words written in the week of
October 20th to October 26th
in previous years.
This was 6 months, 27 days ago


what is at stake is nothing less than life.

if I focus carefully, grasping the tuning fork between thumb and forefinger, I can hone in on it. the world collapses, or disappears, and a moment, revealed, lens distortion, chromatic aberration, macro lens, zooming in, edges crisp. we see; it, for a moment, clear as day, microscopic but huge, present. here it is, sandwiched between layers of existence; here it is, the present, shall we call it, or something like that. very distinct.

it flutters. always here. I hone in. zoom in. focus focus focus. it's crisp, and huge, and powerful. this, this thing, this is it, nothing but it, no other presence, just it, this thin thing, this thin miraculous thing we call a life, my thin thing, a sliver, just a tiny sliver, mine, a momentary zip, mine, a singular manifestation. I feel it so achingly, so distinctly.

do others? I am tempted to ask. but I wonder why that answer would have any meaning. if, like I suspected, others' didn't, what would that give me? some feeling of superiority, 우월감? and conversely, if I was late to the game, would what would it provide? validation? nervousness?

this thin sliver I hold in my hands, making sure it is mine.

what's question at stake, what's at stake is the definition of a kind of practice. my practice.


(why do I want to show this, I wonder?)


(you can never use words straight, because they are so overloaded, overladen, a young apple tree struggling under the weight of coats and heavy sheets draped over it, struggling to exert itself. the overloaded signifier.)

there's this particular sensation in the air sometimes, usually listenable around dusk, or a pre-sun dawn, or late at night. sometimes I head out to the east river to see if I can listen to it there, overlooking this glimmering city. it's a particular sound. sometimes I imagine that it's something that only I can hear, it seems, a sound that only I am listening to.

but I know this isn't true, or that there are others who have their own landscape to this sensation. I know this because I occasionally meet them. you can tell; there's a particular way someone leans their head and points their ear towards the wind, listening intently. sometimes they might stop mid-sentence, like a dog's ears perking, attention suddenly honed. sometimes, they emerge out of listening to say hello, as if emerging from a lake, dripping wet and smiling. and with one or two dear people I know, I get the sense that they're always listening, all the time, music in the distance.

sometimes, I've stopped, and heard it too. sometimes being near someone else who is listening allows me to listen. being in solitude in the desert, in huge expanses of openness cracks your ears wide open, antenna tuned to the sky, ready to receive.

some days I find that these sounds are harder to listen to, sometimes. or they get buried under signals, other communications, the easy chatter of normal life. but it's there, present.

this sensation best moves through letters. missives are sent, sent on journeys. an arc from here to there. a hello made possible through a goodbye. to leave is to begin to arrive somewhere else, and to walk is to always be leaving and arriving.

these days it's not the easiest to hear this with another person. to listen together means to settle into the depths of what a life truly is; what this thin existence does. what is at stake here? what is at play? at some point I remember this being one of the most urgent questions of my entire life, probably at fifteen, wondering what my life would be like, wondering what this new life was. plunged from korea into usa, living away from home, the world was an existential question, navigating difference all over again, wondering what this thing was. what is this thing? and how come so many people seem like they're used to this? in high school, I wondered -- is all of this so normal to you all? now, at thirty-six, I wonder: is all of this so normal to you all?

this is my first time being thirty-six; this is my first time being this age; this is my first time living life. I've never done this before, so so much is new. I have read about other people living their lives. I have read about reading about other people living their lives. but to live this one; this is singular, wondrous, confusing.

isn't this wild, I wonder? for everyone who happens to be dead, they've all done this before! they've all lived a life before. for everyone who isn't born yet - they're all reading the lonely planet guide to life. but everyone alive is going through a phase of life they have never lived in before!

it bowls me over, to think about this. what newness we are living in. what constant reinvention. the belief that the self is a string is the belief that we can be a knot.

I am not a string. I am a point in time.

nobody else has done this before. nobody else living has ever lived their life before. there are others who have been thirty-six, yes. but there is nobody else who has been me.

my task is to listen and research as much as I need to, understanding that this is my roaring rocket to sit on, launching into the future, feeling the hum of the engine underneath.


what I wish to be is a lightning rod. what want is to lightning to strike me, or rather, to be attuned to the weather, to stand up on top of the roof as it rains and listen to what emerges. I can't help but think of an us, that we're all in this together. I want a big family. I want to be the co-captain of a ship.

I have been.

without my ship, who am I?

I want to be a seer.

I want to see what's out there.


This was 2 years, 7 months, 2 days ago

I can feel my words becoming charged. ballooning, inflated with meaning, stuffed, engorged, charged. each one some sort of a succulent fruit; bite into a word, and you'll feel juice dripping down your wrist, meaning cascading, an outpouring of intention, desire, yearning, sadness, heart.

what are we? I want to ask; we as in the us, the all of us, the connections between us. are we not the connections between us? are we lines between nodes? are we not always born in connection, the umbilical arriving first, the belly button forming secondly? do you take these for granted?

you know, we talk about the self, the community, the individual, of separation, individuation, neither __ nor co- nor inde- but inter-, inter-depenence, of a generous meshed network of reliance. in anger and frustration and disappointment (and, to be honest, deep deep confusion) I will say: this whole thing? you know? relies on the willingness, the desire, that we treat each other like we would ourselves. or better. this contract is what it's born upon. or: it's not a contract; it's a simplicity, the feeling that you have a body, and so do I; you were born, and so were I; you, too, grew until you became this age. you, like I, or we, were formative. we were formed, navigating this world. you know? you know?

I will deem this period the period of the lessons, the Lessons. I am learning a great deal, about people, about communication, about relation, about the self and the us. about patience. about acceptance.


they say 'hurt people hurt people'; what I want to add is that there's only one kind of person; the person who contains a universe, the person who holds a world in their self, the person who remembers; the person who desires; the person who fears; the person who savors; the person who has a body, whose body tries to protects them; the person who remembers; the person who hopes.

the person who tries, or gives up; the person who is afraid and hurt, and lets that fuel their anger; who is desireful and longing, and lets that shape their understanding; the person who is exhausted, the person who is energized; the person who finds humor in this whole situation; the person who is disappointed, let down; the person who has decided, changes their mind, holds onto memory, rewrites their memories, forgets their memories.


the person who opens, shares, flows. the person who shares lessons from their own experience. the person who laughs at everything, thus generating further laughter. the person who holds all stories in their hands, with grace and generosity. the person who knows how to share hard and important lessons with wisdom. the person who knows how to call someone back into presence. the person who knows how to wait, how to be silent, how to be accept all emotions. the person who manages to find the humor in everything. the person who cares deeply, so vibrating that you can hear it. the person who trusts, trusts, trusts, spotted with sunlight. the person who, somehow, truly feels our energies, and understand how we can let it flow. the person who makes space for anger, and understands its role. the person who sees the perspective of death and acceptance. the person who moves with desire and good faith.

the person who is grateful to the point of tears.


conflict is sustained with an angry fist, with a desire to hurt even if it means being hurt, formed out of self-destructive vengeance, out of clarity rather than confusion....


remember, self. the depth of conversation that happens in true presence. when I am grounded, centered, speaking in honesty. the vibration that happens when I am truly here, you know? when I can be honest, myself, vulnerable, open. welcoming the hurt that will come, and letting it pass through, like letting the cold pass through the body in winter; there is shivering, and not-shivering. with john, eating an orange, seeing the world. are we any less cold when we shiver?

relaxing our body, and letting it feel what it feels.

This was 7 years, 7 months, 3 days ago

ha! ha!
the irony of wanting to write about not wanting to write.


from something somewhere: "a system is so complex nobody can understand it"

phrases like this seems to me, from this vantage point of in-the-field in-situ process, looking at things from the wrong end of the telescope, or from the point of understanding purely. people work in complex systems daily, and change it, using a series of heuristics disguised under phrases like "this is how we've done it" or "industry standards". these heuristics are flawed and biased and opinionated, yet operate as functional ways to modify a complex system in complex ways with simple judgment processes.

the main flaw (and is this like debating with myself, 2 years ago?) is perhaps to believe that full understanding is necessary or anterior to decision-making, or that understanding means 'making a model of' something.

(or: would I say: no no no, you are being anti-science? non-rigorous?)

(and to that I can't help but say: what have I learned these past two years if not the immensity of heuristics and the hyperopia of information? the intelligence borne in the reflex of the hand and the judgement of a shared practice, but not in the mind of a single person? the gap between science, which seems to me a desire to focus on repeatable, controllable, results, models of understanding that are correct the vast majority of cases, and heuristics/know-how/ways-of-doing that are about being correct once, about jumping over a gap and nailing it, about wandering in a city you've never been to before and will never again be a complete stranger to and having an interesting time?

it wouldn't be hyperbole to talk about an earth-shaking realization of ways of doing.)


(the sadness of this approach, of course, is that things aren't as easily sharable. I cannot as easily share my learnings with a snap, cannot beam them into your brain using the tool we call language or writing, you cannot transitively share them across, and so this is all slow to spread, slow to be understood.

what oh what do we do with the things we learn that do not accord to the logic of our dominant media? things that are not cut-copy-pastable, things that are unidirectional and anisotropic in time and effort? things that are not spreadable, or in spreading, lose their efficacy completely? things that are not transitive, commutative, distributive?

how do I share these with you? how do I share the impossibility of sharing these things with you over text? the answer being only, 'come and see'. what do other mediums do about this?

how do I speak about this outside an anti-technological context and try to say that, maybe to be pro-technology can be anti-medium, so to be pro-medium is to be neutral to technology, and to see beyond the reliable assemblages that make something up (because after all, there is no technology that does not aspire to reliability)?


maybe a good rule of thumb for myself is:
if my body is moving, then I am absorbing something that is difficult to bottle.
if I ask others to move their bodies, then I am sharing/learning something that is difficult to bottle.
if my body is not moving, then I am absorbing something that is easy to bottle. I should understand that things that are easily bottled and easily spread, while they are valuable and precious, also highly rely on their context to mean more.

your mouth moves and you speak, and it's not the language that you say, but the fact that you say it in response to my mouth movements, and together we've gone back and forth. your body moves against my body and we share a center of gravity, and it's not the form that our body makes, but the experience of moving together that is indescribable.

we sit in a circle and talk and waggle our fingers and this thing that happened here, I cannot quite tell you what it was like with words, because I would be trying to bottle up something that is unbottleable, a type error, a casting error. more accurately I must transform what's unbottleable into the bottled, and this thing happens that's very magical, and I weave and reduce and boil away and transform and pour it into the bottle, and what happens is that now I have a bottle of what happened, very different in taste and form and quantity and color, and I share it with you, and I cannot say much other than the fact that it came from this other thing, the same way that sugar comes from sugarcane, linked in fact but an endless distance apart in effect.


"why attempt the bottling in the first place?", you might ask, and I might ask to myself.

it's because I want to share.


because I want to be heard.


maybe it's because I often use these bottles to listen or to be heard.


well, maybe because my models of closeness or politics have long revolved around these bottles, language, words, writing.


I don't know. maybe because language is the medium of ultra-fast transitivity; I hear a joke and turn it around and say it to ten friends, and so the quickness of linkages and connections made between nodes in this graph is really nice because I can share what I'm thinking to people I don't often talk to.


good question! maybe it's because conversations that I have lately are either with people I don't know as well or people I know pretty well, and not much in between; there's a bimodal distribution of sorts, and so with people I know pretty well I want to share ideas quickly and trust in the same context so I can sling words like viruses with payloads, shorthands designed to operate in a context I can foresee; with people I don’t know pretty well I rely on the power of signification and share words like those hyper-compressed towels in mini-packages that, when placed in water, bloom and expand like flowers; ideas that can enlarge quickly and spread with richness and color. (or maybe: procedurally generated landscapes, small bits of code that unfold and unfold and unfold..)


well. because I live in this city. because I’m impatient and can’t wait and need to have all parts of my brain tickled.

or or. or maybe it’s really because the work that I am working on is in a specific medium and the work has a specific logic, of endless dependencies and entanglements with weather and money and labor and politics and people and emotions and communications and phones and shipping costs,

and the logic flows back in reverse, flows from my fingers and my lips into my body and up my spine into my brain and my heart and affects my being. the medium/domain/field in which I operate affecting how I think and believe.


the dissonance I feel is the sliding between the logic of architecture/construction/teaching/collectives and the logic of information, like geological plates that shift along each other or across each other and cause earthquakes, repetitive oscillations, rumblings in a landscape.


so, so, so.

can bacteria be freeze-dried?
how can viruses be understood in their context?
what are some new ways of sharing things that happen over years rather than minutes?
what is an ideal union/collaboration between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge?
a study of tacit knowledge looks like an apprenticeship. a study of explicit knowledge looks like a typ. academic program. what does both? what others are possible?


or perhaps it just takes time.

This was 12 years, 7 months, 8 days ago

and perhaps that is it, you know, she said, he said, turning over the page, folding the cover, and that is how things go, and along with that gesture are swept a million different things along the line, and things that I will not forget, like the lantern light, like these hand gestures, like train rides going north, like looking upwards at the sky and those yellow leaves, like all of these, and they remain, residue, layers, accumulating, and I dream of a loft, and I dream of a space, and large skies, and tall clouds, and sun streaming sideways across a canal, and faces, and these faces and gestures and movements, jumps, brightnesses, and this is all jumbled together, sorrow and release, departure, good-bye, the horn of a boat, the sterile ding of an airport's chime, goodbye and hello, here we go, ebb and flow, and I am here looking at this all pass by, wash by, and where am I, and here I am, standing here, watch this flow past my ankles, goodbye, there it is, there it is, there it is, there it was.

and so it goes, another sorrow lost, and then more's left on the field of wanderings, where walls crumble into low stone walls, oceans turn into rivers, there's just nothing but movement here, movement, choice, direction, agency. do you choose to go? you go. we go. I go. and so it happens, and we flow, go forth, they will say, and so that means a shift in the world, a change in my understanding, our compasses split, and things healed and hurt, and in the midst of this is just nothing but the present, but the now, which is an absence, and so currently just a simple goodbye, a goodbye, a goodbye, a goodbye.

This was 13 years, 7 months, 2 days ago

I just want to sleep.

This was 13 years, 7 months, 3 days ago

and now? and now?

and it's 2:30am morning, and I have so so so much to do. I think that I will sleep in the studio tonight. across some chairs. but it is okay. come saturday I will kill a chicken and play tennis with painted balls and send a friend off to geneva. it is okay. I'll walk around in a state of not-knowing-exactly. there is music.

sometimes you're okay and then sometimes a few words will make you spend the rest of the afternoon, wandering and wondering.


post-mortem, midterm reviews for project 3.

I really didn't like what happened with this project, both in the meta-process and in the process. one thing that I've acutely aware of since the start of this semester is the way in which I go about curating my own processes and my own methods. meta-process. and it's funny, this blockage, when it happens, the inability to move forward, and I think I was there for a good week, which set me back. by the time I realized what I really should do, I had a day and a half left.

it's funny, this blockage, this immobility. most of it comes from the paralysis of perfectionism, I think, the dread that choosing a singular path of venturing-forth, a single angle of attack might be a dud, fall flat, not open up with any depth. you go forward and the enormously lush jungle turns into a shallow forest. oceans turn into ponds, mountains turn into hills. or at least, that's how is it for me, and I find myself circling around and creating new ideas, more and more ideas, which are all interesting in their own right but not quite so applicable to what I'm doing. a mosque at the antipodal opposite of mecca, so that anyone can pray in any direction. a building as an acoustic bandpass filter, so that the structure itself performs to hone, focus, tighten. and so on. trying to implement a genetic algorithm, so that the structure I designate mutates and grows and warps, leaps out of the confines of the cupped hands that I created it within, starts to take over the field.

and speaking of scripting, algorithms, generative processes: I'm also acutely aware of the degree to which scripting and 'parametric' architecture (oh, how I hate that word) can leap out and have a life of its own. an algorithmic formalism, so to speak, where the computerized techniques themselves are cherished for what they are. a sort of medium-specificity of parametric architecture that's not borne out of an intrigued distillation and a lustful (and archaic) desire for essence, but rather out of a childish sense of wonder, which is both good and bad. it's: "look, I made this with a computer, isn't this crazy?" encapsulated, which is good for the initial moment of shock, but for nothing else. blobby nonrectilinear organic non-pattered aformal, the surprise of the new. in my opinion, it should be more of a "I sought out to create this, and here it is." or even "I sought out to create a new way of creating this where there is no singular agent, and all objects are subjects" or such.

and so yes I'm really aware of this, very sensitive to that; it is what it is. I also recognize fully that turning recourse to scripting and algorithms is this way of deferring a decision; that, unlike creating endless amounts of study models (like sanaa would, for example), the iterative qualities of tweaking an initial variable and 'letting the program loose' is a little more free, I am absolved of the decisions necessary to make this structure necessarily imperfect and necessarily decided. it is symmetrical, honed, absolute, perfect, untouched, unblemished, and altogether uninteresting. not always, but it can be.

and so when, three days before the final crit, I suddenly switched over to coding this genetic algorithm, I knew exactly what I was doing. it didn't help that my building was initially amorphous anyways, that I wanted it to be like an igloo maker or a snow angel, much less a structure than a technique, or an object that generates a technique.


the initial parameters of the structure was to build a 'cell' for a climatologist operating within for twelve-hour shifts; certain bodily functions such as napping, going to the bathroom, computing, and so on had to be accommodated for, but the cell could only be about twice the size of the body. the eventual cell that I created was a 'deployment kit' for the LTER network, an long-term ecological research network devoted to facilitating long-term research experiments and studies. as such, the cell was supposed to be mobile, low-impact, and formulaic, in order to fulfill the scientist's ability to travel and encompass several different timescales of observation, to not disturb the subject of observation itself, and to create a stable, repetitive structure.

the idea was that the cell would exist over long periods of times -- decades, or centuries, and would be this homogeneous, standardized technology to enable similarly controlled experiments. more importantly was the initial spark of the idea modeled after conceptual art, or the launching manifesto within conceptual art, where tehching hsish says "I will not talk, read, write, or listen to radio or tv", or when bruce nauman says 'press your body against the wall and imagine the wall to be another body pressing back', or something like that. that the building would exist as an initial text out of which everything spirals out of. and as such, a series of statements instructing the creator to do certain things: "place a pole at arm's length", etc, would then end up creating this cell, a) a single repetitive unit, b) created directly and intimately in relation to the creator's body size.

what I didn't really realize until later was that the spark of the initial idea in the projects that I mention comes from the impossibility of the statement, or the deliberate omission of certain conditions. a structure _really_ akin to the 'micro-manifesto'-driven performance art/conceptual art that I mention would be something like: "dig a hole in the ground with your bare hands. stop when you are bleeding from all ten fingernails. The hole you have dug is your climatologist's cell for the next week, or until all your nails are healthy again. move and repeat."
the simplicity of the statement generating loamy, rich, dense ideas and conclusions. a little bit of surprise, a little bit of shock, and then the imagination climbs all over itself to spill out, and you generate an image, and that image itself is part of the structure of the piece, I can see it almost, everyone's heads leaning towards the ground and spilling out various of ideas of what-it-would-be. that's the reason why tehching hsieh's declarations themselves are so powerful, typewritten text on a sheet being magnetically generative. out of that comes everything. I wanted this everything-coming-out, of my project, but did not have such a core.

In addition, having a nomadic/portable structure that hopes to have some sort of emergent form generated from the accumulation of structure is a little bit of a self-contradiction: portability implies a fluidity of physical presence, movability, the parts being easily detached. (that, or the parts that create the structure are found in the surroundings; the same way that a nest is portable and created of scraps from nearby, etc). but emergent form depends on a vast, complicated accumulation of various objects that come together and, through minute differences, create patterns and influences on a larger scale. the collection of various objects that are portable? wasn't going to happen.

and I could go on and on. on and on. in some ways, I'm glad I took this project on, because it taught me (in a meta-procedural way) that I should rein things in, that I should concretize certain constraints not because it's easier that way, or because it's less radical that way, but because kites only fly when they're tethered in just the right way; twin dots on a plane generate ellipses; I feel like much of my project was driven by a desire to have a central conceptual idea hold fast and break through to the end. it's as if I leaned too much on the central core of the idea. part of the interesting stuff comes from the detail, the 'how exactly', the 'what exactly', because I do the 'why' and the 'what' and and the concept too hard, maybe.


and that's not even what I really want to say. that's just the simple obvious stuff. I could go on and on. about the silent appreciation for aesthetics, about the unspoken way in which it functions as a glorifier. and if aesthetics does this and I notice it, what else am I not noticing that is not spoken about? is there a quality of diagramming that I am missing? is there anything else?

there is so much I would like to say but sometimes lately I have trouble taking it out because I worry about the solidity of my words. do you know what I mean? it's not that I worry about saying the 'wrong things'. not at all. it's that I require someone else with a baseball bat, a tennis racket, someone who understands the fluidity and the playfulness of these statements for what they are, I need a dialogue, a game, the thrill of rallying, sparring, someone who I can toss a stone baseball to and who will catch it with their marble glove, someone with whom I can dig deep, a friend, acquaintance, colleague, student, teacher, anybody. but I am also busy, busy, busy, busy, busy.

= happily drained.

This was 15 years, 6 months, 28 days ago

...or rather, grammar operates as a self-fufulling prophecy, an arbitrarity that makes itself valid through an asserted and thus assumed solidity; an active tautology that proves itself. --Why? Just because it is.

In other words, the illusion of a descriptive order inherent in the workings of knowledge masks the operation as grammar as a prescriptive, overlaid imposition of post-facto analysis that then tries to worm its way into the center, outside masquerading as the inside.

I'm aware that the previous paragraph holds a lot of dangerous assumptions - or at least dangerous from a poststructuralist viewpoint - of seeking the 'true' nature of grammar, the notion of 'layers' implying a core essence lying underneath to be unearthed in some archeological expedition, the primacy of something that occurred before vs after, this seeming distinction between inside and outside.

But: the existence of an illusion implies a generation of a new meaning, but doesn't necessarily eliminate the original object to be considered. A distortred windowpane generates a new image, does not eliminate the outside. Is there another danger in this analogy again, or the presence of a real essence grounded in the example of nature, architectural creation vs natural creation, etc? Probably.

Anyways. What I mean to say is that the assertion of a orderly, rational grammar of language as existing as the structural underpinnings -- grammar as base and language as superstructure -- is really a myth, but one that threatens to become demythified, not through any "depoliticizings" that hide its mythical nature but due to a belief in such a myth that realizes myth, denatures it. A prescriptive theory masquerading as descriptive, and widely believed in, closes the gap between assertion and description. Subject verb object constructions, due to a linguistic majority's (or, of a majority of a valued minority class - the educated) adherence to grammatical rules, based on an prescripted argument for SVO structures, gaining authority due to majority adherence, and so on. This is how it really is, and you should follow these assertions; people follow these assertions because this is how it really is.

Simulacra are perhaps the greatest example of a self-fufilling tautology.

is elegance determined by an implied fragility? ancient cultures held codes of long hair or fingernails implying preciousness, high status, non-working delicateness..

the fragility of a light sans-serif font generates elegance then; no longer attempting to ward against poor reproductions, bad photocopies, worn-out movable type as serif fonts do. serif fonts store safety in the bulk of their serifs, small little crannies for holding portions of emergency rations, storing legibility in the lee of joints and corners. when the rough-pored paper presses down, you can take it, endure it. come out on the other side a little rough for wear but you're still bembo, sabon, still caslon. it's okay. you were designed for this anyways.

but sans serif, there, typeface with 35, or even 25 frutiger weight -- delicate, poised, geometric, reed-thin. it waits for inkjets, toners, lines rendered with the perfection of stepper motors, rubber belts, superb thinness, fragility. elegance bolstered, also, by an asserted attention to geometry and ratio -- a claim curiously classical, but whatever. elegance takes what it needs and throws the rest away. it's a hodgepodge of necessity, beauty. it's sly, tries to seep into your skin without you realizing it, and, yes, succeeds.

This was 15 years, 7 months, 2 days ago

Grammar upholds the appearance of internal consistency, a complete and consistent set of rules. Grammar is the internal structure that balloons outwards from a center, forming the appearance of a geometric shape (a sphere, oval), hiding the arbitrary position of the center..

This was 15 years, 7 months, 2 days ago

Grammar upholds the appearance of internal consistency, a complete and consistent set of rules. Grammar is the internal structure that balloons outwards from a center, forming the appearance of a geometric shape (a sphere, oval), hiding the arbitrary position of the center..

This was 16 years, 7 months, 1 day ago

Peter Norfolk on his photographs: "These photographs form chapters in a larger project attempting to understand how war, and the need to fight war, has formed our world: how so many of the spaces we occupy; the technologies we use; and the ways we understand ourselves, are created by military conflict."

A quote from the interview:

Where weapons and supercomputers fit in for me is in a military-industrial complex. The problem is that that complex has drifted off so far above any idea of democratic control – even Eisenhower pointed this out – that I would call it godlike. It's beyond irrational, it’s beyond any kind of comprehension in a scientific sense. It's designing nuclear weapons that can destroy the world more efficiently – when we already have nuclear weapons that can destroy the world many times over.

People seem to think that I’m saying oh, they’re full of gods, or look, this is where god lives... But obviously I don’t think that. I don’t think that those computers are somehow unprogrammed by humans, or supernatural. What I’m concerned about is that those humans, who have programmed them, aren’t warm and fuzzy professors like The Nutty Professor. They're introverted people working in the basements of DynaCorp, and General Dynamics, and Raytheon, and they’re so far beyond any kind of democratic control that you or I will ever have over what they do.

It ends up being like a relationship with the sublime – a military sublime. All of the work I'm doing, I might even call it: "Toward a Military Sublime." Because these objects are beyond: they’re inscrutable, uncontrollable, beyond democracy.

Incredibly eloquent, powerful, well-thought, articulate. Interview at BLDGBLOG

This was 16 years, 7 months, 3 days ago

Whenever I listen to songs by the band Los Campesinos!, I always think of Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. Assuming that I've listened to at least one of their songs per week since the summer, that means that I've been thinking of Infinite Jest at least once per week.

I'm sure there's a connection to my final year of high school, and how the two eastern windows both took in the sunrise sunlight, and also looked over the tennis court. I don't know Boston's neighborhood, but I imagine that the Enfield Tennis Academy would also have marvelous Turner-esque sunsets, with its campus filled with brick buildings and green grass. Does Hal Incandenza take the T? Does he march into the city in his spare time and in a painfully deliberate and self-conscious process of 'wandering'? It snows a lot in New England; I also know that feeling of being awake before night with only the red figures of an alarm clock in a dark room, watching the snow fall across the field, seeing the windows fog up.

David Foster Wallace talks about the book as being shaped like a fractal. I can see what he means; the ending of the book is neither a chronological or a meaning-related ending; rather, the ending of the book is the ending because it lies at the end of the narrative timeline of the book which is based of the notion of expanding its characters and events like fractals: cause and effect begetting cause and effect. A Sierpinski gasket, DFW says. To me it feels more like a Koch snowflake being filled with a steady stream of water, the speed of the rise in water level speeding up and slowing down rapidly. Like how the Koch snowflake culminates at a point, the narrative also zips inwards, a rapid and relentless implosion towards the end. It's fitting in every way, and it also helps to see the book as a whole, a Trafamaldorian novel..

Something about Los Campesinos!'s songs always remind me of Hal. Such a young but hoarse voice, something about the chords reminding me of both dusk and dawn, the clamor of instruments, an eager and almost impatient beat marching forward, forward, maybe even sadly. Here is Hal: a faultless mishap at five later manifesting itself into an almost god-given punishment, a fall from grace. Here is Hal: watching the snow; Here is Hal, discovering his father gone; Here is Hal. (Oh, I am inarticulate.)


For me, the kicker moment, the epiphany is when it is revealed to us near the very end of the book that Don Gately was an excellent football player; he, too, was going to be part of the Show, an entertainment creator. All of a sudden, it's clear as day: here are these two alter egos staggered in time: Here is Hal Incandenza, thin, small, intelligent, a teenage tennis prodigy, foraying into drugs, at a private boarding school. Here is Don Gately, corpulent, gigantic, not-so-sharp, a former football could-be-great, recovering from drugs, at a halfway house. Members of the Show, creation of entertainment, both severely attached to another form of entertainment.

Is it maybe that these two are the citizens? The father, James Incandenza, heavily addicted to alcohol, creator of the 'Infinite Jest' film cartridge that makes everyone who watches it horribly addicted to the point of mindlessness -- the father, also a consumer-creating-the-consumed? And the contents of the tape, this master Entertainment cartridge, a wordplay-pun taken literal: death is the mother of new life. So is that it? Entertainment is the pursuit of happiness, aligned with our progress towards death: in other words, to David Foster Wallace, entertainment is the forward, forward progress towards death made bearable, enjoyable, even desirable. (After all, what supposedly makes the Infinite Jest film so desirable and addicting is the presence of the personification of death, and the beauty of its (Joelle Van Dyne's) naked body.)

But maybe that's such a simple view, an easy A stands for B kind of symbolism that I'm enforcing above everything. What was my point? Los Campesinos! and Infinite Jest. I forget: it's 6am, I'm sleeping.

This was 18 years, 7 months, 7 days ago

ten things that make me happy?

tagged by clara. (I am indeed awake and alive.)

1) the right music at the right time.
2) a nice new york night with breezes, leaves, and leftover rain.
3) when she's happy.
4) when you're happy.
5) when I decide to hold my camera and it feels right, like an extension of my hands; when I take a photograph and know instantly afterwards that I was right and it was meant to be so, meant, so and so. when I hear the metallic shutter sound bite off a piece of the world. when I wind the roll of film and it feels tight and compact and undiluted and full and so compressed to the core.
6) meeting old friends again and knowing that clarissa is right about the strings and the wind and her oxford street, my avenues.
7) knowing that my home is wherever I am at the moment.
8) when I know enough and feel apart enough from other moments to know that I do have the ability to be happy.
9) the prospect of going somewhere new. the idea of baring myself and letting the world in to weaken my knees and to shake my curved horizon. bloodletting, but the other way around.
10) when I find faith, in small increments, in people.

for you all.