Kevin Magee on Fri, 18 Apr 2003 08:54:15 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Digital Lucidities

Forwarded, the following text, to this list, has been, not only for
its timeliness in the contemporary context of the latest war, but also
for to enter it into the digital commons of the nettime archive. The
author died of cancer before his writings could develop in the
direction declared here, State critique from with the formal
language-discipline of the Poetic. This particular text appeared in
its time three times on paper, the book cited here, a literary
magazine that itself appeared three times before disappearing, and a
posthumous collection, Rome: A Mobile  Home. Works on paper that enter
the rare book room. Many and minute typographical edits exist among
the three printed versions, though the Poet wrote before a database
could collect the detritus of self-doubt and intimidation before
language and the world of power called culture. Volume without
depth. The crisis of the present conjuncture? So this text is offered
also as a reminder of the depth that is the labor of the
language-discipline of the Poetic.


In the already historical American news accounts of the bombing of
Tripoli, at least as the news could be understood in the hours after
the initial pictures, as both video taped and wire service still
photographs, of the partly bombed residential districts of the Libyan
capital were released, it was suggested, in the interviews culled
primarily from American navy pilots presumably questioned in news
conferences fresh after combat--sound of carrier seawind mingling,
sometimes to the dissonant disadvantage of the pilot's laconic if
nevertheless vivid rendition of the urban devastation which their A6
attack bombers had inflicted--that the explanation, in their point of
view,--although hurtling, sometimes not more than a hundred yards
above the city streets, at a speed making for an uncertain sequence of
unrelenting perceptions, thus accounting for the perhaps still
unproven accuracy of their reports,--for the seeming damage relevant
to the unmilitary nature of the results gained, sites such as Libyan
barber shops, restaurants, the two story apartments of the Libyan
bourgeoisie--was related to the incompetency of technical failure of
Soviet surface to air missiles which, being fired directly straight up
at the escaping American warplanes, succumbed to the inevitable
gravitational incline: that is, unfortunately, the Libyans own weapons
blasted what lay below them, e.g. the nonmilitary targets of their
capital. However, in subsequent interviews with Vietnam combat
veterans--vets of equally intense, if the comparison lies in the
physicality of eluding such missiles, combats--it was expertly pointed
out that Soviet missiles do, regardless of the first angle of their
earth blast off, in doubling the speed of sound, adjust to the often
frantic swerving of US bombers by being programmed to know, not
reflexively, unless those who design the numerous digital lucidities
of such warfares do project a nearly archtypical human theater of
confrontation upon such oppositions--albeit what is known is
instantaneous with its reflection of course, or decision--at what
precise moment to explode, that is, at the point when the enemy begins
to succeed in his evasion.

In the early 1970s, one heard reports of the poet, Robert Duncan,
expressing his distress that the field theory was so similar to the
American Air Force use of weapons like Puff the Magic Dragon which
could put a bullet every so many square inches of rice paddy. That is,
in a composition drafted upon such awareness, there is only now the
presence of a critique that will at least play the witness to an
analogy become uniform. But there is an inescapable capacity, a feint
of burning past the limit of such explosive contact, which explodes
equally the missiles enacting their capacity to "read." So we hustle
an alternate domino game, yet I find myself looking minimal in regard
to a documentary concerned with how the U.S. was defeated in
Vietnam. On an abandoned military airport at Pleiku one sees, spaced
equidistant, forming an infinite line, or a terribly finite rhyme,
blackish field boxes cemented to this devastated field, the
refrigerated anguish of 'autonomous' forms. They are too discrete,
these identical American refrigerators paradoxically become the scale
of an indeterminacy . . . Shop signs and vacant stores for rent in an
abandoned, except for the nostalgia, Barbary Coast, the feeling of
wholeness in order to convey the corporate wholeness, desired meaning,
all encompassing, logos or logotype, the symbolic relationship to the
production system, calm signals of one being contained by the
Universe: you get what you project into it? Or you get it like
dictation repeats instructions on newly erased tapes to hand over the
war to intercept the announced revenge?

So a gloss becomes a survivor, and the persistent equivalents of
formal negation paint the image with a similitude no different than
certain Renaissance meditations concerning perspective and other,
equally repetitive, enactments of similitude.

Jerry Estrin, COLD HEAVEN (La Laguna--Islas Canarias, Zasterle Press,
1990). ["Of an edition of three hundred copies this is No. 133"].


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