[-empyre-] digital cane kanuns

David Chirot david.chirot at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 03:17:24 EST 2009

Many thanks Alan and John for your thoughts re the canon and also the role
of anthologies play in creating a "standardization" of "representative
voices and views."

One sees already in the various fields of digital writing a tendency to try
to establish canons, "originators," "core curriculums," al based on one or
another ideological point of view in terms of who has or will have or did
have power within institutions where such examples are used on a mass scale.

I am hundred and 99 thousand % with Alan's view--
al matyerials in any medium are just that--materials that an artist/poet may
make use of.  This has been the tendency in art for over a hundred years
now, and somewhat in poetry and litterature non fiction as well as fiction.

A video game to me is as intersting as take off point for images and ideas
as were the old pinball machines, though lacking in the kind of physicality
one could apply to the materailly existing machine to make it affect the
tiltings and passages of the metal bearings rolling towards the holes or the

But truly, al elementsof materials are matrials for use and thought--an
anarchy in one sense yet also as an example already existing in other

This form of openness to me means that the medium is open to all, whereas
once it begins to be classified, divided up, colonized in order to be
marketable and have the barnd of this or that group or individual--it turns
into a privitization of the sphere of what is allowed as ideas, forms,
materials and what will be considered the "fit language" for such forays.

The tendency towards specialization is part of the society one exists in,
and the role of opennes is to make any person awareof their own potential as
a non=-specialist to go ahead and see what they can do with the technology
and materials of images, letters, numbers--

Mail Art is an excellent example of such an openness--despite various
efforts to privatize it or make it pallatable to arbiters of taste and

Thank you both for your ideas--

again, this openness is very important to keep alive--

as with specialization comes the "careerism" aspect of any media--
which has to intentionally keep the fields of work and inquiry as narrowly
focused around its few viewpotints so as to use these retrospectiovely and
horizontally dictate what are the ""pre-elementsof the work" and what are
"allies of it" and so forth--since careerists are dependent on these methods
to keep themselves advancing in the place of someone else

iot also narrows the realms of outlook on to what is possible and what is
forbidden to underatke, becuse it might threaten the hegemony of so and so
or such and suc--

with all my very best
(visual poet and writer who uses only found materials--
"it is not the elements which are new, but the order of their arrangement"
as pascal, a probability expert, said once upon a time--

On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 6:45 PM, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:

> Sorry - I'll be brief; I agree we've talked too much here. I agree with
> Davin more or less and our differences of course are clear. One last
> point, re: Juan's comment -
> "Even though there are countless instances of electronic literatures, we
> cannot overlook the fact that not all electronic text is literary
> (search Hayle's talk in MITH-ELO 2007). Having letters in an artistic
> setting does not automatically create a literary object. Likewise, some
> videogames have very complex narratives, but in most cases they are
> fillers the serve the purpose of relaxing players from the shooting,
> driving, fighting, etc. and they could hardly be classified as
> electronic literature."
> Here's part of the problem for me in a nutshell - for me videogames etc.
> are all examples of digital literature, literary objects. They may or may
> not be complex or function as "fillers" - but that's not the issue. And I
> do think we're back with canonic restrictions - I have no idea why fillers
> designed for relaxing wouldn't be literary, (by the way my saz just fell
> over - not many people can say that!), why letters in an "artistic
> setting" (not sure the reference here - to the SL materials? they're as
> literary certainly as Kolar or Emmett Williams at least!) wouldn't be
> literary. We're not talking about quality - which opens up all sorts of
> critical strategies, games, and so forth - just about the ontology of the
> literary - and for me, again, this is wide open, anarchic, and wildly
> inclusive - and anything else restricts and impoverishes us.
> Recommend the book Twisty Little Passages by the way, which I think is
> relevant here.
> - Alan
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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