[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 52, Issue 8

davin heckman davinheckman at gmail.com
Wed Mar 11 02:02:15 EST 2009

Simon Biggs wrote:

"Your point that poetics is that which escapes such discrete systems
is well taken. However, whilst meaning (or not-meaning) might arise as
an instance of the poetic obscurely (and apparently irreducibly) it is
the case that such an instance surely be internally (and
relationally/externally) organised as more than one element. Any other
understanding would provoke that most reductionist of all
apprehensions, essentialism. Given this, those components must in some
manner be discernable. The question then moves to how we ascertain
what they and their relations are. In this sense the poetic cannot
escape the digital."

I do not mean to quibble, but are you saying that since poetics must
find their expression in some discernible phenomenon that it cannot
escape the digital?  I would say that the poetic "event" can be
provoked through digital media and its passage can be marked in
digital media, but neither of these are the same as the event itself.

If we take it in light of Badiou's writing (and, since I am a lunatic,
I may very well be misreading him), an event is what happens when
things break away from those things which are bounded by our finite
rules.  We can always go back, after the fact, and write the equations
that can account for the event.  But the event itself, happens outside
of the set of hypothetical possibilities.  And, so, I don't know if
this means poetics escapes the digital.

I would say that while the digital (or any system of order) must
always either incorporate revolution into its system or become a
incorporated into the new system, I would say that the event, when it
happens, runs contrary to any system of order that cannot contain it
at the moment of its occurrence.  So, maybe escape is only a fleeting
thing.  But even fleeting things can alter a person's entire
relationship to a system of order.  (Look, for instance, at the life
of a junkie--all life potentially becomes recast in light of a single
event, which is always pursued but can never be reclaimed--an eternity
of struggle captured in a single, indelible mark of ecstasy, that is
nevertheless written and re-written in the succession of hope and

So, I guess I want to have it both ways.  Poetics ruptures from any
formalized system of communication...  but it can always be accounted
for in retrospect.  (But it is never quite as good the second time
around, because the event is no longer there, we are only looking at a
snapshot of a happy moment.)

Davin Heckman

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