[-empyre-] noiseless world: Johannes's first post
- To: soft_skinned_space <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [-empyre-] noiseless world: Johannes's first post
- From: "sergio basbaum" <email@example.com>
- Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2006 00:29:38 -0300
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(in reply to Hamed's)
your opening statement (which i think the ist will publish once we all
get started in November) is very powerful and provocative. I had
expected that from you.
i will participate in the discussion, of course.
i just returned from "Imagined Landscapes", a conference/festival nin the north.
i saw beautiful, strange, surreal, abstract films. of landscapes that
were barely recognizable but then they were, archetypes-shapes? deep
in our unconscious? landscapes that remind us if trauma (the dark
forest), the uncanny (unheimlich), and strange, the losses and
imagined lostness. perhaps one could meditate on the imaginary
relationships we have to the land, and to the landscape (childhood),
how our relations to environment were formed, where we played as
children, how we played, and imagined our selves and others in the
landscapes. of course these might be figure - landscape relationships
(as we see them emerge in art history, perhaps first there were
animals, buffaloes, and birds,
horses and tigers, and stick figures (humans) on walls of caves and in sands
[i am working on a new performance for 2007, "Burial 2 / Suna no
Onna" (adapted from Kobo Abe's text, Woman in the Dunes), which is
about entrapment and patterns ofn repetitions (different kinds of
adaptations to being inside a state, a condition which appears to be
capturing you, captivating, keeping you captive, encapsulating you.
The stage will be covered with yellow sand]
later, in Greek or Roman times in the west, the figure of the god or
the athlete became the foreground of sculpture, measure of
architectures. in late middle ages, the figure slowly disappeared,
apart from the crucifixion scenes where figure on cross was needed,
historical interest shifted to the landscape, and gradually, in the
19th romantic landscape, the figure is mostly gone.
Now one could perhaps look at Benjamin's writing, and his discussion
off aura (in relationship to landscape, to the sublime?) , and his
examination of technological reproducibility, in careful connection [
as you suggest] to his philosophical theses on history and on the
messianic, and also his commentaries/observations on "Passagen"
[Arcades] and the physiognomies of 19th Paris [of cities, of
spectacles of cities, of consumable cities] ----
and here, if this were possible, now, to connect forward to the 21st
century and the digital era, to speculate on the NOISELESS WORLD or a
presumed homogenized communicational/networked data environment ----
what is the physiognomy of such a future city? what is the code of
the noiseless world ?
Musicians will tell us that there is no noiseless world.
You could not live (in it). John Cage tested a "silent" chamber, and
went inside a soundproof anechoic chamber, a place of no echoes.
Drawn to silence, Cage expected to discover silence [no noise? of
course this is not a good analogy: silence is not no noise, in the
sense in which cybernetics or communications science thinks of noise
as imperfect communication, i need to re-read Flusser and his
"Kommunikologie"]. Instead, Cage heard two persistent noises. The
engineer in charge of the anechoic chamber explained: the high sound
was the working of Cage's nervous system, the low sound was blood
pulsing through his circulation. In other words, he was hearing his
own lifeforce or body processes.
In the digital future, there still are phenomenal bodies and
phenomenal environments. as such, there will inevitably always be
I do not imagine a utopia that could possibly be noise-less, as in all
communications, whether human, or between birds, there are
contingencies of the situation and the environment and the
non-coded/non formalized, thus random occurrences and interferences
of signal or data processes have to be assumed, and thus pulsations
continue to prolong life (rather than evoke death). One would now
need to discuss death, and entropy, to ask whether the advances in
communication, or the technological progress, which the Benjaminian
Angel of History looks back on, is in any sense reconcilable with a
messianic conception of the future.
I think perfect information flux (digital informational technology,
e.g. "grid computing," ubiquitous computing, pervasive locative
media, GPS, etc) is not posited as redemption? is it? Redemption
The most difficult idea in Sergio's proposal is: art-activisms
developed as "social noise" are forced, in order to circulate through
digital networks, to formalize themselves in noiseless terms – those
demanded by digital apparatuses to work properly.>>
This is interesting: can one generate noise (produce art as noise)
interfering with the imperatives of corporate digital homogenization
by having to adopt the code (software) of the "noiseless"?
I think hackers will easily answer that question, and have done their
forms of détournement already, in many instances.
For those of us working in body practices, say, dance, theatre,
music, etc., the question hardly arrives, and when it arrives, and we
work with code, the assumption is that we write our own code, and the
noises are part of our body pulsations and always enter the digital
networks. The networks are just the "arcades" of the diminished
present. they also will be supplanted by other configurations, and
human and animal and species adaptations to the environments will
A messianic fulfilment of history is not something i can imagine.
Fulfilment of entropy would be the end of entropic . I'd like to
hear from others about that.
At Carlisle's "Imagined Landscapes" festival
[http://www.imaginedlandscapes.co.uk/], many artists were showing
animations and 3d virtual worlds and interactive VEs, and often the 3D
worlds or environments were modelled like game worlds, and a number of
artists spoke excitedly about the models of games.
There was one artist, from Canada, who said she was not interested in
re-producibility of games worlds or games behavior (First Person
Shooter), but her work is intended to create an interface that is not
acting upon a world or upon others. She understands interface to mean
"surrender" to world, to landscape, to nature, and 'being with
landscape". Rather than shooting it down.
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