[-empyre-] "Hactivating" and the Screw-Up

naxsmash naxsmash at mac.com
Fri Dec 11 06:47:11 EST 2009


Dear Kevin and all,

A young architectural design student said to me -- during a one on one  
critique last week -- " I want to be able to design 'like Zaha Hadid'  
but I don't think that just copying her look will get me there...how  
do I find a process like hers?". Her question touched on the gulf or  
even abyss between the look of things in high design and the inductive  
logic at the core of design process . She was asking me how to get  
there if design is not about "personal expression" and also innovation  
which caanot by definition replicate protocols.....

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 9, 2009, at 6:40 PM, Kevin Hamilton <kham at uiuc.edu> wrote:

> Christina and all,
>
> In any of the advertising for personal music devices or cell phones,
> listeners experience private pleasure through the knowing smile, and
> perhaps a look up and to the right.
>
> This I would contrast to what actually happens when one reads or hears
> something funny when in public. For example, me on the bus this
> morning reading this line from Christina:
>
> On Dec 9, 2009, at 1:15 AM, Christina McPhee wrote:
>
>> The mistake is the beginning of the mutation.   "In the still cave of
>> the witch poesy... "
>
> Laughing out loud amongst silent commuters, nervous about where to put
> my smile and body.
>
> I'm thinking about all this partly in light of some conversation over
> on IDC right now, between Brian Holmes and myself, a few others. As an
> instructor, I'm more and more aware of how my students arrive already
> trained, configured into a cybernetic matrix. For many of them, their
> senses are only sensors, ready to accept symbolic input for the
> production of expected actions. (Hell, I'm not much better.) No
> documentary is going to reveal the truth for them, there's no
> narrative moment waiting for them. They need a new sensory experience,
> to have they eyeballs and eardrums reconfigured in a non-programmatic
> way.
>
> The cyberneticist I've been researching, Heinz von Foerster, was a
> magician. Literally. Back in the sixties and seventies he would do
> magic tricks for the students as part of his lectures on
> consciousness. I'm looking for some tricks like that, through the
> linguistic and the visual.
>
> Thus the word games. Searching for ways to use language that produce
> transformation without resorting to instrumental manipulation.
>
> A typology of wordsmiths, magicians of meaning...
>
> Words that could mean anything but which make us all think we're
> thinking the same thing.
> [Sarah Palin]
>
> Words that can mean two things, and everyone's in on the joke.
> [Stephen Colbert]
>
> [Bottom (from A Midsummer Night's Dream)]
> Words that mean one thing to the speaker and a different thing to the
> listener, but only the listener is in on the joke.
>
> Words that can mean more than one thing and no one knows which one is
> right, producing a plenitude of meaning.
> [Stoppard? I don't know, this one is just thrilling though.]
>
> One such overflow that just thrills me in this way is the piece "A
> Letter to Queen Victoria: The Sundance Kid is Beautiful" by Robert
> Wilson and Christopher Knowles.
>
> http://ubu.artmob.ca/sound/dial_a_poem_poets/big_ego/Big_Ego_05-wilson.mp3
>
> But I don't know much about it, and frankly I'm a little unsure about
> the politics of how this autistic poet Knowles came to work with
> Wilson. But there's some overflow here, some linguistic plenitude
> through some mistakes and misapprehension.
>
> Kevin
>
>
>
>
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