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<nettime> Two recent texts
Alan Sondheim on Tue, 19 Jun 2007 09:32:16 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Two recent texts

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Table of Contents:

   analog/digital essay expansion and revision                                     
     Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>                                                                                                             
   Muybridge A/D                                                                   
     Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>                                              


Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 11:44:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: analog/digital essay expansion and revision

I've been working with Sandy Baldwin on a book, and I revised my
'aphoris- tic essay on the analog and digital' for it. I've put up the
revision at http://www.asondheim.org/essay.txt - it's also below - and
would apprec- iate any comments you might have. It's somewhat of a
difficult read but hopefully rewarding.

- - Thanks for looking - Alan

[The essay is also below; this can be cut out of the email if it's too 
long. Thanks, Alan]

Aphoristic Essay on Analog and Digital Orders

{ Why aphoristic? Because there is no argument, because argument
is dependent upon clear, if not rational, distinction, because
distinction itself is troublesome. The orders constitute a skein,
blurred and uncanny; nothing, no thing, is entirely analogic or
digital. The flux of the world is perceived through heartbeat and
saccadic vision - the eye functions like cinema, creating a quick
succession of 'still' images, later to be reconstituted as motion.
Cinema underscores the real: we are viewers of our own films, movies
lasting until the end of the world. )

{ Note on terminology: I use distinct, discrete, digital, even binary,
somewhat interchangeably; please note the slight differences below.
I also use both analog and analogic somewhat interchangeably; they
reference (however one might deconstruct this) the real, continuity. }

The digital: by digital I mean discrete. By digital I mean systemic,
characterized by systematization, parameterization.

{ 'Discrete' implies cut-off, Dedekind's cut or surreal numbers, for
exam- ple. The boundary is both 'clean' and of no consequence - what's
important is the drawn distinction, as Spencer Brown might emphasize.
But there's more than distinction; the digital domain is characterized
by system; the cuts are organized in one form or another, and this
organization, in real, physical reality, is dependent upon the choice
of parameters - bandwidth measurement, for example. )

The analog appears continuous; the digital appears discrete, broken.

{ We are thinking of _appearance_ here - this is important. And
appearance is dialectical; it depends on both observer and the thing
observed, not to mention mediations and interactions among both as
phenomenologies and systems themselves. So, yes, the analog appears
continuous - even though, as Eddington observed, the table tends to
disappear in particle physics. And the digital both 'means' or implies
discrete, and appears as such. The digital in this sense is also a
'breaking' of the analog continuum; in the real, for example, an
analog to digital transform of speech results in the cutting-up of the
analog, within certain tolerances, according to certain parameters. )

In everyday life, the digital is the result of an intervention.

{ How so? Because everyday life appears as one; even the sudden
shifts in a dream are 'sutured' together by the dreamer. The digital
intervenes, functionally, into the analogic real - and as an
intervention, it appears to come from 'without' - just like a cd disk
is brought to a listener, already encoded, unreadable (in a way that a
vinyl record is not). )

An intervention is a mapping. Every mapping, unless a mapping of
itself (ikonic), leaves something out.

{ A mapping leaves something out because it is not the territory; when
it becomes the territory, it maps down to the molecular. But what is
left out? And who decides what is left out? And what is left? )

The intervention requires the setting of a standard raster. A raster
is a filtering of a quantity, almost always with discrete steps. Think
of a raster as a screening, creating elements out of a continuous
bandwidth, then quantifying those elements.

{ One can imagine a digital formation based on something other than a
standard raster - for example the amplitude (continuously measured)
of an audio file might be tied to sampling bandwidth. This might be
considered a dynamic raster; 'standard' raster would then be static or
state. )

The elements are ordered. The raster sorts the continuous fabric of
the real into separable categories.

{ 'Category' references parameter quantity and type-of quality. For
ex- ample, mercury contamination of ppm might be given as .5ppm, 1ppm,
1.5ppm, and so forth. The parameter is ppm; the type-of is mercury.
Instead of 'separable' think of 'distinct' - 'separable' implies
an original matrix which may be reconstituted; 'distinct' implies
that the ordering, however 'natural' it may appear, is ultimately
arbitrary. )

The raster is standardized so that information may be transmitted and
received through coherent channels, by means of a coherent transmitter
and receiver.

{ Digital devices require standardization; in everyday terms,
this occurs beneath and within the sign of capital. Information
flow requires proto- cols, standards, tolerances. Every such flow
might be considered interop- erability; the world, then, might be
metaphorically considered communities and communications connected
through interoperabilities. )

The standardization of the raster is a protocol. The protocol must be
agreed upon by both sender and receiver.

{ This agreement is by convention; such convention is always already
an institution, institutionalized. )

In everyday life, the establishment of a raster and protocol requires
energy and communication. Raster and protocol must be communicated.

{ Energy requires instituting as well; it must be filtered, regulated,
maintained. This in-formed energy is a protocol as well. )

After raster and protocol are established, the parceled semantic
content, coded by raster, may be communicated.

{ Once raster is decided, it is part and parcel of the pipeline. If
the raster is dynamic, the pipeline can transmit the new parameters as
well. )

Coding and community establishes raster and protocol. Encoding codes
an object from analog to digital.

{ Static raster is a 'thing' - a program or standardized protocol set
which may be bought and sold within the liquidity of capital. Dynamic
raster as _flux_ is dependent on coding as well; this coding is also
'thing.' Encoding might also encode itself, encode anything within
the digital domain as a form of remediation; think of encoding as a
form of 'devouring' whatever comes along, encoding adapting itself to
changing circumstances, epistemologies, ontologies. )


{ This is of critical importance: Once something is gone between
analog and digital, it is permanently removed - without history or
being. The digital is always lossy; digital to digital, however, is
ideally lossless since this may be a one-to-one mapping. )

A digital parceling is accurate only to the limits of a particular
and conventionally-established tolerance. The tolerance, more often
than not, is tied to economy. In general, the greater the capital
available, the lesser the tolerance.

{ The greater the capital, the greater the global variable, global
proto- col. Zero tolerance is equivalent to infinite capital, infinite
energy: the representation of the thing by the thing itself. What
happens to the observer? The observer disappears, ground up in the
identity of the thing. }

The analog possesses no tolerance. The analog is there.

{ The analog is neither tolerant nor intolerant. The analog is neither
here nor there; 'analog is' is already redundant. Think of the analog
as matrix, the neutral world - think of the observer as politicized,
always suffering. }

The digital is never there. The digital is always process, in-process.

{ The digital is in-formation, in production; raster supersedes
raster, standard replaces standard, the continuing project of culture.
There is no culture without distinction, no distinction without
culture; nothing stands still. If the digital were _there,_ it would
be monumental! The digital is never there., }

If the digital is indexical, 'pointing towards' a mapping of the
continuum, the analog is that scale. The analog is ikonic, the digital
is indexical.

{ The digital indexes _something._ The digital has an object for its
subject, subject for its object. The digital is a pointer-in-process,
scan, scansion. The digital unravels and reassembles the ikonic analog
transformed into data-base. }

The distinction between the digital and its referents or domains
is ontological; the distinction between analog and its domain is

{ Here is the heart of the matter, the organism of the world-soul:
The digital references either itself ontological equivalence) or
elsewhere; its object ultimately is of the real, real, inert,
obdurate, invisible (but for the presence of the digital). The
referent of the analog is analog, of a piece, within the matrix;
what is at stake isn't ontology but epistemology - what we know and
the means by which we know it, plastered in the ready-made form of
substance, fissure, and the beginnings of inscription. }

At zero tolerance - 'no room for error' - and an infinitely-fine
raster, the digital is equivalent to the analog. The map, in other
words, is exactly equivalent to the thing itself.

{ Here we have it, the dream of capital, infinite energy, elimination
of the observer - who is ground up as surplus labor. The greater
the energy, the deeper the dissection, until there is nothing more
to dissect. With zero tolerance, the organism turns towards death,
becomes one with it, as thing-death, transformed into thing, another
subject for zero tolerance mapping. }

The thing itself is equivalent to the thing itself; this is identity.

{ This is _nothing_ - one misstep and we're in the realm of logical
paradoxes which are entirely beside the _point._ }

At infinite tolerance - infinite error permitted - and
infinitely-coarse raster, the digital is equivalent to a kind of mark.

{ Infinite tolerance: everything is accepted; what's left is a kind
of mark. Now if we proceed from this as a null set, we might end up
with surreal numbers; it's interesting to think of infinite tolerance
leading to an ontological shift from physical-real (however defined)
to mathemat- ical-abstract. }

A mark totalizes its demarcated.

{ A mark is a proper name. From now on, interior is exterior, emic to
etic, inert to inscription. The order of marks constructs classes,
from individuals in Auschwitz to tagging survivors or stragglers of a
highly- endangered species. }

A mark is an instance.

{ The basis of politics is the mark, the instantiation, foundation of
political economy; if political economy is the field, politics is the
harrowing. A mark re-presents itself; a mark is always empty, the emic
having long since disappeared. A mark of course does 'nothing' - but
a mark is a node in a larger or smaller process. Capital proceeds by
marks which are the fundamental cathecting of its real. }

There are numerous 'real worlds' of nearly-decomposable systems.
(Herbert Simon) The world of everyday life appears continuous; it is
only in dreams, for example, one encounters jump-cuts - sudden shifts
of place and time. This continuous world appears analogic.

{ A mark is the problematic of the jump-cut; a mark is always an
edit- point. But what is edited? Processes that are elsewhere, that
ultimately eliminate the mark, suture over it: the etic disappears the
emic, the etic disappears. So the mark is an inscription, separating
x from ~x, but the separation is a process and a process requires
energy, denotation, data- banking. Think of the parceling of the real:
think of parceling-_out._ }

{ Now in a dream the dream screen, background, matrix, chora, remains
constant and accounted-for; in this sense the ego, however evanescent,
coheres. This coherency, this continuity, is the background of a real
which 'makes sense' to us; this is the process of worlding. }

The world of symbols and signs - the world of languaging and
inscription - appears discontinuous, syntactic, and digital,
characterized by discrete moments and entities.

{ The world increasingly appears a jumble of fragmented messages,
informa- tion shards where false memory establishes the simulacrum of
unity. The shards cut through the chora; incoherent language spews
out. Every sign or symbol takes away, detracts, construct the virtual,
appears and disap- pears, describes and replaces a fictitious real,
is inherent in politics and political economy, leverages the analogic
and digital worlds. We have always been virtual. We have always
been digital. The body is a colloca- tion of signs, the body is a
character. }

The filmworld, apparatus, diegesis, process, appears an entanglement
of languaging and continuities. Because film is an operable
subject (i.e. a subject whose discursive field is transforming),
the entanglement tends towards polarities, interpretations,
interpenetrations, etc. Frames are digital; the diegesis is
analog (continuous story), and digital (semiotics of narrative);
the psychoanalytics are analogic (continuous processing of the

{ Film can be anything; the interior of the frame is indexical,
many-to- one, except in those instances of ikonicity in (mostly)
experimental or abstract film - drawing on the frame, embedding
objects, etc. Ironically, every scratch or piece of dust now signifies
the softness of memory's embedding, the elusive indexical _uncannily_
ikonic, as if _these_ images are all the ones there are - as if they
are the world itself. }

Neurophysiology implies, not only entanglements of digital (neural
firings) and analog (potentials), but the problematizing of the
analog/digital split on ontological/epistemic grounds. The domains are
inseparable; phenomenologically, the distinction is useless.

{ The 'digital brain' or 'analog brain,' 'quantum' brain or 'electro-
chemical' brain: Let us say, for the moment, the jury is out, and one
is better off forgetting what amounts to metaphoric posturing... }

The same is true on the level of fundamental physics, at least as far
as current research goes; there are quantum processes that involve
discrete levels, and there are continuums; there is the breakdown of
space-time at small distances/times, and so forth. If the world is
information 'all the way down,' the coding at this level is again
neither analog nor digital.

{ It has occurred to me, a non-physicist, that the collapse of the
wave function might be considered a process from a spread/and or
continuum to {0,1}; in other words, from an analogic real to an
interference that constructs an output of 0 or 1, T or F, + -, etc.
(any distinction will do). In this sense the two terms (I hesitate
to say 'order' or 'domain' relate at a fundamental level in the
universe. And how might Bell's theorem be brought into play? Or any of
the paradoxes, in which our every- day real is suddenly transformed,
switched into alien and decathected states? }

In other words, mental and fundamental physical events and processes
abjure any clear distinction between analog and digital, to the extent
that the phenomenology of both is inappropriate. If there is a 'book
of nature,' its syntax is as yet unknown; perhaps the idea of syntax
itself is inappropriate as well.

{ Perhaps one might look for a basic phonology, strained and filtered
into orders and meanings, perhaps one might search for a role - beyond
the peripheral - for mind in the universe - perhaps not. }

One is always searching for the syntactics, however; it is by means of
coding and encoding that the universe is grasped.

{ The universe is never grasped; instead, the masquerade of abstract
tacit knowledge comes into play, those equations describing strings
or star formation for example. 'Grasping' references at best the
mediation of the abstract in lieu of touch, a sympathetic rather than
empathetic, universe. Is the code 'our own' - invented or discovered,
descriptive or explanatory - - is it something untoward, inexplicable?
The world slips through our fingers as metaphysics is approached, the
idiocy of the real and suffering of organisms left far behind. }

The analog slips through the fingers. The world slips through the

{ The analog is the slipping and the fingers. The analog is the world.
Death takes the body and the world. The analog cannot be grasped
any more than a landscape without a point-of-view, punctum, can be
grasped. The analog is sightless, pointless. }

Any element of a raster is independent of any other element. Any
element may be transformed without transforming any other element.
Truth values within the digital are problematic. The digital is
cleanly separable, breakable. The digital is clean.

{ Every element is unique, parameterized. Every element is a point,
letter, stone, phoneme, town, limb, virus, galactic center. Elements
know no history, no neighbors, neighborhoods. Elements are pointless,
the residue of the real within the digital. Cleanliness is an ideal;
the digital is dependent on quiescence, silence, repression. Neither
truth nor falsehood are harbored within the digital; nothing is. }

Any element of the analogic real is interconnected and inseparable.
The transformation of any element alters any other element. Truth
values are inherent. The application of truth values is digital.
The analogic is a membrane. The analogic is dirty, inseparable,

{ The analogic is the dirty little secret of the analogic. The analog
is abject, tawdry, sleazy, as-if and nothing more. The fissured body
is a wound sutured in silence or resulting in death. The digital is an
appli- cation upon the body of the analogic. The digital functions as
a gate against the analogic. The digital is the enclave of the rich;
the finer the raster, the richer the enclave. }

The dirty analogic problematizes its symbolic. The clean digital is
already symbolic.

{ A symbol within the analogic is trouble already. Some piece of
something stands for some piece of something. The digital is a
standing-for, a standing-in; this is one of the difficulties of the
digital - for standing implies a kind of truth, and standing is a
function, open to manipulation. Change something in the analogic
symbolic, and you change the real. Change something in the digital,
and who knows? }

The digital object is analogic.

{ At its foundation, the digital object is an object like any
other; a cd is a manufactured disk. This ontology is independent of
raster, protocol, and so forth as ideality. Think of it as base and
superstructure: the base is _there,_ an increasingly wounded planet;
the superstructure is whatever the airwaves/fiberoptic supports. >

The analogic representation is digital.

{ At its foundation, the analogic representation is like any other; a
symbol is a symbol and all representations might as well be analogic.
This epistemology is dependent upon structure, perhaps raster as
well. Think of it as base and superstructure: the base is _there,_
an increas- ingly wounded planet; the superstructure is whatever the
airwaves/fiber- optic supports. }

Ghosts are embedded within the analogic. Ghosts are excluded from the

{ A ghost problematizes the real. A ghost never disappears, never
appears - - it is something else, somewhere else, a disturbance,
uncanny, mesmeric. Of course the dead are ghosts. The digital sifts
them out - rather, the digital excludes them from the sifting-process
altogether. }

Absence or exclusion from the digital is equivalent to non-existence
from the viewpoint of the digital. Ghosts are existence and existents
within the analogic.

{ Political enumeration creates new 'realities' out of death camps,
death squads, killing fields, concentration camps, refugee camps. What
is excluded from the digital is excluded from the symbolic: it never
existed. What ever existed can never take the form of ghosts. There
are no ghost- traps for chimera. }

The digital envelops the act of differentiation; the analog envelops
integration. The analog smoothes what the digital disrupts.

{ Ah, perhaps the heart of _things._ The digital is the process and
result of taking-apart; the analog is inert. In relation: The jump-cut
or dis- tinction of the digital is transformed into the continuity
of bodies and consciousness in the analog; difference is subsumed.
Perhaps difference is repressed; perhaps the dead of the camp are
buried, the graves are smoothed over, they were never there, no one
ever died. Whatever distinc- tions are made within the digital,
whatever rasters, protocols, divisions, clean and proper bodies,
conjurations - these disappear in time; the things of the digital wear
out. What remains is a memory of ideality and the ideality of memory;
the mercury delay lines, ten-inch floppies, long- playing records,
vhs cassettes, no longer play - no longer play anywhere. Analog
and digital succumb within the silence of the analog. I can hardly
remember who died; did someone die? }

The digital requires a place to stand. The digital requires an origin.
The analog of Cartesian coordinates is countermanded by the discrete
and arbitrary location of the origin.

{ The Origin of Cartesian coordinates is the last refuge of the ego
(I think it was Weyl who pointed this out). This place to standing,
this standing-place, is the origin of the digital as well; it is the
place from which raster and parameter are counted. The digital image
is tabulated, line and row. But the digital is also manufactured,
produced; even the collapse of the wave function is a production. And
such production requires an origin as well; the digital does not come
from nowhere; it is in the hands, the grasp, of political economy, of
capital. }

The digital draws a distinction; the analog erases it.

{ To draw a distinction is to divide, to construct the symbolic. The
wearing-down of the distinction 'makes it dirty,.' The pun is analog,
dirty; the pun leaps from meaning to meaning, conflating, confusing
inscriptions. Nothing is safe from the pun. }

To draw a distinction is the construct a potential well, within which
the distinction functions, in spite of the corrosion of the world.

{ The world leaps at the digital, attacks it from all sides. The
potential well is a construct, protecting the encoding, decoding,
data-banks and their maintenance. The potential well is well above
the physical tolerance of the embedding of the code; it's an enclave,
shored by capital; for all intents and purposes - for all purposes -
it's designed to exist forever, just as the ideality of the digital is
eternal. }

To erase a distinction is to corrode it, to sublimate it to the
analogic real, the plasmatic world.

{ A distinction is timeless; the analog brings it time as a gift,
the body suffers, is lost, sintered, disappears. The plasmatic world
is shit, neither one thing nor another, neither within nor without,
neither body nor environment, neither emic nor etic. Nothing can
survive this; there is nothing to survive. }

The plasmatic world is the heated world in which distinctions last
less time than the processes required to convey information. The
plasmatic world, a theoretical construct, is necessarily inoperable.
The world of the landscape - without a preferred viewpoint - is such a

{ The plasmatic world: the world of plasma. Think of this as
inconceiv- able, thoughtless. If the digital is forever, the analogic
is of the moment. The infinitely fine raster transforms the digital
into time and its passage. If the map is the territory, both corrode,
and, to be noted, both are useless. }

The cold-world is the world of the permanence and transformations of
distinctions. The cold-world is a world of potential wells, in which
signs convey, remain - in which structures remain intact, in which
semantic content flows through structures.

{ The cold-world: The eternal physical world, the no-process world,
no- dream world, no-thought world. When everything remains intact,
observers disappear; there's nothing to see, no one or thing to see. }

The digital quantifies the analog.

{ Well, yes, the digital quantifies any thing, anything, any
ontology, transforming and embedded within epistemologies. Drawing a
distinction, making a difference: natural numbers, ordinals, integers,
we can count on them. }

The digital carries a price-tag.

{ The digital is carried by fiscal/political economy. The digital is a
wager; the digital means business. }

Coding, by its very nature, is digital, that is to say, discrete.

{ I'd think that fuzzy coding may be discretely mapped. Discrete in
both senses of the word: independence of units, codons, but also
discrete in the sense of well-behaved; etiquette and coding are
inseparable. Coding is always well-bred. }

Never, 'above,' as 'below,' but 'as above,' apparent 'as below.'
Metaphor and metonymy are always already tropes, within the digital.

{ Parts for wholes, parts sliding against parts, parts standing-in for
parts; within the analogic, parts are holes, sintered, untethered,
violate. }

The signifier does not reference the signified; it creates it from
the analogic. The creation of a signifier re-inscribes the signified
elsewhere; as in Saussure's example, the signifier never operates
'within' the real, but within a chain of signifiers, a hermeneutics on
the plane of the Other, which inauthentically appears to create the
'Originary' plane, i.e. Creation.

{ Back and forth; the signified is a creation, the world transformed
into economy, the world economically transformed. Once the plane takes
off, the landing-field is inscribed; a plane crash tears an economy
apart. }

To create by speech ('and the Lord said') is always already to embody
the creation as inscription. Inscription separates the inscribed
and thereby created entity from its complement, the inscribed world
external to the inscribed and created entity.

{ The entity was always there, unmarked, unremarked, unnoticed. Now
the entity comes to the foreground, is foregrounded, becomes entity.
Speech creates nothing; the performative is dependent (as everything
else within inscription, as we have seen) upon economy; if saying 'I
now pronounce you man and wife' does anything, it's the result of the
skein of laws and practices already set down. The pronouncing is not
performative; the system performs, and the system has an economic
base, a base within the real. This is not marxism or sociology; this
is culture all the way down. Take away the skein, and one is left with
sounds, nonsense, uninterpret- able, somewhere the memory of language.

A system of inscriptions appears coherent and closed.

{ Sememes function as if closed; in reality, they are piecemeal,
broken. The symbolic is deeply incoherent; the analogic is deeply
coherent, 'of a piece.' Think of a game of culture, increasingly
territorializing its inscriptions and the real; culture is a
continuous negotiation with, and forestalling of, the abject. Better
wear a raincoat; water rises, the landscape is devoured. }

Somewhere von Foerster characterizes organism by negation. Negation is
the first speech act. Negation is the primary speech act, 'not this,
not that' - - 'avoid that - that is dangerous' - 'do not go there.'

{ To negate negation is almost never to return to the original; it is
to continue elsewhere. There are negation-chains, disturbances of the
real, phobias. Binary systems begin with a distinction, separation;
binary systems begin closed, those two over there, doing nothing.
Something from the outside, something parasitic, begins to make a
difference, another, an other, difference. Something starts. Something
starts something. }

To negate is to inscribe. To negate is to create. The creation of an
entity is always a carving-away. The creation of an entity implies a
reduction relative to that entity.

{ Any creating requires energy; any creation requires maintenance.
Artifacture bridges analog and digital, maintained from without, worn
from within, medicated from without, exhausted from within. }

The digital is the carving-away of what is deemed extraneous. The
digital saws into the extraneous, which is its residue.

{ The residue of the digital is of no consequence, trash, garbage,
abject. The residue of the digital is forgotten, lost, unnumbered,
unaccounted-for and uncounted. }

The residue is the residue of the analog; the residue is parasitic,

{ The residue slough, slushes, spews; the residue is parasitic upon
the source and encoding of its expulsion. Limit the noise, listen and
there's always noise. Noise isn't white, pink, brown; residue noise is
colorless, without attribute or attribution. }

The digital is noiseless, absolute silence.

{ Whatever the digital does, it participates in 'the fragility of the
good,' while the 'bad' occupies whole bandwidths, worlds. The good is
the thinnest conceivable slice; it's almost not there, it disappears.
Outside the digital, the digital is inaudible; there's nothing outside
the code, not even silence. }

The analog is absolute noise.

{ Yes, what it is, unfathomable, just there. And what's there is unab-
sorbed, and it takes x-amount to absorb, classify, divide, construct.
If the digital tends towards the immanent, the analog tends toward the
imminent. As if noise had anything to do with time whatsoever. As if
there were beginnings and endings. }

The circle of signifiers washes against mental impressions. The image
of something is always already a construct (Sartre, rule-bound, but
the image of the image is analogic.

{ Think of the image of the image as no image at all, some sort of
escape from the ox-herding pictures. Impressions are what remains when
all these sorts of categories disappear. A kind of blind momentum. }

If something is an analog of something else, both suffer from similar
noise. Both suffer from similarity.

{ To say something is an analog is to use 'analog' in a different
sense, the sense of analogy. Once similarity, once similar noise, is
perceived, isn't it all over with the establishment of equivalence
classes? Here a dog, there a dog. Already something discrete seems to
be emerging, over here, over there. }

If something is a representation of something else, both draw
structures from each other.

{ Representation is mutual-mediation; signifier and signified are both
signifiers, both signified. This is a kind of resonance inhabiting
the sememe; nothing is as clear as it seems, there's no ontology
uncontamin- ated by the other, no epistemology that doesn't leak at
the edges. }

The analog is unstructured; the digital is structured.

{ Again, the analog is nothing at all, even a structure within the
analogic is unstructured. }

The analog is communality, use-value. The digital is community,
exchange-value. Exchange may be direct or indirect, transitive.
Exchange may be based on apparent equivalence, on agreement, on
contract. Exchange binds entity to entity. Exchange defines entity.
Exchange defines entity in relation to (by virtue of) entity.

{ These old marxist categories... Use value is always already
cultural, but nonetheless is distinguished from exchange-value.
The latter is part and parcel of equivalence systems, rasters,
encodings, codons; the former is the real within the real. But 'use'
implies function, and function implies categorization, divisions,
inscriptions as well. Think of the analog/use and digital/exchange
as dirty polarizations; the distinction is metaphorically useful but
metaphysically suspect. }

Analogic use-value is imminent and immanent. Digital exchange-value is
distanced, defined. Analog is subject; digital is object. The object
of digital is subject to analog. Exchange replaces use. The subject of
analog is object to digital. Exchange replaces use.

{ Digital exchange-value is produced by virtue of transitive systems;
analog use-value occurs within intransitivities. One might speak of a
parabolic trajectory from use through exchange to use: a hand-ax used
as such by someone then becomes an economic unit of exchange and is
traded to someone else who uses it. Back and forth, the real is sawn
apart. }

Digital is always already a presumed contamination of the real. The
presumption is always already false.

{ The etic digital stirs up the emic real? The digital stirs up
nothing but itself. (The digital has its emic too.) }

The analog is always already a presumed healing or suturing of the   .
The real presumption is always already false                         .

{ The maternal analog against the phallic digital? Hardly; the analog
stirs up just about everything. }

Without the digital, communication would be impossible. The ideality
of the feral world is equivalent to the world under erasure.

{ All organisms possess culture, distinctions, language,
communicability, memory, sensation, sensory surfaces and membranes.
The feral world is non-existent, just as 'wild' is non-existent -
what we are considering, in reality, are other species' cultures.
Draw a distinction, negation, there's the digital; don't draw it, and
everything's dead. }

To throw away the scaffold is to retain it. To retain everything,
releases everything.

{ Nothing's released, nothing's thrown away. The scaffold is a raster.
Released from the raster is the raster. }

{ Let's just say it's all unaccountable, unaccounted-for - the real,
the digital, anything and everything and nothing else. Let's just let
it go. }

'Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darueber muss man schweigen.'
(Wittgenstein) - is already lost.

{ There: someone has said something, perhaps for the first time,
perhaps for the last. }


Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 02:19:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Muybridge A/D

Muybridge A/D

Muybridge is Muybridge's dirty little secret.

Scanning the real in this case is a form of devouring.

The intense sexuality of some of the images contaminates the others.

Men and women do sports, women do narrative, flirt, kiss.

Men and women haul things up and down the obsessive-compulsive

Some women have shaved is not equivalent to some men have erections.

The analogic digital is transformed into the digital analogic through

Modernism is in a neutral face going back farther than Daguerre.

In Muybridge smiles break through in an engagement with ... the
camera. Some of the plates seems smeared in some of the images,
indicative of a relative inattention to purity.

The digital is a construct of Muybridgian innovation which cannot keep
dust, poor development, dirt, out of the image.

Men and women are never posed together; men are posed with men and
women with women.

Neither men nor women have spread legs or other in/attentive views.

Shaved and erect, the viewer is drawn to the gridwork of the

The woman with her hand between her legs is startled into what:
"Turning around in surprise and running away."

Uneasy arousal of abject and packaged death, therefore sublime.

Measurement/tolerance of Muybridgian intervals in contradistinction to
the unique characteristics of each image; development changes from one
plate to another; from one part of an image to another; from one part
of the plate to another. Smears spill, decathect boundaries; in these
primordial artifacts of the digital age, corrosion immediately set.

As in pornography, the authenticity of the image is guaranteed by
their snapshot-like quality in relation to formal framing (of bodies,
movements, desire).

"Stripped of all identity," thus women against men, but here in these
images as otherwise evidence.

Then within these images, lack of title, frame, enumeration.

What remains is what remains within any digital: a dream of

Measurement itself is always otherwise.

What you measure is torn within me.

The whole world speaks (is measured) between one's legs.

Muybridge, the technicians, the models: and here is someone erect.

The apparatus is the inverse of the panopticon: here, the viewer
surrounds the viewed.

{ This is not film. This is not nineteenth century. This is Muybridge.

This is not Muybridge. This is the deconstruction of media before
This is not media. deconstruction. }

Kissing, not fucking: everything concentrated to break concentration.

Someone says "Go" or "Start."

My hands are trembling; it's almost impossible to find the images
again; it's as if the book itself becomes a body, the smell of the
page; darkness where the legs meet.

The signs of the shaved or erect are outward, emblems, of interior
states and the secret holes of the body.

The abject-analogic contradicts, forecloses the measurement of the

One can only imagine drives skittering from image to image.

The images refuse their order, their accountancy; instead, what is
revealed, what sort of revelation, where does the body's desire twist
to the breaking point?

It's like this: the developer spews across the plate in its entirety.

Or this: one's hands trembling in the darkroom.

Or this: the grid-place Cartesian dream of a body splayed across time
and four spatial dimensions (the body opened and open, mathesis!) -
this laboratory, scene, stage, now emptied. Night carries its own
silence. Someone trembled swallowing the image.

If these are measurements, they're analogic; separated, one from
another, joined by tissue, joined by skin. The slightest movement
registers - the tilt and wobble of the ass (which is conjoined by its
own apparatus indicating degrees from the horizontal, suspiciously
like a harass), the rise of the penis, anything but speech. And so
difficult to see the face. But a surplus which is not punctum, which
spews neitherness, something or other inconsequential, an escape job.

An escape job because it is in the practice of this signifying that
signifying disappears. The signifying is the virtual; we have always
been virtual. What one witnesses in Muybridge beyond the formality
(not form- alism) of the grid is the imaginary. This is not the birth
of the imaginary, but its appearance at the chiasm of photography and
motility: photographic motility, the motility of the image. But of
course the image does nothing, means nothing, it's waiting for you.
It's waiting for your birth and your imaginary. But of course, it's
not waiting.


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