[-empyre-] week three: Pain, Suffering, and Death in the Virtual

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Wed Oct 17 10:04:47 EST 2012

Hi Johannes, very briefly, not to interrupt the discussion, I've noticed 
on almost all mailing lists, including empyre, say, or nettime, or 
Cybermind for that matter - there are usually very few posters around a 
particular topic. Empyre works through guests of course and just for the 
month, guest moderators, and everyone is welcome to join, but I didn't 
expect a large number of posters. The subject is difficult.

And the matters aren't private - that's the heart of it. Our experiences, 
your experiences, everyone's, are private, and the experiences are at the 
core of what we consider pain, or death, our own projects or horizons or 
undergoings. At least here, pain is not an abstract subject, it certainly 
is not for me, and the emergent problem is, how do we communicate pain and 
death, from ourselves, from our habitus, and place it within the political 
or cultural, whatever? I think the art discussed here, the texts, are a 
way to do it, as are the writings into the email list itself.

And in the long run, as well, we all do hold back, I keep dark secrets, 
that cripple me, to myself, as perhaps do many others of us. The list is, 
yes, open, and we are all vulnerable, as those urls of the Canadian girl 
who was bullied and killed herself, surely indicate.

- Alan

On Tue, 16 Oct 2012, Johannes Birringer wrote:

> dear all,
> thanks to Sandy and Alan, for inviting me to be on this discussion,
> and you probably saw that I had joined on occasion since week one,
> when  responding to Monika's work and some of the postings here.
> Then i decided to follow the later discussions more quietly, just listening, there was
> much brought forward here that surprised me as it seemed of a personal nature.
> Then again, after listening to Sandy and Alan, and Ana as well,  and Jonathan's very interesting
> chapters from his ethnography of the lives, pains and joys on a maillist, I realized that I probably would
> have little to say about either the personal & directly experienced (i think it's not for me
> to discuss my private emotions here), nor do i work very much with avatars and in the Virtual, or have long feuds with people i know or don't know on some maillist.
> So as i had told Alan initially, my role can only be to share some 
> questions or some stories, but lately i also wondered, given both the 
> gravity and the sincerity of this month's discussion, which I respect 
> much, I wondered (following my initial queries to Monika) who the 
> audience or the community is *here* and how a few people get to enjoy 
> talking to each other via a maillist (international scope, over a 
> thousand subscribers) about private matters for a whole month?
> Now, as we addressed some public or performed private works or alternate areas of operation (SL or other games or virtual
> environment), the issue of private and public gets naturally more entangled, and I shall perhaps be writing on that matter in the next
> days, in Valeska Gert spirit I hope ("the poster is present"), whether in regard to ritual and commemoration as initially proposed via Monika Weiss's work  (and re:history of theatre or civilizational historical terms),
> whether there are phenomena of catharsis today (after Greek tragedy and what Aristotle thought), whether they are addressed through this debate, whether some of the other questions
> (Alan's from yesterday: "how do we live with ourselves"?) are addressable through work, performance, and telling.
> I stop for now. I wanted to thank everyone for their offerings here, it was strong reading.
> I particularly also enjoyed seeing Diane Gramola's posting and wish to return to it, and thank you Sandy for remembering, on Sunday,  some of the questions i raised
> earlier.
> I heard a question as well about Antonin Artaud.
> Yes, I am sure Artaud posed that question to himself, Alan ("how do I live with myself"), and he
> answered it in so many ways, screamingly and torched, corrosively and breathtakingly. His radio broadcast ("Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu") is scary.
> respectfully
> Johannes Birringer
> dap-lab
> London
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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