7 item 6 reminds me of one of the first videos I made, in about
> 1996.  I taped a newspaper of stock prices to the wall and sat in front of
> it kind of ranting about what a novel is, and I think ended up on "the
> novel is the novel," more or less totally incoherent and certainly
> terrible, a memory tinged with nausea.  Another interesting Quanta item
> from a couple of weeks ago has some good visuals of quantum mapping, with
> one 3-d movable diagram if you scroll way down at this link:
> https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-new-map-of-the-standard-model-of-particle-physics-20201022/
> Page 9 in your book/let starts to get pretty complex so I will have to
> revisit.  But great reference, many thanks, and nicely done!
> All best wishes and regards,
> Max
> PS -- just skimming through the pages after 9: black hole/shell on p. 15
> with mention of "lessening" echoes *Less *and the Quanta article about
> black holes as shells; p. 16 reminds of many Leonardo notations and his
> drawing of the uterus; story and expiration on p. 17 reminds me of an old
> joke to self of "reading the oldspaper" and Thoreau's critique of news;
> p.26 the "inconsistency" of the circle twisting into an infinity sign which
> I think of as chiastic perhaps, from the Greek "chiazein" "to shape into
> the form of an 'x,'"; p. 27 is interesting about the poetic, reminding me
> of the "contemplative aesthetic" implicit in "predictive regulation," which
> Peter Sterling terms "allostasis" and places as a more important ring of
> complexity around homeostasis as a building framework of all biological
> life -- allowing greater processing of energy into work -- and what is
> prediction but imagination, or recursive chiasmus selected in time?  I
> forgot to mention, the earlier drawings in the book/let remind of meiosis,
> which is I think is the main genetic application of the term chiasmata.
> PPS -- I have a piece going into a museum on Sunday, based on the number
> 27, will post announcement to list.  🙂
> PPPS -- one question, have you ever heard of Nietzsche's "transvaluation
> of all values"?  I view him as more or less the Enemy, but that idea is
> somewhat relevant I sometimes think or at least suspect, or I least I
> sometimes have wondered what he meant by it, quite likely something totally
> evil or almost so.
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
> *Sent:* Thursday, October 29, 2020 4:14 PM
> *To:* NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Subject:* [NetBehaviour] Resonances 1970-2020
> Resonances
> http://www.alansondheim.org/resonances/resonances001.jpg
> http://www.alansondheim.org/resonances/
> In 1971 I showed at the Bykert Gallery in Manhattan; it was
> accompanied by a 32 page book/let describing the theory behind
> the work. I was interested in mathematical symmetries, both in
> terms of reflections and ground states. I forgot about the show
> and book/let for a long time, thinking that the math in it was
> faulty and next to useless; I also had difficulties following my
> own terse approach. Recently I went back and carefully reread
> what I had written, and it suddenly made sense, and for me had
> implications in relation to digital constructs and phenomenology.
> (The book/let was RESONANCES, Alan Sondheim, ppress, 1971, in an
> edition of 200. The work is almost entirely from 1970. Klaus
> Kertess ran the gallery; Mary Boone was the gallery assistant at
> the time.)
> I was working with the idea of blank ground states in relation to
> otherwise content. So a ground state might be designated [] or in
> other words, not designated. Place a non-symmetrical symbol on [].
> There are possible operations of rotation and translation within
> []. I considered a 2-dimensional sheet of assertion. I wasn't
> concerned with raster; I assumed none. Rotation and translation
> might be made in relation to a second symbol. I assumed that if T
> was such an operation, T' might be its reversal. In identity of
> course, TT = T'T' since nothing changes. What was of much greater
> interest was the actual _placing_ of a symbol or symbols on a blank
> ground state. Consider the placing an operation T. Then T' might be
> the removal of the symbol or symbols. The ground state might be
> anything, that sheet of assertion, a rock, a soccer game, a
> gesture. On a macroscopic level, removal is never pure, never
> perfect; traces are left. On a theoretical level, removal is
> possible and that's where I was. So the world seethes with the
> potential for the symbolic, for marking, for demarcation; the world
> is (and yes, this is a fiction, non-sense) ground; entropy ensures
> that nothing reverses on a macroscopic level. Yes, but I was and
> find myself still interested in the ground as potentially seething.
> So for example I can consider a book or a national constitution as
> the result of a heavily fuzzily indefinite set S of operations or
> {T}, and then a reversal S' as {T'} and even the elements of T and
> T', however defined, need not be equivalent. It's as if there's a
> process of _lifting_. The example I used was a radio news broadcast
> (thinking WCBS or WINS, NYC) and there is this accompanying
> statement:
> a four hour tape of [WCBS] was produced and erased
>                                             11/70
> So there are several things at work here: sheets or basins or
> worlds of assertion; possible operations within or upon the sheets
> (or basins); "inverse" operations that reverse those possible
> operations; other operations that (re: Weyl) manipulate symbols
> within the sheets or basins, by affine or other translations; other
> operations that require "leaving" the sheet or basin and returning
> - for example b and d transform only by a move from 2 dim to 3 or
> high dim, etc.; and finally, operations that _undo,_ annihilate,
> and/or eliminate those operations which created the symbols in the
> first place. In this sense, and only in this sense of course (this
> is fiction), mathematics and logic are _doing_ mathematics and
> logic, and symbols may be both or either epistemological (i.e.
> tan(x)) or ontological within a given framework (i.e. x, or better
> perhaps [x] , []).
> This does nothing in reality; it might even be considered and
> rightfully so, a mathematically naive mess. I believe mathematics
> represents ideal forms, (as did Godel btw), that it's ontologically
> coherent and existent, but _applied_ mathematics, if it takes into
> account the idea of a sheet of assertion, (Mathematica notebook for
> example), it might also take into account those operations that
> send the symbols on the sheet, as we as the sheet itself, into -
> not only a null state, but a non-existent one.
> I'm not sure any of this is clear; my knowledge of mathematics is
> close to non-existent. And the math itself is just _wrong._ But you
> know, you might think of the process of _lifting_ from a ground
> (however defined) as a form of cultural annihilation, just as radio
> news (and by implication, perhaps, any other news form or medium)
> disappears, is always already in the formation of disappearance, as
> it is absorbed - not only by the passage of time rendering news
> useless qua news, but also by the continuous decay of physical
> artifacts that ostensibly carried, embodied, reproduced, the
> signals themselves as records/recordings. The digital acts as a
> retardant of course; its ideality is the perfection of reproduction
> and perhaps even the lack of any original - but this also depends
> on a whole matrix/network of physical storage. The past not only
> recedes from us; it disappears as signal or object, as ontology or
> imminence. And that's what the operation of _lifting,_ of [x] -> []
> is about.
> Later: I'm putting up almost the entire publication with the texts
> and diagrams. Thinking about the sheet of assertion - this of
> course can be anything at all, a cloud, speaking (into the air),
> and so forth. The substrate is anonymous, anomalous; it needn't
> have any sort of symmetrical substructure which a pixel raster does
> of course. A raster can also be removed; there might be layers
> spiraling downward. Covid dissipates in the air, remains longer in
> the 4-dimensional interiority of a room (x,y,z,t), especially if a
> fan is absent. Virus particles sign in, are signed in, passive and
> active tenses are moot. No DNA, fossil or otherwise, remains
> forever. [x] -> [] might be a process of debris; accompanied by the
> broken character armors of anxiety and depression. When things fall
> apart, there might be no things. What are things are what we call
> things, what we call them to us.
> There's more, part of what the short book/let pamphlet is about,
> something written poorly (bad math again) about recursive functions
> and a play off Ackermann's function which I never truly understood.
> I think of coagulations: repeated additions of a unit results in
> multiplication, for example 2+2+2 = 2x3; 2x2x2 = 2^3 and so forth.
> I became interested in the reverse, and use the symbol 'o' for the
> operation, a kind of gateway and noticing. For example, 3o3o3 = 6.
> The repetition just increments; 2o2 = 4 (as usual), and 1o1o1 = 4
> as well. The operator itself carries the increment. Just as
> addition might metaphorically refer to a gathering of objects, 'o'
> might refer to a set of notices. Okay, this is pushing things too
> far and I'm not a mathematician. But it seems interesting to mess
> around with recursion in this way. And naturally one can also
> produce the natural number series; start with 0, then 0o0 = 2. What
> happened to 1? Think of 'o' as fundamental; then 0o = 1. My god
> what have we here? Demarcation of course; before a unit length is
> agreed upon, we have to think about the act of noticing. The act of
> noticing also establishes a domain or sheet or region of assertion.
> So far off track, there might be a kernel here or a kernel of
> something of interest. In any case the relevant sections are up
> online. The show was a success.
> http://www.alansondheim.org/resonances/resonances001.jpg
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
> --
> *=====================================================*
> *directory http://www.alansondheim.org <http://www.alansondheim.org> tel
> 718-813-3285 **email sondheim ut panix.com <http://panix.com>, sondheim
> ut gmail.com <http://gmail.com>*
> *=====================================================*


*directory http://www.alansondheim.org <http://www.alansondheim.org> tel
718-813-3285**email sondheim ut panix.com <http://panix.com>, sondheim ut
gmail.com <http://gmail.com>*
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.netbehaviour.org/pipermail/netbehaviour/attachments/20201030/999c7fa1/attachment.htm>

More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list