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{Friday, August 15, 2003}

Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe

Conduits and Resonance

"The whole organism can be considered as a coded representation of its environment. We can say that the wings of a bird 'represent' the air and the legs of man the land, and similarly that their brains contain representations in code that allow them to fly or walk, and their nerves carry code messages about relevant features of the world.
This conception of organisms as symbolic representations of their environments may seem fanciful. In fact it gives a much deeper insight into life than the usual talk about 'structures' and 'functions', which use analogy with machines. Thom has put it that information equals form ..."
J.Z.Young - Programs of the Brain (Oxford, 1981, page 43)

Requirements and the conduit metaphor - Brian Marick
"Let me contrast the conduit metaphor to something I've heard Dick Gabriel say of poetry: that a poem is a program that runs in the reader's mind."

Biblical Literalism: Constricting the Cosmic Dance by Conrad Hyers
"The literal imagination is univocal. Words mean one thing, and one thing only. They don't bristle with meanings and possibilities; they are bald, clean-shaven. Literal clarity and simplicity, to be sure, offer a kind of security in a world (or Bible) where otherwise issues seem incorrigibly complex, ambiguous and muddy. But it is a false security, a temporary bastion, maintained by dogmatism and misguided loyalty. Literalism pays a high price for the hope of having firm and unbreakable handles attached to reality. The result is to move in the opposite direction from religious symbolism, emptying symbols of their amplitude of meaning and power, reducing the cosmic dance to a calibrated discussion.
One of the ironies of biblical literalism is that it shares so largely in the reductionist and literalist spirit of the age."

Shared Understanding: Implications for Computer Supported Cooperative Work - William T. Hunt
1.2 Cognition In the World
"Besides being shared with others, cognition is also in the artifacts in the world. Gregory Bateson [1972] exemplified it well through a thought experiment:
Suppose I am a blind man, and I use a stick. I go tap, tap, tap. Where do I start? Is my mental system bounded at the handle of the stick? Is it bounded by my skin? Does it start halfway up the stick? Does it start at the tip of the stick? [p. 459]
Suppose the blind man eats his dinner. Then forks, knives, and spoons become relevant. As Michael Cole [1991] and Arthur Bentley [1954] argue, the mind cannot be bound by skin.
Don Norman [1991; 1992, p.19-25] talks of affordances. These are properties of objects. A table affords placing objects on it. A baseball affords throwing but does not afford sitting on. Spoons afford eating soup. So the blind man's understanding of the world is intricately tied to the affordance of his stick. We can talk of these properties of artifacts that extend our minds as affordances."

The Internet and the Future of Art - Eduardo Kac

"It is through the skin that metaphysics must be made to re-enter our minds."
Antonin Artaud

Manuel DeLanda Annotated Bibliography

"Interface design is a pragmatic aspect of the gesture-speech nexus in which gesture is seen as augmenting and combining with speech."
Brian Rotman

Metaphors We Compute By - John M. Lawler
"In spoken language, we appear to be understanding a person through what they say; in written language, on the other hand, we appear to be dealing with the words themselves, and the literal meaning (the word literal itself simply means 'written') becomes a matter of very great importance. If we make a mistake in conversation, we can back up, restate, ask questions, pause, look dumb, or behave in a lot of different ways that can lead to clarification, rather like an elaborate error-trapping routine.
In written language, however, we have much less to go on, and have consequently developed conventions for interpreting the writer's intentions. The Conduit Metaphor, which is a myth that is used to explain how we can communicate, even though we're not telepathic ..."

Foundations of Information Architecture

"Before the end, something is coming to an end. The general digitization of channels and information erases the differences among individual media. Sound and image, voice and text are reduced to surface effects, known to consumers as interface."
Friedrich Kittler

Getting Under the Skin, or, How Faces have become Obsolete - (pdf)
"Beyond even Deleuze and Guattari's call for bodies without organs, the body at the turn of the millennium has turned into an "organ without a body," or better into an "organ instead of a body." In this synechdotal move the first, and probably most important body part that had to be overcome was the face. The face, which has always overcoded other body parts, has now ceased to be the most representative signifier of human appearance; "under the skin" every organ has an (inter)face; potentially, every organ may stand in for the whole body."
Bernadette Wegenstein

Karma Vertigo: or Considering The Excessive Responsibilities Placed On Us By The Dawn Of The Information Infrastructure - Jaron Lanier (1994)
"At first, the design of the network will seem less important than the content that is moved over it. This will be true only for the first generation or two of users. After that it will become apparent that the network's design is like genetic material out of which our culture unfolds, an intimate and pervasive presence, a thing, like the structure of our spoken language, whose influence is too great to be isolated or measured.
The influence of network architecture will re-cast every human endeavor that involves communication across distance or time. We are about to create the material with which our civilization will be largely woven for generations to come. The design of the information infrastructure will form the weave and the flow of its contents, which will be most of what we create together and pass on as a legacy."

Corporeal or Gesturo-haptic Writing - Brian Rotman
"Could motion capture be about to induce a transformation as radical and far-reaching for the body's gestural activities, for its skin and organs of grasping and touching as writing accomplished for the organs of speech? Could bringing (a digitally objectified) gesture out from under the shadow of the spoken word install ...
"Cultures", Merlin Donald reminds us, "restructure the mind, not only in terms of its specific contents, which are obviously culture-bound, but also in terms of its fundamental neurological organization." Likewise, as evolutionary neurologist Terrence Deacon argues, a cultural phenomenon such as the development of language and its ramifications can be seen to have altered the size and overall capacity of the brain (rather than, as is usually supposed, the reverse). In Donalds's case, the arena of this restructuring is the evolution of cognition through neurological changes brought about by culturally mediated systems of external memory (writing for example), which is evidently an instance of technologically mediated exogenesis ... A principal mode of exogenesis is synthetic assemblage, the coming- or putting-together of independent activities to form a new, functionally unified and autonomous, entity with emergent properties not present in its components."

The Panoramic Photography of Luc Courchesne - Brian Massumi
"If we try to imagine the flat surface of the photographic image projected back into three-dimensionality, it makes as much sense, in the image's own distorted terms, to see the fade-out of the fringe folding back around to rejoin the central eclipse, yielding a torus or donut shape, as it [does] to construe it as a spherical band as in the traditional panorama. The panoramic photographic plate suggests its own alternate visual geometry. By folding its outer limit back into itself, the image asserts itself as a form of interiority. It is not so much a represented segment of an outside objective sight as it is a monadic sampling of vision. The monad, says Leibniz, has no windows. It is a pure interiority, yet it connects with the outside: by enveloping it in itself. The point at which the outside enters, the crease, the in-folding, appears as an interior emptiness: the hole in the donut of vision. The black hole of representation at the heart of the image is the trace in it of the process of its production and of the principle of its form. It is where the image most wholly shows itself."

Fractal of the Day by Jim Muth

"My favorite painting of the brain's convoluted surface is not the usual gray modeling-clay rendition but a red and purple rising-sun sphere whose "convolutions" come close to looking like the cracks in a parched mud flat."
William H. Calvin - The Throwing Madonna - Left Brain, Right Brain: Science ..?

naked ape with killer app discovers gap

Conversations with Neil's Brain - William H. Calvin and George A. Ojemann
"Back when Sigmund Freud was peering through a microscope, the gray matter looked like a great spider web of crossing axons. Everything seemed fused together. At some of the intersections, instead of a trapped fly, there was a black bulge, the cell. No "arrows" anywhere, suggesting how information flowed. Freud probably found this rather frustrating, and by the time visualization techniques were improved, he had moved on to view the brain from a very different perspective -- psychoanalysis.
With Camillo Golgi's method of staining a few neurons at a time with silver, Fridtjof Nansen and Santiago Ramon y Cajal independently deduced that the axon actually came to a dead end just outside another cell -- that there was really a gap ..."

The Bob Dobbs dialogue with Randy Koppang, Part 2
BOB: Right. So, it's the fact that you can take any 2 things, which is the essence of relationship. And there's the profound truth that objects are non-selfobservable. Only relationships between objects are observable. And the popular expression of object non-observability was done by Alan Watts, and those popular mystics; where they said you can't see the thing doing the seeing. You can't see conscious self.
Watts often pointed out you can't see your own eyes, as individual perceptors in our reflexive/holographic universe. You've got to have relationship to begin reflexing consciousness and evolve it.
So, consciousness itself is necessarily double. Therefore, it has to include the nothing part of itself and the something part of itself; and can't see itself.
RK: Explaining the defining material component required by the universe, so you can have a reflexive sense...
BOB: ... of spirit!
That was one of Marshall's axes to grind. Because he didn't like the way Western secret societies, and Western philosophy in general, and all the arts and sciences split matter and spirit.
So, you take 2 words. We´┐Żll use these 2 words Creative Evolution. There seems to be 2 patterns here, in terms of humanity's "normal" experience of itself (remembering that, on the one hand, humanity was an object that was non-selfobserving of its collective-self until now; until reflexive electric media and cyber-introspection): most people see that things stay the same. But they're also aware there's change going on; those are like 2 archetypal cognitive processers. Culturely, then, the things remaining the same are called isomorphic. The term isomorphic means a form which keeps showing up; in nature, through man's eyes, or in Jungian archetypal forms, through the studying of various cultures. But, the other part is the metamorphic. The change which is creating a feeling of newness, and novelty.
Like, this is exactly the same environment (here, now) as yesterday. Yet, this is different for us, at the same time."

The Visual System - Luc Courchesne
"The apparent corresponding geometry between the external reality and the brain's internal reconstruction of it inspires my somewhat poetic model, described below. It presents the external and the internal as two polarities and the experience of consciousness as a reverberation resulting from transfers between the two. Here the whole cortex is seen as a screen on which the environment is projected, and the environment as a screen on which the cortex is projected -- or the interface of the two as the locus of a freely floating consciousness.
It is interesting at this point, as the recycling of the mind by the environment and the environment by the mind proceeds, to consider both mind and environment as the artifact of the other. Furthermore, one can now argue about what constitutes the boundary between the two. The boundary exists. It is a product of the discovery of the self, but it appears to move inwards and outwards depending on either mental or environmental conditions. The inside adjusts itself to the outside and vice versa. The inside or the self may appear to inflate in darkness and retract in daylight and in that sense, the skin is a constantly shifting boundary. Someone's car in a traffic jam, or clothes in a crowd, or skin in a sauna, or even someone's inhibitions on the sofa of a psychiatrist are felt like alternating tangibles ... "

Guy Da Silva's Paper
Konrad Lorenz: "We should stop searching for the <> between animality and humanity because we are the <>".

String, and Knot, Theory of Inca Writing - John Noble Wilford
"A reading of the knotted string devices, if deciphered, could perhaps reveal narratives ..."

Turns of Phrase

"When setting out on the path of media ecology, we find that turning off the TV provides slack for deprogramming the cine-anaesthesia TV forces upon us. And we can then revisit an understanding of human language as a technology vs. the capacity of our intelligence to express ourselves in language."
Randy Koppang

Pattern Recognition
"Adorno notoriously said that it was barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz. You might say that the ironic fulfillment of Adorno's warning is precisely our current state of affairs in which everything is poetry -- by which I mean that everything is "culture," and that culture is increasingly indistinguishable from advertising, or from product design (as Andy Warhol was the first person to clearly understand). But Gibson suggests, however waveringly, that it is precisely, and only, in this void that an aesthetics could possibly be reinvented. The novel ..."

Ceci N'est Pas Une Nike - Campbell, Campbell, Campbell,
Campbell, Super-Cannes, Super-Cannes, Can-Can

"One machine is always coupled wiv another."
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari - 'Anti-Oedipus' (1973)

Erosional Spirituality
"Maybe weather is like skin ..."
An interview with Terry Tempest Williams

Andy Warhol
"The Campbell soup cans that Andy painted and silkscreened in the 1960s, which helped make him famous, are usually interpreted as commentaries on mechanical reproduction. However, displacement and other metaphoric processes contributed to his choice of Campbell soup as subject, and connected the image to his erotic hungers. Indeed, cans, in Warhol's work, continue the task of [his earlier] "cock drawings," for cans allude to the sexual body, and to limbs iconically isolated from the whole: as a foot (in his drawings) is divorced from the body, or a penis (in his "cock drawings") is featured in relative isolation from the face and torso, so the can is alienated from the act of eating that it nonetheless announces as a purchasable possibility. The can's most arresting word -- the eye ignores it for the first hundred times -- is condensed: "Campbell's Condensed." Condensation is a property of dreams and the unconscious; the soup-can fetish condenses Andy's unspeakable interior procedures, and gives them a shopwindow's attractiveness."
Wayne Koestenbaum - 'Andy Warhol' (Phoenix, 2003, page 39)

Hypertext - words in print
"The medium is not the message, for one medium will incarnate many messages. But medium and message interact. The medium is neither container nor vehicle nor track. The message is neither content nor cargo nor projectile ..."
Ong - 'Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology' (Cornell University Press, 1971, page 271)

Treachery of Images - This is not a post
"Victory and defeat - I don't believe it!" Meldrew Gilligan

Niels Ole Finnemann - Informational notation and the algorithmic revolution
"Where Hjelmslev at the time was puzzled by his own statement that "it is in the nature of language to be overlooked", that is, was concealed behind the auditive or alphabetical clothing, we are puzzled today by the fact that, as far as informational notation is concerned, it is the clothing, the expression form, which cannot be seen."

Havelock - The literate revolution in Greece and its cultural consequences
"Once invented, [the Greek alphabet] supplied the complete answer to a problem, and there has never been need to reinvent it. The Roman and Cyrillic variants are just that, and no more. The problem had been to devise a system of 'shapes' (as the Greeks properly called them) of required small sizes, with maximum economy, (so far, the Phoenician achievement) such as would, despite the economy, when seen (or as we say, 'read') in endless variety of linear arrangements automatically trigger an acoustic memory of the complete spoken speech indexed by the shapes."

The Context of Communication, Part 2 - Glenn Vanderburg
"Although "convection currents of information" is clearly squarely in line with the conduit metaphor, it's interesting that so much of what Alistair talks about is implicit, serendipitous communication. He talks about information radiators and other explicit channels, but the emphasis is on building a context where information simply flows, implicitly and effortlessly."

Conduit Metaphor
"The whole notion of 'sending' and 'receiving' may be misleading, since, after all, once I've 'sent' a message, I still have it."
Mick Underwood

John Pritchard : Installation Two : The History of Nike
"In 1984, Tinker Hatfield, a former pole-vaulter and architect, worked his way into the shoe industry. Converse's early 1970's slogan, 'Limousines for the Feet', gave Hatfield the idea that "an athletic shoe is a kind of cartoon," a cartoon of a car."

Hieroglyphs of Engined Egypsians - Theall
Our producers are they not our consumers?

posted by Andrew 8/15/2003 03:26:00 PM