Hi Max - there's been confusion at my end etc.

Definitely my video isn't for phones; I can't control that of course, but there are details (tiny writing, 'smudges,' etc.) that don't go through really on a tiny screen. The same goes for the audio; I often emphasize the bass and even sub-bass, which I hear well and have always preferred; these don't come through small speakers or earbuds.

Two things - I do want to say how much I appreciate your replies and careful thinking / bringing so many things to bear. (In my case "to bare" and sorry for the pun!) And what are you doing musically? What are you playing, etc.? I wonder if people on Netbehaviour might be interested in a group improvisation sometime?

Best, Alan, thank you!

On Sun, Apr 5, 2020 at 7:56 PM Max Herman <maxnmherman@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hi all,

Reposting this, not sure if it went to the list?  Apologies for the redundancy.  🙂

All best,



From: Max Herman <maxnmherman@hotmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2020 4:40 PM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour@lists.netbehaviour.org>
Cc: Alan Sondheim <sondheim@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] shakuhachi ghost

Hi Alan,

Your postings are often very evocative, so it's fun to reply but usually a fairly uncertain process.  🙂

Some of the elements I missed (thank you for the descriptions) may have been caused by viewing the video on my phone.  I knew the image was filtered in some way, and there was some kind of shadow appearing then diffusing, but there was not too much in the way of clarity.  Viewed again now on my laptop I saw much more of what you described.

Your texts and images include a lot of expertise, which is valuable and intriguing while also being sometimes complex or difficult.  I don't see this as a flaw at all, but on the contrary as a rich resource and impetus to greater understanding.  As a very rudimentary musician myself I miss a great deal in that sphere alone.  So, my own replies are perhaps doomed to be generic in a way that is important for me to remember, and which does give me pause.  

All very best and thanks again,


From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces@lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour@lists.netbehaviour.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2020 3:11 PM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour@lists.netbehaviour.org>
Cc: Alan Sondheim <sondheim@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] shakuhachi ghost
Hi, just a couple of points - first I appreciate your reply greatly.
Re: Lurie - I'm not in any position to judge his work (which I've looked at); I'd like to read an account of how fundamental concepts are embodied and given priority in pure mathematics. Certainly his constructions come across as baroque; I'm not sure how they apply outside post-category theory (or even within category theory).

The piece is about contagion, breathing, reversal. The image is a negative of course.
The shakuhachi is played a couple of inches away from a cold window-pane with the sun in the background.
Breath from the shakuhachi condenses, then disappears, from the window-pane.
The breath appears 'like' a dark viral cloud, disappearing. The sound from the instrument produces the cloud which then evaporates. It's a cleansing and a conjuration.
The shakuhachi is an instrument for meditation. There are only five finger-holes and it's end-blown. It's difficult. I had to hold it awkwardly in order to get the breath to condense in front of the camera, without the instrument appearing in the image.
So the image seems ab nihilo except in relation to the sound. The sound might be a viral breath itself, a harbinger of death to come.
Silence cleanses the image of course, evaporation.
So it's bound to the phenomenology of sound and music, Kristeva's concept of the 'clean and proper body' and so forth.
Jinashi shakuhachi are an older 'natural' style; mine is from around 1930. It's almost the sound of the bamboo itself. So it's the sound of a natural order in relation to another, the virus.
The reference to ghost is to somatic ghosting, which I've written a great deal about, and talked about at London ICA etc.
Panalal Ghosh is one of the most amazing and deep bansari players that ever lived.

This was all thought out over a sleepless night. So I understand you running in a different direction with it of course; I do feel that the content, whichis/was already heavy, might have been missed, which is of course my own fault, for not spelling out the above?

Best, Alan, and thank you

On Sun, Apr 5, 2020 at 3:49 PM Max Herman via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour@lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

Hi Alan,

I like this video, jpg, and writing today.

I have mild strabismus, and while watching the video on my phone I saw a single eye in the middle of the apartment building, sort of fleeting like that kind of image you have mentioned which is kind of like a morning hallucination.  I forget the term, apophatic?  No, that is something different maybe.  (Will check later; I prefer not to check missing word definitions right away these days.)  I read about the morning hallucination type in a book by Oliver Sacks called Hallucinations, I think.  

In any case, I saw a single eye in the middle of the screen due to strabismus, but it wasn't stable and morphed in and out of Visibility as the colors of the video changed.  As the video progressed, both eyes became visible in normal geometry, and of course normal in the black at the end of the video.  I like images (often like imaginary blueprints in my mind's eye, like bodies, or really, of the set of all bodies, which is to say the original pre-human primate matrix: the set of all bodies in the set of bodies in which my body lives, my group of 20 to 40 linked brains) of apartment buildings recently, in part due to starting reading Georges Perec's Life, a User's Manual as part of my study of Calvino's pre-emptively proposed syllabi Six Memos (Sei Proposte per il Prossimo Millennio).  I dream about apartment building plans sometimes.  They are kind of like grids, matrices, skeletons, or gardens, but with an organic and often organically pathogenic ingredient creeping in around the nooks and crannies perhaps because to be honest math is about equivalences not equality as identity, not about math at all, one might argue if Jacob Lurie is onto anything at Princeton with his new redefinition of all of mathematics based on his Higer Topos Theory of 2009.

I also like that the bone marrow is part of the immune system, a truly marvelous part if I'm not mistaken, while also being the dietary discovery that the first pre-humans' tools made accessible thus immediately creating our human brains.

There is also Kafka's story "The Knight of the Bucket," which I haven't read, but should look up and get, but is discussed by Calvino in his reminder or memorandum for our new third millennium "Lightness."  (It may be that in Calvino's composition, the first millennium was that of religion, the second that of the book, and the third, that of the network.)  In the Kafka story, the speaker goes looking for coal in his home city Vienna due to a bitter shortage of heat, out on the street freezing, then, amazingly, floating in the air.  He floats with his bucket above his landlord and landlady, asking them for coal, so that he won't freeze, but floats too high, eventually not being able to hear or speak to them.  The story ends with him floating across the landscape in search of.

The word "basket" prompted me to think of the Kafka, I'm pretty sure.

As to the corona, the crown, who is more monarchic, mono-archic, than death itself?  It is the principle of the emptiness of closedness, also symbolized in Calvino by a ring (which caused among other things Charlemagne's mythic necrophilia), its singleness and lack of Multiplicity (the which being Calvino's fifth and last memo because he died himself before writing the sixth, which I hypothesize was to have been about fear, the fear of death, petrifaction, and its corollary value, which I take to be delight, persistent observation and expression summed up by the word Consistency, in the sense of continuing on or not continuing on, which is also of course the comic corollary of the tragedy or tragos-ode, goat-song which arguably was the first practice of "Western Civilization" in pre-ancient Greece).

Death is a mighty crown which we each get to wear in our own due time, but so is life.

So, thanks for posting today, it is interesting to hear some Japanese words and concepts, if that is a correct interpretation, a good reminder to self to read up on those.  I know very few if any, the main ones if any being my own bastardized tragos-cycle of wabi-sabi-aware-yugen, taconite- and Teotihuacan-based, which I now have to also look up, but was able to find, link below.

In any case, here is a marvelous poem from Basho, which today's reflections prompted me to find for the first time:

          the beginning of furyu

          this rice-planting

          song of the north.

All best,


Notes and references:

Wayback machine wabi-sabi project from 2004, titled "The Four Moods of Furyu"

Perec at Wikipedia

Calvino's six Memos

Jacob Lurie:

Bone marrow's lymphatic role:

Kafka's Der Kubelreiter:

Bartelby the Scrivener (only known topic of the unfinished Sixth Memo):

The history of furyu:

Ukiyo-zōshi (浮世草子 ) or “books of the floating world” was the first major genus of popular Japanese fiction, by and large written between 1690 and 1770, primarily in Kyōto and Ōsaka. Ukiyo-zōshi style literature developed from kana-zōshi (仮名草子 ) [a type of printed Japanese book that was produced largely in Kyōto between 1600 and 1680, referring to books written in kana ...

The Piazza Tales is a collection of six short stories by American writer Herman Melville, published by Dix & Edwards in the United States in May 1856 and in Britain in June. Except for the newly written title story, "The Piazza," all of the stories had appeared in Putnam's Monthly in 1853-1855.

"The Bucket Rider" (German: "Der Kübelreiter") is a short story by Franz Kafka, written in 1917. It first appeared in the Prager Presse in 1921 and was published posthumously in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer (Berlin, 1931).The first English translation, by Willa and Edwin Muir, was published by Martin Secker in London in 1933. It also appeared in The Great Wall of China.

Bone marrow is a semi-solid tissue which may be found within the spongy or cancellous portions of bones. In birds and mammals, bone marrow is the primary site of new blood cell production or hematopoiesis. It is composed of hematopoietic cells, marrow adipose tissue, and supportive stromal cells.In adult humans, bone marrow is primarily located in the ribs, vertebrae, sternum, and bones of the ...

Jacob Lurie's results at International Mathematical Olympiad This article about an American mathematician is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it ...

Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Italian: Lezioni americane. Sei proposte per il prossimo millennio) is a book based on a series of lectures written by Italo Calvino for the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard, but never delivered as Calvino died before leaving Italy.The lectures were originally written in Italian and translated by Patrick Creagh.

Georges Perec (born George Peretz) (French: [peʁɛk, pɛʁɛk]; 7 March 1936 – 3 March 1982) was a French novelist, filmmaker, documentalist, and essayist.He was a member of the Oulipo group. His father died as a soldier early in the Second World War and his mother was murdered in the Holocaust, and many of his works deal with absence, loss, and identity, often through word play.

From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces@lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim <sondheim@panix.com>
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2020 11:25 AM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour@lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] shakuhachi ghost

shakuhachi ghost

https://youtu.be/FAAB7uAm7tg video

somatic ghost extensions from within without the body playing
on an off-tuned later afternoon evening sky hoping the virus
is listening (no, not all they do is replicate or exist) (true
they have no ears but then... pannalal ghosh perhaps... (true
enough please note that they have no fundamental vibration)...
shakuhachi ghost makes all visible, the fleeting moment of
audible somnolence)...

"he wants to practice shakuhachi"
(holeless shakuhachi)
(shakuhachi, 1930s jinashi, reverberation)
* these pieces are no-string pieces for jiari shakuhachi
- the shakuhachi has already split, but is still playable,
..it's after shakuhachi. song was beautiful. I used bone-body
1 = shakuhachi; 2 = corona-crown in suspension death
Today I practice jinashi shakuhachi, and
I begin focusing more on shakuhachi and will begin and lose
= shakuhachi = shamisen = shard = sheffer = shimenawa = shinjuu
A well-made shakuhachi is created from root bamboo, weeks worked
She plays shakuhachi, whole worlds appear within the moist interior
and while the shakuhachi is a body-bone, breathing the body, the

colonies of protozoa in perfect suspension. after the shakuhachi
is her basket, two robbers approached her. her shakuhachi was made
from a body-bone, from a bone body, then

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