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Subject: Re: <eyebeam><blast> representation

5 messages, by Robert Cheatham, Louis Schwartz, Tom Mulcaire, Phantom
Overtone, and Bill Seaman

robert cheatham <zeug@noel.pd.org> writes:

Perhaps it would be nice if language was pure performativity (jean-luc
Picard's "Make it so!), especially for those whose main concern seems to
be 'action' in the polis.  Perhaps it wouldn't be so nice for the rest
of us.  Or perhaps there would just be a furious clash of 'performances'
as each tried to install realities, whether the phenomenological or the
political or the ludic (though goodness knows how one discriminates
those--and the performative command is lost at that point, no?);
certainly the whole 'gestus' of institutional frameworks --the place the
formal performativity of the political is most comfortable
perhaps--takes on a different shape in this virtual 'space', horatorical
arm-waving as it were (actually seems to be much like reality--or is
that 'reality', i get confused)--problem is, it can be confused with the
arm-waving of someone on the bow of a sinking ship.

"What is far more deceitful is the literature of action.  It calls on
people to do something.  But if it wants to remain authentic literature,
it must base its representation of this 'something to do', this
predetermined and specific goal, on a world where such an action turns
back into the unreality of an abstract and absolute value.  'Something
to do,' as it may be expressed in a work of literature, is never more
than 'everything remains to be done,' whether it presents itself as this
'everything,' that is, as an absolute value, or whether it needs this
'everything' into which it vanishes, to justify itself and prove that it
has merit.  The language of a writer, even if he is a revolutionary, is
not the language of command.  It does not command, it presents; and it
does not present by causing whatever it portrays to be present, but by
portraying it behind everything, as the meaning and the absence of this
everything.  The result is either that the appeal of the the author to
the reader is only an empty appeal ,and expresses only the effort which
a man cut off from the world makes to reenter the world, as he stands
discretely at the periphery--or that the 'something to do,' which can be
recovered only by starting from absolute values, appears to the reader
precisely as that which cannot be done or as that which requires neither
work nor action in order to be done."

Maurice Blanchot, "Literature and the Right to Death"

                         "It is no longer one's alienation one
                     is fighting against, but one's transparency."
                                  Keith Ansell Pearson


Louis Schwartz <lgs@hooked.net> writes:

It seems to me that the opposition Olu Oguibe gives us of virtual and
real is better put as virtual and actual.  This avoids the invocation of
the Lacanian real, which does not seem to play a role here.  If it does
play a role here it is utterly mis-understood.

2) The distinction between the virtuality of the content of narrative
and the virtuality of narration is well taken.  But, virtual as opposed
to actual narration has long been a part printed literary practice, as
well as paprt of the cinema.  While the printed word in Duras's
RAVISHING OF LOLSTEIN is in the actual, the narration is virtual,
sliding between and omnisceint source and that of  Lol's lover.  These
two points of focalization are incompsitable, yet they are presented the
same.  The narration seems to take place, but it does not.  It is

3) The virtual is not produced by technical conditions but by the
organization of narrating elements and the gaps between them.

Louis Schwartz


Tom Mulcaire <mulcaire@ibm.net> writes:

Thanks Olu.

Although I would agree with you that the experience of narrative could
be real, I disagree with your assertion that not all narrative is

In a narrative we could have players in a causal situation, and we could
set up a series of events which might appear to be causal, but surely as
long as we have a narrative, the events in that narrative are not causal
but representations of causality. And in that respect narrative remains
virtual. The real is that which cannot be represented.


Phantom Overtone <overtone@gte.net> writes:

For some time now I have been developing a writing style of engagement
via the Net.  The Net is a place where I dwell; where a new subjectivity
is constituted; a place that is local and global for me where I can
spread my wings.  Writing on the Net, to me, is writing _live_.  The
world is the audience, and though this may not actually be the case, one
is constantly challenged by its normative standards; normative standards
which I seek a _techne_ around.  To speak of narcissism, I am
politically disinterested. What _you_ do doesn't matter to me unless it
is something in which _we_ all share.  This is why I love art.  Because
it possesses those characteristics in which we all identify.  The
_truth_ of art may be an impossibility, but its nuances of style and
expression are always pulling me within its realm.  Till now I was
seeking a new body, a new signification.  This has changed.  When I
engage the Internet I hope only to lose myself entirely, to lose myself
in the systems and formations that appear, to dissolve into the wires.

- Phantom Overtone


Bill Seaman <seaman@umbc.edu> writes:

Dear Kate Hayles (and List),
This is a fragment from a paper that I delivered on Re-embodied
Intelligence... I have spoken recently on the topic at both
"Consciousness Reframed" and at ISEA.

I am currently doing Ph.D research at CAiiA - The Center for Advanced
Inquiry in Interactive Art, University of Wales. My research explores
computer-mediated, re-embodied "intelligence" in the context of a new
form of  poetic construction and navigation that I call "Recombinant
Poetics." Artworks that explore "Recombinant Poetics" are characterised
by the interaction of a user with a system of content exploration that
carries potential meaning constructed of language, image and sound
elements, within an authored technological environment. The term
"Recombinant Poetics" was created by the author in 1995.

The title of my dissertation is" Recombinant Poetics / Construction and
Navigation in Interactive Art."

Emergent Constructions:
Re-embodied Intelligence Within Recombinant Poetic Networks

Computer-mediated networks present an artistic medium that heightens the
potential for an intermingling of the knowledge of the user with the
"Re-embodied intelligence" of an author or authors. We will consider
"networks" in an all inclusive manner, from the scale of a network of
poetic elements housed within a single computer, to that of the
distributed housing of the World Wide Web. Such computer-mediated
environments can potentially facilitate new forms of inter-authorship.
These environments enable the user to engage with the "artefacts" of the
consciousness of the author. Central to this interaction is an emergent
experience that is unique for each subsequent participant. Given that
computers can house "recombinant" digital elements of image, sound, and
text, how can the artist become an "author" of responsive, self
regulating systems that enable "intelligent" emergent poetic responses
to user interactivity via the encoding, mapping and modelling of
operative poetic elements? How can such an environment enhance or
trigger particular "states" of consciousness in the user? To what extent
can we "re-frame" aspects of the consciousness of the artist, via
specific modes of "translation" of operative poetic processes and poetic
elements of image, sound, and text, within functional computer-mediated

I am interested in interactive art works that exhibit "intelligent"
responsiveness to user input. In "Thinking Machines, The Search for
Artificial Intelligence" by Igor Aleksander and Piers Burnett, the
authors state:

"Rather than becoming embroiled in the controversies which surround the
nature of human intelligence, the practitioners of artificial
intelligence have generally chosen to define their goals in empirical or
operational terms rather than theoretical ones.

... The researcher simply choses a task that seems to require
intelligence (playing chess say or recognising visual images) and tries
to build a machine that can accomplish it." (Aleksander, p13)

This definition becomes extended or blurred in terms of  responsive
"Intelligence" in a work of art. We must be careful to differentiate the
kind of "intelligence" exhibited by such an artistic apparatus, to that
examined through the Turing Test. Thus the value of the Turing test to
determine "intelligence" may be seen as relevant to particular contexts
but for the purposes of art content, may be completely irrelevant. An
artwork may explore any approach that the author (or authors) finds
appropriately "intelligent." Thus a system may appear to be
non-functional, silly, ironic, stupid, humorous, tragic, overtly sexual
etc.; any form that is appropriate to the individual's aesthetic and /or
mind set. The artist is not trying to "fool" someone into believing the
machine is thinking. The artist is attempting to "intelligently"
translate particular kinds of responses and/or behaviours into
computer-based environments, so that during interaction, the mind-set of
the programmer/artist, can be experienced by the user in the service of
experiential, emergent content.

Re-embodied intelligence can be defined as the translation of media
elements and/or processes into a symbolic language that enables those
elements and processes to become part of an operative computer-mediated


The "Consciousness Reframed" conference deals with
post-biological/post-human issues...

Bill Seaman

From: Bill Seaman
HOME FAX 410 744 7428
Tel. 410 744 7422

Associate Professor and Director of Imaging and Digital Arts
Department of Visual Arts
University of Maryland
Baltimore County
Department of Visual Arts
5401 Wilkens Ave.
Baltimore, MD21228-5398  USA
WORK PHONE 410 455 2150   OR   410 455 2151
School Fax    410 455 1070


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