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{Friday, December 26, 2003}

The Porlock Syndrome

Robert Luke - Signal: Trace, Technology, and the Self In Formation

Jacques Derrida writes: "To write is to produce a mark that will constitute a kind of machine that is in turn productive, that my future disappearance in principle will not prevent from functioning and from yielding, and yielding itself to, reading and writing."

Rhyme and treason: John Sutherland reviews Pandaemonium

"America operates according to the logic of interruption and emergency calling. It is the place from which Alexander Graham Bell tried to honor the contract he had signed with his brother. Whoever departed first was to contact the survivor through a medium demonstrably superior to the more traditional channel of spiritualism. Nietzsche must have sensed this subterranean pact, for in the Genealogy of Morals he writes of a telephone to the beyond."
Avital Ronell - The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech
(University of Nebraska Press - 1989)

Humphrey Jennings: The Man Who Listened to Britain
"One of the most notorious innovations of modern industry was the division of labour, which turned multi-skilled humans into single-task automata. Jennings saw the horrors of that process, and the sheer range and variety of his creative work can be seen as a living rebuke to the inhumanity of the division of labour and specialisation."
Kevin Jackson

Karen Engle - The Post of the Post
"[...] What better switchboard for thinking through postal physiologies than tapping into the ghost of Nietzsche? Heeding the spectral message of his telephone to the beyond, a call placed in the context of Wagner and aesthetics, Nietzsche's ass-ethics begs the question of technology. Plugging in to this voice from the beyond, we can consider telephonic logic in relation to parasites and postal bodies. Avital Ronell argues for the telephone as a "synecdoche of technology," showing how "technology has broken into the body (every body: this includes the body politic and its internal organs, i.e., the security organs of state" (The Telephone Book, 13; 109). Highlighting the "invasive force of the call" (106), Ronell hooks up notions of toxic invasion with the transmission of language:
The telephone connection houses the improper. Hitting the streets, it welcomes linguistic pollutants and reminds you to ask: 'Have I been understood?' Lodged somewhere among politics, poetry, and science, between memory and hallucination, the telephone necessarily touches the state, terrorism, psychoanalysis, language theory, and a number of death support systems ("The Worst Neighborhoods of the Real," 225).
Reiterating postal anxieties over trust and trustworthiness, the telephonic body, as receptacle for the improper, dials up all the static on the line extending between self and other: "telephonic logic means here, as everywhere, that contact with the Other has been disrupted, but it also means that the break is never absolute. Being on the telephone will come to mean, therefore, that contact is never constant nor is the break clean" (230)."

No War Machine - Stuart Moulthrop
"As Robert Coover has noted, hypertext purports to be the end of "the line," that monologic episteme of insistence that enjoins us to produce novels, essays, films, TV dramas, and other forms of projectile assault (23)."

Deleuze and Guattari + Five Propositions on the Brain
"The brain itself is much more a grass than a tree."

Derrida's Signature Event Context
"Every sign, linguistic or nonlinguistic, spoken or written (in the usual sense of this opposition), ... can be cited, put between quotation marks; thereby it can break with every given context, and engender infinitely new contexts in an absolutely non-saturable fashion. This does not suppose that a mark is valid outside its context, but on the contrary that there are only contexts without any center of absolute anchoring. This citationality, duplication, or duplicity, this iterability of the mark is not an accident or an anomaly, but is that (normal/abnormal) without which a mark could no longer even have a so-called normal functioning. What would a mark be that one could not cite? And whose origin could not be lost on the way?"
Jacques Derrida - "Signature Event Context" - translated by Alan Bass
from 'A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds' - edited by Peggy Kamuf
(New York: Columbia UP, 1991, pages 82-111, at page 97)

Poetopology: Folded Space, Traversal Machines and the Poetics of 'Emergent Text.'
Beressem advances three propositions about a number of questions concerning the 'hypertextual field': 1. Space - Drawing on Deleuze, he proposes the figure of 'folding' - rather than 'linking', 'surfing' or 'navigating' - as a way to think of textual movement; 2. dynamics of hypertext - Beressem applies Aarseth's definition of cybertext; 3. 'emergent text' - Beressem considers some of the problems and possibilities surrounding the creation of 'autopoietic texts' through specific programmings of the 'traversal' hypertextmachine.

Terry Harpold - The Contingencies of the Hypertext Link
"Derrida has suggested that a history of writing in the West would require first a history of roads. This essay is not the place to take on the massive philosophical tradition that joins the language of travel, expedition and navigation to the practice of writing. It is, however, important to recognize that the lexicon of hypertext writing (or reading) as modes of voyage can't be disassociated from that tradition, in forms as diverse as the Sophists' tours through the halls of memory, the Romantics' promenades solitaires and Leopold Bloom's circuit between the headlines of the "Aeolus" episode of Ulysses."

The shadow of history + Causal Space
"The dilemma posed to all scientific explanation is this: magic or geometry."
René Thom - Structural Stability and Morphogenesis

Tom Potter contends: "Epicurus (342-270 BC), who originated the concept of atoms, postulated a tangential velocity, he called atomic swerve, to explain how atoms maintained their integrity. Today, Epicurus' atomic swerve, divided by "C" is known as the fine structure constant."

Interruption scopes a channel, gauges apparel, a panel woven, floating a speech-trial balloon.
Information scoops a channel, gouges out and traces a peer-shaped room.
Roverandom travels ...

Equipped with open and palpable links, bathyscape through the eyes of memory;
catalogical sanguinivorous reels ring hosts of chance [in camera narrativo].
Parasite acts leave pixel casts, change encounters clips of leviathan footage.

Siren swims in the cavern where I dream; a softwar hybrid slumbers
in headline screams and posters. Unplugged and lashed to the mast
I'm frozen between promises, entranced by watching-machines that
dimly mask a transparent eyeball behind one blind kaleidoscope wall.

Recirculate the anonymous string, unmuffling a Sibylline reading ...

Latest release of a scandal-sheet - report of a ready-made-being found unfolding
thoughts out of season and brownian motion shot and enclosed within reason
webbing rhythm and figure-ground rhyme in an unbound book.
Hamavec, Withnail, Linus & I hook atoms.

Physics of the Mundane
"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry." Richard Feynman

Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers - Order Out of Chaos (1984)
"Stability is no longer the consequence of the general laws of physics. We must examine the way a stationary state reacts to the different types of fluctuation produced by the system or its environment. In some cases, the analysis leads to the conclusion that a state is "unstable" -- in such a state, certain fluctuations, instead of regressing, may be amplified and invade the entire system, compelling it to evolve toward a new regime that may be qualitatively quite different from the stationary states corresponding to minimum entropy production.
Thermodynamics leads to an initial general conclusion concerning systems that are liable to escape the type of order governing equilibrium. These systems have to be "far from equilibrium." In cases where instability is possible, we have to ascertain the threshold, the distance from equilibrium, at which fluctuations may lead to new behavior, different from the "normal" stable behavior characteristic of equilibrium or near-equilibrium systems.
[...] Sometimes, wrote Lucretius, at uncertain times and places, the eternal, universal fall of the atoms is disturbed by a very slight deviation -- the "clinamen". The resulting vortex gives rise to the world, to all natural things. The clinamen, this spontaneous, unpredictable deviation, has often been criticized as one of the main weaknesses of Lucretian physics, as being something introduced ad hoc. In fact, the contrary is true -- the clinamen attempts to explain events such as laminar flow ceasing to be stable and spontaneously turning into turbulent flow. Today hydrodynamic experts test the stability of fluid flow by introducing a perturbation that expresses the effect of molecular disorder added to the average flow. We are not so far from the clinamen of Lucretius!
For a long time turbulence was identified with disorder or noise. Today we know that this is not the case. Indeed, while turbulent motion appears as irregular or chaotic on the macroscopic scale, it is, on the contrary, highly organized on the microscopic scale. The multiple space and time scales involved in turbulence correspond to the coherent behavior of millions and millions of molecules. Viewed in this way, the transition from laminar flow to turbulence is a process of self-organization. Part of the energy of the system, which in laminar flow was in the thermal motion of the molecules, is being transferred to macroscopic organized motion."

Michel Serres Conference 1999 - Hanjo Berressem Abstract
"After tracing - very broadly - the parallel development of a chaotics and a (neo)materialism in the history of the soft and of the hard sciences respectively, the paper follows some 'Serrian' references in poststructuralist thought (Deleuze, Foucault) and in chaos theory (Prigogine). After this general introduction, the paper provides a detailed analysis of Serres' use of the Lucretian clinamen ...
Serres sees in Lucretius' text a premonition of 'postmodern sciences'; notably chaos theory - of which he considers De Rerum Natura a 'first' example and in whose reference he reads the clinamen - and the theory of complexity. To have linked atomism to chaos-theory and to the theory of complexity is one of the most seminal of Serres' theoretical contributions. Through references to chaotic and complex systems such as the weather, the clouds, the bifurcations of lightning, and aquatic or atmospheric vorticisms, he asks philosophy to address and answer to complex systems of becoming and of self-organization. As almost all of these references have to do with the clinamen, La Naissance de la Physique should be seen as a central text in Serres' work. In a third step, the paper develops from the analysis of the Serrian clinamen (in a reference back to Lacan) a theory of trauma that rests on the concept of chance (Aristotle's differentiation between necessity on the one side and tyche and automaton on the other). The infinitesimally small and contingent time of the clinamen designates the time of the traumacore, even while it heralds the birth of complexity. (The birth of the world from the spirit of trauma). In conclusion, the paper gives a short outlook on possible uses of Serrian thought in literary studies. The paper argues that chaos theory, literature and 'poststructuralism' - and Serres is probably the most important, and yet to be discovered, hinge between these fields - all attempt to think new alignments of order and chaos and new translations between the 'two (or more) cultures.' It also argues that in this endeavor, Serres' work might, or rather should become a major reference."

PhillyTalks #17 - October 3rd 2000 - Featuring: Lisa Robertson, Steve McCaffery (pdf)
Steve McCaffery: "The atom enjoyed a tremendous come-back in the 19th and 20th centuries. Marx did his dissertation on it in 1841 concluding that the atomic swerve is emblematic of free-will and self-sufficiency in the form of independent self-consciousness. Alfred Jarry adopted the clinamen as one of the two fundamental concepts of 'pataphysics (the other being the szygy or momentary conjunction of two planets in opposition) and it occurs again in the form of the periplum, Odysseus' wandering path through Pound's Cantos. Derrida also finds a place for it in his "differential typology of forms of iteration," where it's seen as basic to any event of citation."

Jacket 20 - Rod Mengham - Bourgeois News: Humphrey Jennings and Charles Madge

LOCKE sank into a swoon;
The Garden died;
God took the spinning-jenny
Out of his side.
William Butler Yeats - Fragments - [via HG Poetics & Understanding Media]

Friedrich Nietzsche: "A labyrinthine man never seeks the truth, but only his Ariadne."

TĂȘte de taureau - Pablo Ruiz Picasso

posted by Andrew 12/26/2003 08:09:00 PM