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

sam-myspinach sam at myspinach.org
Sat Dec 12 12:53:03 EST 2009

Hi there,

I wonder if anyone can do some research and analysis on this - I am  
too frightened:


Thanks, Sam.

On 10/12/2009, at 1:40 PM, Kevin Hamilton 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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