[-empyre-] Starting the Third Week: Michael Boghn and Jerome Sala
agora158 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 20 11:53:24 AEDT 2016
I am an old fan of science fiction and I am still in love with masters as Philip K Dick Sturgeon and Ursula Le Guin. They wrote about dystopian realities not far from ours. Sturgeon wrote about a gestalt a kind of complex unity composed by kids with extra sensorial abilities I don't want to call it "powers" to avoid any link to Marvels hyped heroes.
And Ursula Le Guin, an anarchist, challenged the whole idea of an antrhopomorfic God.
Science needs a narrative to prevail.
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> 19 nov. 2016 kl. 21:34 skrev Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>:
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> "... "we're mostly unaware of how deeply our lives depend upon
> the functioning of complex, expert systems..." -- we're the fish in
> their ocean (McLuhan) (unless they break down). ..."
> That's why a digital art critiquing its own medium must involve, one
> way or another, a break down of its system. It must have an ethos of
> inefficiency or failure at its center-- not an expression of power,
> but weakness-- maybe an elusive glitch that the reader may experience
> subliminally or a software that decrease communication rather than
> improving it, etc., etc.
> "...I am not sure whether the "digital" can speak its truth (at least in a
> language we understand), but Shaviro suggests one way we humans might
> begin to see its truth/reality for ourselves - by creating art where
> the "material and technological factors are explicitly foregrounded...."
> I do not agree with this part of the argument. Most often, this kind
> of work is celebratory, of "look what I'm doing, ma" kind (I hope
> people will jump up and show the error of my way). It suggests that
> the technology is revealing something about us when in actually the
> work is mimicking, promoting the reality the technology is imposing.
> I think all great science fiction is dystopian. And I am a great fan
> and believer in it as a modern relevant form of expression. My
> previous poem The Spiritual Life of Replicants is actually a science
> fiction work. At this moment, Peter Valente's reference to Melies's
> silent masterpiece A Voyage to the Moon comes to my mind. On first go,
> it seems to be a science fiction work that is celebrating the future.
> So far so good... But the film is so full of domestic details and the
> space ship the "space men" are traveling on is so ramshackle that one
> gradually realizes that the people are transporting their bourgeois,
> middle class life to the moon, that the movie is a magical, exquisite
> piece of satire.
>> On Sat, Nov 19, 2016 at 5:54 PM, Jerome Sala <jeromesala502 at gmail.com> wrote:
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>> Murat, your question, as to whether "the computer (and the web and its
>> consequence) has the ability to expose and criticize the condition it
>> has created...whether the digital can be 'revealer of is own truth',
>> brought to mind a book I've been reading - Discognition, by Steven
>> Shaviro. One of the points Shaviro argues is that, in our everyday
>> experience, "we're mostly unaware of how deeply our lives depend upon
>> the functioning of complex, expert systems..." -- we're the fish in
>> their ocean (McLuhan) (unless they break down). Another aspect we
>> don't grasp, as your question implies, is that such technological
>> entities, rather then just being there, inert until we manipulate
>> them, have an agency of their own: "...if we engineer them, in various
>> ways, they 'engineer' us as well, nudging us to adapt to their
>> I am not sure whether the "digital" can speak its truth (at least in a
>> language we understand), but Shaviro suggests one way we humans might
>> begin to see its truth/reality for ourselves - by creating art where
>> the "material and technological factors are explicitly foregrounded."
>> His book is about science fiction stories that do this. Perhaps this
>> is also what I had in mind by the poetic project I wrote about, which
>> foregrounds digital/corporate cliches that inform us, through the
>> jargon we speak. In any case, Shaviro's book may offer a clue as to
>> the great popularity of the SF genre. Often, in allegorical ways, it
>> acknowledges the agency of the technological (remember the Borg?), and
>> enables people to start talking about the power of its influence.
>>> On Sat, Nov 19, 2016 at 3:15 PM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com> wrote:
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>>> Hi Jerome, by your question on the nature of "knowing" in poetry, I
>>> think you touched a critical point, an issue running throughout the
>>> discussions and presentations this month.
>>> Knowledge that poetic experience contains or "reveals" does have
>>> multiple facets. On the one hand, the knowledge (in some incarnations,
>>> message/propaganda) may be transactional and implicitly points or
>>> leads to action. Some great classics are of that sort, for instance,
>>> Lucretius's On Nature or Virgil's Eclogues, Shakespeare's Henry V and
>>> also, in some sense, though a book of "revelation," The Bible, etc.
>>> The election of Trump last week drove the discussion to the
>>> transactional side of poetry (art), and rightly so. That is what all
>>> the writing invited to be sent to Dispatches for the anthology all
>>> about. So are the post cards Craig refers to, as conceptual acts.
>>> There is another kind of knowledge that poetry "reveals," not
>>> necessarily leading to action-- of course, the distinction is somewhat
>>> artificial since a poem or work of art contains both simultaneously
>>> each time creating a different balance. If one extreme side of this
>>> spectrum is propaganda (all nations/cultures/languages have propaganda
>>> masterpieces), the other extreme is gnosis-- a knowledge not quite
>>> contained in the practicalities of a language, but in its peripheries,
>>> the often unacknowledged overtones that emanate from words, space,
>>> etc. (embedded in poesies).
>>> It is in terms of this same dilemma (the nature of poetic knowledge)
>>> that Heidegger is discussing technology in his essay. On the one hand
>>> it is defined as "enframing" nature to exploit it (in terms that
>>> Francis Bacon asserts as "knowledge is power"). On the other hand, it
>>> returns technology to its roots as techne, a making that reveals the
>>> truth. Their relationship is dialectical.
>>> I have been on Empyre list for about two years, following it on and
>>> off with interest because it presents to me a digital culture that is
>>> of great interest to me; but in which I am not directly involved as a
>>> practitioner. What struck me most is that, save for important
>>> exceptions such as Alan Sondheim and Isak Berbic (and I am sure there
>>> are others), the focus of the participants was on what the internet or
>>> the computer can do for them, on the computer as a new potent enabler,
>>> the computer as artistic or political power. As far as I can see,
>>> little attention was given to it as a revealer of "truth," the
>>> knowledge of human condition and psyche in a digital technological
>>> In my view, poetry (art) is doomed to die without containing within
>>> itself both these knowledge, though the melange may be different in
>>> The underlying focus for me this month has been, that is why I
>>> accepted the invitation to moderate, to explore whether the computer
>>> (and the web as its consequence) has the ability to expose and
>>> criticize the condition it has created, in other words, whether the
>>> digital can be the "revealer of its own truth." I can not say I have
>>> been that successful up to now.
>>> The primary text for this month is the fifteen minute video clip I
>>> referred to in my introductory statement at the beginning of the month
>>> in which the film maker Jean Renoir discusses the effect of technology
>>> on art (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7Mtd6GE_PI ). He says that
>>> art becomes boring to the extent that that the art maker is in total
>>> control of his or her own materials and techniques. He refers to a
>>> group of 11th century French tapestries (the Bayeux, the first known
>>> ones) where the threads were coarsely spun, the colors were primitive
>>> and of a narrow range; but they contained great beauty, revealing the
>>> strife of their making.
>>> That is why "Overcoming Technique"--the first two words of my
>>> introductory title-- is crucial, whether one finally agrees with
>>> Renoir or not. In our daily lives with family and children and
>>> teaching and grading papers, etc., I hope some of us find time to
>>> re-focus on these issues the remaining days of this month. As artists,
>>> the issues are important for all of us.
>>>> On Sat, Nov 19, 2016 at 9:28 AM, Craig Saper <csaper at umbc.edu> wrote:
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>>>> Relevant to the discussion and the “dispatches” this event might speak to the issue of, what Jerome Sala called in a recent "poetry is a particular way of knowing the mind” …
>>>> "Post Card Avalanche"
>>>> Join in and send a postcard directly to Trump! Here are the basic instructions to participate:
>>>> ** IMPORTANT - Don't mail your card until NOV. 26th **
>>>> In the message section, write this simple message: NOT BANNON!
>>>> Throw a post card Avalanche party. Make postcards.
>>>> Address it as follows:
>>>> Donald Trump
>>>> c/o The Trump Organization
>>>> 725 Fifth Avenue
>>>> New York, NY 10022
>>>> Affix a stamp - you can use a 35 cent postcard stamp, or a normal letter stamp.
>>>> Take a picture of your postcard that you can share on social media using the hashtag #stopbannon
>>>> Drop it in the mail! We are aiming to get these mailed between Saturday, Nov 26th and Monday, Nov. 28th to create a concentrated avalanche of postcards.”
>>>> empyre forum
>>>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
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