[NetBehaviour] A comment on isolated blizzards and digital preservation

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Wed Feb 2 16:14:12 UTC 2022

Hi Johannes,

The essay you recommend is beautiful; I've had a similar experience going
through my NEXT archives at U. Washington Vancouver, thanks to Dene Grigar.
My issue is that I keep producing new work and - this holds for so many of
us - it's met with silence. I'm a creature of the network, caught in the
network (classical, not quantum, always prone to irretrievable errors! :-)
). I'm beginning to think, at least here in Rhode Island, the issue isn't
age so much as the appearance of age: I *look *old, ungainly, etc. etc, and
this is a detriment. No one talks about ageism anymore, at least in my
circles, in spite of the fact that all the local galleries in PVD (kinds of
places I used to participate in) are for 'youth' entirely. If I hear the
term "boomers" one more time I'll scream. (There's also increasing
antagonism towards Jews of course, but that's talked about even less.)
Argh. In any case, we're adrift here.

As I wrote you backchannel, I do try to help others online; I've "been
there" as have so many people I know. But we're siloed. I've been relying
on Fb for online community, but Fb is falling apart - I'm not sure what's
happening there but two things are occurring more and more - 1. Blank
images, things slowed or not loading at all, Fb freeziing (and I'm on
optical w/ a fairly fast machine), too many cluttered messages
announcements, etc.; and 2. Interference with user pleasure (of the text
etc.) and usage - for example - you click on something that says "View
previous comments" or "View all comments" - and you have to keep clicking
to get things t come up - sometimes the comments list even cuts off
permanently. We're clickbait, spreadsheet insertions, not human beings
within a commons. And it's a horror. But for people like myself, we put up
with this - there are vestiges of communication in messenger or some such,
tatters of community. I worry about people disappearing entirely - have
they died, are they suicidal, are they in hospital, and so forth. Fb has
the potential of becoming a graveyard...

I've had hope even now for antiquated elists - the Wryting-L list I run is
definitely a community. And what gives me even more heart is the community
email list from my old Dean Street neighborhood in Brooklyn - it's running
strong, it's a Commons in action, and it's amazing. ...

Just ruminations, hope I'm not taking up too much time -

Best, Alan, and thank you -

On Mon, Jan 31, 2022 at 7:18 AM Johannes Birringer via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Alan,
> it's a sensible invitation, to share advice on how to cope with the
> pandemic times or constrictions, anxieties; I wonder whether that allows
> for personal and autobiographical comments, and thus would provoke longer
> passages of writing, something we sometimes also cannot cope well with,
> when too many emails arrive continuously.
> But many here may read what they like or need to read; my own personal
> sense of frustration, or rather: wonder, happened in the weeks around the
> turn of the year when I managed to return to Houston, TX, and wanted to
> meet all my friends (reunion, say, have an outdoor brunch, or a studio
> visit one on one, chatting, asking how others manage to survive relative
> isolation and behavior change, or illness and loss, uncertainty and fear).
> It was surreal; we managed just one brunch that I arranged before New
> Year's Eve, with a bunch of artists showing up at the Menil Museum bistro,
> outdoor tables carefully booked and sanitized; but Covid caused panic for
> many and we did not repeat this, though resuming to zoom breakfasts turned
> into sadness for me, given that the sun shone and the palm trees invited
> for walks (in London we've come up the idea of ThoughtWalks, a group of
> social works researchers met last week to go for 2 hour hike).
> I did then spend time in Houston alone, in museums, and in studios of a
> couple of artists; one, Joel McGlasson, has a an annex studio full of
> paintings we looked at; but he told me a life-story (having been a painter
> and staging happenings in the 60s, then moving to California  to work as an
> architect, and only now, retired, returning to painting again). I asked
> about the 60s, and he went to a corner, to grab an old slide projector,
> carousel ready with slides of early work, which he projected on the back of
> a canvas; then showed me the disbelieving reviews that were published in
> the 'Houston Post' back in the day, when Warhol did similar stuff in the
> Factory I guess, or over at Black Mountain College where they experimented
> or in any old place in Europe east or west, or in other places, Brazil,
> Japan, Australia, where people staged actions and extended sculpture and
> media.... Alan, i think ageing is experimentation too, confronting various
> layers of inter-action (with others) that moved us; as your beautiful elegy
> on Lee Murray moved me to watch his films .... and now, in this time of
> "essays written in sand", as Monica Huerta suggests*, we can project our
> loneliness perhaps, our exhaustion in our own studios, looking to restore
> the old slides.
> regards
> Johannes Birringer
> *
> https://www.artforum.com/print/202110/monica-huerta-on-this-year-s-hell-87234
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