[-empyre-] From a distance

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Fri Nov 14 15:37:26 EST 2014

Hi Yoko,

Perhaps you're missing the point I'm trying to make? the equations are 
from the viewpoint of an absolute; X is a universal set, 0 is a null set; 
the origin of the symbol isn't an issue here. Following Sam Harris and 
some set theory, dealing with the inerrancy of the text - within an 
absolutist mindset, there is only _that_ text, and _that_ text defines 
hardened interiors and exteriors. Abjection leaks through (Kristeva), but 
there are attempts (Mary Douglas) to reinforce those boundaries. What is 
expelled is literally beyond the Pale, victims of an exclusionary logic; 
what is expelled is increasingly reduced into what might be called 
'annihilation to the limi't (I wrote a text on that years ago and the 
phrase has stayed with me).

I do believe that absolute annihilation of a group is possible; it happens 
all the time on an environmental level, and not everything leaves traces. 
That seems fairly clear, studying the convulsive extinctions that earth 
has undergone for hundreds of millions of years.

You can change 0 to Y if you want, but that's of course something else, 
what I'm trying to grapple with is absolutism and the elimination of the 
Other. For me this has dire consequences; there are many human groups 
which have been absolutely annihilated by other human groups.


- Alan

On Thu, 13 Nov 2014, Yoko Ishiguro wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hello all,
>> Johannes and Alan
> Yes, in my previous post, I tried to reflect Alan's 'fragments' concluded:
> 'What I'm trying to present is the idea of an expulsion and an annihilation of what's expelled. ISIS wants a purified caliphate with only believers; non-believers are expelled or murdered. Could you elaborate on the rest of your post? I'm trying to say then that the annihilation is that of the Other - the Other isn't
> permitted to survive, and with the death of the Other, the Other becomes identified with 0.'
> Apparently, the dangerous thought of ISIS and the other fundamentalists 
> seems in their notion of "X" and "0". In my opinion, it should be "X" 
> and "Y" instead. As long as I know and as long as I can imagine, there 
> is no "0" of human beings -even if after they get killed. Ancient 
> Indians invented a great concept of '0' but it cannot be applied to 
> summarising or generalising humans/living creatures -they can not exist 
> only by themselves but they do in a complex amongst THE OTHERS and in 
> the occasional CHANGES of themselves and their circumstances -as Gregory 
> Bateson claims. Simply to say, our conditions are relative and ephemeral 
> so that the math formulas on us should not be so simple -at least they 
> can not be consisted of "X" and "0".
> Additionally, I believe that even if you try to 'annihilate' THE OTHERS, it should not be possible in a genuine sense since THE OTHERS you want to annihilate have tons of ANOTHER OTHERS that THE OTHERS have left the traces, memories, effects, DNAs and viruses on.
> What are THE OTHERS to WHOM then? Is not it mere a systematic strategy of a bunch of people who make up an aesthetic in order to encourage the people 'inside'? Why do humans have to have the notion of THE OTHERS -is it actually our innate behaviour to try to eliminate THE OTHERS? Should our societies and our recognitions be necessarily consisted of the dualities/polarities of Figures and Ground (Gestalt) = Inside and Outside = Us and The Others...? If babies should develop/learn by acknowledging how to define themselves and THE OTHERS a prior as their nature, what kind of methodology is affective to create a different point of view to the adults? This must be the point that many art practitioners can speak something loudly.
>> Johannes and Pier,
> Powerless? Is it the write word really...?
> Doesn't power exist anywhere (in our body, cells, societies, arts and galaxies)?
> 'War against war' does not make any good since the war against war is still a war. So what is the 'ethically CORRECT' attitude for art practitioners? Maybe there is no such a thing. As well as the examples you mentioned so far on this mailing list, the Salt March of Gandhi, for example, could be a good example of a slow/soft/'powerless' performance against an authority/power but what else approaches can we think of -that was the starting point of my moving/performance/installation 'Fuji-copo 102, Higashi-ogu, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo' in 2011?
> We might want to talk about POWER itself a bit, from the different points of views other than theologies and politics, not necessarily artistically but, for example, socially, physically, kinetically, psychologically, linguistically, or as Alan suggested, logically and mathematically.
> How would our bodies be if we became 'powerless' while we are 'against' any kinds of forces such as gravity? How can we think about the power balances of our right hand and left hand? How can we live without any power supplies for our rest of our lives?
> Just a brainstorm.
>> Johannes
> As you mentioned, I do not think Brecht's Distance Effect was my method in my moving performance. I guess I used Proximity Effect -I made a fiction/theatricality out of the absolute reality, rather than making an awareness of reality out of fiction/theatricality. Maybe I just followed Brecht in an opposite direction...?
> Best,
> Yoko
> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>
>> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>> Cc: 
>> Date: 2014/11/13, Thu 06:24
>> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] From a distance
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> dear Yoko, dear all
>> I found your written response, from a distance, and from your beautiful northern 
>> Japan mountain landspace, very moving and also very audacious, as your 
>> reflection on [Does ISIS understand Cubism?], coupled now with your recounting 
>> of your response to a traumatic disaster in the land of the local people  [Slow 
>> violence], your performance response, moves us forward. 
>> Your pondering on religion, and homelands, or virtual kingdoms of islam or its 
>> god, I find quit clear and stunningly sensible, thus actually answering or 
>> pairing up with Alan's vexed mathematics face to face with terror and 
>> exclusion, cleansing, expulsion, " trying to come to grips with 
>> annihilation when for example beheading occurs, not only to foment terror, but 
>> as an act of piety, as part of the natural order of things."
>> And have you not also thus responded, in the careful description of your 
>> performance installation of slow-change, to the question raised by Pier, namely 
>> that we admit our powerlessness?  
>> But what is the powerless act is a profane illumination?
>> [The idea of fear, I'm not so sure I follow that social contract, Murat, not 
>> for me Hobbes. (<...basis of the social contract is fear. In Stalin, 
>> didn't Bukharin come face to face with a paranoiac Hobbesian?>)
>> I don't know whether ???????/Bukharin came face to face with Stalin, but 
>> you're right, he got arrested in February 1937,  charged with conspiring to 
>> overthrow the Soviet state and executed in March 1938. He followed into his 
>> convictions.
>> The religious, too,  are fearless, no?  
>> at least, I would propose we talk about religion a little (and good wishes to 
>> Mine Kaylan, by the way, who tells me today, disturbingly, that she is 
>> "legless," both legs/feet injured, immobilized). 
>> But can we also address performance, and film, and alternate image practices 
>> (Pier, I watched and listended to "Gueules cass?es - Men with broken faces 
>> (1918)", several times)?   What a calm, quiet indictment
>> of war, and homage to the theatre of prosthetics.  There is of course no 
>> solution to war against war.  I would prefer Wafffenstillstand. 
>> Yoko, have you felt this was possible, a stilling of time, a compression of huge 
>> force into smallest scale, space-distance,  an minimal acute awareness of ageing 
>> right there, removing all you "had"-  from there to here, then gone?
>> regards
>> Johannes
>> [Yoko a ?scrit]
>> [Does ISIS understand Cubism?]
>> My mother?s dogs bark to ?the others?. My local elderly people do not understand 
>> ?the other aspects to see/gaze upon the world(s)? - they never go out of their 
>> own perspectives and beliefs- as my colleagues in a local cake shop always 
>> complain. These humans/animals are not autistic. They are nice and pretty for 
>> the people ?inside?. The problem is that they have their own spacial/mental 
>> territories/blocks that they seriously need to protect and also, they have the 
>> strong sense of belonging. For them, the worlds they belong to must be solid and 
>> stable, not fluid -against Bauman. Do they understand the multiple points of 
>> view of the world(s)? Can they make a step beyond their physical/mental borders? 
>> How about the people in ISIS??
>> In the case of ISIS, it seems more complicated than those dogs and the local 
>> elderly people since they do not own their geographical ?land? or ?state?, 
>> instead, they are bonded by a virtual reality: their virtual ?state? based on 
>> the ?religion? which is actually nothing but terror. It may be the reason why 
>> ISIS could relatively easily spread their beliefs/terror via social media such 
>> as Youtube so that they can collect the soldier candidates from all over the 
>> world. Well, in many religions, scripted words are principal. The 
>> god/guru/you-name-it?s spoken words are written, translated and spread. Now, how 
>> about belief or terror in this Internet age? You will much more easily find the 
>> way to agitate and brainwash people no matter how they are far from you by 
>> mediatising the ?fact? in this society of spectacle. Terror can be pervasive and 
>> penetrated into people?s mind everywhere on this planet as many of you here 
>> mentioned.
>> Now, I am curious about ISIS?s notion about ?home? or ?their land?. Why do they 
>> continuously try to invade and occupy places? Why do they need a land? If their 
>> fundamental bond is ?religion?, they should not necessarily have their own land 
>> (apart from Mecca??). Are they trying to establish ?a state? as a physical 
>> space, following the international norm of ?states?? Do they need any monuments 
>> or somewhere put their flag to claim their power inside -no, it shouldn?t be so 
>> because their religion bans idolatry? WHERE actually do they belong to...?
>> [Slow violence]
>> moving/performance/installation
>> . . .
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

email archive http://sondheim.rupamsunyata.org/
web http://www.alansondheim.org / cell 718-813-3285
music: http://www.espdisk.com/alansondheim/
current text http://www.alansondheim.org/sw.txt

More information about the empyre mailing list