words written in the week of
September 8th to September 14th
in previous years.
This was 9 years, 8 months ago

just before I am about to swing my right leg over and onto my bicycle and ride a little bit north, I talk with H in front of his stoop about futures, presences, places, positions, ages, etc. "as we grow older", etc. trees are damp and this familiar post-summer pre-fall brooklyn night is made up of red/yellow/white point-source lights coming from cars / streetlamps / headlights. etc. I head home. here we are. yo la tengo, ala 93.

if there's anything I've been considering this week it's that lessons come again and play themselves in full-force, and that the only sense of fixity is one's own self, and that all I can do is to delight in my own previous, current, and future stubbornnesses about things and to play those out, re-enact them again. I am who I am. the things that are important to me are important to me. I do the things I do because I am interested in the things I am interested in. tautology in full-force here, tautologies driving the world.


maybe it's that action appears like tautology, the inertia-laden flywheel of a mechanism turning because it turns, things continue to move along the fabric of spacetime because they were moving, etc. or maybe action appears like tautology because they are one and the same; 'reasoning' and 'explanations' are in the domain of concept, thought, knowledge, which beats its chest and proclaims loudly of causality, understanding, graspable concepts, calls these things history and theory.

to offer a critique is to examine all the repercussions according one's mental model / cognitive framework / methodology and to then say, "this is bad for such-and-such reason", or "this has such and such repercussions", or "this framework appears to be like this other framework".

lately I've been thinking of this like comparing to algorithms, or two neural nets. the worst case would be in which there's merely an aesthetic/formal evaluation between these two models / frameworks, like: "ballet dancers interact in the way that corporate executives coordinate merger deals", in which you get shitty formal analyses of the form "model a LOOKS LIKE model b", or someone tries to stake a career on the idea on "dancing and derivatives", etc. maybe another example is like: "a hand looks like veins in a leaf, so they are somehow similar." or: "bubble sort looks nothing like quicksort, so they are completely different", which is a statement that's not even wrong.

sometimes this is called 'abstraction', but that's not right either, because abstraction is, well, too abstract of a term to really accurately pinpoint the danger at the heart of this, which is to say that the joyous metaphorical practice of invoking things together and creating new emotions/perspectives, called a "metaphor", is killed/butchered to take the form of causality, the skin of one animal wrapped around another (ugh, that mental image).


in any case. what does it feel like when you're moving? how do you explain processes? so far the language of logic and philosophy and theory and history, which I still love, has not succeeded in accompanying me in discussing what it feels like to move, or what it feels like to send an email out and all of a sudden gather a bunch of people together, or how to resolve a labor dispute, or how to be diplomatic, or how to assert yourself, or how long to spend looking out a window onto the city, or at what point you stop certain things and start them up again, or vice versa.

the language of theory and history speaks to me about certainties that we discuss, but what I am interested in right now is how to make decisions with imperfect information; how to exactly move when you don't know where you're going, or rather, what steps to take when you know you want to go over there but have no idea what the path is. trying to do things with unknown unknowns. how, in what way, do you navigate?

it occurs to me that it might be interesting to study the rhetoric of sports strategies. the surfer's response to water is not to model the fluid dynamics of waves, but rather to gather a series of strategies and techniques and to amass them into a body of knowledge. heuristics.

where is the theory of heuristics? construction seems to be all heuristics, rules of thumb. maybe my central quandary these days is really about what happens when you attempt to capture a heuristic and write it down into a theory. heuristics and theories are orthogonal concepts, perhaps, intersecting at one point but increasingly divergent at all others.


back to fixity. the tautological self, myself and my own heuristics at play. here we are, and I am playing out the things I wish to see.

the only way in which I learn is if I find domains and experimental processes in which I have the possibility to be wrong. failure is lovely, really, but more important than failure is to actually be wrong, to set up an experiment in which that is at stake. often times, the things that make you wrong are giant pre-existing ecologies, such as natural/material processes, the construction industry, politics, etc. ideas you can modify are not ecologies. the test of a clay pot is when it gets enmeshed in your kitchen and breaks in your dishwasher. written concepts are actively altered in the field. ideas failing at the assembly line. etc.

here's to seeking a heuristics-oriented philosophy; here's to trusting my own current heuristics / actively seeking new heuristics / doing what I need to do.

This was 11 years, 7 months, 22 days ago

it is autumn, like almost full-blown autumn, almost there, which is the condition of autumn itself, while perhaps winter is like the sensation of always-being-winter. spring is a sudden surprise that was so short and was over as of last week, and well, summer; summer just smells of people.

stressors, tensors, vectors, movements. shifting on the ball of your feet. do you enter in to the square? do you stand on stage?

decisions to be made and tossed away; emails to be sent everywhere into the ether.

This was 13 years, 7 months, 29 days ago

a slightly over-cumin-y batch of veggie burgers and a bottle of blue moon on the rooftop. a theatre set being created in the junkyard, single points of light on the ground throwing giant overlapping shadows on the fence high above. the bassy strains of a band practicing in the storage shed, a little bit hesitant, like a kid jumping across stepping stones. a nicely ripening brooklyn night, a post-prandial cigarette, mostly just mouth-smoked while looking at the chrysler building in the distance and the searchlights shining from ground zero.

am a vector pointing that-a-way.

This was 15 years, 7 months, 28 days ago

"...the lesson for us in criticism of this kind may well be, among other things, that: that a materialist or dialectical historiography does its work ultimately by undermining the very foundations, framework, constitutive presuppositions, of the specialized disciplines themselves by unexpectedly demonstrating the existence, not necessarily of 'matter' in that limited sense, but rather in general of an Other of the discipline, an outside, a limit, the revelation of the extrinsic, which it is felt to be scandalous and unscholarly to introduce into a carefully regulated traditional debate."

"...Barthes's reversal is useful in that his problematic (which is essentially that of the Sartre of What Is Literature? is the most distant from the rhetoric of materialism and necessarily selects a particular readership for itself and thereby symbolically endorses the inevitable blood guilt, and as that necessary and inevitable violence of the relationship of any group to the others which we call class struggle. Both writers -- Sartre and Barthes -- reverse our placid conceptions of literary history by demonstrating how every individual text, by its institutionalized signals, necessarily selects a particular readership for itself and thereby symbolically endorses the inevitable blood guilt of that particular group or class.

-Fredric Jameson, "Architecture and the Critique of Ideology"

emphasis/underline mine.

This was 16 years, 7 months, 26 days ago

{R} A K E
Thursday, Sept 13, 8pm, $7 cover, $10 minimum
"{R}ake is a performance series of alternative and collaborative electro-acoustic music and video. Performances range from pure improvisation to structured pieces, with video-artists and musicians working together in exploratory ways.
This month's show features Giles Hendrix's post-modern/data-inspired video,
the 3D video drawings of Josh Ott, Paul Amitai's laptop-based experimental
electronics, Red Chair's collaborative electronic-audio/ambient-video, and
the electro-acoustic trio of Yoni Niv (laptop), Josh Sinton (baritone sax),
and David Grubb (harmonium)."

One Million Forgotten Moments
Wed-Sunday, Sept 12-16, 7pm & 9pm
38 Park Row, New York, NY
7p and 9p showtimes; $1
One Million Forgotten Moments is a public spectacle-showcase-festival- celebration-performance that features a lineup of 100 of New York's most talented artists, from the legendary to the ridiculous, to the bizarre, to the insane, to the totally mindblowing.
We are transforming a former porn/DVD shop on Park Row (across the street from City Hall) into a beautiful 18th-century jewelbox theater, where an audience of 25 sits in the storefront window and watches the madness unfold on the street.
With the National Theater of the United States of America, Brett Windham, the Vintage DJ, Jody Elff, Casey Opstad, Radiohole, Collapsable Giraffe, the 7 Seconds, Jenny Seastone Stern, Rollo Romig, the Magic of Steve Cuiffo, songbird Johnnie Moore, Jesse Hawley, Chelsea Bacon, Beth Kurkjian, Normandy Sherwood, and more.
-from NonsenseNYC

Saturday, Sept 15, 9:30pm, $8
The Tank
"PULSEWAVE is a monthly event dedicated to art and music created with lo-fi and reappropriated hardware. Serving as a showcase for a wide variety of artists from around the world, the performances range from pop to experimental, rock to folk, and rap to classical, all with one hand in the past and an eye to the future. Already in its second year, this month's installment features TOUCHBOY, RECEPTORS, GLOMAG, and NULLSLEEP."

The Kitchen High Line Block Party
Saturday, Sept 15, 12-5pm
The Kitchen

"Kick off the fall season with an afternoon in West Chelsea at The Kitchen’s neighborhood street fair produced in collaboration with Friends of the High Line. Lining our block of West 19th Street will be dozens of artist-led, free activities for the whole family to enjoy, as well as an entertaining mix of live music and unusual performances!
Artists leading activities include Groovehoops, Elia Alba and Aisha Cousins, Johanna Almiron and Rachael Schaffran, Bozidar Brazda, Ernest Concepcion and Ahmed Faheem, Brian Dewan and Leon Dewan, Michael de Feo, Pat Hammond, Pablo Helguera, Nancy Hwang, Byron Kim and Lisa Sigal, Isabelle Lumpkin, Thomas Marquet, Suzi Matthews, Adam Shecter and Joe Winter, Ward Shelly, Shinique Smith, Bec Stupak, Charmaine Wheatley and Jen Mazza, Saya Woolfak and Chris Myers. "

Brooklyn Book Festival
Sunday, Sept 16, 2007, 10am - 6pm
Around Brooklyn Borough Hall
Some selections:
Dave Eggers presents a slide show and discusses his recent trip to Marial Bai, Sudan, hometown of Valentino Achak Deng, the hero of his latest novel (but not in attendance at the festival), What is the What. Valentino and Dave returned to lay the foundation for a new educational complex in the town. Introduction by Nigerian author Chris Abani.
- Borough Hall, 12:00 p.m. POETRY & POLITICS.
Poets read from work infused with political urgency. Featuring Sinan Antoon, Eliza Griswold, Kimiko Hahn, and C.D. Wright.
- Borough Hall, 1:00 p.m. TRIBUTE TO SEKOU SUNDIATA.
BAM presents artists performing from the works of this great poet, performance artist, and Brooklyn resident who died in July. Readers include Rashidah Ismaili, one of the founding members of Calabash Poets along with Sekou Sundiata, and Kimiko Hahn, Brooklyn poet and colleague of Sekou’s for over two decades who shared with him the perspective that there is nothing strange in mixing art and politics.

This was 16 years, 7 months, 27 days ago

Conflux is this upcoming weekend!

"Conflux is about contemporary psychogeography, the investigation of everyday urban life through emerging artistic, technological and social practice".

Last year, the fact that each exhibit was scattered among a few galleries in Williamsburg meant that the festival, although enjoyable, felt scattered and incoherent. This time, they're having a bunch of talks at Luna Lounge, which may cohere the entire festival -- which is great, because it's a new media/art+technology festival in North America, which is a rare thing in of itself, and also because the topic is so broad and intriguing, endlessly applicable.

Some culled events:

We like to Peep
A presentation by Régine Debatty
Friday, Sept 14, 2007, 3 - 3:45pm
Luna Lounge
"Recent discussions about urban space have debated the issue of surveillance and how it is modifying the way we engage with cities. But is the problem coming only from above, from those who govern us? Or is voyeurism becoming increasingly integrated in our popular culture?"

The person behind the awesome awesome We Make Money Not Art (the BLDGBLOG of architecture, The Sartorialist of fashion..)

Sousveillance Culture panel with Amy Alexander, Jill Magid and Hasan Elahi, moderated by Marisa Olson
Luna Lounge, 61 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Saturday, Sept 15, 2007, 2:30pm - 4pm
Rhizome is organizing a panel in conjunction with Conflux, on sousveillance, the practice of watching from below (sous-) rather than above (sur-). A diverse group of artists whose work engages surveillance will explore the cultural and political implications of sousveillance, which tends to be discussed as empowering when manifest as a "taking-back" of cameras or the rising-up of "little brother," but which also unfolds in an era of increased self-surveillance, encouraged by both the government and the culture of participatory and 'transparent' media. Panelists include artists Amy Alexander, Jill. Magid and Hasan Elahi, and moderator Marisa Olson, Editor and Curator, Rhizome.

Conflux Block Party
Sunday, Sept 16, 2007, noon - 5pm
The Change You Want to See, 84 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
" * Replacement Pickles . Benjamin Thorr Brown . The Change You Want to See . Ongoing Event, Installation
* Urban Propagation . Joe Mangrum . The Change You Want to See . Block Party Event, Ongoing Event, Installation
* Growgreenpoint [GGP] . Hikaru Furuhashi . Block Party Event, Installation
* Making Winter . Jaclyn Meloche . The Change You Want to See . Block Party Event, Ongoing Event
* Pick Up Artist . Gertrude Berg . The Change You Want to See . Block Party Event, Ongoing Event, Performance
* Energy Harvesting Dérive . Christian Croft + Kate Hartman . The Change You Want to See . Self-guided Walk/Tour, Block Party Event, Ongoing Event
* The Locksmithing Institute of Conflux . Lucas Murgida . The Change You Want to See . Block Party Event, Open Workshop, Presentation
* Urban Camouflage: Taking Shelter . Katherine Behar . The Change You Want to See . Block Party Event, Ongoing Event, Installation"

Toward a Schizogeographic Society?
A panel discussion with Janet Abrams and Adam Greenfield, moderated by Mark Shepard.
Luna Lounge, 61 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Sunday, Sept 16, 2007, 2pm - 4pm
"The psychogeography of a city like New York today is not at all the same as that of Paris in 19th or mid 20th Century. Alone in the crowd, at home in the crowd – today we dérive in the shopping mall. If the Flâneur presents a point of reference for a mobilized observer for whom the aestheticisation of the urban is simultaneously a liberatory and alienating practice, the Situationist dérive suggests a spatial practice for liberation from an alienating commodification of the city. Today, negotiating our daily lives in and through a city like New York involves evermore-subtle maneuvers between public and private, virtual and actual. In place of a unified, embodied subject we find new hybrids and assemblages of body, data, self and consciousness. The placing and spacing of the urban experience is strewn across radically different environments. The gaze of the crowd has been replaced by that of the surveillance camera and the RFID reader; the pyschogeographic “attractions of the terrain” have become a schizogeography of nodes and networks. This panel will attempt to re-evaluate the psychogeographic in terms of contemporary conditions of subjectivity and urban space."

Adam Greenfield had a talk last April, "The City Is Here For You To Use", which I really really wanted to go to but missed. Perhaps this will make up for it.

And so much more.