[-empyre-] All call: subscribers interested in Boredom: Labor, Use and Time

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Wed May 27 01:57:50 AEST 2015

Hi Erin, hi Jason,

"...Nevertheless, Heidegger articulates a specific mode of hearing and
seeing connected with boredom, when he writes of “being compelled to listen
to what profound boredom gives us to understand” and of “being impelled
through the entrancement of time toward the moment of vision as the
temporal character of being held in limbo.”..."

Erin, what strikes me in the above passage is Heidegger's focus on
"compulsion," on "being impelled." My question is where does this
compulsion come from, from outside or inside? Heidegger, I think, does not
consider that distinction (I may be wrong). If it is from inside, then, is
that compulsion not the same as consciousness. A voluntary, conscious focus?

If it is from outside, paradoxically, it may stir (in Jason's word
"trigger") a freer kind of daydreaming, which is basically a rebellion to
compulsion. That rebellion may or may not return into a state of active
consciousness (in Heidegger's sense inner compulsion/drive).

The phrase "the temporal character of being held in limbo" is, I think,
very close to Deleuze's idea of time image, a consciousness (to the extent
that one is attending to the film) of the passing of time. (Can boredom
become pleasure at the moment or do they alternate in superfast sequences
or do they synthesize?)

Jason, it is striking how, as far as I can see, you exclude compulsion,
replacing it with "trigger," which in my view is its opposite. I see one
obstacle with your analysis. In my experience, surfing the web very rarely
leads to something positive outside itself, unless it is done for some
purpose of a search. Otherwise, it is not a trigger, but an attempt to
escape from boredom, the question we tried to tackle in the previous weeks.

Your comments on the field of grass are right on. In a poetry workshop I
led at Naropa (Insitute of Disembodied Poetics) my students chose to
present the ultimate achievement of the work done in the one-week workshop
to the entire school by merely showing the beginning 8/10 minutes of
Herzog's Fata Morgan where planes at an airport land one after another as,
in subtle ways, the the thickness of air around the landing planes
increases. The presenter was one of the students. He said not one single
work. He showed the clip and left the stage.
I had started my workshop by showing the students this initial clip and
asked them why Herzog is doing that. Obviously, that question lingered in
their minds. First, they were bored, then some began to sense that
repetition was doing something. I didn't tell them anything about the haze.
To tell the truth, I was not aware of it consciously myself, but later
heard Herzog talking about it though not necessarily about the landing

Every other workshop had a elaborate, value added presentation. Except for
one single person, the reaction of the audience to us was, to put it
mildly, a stunned shock.

Jason, the example of Eric Souther's "Search Engine Vision" is different.
There, one is not surfing (though Eric built it using the method), but one
is watching which is a more purposeful activity.



On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 10:30 PM, Jason Bernagozzi <jason at seeinginvideo.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hi Murat, thanks for your post.
> I too have had many interesting boring moments with film, but I don't
> think there is an ideal format. Each format comes with its own codes, film
> is one, sitting and listening to music is another. It is important to mine
> and understand the codes behind how various media instill can trigger
> "boredom", because there is not one type.
> For instance, surfing youtube videos for hours can trigger a very specific
> kind of boredom that is different than viewing a film. We have every kind
> of possible combination of images at our fingertips, yet when they are put
> together they still instill a sense of wandering through the network as
> aimlessly as a child wanders through the woods, and that immediacy possibly
> gives a manic feel to our boredom, desperately bored even. We can go to see
> our favorite cat videos, but that only works for so long.
> This kind of boredom reminds me a lot of the work of a brilliant young
> media artist Eric Souther, whose "Search Engine Vision" series compiles
> youtube videos as virtual video sculptures whose form is determined by
> search terms for various words. I highly suggest viewing the work below:
> http://ericsouther.com/search-engine-vision-buddha.html
> http://ericsouther.com/search-engine-vision-chair.html
> But boredom triggered by specific kinds of experiences gets into the heart
> of Deleuze's thinking. His doctoral thesis, Difference and Repetition, is a
> great reference for opening up a conversation about media specificity.
> Boredom, as widely defined, triggers an image in our minds. We can think
> about boredom being one thing experienced over mutliple days, times and
> experiences, boredom as boredom. But, as in all things in nature,
> repetition is an illusion that we perpetuate. We have a need to
> compartmentalize the immensity of all of the specifics that make up a
> boring moment, to articulate or understand this with language would be
> maddening. For example, we see a field of grass and have no ability to
> understand that while we see all of those blades as grass generally, the
> fact remains that each blade has a form and function to its environment
> that is not completely the same. In fact, there may be hints of an
> interloping strain amongst the grass that can wipe out the entire species
> in that field, but we still just see a field of grass, until a potentially
> boring survey of these strains is taken and understood on a material level.
> It is important to our understanding of the inner workings of things, like
> medium specific boredom, as gateways to unknown ideas. Being receptive to
> that boring moment is and of itself an insight specific to your experience
> of place at a specific time hour during a specific time of the year through
> a specific medium. How deeply are you listening to all of the aspects that
> make up that moment?
> On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 12:30 PM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Jason, that's exactly what I am talking about, partly the integration of
>> the consciousness of the passage of time into what one is doing--which also
>> I think may result in the consciousness of the tools one is using.
>> Doesn't the consciousness (that is the prerequisite) of the passage of
>> time create a positive kind of boredom. Film I think is the ideal form for
>> this experience (perhaps also music though the repetitions in Glass's
>> minimalism, for instance, are dynamic, therefore not boring in this sense).
>> Deleuze talks about time-image in film. That's what I think partly he is
>> talking about.
>> Ciao,
>> Murat
>> On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 1:10 AM, Jason Bernagozzi <
>> jason at seeinginvideo.com> wrote:
>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>> Thanks for the introduction Renate!
>>> There have been some great discussions on boredom, and while I did not
>>> reply to some of the other threads, I was engaged and meditating on my own
>>> experiences with boredom.
>>> I clearly remember how bored I was when confronted with some of the most
>>> iconic sonic art created. Lets be clear, the boredom that I was
>>> experiencing was a good thing. I was a graduate student at Alfred
>>> University and Andrew Deutsch was having us listen to a small section of
>>> LaMonte Young's "The Well Tuned Piano". For those of you who are not
>>> familiar with this work, a "small" section of this piece meant that our
>>> session lasted over 2 hours. I remember attempting to concentrate on the
>>> arrangement of notes for the first 20 minutes only to find my mind
>>> wandering. The repetitive nature of the score caused me to think about what
>>> I was working on, which was a database narrative video installation that
>>> was in absolute disarray because I could not get any of the programmatic
>>> arrangements right. Then I thought about my daughter and arranging
>>> playdates for the weekend, and that I was graduating in 2 months and needed
>>> to figure out the next steps of my life.
>>> As these thoughts flowed through my consciousness, LaMonte Young's score
>>> kept wafting in and out of my waking mind. I began to tire but not fall
>>> fully asleep. The minimalist structure of the work was turning my sense of
>>> time on its head, had I heard these notes before? Eventually, after the
>>> first hour my mind stopped wandering towards all of the pressing issues
>>> that demanded immediate consideration in my life and I became intensely
>>> aware of all of the sound around me. While I had studied a lot about the
>>> concepts and methods driving the work of Pauline Oliveros, this 2 hour
>>> listening session of "The Well Tuned Piano" was the first moment that I
>>> experienced what she terms "Deep Listening".
>>> According to the Deep Listening Institute, this method "explores the
>>> difference between the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary,
>>> selective nature – exclusive and inclusive -- of listening." These methods
>>> are deeply rooted in Buddhist tradition, but it is also an inherently
>>> post-structural form of engaging sonic works where the variability of how
>>> one listens determines the tone of the work. Rather than thinking of
>>> boredom as emptiness and a void, think about the presence of absence.
>>> Difference is such a powerful tool, imagine five minutes of white noise: an
>>> irritating, sharp and prickly sound. Then over a minute a warm, low
>>> frequency begins a slow attack and washes away the white noise. Without
>>> that juxtaposition, the pleasurable stimuli of the warm tone would not be
>>> as effective.
>>> This certainly comes into play in terms of the trajectory of how my work
>>> has evolved through research and development. The first time I attempted to
>>> create a database narrative video installation,  I had so many assumptions
>>> about how it would work. However, the first 6 or 7 programs that I created
>>> to drive this system left me completely stranded conceptually. The language
>>> of the self-directing system was contrived and pretentious. I had to
>>> struggle through it, reviewing the same arrangements over and over again
>>> until the moment the work finally clicked. The boredom and tedium of
>>> rewriting small amounts of code over and over again was not what I wanted
>>> to focus on as an artist, I had to produce! I was convincing myself that I
>>> was not a programmer, that artists needs to sit at the crossroads of
>>> various disciplines and mold passing ideas into culturally relevant
>>> statements or objects.
>>> Yet I had to understand the tool that was letting my ideas flow. If I
>>> did not build the tool, would it be articulate when "speaking" the media I
>>> am putting through it? Without boredom, can I actually reflect on
>>> incompletion? Can you equate drive to boredom? Or is the problem the word
>>> itself, do we need to wrestle this concept to the ground along with "truth"
>>> and "originality", all words that are unhelpful in accurately describing
>>> how things work in our world. Listening deeply to LaMonte Young that next
>>> weekend for 6 hours was a long, sometimes boring,  yet rewarding task, and
>>> helped lead my inquiry into new expressive forms.
>>> On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 7:01 PM, Renate Ferro <renateferro at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>> Murat you have assimilated both Simon's and Ana's posts in a way that
>>>> makes so much sense though I'm wondering if you would say a bit more about
>>>> the negative value of nothingness.  How is it possible to give value to
>>>> absence? . Perhaps our resident philosophers can chime in here?
>>>> This might be a great segue into Week 4. While we say thank you to
>>>> Simon Biggs and Ana Valdes,
>>>> We welcome Erin Obodiac and Jason Bernagozzi to our final week on
>>>> Boredom. Their biographies are below.
>>>> Week 4:
>>>> Erin Obodiac (US) received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the
>>>> University of
>>>> California, Irvine and has held teaching and research appointments at
>>>> UC Irvine, the
>>>> University of Leeds, SUNY Albany, and Cornell University. Her writings
>>>> assemble
>>>> residual questions from the deconstructive legacy with emergent
>>>> discourses on technics
>>>> and animality, robotics, and biomedia. She is currently a Mellon
>>>> postdoctoral fellow at
>>>> Cornell University, teaching a series of Comparative Media seminars and
>>>> completing a
>>>> book called The Transhuman Interface, which repositions critical theory
>>>> and
>>>> deconstruction within the history of cybernetics and machinic life. The
>>>> Transhuman
>>>> Interface is a result of the research project “Robots at Risk:
>>>> Transgenic Art and
>>>> Corporate Personhood,” which Obodiac began as a Fellow at Cornell’s
>>>> Society for the
>>>> Humanities. The project and the accompanying book manuscript examine
>>>> contemporary
>>>> theories of machinic life and robotics as well as the philosophical
>>>> traditions that underpin them. This summer, Obodiac will finish a cinematic
>>>> version of her Ph.D. dissertation, Technics and the Sublime.
>>>> Jason Bernagozzi (US) is a video, sound and new media artist living
>>>> and working in upstate New York and is the co-founder and chair of the
>>>> board of directors of the experimental media arts non-profit Signal
>>>> Culture. His work has been featured nationally and internationally at
>>>> venues such as the European Media Arts Festival in Osnabruk, Germany, the
>>>> LOOP Video Art Festival in Barcelona, Spain, the Beyond/In Western NY
>>>> Biennial in Buffalo, NY, and the Yan Gerber International Arts Festival in
>>>> Hebei Province, China. His work has received several awards including
>>>> grants from the New York State Council for the Arts, Wavefarm and the ARTS
>>>> Council for the Southern Finger Lakes. He is an Assistant Professor in
>>>> Digital Media and Animation at Alfred State College.
>>>> http://seeinginvideo.com/
>>>> http://www.signalculture.org
>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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