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

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Sun May 31 04:04:24 AEST 2015

Hi Jason,

I think where things are getting murky is my use of "trigger", which was
probably not a helpful term. However, I disagree with the notion of surfing
the web being only an escape from boredom. There is structure and then
there is content. The structure is where Eric Souther is exploring, the
inability to reconcile signifiers in the network. I think he is
specifically talking about the lack of purpose of searching, how language
is unable to encapsulate the living, shifting structure of the thing itself.

I love the description of your workshops, that sounds like a good time."

Could you elaborate more on what Eric Means by "language is unable to
encapsulate the living, shifting structure of the thing itself?" I do not
quite understand it. Does it mean that things, events, etc,, in the
internet (is that the same as on line) have a different kind of reality for
which language has not been found yet, and Eric's work tries to describe
that struggle?

One thing I noticed about language on the internet is that that language
(bits, fragments) from it can be appropriated in one or two steps.  This
has multiple consequences. First, it severs that piece of language from all
the cultural, historical associations that shaped it and may give it
resonance. Second, in the appropriator (basically the surfer on the
internet) creates often both the illusion of knowledge and the reality of
ownership (power). In American poetry, I don't know if any among you is
familiar with it, to a movement like flarf. Flarf often took phrases from
speeches of "ordinary" folks and used them in ironic poems often mocking
those phrases--basically, suppressing that speech in the guise of
discovering them. Personally, as someone who has migrated to the United
States from a Middle Eastern country, I found the whole process (technique)
infuriating. Of course, flarf phrases were often culled from popular
culture (often movies). The effect to me was the same.

Another instance of it occurred about two years ago at the Poetry Project
in New York City around the poet John Ashbery reading from his new Rimbaud
translations with a number of other poets. Many of those other poets were
flarfists. If I remember correctly, each of them picked an Ashbery
translation (still referring to the original title) and created a flarf
poem out of Ashbery's words. I was bemused by the whole process. A
recreated text was itself re-created/reproduced. The process reminded me of
the distinction between camera obscura and photoshopped photography. In the
former, the control (the* self-conscious* power) of the photographer is
limited by the potentially anarchic movements of light itself which always
remains somewhat beyond the photographer's control. "Mistakes" always occur
making the camera obscura photograph always more than the intentions
(focus) of the photographer turning it into a dialogue between the viewer
and the photographic image itself. It created stasis, a condition of
contemplation that materializes time, its passing (I wrote a long essay
about it*The Peripheral Space of Photography* that Green Integers Press
published as a separate book in 2004.) Giving exponentially greater power
to manipulate to the photographer, photoshop alters the relationship of the
image to the "real." The other (as image) losing its independece loses its
own power (what I assume W. Benjamin calls its aura). Aura in that sense
has a close relationship to positive boredom.

In photoshop time basically disappears--isn't super efficiency (of speed,
of power, of non-friction) an elimination of time--which created boredom in
the positive sense? Aren't stasis, aura, contemplation aspects of boredom
in a positive relationship with the other (reality as something ultimately
not knowable. Erin, if I understand him correctly, isn't this what
Heidegger is saying?

I know for a fact that Ashbery did most of his Rimbaud translation over a
period of about thirty years, by slow accumulation. The flarf version were
all made post the publication of Ashbery's by New Direction, in other
words, I guess in a few fours. Don't know if one is superior or inferior to
the other. But they are drastically different. In my opinion, the ego is
the translator" is more central in the flarf case, even though the
assertion is to the contrary, that it is less personal because of its
procedural method.

Replication as an art/image model is crucial in out time. Benjamin sensed
its importance maybe first in his essay "The Modern Work of Art in a World
of Mechanical Reproduction." That is partly the attraction of a film like
Orson Welles' "F For Fake." My own poem *The Spiritual Life of Replicants*--as
androids in *Blade Runner--* is very much focused on the idea of
copies--their "inner life." It is central in Conceptual poetry of
Goldsmith, etc.

In other words, boredom -at least in images and literature-- is I think
intimately related, on the one hand to copying, on the other, repetition.
Is repetition an exact replication--as the question is asked at the
beginning of *Fata Morgana*.

Jason, yes Naropa was a fascinating and a very fruitful experience for me.
Before the start of the workshop I was told that the workshop was expected
to make a presentation. When I asked of what kind, I was told not to worry
about it. It was some very informal. On the force of that I decided to have
the students to do the presentation, any way they wanted to. To me that
would reveal how they saw the experience. They chose a bright and very
talented kid among them. I told him that I didn't want to know what he will
say. The upshot was what I told you. The others were all purpose
driven--his had captured and benefited from the open endedness of my


On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 8:59 PM, Erin Obodiac <emo57 at cornell.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> And, here's chapter four of Heidegger on boredom:
> Now and then, as when Heidegger writes, “Following our vacation, we shall
> now attempt . . . ” (132), the reader is reminded that this discourse was a
> seminar in 1929/30.  No doubt, Heidegger experienced the first (waiting at
> a train station circa the impending 1930s Depression) and second (attending
> a pleasant party circa the end of—the party’s over—1920s) forms of boredom
> during this specific hiatus, yet he asks in general “whether a profound
> boredom is a fundamental attunement of contemporary Dasein” (132).  In
> addition to socio-historically positioning Heidegger’s discourse on
> boredom, we might also position it in relation to the rest of the book
> (The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics) and note that it precedes and
> frames his famous discussion concerning animality and its poverty in
> world.  We might assume that the animal cannot be bored, and that boredom
> is an attunement proper to Dasein alone.  I would like to argue, however,
> that boredom’s relation to temporality—being in limbo, being empty,
> dragging and standing still—point to mediations of time that animality and
> technical entities also interface with.  One point of entry might be that
> although the second form of boredom comes from within Dasein, the first
> form comes from “the outside” (133), from things themselves.  Unlike
> animals, inanimate things, and technical entities, says Heidegger, Dasein
> has a relation to world, to beings as such, so this comportment, which is
> the ground of attunement, is foreclosed to them. Though without a proper
> relation to beings as such, the animal is, nevertheless, open to world.
> Heidegger calls this being poor-in-world, and we might wonder if being
> poor-in-boredom is the animal’s modality of boredom.  So we might ask here,
> can animals be bored?  And what about machinic entities?  If we keep within
> the Heideggerian parameters, we should remember that boredom is analyzed
> outside the concept of consciousness.  Heidegger tells us that with regard
> to boredom, time must be questioned outside consciousness and subjectivity:
> “the initial positing of man as consciousness in general, or as a nexus of
> lived experience or the like—all this must be put into question if a path
> is to be cleared for us to penetrate into the essence of boredom, and
> together with it into the essence of time” (134).
> Instead of investigating the psychology of the bored subject or in a
> subject passing the time, Heidegger suggests a listening “to what profound
> boredom gives us to understand” (134).  We know that this listening is
> neither the hearing that belongs to sensory perception nor an understanding
> that belongs to consciousness: boredom affects our being in a different
> mode, as an attunement, the attunement of boredom.  The first step is to
> dissociate boredom from any particular identity or ego and relate it to the
> there is, the es gibt, the il y a, or, as Heidegger states the “it is
> boring for one” (135).  His example here is “’it is boring for one’ to walk
> through the streets of a large city on a Sunday afternoon” (135).  This
> boredom, he says, “wishes to tell us something” (135).  Profound boredom
> cannot be shouted down (136) by passing the time, nor can it be not
> listened to, but it must, says Heidegger, be listened to: “we now have a
> being compelled to listen” (136).  The command-structure of the call (Ruf)
> is a familiar motif throughout Heidegger’s work, and here we might venture
> into the politics of boredom and its authoritarian (?) call.  It seems that
> profound boredom compels us to listen.  It seems inescapable and relates to
> the question of “Dasein’s innermost freedom” (136) and “has already
> transposed us into the realm of power” (136).  The power of profound
> boredom flattens distinctions: “it makes everything of equally great and
> equally little worth” (137).  It produces indifference.
> Although Heidegger, in his de rigueur fashion, seeks to understand
> profound boredom and its originary temporality, we might ask in a
> Kittleresque manner, what is technologically determining this
> investigation?  Stiegler’s Technics and Time volumes have fully elaborated
> Heidegger’s suppression of technics, especially the phonograph, and we
> might begin here since profound boredom compels us to listen.
> Heidegger introduces the idea of a temporal horizon to address the
> temporal character of profound boredom.  The temporal horizon entrances
> Dasein in the attunement of boredom.  The horizon is the temporal totality
> of beings, and although Heidegger suggests that it is not a scenery or
> backdrop enfolding beings, we might think about Stiegler’s project and
> consider the temporal horizon as the totality of tertiary
> retentions—tertiary mnemotechnics—that constitute time.  In this chapter,
> Heidegger demonstrates that it is time itself that is entrancing in
> boredom: entrancing because it both announces/manifests beings and makes
> possible the refusal of beings, beings that refuse themselves (150).  In
> this space, a space of freedom, says Heidegger, Dasein discloses itself to
> itself (149), and this is a moment of vision [Augenblick]: “time is the
> moment of vision itself” (149).  The idea that self-disclosure is subtended
> by temporality and vision is a familiar motif in much western philosophy:
> temporality as the inner sense and self-reflexivity as a mirror-structure
> often constitute ipseity, subjectivity, and selfhood.  Dasein, of course,
> is a different animal, and we must understand temporality and vision not in
> terms of sensory perception or phenomenology, but in terms of Heidegger’s
> existential analytic.  Yet, I would also like to argue that the pairing of
> time and vision suggests a cinematographic technics, and it is here that we
> might pose the question of cinematic boredom, both in the sense of the kind
> of boredom that belongs to cinema and in the sense that boredom is somehow
> cinematic.
> Erin Obodiac
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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