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

Michael Boughn mboughn at rogers.com
Tue Nov 22 07:20:01 AEDT 2016


Hi Chris -- maybe I got it wrong -- someone gave me the Latin -- but the
banner is supposed to read No Long List, No Short List, No Guest List. It
was a slogan I came up with for the Friggin Poetry Award, of which there
has to date been only one. DIU is Latin for long.

I am glad to hear you are enjoying Dispatches. You should send something
when you get a chance.

On Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 8:10 AM, Funkhouser, Christopher T. <
christopher.t.funkhouser at njit.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Michael,
> I've been meaning to say that I've been following Dispatches fairly
> closely from the beginning, & there's much to enjoy in there...
> You got my attention right away with the masthead/crest, emblazoned, in
> part, with the curious phrase (w/obscure reference) "non DIU list' (DIU an
> irreverent project Ben Friedlander & I worked on together as grad
> students). I'm sure Jack Clarke wouldn't have approved of DIU (as did a lot
> of others), & yes flaws in our approach.
> What you are doing with Dispatches is far more respectable, & glad to see
> issues being kept alive & muck getting kicked up
> -Chris F
>
> On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 9:31 PM, Michael Boughn <mboughn at rogers.com>
> wrote:
>
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Murat, Dispatches is not a blog, at least not in my reckoning. Nor, I
>> think, in Kent's. . Blogs are a singular voice, even when they become an
>> information clearing house. Neither is it strictly spealking a
>> curated/edited instrument, which also a controlled zone.We saw Dipatches
>> from the beginning as more of a place for a conversation to take place. I
>> was motivated to match what Jack Clarke did with intent. and Ken Warren did
>> with House Organ. intent. especially was an active zone of multiple
>> intersecting vectors of thought. Jack's spirit informed it by opening it
>> into time and space and welcoming a diverse community into a world of talk,
>> thinking, and document.
>>
>> So with Dispatches, we try to keep the conversations open to various
>> modes of address that are part of a being in common: critical commentary,
>> poetry, video, satire, letters. It's really not a question of fighting
>> anything. It's more a question of priming something. getting enough people
>> to see it as a useful and interesting place that they can participate in so
>> that the energy takes on a life of its own. A place you want to hang out
>> and maybe say something every once in while. Explore some stuff in the
>> basement.
>>
>> And the question of speed comes up again here in a different light.
>> Everything happens quickly, much more quickly than with a print
>> publication. Conversations can move almost as quickly as you can keep up
>> with them. Something happens.
>>
>> On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 2:52 PM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>> Yes, Michael, we do need to simplify (not necessarily be simplistic) not
>>> to miss the forest for the trees.
>>>
>>> For instance, you mention the "potential" of the computer. Hasn't the
>>> vector of this potential has been essentially in the reverse order towards
>>> increasingly restrictive. You have rightly mentioned the access the net
>>> provided for us to get to know people that we would not have known
>>> otherwise. That is truly a positive revolutionary achievement. But let us
>>> examine the progression in use of social exchange structures on the web--
>>> from  lists to blogs to facebook, each one more restricive than the other.
>>> On lists, one could have discussions because each response kicked that
>>> topic back to the top for easy access. When blogs first appeared they felt
>>> great, as a medium of self expression. I think we are mostly familiar of
>>> long stretches of time when the response box of the blog remains empty
>>> --the blog surviving at best as a space of meditation.
>>>
>>> Of course, a blog like *Dispatches* is an exception to that. You are
>>> fighting against the entropy of the form, turning it upside down. I would
>>> very much like to know how you achieve that, what kind of effort does
>>> involve. That's why I was so happy when you accepted to be a guest
>>> participant.
>>>
>>> As for facebook, every comment almost immediately disappears in the flow
>>> of time. Facebook has no practical mechanism of retrieval, therefore, no
>>> memore. Time is made of pointillistic instances of time. That's why I was
>>> so surprised and intrigued that you were able to sustain memorable, life
>>> changing exchanges on facebook, rather than on lists (as it was with Poetry
>>> Wars) or even blogs. How did you do that, Michael?
>>>
>>> You also say, "... But another facet of that is the weakening of
>>> foundationalisms and their dogma. I worry about overly moralizing these
>>> questions where the inevitable outcome is a foregone dystopia."
>>>
>>> Can you say that with the awesome,  increasing presence and affect of
>>> Isil in the world, essentially through their use of communication on the
>>> web?
>>>
>>> If we do not moralize --in the sense of assessing its human cost-- about
>>> a medium that shapes our lives so deeply, what should we moralize about?
>>>
>>> Ciao,
>>> Murat
>>>
>>> On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 1:06 PM, Michael Boughn <mboughn at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>> I think that's a bit too simple, Murat. Lots of things created the
>>>> computer. Just as it has lots of uses. Certainly its use in war and its
>>>> presence as a commodity have been extremely important in its development,
>>>> but they don't own it. Again, how FB monetizes its service does not fully
>>>> define the potential of that service. The velocitized temporality of it is
>>>> important, but again, I would argue, not defining. The consequences include
>>>> the rise of what is now being called a post-truth culture (pretty much
>>>> Baudrillard's precession of the simulacra, no?). But another facet of that
>>>> is the weakening of foundationalisms and their dogma. I worry about overly
>>>> moralizing these questions where the inevitable outcome is a foregone
>>>> dystopia.
>>>>
>>>> Sent from my iPad
>>>>
>>>> On Nov 20, 2016, at 12:07 PM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>>
>>>> Jerome, capitalism and war created the computer, not the Communist
>>>> state or an agrarian utopia-- and a desire to penetrate a code. One should
>>>> pay attention how things are created --one discovers a lot about their
>>>> purposes. I talk about in in an earlier post. Isn't the same thing with
>>>> Facebook, to peek into the private activities of a college girls dormitory.
>>>> Isn't that original impulse written all over what Facebook has become
>>>> despite all the "social media" goodies it offers --to penetrate the
>>>> personal activities of one's essentially private, intimate lives, create
>>>> data out of them and sell it. The primary impulse of Facebook --the raison
>>>> d'etre of its flourishing personhood-- is to make the private public and
>>>> social interactions short and infinite. In a very few years, it has
>>>> created a Brave New World and we are all caught in it.
>>>>
>>>> Ciao,
>>>> Murat
>>>>
>>>> On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 11:48 AM, Jerome Sala <jeromesala502 at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>>> Murat, your comment brought another question to my mind, especially
>>>>> because it alludes to the transformation of businesses. Working in the
>>>>> corporate world for many years, I know that businesses found digital
>>>>> technology irresistible because it was a tool that saved them lots of
>>>>> money. It helped eliminate lots of jobs and made outsourcing, near
>>>>> shore and far, much easier. As a result, it's hard for me to separate
>>>>> the growth of this technology from the capitalism's desire to increase
>>>>> profits by cutting costs. So the question for me is -- is it
>>>>> technology per se that's the problem, or the way capitalism uses it?
>>>>>
>>>>> On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 10:38 AM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> > ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>>> > Michael, I do not agree with you. What makes it different is the
>>>>> incredible speed with which things are happening. There is no time to catch
>>>>> up and rebalance as in the old model. It is a bit like cancer or like a
>>>>> species through a mutation gaining a critical, basically irresistible
>>>>> advantage over its habitat. As a result all the other species begin to
>>>>> disappear and finally the habitat is destroyed, including the dominant
>>>>> species.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Something like this is already happening. Wealth is concentrated
>>>>> more and more on fewer and fewer people (and Trump, who ostensibly got
>>>>> elected to fight this trend, will intensify it through his tax cuts). One
>>>>> day, companies will have nobody to sell their goods to. That sounds far
>>>>> fetched. But it will happen, maybe sooner than we think. That is when the
>>>>> pandemonium will start. My guess is it will not be pretty.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Take the idea of Uber for example, which is the cat's meow because
>>>>> of its convenience for people who used to take taxis and the bus. By one
>>>>> "disruption" enabled by the computer, they destroyed a whole ecology of
>>>>> businesses that owned local taxi fleets or individuals who owned their own
>>>>> taxis. They seduced taxi drivers by offering them better commissions. Who
>>>>> cares for a few taxi fleet owners! Everyone is happy. It took I think less
>>>>> than five years, now Uber is talking about driverless cars. I suppose those
>>>>> drivers can find jobs in the future as traffic cops for those Uber cars.
>>>>> One should not forget the owners of the taxi fleets may represent the
>>>>> "other," but the drivers are us.
>>>>> >
>>>>> > To be continued...
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Ciao,
>>>>> > Murat
>>>>> >
>>>>> >
>>>>> >
>>>>> >
>>>>> > On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 6:33 AM, Michael Boughn <mboughn at gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>>> >> OK, devil's advocate here. Every tool humans have developed has
>>>>> changed them, has obliterated certain practices and modes of thinking and
>>>>> generated new ones. The computer is just another tool, a really
>>>>> sophisticated and complex hammer. Some of the consequences of this tool are
>>>>> pretty dire -- the enablement of a post-truth polity, for instance -- but
>>>>> it also creates a potential being in common that is the  -- I want to say
>>>>> "cure" but that's not quite it. It's the antithetical action that opens
>>>>> into other possibilities. It can go either way, depending on what people
>>>>> do, and there are a lot of people doing a lot of different things.
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> I don't think that our lack of awareness of our dependence on those
>>>>> systems is new. Isn't it always just "the world". And they (the techne)
>>>>> have always shaped us. Isn't that Heidegger's point? If you figure out how
>>>>> to make flint spear tips, you stop throwing rocks and become different. We
>>>>> become aware of it when the computer stops working in the car in the middle
>>>>> of Death Valley, or the operating system goes wacky just before the
>>>>> deadline for a huge project. It's really the same old same old.
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> It's just that the stakes have risen catastrophically.
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> I think that's true about sci-fi. It has framed the question of
>>>>> technology in terms of an address to ontology.
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> Mike
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> Sent from my iPad
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> On Nov 19, 2016, at 5:54 PM, Jerome Sala <jeromesala502 at gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>>> >> 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
>>>>> >> demands."
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> 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:
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> 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
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> age.
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> In my view, poetry (art) is doomed to die without containing within
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> itself both these knowledge, though the melange may be different in
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> each.
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> 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.
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> Ciao,
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> Murat
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> On Sat, Nov 19, 2016 at 9:28 AM, Craig Saper <csaper at umbc.edu>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> 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
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> _______________________________________________
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> empyre forum
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> _______________________________________________
>>>>> >> empyre forum
>>>>> >> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>>>> >> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> _______________________________________________
>>>>> >> empyre forum
>>>>> >> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>>>> >> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>>> >
>>>>> >
>>>>> >
>>>>> > _______________________________________________
>>>>> > empyre forum
>>>>> > empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>>>> > http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> empyre forum
>>>>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> empyre forum
>>>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> empyre forum
>>>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Dr. Christopher T. Funkhouser
> Program Director, Communication and Media
> Department of Humanities
> New Jersey Institute of Technology
> University Heights
> Newark, NJ 07102
> http://web.njit.edu/~funkhous
> funkhous at njit.edu
>
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>
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