[-empyre-] "felt" and "observed"

Teri Rueb wrote,

> ..."felt" and "observed" being bound up in each other...re: crary's
> 'observer', the notion of reflexivity...
As this month comes to a close, I feel we have barely begun to explore an
exceedingly rich topic of what is location, what is landscape, what is
fiction, and who are we to tell the tale.

I live on the central coast of California. Last winter, on December 22, an
earthquake very close to my home struck -- the magnitude was 6.5 -- the San
Simeon quake... More than just the tremor on a physical level, with the
disarray, destruction and a few deaths, there was also, in my world, a
shakeup...i turned to thinking of 'unstable media' and the practice of Merz,
or continuous process, explored by Kurt Schwitters in his Merzbau (destroyed
by bombs in World War II).  I wanted to make a merz-city from the quake
flashbacks in memory, as if the imprint of watching the mediablitz at the
destructive sites could fold into scenes shot out in the high arid stretches
of Soda Lake on the Carrizo Plains, through which the big fault, the mother
San Andreas, cuts in a northwest southeast access.  For months I turned the
photographs into merzed landscapes, endlessly revisited and fetishized.  The
shake/slip tremor froze itself into jitterly layers glittering in obsidian
and charcoal slashes making endless night scenes, a stupifying cinema, like
watching tv for way too many sleepless hours.  At length my efforts
collapsed in sheer exhaustion: I could not 'feel' nor 'observe' the past
quake any longer.  It was congealed if you can say images congeal real
(bergsonian like) into a dark matter/mass inside too many hard drives.  A
dark memory of an incomprehensible and inaccessible event: the landscape no
longer in voice with me.  The summer came, and a commission took me far away
from the back country into dense foreign cityscapes.   Mid September I
returned from Europe with the resolve to find a way to put the merzian image
processing into a deeper context, one coming from the landscape and from the
implications of the unstable city.  We build on faults in California, LA,
SF, as everyone here knows and everyone simultaneously is forgetting in high
frequency switch waves (danger/no danger) (remember/no remember) (high
risk/no risk).  'Between' cities both temporally (as it is in them that I
can earn a living) and spatially (between LA and SF), slip/strike is the
form and the metaphor of location in my situation.   I imagine a merzian
instability in the city itself: imagine a city that shape shifts entirely on
the basis of the metadata of slip/strike, tremor frequency: a place of all
data all the time, a place in which the electronic and the physical melt
into one another in a series of merzian process shifts that are completely
reactive to what the fault activity is: in fact, a city built inside and
through and on top  of the fault like gossamer over sand.  Last weekend
suddenly seemed imperative to go out and respond to the San Andreas
landscape at Carrizo Plains, not in a couple of weeks, but now.
It seemed like 'earthquake weather',my partner said, noting a slightly
greenish light on Saturday afternoon, and indeed there was a little shake 20
minutes later. We decided to head out at dawn the next morning with video
and still cameras (both digital) to record / receive whatever was ''out
there'.  We hunted for slip strike formations and found ditches where no
water could be causing erosion, the air sizzled with the electromagnetism of
the power lines marching from Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant on the coast
across mountains and into the high plain, slicing above the fault. We found
a complete household of stuff abandoned to the preserve of almost Egyptian
desert air  -- the calendar at the bottom of the dump read January 1980.
The merz_city prints of the memory of San Simeon quake were like 'look
back/don¹t look back freeze frames (as in the Bible story, of Lots wife, who
is warned that if she turns back to look at her city going up in flames, she
will turn into a pillar of salt).  Out on Soda Lake, a dry salt bed in the
centre of Carizzo, Sunday the light was brilliant, sky blue, its stillness
absolute and exhilarating.  The San Andreas fault  had not moved much since
1857 (the Tejon Pass quake).  We got out before dark, back to where you can
get gas and a beer and a hamburger, back to 'safe' home.  I started back
into image processing, merzing carizzo and fantasy architecture.  New work,
not about a frozen quake of last december; anticipating a future city, an
unbuildable, unrealizable, 'architecture' based on 'felt' simultaneous
with'observed'.  A city of candid acknowledgement and accomodation to the
impossible conditions of massive earthshifts without sound predictions.
Yesterday, of course, all this data collection out in the field was
rewarded.  The San Andreas kicked in: tremors in rapid succession, the first
and biggest at 6.0: big enough that if it had happened in one of the real
California cities there would have been massive destruction.  Out in
Parkfield, where the seismologists have their field station: the fault
obliged with a full day of events and more again this morning (5.0).
Recalling Jim Barrett:

> When I referred to Bakhtin
> (as he wrote about in 'The Problem of the Text') I was thinking more of
> architecture or even the layered bricolage mentioned earlier in the story
> of the London glass tower and Roman ruin . Any movements through space (as
> progressions of time) result in narrative possibility which can, in turn,
> be represented alternately as a GPS sequence, or as thought or even the
> information shadows of data-mining.

Merzian instabilities in the data shadows.  Is the landscape "someone"  who
reads 'my' data flux or am I a remote sensor for the flux: a strange loop.


 soundart performance videoinstallation multimedia painting theory


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