[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 52, Issue 9

david jhave johnston jhave2 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 03:31:48 EST 2009

Hello All,

I've been following the discussion, losing it in its more abstruse
moments, but enjoying the play.

Anecdotally, my girlfriend has recently begun training me to answer
the question of 'what I do' by saying "digital poet"
In the past, in order to avoid blank stares and awkward mutterings
I've usually simplified and said, "web-designer"
The words "digital poet" do normally evoke a mild os glitch in people;
if the glitch is strong I usually temper the label with a
distractionary phrase: "I play with videos and text." If they are
really very curious I launch into discursive meanderings around
algorithmic poets (OULIPO) and visual poetry (thru Higgins, to Patchen
and on upwards...).

More formally, the terminology and discussions that emerged around the
recent Brown Interrupt festival are useful, specifically the nice
label: "language-driven digital art."

Personally, as a practitioner more than a theorist, I prefer umbrella
inclusive terminologies. I feel the diversity of practices displayed
by people concerned with language-art reflect a community. Every
aesthetic node has validity dependent on our proximity to that node.
On that note, I liked the way that Bigelow's terminal exhibit (
http://www.terminalapsu.org/exhibitions/digitalliterature/index.html )
blended more academic non-linear poets with narrative poets and more
aesthetic design-oriented stuff from BornMagazine.

and i agree wholeheartedly with enriching definitions (while also
recognizing with Alan that definitions are contingent)
> > (Biggs wrote) Poetics is the creative practice of association. That is, the
> > relationships
> > between things are creatively evoked in a dynamic and often unstable manner
> > such that new relational dynamics can be revealed. This practice can be
> > applied to many media and through diverse disciplines. Conventional poetry
> > (text poems) is just one instance of poetic creativity.
> >
> > [I find it problematic to say that "poetics is" {x} when, at lest for some
> > of us, any definition is always under erasure. we could argue poetics and
> > "its" definition for ages; this, like any other, seems somewhat
> > reductive.].

The act of inscription permeates organic systems. As Simon points out
digital poetry is just a subset of that bio inscription. Robert
Bringhurst makes similar points in his essays on language. My feeling
is that the semantic-semiotic field is capable of incorporating a
multitude of co-existence and even contradictory work which might all
in some way exemplify the "creative practice of association". And from
that creativity, dependent on the experiential thresholds and tastes
of the viewer-observer, 'real' events (aesthetic experiences) may
occur (as in Devin's introduction of Badiou's ideas that the
>"event itself, happens outside of the set of hypothetical possibilities")

Paradoxically, poetry may be simultaneously outside all systemic
analysis (holistic synergistic) and constrained (as everything is) by
the systemic codes (language culture time etc...).

but i did not understand the following passage, Simon can you clarify
what you mean by 'essentialism' and "one element"?
did u mean a sort of phenomenological faith in unity/essence?
--is it an apprehension or a (mis)apprehension? if so, there are a
horde of poets who've been committed to that apprehension...:
> (Biggs:) 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.

tangent: cross-over stuff
here's a link to a photo i took of a JH Prynne poem that seems to blur
the boundaries between formal paper-poem and digitally-influenced
poetry: http://glia.ca/meanderings-wordpress/?p=1254


On the subject of Borras, as I am a relative novice in the world of
academia, and not knowing her personally, I can't say much that is
relevant, except that as in all situations involving power rank and
employment there is a significant chance she has been unfairly
dismissed. I hope that she is able to figt her way back into her job,
but if she isn't able to fight her way back into her job, at least
this unjust change offers her some unexpected opportunities.

re: Microcodes (http://pallit.lhi.is/microcodes)
Pall: your microcodes are beautiful and intriguing as texts
in-and-of-themselves, especially since they activate some sort of
mirror-neuron activity in my coding brain where i imagine the
processes forking outward in rivers of glitches and dadaistic folder
shuffling. Symbolic associative and recursive. Unfortunately I am in
the middle of several crucial productions and lack the courage to run
them on my machine so there activity for right now remains imaginary
but resonant.

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