Re: [-empyre-] Accidents (was for example)

> How would you represent the semantics of a poem?

Hi everyone,

Although perhaps straying from original premises, the talk is nonetheless
interesting and well thought-out. Thanks Alan & Jim. Obviously we won't
solve these major issues here on Empyre. In any case, I simply wanted to add
a little fuel by mentioning a text that has stunned me in many ways about
thinking of memory. It is:

Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok, _The Wolfman's Magic Word_.

I believe sections of this slim text have been reprinted in _The Work of
Mourning_, a series of collected essays on mourning, primarily around
Derrida, etc. Derrida's introductory essay to _Wolfman's_, "Fors", is
stunning, and the basis of much of his 'later work' on time and memory
(somebody please let me know if this latter reference is indeed correct, as
I know the original text is out of print--I found mine at:

What is interesting about Abraham and Torok, two post-psychoanalytic
linguists, is their idea of language as non-representational, digging so far
into the structures of language (metaphor, metonymy), that lines of fracture
are traced _in the word_, graphemes and phonemes, which are then subject to
various processes and distortions that render unconscious memory (reading
this alongside Paul de Man on irony & allegory, one can even go farther).
We're talking here about crypts, haunting effects, and so on, as well as
translations between and through languages, close to Kristeva's unspeakable,
perhaps, insofar as the phonemes are never ordered in their desired order
(secrets). If the unconsious is structured like a language (language as
code, or even modelled as algorithmic), then that structure exceeds our
simplistic view of language as representational. If it's a network (another
binary model), and if its at all algorithmic, then we're talking irrational
and fragmented numbers that fractalise the physicality of sound (the latter
being something that interests me deeply about Bergson--how there is no
'translation' or conversion between the object and a mind's representation;
rather, it's physical all the way, which is also to say incorporeal or
quantum, the mind being a kind of feedback loop). If algorithmic, this
exceeds representational algorithms as equivocal or equivalent processes, as
they must take into account temporalities (namely the issue that there we
can't really hold onto a 'present'), fragments, dispersions, deferrals, and
all those other things that make life much more complex, like a fractal,
even (Brian Massumi's _A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia_ has a
very complex chapter on fractals and chaos theory in this regard). Moreover,
our very conceptual coherency of algorthmic models is just that: a coherency
that would also be subject to fractalisation. It simply doesn't end.

This book made me especially appreciate the post-cyberpunk rave-writer (for
lack of better descriptors) Jeff Noon, whose _Cobralingus_ is a
machinic-book that explodes and explores different processes that can be
applied to text (also check out his _Vurt_, for a light and pleasurable

Kind of like page-coding Max/MSP patches for literature. It's some of the
closest work in print that touches upon the net-based email and otherwise
ASCII / code work, as seen here by Alan, of course MEZ, etc, among others.
I'd highly recommend this book, as it demonstrates all of the previous
theoretical arguments via an artistic (for lack of a better word)
appreciation and experimentation into the processes of language, as code, as
program, as algorithm, but taking it somewhere very far beyond
representation. Because it demonstrates the processes, and makes them
graphic, it also exceeds the work of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, etc.

All of these texts, as well as my intuition, and dark nights of seeing the
mind into oblivion, make it difficult for me to hold or take seriously any
theory of representation, especially given that our 3rd dimension didn't
really come to be 'represented' until sometime around that thing we call
'the Renaissance'. Humans have thought differently, seen the world
differently. A little bit of research into Australian Aborigines and the
ways in which they construct not territories but 'lines,' 'songlines', paths
that the Ancestors walked to sing the earth into being (perhaps becoming),
so foreign to the common ideas of property and territory, also tends to make
one pause and not be so sure about the ways in which we normally hold, view
and conceptualise the world.

.. from an increasingly frozen Montréal,


tobias c. van Veen -----------
---McGill Communications------
ICQ: 18766209 | AIM: thesaibot

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.