Monday, May 25, 2009

Large Hedron Collider: Imagination knows no borders

Some really cool images of the LHC.

...followed by revealing comments on the state of general education... these people did attend school. They can write. They read the words, though the sense escapes them.

When we think of the "third world" we are reminded of the great economic and technological divide that separate us, of Somalia and Chad and Haiti, but in those comments we witness a chasm even greater in the developed world.

This is what happens when 'education' is perceived primarily as job training: create corporate, relatively well paid (though less and less so) corporate slaves to keep the wealth flowing to the top: everything beyond that (art, literature, philosophy--even basic science has to fight an endless defensive rear-guard action) is at best, superfluous, at worst, subversive.



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Finding the Beginning

The difficulty of finishing a work is not about finding the right ending; it's about discovering where it really began.
This book you've been working on for more than eight years, my son offered, presciently; maybe the problem is--you aren’t the same person, the same writer you were when you began; maybe you need to write it as though it were written by the writer you are now.

This was about when I wrote the post on PLAY. I’ve rewritten revised and edited almost 150 pages since. I’ve also been doing a lot of cutting and pasting, moving chapters and sections—like a collage. When I look over the new configurations (actually, I read them, record them as MP3’s and listen to them), I ask, where did this come from? What is the common source? … a question of generation.

Disparate pieces fitted together, added, rearranged, create a new reading for each part in the context of their altered relationship. Their relative proximity and distance does more than alter the reading; it reveals a new and unanticipated source—creates and points back to a common origin which defines the aesthetic whole, the illusion of unity. When seeking for the thematic center--for 'what the book is about,' I find the answer changes, not because I change my mind but because different answers are created through these different arrangements... as they are through the whole process of writing. There is no beginning--no source, until the book is finished, and then--it is bound to change, to be changed, with every reading.
This morning I worked over another four chapters. Coming up on material more resistant, less sure how or if it belongs. Following through on ideas from my previous post HERE, the right question: what has generated it? Again, striking analogies with the interpretation of dreams, and in a broader sense, with psychoanalysis. One reads and responds to what one writes in search for the source, not of one's own experience (except indirectly... the indirection being all important), but for the source of the work. An act of expulsion severing its Being from that of the Self--until it become self-creating, self-generating.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spinning off Levi Bryant's Deleuza...

I've been reading. slowly (along with catching up on a stack of New Yorker short stories, finishing The Interpretation of Dreams and continuing my journey through Silliman's The Alphabet) Difference and Giveness: Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence, by Levi Bryant of Larval Subjects.

This is dense reading. I don't have the background to follow the arguments, though I do my best. At the same time--in part, precisely because I can't always do justice to the text, I find my mind gleefully tripping off on excursions, following suggestions that are certainly misreadings and would no doubt not earn me a passing grade on the subject at hand. No matter; I give full and unapologetic latitude to these reflections. For me, this is one of the joys of reading 'outside the field' and beyond my competence.

Take the following Deleuze quote from the chapter: Empiricism and the Search for the Conditions of Real Experience:

The elementary concepts of representation are the categories defined as the conditions of possible experience. These, however, are too general or too large for the real. The net is so loose that the largest fish pass through. No wonder, then, that aesthetics should be divided into two irreducible domains: that of the theory of the sensible which captures only the real's conformity with possible experience, and that of theory of the beautiful, which deals with the reality of the real in so far as it is thought. Everything changes once we determine the conditions of the real experience which are not larger than the conditioned and which differ in kind from the categories. The two senses of the aesthetic become one, to the point where the being of the sensible reveals itself in the work of art, while at the same time the work of art appears as experimentation. (Difference and Repetition 68)
(emphasis, mine)

Realism, Reality and the fallacy of Representation

As reality is not composed of--let me stop... as the reality an artist responds to and renders forth in his response (the work is the response) is not composed of fixed "things" or sets, alone or in patterns, representation can't be formulated in terms of correspondences (here is the representation: there is the reality to which it is thought to correspond)). Rather, both internally and formally within the work and in its generation, the reality is a continuum, unceasingly productive of itself, evolving through a continuum of response--or a continuum of co-responses, as the reality of work is shared by all those who encounter it--shared as genetic codes are shared, a continuity between individuals that generate a continuing evolution of difference... as these codes are never reproduced as perfect repetitions, in the organism; there are always perturbations in the code: in art, as variations on the pattern.

There is no possibility of founding aesthetic judgement on references between a work and the reality it is presumed to represent. Nor can critical thought be applied, comparing a work with principles, however pliant and adaptable, which remain external to the work and/or the reality it both represents, and IS.

Doesn't this suggest that we look at critical response as itself a part of the continuum, its authority drawing from its being generated as part of (another branch, if you will) of the continuum of response which is perpetually generating the work, and at work in all those who become part of its flow?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Freud, on How to Read...

Without comment: from Freud's Interpretation of Dreams: origninal (in translation) wording substituted with words in [brackets].

It is easy to show that dream-distortion [literary artifice] too profits from displacement of expression: If one ambiguous word is used instead of two unambiguous ones the result is misleading: and if our everyday; sober method of expression is replaced by a pictorial [figurative] one, our understanding is brought to a halt, particularly since a dream [literary work] never tells us whether its elements are to be interpreted literally or in a figurative sense or whether they are to be connected with the material of the dream-thoughts [literary text] directly or through the intermediary of some interpolated phraseology. In interpreting any dream-element [lit text] it is in general doubtful
(a) whether it is to be interpreted historically (as a recollection)
(b) whether it is to be interpreted symbolically, or
(d) whether its interpretation is to depend on its wording. Yet, in spite of all this ambiguity; it must be remembered, it is fair to say that the productions of the dream-work [literarty text], which; it must be remembered, are not made with the intention of being understood, present no greater difficulties to their translators than do the ancient hieroglyphic scripts to those who seek to read them.

One could do worse than use this as foundamental guidlines for literary critical reading.

Everything hangs on the phrase... "not made with the intention of being understood," itself, if applied to literary work, as abiguous and disputable as any statement one could possibly make... and as incontravertibly, if not indisputably, true.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Found Things

 In the beginning congealed out of Nothingness Becoming gathered itself together and grew into a Cosmic Egg. Half silver and gold, half shit and dust. The later was Heaven, the former, the late great planet Earth (though some held it to be the other way around). For countless ages the Egg of the World sat on the mantle over the decorative electric fireplace (complete with simulated chimney flue) of the Hendricks family of Wheaton, Illinois. One day when Queeny Hendricks was weeding the garden she discovered a cat... or, as she liked to tell her neighbors, the cat discovered her. Falling under its spell, she let it follow her into the house. That very night, the cat leapt onto the mantelpiece and brushing against the Egg knocked it to the floor where it shattered on the artificial marble hearthstone below, scattering shards like stars--particles of Heaven and Earth rising into everlasting confusion. 

Never fall under spell of Found Things.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Redesigning the Dog

Finals over, I hope to spend time this week moving (and linking) my writing to a web page, getting rid of the clutter in the labels list and posting some new material.

Meanwhile, taking up the Hubble chalenge/experiment from Larval Subjects

A nice infrared shot of our solar system's second largest gas giant and for good measure,  a galactic collisioin.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Black Tie Affair

It was a black tie diner: band (much too loud), cocktails, long speeches honoring the eleemosynary exploits of one A.Gold; women dressed like ice cream cones: wrapped and tied in enormous bows--glittering, pointy heeled, hovering among the men like jungle parrots in a rookery of penguins.