[-empyre-] Starting the Fourth Week: Chris Funkhauser, Sally Silvers and Bruce Andrews

Michael Boughn mboughn at gmail.com
Wed Nov 23 09:47:24 AEDT 2016


Finitude (Agamben) and imperfection are the defining qualities of the ordinary, which, Emerson tells us, we have yet to acknowledge as our condition. Hence we keep screwing up.

Sent from my iPad

> On Nov 22, 2016, at 3:35 PM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Chris, I apologize for the typo. I was writing the introduction six o'clock in the morning since I had to be at Kennedy Airport very early. And I did use "tent" metaphorically, but are you sure it was inside Parish Hall? I remember it being somewhere in the boondocks. Like quite a few others, I seem to have disappeared from the PoPro list a few years ago also. Finally, I attributed my case to bad breath.
> 
> Yes, perhaps the final struggle is "between algorithm/perfection) & human/imperfection." We should pursue it further on. But in Blade Runner, even the super human androids are imperfect. They must die. That is the pathos of that film, and also perhaps our ultimate salvation. If you have followed the discussions the previous weeks this month, I was talking about the possibility of a poetics of "failure" or "inefficiency" which may be close to what you mean by ?imperfection." We were also discussing about "glitches" in the algorithmic structures. You say that can not be. Do you mean they are impossible or not permitted?
> 
> What that architect was telling you sounded more like "laziness," an over trust of machines. That's why so many buildings are, as Jean Renoir says, boring.
> 
> Good beginning. Welcome to Empyre, Chris.
> 
> Ciao,
> Murat
> 
>> On Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 9:46 AM, Funkhouser, Christopher T. <christopher.t.funkhouser at njit.edu> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
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>> 
>> Murat: nice intro, thanks. I'm humored by your recollection of the St. Marks event. We were, however, definitely at a table in the Parish Hall--though we may as well have been in a tent! Until about 1998 I was often invited to perform at the Poetry Project, but since then, not once! This nearly coincides with when I started teaching in Newark, oddly enough. Being an academic at a middle-class state school has its perks but probably also its downsides (at least in terms of getting gigs at the PoProj).
>> 
>> We have known each other a long while, had many exchanges & social adventures. I've recorded & produced your work on CD, CD-ROM, etc., etc. & yet after all that there's a typo in my name in the subject line here--which is fine, considering I have no belief in perfection. (& I have never cared about the spelling of my last name, which is already a bastardization of the original--in fact your spelling is true to the original but is not what appears my birth certificate!). From my pov there are only a few things in life that require perfection, one of which is computer code. Thankfully the corporations in charge make it so that most people never have to deal with code, how nice. I had dinner with an architect the other night, who was explaining even his plans didn't have to be perfect (which I thought was strange). Building designs can be imperfect, code can't! So maybe the certainly possible (imo) "exchange" you ask Bruce about is a dialog between algorithm/perfection) & human/imperfection. I like that, something like that, think like that. Towards cyborgian synthesis, yah.
>> 
>> I believe that we are supposed to start off by posting a statement (& bio?), so OK, here:
>> 
>> Call what I do research. On a couple of occasions I’ve stepped up & presented books that helped me & hopefully others understand the world of digital writing from a historical perspective. Prehistoric Digital Poetry (https://monoskop.org/log/?p=179), a dozen years in the making, was done with the intent that it would outlast me. It will. Most of the time, though, I’m a momentary doer/maker rather than a sayer... 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Beyond life as poet & multimedia artist I play various musical instruments, mainly bass (& some voice), in an unnamed completely improvisational trio, which is such a potent form of expression. This is part of what I had to say with them last friday, in our first post-election jam:
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>> https://soundcloud.com/fnkhsr/edge
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>> My work in audio production, documentarian & artistic, started in the late 80s & continues—I’m a contributing editor at PennSound, & earlier this year I performed a sound collage at the Whitney Museum’s Open Plan: Cecil Taylor exhibit (Fred Moten & I also hosted a listening session at the event).
>> 
>> Since early this summer I’ve been working intensively with Chuck Stein, who I’ve known since 1992. We recorded more than 18 hours of his poetry (a retrospective anthology), phase one of a project on its way to PennSound (part two will be Chuck reading all of Olson’s MAXIMUS, apparently from back to front). In 2015 I did a similar project with Peter Lamborn Wilson, recording 600 of his poems for PennSound (http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Wilson.php). 
>> 
>> About a year ago I was lucky to get a grant from my employer, NJIT, to fund research in interactive digital audio (under the title “Expressive and Documentary Interactive Audio in the Humanities”). I’ve been playing and performing with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) since 2010, & recently I invented a way for my voice to trigger orchestral instrumentation, which was a significant breakthrough. Haven’t brought this material out of the woodshed yet, though recently a piece was supposed to be played as part of a program at the Dorsky Museum in New Paltz that didn’t end up happening as planned. Perhaps I should use the occasion of this discussion to go public with it.
>> 
>>  Another relevant work to this part of my life is Funk’s SoundBox 2012, archiving most of the recordings I made over the course of a year in one web-app, which was nominated for a 2013 Digital Humanities Award & is housed at https://web.njit.edu/~funkhous/chercher/home.html.
>> 
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>> I guess lastly, for now, I wanted to mention I do a monthly literary arts radio program on WGXC, community station in Hudson NY (sponsored by a fantastic organization named Wave Farm). On most occasions local poets come in, read, & we talk. Gratifying work. Since last October I’ve done programs centered on Allen Ginsberg, Sam Truitt, Anne Gorrick, Andy Clausen, Pamela Twining, Bernadette Mayer, Philip Good, Lori Anderson Moseman, Chuck Stein, Robert Kelly, Joan Rettalack, Cecil Taylor, George Quasha, Rebecca Wolff, Tim Davis, Amiri Baraka, & Lee Gough. Archives of those programs are available via https://wavefarm.org/wgxc/schedule/ya0aha
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>>  
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>> Chris Funkhouser: author of Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archeology of Forms, 1959-1995 (Alabama, 2007), New Directions in Digital Poetry (Continuum, 2012), Whereis Mineral: Selected Adventures in MOO (Gauss PDF), the chapbooks pressAgain (Free Dogma), Subsoil Lutes (Beard of Bees), and Electro Þerdix (Least Weasel). With Sonny Rae Tempest he co-authored and twice staged a "code opera", Shy nag, whose source was the hexadecimal code of a single .jpg image (see https://web.njit.edu/~funkhous/2015/Shy-nag/shy-nag-info.html for details and documentation). He was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Multimedia University (Malaysia) in 2006. In 2009, the Associated Press commissioned him to prepare digital poems for the occasion of Barack Obama’s inauguration.  Funkhouser is Professor and Director of the Communication and Media program at New Jersey Institute of Technology, a Contributing Editor at PennSound, and hosts POET RAY’D YO on WGXC in Hudson, NY.
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