[-empyre-] N-gons + Green Miles

davin heckman davinheckman at gmail.com
Fri Apr 24 06:00:11 EST 2009

I wish I had more time.  I am going to have to read Descartes on this,
but probably won't get a chance to until I grade my papers.

The interesting things about my life with my dad.  He started out his
adult life as a journeyman electrician.  Then, in the late 50s/early
60s, he got into art, poetry, music, and psychedelia.  Eventually, he
managed a blues nightclub in the LA area.  And, by the time I was
born, he managed a bar in a white working class neighborhood in LA.
Through the 80s, various socioeconomic phenomena ripped through LA.
The crack epidemic and the gang wars, both flooded the airwaves and
began to migrate into our neighborhood.  And, because he worked at a
bar, when the socioeconomic fabric experienced disruptions, there
would be an increase in violence, robbery, and general mayhem
(although this was always present).  We kept a lot of guns in the
house and watched a lot of Charles Bronson movies.  In only saw him on
weekends, and when I did see him, it was nothing but splendor.  But he
still made time to teach me where the various guns were hidden, how to
shoot them, how to place the unregistered gun in the hand of the dead
man, and, finally, how to call the cops and report the incident.  So,
there was a fair amount of Reagan-era paranoia, and since I was born
in 1975, this all made a strong impression on my little mind, but I
thought it was cool.  Lest you think my time with my father was every
scary or unpleasant, he also taught me everything he knew about life's
hedonistic pleasures.  I learned to eat fine foods and junk, to drink
everything from Pernod to Pabst.  I learned to smoke Benson and Hedges
menthols and how to hustle drunks out for comic book money over games
of Pac Man.  He taught me to read and draw.  He taught me about Marcel
Duchamp and Andy Warhol. He taught me a lot of things.  But,
eventually, as is often the case with people working in service
industries, he lost his job and was unable to find work.  He was a
dapper old man making Manhattans and Rusty Nails for people who wanted
to buy shitty drinks from cute people in tight clothes.  And, so he
could never get a full time gig.  He lost his house.  Then he lost his
apartment.  Then he lost his rented room.  Eventually, he moved in
with his sister in San Diego and slept on a couch.  The whole while
committed to the idea that he would NEVER take welfare.  By the time
he was eligible for his social security, his vertebrae had started to
pinch off his spinal chord, and he was partially paralyzed and had to
move into an "assisted living facility."  It's a long story, and kind
of off topic.  But I love my dad and whenever I have even the
slightest opportunity to do so, I eulogize him at great length.  By
the time I was in kindergarten, I felt like I knew more than most
adults, but because my dad also taught me not to tell people about our
adventures, I had to keep all of this to myself.  I sometimes think
that this is what made me a scholar....  living with both feet in this
world, but being apart from it.  In a nutshell, it is the life of a

So, we didn't talk too much about the Dow Jones.  But he always was
worrying about when the economy would turn around, for himself and for
his friends.  You could see him get excited when he thought that maybe
the old days would return.  But in a sense, they were always the old
days.  But it didn't matter.  Even when he was dead broke in a
wheelchair and diapers, he was still the classiest guy in any room.


On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 7:24 PM, Michael Angelo Tata, PhD
<mtata at ipublishingllc.com> wrote:
> Davin--
> As for your remarks on cognition, thanks for pointing me in the direction of
> Joe's book.  I look forward to reading it, as the life of the mind is always
> something that interests me, especisally the life of the mind as theorized
> by one who understands what a  technological sublime would involve for
> contemporary subjects charged with processing a hyperlinked world in whose
> networks it is necessarily caught up.
> My immediate response to your observations on consciousness is to invoke
> Descartes' chiliagon (6th Meditation) as an example of that which I can
> cognize without "viewing" or "visualizing" or "imagining," since it is
> impossible for me as thinking matter to envision what such a poiygon as
> extended matter would resemble, to turn signifer into image, even though,
> conceptuially, I "get it," comprehending that it would have 1,000 sides,
> that it would have more angles than a triangle, etc.  I guess I am
> also returning to Joe'e pouse-cafe: those layers he encourages us to keep
> separate in order to avoid an obfuscating conflation of cognitive functions
> which would elide the integrity of specific activities (reading, viewing,
> perceiving).
> As for cognition, I realize that, all along, we have been attempting to
> cognize capital, at times lapsing into mataphor (Dow Jones as fetish), at
> times revealing personal narrative (your stories about your dad's
> speculations, as well as Jeff's remarks on his global everyday), at times
> bursting with emotion (Brian's misplaced anger toward Jeff)--the problem
> being how to cognize something as trasncndent as these trillions of dis- ad
> re-appearing dollars, which to me become a veritable chiliagon requiring the
> sacrifice of my imagination.  It's like processing one of those trans-human
> prison sentences (What can three life terms mean for a creature with one
> single life of indeterminate duration?  How can this debt be incurred, let
> alone paid?).
> *******************************************
> Michael Angelo Tata, PhD  347.776.1931-USA
> http://www.MichaelAngeloTata.com/
>> From: naxsmash at mac.com
>> To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 14:47:24 -0500
>> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] TAZ-mania
>> A good thought about how art practice matters, gives me a moment to
>> smile while on a very grey bus lumbering into Chicago.
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Apr 21, 2009, at 10:15 AM, davin heckman <davinheckman at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > Thanks for spending a little time on deCerteau...
>> >
>> >>
>> >> And as for your call to revolution, to “arms,” as Nick might
>> >> call it, given
>> >> his initial interest in creativity and armature, I think of de
>> >> Certeau’s
>> >> notion of La Perruque in The Practice of Everyday Life: all those
>> >> tiny,
>> >> little breaks in the system we effect each day, everything from
>> >> oppositional
>> >> shopping (label-switching, kleptomania) to the simple act of
>> >> writing a love
>> >> letter “on the boss’ time.” No giant Arendtian break, but
>> >> sweet and
>> >> individual tears in the social tapestry that give meaning to the
>> >> banal, the
>> >> programmatic, the codified, the staid, the static.
>> >>
>> >
>> > I think this might be wear the artist's work is important. Brian
>> > mentioned previously the idea that a crisis of confidence is precisely
>> > what is needed to turn people away from this idea that financial
>> > markets are the measure of a society's health and that Wall Street is
>> > somehow "sexy." For years, the evening news would should the Dow
>> > Jones Industrial Average as a shorthand for the "health" of the
>> > economy. But as my father got older and had difficulties finding
>> > employment and finding stable housing, I always saw the Dow Jones as a
>> > fetish that was increasingly divorced from any stable referent... it
>> > would climb and people would cheer.... but for a growing segment of
>> > the population, things got harder and harder.
>> >
>> > I don't think that artists should have to worry too terribly much
>> > about fixing everything. But what artists can do is illustrate the
>> > many small moments and mark them so that others can see them. Rather
>> > than exposing the insufficient nature of the financial system at
>> > delivering social goods.... art can illustrate the many other sites
>> > where social goods are delivered. The artist does not have a special
>> > corner on the market of these small detours, they just have a great
>> > excuse for talking about detours--they're artists!
>> >
>> > We all make detours throughout our days. In fact, we live for the
>> > detours. Art can provide the occasion, the pretext, and the excuse
>> > for making a detour. (If you have a friend shoot you in the arm...
>> > normally this is frowned upon. But when Chris Burden decides to do
>> > it... people think about it differently.)
>> >
>> > But even within finance itself, we live for detours. If you listen to
>> > talk radio, they love to go on and on about this idea of the "welfare
>> > queen"--who has children so she doesn't have to work (The Octo-mom is
>> > just an hyper-example of this). Talk radio personalities love to rant
>> > and rave about how lazy welfare recipients are... about how unjust it
>> > is for them to be unproductive, but still draw an income, by working
>> > the system.
>> >
>> > BUT.... if you listen to these very same talk radio personalities,
>> > they gush with praise for elite investors. The paradigmatic hero for
>> > our age is the man who gets rich on the stock market. Why? Because
>> > the investor figured out a way to make money without breaking his back
>> > all day. Warren Buffet or Donald Trump or whoever has figured out a
>> > way to make money without actually doing anything, by working the
>> > system. This is the kind of a god that we can believe in.... the
>> > kind of figure who can transcend the evil that we fear (poverty, being
>> > a nobody, etc.)... who can warp the laws of the material world and
>> > triumph over them.
>> >
>> > What is this dream but the hope for a detour? Instead of working all
>> > day, I might be snatched from ill-fortune by purchasing the right
>> > thing at the right time. Hence, the "success" of
>> > multi-level-marketing companies like Amway and Herbalife and
>> > Monavie... they offer the working class person a chance to be "the
>> > boss" and to reap rewards by having others do the work for them.
>> > (And, in the process, they tend to lose money.... but more
>> > tragically.... they lose friends. The biggest irony: the money they
>> > lose and the work they put in, the very fruits of their failure, will
>> > be used, up the ladder, as evidence of "success.")
>> >
>> > Artists can do a lot just by affirming "human"
>> > experiences--imagination, love, tragedy, laughter, absurdity, etc. I
>> > cannot tell an artist what he or she should or shouldn't do... but I
>> > do prefer artists who can speak to me. I like art that taps into my
>> > notions and desires in such a way that I feel validated in my
>> > experiences. And, I love art which helps me see something that I
>> > didn't quite understand or couldn't precisely articulate in a way that
>> > makes the experience useful to me.
>> >
>> > In short, these little ruptures are everywhere all the time. What
>> > artists can do is mark them. They can show people that their own
>> > lives are filled with meaningful alternatives to the machinations of
>> > capitalism. And, in the process, people might seek happiness in one
>> > of the many compelling alternative narratives.
>> >
>> > Peace!
>> > Davin
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > empyre forum
>> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> ________________________________
> Rediscover Hotmail®: Get quick friend updates right in your inbox. Check it
> out.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

More information about the empyre mailing list