words written in the week of
April 17th to April 23rd
in previous years.
This was 4 years, 11 months, 17 days ago

I think it somehow makes sense that, when it turns this kind of spring evening sunset vibe, it feels like the world is about to end. not necessarily end as in an eschatonic catastrophic tumult, but more like a fade to black, the film credits run, signifying your departure from that film world, which will continue on its narrative, like two giant circles (your world and the film world), twin eternal recurrences, touching at just a brief moment, so close as to be nearly parallel for the 90 min running time, (especially if you zoom into that tangent point), then diverging again.

-

here I am, divisible into two halves, or into a trilogy, a pentalogy, a hexalogy.

-

at this point I consist of learning about what things I am good at, or not good at. I wonder about which energies generate a relentless run, an angry sprint, and which energies translate into a quiet, slow contemplation. I wonder about whether or not it will be possible to get up onto that empty building and watch the sunset. I wonder if this is a fizzle, or if this is about having jumped off a certain kind of train and watching it recede into the distance, the noise and rumble being replaced by the smell of green and the sudden understanding of the malleability and the infinite flexibility of wandering.

I wonder eternally about ideas and concepts and whether or not this sense of having pierced beyond the veil makes sense; I wonder to whom I can talk to about the exciting pros and the addictive cons of intellectual labor. about, the intoxicating speed of thought, the deftness to which worlds are woven, the ways in which bodies and the logic of nature and physicality become almost invisible.

to that I owe architecture, I owe construction, I owe industry, I owe economy, I owe a debt and am grateful for the ways in which I understand wrongness, or error, or mistakes, now, not as problems, but more like the base mediums with which things are generated - that mistakes and successes are two sides of the same coin. the same wall, seen one way is straight, seen another way is curved. chains of complexity in scheduling and weather and resources and prices and communication necessitate that many things become about fixing problems, that turn into a solution, a wave of actions that generate problems and solutions alike, and another wave of actions, etc, etc, continually falling over themselves until they create a wave of something.

does this all make sense? the world seems to move at the speed of information, and information seems to move at the speed of communication, thanks to politics. politics and voting, goddamn voting and politics and laws makes it seem that all things can be created at the speed of consensus, of information, of agreement, of knowledge. if we decide it, it will happen.

perhaps my anger, if I shall name it (yes I shall), my anger is that I am surprised at the market, at industry, because it is smart and fascinating, despite the horrible contradictions and perverse incentives that underlie it all, despite my erratic marxism or not so much anymore -- it does things. it operates. in the realm of intellectual labor and knowledge. (or, at least the specific flavor of academic understanding that I'm surrounded with (or, to be specific, enlightenment-era physics/math-influenced empirical notions of Theories and Laws and Truths that have long held institutions into power, even when a notion of science and Truth may no longer be compatible), ). and the realm of intellectual labor and knowledge seems completely content to shunt all operation, all participation, all action into the realm of the market; that activism often looks like regulations and policy, not like heuristics. that action is assumed to "scale", to "propagate", to be "decentralized", to be "replicable", "modular", "self-sustaining", etc.

perhaps my anger comes at a kind of delicious loneliness at wanting to think and wanting to do, and not having those two worlds bridged. P says: "the work looks like the work". to me, important work is probably boring, because it interfaces with the slow, the heavy, the hesitant, the risky. how many millions of boring emails does it take to create universal healthcare?

underneath it all is a sneaking suspicion that the body is the site of injustice, that beliefs are the methods with which inequality propagates, but that belief-based action seems cut off at the knees, that intellectual knowledge can be quick, light. in the end there is my aging body and my young knees that will grow old, and a tired body and my emotions, contained within my body, as my body. ala churchill: I shape my body, my body shapes me; I shape my body, my body shapes me.

if I want praxis in my life I think: what do I do for other peoples' bodies?: the infrastructure creator
if I want to be interested in what I do I think: what play do I do for my mind?: the intellectual/debater

left over is:
"what do I do for my body?": the ascetic/yogi/connoisseur
"what play do I do for others' minds?": the artist/politician

--

so. I am thirty. I am angry, and I am curious about this anger. I feel like I am alone in being angry, alone in smelling this quite curious smell, that leads me off a train. do you smell what you smell or do you adventure along this train to new cities? do you trace paths inquiry that makes sense only to you? do I have the courage and energy to explore the things that are profoundly unsexy but that I find to be the rat-king-gordian-knot holding my internal structure together?

he thinks, he thinks. meanwhile the sun sets, a construction site shines from inside, a siren in the distance. new york softly naps, crude sunset in lime skies. the sounds of traffic sound like it could be of india (with some more horns), of palestine, of korea. voices in the distance. etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.

This was 10 years, 11 months, 23 days ago

"It is precisely because Gamer is an action-oriented exploitation flick, rather than one that expresses the psychological interiority of its characters, that it is able to provide us with something like a cognitive mapping of the contemporary world system. The movie is somewhere between an allegory, and a concrete exemplification, of the way that, today, value is extracted from circulation (especially media circulation) as well as from direct production.

Steven Shaviro on the movie Gamer (2009)

deliberate simplification and nuance-less-ness of the characters enables the movie to operate as a diagram/mapping of reality. there is no nuance in the bar graph, no subtleties in the diagrams. difference is indicated through simplifying broad, bold, and direct gestures. the movie is a performance that informs, generates, analyzes and shows. then, seemingly paradoxically, it's productive to think of a movie as 'mindless' as an action flick as being instrumental/explanatory, precisely because it operates as an instrument by unitizing figures as objects. the movement of discrete characters within a field as itself important: not the characters but their interconnected play as the valuable dynamic.

discrete is separate from flat; one could have discrete, yet complex characters. the appeal of the bourne identity trilogy, or the specific method in which they operate (in what would be initially thought of as a typical spy/action movie) is perhaps that while the movie is driven by the complex interconnected relations between bourne (the spy-with-amnesia), the government, his romantic interest, his enemies, etc. etc --- the driving force is illustrated to be bourne's own desire for freedom/information/discovery stemming from his own insecurities about his identity. in other words, the micro-dynamics within the individual are convincingly illustrated to drive the macro-dynamics of the system. bourne's yearning for 'wanting to know who he is' sets a series of balls into play, yes.

but the overarching logic that really drives the entire system, I would argue, is the way in which bourne (and every other character) is a discrete entity, in which the boundaries between him and other characters do not blur, that you can trust bourne to be ruthlessly good at what he will do, and so that the trust in bourne's machine-like efficiency transitively carries over to a trust that encases bourne as a discrete, independent entity that acts alone, with influence, but alone. ball A hits ball B, which then glances off ball D, which in turn was pushed by ball C, and so on and so forth, etc.

This was 10 years, 11 months, 27 days ago

here it is, a birthday.

tonight I did laundry for the first time in a month, I think, much needed rejuvenation. poured blue goo down a spout and watched industrial-strength centrifuges stir clothes into a frenzy, generate foam, agitate and reverse direction in such a pattern as to induce fabric to rub against fabric. little molecules of grease detaching away. the incessant whiteness of the foam. there's the television turned to the disney channel. the streets are still wet. a few people pass here and there, the guy with a beater and a celtics tattoo is cleaning the machines. it's absent, and it's quiet, and right now brooklyn feels like it's vacillating between home and something else. this guy is in the corner talking to his girlfriend, strangely half-hushed. crown heights isn't the crown heights of the 90s anymore, he says. you know up from eastern parkway to st marks, you know gaza, like in the middle east, gaza strip, they used to call it gaza strip. crown heights isn't the crown heights of the 90s anymore, he says, and I suddenly feel like I'm home.

I've been saying this often, this phrase, "I will always be busy", and I say it because it's true, but biking back home just a second ago I decided that the reason that I like the ring of it is because it's really optimistic. the busy isn't a busy of a haggard tiredness, or a ragged-down ness, but that I'll always be busy, I'll always be doing things. the idea being that: if I don't let life in, then time will pass me by, and I'll look back and I'll just do whatever I wanted to do. It's not about having the time to do 'what I want', it's about having the time to do 'side' projects; that is to say if you visualized paths of movement and activity as a single thick line, that it's better to really have a panoply of interweaving, complex web of interconnected branches. the morphology of one's logic of work takes the form of a branching rhizomatic interconnectedness rather than a single guided path, et cetera.

and that maybe movement itself is the busy-ness; you don't grab a point in the distance and march forward towards it with a stiff upper lip only, but that you bushwhack and traipse through brambles, forests, swamps, generating paths, creating movement. this sort of work, I mean, which is like saying: I will always be walking, hiking, biking, skating, riding, jumping, moving. limbs firing, fingers going. working, thinking. and I can see that, that it will always be so.

and, and, and: I have wonderful wonderful friends around me, and for that I am grateful, and blessed, and blessed.

This was 11 years, 11 months, 22 days ago

here I am, twenty three. birthdays come and go.

today everything was very open, very fresh. in a soho alley I watched an enormous seagull stand in the center of the street. someone stops to offer a bit of fire to a passerby. it's seven pee em, and the sun is sinking and the shadows are growing and manhattan's streets are either closing or opening, depending on whether you're a day or night person. skies are still so high. last summer I made this study model of the boston plaza, made high tubes stretching to the sky that looked like enormous alleyways, gothic cathedrals, arboreal trunks, tried to argue for the wonder that comes when you're boxed in. this city is all the more precious for its claustrophobia.. some man passes me with a face that looks like it's been painted on. two dogs with wire-thin legs stand confused with beady eyes. I don't know, don't know, don't know.

spring and the inklings of a coming summer remind me of more warm nights, the sound of traffic boxes switching, things like that. nights spent lying on my back on cool sheets looking at the ceiling. air conditioner droning on (or not) and the feeling of endless possibility lying just around the bend. anything could happen tonight. everything's already happening tonight.

This was 12 years, 11 months, 20 days ago

brief blabs:

-

It occurs to me that it's possible to conceive of a narrative that isn't representable within literature or film or some other medium because these mediums require a suspension of disbelief -- or if you're watching a particularly self-aware Brechtian play, then a meta suspension-of-belief is required, you believe on some level that you are watching a play that exposes itself as a play. That is:

Maybe what passes as the sheen of production quality, suspension of disbelief, professionalism is this: the awareness and presentation on a second-order level that, regardless of the believability of the story itself, makes it aware that you are indeed watching a movie.

two thoughts:

1) there's a necessary shine of believability that is usually generated with a cinematographic or visual grammar that exists on the peripheries. For cinema: the way things are lit, shadowed, framed, angles, correct zooms, post-production color processing, the crispness of a professional digital camera versus the subtle aliasing and chromatic aberration of a 'prosumer' hand-held camera. Also, the certain way actors move, speak. For literature: presentation of text on the page, layout decisions cover title, back cover. Often the most common mistake of amateur book designers is that there's not enough on the page due to an attempt at simplicity: simplicity generated through emptiness, which is not the way to go. There are things like: barcodes, tiny text indicating publisher, category, cover credits, publisher logo, etc. As supplementary as these are they constitute prerequisite conditions of a perceived legitimacy (emphasis on perceived) from the point at which someone picks up and crack open the spine.

It occurs to me that there might be a point at which the story-- of what really happened in this narrative -- clashes against this grammar of believability. Maybe, if the logic of fiction holds up this believability, it's where: (the logic of fiction)C ∩ the narrative.

Things happening in a story that inadvertently or not puncture the sheen of not only believability but perceived story-ness. Is there a way in which there is a narrative that has elements that are so absolutely non-filmic? An analogue is: despite the fact that within a film there is supposedly no camera in the story itself, no characters are supposed to look at the camera, or else the scene will look strange, it will look fake. For the characters in the story, there is an zone of space at which they can not look at. What's the equivalent of this in literature, or in film in terms of plot?

2) there's a standard of taste here too not at the level of 'good X' or 'bad X' but in terms of the veneer of production quality. We are speaking of wooden frames and matteboard, versus images pinned onto the wall. There is a grammar of legitimacy on another level, not a criterion of 'is this good art or not' but 'does the way in which this thing is seen generate a perception of it as something to be seen as art'.

et cetera.

This was 14 years, 11 months, 18 days ago

Standing in the kitchen of a building at 113th and broadway, illuminated mostly by the light of streetlamps outside, I suddenly realize how happy I am.

I recently gave up whatever chance I had for living in the dorms next year, so I'm going to be living off-campus next year. It's unexpected, the amount of warmth that idea alone gives me, and it feels as if I could be propelled for the next few months on that expectation alone. A set of keys and property, bookcases, a chair, a desk, a bed. 2800k incandescent lights shading things with the color-connotations of home, here, comfortability. Oh, oh. No more of this ginger tiptoe walking, acknowledgment of temporary residences, handcuffed to academic calendars every year. Whatever price I pay in working for the difference in rent will be worth it, worth it...

Right now, there is:

desire, coagulating
direction, calculating
plans, formulating

What I need to do is to keep thinking about this, to keep tossing this around, making the steps clear, knowing what I have to do to get there. How to change myself in order to do so, the process of movement necessary. Plan things out, start anchor points, plot out footsteps. The calculated risks, the attempted movements.

Here's my meta-plan:

1 potato
1 tomato
1 zucchini
a clove of garlic
olive oil
600g ground beef (chuck)
salt and pepper to taste

- wash excess dirt off of potato. dig out eyes but do not peel. cut into halfcircles on a wooden cutting board.
- wash tomato and zucchini. dice roughly but carefully.
- peel garlic by hitting it with the underside of a frying pan, and chop finely.
- heat up pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. add garlic until it turns brown, then add ground beef. add salt and pepper.
- at the same time, stir-fry the vegetables in a separate, smaller pan, until mostly cooked.
- when ground beef is fully cooked, add the vegetables. Do not put the empty pan in the sink yet.
- fry together. pay special attention to the taste of the overall mix.
- from the cupboard, take out two spices previously thought not to be needed. add purposefully to mixture.
- taste and appreciate. fine-tune recipe according to meal.
- serve hot, keep the burners on. makes 1 serving.

This was 14 years, 11 months, 19 days ago

A list of things I need to buy. This is not because I necessarily 'need' them, but because I want them, and because a want constitutes a need, sometimes, because by listing things I will (hopefully) be able to distinguish between what I want and what I want enough to need. This is also not because I like buying things, but because objects aren't necessarily without value, and because these objects are hopefully vehicles that enable me to get to there, from here - -

lamy safari fountain pen ef point
arduino usb board
EM-406A GPS module
photointerrupters
grado sr-60 headphones
cheap p&s digital camera.
butane soldering torch.
the crying of lot 47
V.
massimo vignelli nyc subway map
essays on photography - trachtenburg
bicycle helmet


I like this list. I like what it represents through what it doesn't show.

on later thought, this isn't a gift list or something similarly unsubtle. I sometimes forget that people do read this 'blog' of sorts, and that it's not a solipsistic rendering of my own voice somewhere. I guess websites are meant to be read.

What about -- websites that aren't public? That is, the network structure surrounding a site is open, freely accessible, but at the same time anonymous, unsearchable, mostly (but not quite fully!) inaccessible. A middle ground between saying things and being read, so that you have the presence of an audience without an audience, and the creationship and power of an author without being one. Imagine all these sites, populated here and there in constant and silent Ouroboros-like reflection, looking inside on the self, talking inside a closed system.

By saying things, the words turn into something of their own right, because readership no longer is a question of size but fixes itself as an ambiguity. Messages to be broadcast to a population unclear about its own ability to hear them -- If a tree falls in a forest, and someone may or may not be there to hear it, then what kind of sound does it make? Et et et cetera. And that movement from mouth to vocalization towards something is the important part, an object gaining momentum in movement, Pee attuned to Em Vee, not on the propulsion force of Eff...

To touch on the Crucifix NG, which I've been thinking about lately -- here's a thought, just now. A megaphone, output as electromagnetic waves, sending strong and angry messages out to be hopefully and fortuitously caught in the minuscule loops of headphone cables. Induction operating upon the principle of change form, the movement of cable to headphone and a turn of the neck -- seemingly chance, random curls transforming beyond dimension, 1 to 2, -- coordinating the act of listening versus not. The synchronization of field and current, versus abandoning the order in the air to other, not-so-attentive ears -- a lamp, the walls, a nearby radiator, grounded to water pipes, sewer mains, to the rest of this rainful City.

This was 14 years, 11 months, 21 days ago

oh no, I'm hungry, and I feel the urge to type something, just as I'm so very busy.

I'm typing with kleenex sheets under my hands, and the keys become quieter, softer, more aligned with this time: 12:59am.

Lately I've been interested in things combining. Furniture+appliance, temporal+visual, usage+aesthetic. I've been sketching, drawing, trying to work my way up to schematics for this one thing. The inseparable integration of utility, design, and aesthetics. Checking out Arduino. Should I have done electrical engineering + visual art instead?

I am angry at people who take photographs with an SLR that are subject-based. To me, an SLR means a deliberate approach at exact photography, converging towards professionalism perhaps, a finely-carved tool able to do something specific. Subject-based photography is like words that are simply descriptive. SLRs + subject-based photography is high school poetry of the worst kind. And although Billy Collins can be wonderful, this (old) review is funny and appropriate to such photography, for some reason.

back to work.