[NetBehaviour] The Eternal Exercise And A Comment

Johannes Birringer (Staff) Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Fri May 7 16:40:27 CEST 2021


hallo all, Alan and Annie

you are taking a break, Alan, have you filled out your release form? a period of not thinking how could it be possible, ah, now i see Annie meant period not as time but as stop, not as something that keeps returning until is stops, I read 'release form 'Alan but you meant from..
I am thankful for such conversations (and your critique of that passage from 'L'imaginaire hétérolingue' is apt, I agree and wondered also, Annie, whether as dancers we would quite follow the idea of a "pure intense gesture" (un pur geste tendu), intensity is something different and messy, muddy and dangerous perhaps? I also am inspired by the ramifications of what Alan points to, our short period on the planet, hopefully being in awe of the world, spring time here out there.

Alan you asked about Witzel's book, I had been looking at the opening dream the writer has (when he hears his father had died), about a rhinoceros dying on the floor in the old house, and other animals already having started to decompose...., in other rooms. He comes back to bad dreams, but the re-memory idea was sparked by a Canadian musician friend who just wrote me about an old box he found from his father, full of super-8 films, and how bizarre it was to "see these images, the images from the eyes of my parents. What a gift!" and what my friend perhaps means is seeing his childhood through the distorting camera eyes of the parents?

Witzel writes, at a later point about coincidences in lives lived,  quoting a line from a Leopardi poem that his mother liked:

"E il naufragar m'è dolce in questo mare"

Das Unendliche verkörperte bei Leopardi ja nicht eine Hoffnung auf das Ewige, sondern das sich auf gleichzeitig faszinierende und undurchschaubare Art und Weise entfaltende Leben, das den Menschen für einen recht kurzen Augenblick mit sich zieht, bevor er zwangsläufig in ihm untergeht. Was aber dieses Untergehen, das oft genug als Scheitern interpretiert wurde, tatsächlich bedeutete, wurde mir an einem Spätnachmittag im gerade beginnenden Frühjahr deutlich. Ich hatte zusammen mit meinem Bruder angefangen, die Bibliothek meines Vaters aufzulösen, einiges mitgenommen, vieles aussortiert, bei anderem überlegt, wer vielleicht etwas damit würde anfangen können, und ewar danach für einige Wochen nach Berlin gefahren. An einem Nachmittag kaufte ich in einem Antiquariat einige Bücher. Beim Bezahlen kam ich mit dem Besitzer ins Gespräch, der mir von der schwierigen Lage im Antiquariatsbuchhandel erzählte und es auf die Formel brachte, dass "mehr Leute sterben als Bücher gekauft werden."  In diesem Zusammenhang erwähnte er, dass er gerade den Nachlass von Dieter Schnebel angekauft hätte, eine Sieben-Zimmer Wohnung voll mit Büchern, unter anderem Widmungsexemplare von Adorno und weitere Seltenheiten, ausserdem sei Schnabel mit der Tochter "der Kaschnitz" verheiratet gewesen, die auch noch einiges von der Mutter beigesteuert habe. Dieter Schnebel ist im selben Jahr wie mein Vater geboren und auch im selben Jahr wie er gestorben........

[>>For Leopardi, the infinite did not embody a hope for the eternal, but rather the life unfolding in a fascinating and inscrutable way that pulls people with it for a very brief moment before they inevitably perish in them. But what this sinking, which has often enough been interpreted as failure, actually meant, became clear to me on a late afternoon in the beginning of spring. Together with my brother I had started to close down my father's library, took some with me, sorted out a lot, thought about other things about who might be able to do something with it, and then went to Berlin for a few weeks. One afternoon I bought some books in a second-hand bookshop. While paying, I got into conversation with the owner, who told me about the difficult situation in the second-hand book trade and summed it up as saying that "more people die than books are bought". In this context, he mentioned that he had just bought Dieter Schnebel's estate, a seven-room apartment full of books, including dedicatory copies by Adorno and other rarities, and that Schnabel was married to the daughter of "die Kaschnitz", who also contributed a lot of books from her mother. Dieter Schnebel was born in the same year as my father and died in the same year as him ........>>]


This then moves into a reflection on coincidental fathers, composers, failures, and the silence of the mother, remarkably only acknowledged by Witzel near the end. What he finds in the house of the rhinoceros are numerous boxes from the father with an endless archive of meticulously noted down thoughts, diary entries, dates, expenses, birthdas, weddings to not attend, concerts, disappointments. ....  Desperate attempts, I suppose to make sense of patterns and accidents that may or may not have happened in our lives.

respectfully,
Johannes Birringer

________________________________________
From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Sent: 07 May 2021 14:43
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity
Cc: Alan Sondheim
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] The Eternal Exercise And A Comment

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<mailto: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<mailto: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<mailto:netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org>> on behalf of Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org<mailto: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><mailto: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
ANNIE

Le mer. 5 mai 2021 à 22:23, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com<mailto:sondheim at panix.com><mailto: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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