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Alan Sondheim on Tue, 10 Jan 2012 05:14:32 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> sondheimogram [x13]

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Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>

     Uncomfortable notes on the poetics of captured human behavior: Part
     cauterization of the sublime 
     Mis/take (self-interrogation) 
     Here's the Thing, two texts 
     Warwick rehearsal shooting (fwd)
     Fireworks: American Empire 
     Islam, Norway, Christ
     I used to be good. 
     wounded avatar. aporia. 
     Wounded Avatars text 

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Date: Sun, 8 May 2011 01:43:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Uncomfortable notes on the poetics of captured human behavior: Part

Uncomfortable notes on the poetics of captured human behavior:

Part 2: the Wringing (Part 1 repeated below):

Laban, in Modern Educational Dance, distinguishes ``eight basic efforts'':
Wring, Press, Glide, Float, Flick, Slash, Punch, Dab. ``Each of these efforts 
contains three of the six movement elements: strong, light, sustained, quick, 
direct, flexible.'' Four of the group are strong: Slash, Wring, Press, and 
Punch. Wring and Press reconfigure the avatar; Press preserves both topology 
and topography, but Wring transforms at least the latter.

Wringing slides one against another, in combination with pressure: Wringing 
distorts the body. With physical bodies, wringing breaks connections (slashing 
can also break connections).

The wrung body, the hobbled body. Wringing occurs when the body is 
simultaneously twisted and restrained.

Gravity restrains and locates the body. With mocap, gravity may be 'eliminated' 
through the use of harnesses, or through edge phenomena that carry the body 

The heaped or pressed body: the body as thing, as material: the body of the 
slave (wrung from and within capital, wrung from the socius).

>From the viewpoint of capital, of war, the dehistoricized body - the body 
becoming element or token, demarcation of nothing but position, mined for its 

The finality of the dancing body, the dance of death - the heaps of Rwanda, 
Auschwitz, Abu Gharayb.

Similarity, in the world of the simulacrum, the disappearing body: Argentina, 
U.S. prisons.

Not similarity: the world of the (natural) catastrophe, the disaster: the 
heaped body, but the body (perhaps) recuperated for/within history.

One might think through all of this as the historiography of the body. Where do 
we go from here?

Uncomfortable notes on the poetics of captured human behavior:

[for Epoetry 2011]

poetics of movement: vocabulary of movement:

{range of human actions, Laban A} >T> {unlimited range of actions B}
A bound by skeletal connectivity, Jordan surfaces; B bound by skeletal 
connectivity, twisted/tangled surfaces
in other words the links in B can bend in any direction;
the links in A are confined by human skeletal potentials + topology
  (topological embedding in four dimensions):
  think of this as a tensor calculus of human movement
  think of this as a topography of flesh and sinew
Ruptures in the calculus:
  the tortured or wounded body
  the body convulsed in pain
  the catatonic body
  the terrorized body
  the broken or 'defective' body
Ruptures through the imaginary:
  the nightmare
  the orgasm
  hysteria/ boundaries of laughing and crying
  the confined body/ body of s/m
  the forgotten or abandoned body
  the hyper-sexualized body transmitters/ receivers
  hallucinations and other phenomena (Dendy's Philosophy of Mystery)
Ruptures of the body invaded by capital:
  X-scopic surgeries
  rfid implants
Ruptures of the body invaded by the imaginary:
  (capital of the imaginary, imaginary capital)
  psycho-tropics/overdetermined associations/disassociations
Ruptures of the body by an augmented real:
  sports, steroids, body-building, and so forth

Invasions of the imaginary, invasions of capital, of the augmented real,
  invasions through the imaginary: invasions or invaginations,
  incorporations or intensifications? These terms entangle and return to:

Either the proper body, or the body as heap;
  the articulated body, or the dismembered and reassembled body;
  the body characterized by a real, or the body chararacterized
  by an imaginary;
either the fundamental topography of the body,
  or the fundamental topology of the body -  invasions, dissolutions,
Ruptures as returns of the repressed: What lexicons are at work? What 

What is it that motion capture captures? What is snared, what abandoned?
What is the vocabulary of behavioral dynamics  voluntary, autonomic,
  involuntary, intrinsic  or involuntary, anomalous and axiomatic,
In other words: What's going on with us, within and without the world?

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Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 00:57:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: cauterization of the sublime 

cauterization of the sublime


and of the sublime?

The sublime, the infinite, remains. Life is a narrow-bandwidth "I sleep in
sublime unconcern for the words which wander abroad, whilst I think of the
cliff of whispers." sublime beauty, herself oozed among signifiers, grap-
pled by Nikuko-hands, the sublime child through the romantic clef to the
sonorous echo, through dark virtue.

at long last, last sublime. what next. death is always the ruin of the
world, the world's ruin. For we are within this era, this positioning,
dulled, imploded, but never this ecstasy or indefinite sublime which
remains unreachable.

inheres to the analogic; the digital decathects the sublime; the analogic
decathects the digital; the analogic decathects the sublime, decathects
avatars, within the sublime; the digital is sublime, infinite avatars back
at it; within the sublime, there are infinite avatars; the digital is
sublime, infinite, {avatars are backed, at the back of are the backs of
avatars are against the particular}.

there were great hollows, condors, sublime worlds beyond worlds romantic-
ized, farmed-out, mystified; subliminal, as if the intermediary always

among the sublime. neither singular nor plural. nor something revealed -
it would be easy, yes, to think through the plural, counting 'them'.
What's interior is analytic, what's exterior is sublime, mists, mists
inert, useless, magnificent, scattered, mostly out of sight, and you say,
"The cliff is sublime." Think of the cliff of the sublime, think of time.

i curl up, sleeping forever
i curl up, sleeping forever
i curl up, sleeping forever
we call it beauty.

and Kant?

posited as a simple position, which was precisely his position. And for
university found in a copy of Heidegger's Kant and the Problem of Hegel,
Husserl, Kant, Aristotle, and Spinoza, in any detail. Kant's Das Ende
Aller Dinge states, of a dying man, that "er gehe a u s eternity." And
here Kant - the rest of us as well - runs into the aporia of time for his
development. Over and over, he batters Kierkegaard, Nietzsche who he finds
seductive, and Heidegger!

Speaker says, ""Jerry asks about Kant ... Alan thought he meant something.
Speaker says, "Questions about Kant ..."
Speaker says, ""Jerry asks about Kant ... Alan thought he meant something.

    chapters on: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Weber ...
    and chapters on Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche,
    Wittgenstein, Frankfurt School Kant: Heidegger,
    chapters on: Kant, Hegel, Marx, nietzsche, Weber ...
    and chapters on: Kant, Hegel, Marx, nietzsche,

Kant might have it, the world may split apart,
which plays into him in an interesting way.

"commit humming." "Great Kant, As a believer calls to his God, I call!"
"commit suicide." "Great Kant, As a believer calls to his God, I call!"

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Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 04:40:19 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Mis/take (self-interrogation) 


Above all, my work is philosophical. It insists not on the letter of
philosophy, but on its dissemination contamination, of and through media.
It insists on the visual as always already ikonic, inscription as present
and concrete. It insists on the final grounds of unutterable pain and
death and the cipher that exists, not as replacement, but as fool's

The mistake is to read my work otherwise, as neurosis or autobiography;
the latter is always lies, fabrications and the narratology of the
predicate, and the former is no better or worse than anyone else's,
certainly nothing that structures the text. If my text is a symptom, it is
a symptom of the well, not the hospital, and of a deliberate abject that
refuses concealment or conciliation.

When I write what I might consider codework, the issues exist, not in a
traditional reading of the surface, but in the production of a forest of
signs that ground the surface as residue, hardly symbolic, but abject
debris of the future anterior of the written. I am always aware of this,
this structure and its motility, in every 'literary' text I write; I am
more concerned with this level than that of the surface, which seems a
production in the sense that a play may be a production, but is a playing
as well, with or without the theater.

In other words, the forest of signs are trees, im/plants, physiology.

In other words, the signs are signposts.

When I write a text on mathematics, it is not an exercise, but through 0
and 1, a penetration among analogic and digital discourses, an entangle-
ment refusing an unraveling. To the Borromean knot I oppose the plate
trick of braids rotating through 720 degrees of 3-space, deeper melding of
structures than meets the eye, or rather structures that meet the eye only
dynamically and not at all through a laid n-dimensional diagram with time
as afterthought. Not a formal exercise, however defined but the concrete
movement of organisms through space, taking up time, proceeding.

In this regard my motion capture work is not an exercise in topology or
choreography, but a philosophical investigation into the topology of the
body, opposed or adjunct to a topography which is thereby rendered
political or environmental, not to mention medical, within and without a
phenomenology of pain and pleasure.

My characters, Julu, Jennifer, Alan, Nikuko, are actants in Heideggerian
drama among MOOs, talkers, and other virtual worlds. They stand for
nothing and do not stand-in; they are ikonic, one might say abject, on the
order of a thud or philosophical gesture. This is especially true of Alan
Dojoji or Julu Twine, who have inherited what Nikuko originally proffered
in MOOs or internet relay chat.

I cannot force a reader to apprehend the philosophical content of my work
- what I see as the heart of what I do, but I can say that anything else,
anything bypassing or ignoring that, is a form of misrecognition that
mistakes my circumstances for a world or word or ward, or rather attempts
to interpret the world or my vision of it, through my (personal) circum-
stances which are known to varying degrees, as usual for all of us and
among us. This is in direct opposition to how I think the world, what I
grapple with: the ultimate alienness of a existence that can only be
hinted it - surfaces, for example, skewed within liquid architectures of
virtual worlds, or languaging decoded to the point of abject exhaustion,
where non-sense borders on truth's frenzy in the face of an unknown.

The world is an unknown; knowledge is always already on the bring of
annihilation, catastrophic; it cannot decode its own hunger or power; it
cannot exist without extraneous and useless style. All mistakes are to
assume otherwise, but it is only through mistakes, miss-takes, that
anything is acknowledged or apprehended. Decoding is endless; multi-
verses fill incomprehensible gaps; it is within the diacritical that any
progress at all is made. The chasm I acknowledge is the chasm within all
of us; the flesh that falls apart here is the same as elsewhere. It is the
philosophical that is the obvious beyond of religion; it gives the remnant
a voice, and is itself the remnant of voice. The 0-1 brackets nothing.
Murmur escapes the wall. Beyond neither 0 nor 1 is the murmur.

But it is philosophy, in the guise of philosophy, and hopefully, in the
midst of the noise of my endless klein bottles of texts, this is what
comes through - not a philosophy of axiomatics or foundations, not a
philosophy of absolutes or technophilias, but a philosophy constantly
under erasure - an erasure in which, it turns out, the flesh is scraped
raw, without an emergent. Synergy only goes so far, and only inso-far as
one might deterritorialize the world, which means nothing, reduces to the
ashes of the grave, the cries of the wounded, the anonymities of the
leading-to-slaughters, all on the levels of histories under erasure as

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Date: Fri, 27 May 2011 16:11:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Propeller 



The propeller cuts through the air like a knife through the body of Gaia.
Bird-particles are removed by virtue of the fold catastrophe.
The helix makes a vector for its own dragging body.
The body is filled with rough-and-tumble tools and organisms.
The propeller pays no heed until it winds into dirt and asphalt.
Dreams and spirits witness whispers of cranks and plumes.
The vector moves the air which barely registers.
Those tools and organisms register every moment of foreign occupation.
Part of the engine whirls with the propeller, and part refuses.
What refuses wants to return to the ground. Oh those kids of blades.
The ground is our aspiration as an aircraft flies belly-up.
It is a final destination in the midst of air's fitful ocean.
Foreheads align and alight before a twist and upwards we go.
Mr. Heidegger's hut recedes in the distance but Mr. Wittgenstein's
blood-red spot is there for all to see.

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Date: Sat, 28 May 2011 13:46:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Here's the Thing, two texts 

Here's the Thing, two texts


Here's the Thing

Consider two different watches - one with a digital/numerical readout, and
the other with a traditional circular dial (digital or analog). Consider
the path swept by any of the hands - second/minute/hour - the track. The
track lies between ikonic and indexical; on one hand, it stands-in for the
concrete space traversed in a given amount of time; on the other, its very
physicality is a pointer towards duration. Consider the numerical readout;
on one hand, it stands-in for the symbolic state of an instant, which is
in reality a duration from one decimal point to another; on the other, it
is indexical, a pointer towards an instantaneity embedded in a sequence.
The philosophical position behind the numerical readout is that of the
Dedekind cut; behind the track lies a form of intuitionism embedding both
mechanism and observer, the track inhabiting or accompanying his or her
internal time consciousness. Duration is an inhabiting; one might say, for
example, looking at a circular dial, that it's almost five, that we still
have some time before dinner, that he's a bit late. Looking at a numerical
readout, one is likely to say, it's three to five, dinner's in a half
hour, dinner's in forty-five minutes or so. Of course this is exaggerated,
but the track tends towards the metaphoric consciousness of the body
described by the Lakoff's and the numerical readout portends towards an
inescapable but fictitious exactitude. I think of these as differing
orders within the real, different insertions of body and technology,
different prosthetics. The track is closer to the graft of skin or tissue;
the readout is closer to an insertion or prosthesis. The former is closer
to a fissure in the real, separating same from same; the latter is closer
to a concrete division, a separation of x from ~x, this from that. In this
odd sense, the numerical readout is classical, and the track is post-mod-
ern - anything goes, the body runs/exists anywhere among intervals which
are smeared out, abject, spewed. To read a track is always to interpret;
one searches in vain for concrete divisions. To read a numerical input is
the opposite - it is never to interpret, always to read out what is
written, not to interpret the given, but to reproduce. it.

These two models, and the transformations that have occurred from one to
the other - how subtle, what is lost and what is gained! One never thinks
about, for example, those 'vintage' windup travel alarms with their
ticking that measured the unraveling of potential energy, that ran on the
energy of the body; now one uses digital and often silently-running alarms
which are almost as disposable as the batteries that power them. One might
say that the mechanical is comprehended as levers and wheels are compre-
hended, that the mechanical clock, no matter how small or complex, runs on
principles that are readily accessible. The digital/electronic on the
other hand operates as a black box tied to corporate but common specifica-
tions. It's not just a question of scale. Ironically the electronic is
closer to the workings of the body, than the mechanical, but not closer to
the phenomenology of things that surround us. It's those things which are
receding in the distance, even the track or slow unfolding of time. And
what comes in for replacement is the digital which may or may not run at
any speed (whose speed in the long run may also be mapped analogically and
with full cognizance of potential wells and the like), but which collapses
interval into instant, and perhaps along the line, the instant into
fashion, which takes all the analogic time available to fill out. Fashion
is the crossroads here, indicated by the thing or punctum, but also by the
roads traversed, the gaps opened up. And here's the thing: the walk along
the line or from one side of the aisle to the other, the walk through the
mall or across it, stopping at the Gap in order to proceed apace.


they said that, propellers, propellors, helicopters and props.

"its propeller festooned with propeller" getting better, a propeller spun
overhead, gathering speed while bikes propellor-marked the radios the
boats, propellor-marked by tired with propeller wounds. my writing
unsolicited, goes unsolicitied. listen: i rope sidestroke swimming smoke
cigarette propeller arms left propeller projections of dismembered avatars
over propellers and gratings.

two engines of aeromodeller have propellers at right-angles - there are
projections of dismembered avatars over propellers and gratings * nomadic
propellers and radios the and propellor-marked boats, their tired and
primate for and of its propeller festooned with propeller.

alternating video where propellers ruotano and children in plastic seem
projections of dismembered avatars over propellers and gratings, two
engines of aeromodeller have propellers at right-angles - there are
propellor-marked propellor-marked blame slime crabgrass fury propellor-
marked fury and tree sunflower and and dandelion, fern slime not primate
for tired by the blame propellor-marked comfort manatee, blame or "ah yes,
i'm also thinking of the propellor vanes."

write helicopters                               ####
helicopters #### 33 ###################### through my 34 #### ! 35 #### :
a trail from the helicopter engine and you know that the helicopter is
one fine evening, and i will end it on ano when the helicopter shows where
judgment on that, helicopters, how could you possibly predict what
 			 of helicopters, pure katana sword
helicopters are banned
the airwolf helicopter wow how long ago was this!
for the killing of wolves by helicopter
and the roar and sputtering of helicopter blades

constructs that disappear as so many props only necessary at this point in
sinking. props undermines community honesty. but subterfuge, subterfuge
propping (there were no props, only a round-robin of symbolic formations).

themselves into dark realms and greater props ::
the dancers are nude, there are no props.
and the consciousness of the body, why wear clothes?

why work for people the dancers are nude, there are no props, and about
that sinking, my writing props up the world it undermines. constructs
disappear in so many ways. be on the stage without an props at all.
they say "jacki's give props ry's sylvie fortin what's wrong here aaa bbb
ccc ddd" - they said that.

they said that, propellers, propellors, helicopters and props.

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Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 19:11:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Worry 


Since I lost my YouTube account, I fought to get it back, but to no avail.
The charges were violation of Viacom and obscene videos. I 'won' the first
round against Viacom, at which point I was told my account would be rein-
stated. The charge then switched to the second. They said there were num-
erous videos, and named one which was not obscene. In fact, I was careful
with YouTube and none of the pieces put up were sexual at all. They
refused to name others and I was told I was in violation of a number of
laws. Instead of giving me further information - the nature of the
complaints, the list of videos, they first sent me cut-and-paste responses
and then no response at all. I've given up. There were around 70 videos at

I first heard about the take-down from a researcher, who was looking for
certain pieces. I hadn't posted for quite a while to YouTube and wasn't
aware the account was 'suspended' - which means closed fact.

Because of this and my own insecurities, again I urge you, if you're
interested, to download my works from http://www.alansondheim.org/ - so
far no troubles at all, and from http://espdisk.com/alansondheim . The Net
is too corporate, too unstable, too hacked at this point. The latter site
contains all my music to date, except for two forthcoming releases - one
from FireMuseum, and one from ESP-Disk. There's lots of interest I think.
The former contains all my texts and a great number of videos, images, and

In any case, these sites are still good. For your enjoyment, two new
pieces of sound/music below:


Thanks, Alan


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Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2011 01:21:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>



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Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 23:30:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Warwick rehearsal shooting (fwd)

Warwick rehearsal shooting

http://www.alansondheim.org/warwick1.mp4 avatar setup / development
http://www.alansondheim.org/warwick2.mp4 trapped controlled avatar
http://www.alansondheim.org/warwick0.mp4 typical transformed avatar
mocap movement

For the upcoming Virtual Futures conf. at Warwick; I won't run camera or
video; warwick1 is a control video - how it should look and how it appears
from my end; warwick2 is a response video - what might appear; warwick0 is
an avatar closeup. The projection will combine installation with avatar
movement, perhaps seesawing back and forth. In any case, this is the mise
en scene or current 'state of the art' for me.

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Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2011 05:32:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Fireworks: American Empire 

Fireworks: American Empire

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Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 04:49:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Islam, Norway, Christ


email archive http://sondheim.rupamsunyata.org/
webpage http://www.alansondheim.org
music archive: http://www.espdisk.com/alansondheim/
current text http://www.alansondheim.org/rc.txt

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Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2011 13:12:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: I used to be good. 

I used to be good.

I used to 'really have it' as they say. That was 'really something.'
I could turn out the magic without even thinking.
I was master of the image, master of the image programs.
I'd have an idea, just like that. And I'd make the idea _happen._
Here's an example: http://www.alansondheim.org/stranges.mp4 .
Here's another: http://www.alansondheim.org/stranges2.mp4 .
Brilliant! I couldn't possibly do these now!
I don't know what happened, but I have a theory: the Republicans.
It must have been the Republicans. It can't possibly be a coincidence.
The Republicans come in; my images go south as they say.
That's not an insult to the South. That's just an expression.
I'm sure that's just an expression. And I won't be side-tracked.
The Republicans would side-track me. Look at these images!
Look at the skills I had! I haven't made anything this good for years!
Not since the Republicans came in! I can't afford anything any more!
My mind's a shambles. My mind's ground to a halt.
It's the fault of the Republicans! I'm sure there's more to say about
this but I'm not sure what it is. I used to know what it is, but I
don't know; my mind's blurry, I can hardly keep track of anything and
I don't have any ideas any more. I don't even know to to end this.
All I remember is that I used to be brilliant and I look at these
stunning images and say wow to myself and I know I can't do anything
this good now and the Republicans are running around my mind like
vermin. In fact I like vermin but I don't like Republicans! I used to
be so good!

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Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 07:37:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: wounded avatar. aporia. 

wounded avatar. aporia.

it's always someone else who writes this.
it's always someone else who is sick.
up until the limit, it's you, not myself, who is sick.
at the limit, i am gone, not even leaving a gift, leaving nothing.
at the limit, it is someone else who receives a gift.
the gift comes from nowhere. the gift is an object in the world.
the gift is a labeled object in the world. or an unknown object.
the avatar who is sick is a gift. the avatar who disappears is a gift.
the avatar leaves nothing behind. or the avatar leaves everything.
the avatar leaves everything but leaves everything to no one.
the pain of a wounded avatar is infinite. an avatar cannot speak.
an avatar is always spoken for and hir pain is stolen.


the wounded avatar is at the heart of the problematic of culture.
the wounded avatar is the heart of the problematic.
wounding is the erasure of the grounding of inscription.
the wounded avatar is the inscription of wounding
and the wounding of inscription:
it is within this field that materiality dissolves,
meeting oncoming death face to face, in the sense of alterity.
the field blocks everything; the field does not exist.
the avatar says: it is over when i say it is over.
the avatar is wounded.

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Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2011 22:40:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Wounded Avatars text 

Wounded Avatars

"when i was young i was told i wouldn't live past twenty-five.
i gave the ugly lie to that interpretation.
now these words resonate but only briefly with my voice.
you'll read them in your own, nothing otherwise will remain.
the back-theory is that fragile, look how the letters line up.
one, two, and three, they appear different to you
than they ever did to me."

Wounded avatars are inconceivable; however what is transmitted across -
from the visualization of the data-base to the user - may reflect a
surplus of inscription.

This is accomplished in at least two ways: 1. the augury and presence of
the human voice, as voice-over or apparently emanating from the avatar,
whose movement of the lips can reflect the pronunciation of the phonemes
in real time; and 2. the use of photographic textures, of the wounded
and/or sexualized body, attached to objects and avatars. The first is
resonant with the 'grain of the voice,' which is easily transmitted
(occupying a fairly small audio bandwidth, simple to channel and receive)
and yet perceived as _of_ the body, intimate with and within the body, in
other words an aural tissue inhering in the speaking subject, and listened
to, in that regard, by the receiver. The second, the use of photographic
(photographed) textures, is based on the gaze, and its function as a
proscenium of arousal and empathy; the body gazed-upon is my own (taken as
my own, inhabited), the wound and genitals are my own (inhabited), and so
forth. The silencing of the voice, the portrayal of the death of the body
are my own as well, and the more obdurate the silencing and portrayal -
the more these appear to deny the epistemology of the data-codecs that are
at the heart of their transmission - the more the viewer succumbs to them,
the more they are lodged within the him or hir, the more the flesh appears
beyond what otherwise defaults to the usual (notion of the) transparency
of data.

So that, to re-mark within the virtual, within virtual worlds, the
presence of the body, wounded or aroused or dying for examples - the use
of voice and texture are useful portals to those journeys we all take at
various times in our lives, and towards their ending, when the flow of the
body becomes insistent in its very becoming-object.

In the nightclub, the sleazy can predominate, as can elegance, brilliance,
glitter, and monstrosity. Imagine a windowless space, dark but for the
presence of club kids, who emerge as rare birds of the night, a metaphor
done to death and stereotypical, but clear in its depiction of a menagerie
which appears self-illuminated, self-controlled, self-presented. In this
way, ontology is self-determined, what is, is brought to the foreground by
the club kids themselves; this is the world of the club, the world of the
night, the world of flat black texture in virtual worlds where what is
visible is always already a detour or bypass, an inversion of the usual
roles of light and shadow.

Further, what appears in the nightclub, in this self-illumination, self-
ontology, is nothing more or less than the image or flash, evanescent and
always on the verge of disappearing. This image appears simultaneously
real (for it is there, before me) and virtual (since it seems grounded in
translucence and the ephemeral; in fact it sutures inscription to the
flesh, perhaps erring on the side of inscription. For what is occurring
(but does not occur) within a depth psychology here, is the aging of the
image-body, body-image, outside the club, which then is visible (as the
club kid is visible) as a framing-device remote from time, forestalling
time. The time of the club is always a detour.

So here is the third device within virtual presentation, beyond voice and
photographic texture, the device of the glow or self- or narrowed-
illumination, which isolates and creates, which effaces architecture
through architectonics, and which insists on the wounded or dying avatar,
the sick or aroused avatar, the avatar brought to its/our knees at its
limits, which are the limitations of representation among transmissions,
codes, protocols, and so forth.

I can imagine a solitary avatar, whose body is that of carefully-recon-
structed wounds and violent demarcations, mouthing almost autonomically
the audible narration of a woman starving in the Horn of Africa, a
survivor from a Rwandan massacre, a soldier chewed up by a roadside bomb,
or an American dying from malnutrition; I can imagine an avatar whose body
is mapped from aroused or used and debilitated flesh, audibly murmuring
the caress of sexuality, or sexuality's violence... So many difficult and
un/comfortable modes of presentation, carrying the real of the body into
the virtual, returning it to the real of the observer, who may become a
participant in spite of hirself, and for what end? For experience and
empathy that inhabits the lived world, breaks down virtuality, or better,
demonstrates that virtuality and inscription inhabit all of us, that it is
not an escape, that our bodies and desires follow us and paint the world
in colors which are often abject and denied. I would like famine and war
brought home to second life, in a semiotic close to the ikonic, not the
usual cartoon-indexical which all too often colors 'magical' representa-
tion. I would like arousal to move other than Vaihinger's as-if or Ben-
tham's fictions, to bring the body and its consequences to the foreground
(as speech often does). And I'd like death to appear as other than
commodity as representable in its non-representability; I'd like that
death to appear as _our_ death, not the death of the other, not the death
which is named, but the death which is unnameable. And finally, I'd like
the wager which comes from all of this (and there are other means to apply
as well, of course; I'm just scratching the surface), to be seen for what
it is: not a wager in the sense of a zero-sum game, but a wager within the
real, within organism, where we all are lost in the end, but may have
moments of clarity and action on the way there. Otherwise we spend our
lives as separate 'real' and 'virtual,' both skittering across data-banks
and back-ups, as if such constitute how the world is turning or has
become. And the danger there is that, to repeat myself, that real war,
starvation, arousal (it is not all negative), wounding, cessation, is
always just around the corner, and we ignore this, politically and
somatically, at our peril.

Some texts -

Reporting Vietnam, Part 1 and 2, includes Herr's Dispatches
The Body in Pain, Elaine Scarry
Tibetan Medicine, the Ven., Rechung Rinpoche
The Matrixial Borderspace, BrachaL. Ettinger
Leaves of Grass, Second Annex: Good-bye My Fancy, Walt Whitman

thanks to Monika Weiss

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