Re: [-empyre-] Welcome Jim Andrews re: Electronic Poetry

> From: Simon Biggs <>
> Reply-To: soft_skinned_space <>
> Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 11:47:46 +0100
> To: soft_skinned_space <>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Welcome Jim Andrews  re: Electronic Poetry
> On 04.05.03 06:07, "fizzion" <> wrote:
>> I am curious to know why you find the one-on-one experiencing of the piece
>> problematic. Its interesting to note that we are all essentially alone, as
>> Thomas Merton observed, and also that one on one 'conversations' sometimes
>> provide the intimacy that allows more deeply felt meaning to be be
>> discovered and shared.
> -----
> It is something to do with my own artistic agenda. I am not interested in
> people interacting with machines - or even art. I am interested in how
> people interact with one another and thus bring themselves into being. Of
> course, this can be done remotely and that is what happens when people
> interact with one another via an artwork. In that instance you have author
> and reader interacting.
> My interest has always been in shifting these roles around and key to this
> is creating a situation where everyone is interacting with everyone else,
> all at the same time. To blur the roles of author/reader you also have to
> de-differentiate the individual.

So, a hive mind or a gang bang, collective conciousness? (collective
unconcious?) To what end? To dissolve boundaries, barriers, to ease
discovery, self discovery, discover nature of being, heighten awareness of
the other. 'Bringing themselves into being' interests me. Here is something
that has preoccupied many many people for a long time.

20 years ago I was involved in a course - Grad Dip in Social Communication -
at Hawkesbury Ag College in Oz. Experiential learning was the focus/modus
operandi. 2 things happened for me in the course of working there - first
was a workshop that I gave on love, (don't get too excited) the thing that
happened was that about 20 of us agreed to meet in one of the workrooms, mid
summer, hot but beautiful atmosphere, very peaceful with all other students
away on xmas break. I had no idea what would happen in the actual meeting,
what process would emerge. I gave a quick blurb about concepts of love and
then shut up and waited. Silence, then gradually people spoke individually
about their experiences, their feelings and so forth, some cried, others
just smiled, sat quietly, at the end we were all aware of what amounted to a
changed state of being. It had a profound effect on myself and the others,
one of the lecturers had attended, an ex Catholic priest with that monastic
background, he said he learned a lot from what we did.

It was a kind of agreed, collective allowing to be, bringing into being of
change, but without any expectations.

The other thing that sort of resembles your 'bringing into being' was a game
we played called Star Power, one of those card games you can get from your
regular OM shops. The idea is to set up the potential for the emergence of
social structure, with all its usual heirachies etc and see what happens. We
all ran about the room making deals, leaders emerged, opposing groups etc.
In the end I got fed up with what seemed like the usual social madness and
stood to one side and yelled 'I'm declaring an autonomous collective'. Some
people rushed over and we had a good time being autonomous collectively
while some of the social order collapsed around us.

It occurs to me that with your idea of 'how people interact with one another
and thus bring themselves into being' that music might be a good vehicle.
Improvisation in a group or on the web.
My son plays Diablo II on the web, players help each other, give advice etc
in this incredible melee of skeletons and ogres and blood etc. Effectively
avatars but in an author defined role.
I prefer Unreal, the monsters are bigger.

> VR based work has thus rarely interested me as its focus has usually been
> consumed with the individual sensory experience rather than the collective
> process of bringing things, including the self, into being. That is to say,
> conventional VR is constrained by the positivist and Cartesian dualities
> that have dominated our culture for so long. I prefer works that challenge
> these "certainties" or even achieve escape velocity.
> In a work like Babel this is explicit where I take something like the
> "problem of point of view" that is central to VR and choose neither of the
> conventional solutions (1. Averaged point of view for all viewers; 2. One
> lead point of view) but instead set it up so that all the viewers points of
> view are visible to all the viewers at all times as a shared kaleidoscope of
> difference and emergent chaos. This sort of suits my political views as
> well.
> Although Char Davies work has valuable elements (its use of organic and
> non-Euclidean geometries, a focus on unusual sensory modes, etc) it is still
> functioning within the dualities I refer to above and can be seen as part of
> a recent history of (computer) visualisation that is reactionary in the
> extreme when compared to where things like vision, the constitution of self,
> etc, have been developed over the last century. I don't think many
> philosophers or creative thinkers hang out at places like Siggraph, which to
> me seems the natural home of Osmose.
> I do not agree with Thomas Merton.

Merton was talking about solitude in 'The Power and Meaning of Love'.
Here's the full quote in case you are interested:

Why write about solitude in the first place? Certainly not in order to
preach it, to exhort people to become solitary. What could be more absurd?
Those who are to become solitary are, as a rule, solitary already. At most
they are not yet aware of their condition. In which case, all they need to
do is discover it. But in reality, all men are solitary. Only most of them
are so averse to being alone, or to feeling alone, that they do everything
they can to forget their solitude. How? Perhaps in large measure by what
Pascal called ?divertisment¹ - diversion, systematic distraction. By those
occupations and recreations, so mercifully provided by society, which enable
a man to avoid his own company for 24 hours a day.
from Philosophy of Solitude in ?The Power and Meaning of Love, Thomas

> The individual can be regarded as nothing
> more than an abstract instance of the linguistic potential that is human
> society, the collective. This relates to an earlier theme in this thread,
> concerning language and systems. It is where Goedel and Foucault might meet.

Cheers, Barrie

::  fas-cism (fbsh'iz'em) n. A system of government that exercises a
dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state
and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.
The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983) ::

Barrie Collins, Carl and Lillian Frieden-Collins
Tel + Fax: 02 4784 1224
Mobile: 0418 394 234

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