Monday, April 25, 2011

A work in progress...

Well, I've done a lot more work on my project. However, it's not nearly as well done as I would've hoped, but that is why I picked something I will continue to work on in the future...needless to say I am far from disappointed. This class has helped me to explore my side of creativity that has been suppressed since I began college. I'm so thankful for that. You can click here if you're interested in my work.

It's been a lovely semester y'all! :))

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FUTURE BOOKS (memory might serve us well there)

There are already colleges, such as Chicago State University, planning to be conventional-book free, opting for multi-functional iPad e-text delivery. Some may have converted already, certainly class-by-class. I have been drawing materials for my classes from materials placed online for free and therefore also, usually, unlimited access. This I do as a form of gratitude. The Creative Commons share-alike license is of particular interest (and eligibility for unsolicited praise) for its acknowledgment of both the complexity of authorship and the challenges of trying to make something without any influence (interaction, collaboration) from any sources outside the maker. To make without any influence would be such a simple and probably thin making, stripped of everything, even computers, pens, pencils, ink unless the maker also made these without any contribution from any source other than the maker who, arguably, could not even make anything involving the self the maker may have thought was claimable, but the maker was conceived through interaction, is an outcome of influence, with or without romance.

Though I have a substantial photocopying and printing allowance, I've printed nothing at the university for over five years. We are a paper-free class in our sharing of information strictly digitally, and in public blogs —in support of the Limited Fork Theory tenet of a fundamental collaborative nature of all things (where all refers to what manages, in some form, on some scale to adhere to a tine, not to what falls through tines: an all of slippage, for instance), and in support of my belief that work done by students should not be confined to professor-interaction (where it would receive primarily professor-influence in that impoverished interaction, that in some cases, such as those in which a professor might have expectation [sometimes even assigned expectation —yikes!] of student-parroting of professorial views —sort of intellectually incestuous). While slightly better than professor-only privileged student work interaction, I find even class-only interaction still too limited (especially in certain configurations of peer critique especially within certain workshop configurations); rather this work, as often as possible, should be placed boldly (—class, does not your content represent what you believed at the time of the content's generation? does not your content reveal some accuracy of [some sincerity of] thought at the time of the content's generation?) in public where we practice some minimal responsibility of social and political and intellectual responsibility by not being afraid to claim our (examined) views (—for we've attempted to understand that we've acquired our configurable views based on interactions, influence, exposure, and knowing this, we want an opportunity to reframe these acquisitions whenever some aspects of them do not seem appropriate in certain [temporary] contexts, policies, and circumstances); we accept this responsibility by having to support those views by linking them with other relevant publicly shared information, and by (even more courage is sometimes required here) demonstrating a willingness to accept comments whose content may not agree with our content, but through these ideas interacting, and our placing our ideas where they are available for interaction, we demonstrate not just a willingness, but also an interest in considering other perspectives; we demonstrate flexibility, that thinking and learning are configurable, and that we will risk influence of interaction, risk the marking of experience, knowing that information might reconfigure us, that, I'm happy to say, there is risk of belief changing. (cartoon from cartoon, where it's available for purchase without the copyright watermark.)
(image of The Library of Babel is from noel.mas at wordpress.)

I certainly appreciate having an entire library in my pocket, something Jorge Luis Borges came close to dreaming of in his stories about infinite library systems: The Book of Sand and The Library of Babel. Please click here to experience an audio iteration of The Library of Babel, and think of what it might mean for all books to have a digital equivalent, for only a single hard copy to have existed for digitization in those cases where a book was not created with digital methods. For years now, most of my work has not had any material reality; most of it does not have the volume of multidimensional space —imagine that! live that! love that! be astonished by that! question that! My work is even more intimate with binary code than it is with my materiality, the library of body.

If you like, go to iTunes Signature Maker where an audio clip can be made from your iTunes music library —a signature based on the parameters of the application, so there's a limit to how many songs may be stacked in the signature, and for now, the signature maker at the link skips any drm-protected music you may have. I have almost 8,000 songs in my iTunes library, so signature maker has generated for me a very partial sonic profile, one that excludes most of my audio files, even excludes some entire genres, but it is a signature of an audible fraction that managed to adhere to the tines of the programmed configuration, so accurate for that audible fraction only. Listen below:

The mass production of paper text-based information as physical objects can be difficult to justify as each item is not unique, and space for them is not infinite (—and I'm a book lover, with as many physical books in my home as I have digital audio files on a single portable drive!). Digital text-based information duplicates well the configuration of the content of conventional physical books. A single digital copy can be, once greed is overcome, experienced by simultaneous users without actual relocation of the materiality, which does not have to exist if the text-based content is created digitally. I feel confident that as methods of experiencing digital content improve, there can be some methods that provide experiences that simulate paper texture better, but perhaps the goal isn't to simulate the already-established reading practice as it exists with the materiality of conventional books. The tine of conventional reading practice in the context of the materiality of conventional books, even as it bifurcates, does so in the influence of the tine. The context of that tine. To help overcome limiting factors of that tine, even as it becomes more subtle without disappearing, it can be useful to try to explore digital possibilities, to use the digital imagination without insisting that it remain loyal to the practice of another medium. Material boundaries and digital boundaries are not the same.

That we might rediscover some benefits of being more selective in what exists materially and what does not is useful to the finite properties of our planet's system, the collaborative, inter-dependent, connected systems of the planet. Perhaps we can begin to rethink conspicuous consumption in all (the all that doesn't get away, not the all of slippage) its material forms. We have configured for ourselves, as we examine what we've made from other angles (that have probably existed whether or not we've been primed to locate, identify, and experience them), a culture of discard. A culture of single use. A throw-away culture, and we've become able, so primed as we are, to extend these flexible configurations to include people, animals, water, air, fossil fuels, food, trees, all other plants, soil, everything in that nature we're also part of (just as we are part of space; we with our planet are in space, traveling space).

Reduction in material production of books could take us to a past future, could revive a practice, at first necessary (before —remember?— Gutenberg and movable type, handwritten text, as there was no other means of viewing and experiencing the content) of book as unique object, essential object, as aesthetic object, made not with the parameters of mass production, but with some variations of the hand interacting with its imprecision as an organic machine that is successful in part because it functions well imperfectly, able to prevail in changing circumstances where perfection's inability to adapt might cause perfection to wither; the handwritten book offers more choice for every aspect: writers writing the material components of book as well as content. (image from medieval literature entry at LACS Knights.) Here's a consequence of digital-reading dominance that I hadn't considered well until reading Chris March's blog where just a few days ago (from the time of this posting) he commented on 41 states having adopted the new Common Core State Standards for English, which do not require cursive writing. A culture of no cursive. Please read this article from ABC about the end of cursive and watch the following video about medical errors that result from the misreading of handwritten letters and numbers:

As for what to do with so much duplication in the materiality of books, why not consider, as one possibility, the aesthetic practice of making altered books? Two of my favorite altered book makers are Jacqueline Rush Lee and Brian Dettmer. Take a look at some examples of their book alterations and autopsies, and dream about a geometric reconfiguration of material content (that's been digitized) in Jorge Luis Borges' Library of Babel and his Book of Sand. Click to experience a conventionally configured Book of Sand PDF.

Jacqueline Rush Lee altered book images from jacqueline rush

Book Autopsies by Brian Dettmer who, according to a blog post from 2007 on centripedal, provided the Toomey Tourell Gallery with the following artist statement about his Book Dissections:
In this work I begin with an existing book and seal its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. I cut into the cover of the book and dissect through it from the front. I work with knives, tweezers and other surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each page while cutting around ideas and images of interest. Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose a book’s hidden, fragmented memory. The completed pieces expose new relationships of a book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception.
The book autopsy images shown here are from centripetal and from MKisStacked's flickr photostream. To experience much more of Dettmer's work, click on Toomey Tourell to visit the gallery's website.


This class has taught me a lot about the idea of Limited Fork Theory but I feel more importantly about my own creative processes. To be more precise: So many of the aspects of Limited Fork, when they were explained to me, seemed very intuitive, which is not to say they were not useful or that they were obvious, only that once I understood them they seemed to fit regularly and quite easily into my own conception of the world. The reasonable conclusions and explanations of limited fork seem to fork together with my own preconceptions of epistemology and philosophy in general. And so my work to be done in Limited Fork appeared to be more application than theory. I dove head first into the limitless bifurcations of limited fork theory's applications, as well as using the concept of exploring an idea-environment (ideaonment?) rather than pursuing an idea in a linear fashion. The most useful thing I gained in this class was the power of a tool, the fork, using many tines to gather many diverse pieces, and stuffing them into my brain in order to chew them up. The result is something I could not have scooped with the spoon of conventional research or study, and the mix is something that will stick with me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Future of Publishing

Go get a coffee and have that checked out book in your hands when you return?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Technology and the Humanities

I am sitting here working on my project reflecting on what I've learned from this Technology and the Humanities class. It also provoked thoughts on my expectations of the class when I signed up and whether or not my expectations were accurate. Then this triggered other things in my brain so here it is.

I've learned that...

Nothing is ever complete.
Something is always interacting with something else, human or nonhuman.
Environment can be narrowly or widely defined.
The presence of you, as a human being, influences your work.
Unexpected interventions influence your thoughts.
Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate and express ourselves.
Bifurcating systems are extremely complex and cannot be defined in space or time.
Inspiration can come at any time during the day or night.
Conventional essays lack dimension.
Unconventional essays are multidimensional, but can include conventional themes.

And I could continue on, but frankly, I'm tired and need some sleep.

As far as my expectations for the class coming in, I didn't have any except to be using my iPod and learning how to blog. Both of these expectations were met, obvs.

But it goes beyond that. I was able to take what I learned and create an interactive system linking two very different things, rowing and sustainability.

Technology has allowed me to apply my love of rowing, as a sport, and apply it to my love of sustainability and connect with the larger society, even those who have never even heard of rowing. By using sensory details in my project, mostly sight and sound, I added dimensions that non-rowers never experience. It would not have the same effect if I simply wrote about my ideas for project.

Now that I've shared all of this,
I think it's time for bed.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's projects tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

JOURNEYS in humanities & technology (assemblages of experience)

Limited Fork Theory, the study of interacting systems, led me to explore some of the possibilities offered by investigations of configurations of mergers between the humanities and (digital) technology
—even though technology was/is already part of the humanities, already both an outcome of human cultural practices and a vehicle through which human cultural practice occurs. Technology, in fact, is a primary enabler of social and cultural interaction; technology offers tool systems for expressing cultural practice.

Since I first wrote a story when I was six, I used technology, the technology of loose leaf paper manufactured with the blue lines that I thought of as over-disciplined veins, the kind possible in households more common than my own where I was surprised sometimes that my own veins weren't curlicues; I used the technology of a #2 graphite-cored pencil (a Laddie pencil), and, as another example:
the technology of my mind within the parameters of its flexible configuration to which both genetic and environmental (which includes social and cultural elements) factors contribute. I used a manual typewriter by fifth grade, first a Royal, much like the one pictured here (courtesy, and then an electric Smith Corona.

Some of the nature of mergers I continue to explore involve ways of reconfiguring information in order to extend its accessibility and in order to expose more possible configurations of systems of being and systems of meaning, simultaneously extending possible access to those systems, assuming some existing or some acquired means to connect to or otherwise retrieve web-based information, which at the moment is the best location to share that which is an outcome of collaboration that is necessarily an outcome of (form of) interaction.

Perhaps this is also a cautionary approach to try not to prematurely assume accuracy of opinion, or correctness of conclusion; a cautionary approach not to prematurely assume that a configuration of information has revealed permanent knowledge, or anything more than a temporary fact that is only a consequence of everything collaborating (interacting) in order to produce the outcome configuration of that moment of interaction.

Perhaps this approach is indicative of a kind of intellectual gluttony and a desire for kaleidoscopic seduction in my wanting to configure from as many angles as I can imagine on as many scales as I can imagine —I love the geometries of outcomes, the temporary clusters of geometries that emerge as outcomes are configured and reconfigured into possible systems of (fleeting) meanings. These meanings are like promises from something well-intentioned, sincere at the time of promising, yet eventually unable to keep those promises, but I've enjoyed the commitment to attempt. The meanings and promises are also assemblages and systems. (image of Ukranian Disneyland by Dmytro Szylak as seen at Swipple)

The myriad beautiful assemblages of various forms of dimensionality (perhaps becoming increasingly unsteady temporarily and/or [on various scales] becoming increasingly steady temporarily as they are assembled/reassembled); the myriad beautiful assemblages are (usually) temporary structures that are outcomes of arranging and shuffling clusters of geometries into super-clusters, perhaps arriving at configurable forms of umbrellas that can temporarily function as large-scale or microscopically revealed universes, as in, for example, this image, called: "Cellular cosmos: A microscopic universe" from chronoscapes and aquascapes of bubble films, that, as thin as they may seem, have multiple surfaces; each bubble film has multiple surfaces.

Consider for a moment the sandwiching of surfaces that occurs in the interaction system of oil in a puddle of water. I photographed this puddle sandwich near where Miner bifurcates from Miller Road, a location near my favorite branch that was forfeited a few years ago for an inappropriate curl (like a rib) of the branch around wires of an electrical power system. The bottom surface of the puddle is in contact with the top irregular asphalt surface of Miner Street, so the bottom surface of the puddle is also irregular, matching irregularities with the asphalt. The top surface of the puddle is in direct contact with the bottom surface of the motor oil. The top surface of oil is in direct contact with air and light, some of which is reflection of part of a branching system of a tree.

It is possible to mix these interacting layers so that the surfaces are disturbed. A rumpling of this sandwich of surfaces can occur; a temporary mingling can happen, say, as these surfaces are stirred into each other for a more complex relationship of interaction, the pattern of oil obviously dynamic, obviously shifting during the aesthetic and intimate trauma of the stir. With a stick (a single-tined fork) I stirred, but did not film, a temporary little vortex into what may have behaved as a center of the oil (I treated it as such). And although the sandwich also reminded me of my fourth book in which I wrote that oil in the puddle was still ghetto stained glass, still rainbow remnants in rock bottom ghetto sky, I wondered what the oil, in small enough quantity to be pretty without also being disastrous, looked like from underneath, looking up at it from in the water, as fish might, as aquatic mammals while submerged might, as sea turtles might; I wondered about the tips of aquatic plants dipping into the oil as into paint. I wondered about opportunistic qualities (configurations of collaborative potentials) of poetry, wondered about, questioned, and needed them, nourishing myself with such wonderings, the glamorized puddle presenting as a portal to a metaphor-induced transformation of surface, an overlay that fit well —sandwich garnish— next to a down-home serving of unsettling occurrence arriving too soon for those of a certain kind of conscience to transform into the range of possibilities waiting to be enacted from under water in the gulf, in Louisiana looking up at an oil-painted ceiling riding the water, a tainted chapel, spoiled colors of glory. (image credit: Matthews/AP, as found at the New York Daily News site.)

Perhaps I would not find beauty so necessary to growth and repair were it permanent, were it possible to make something that can endure all possibility of event, specifically a beauty in how things connect on so many scales, the choreography of connection, the energy, intensity, so that sometimes it's brutal, but I wouldn't want beauty to have to be only weak. I expect things to unfold in all the ways possible for unfolding. I accept the range. The spread. I adore it. The Limited Fork keeps bifurcating and bifurcating, sending out tines and sub-tines to attempt to locate and connect with the elements of spread, the inhabitants of range.

The specialness and preciousness of that which, in a particular form, will be lost is an outcome of interactions with apparent inevitability of demise of a particular iteration attached to a particular moment in the timeline and timescale of an entity's existence. That form, this form, that other form can be appealing to me; that form, this form, and that other form seduce me into wanting to engage with those forms, my engagement itself a configurable outcome of an interaction. A collaborative event. And it may be mutual. I too am a collaboration of many forms functioning as a community, an environment of identity. Mutual seduction of form by form. The sensual appeal need not be definable as a certain category of beauty; line and shape are suggestive, recur on various scales, offer locations of possible temporary connection, suggest parts that when combined can be experienced as whole subsystems of something even larger. Shape and angle offer potential, each a solution of an equation, points of entry into an interaction and points of departure from an interaction in which there's been a priming (courtesy the marking that occurs on some scale for varying duration, perhaps, in the romantic version that may or may not happen on some scale somewhere, including dream and imagination, infinitely dissipating) for participation in (collaboration with) transactions with other entities.
(Hiroshi Sugimoto's mathematical form as seen in the New York Times portfolio slideshow.)

A general lack of completion (one way to configure the acceleration of the universe, the continuing dispersal of cosmic information) invites an understanding (wish) of the journey as a seeking of connection, perhaps even a seeking of a reunification that could be an evolved form of an initial condition of unification (just before whatever banged, banged and/or just before the moment of creation, for instance) that Limited Fork Theory prefers to posit as an initial condition of incredible intimacy (profound density, profound gravity holding what will be components [when it bangs/blossoms] into what could appear to be a single entity under intense pressure) that for some reason (invitation to the speculative) banged or blossomed in the violent manner (until engaged with on a timescale revealing even a crude form of gracefulness associated with that scale) of a puffball that in some understandings becomes graceful in the violent release of spores, a beautiful violence of trying to persist, violent joy of possibly successfully fighting extinction.

Though the source puffball explosion footage from High287 on youtube was not captured with a high-speed camera, I have nevertheless slowed down the footage, first to 5fps, then that video outcome, shown below, was slowed down to 10fps, resulting in a 2:35 version of a 31-second video capture that more properly should be called a 2:35 version of a 21-second video capture as the slowed down version begins 10 seconds into the 31-second source video.

In this approach, acceleration does not have to be understood as speed, but may be configured as a lengthening, an elongation of distance between cosmic components, moving apart unto the limits of space in which to move apart, space created by the moving apart, space in which to move necessarily a part of the event of moving. Assuming a limit of generation of space to accommodate movement, then what? —a caving into generated space, components attempting reconnections? comets apparently particularly aggressive in their periodic attempts? icy cosmic suicides? One of them will do as my unorthodox version of an already unorthodox (not exactly in the new testament in this capacity) Gabriel, meteor showers subbing as visual iterations of his horn of judgment. (Perseida lesen Iimage by BZd, Pilis mountain, Hungary. Time lapse movie of 4.5 hours of meteor hunting., a collaborative configuration of an outcome of an interaction system that includes: BZd, time, Perseid meteors, a camera, opportunity, the Pilis mountain, and now, in some small reconfiguration: this post.)

Why necessarily bother to engage now with that which will not, that which cannot change? An inflexibility more pitiable than admirable in interaction. This would exclude faith which can waver though my mother, for one would probably deny this. Perhaps more thorough investigation, at scales not currently accessible, might reveal tiny bits of flexibility, maybe a form of evolutionary memory of having been more flexible. Forms of diminished urgency [energy] can be outcomes of interactions with the permanently unchanged and permanently unchanging (I do not know what that is, by the way), including unending stability as form of diminished urgency, even though stability may be quite appealing to the precarious, for instance, and to those entities and circumstances in which flux and uncertainty function more prominently as burdens, challenges, and hazards, or just as milder forms of annoyance.

For me, engagement tends to net a wow of the moment of interception of something with any of my senses, a wow that fades, as probably nothing can be, so far, sustained indefinitely in any particular iteration even as it powers, more successfully when the wow is most intense, an engine within me that hungers to connect with evidence of thriving creative humanity, a creativity that makes something to feed the senses (and by extension what the senses feed), something that gets tangled easily with worth and purpose of senses, configured here as genetic and environmental technology that allows us to connect with what is outside of us, making what is connected with, part of us. The above image presents some of the geometries assembled in Hamtramck (near Detroit, part of extended Detroit, Detroit as an interacting system) as Ukranian Disneyland; it is an ideal illustration of a key principle of Limited Fork Theory: the collaborative nature of all things, or, stated differently, reconfigured, that is to say, a notion that interaction is responsible for most (pretty close to all, I'll dare say, though I know the fallibility of a forking system that has holes between tines) iterations of that which exists.

The caption accompanying the set of Dmytro Szylak's Ukranian Disneyland images at Swipple says that: Mr. Szylak was born in 1920, in the village of Lwiw, Ukraine, and came to the U.S. in 1949. He began building this work around 1990, after retiring from the General Motors Hydromatic Factory, where he worked on the assembly line for 32 years; 32 years working on a communication system between engine and wheels, a system of collaboration to enable a vehicle to enable a journey, a configuration of a collaboration with space, time.

(map from wikimapia.)

Without knowing other information that, when interacting with what is being said here will necessarily reconfigure (somewhere in a range from the subtle to the profund) what's being said here, I will venture to say that 32 years of assembling transmissions primes a person to continue to put things together. A history of assembling probably without flexibility of component manipulation and/or of configuration creativity could interact with a longing to depart from parameters of GM assemblage (a departure that did occur via interaction with a devastating fire in 1953 in the Livonia, MI plant).

Four of my maternal uncles worked on automotive assembly lines in Ohio, and not once have they mentioned downtime in the factory where workers could take discarded parts to play with, making other structures of aesthetic and/or practical purpose, outcomes displayed privately in a plant show and/or also publicly. Perhaps Dmytro Szylak was aware of such possibilities without being able to act upon them other than in his mind as a factory of idea and imagination. Perhaps there were dreams of alternative building with materials he worked with for 32 years. Dreams perhaps involving repurposing of what was local, what he could get his hands on, producing intimate reconfigurations.

There's something rewarding about assembling, about building rather than demolishing, taking the outcomes of demolition to rebuild in other realizations of form; there's so much limited forkiness in his understanding of the cooperation of parts, their essential role in a larger enterprise of structure, maintaining that enterprise while retaining some integrity of part, transitioning at the boundaries, the locations of inter-part connection, from self to community, the hybrid form taking root in those connections between parts. Dmytro Szylak assembles a community structure from parts found in the community, discarded parts, parts available for repurposing, for transformation.

I like how the Ukranian Disneyland structure isn't solid; the eye can follow the lines and angles, can use openings to temporarily partition the sky, can corral constellations, can enjoy the patterns of connection, can fall in love with locations of union, can understand how Dmytro Szylak finds a place for newcomers. His structure system is not limited to growth in a single direction or on a single plane; there are many options for where and how a newcomer can join. In this way, there is no predetermined structural destination with which parts must conform (form of interaction/collaboration); structural growth patterns are shaped by contributions from the nature of the part joining the community structure. This open construction allows components (residents of the structure) to seem to play in their own playground. It is easy to begin rearranging the parts visually as the eyes play with the assemblage. Ukranian Disneyland is rescued from an inevitability of form, while being totally consumed with an inevitability of making and assembling.

The shuffling of information in any of its solid, fluid, virtual, digital, etc. forms is expected to occur in the practice of Limited Fork Theory. Many, many investigations of interactions, without theory-mandated boundaries; braking established instead by an investigator's interaction with integrity, scruples, ethics, and so forth, as defined by that investigator. Because interaction is a form of collaboration, participants in the interaction are at risk of influence, at risk of being marked by the interaction, changed in some way, from mild, barely perceptible, apparently no change to gross change, nearly complete transformation or domination. Interaction works best when participants enter the transaction with some opening at at least some of the contact points. Interaction works best when participants enter it with a willingness to be changed. It is to appreciate the threats and possibilities of many forms of journey. After exposure (form of interaction) to configurations of information, it may not be possible to maintain beliefs exactly as they were before exposure.

This approach and its consequences (the system of this approach) is difficult for my mother, difficulties to be explored in a variety of visual configurations, two in progress now, one of which, in an early emerging time-based form, you may watch:

Digital handling and manipulation of information is becoming increasingly easy to accomplish by those without sophisticated and specialized training via applications with user interfaces becoming smarter all the time, leaving the user having to make mostly creative decisions, bypassing complexity of use that would limit access to comfort with using the applications to produce some object of some form of information. As easy as word processing! —And becoming easier! Entry-level applications provide features that promise pro-sumer outcomes, outcomes of sufficient polish that aesthetic merit can be successfully defended. Indeed, Tarnation, made on a Mac with iMovie, the basic movie-editing application native on all Apple computers (with versions available now for both some generations of iPhone and iPad), won Best Documentary from the National Society of Film Critics, the Independent Spirits, the Gotham Awards, and the LA and London International Film Festivals. Here's the Tarnation trailer:

Part of a reason to use more digital approaches in producing academic objects of information involves answering questions about the purpose of an academic object of information. As most academic objects of information are text-based, some of the questions involve forms that text can take (however brief the taking), locations that can host text, and how text can be shared with a wide range of humanity, including some constituents with varying sensory function. Each form has its own rules governed by the existing boundaries of possibility within that form, boundaries that can change as what's possible changes in some other moment, or some other aspect of a moment. The information in an academic object of information can expect to adapt (as the form can also expect) in a collaboration with form, the collaboration (or interaction) temporarily (for the duration of the interaction) adjusting what is possible for the hybrid form, drawing on the parameters of possibility that each participant brings to the interaction.

—This is a primary location of excitement for me in the study of interacting systems, watching, causing, participating in hybrid forms that emerge in collaboration or interaction, some forms of which are forms of collision, forms of obliteration, but also forms of beauty that seem to exert no harm on scales to which I have access at the time of consideration.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011



Telcosystems - BALTAN goes NATLAB 3 from Baltan Laboratories on Vimeo.


After a discussion with Professor Moss, the idea of feed back loops came into fruition. It was interesting to think about feed back loops as a regimented system of behavior-- how does one get out of a feed back loop? Is it the attempt to respond to same situations in a different matter? I wonder what others think in relationship to this.


I've started a new blog to showcase parts of the exploration I've been undergoing in class this semester.
The site is:

I've also updated my Video essay a bit, adding features and effects from Motion as well as some new audio components.

I'm also going to use this space to try to explain some of the specifics and choices of the "Libyan Democracy" video essay. The main two speakers you hear in the essay are Hillary Clinton and Noam Chomsky. Being the current Secretary of State, Clinton offers the official US Government stance on our actions in Libya and her comments were broadcasted internationally through many major television/radio/internet media sources. Professor Chomsky on the other hand, a highly respected Linguistics professor at MIT as well as probably the most outspoken public critic of the United States foreign policy, is virtually unknown in the American Mainstream, shunned by every major TV news outlet and only very occasionally mentioned in print publications. Chomsky is extremely popular in Europe, the Middle East, and pretty much every where besides the US, spending much of his time touring the world giving lectures and interviews. The NY Times has said Chomsky is "arguably the most important intellectual alive" despite regularly ignoring his comments and critiques of US foreign policy along with the rest of what we commonly call "Mainstream Media". Chomsky is a regular guest on Democracy NOW! as well as a variety of British, Middle Eastern and many other media outlets. I chose to use Chomsky's voice in this essay since his opinion is outside the main stream of thought on foreign policy despite being unbelievably well supported by decades of news reports and declassified government files. Chomsky brings up the attitudes of Libyans towards the West in terms of intervention. He recalls a massacre of Libyan's at the hands of Italians between WWI and WWII. "We have a short memory for atrocities" Chomsky quips, "but the Libyans have not forgotten." The concluding quote from Chomsky details a report commissioned by US President Eisenhower in the 50s into why there was such widespread hate for American policies in the Middle East. Our government has been supporting brutal, autocratic regimes and bloody coups for decades in order to maintain a semblance of control over the exportation of oil in the region. It is obvious that the events of September 11th were not only a retribution or "blowback" (as Ron Paul suggests, courtesy of a CIA report) but as we know actually perpetrated by people trained under our own regime tampering activities (i.e. Osama bin Laden having been trained by the CIA to combat the Soviets in Afghanistan). The catastrophic and tragic events of 9/11 were simply the first 21st Century reverberation of activities that have been occurring between our state's government and the "sovereign" nations of the Middle East for a very long time.

The resurgence

"Dandyism appears especially in the transitory periods when democracy is not yet all-powerful, and when aristocracy is only partially unsettled and depreciated... Dandyism is the last splendour of heroism in decadence... Dandyism is a setting sun; like the star in its decline, it is superb, without heat and full of melancholy." - Charles Baudelaire

The resurgence of modern day Dandyism is no new fashion trend. As Baudelaire states Dandyism is "the last splendor of heroism." I've been examining this resurgence in the Modern Day Gentlemen (Dandy) by group in the Congo who are called Les Sapeurs. Se saper is the french verb to dress elegantly and the SAPE stands for Société des Ambianceurs et Persons Élégants. Through my own research I've gone deeper into what is being signified and who exactly is the signifier for this group of fascinating men. My first point of contemporary analysis is to juxtapose the British fashion designer Paul Smith's Women's Spring 2010 collection that was inspired by Les Sapeurs.

The interaction between this British designer and this group of fashion-obsessed Congolese dandies signifies the importace of being elegant.  The two converge and navigate different spaces when wearing their clothes. How did Smith find and begin to follow this trend? Are the two interacting reversely because of the different motivations? Can the lines of ambivalence and fluidity be crossed without it becoming a spectacle?

For the models in the runway show, they interact with the clothes completely different than the Sapeurs. The models get paid to walk in the designer clothes with an artful swag. The Sapeurs dress as a discourse to  embody their moral code, their mentality and their community. They have a sense of negotiation between their settings and a much stronger emphasis on spoken clothing. These men dress to assert a different type of social identity. It wasn't a role assigned to them, but very similar to the 19th century dandies, it is a "chosen" lifestyle.

A Sapeur [photo from Gentlemen of Bacongo]

Paul Smith, the designer and a model []


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I was listening to a friend today discuss this article. What is interesting is that the French government tried to electronically monitor boredom through finding out how many French citizen play solitaire or every how many of them google search- nihilism. Ultimately, google rejected their request. I find this interesting as it relates to the way in which digital media- the internet- has become part of the world's idea system. The government is now commissioning information from - google. I find that to really inflate the institutional power that google may have over a countries government.

Jessica Suzanne Stokes

When considering the kind of imprint our own time period might have on the next one, I hone in on language. What words invented now will be fully integrated within the next generation and what words will seem like relics? I decided to put my facebook profile page through a site that makes images out of the blocks of text submitted by the user giving prominence to the most used words. I expected to see "unlike," "friend," "post," and even months and times among the words, but the three words that stuck out weren't any of those. "Jessica," "Suzanne," and "Stokes" appeared with less frequency than "March' while tying with "like" and "unlike." My name appears on facebook far more than anything I would ever assert in the world. Does that make for better conversation?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In the Beginning

We began with the idea of bettering conversation on the internet. Since then we have focused in on creating at least part of a collaboration machine: a website that facilitates the creation of collaborative poetry and prose. To track our trip from there to here to somewhere we have this blog deal: