[NetBehaviour] The Eternal Exercise And A Comment

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Fri May 7 15:43:05 CEST 2021

Dear Annie,

There are releases at my end, sometimes I have several at one time, and
then can tke a break. But there's never a release from; on the other hand,
after working like this pretty much through all my 'artistic' life, it
seems natural. Taking a break seems something like a loss. I can think of
the long-duration pieces of Marina Abramovic for example, or long
meditative practices. But of course the former do come to an end.
I'm not sure how the quote resonates with me? Or that I understand it - for
example the fact that "the address does not imply the success of the
transmission of the message" does not mean it's a "pure tense gesture" -
there's no purity whatsoever in it. It's not an abstract gesture; on
Facebook for example I hope for and do find readers/listeners/viewers at
times and that's greatly rewarding; I know many of these people. "Purity"
for me relates to Kristeva's "clean and proper body" or Mary Douglas'
Purity and Danger" as well; I think, rightly or wrongly, of community, and
try to respond to as many people as I can. In music for example there's a
jazz community, certainly for "free jazz" (which has gone in so many
directions) and people are supportive of each other and listen to each
other. And why is this "contrary to the communication"? since it's never
known if communication reaches recipients, even friends, within the
digital. The communication is there, the transmission at my/their/your/our
end - whatever else occurs is out of my control. Even in intimate talking
with someone in the same room, there's no guarantee the message is
received; and for that matter, the use of the word "message" already
formalizes something that's inherently fuzzy, untoward, perhaps even
contrary. With the digital now, for example, I didn't remember whether
"Douglas" was spelled that way or "Douglass" and in a second, I found the
answer online; this is also messaging, and related to what I wrote (I
think) about splatter semiotics - everything is "graspable" to some extent,
but the economy of attention is always somewhat at odds with itself. Back
to the question of never a release, again it feels natural; it's part of my
world, maybe even a kind of hunger I feel during my/our short time on the
planet; I'm always in awe of the world, and in sorrow as a result of what
are clear depredations against others, organisms of all sorts, and that
seems an aporia to me; at this point while I could talk for hours on it,
ultimately I have little idea of why wars are still being fought, why
religions are at odds with each other to the point of violence and
genocide, why it's not obvious to everyone that animals are conscious and
knowledgable in their own right and autonomy, and so forth. So i find
myself (uselessly perhaps) always trying to think through these things,
with no more success probably than someone not thinking about them at all...

So does this count as a daily production? Probably, since we're leaving
shortly for Amherst and music and books today, a two hour drive, not
returning until Saturday night - it's our first real break since the end of
March 2020...

Best, Alan, hope this answers somewhat, I'm not sure -

On Fri, May 7, 2021 at 7:33 AM Annie Abrahams via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Dear Alan, thanks for describing the roots of your practice.
> It is good to know!
> (Thanks Johannes for reacting and the greetings - Hi Johannes)
> Now there comes a second question to my mind:
> Why continuously publishing your practice? This is not meant as a
> critique; it is an honest curiosity.
> For me it feels as if there is never a "period", never a release from.
> I sometimes envy your continuity, your stream of words, but when you write
> the process can also give you anxiety, I want to say: "Alan, you don't have
> to; "periods" exist."
> It seems to be the question of the audience, the adress
> Something I read today seems to resonate:
> "... moins que la langue "communique" plus elle se fait *intensive*,
> c'est à dire adressée. Nous appelons "*adresse* hétérolingue" l'intensité
> qui parcourt "la langue" de part en part pour la tendre vers un
> destinataire. Contrairement à la communication, l'adresse n'implique pas la
> réussite de la transmission du message : c'est un pur geste tendu." Myriam
> Suchet *L'imaginaire hétérolingue* page 129.
> (... the less that language "communicates" the more it becomes *intensive*,
> that is to say addressed. We call "heterolingual *address*" the intensity
> that runs through "the language" from one side to the other in order to
> reach a recipient. Contrary to the communication, the address does not
> imply the success of the transmission of the message: it is a pure tense
> gesture.
> with love and respect
> Annie
> On Thu, May 6, 2021 at 12:57 AM Johannes Birringer (Staff) via
> NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>> dear all
>> thanks Alan for your exquisite, resonating poem, it has internal rhyme i
>> have still to figure out, so many referernces and beautiful images;
>> well, enough, everyone knows we are friends, and also collaborators, so
>> that, i think my views don;'rt count. Annie's question is odd (Hi Annie,
>> greetings!)  and yet stimulating; ask a painter why they walk into the
>> studio every day ....well, to paint!
>> And your reference to musicians, Alan , is well taken, as are the
>> references to writers like Klemperer Knausgaard, or the sleepless Aby
>> Warburg or the sleepless Hella Pick who just published 'Invisible Walls"....
>> Well, i have nothing to say, except respecting Alan's daily poetry and
>> music and the jpgs very much, almost now for me, for a few years i think,
>> since our ISIS "writings" and blog back then, a recording task. I
>> record/archive what you send us, I sometimes show it to students, sometimes
>> use your acoustic music in my dance, sometimes curse the times in which we
>> cannot support our collaborations more, or see you have grants and
>> invitations come your way more.....
>> But I also meant to write about memory, years, parents, old homes, lost
>> times, and had wanted to share a passage from Frank Witzel's new memoir,
>> "Inniger Schiffbruch"  (maybe translatable as "Intimate Shipwreck"), but
>> it's too painful, dealing with parents who died and are dead, memories
>> coming up, re-memories, old notes, super-8 films, flashing up, reverting us
>> to strange questions (was is Pam Zhang who asked, "what makes a home a
>> home", in her "How Much of These Hills are Gold?"), about us, providences,
>> determinants, coincidences; and our ancestors, yes, shadowy figures, and
>> why we stay up at night writing..
>> regards
>> Johannes Birringer
>> ________________________________________
>> From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
>> behalf of Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <
>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
>> Sent: 05 May 2021 22:42
>> To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity
>> Cc: Alan Sondheim
>> Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] The Eternal Exercise And A Comment
>> Hi Annie,
>> It's a practice that keeps me focused; I have what I call 'waves' of
>> content that flow through the sections - for example analog/digital
>> phenomenology / gamespace/edgespace/blankspace / splatter semiotics / etc.
>> It's like meditation; I learn from the practice and honestly have done this
>> most of my life. Early on I was also influenced by Delta Blues music (and
>> was at times close to people like Al Wilson through whom I met Son House
>> etc.) - and I soon was listening to 60s-70s free jazz (people like Albert
>> Ayler, Archie Schepp, John Coltrane, and so many others) - and almost all
>> the musicians I know practice/play/think/produce/ etc. every day - it's I
>> think a different way of working, I have to keep re-inventing myself in a
>> sense, but also paying close attention to what I think might be valuable or
>> somehow true at times, and then question those underpinnings. There are
>> diarists like Viktor Klemperer and Kierkegaard who have also influenced me
>> - daily writing... And from people like Kristeva and Irigaray I was also
>> inspired to think more about embodied art, which is daily practice; most of
>> the artists I knew early on like Vito Acconci, Rosemary Mayer, Bernadette
>> Mayer, and so forth were also constantly producing. It's somewhat of a work
>> ethic I think as well.  --
>> Hope this answers somewhat and thanks for asking!
>> Best, Alan
>> On Wed, May 5, 2021 at 5:24 PM Annie Abrahams via NetBehaviour <
>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org<mailto:
>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>> wrote:
>> May  l ask Alan
>> What was the reason for starting to produce work at a daily rate?
>> Best
>> Le mer. 5 mai 2021 à 22:23, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com<mailto:
>> sondheim at panix.com>> a écrit :
>> The Eternal Exercise And A Comment
>> http://www.alansondheim.org/gonedays.jpg
>> What am I hearing it might be God
>> fearing the stallion is rearing
>> the forest is dead where am I
>> going the sky's blowing red the
>> people are ready the horses are
>> fed where have I been in this town
>> of grey sin in this town where the
>> weather's unpinned where the
>> horses are in where the stallion
>> is ready where the horses are
>> rearing and the forest is dead.
>> Sometimes there's chasm a sight of
>> a plasm where's the flesh isn't
>> messed and the samples go lie and
>> this sky is darkling and the
>> plasm's a storm that always means
>> harm and the cyto is psycho and
>> the horses are no go and the
>> horses are carrying bodies in
>> babies up to the sky up into the
>> sky. What am I seeing it might be
>> gone fleeing the stallion is
>> winning the forest is gone where
>> am I going the wind is no more the
>> people steady to go down to the
>> Weir. Where is the Weir where the
>> canal was flying into the sky with
>> the horses and chasm where is this
>> site have the people who light
>> down by the forest for the trees
>> are all burning and the horses are
>> churning in this dream by the
>> river in the river by brook in the
>> fountain in in the sea in the sea
>> in the ocean in the lake of the
>> ocean in the lake of the ocean
>> where the horses lies sleeping and
>> people are weeping at parties in
>> babies are up in the sky and
>> falling and sweeping the seeds of
>> the rye and the wheat that
>> surrounds us and the lost people
>> hound us where the horses are
>> tossed and nothing is left but a
>> weir way down there where the
>> people in steeples steeples learn
>> how to fear when they go down in
>> the forest and the ocean is messed
>> and the horses are blessed hands
>> up in the sky the lake of the
>> ocean is a sound of the cry from
>> the horses and bodies and babies
>> who fly.
>> I've been thinking more and more about this process of creating
>> daily new work; I've been doing this for 27 years now in a row.
>> It's been a scaffolding but it's also been a source of anxiety
>> since it's difficult to come up with something new on a daily
>> basis; for all I know I may be repeating myself incessantly. The
>> result, combined with covid, is an out of control anxiety. Part
>> of this is a fundamental lack of community here in Providence,
>> which has been going on for almost eight years; part of it is a
>> real lack of funding, which in my (equal lack of a) profession
>> results in an inability to carry out the work I want to; as you
>> know - I was adding this all up today - for the first time, I
>> have no real adequate still or video camera for production, and
>> no chance of getting these (I've always worked otherwise, with
>> good equipment, since 1969 or so) - so there's no VR or AR work
>> coming from my end, no potential collaborations at this point.
>> The last actual grant I had was something like fifteen years ago
>> which gave us tools to work in West Virginia at the Virtual
>> Environment Lab. Since then, there's been no funding, which sends
>> me constantly back to things like linux, work with acoustic
>> instruments, text manipulation programs and the like. (Medicines
>> cost for example.) If anyone has any ideas at this point, please
>> let me know; I'm certainly not going to be getting any other
>> grants or faculty positions or stipends etc. I'm constantly
>> trying, even now, to get a book out, based on my production and
>> theory-work (such as it is), but I think I carry the stink of
>> failure around with me that undermines everything. At least we
>> owe no one any money, and I keep going at this absurd and
>> somewhat baleful task of continuous production.
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