[-empyre-] Starting the Third Week: Michael Boghn and Jerome Sala

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Thu Nov 17 09:45:18 AEDT 2016

Hallelujah! Michael, Jerome and me are finally in the same thread.


On Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 4:27 PM, Michael Boughn <mboughn at gmail.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> I am probably older than most people in this group. I first came to
> computers when I was in my early 40’s and in grad school in Buffalo. I had
> spent years working in various industrial situations, much of the time
> organizing for what I later came to see as a communist cult but which at
> the time was the vehicle for my passion about justice. The computer was a
> Kapro and it belonged to the guys who lived downstairs from my friend,
> Peter. You had to build those computers from scratch and they looked like
> the grown up spawn of an Erector Set. I thought the hype was way overblown,
> especially watching one of the guys play slo-mo pong, the lurid green dot
> slowly moving back and forth between two moving lines.
> But then they started talking about MIT and about going there to talk with
> some people and get some software. Going there? Talking? It was my first
> glimpse of the possibility of a new mode of relation, of coming together in
> intangible spaces for the purpose of talking and of being in common. It
> wasn’t very common then outside small circles of computer pioneers and
> pirates. But soon there were Compuserve chat rooms. And then there was
> Facebook.
> I can’t say Facebook without feeling physically my deep ambivalence. It’s
> like an enormous echo chamber where your friends endlessly broadcast their
> political preferences to other people just like them, as if it mattered, as
> if repeating their brand preference over and over was going to make a
> difference. Meanwhile they sit at their desks staring at a screen, counting
> their likes. But I have also had some amazingly complex and important
> exchanges on Facebook, exchanges that led to further engagements in, as
> they say, the flesh. I have met people I would never have met otherwise,
> and renewed old relationships that otherwise would have been lost forever.
> So as much as the virtual community on Facebook is a narcissistic
> echo-chamber, it is also a place of actual relation, of being in common
> that has enriched my life.
> I was thinking about that being in common when, together with Kent
> Johnson, I launched the web site Dispatches from the Poetry Wars in April
> of this year. Kent and I share a commitment to poetry as a particular mode
> of knowledge that has largely been lost to a poetry “market” divided
> between various careerist and professionalizing tendencies that have
> dominated the writing and distribution of poetry over the past 40 years.
> Aside from the satirical critique of the MFA/Creative Writing axis and the
> Professional Avant-Garde axis, Dispatches is a kind of virtual pirate
> utopia or temporary autonomous zone within which a previously unknown
> being-in-common is coming together, making itself known to itself.
> In the past this would have been done in print publications like Ed
> Sanders’ Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, John Clarke’s intent.: a
> newsletter of talk, thinking, and document, Ken Warren’s House Organ, The
> Institute of Further Study’s The Magazine of Further Studies, or numerous
> other under the radar publications. The difference is that the space/medium
> that the computer offers allows for almost instantaneous connection and
> communication. Rather than waiting 3 or 4 months for the next magazine to
> appear in your mailbox, the conversation goes on continually in its
> immediate finitude. Actual arguments take place in nearly real time. Errors
> are addressed and dealt with. It is immediately responsive.
> In the last week, beginning with an announcement at Dispatches that went
> out to 200 poets, was picked up and resent to many more, we responded to
> the Trump disaster with a call for contributions to an anthology of poetry
> of resistance. Without three days, the were inundated with positive
> responses. The editorial group has now expanded to a broad and diverse
> group of poets who have reached out to their friends. The book now has 200+
> contributors lined up. We hope to publish it as an INITIAL act of
> resistance shortly after Trump’s inauguration. It is the sudden
> crystalization of a latent being-in-common that this tool, this medium,
> makes possible. We don’t need a central committee.
>  In that immediacy, it potentially energizes the being-in-common in ways
> that intensify the resistance to the Administration’s professionalized
> death formations (see, for instance, The Poetry Foundation website, or The
> Great Philadelphia Poetry Warehouse and Media Centre), and creates
> opportunities for further proliferations of relation beyond the immediate,
> not only within the virtual space, but beyond it in the proliferating
> creation of formations in the rough and tumble  world. At a time when the
> Trump Doom looms over us in its authoritarian darkness, such small centres
> of life and thinking are what we have to hold on to to keep the light alive
> and extend the resistance in networks of being-in-common.
> Sent from my iPad
> On Nov 16, 2016, at 1:54 PM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Michael, can you send your statement as a response to this e-mail thread?
> Murat
> On Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 10:06 AM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> In his 1954 essay "The Question Concerning Technology," Martin Heiddeger
>> says the following:
>> "The question concerning technology is the question concerning the
>> constellation in which revealing and concealing, in which the coming to
>> presence of truth, comes to pass.
>> But what help is it to us to looking into constellation? We look into the
>> danger and see the growth of the saving power.
>> … How can this happen? Here and now and in little things that we may
>> foster the saving power in its increase. This includes holding always
>> before our eyes the extreme danger…
>> There was a time when it was not technology alone that bore the name
>> techie…. Once there was a time when the bringing forth of the true into the
>> beautiful was called techie. And the poiesis of the fine arts also was
>> called techne…."
>> The "extreme danger" Heiddeger is talking about now is President Trump.
>> He is the master "techie" of words and weaver of lies -- basically an
>> artist of evil spirit, of bad faith singing a siren song to the dejected
>> and hating.
>> The guest contributors this week, Michael Boghn and Jerome Sala, are
>> poets. Sala works inside the entrails of the corporate structure as data
>> analyst and writes his poetry from there. Boghn, along with Kent Johnson,
>> is the co-founder of the poetry blog Dispatches where, in the great
>> anarchist Hakim Bey's (Peter Lamborn Wilson's) words, they want to create
>> an "autonomous zone," a "pirate utopia" of poets within the structure of
>> the internet. Dispatches has organized the first concrete reaction of
>> "poises" in the United States to Trump's election. They are preparing an
>> anthology  that will have I think over 200 poet's/artists' reactions to the
>> election. It will be published the day of Trump's inauguration.
>> From this point on, I will let Michael and Jerome speak for themselves.
>> I invite most devoutly every member on the list to contribute to the
>> discussions,
>> Ciao,
>> Murat
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