Alan Sondheim on Mon, 7 Jun 1999 08:13:42 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> description of ongoing work

Internet Philosophy and Psychology -                              June.99

This is a somewhat periodic notice describing my Internet Text, available
on the Net, and sent in the form of texts to various lists (Cybermind and
fop-l, and sometimes cyberculture, all of which I comoderate). The URL is: and the mirror (without java-
sript, graphics, The Case of the Real, a short novel (Ma) or dhtml pages)

The changing nature of the email lists, Cybermind and Fiction-of-Philoso-
phy, to which the texts are sent individually, hides the full body of the
work; readers may not be aware of the continuity among them. The writing
may appear fragmented, created piecemeal, splintered from a non-existent
whole. On my end, the whole is evident, the texts extended into the lists,
part or transitional objects.

So this (periodic) notice is an attempt to recuperate the work as total-
ity. Below is an updated introduction. 


The "Internet Text" currently constitutes around 90 files, or 2800 printed
pages. It was started in 1994, and continues as an extended meditation on
cyberspace. It began with a somewhat straightforward theoretical outline,
and has expanded into wild theory and literatures.

Almost all of the text is in the form of short-waves or long-waves. The
former are the individually-titled sections, written in a variety of
styles, and at times referencing other writers/theorists. The sections are
heavily interrelated; on occasion emanations appear, "emanants" possessing
philosophical or psychological import. They also create and problematize
narrative substructures within the work as a whole. Such are Julu, Alan,
Jennifer, Nikuko, in particular. Overall, I'm concerned with virtual-real
subjectivities and their interpenetrations, in relation to various philo-
sophical issues. Recently, I've been working with simple reworkings of the
emacs doctor program, and writing dhtml pages, exploring parsing and rhe-
torics of control, erotics, and sublimation.

The long-waves are fuzzy loci bearing on such issues as death, love, vir-
tual embodiment, the "granularity of the real," physical reality, computer
languages, and protocols which weave throughout the texts. The resulting
splits and coalescences owe something to phenomenology, deconstruction,
linguistics, prehistory, programming, etc., as well as to the functionings
of online worlds in relation to everyday realities.

I have used MUDS, MOOS, talkers, perl, d/html, qbasic, linux, emacs, Cu-
SeeMe, etc., all tending towards a future of being-and-writing, texts
which act and engage beyond traditional reading practices. Some of the
work emerges out of performative language such as computer programs or MOO
commands which _do_ things; some emerges out of interference with these
languages, or conversations using internet applications that are activated
one way or another.

There is no binarism in the texts, no series of definitive statements.
Virtuality is considered beyond the text- and web-scapes prevalent now.
The various issues of embodiment that will arrive with full-real VR are
already in embryonic existence, permitting the theorizing of present and
future sites, "spaces," nodes, and modalities of body/speech/community.

Please check the INDEX to find your way into the earlier body of the work.
The Case of the Real is useful. It is also helpful to read the first file,
Net1.txt, and/or to look at the latest files (kw kx, etc., which are still
to be indexed) as well. Skip around. The Index lists the files in which a
particular topic is described; you can then do a search on the file, or
simply scroll down (the files range in length from 30 to 50 pages in
print). (Note: I have stopped working on the index; for the later files, I
suggest you skim. Eventually, I need a site and a local search engine for
the texts; at the moment, I apologize for the awkwardness of it all.)

The texts may be distributed in any medium; please credit me. I would ap-
preciate in return any comments you may have.

See also:
Being on Line, Net Subjectivity (anthology), Lusitania, 1997
New Observations Magazine #120 (anthology), Cultures of Cyberspace, 1998
The Case of the Real, Pote and Poets Press, 1998

Alan Sondheim 718-857-3671 
432 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11217
mail to: 


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