[-empyre-] this month, the first week

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Wed Oct 3 02:04:52 EST 2012

Hi - Monika Weiss, Sandy Baldwin, and myself are on together for the first 
week. I've been fascinated by Monika's work for years, and earlier this 
year we performed together, in dual performances, at Eyebeam in New York, 
while I was a resident there. Her work is concerned with anguish, memory, 
violence, cultural debris, and related concerns. It is multi-media, 
involving performance, installation, video, and sound. She writes

"The transdisciplinary work of Monika Weiss examines relationships between 
body and history, and evokes ancient rituals of lamentation as 
traditionally performed in response to war. Her current work considers 
aspects of public memory and amnesia as reflected within the physical and 
political space of a City."

We're asking her to begin the week; later, Sandy and I will also post, in 
sections, a text we wrote together on pain, avatars, and virtuality.

I just want to say a few words here, in relation to my own interest in the 
topic. The internet, inscreasingly dominated by social media, is a safe 
place for many people; at the same time, it is a Kristevan "clean and 
proper body" that hides or bypasses pain and suffering - not through 
content, but through the nature of the online media themselves. I think 
this has troubling psychological repercussions,  Levinas, say, on one 
said, and Baudrillard on the other. Alterity, the presence of the other, 
disappears into pixels, and simulacra, all the way down, take over.

So how do we feel, convey, or act in relation to, pain, suffering, and 
death, online? How can we deal with the political beyond petition? How can 
we situate ourselves in a world of images and the imaginary?

Sandy and I both moderate email lists, but we're a bit unused to this 
format - if it's a bit rough at the beginning, bear with us!

We'll begin with Monika, and later, intersperse the discussion with the 
text we wrote back and forth. Because we're beginning October 2, we'll 
continue for the next seven or eight days; our weeks aren't exact.

Thanks for reading,


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