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<eyebeam><blast> some rhizomes and ramblings

Greetings Eyebeam participants,
I have been on the road and offline for the past couple weeks and rather
than spending a day or two reading over the scores postings I've missed,
I've chosen to jump back in cold. My interest is currently peaked by the
mentions of Deleuze & Guattari and De Landa's work.

     Woven Magnetic Memory Cores
     The Eroded Terrain of Memory
     Fissiault's Five Laws of Randomness
     The Origins of jodi.com
     Pynchon on Screen Names


Re: Question 576.
>What is the importance of
>Deleuze & Guattari's influential idea of the rhizome as a philosophical
>framework for the web?"

The idea of the rhizome is not only useful as a philosophical framework
for the web, but I think has potential to be applied as a model for a
practical, usable mapping tool...
> Perfectly adapted to the anti-disciplinary transmission
>structure of the internet. (BH)

The web sends out a proliferation of lines of flight, "transformational
multiplicities", which weave and unravel the codes which structure it.

>although it might be too soon to evaluate the possible
>political/esthetic consequences of the text: Manuel de Landa's 
>"Thousand Years of Non-linear History". (CB)

De Landa draws attention to the assumptions by which we overlook
self-organizing processes and procedures. He writes form and material
back into the discourse, tracing biological and geological phenomenon
onto cultural patternings.

Last week I was in Boston doing research for my MIT project and had the
pleasure to meet with Jay Forrester who invented the Whirlwind computer
in 1949 (he's in his eighties now) and with the Entomologist, Stefan
Cover, who is a specialist in the study of ants, at the Museum of
Comparative Zoology at Harvard.

I asked Forrester to tell me about how he came to visualize memory as a
woven structure. He told me that he first "saw" memory as a
one-dimensional structure - a line, and invented a type of memory
storage system created from one meter long glass tubes filled with
mercury (gorgeous idea, no?). He was able to charge certain particles
along the tube to store information, but because  mercury is a fluid,
there is some turbulence, some randomness, therefore the memory was
unstable. He then developed a memory system using cathode ray tubes with
their screens covered with alumninum foil by which he could charge a
particle on the back of the tube which corresponded to a particle on the
foil. This system proved to be way too expensive. He then visualized
memory as a three-dimensional structure...as a woven structure, and
developed the woven magnetic memory cores which were used until the
1970's. These beautiful structures were woven from fine copper wire and
threaded with tiny ring-shaped magnets. The magnets could be polorized
in one direction or the other --zero or one. They were set up in arrays
of sixteen. And what struck me as he was describing his creative process
was the profound material sensibilities which he brought to his work. I
asked about how the magnets were made (in the MIT Photo Archive I found
a wonderful PR photo from1967 of several dozen tiny ring-shaped magnets
with an ant for scale!!! - this image has haunted me for months) As a
sculptor, hearing a scientist talk about materials, processes,
procedures, intentions, results, etc. as parallel investigations to
those of artists, tends to blow my mind. (Sidebar to Michael Rees, I
think you address this in a post from a while back - collaborating with
engineers and Joy Garnett in your posts and paintings) So anyways,  I
asked Forrester about the aesthetics in his work on computer memory. And
he told me a wonderful story about collaborating with a ceramicist (an
industrial ceramicist working on developing material for use in TV
amplifiers) to produce the ferrite ceramic ring-shaped magnets. He said
the nameless ceramicist was a German immigrant who worked in New Jersey
who was so intuitive about his work that he could simply put his hand in
a big container of metal filings and run them between his fingers, eyes
closed, and he would say, "No this batch isn't right - it's not going to
polarize right". Again and again the ceramicist worked on getting the
right mixture, going by feel. Finally, their collaboration yielded a
succesful magnetic product which could be cast into the tiny rings used
in the woven memory cores. Forrester told me, "Artists make discoveries
first, but they don't know what to do with it." I'm not sure I agree
with him, but sometimes I think art can be the simple act of attention.

The entomologist, E.O. Wilson writes:
"Old ideas in science, however, never really die. They only sink to
mother Earth, like the mythical giant Antaeus, to gain strength and rise
again. With a far greater knowledge of both organisms and colonies than
was available just three decades ago, comparisons of these two levels of
biological organization could be resumed with greater depth and
precision. The new exercise had a goal larger than the intellectual
delectations of analogy. It now aimed to *mesh information* from
developmental biology with that from the study of animal societies to
uncover general and exact principles of biological organization. The key
process at the level of the organism is now seen to be

A colony of ants is a rhizome, as are the habitats they construct. D & G
refer to rats as rhizomes, as well as their burrows. "...semiotic chains
of every nature are connected to very diverse modes of coding
(biological, political, economic, etc) that bring into play different
regimes of signs but also states of things of differing status."

Wilson writes: "Ants have lived on Earth for more than ten million of
their generations; we have existed for no more than a hundred thousand
human generations. In the structure of our brain, we have undergone in
the same period of time the most complex and rapid anatomical
transformation in the history of life. Like a secondary rocket catching
fire, our cultural evolution has accelerated change still more in a span
of several centuries, exceeding the rate of organic evolution by orders
of magnitude. We are the first species to become a geophysical force,
altering and demolishing ecosystems and perturbing the global climate

Eight years ago, I made an installation, "The Eroded Terrain of Memory"
which utilized a geological fault which runs through the state of
Connecticut as a conceptual point of departure. This fault is of
interest to geologists because the stone on one fault face are 200
million years older than stones on the opposite side of the fault. The
older rock is thought to be a fragment of the African continent, as per
plate tectonic theory. The stones in that part of North America match up
perfectly with stones in Morrocco. So I thought to myself, "it's pretty
incredible that Connecticut is really Africa". I made a work using
metamorphic rock, mica, quartz and feldspar, collected from sites along
the foult line. I thought about how the earth is an ever-changing flow
of stone and water; how soil and bedrock are shared by all the
continents; I thought of the arbitrariness of boundaries of ownership
and property, use-values and mineral rights. By shifting one sense of
scale of perception, the earth becomes fluid, fluid so dense and viscous
it turns to stone when we shift our perception back to human
scale.                  (micro-macro)

De Landa writes about the flows of "stuff", and its "hardenings". (eg.
Lava flows)"....the flows of materials whose history we described
involved more than just matter-energy. They also included *information*,
understood not in static terms as mere physical patterns but in dynamic
terms, as patterns capable of self-replication and
catalysis......trigger(ing) intensifications or diminutions in the flows
of matter-energy and their ability to switch from one stable state to
another the structures that emerge out of these flows."  Out of which
emerge strata and what he calls "meshworks".

There is a relation I see between this and the folding-unfolding,
enveloping-developing, involution-evolution of organic and inorganic
phenomenon referred to by D & G and the biological, geological,
linguistic flows referred to by De Landa, and the social flows referred
to by Wilson, to the multitude of metaphors of fluid, woven structures
which are used to describe the web.

Now for some fun.
Since I have received so many private inquiries from list participants
regarding the Fissiaultian Paradigm, so I continue.....

Yves Fissiault's Five Laws of Randomness

To oversimplify, Fissiault's system consists of a three-part nested
hierarchy of "randomonod" or stochastic event-associated mapping
criteria. His methodology of delineating units of randomness involved
identifying the factors (environmental, statistical, cultural,
historical, scientific and artistic) controlling random events at
various hierarchical levels and drawing boundaries where they change

Macroscale units (anomalous zones and hazard regions) are controlled and
delineated as Koppen-Trewartha zones, subdivided into domains, divisions
and provinces. Nested within this landscape of accident are the
meso-scale units, controlled by input of new stochastic events and
delineated by Hammond's turbulent regions. (see D. Griffin: "Anomalous
Zones" in the Annals of Cultural Geography # 497) At the microscale are
individual sites of randomness, controlled by topographically determined
micro-events of complexification regimes.

Fissiault agrues convincingly for the desirability of a spatial
framework for random events that is both uniform and topologically
menaingful. Unfortuantely, he failed to convince his colleagues at the
time (1962) that his approach was capable of being realized. The
dismissal of his alternative methods and narrow consideration of other
approaches left the impression (amongst many of his colleagues at
Rockedyne during the Cold War Era) that viable theories for mapping
randomness simply did not exist. We know now that this is far from being
the case.

The Origins of jodi.com

Konrad Zuse, the inventor of the "world's first fully functional
programmable digital computer" states in an interview with Brad Schultz,
Senior Editor of *Computerworld* and Elmar Elmauer, Senior Editor of
*Computerwoche* (The History of Computing: A Biographical Portrait of
the Visionaries who Shaped the Destiny of the Computer Industry, By
Marguerite Zientara):

"The mathematicians make the world seem much too theoretical. For
instance, in 1945, when I was in a small village after the end of the
war in the Alps, I had nothing to do - surely the only thing to do was
to survive. (It was then) that I had time to make my theoretical
developments. By that I mean the first programming language for
computers." (Pg. 39)

Having been introduced to Yves Fissiault years before in Zurich at the
Cabaret Voltaire by Emmy Hennings, and knowing Fissiault had recently
immigrated to the United States to work in the aerospace industry at
Rockedyne Corporation, Zuse began a correspondence with Fissiault
regarding strategies for developing a programming language. Fissiault
and Zuse called that language "jodi", which was an acronym for 
"juncture of discursive indeterminacies".

Zuse goes on to explain: "This was especially organized for practice.
And 10 years later, we had a big series of languages - very complicated.
Even today, they are very complicated." (pg. 39)

It was during those following 10 years that that Fissiault and Thomas
Pynchon developed their programming language which they referred to as
"dot-com" or ".com" as part of the ARPAnet project (which Pynchon
referred to in his novels as W.A.S.T.E.). The "dot" in .com was a
code-word for a "micro" dosage of LSD-25 (or other indole alkaloids) an
oppositional alternative to Oswell and Lilly's macro-dosages (an inside
joke between the two colleagues) and "com" simply stands for computer

Later these two programming languages were merged into a
self-replicating pseudo-intelligence or UVESCE (Ultra-low voltage
electro-synaptic code entity)  known as jodi.com.

During a private online conversation I mentioned how people talked to
one another differently on a particular cultural list-serv depending on
the gender of their email address name. I had begun to collect data and
noted that users using men's names responded to other users using men's
names four-to-one times more frequently than to users using women's
names. They also tended to use those names in their replies, such as
"John wrote..." or "I agree with Sam's opinion that..." Users using
women's names tended to respond to users using men's names eight-to-one
times more frequently than to users using women's names.

Thomas Pynchon wrote:
"Change your name to Miles, Dean, Serge, and/or Leonard, baby.....Either
way, they'll call it paranoia. They. Either you have stumbled
indeed....onto a secret richness and concealed density of dream; onto a
network by which X number of Americans are truly communicating whilst
reserving their lies, recitations of routine, arid betrayals of
spiritual poverty, for the official government delivery system; maybe
even onto a real alternative to the exitlessness, to the absence of
surprise to life, that harrows the head of everbody American you know,
and you too, sweetie. Or you are hallucinating it." (CL49)

All best regards,
Eve Andree Laramee
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