Entries tagged with digital culture

Michael Waltuch’s Whale Cloth Press, the original publisher of Robert Grenier’s Sentences in the Chinese box version (with ivory clasps, manufactured in Hong Kong), has put up a mediated version of the poem.


It is interesting to think about the tensions between the work in its print/index card/box format and its digital one—they are not identical. For one thing, even though the cards are displayed in a random order, different each time, they can never be displayed spatially—tacked up on a bulletin board, or placed on steps, or photographed in the crotch of a tree. The box was a three-dimensional boundary (like the skin surrounding the body of the work) that is quite a bit unlike a frame for a static two-dimensional image or an html page with flash animation. And yet the work is finding a new reception that reads the individual instances of the text in a kind of “free space” of interpretation:


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Entry 09: Frequency of Posts

Yesterday was the first day since beginning this project that I was unable to add daily content. My initial plan had been to add “something” on a daily basis, and to make the necessity of doing that at such a frequency part of determining what “something” is (see Entry 07, “Is This Anything”). I remain interested in the exterior, conceptual dynamics of such a frame—after On Kawara’s “I Got Up” project as a task of daily self-understanding, over the long run. Yet I also recognize, in refusing conceptual dogmatism, that there are other exigencies. … More

Link 03: Mark(s) Archived

Mark(s), the Detroit-based, multigenre, poetry/art webzine, has concluded its ten-year run by putting up a remediated archive of the work it curated and published: www.markszine.net. Mark(s) was notable for developing a transformative digital aesthetics that worked between word and image, always attentive to the ways the developing display, linking, and animation possibilities of the medium could reinterpret the work. Designer Deb King accomplished this spectacularly in one of my own contributions, “Question of Interpretation”:


The work was a series of twelve four-line serial poems, each highly subjective in their content and interpretation, introduced by a “Rorschach” inkblot image made by the author about age 12. I had preserved these icons only to discover them, and their proper use, decades later. … More

One should inscribe the letter A on the heart of one’s shadow.
[Next], without blinking, one should gaze fixedly at the latter A [drawn] at the heart [of the shadow],
And focus one’s awareness upon [the letter A].
Then, once the eyes have grown numb [through strain],
One should look up into the center of the cloudless sky,
At which time one’s own form should become visible in the sky.
One should then know that if the head and body of this [reflected image] are intact, and [the image] is pale in colour,
This is an auspicious sign that there will be no obstacles and that one will not die [imminently].

Tibetan Book of the Dead, trans. Gyurme Dorje (159)

GLOSS: in the midst of computer malfunction, visualization exercizes restore a sense of well being. Computers are machines for visualization exercizes, but these must not be accepted as automatic. The letter A stands out beyond the dysfunctional interface. One should stare at the computer until the eyes grow numb and the screen itself disappears. When the screen disappears, one’s own form is made visible. This is the letter A on the heart of one’s shadow.

Entry 03: Mala cosa

This entry takes the place of a previous one, which turned out to be a gateway for malware. I wanted to undertake a small conceptual project, after posting Asa’s logo of Detroit “rising from the ashes,” of searching for the words “deterritorializing Detroit” and putting up the results, for use later perhaps. I did so, and listed the top ten entries, with descriptive copy: theory and techno, Arab Detroit and hiphop, globalization and Fordism were among the links.

The next morning I clicked on one, a theory blog that connected Deleuze and Guattari with Detroit techno. I checked a music site for Drexciya, a techno group from the 90s that has since disbanded—this was the entry point for the malware, which crashed the firewall and set up a fake virus protection program that simulated a virus scan, posted the results, and demanded payment as protection from further threats. Every action I took to bypass it resulted in an error message that said “program infected” or produced another popup.

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Timed to coincide with the recent meeting of MLA in Philadelphia, a three-hour symposium to develop “best practices” of Fair Use in the citing of poetry was organized by the Poetry Foundation on 30 December, at the Franklin Institute. A notably expert group of poets and critics, led by a Washington, D.C.-based intellectual property lawyer, sought consensus (and divergence) around issues of the citation/appropriation of poetry in critical and creative works and the degree of protection that should be afforded to published, unpublished, and archival material. The process will continue, with the eventual goal of establishing recommendations for Fair Use in citing poetry that would encourage, rather than exploit in various forms of cultural profit-taking, public critical discussion of poetry.

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Document 01: Dialogue

Jennifer_ > Hi Barrett. Welcome to Online Support. I’m Jennifer. Please allow me a moment to review your concern.

Barrett > You want me to run support software? If I do, my chat session will end. Please advise.

Jennifer_ > Thanks for waiting, Barrett. I’m sorry that the Wireless Device does not appear in the Device Manager Window. I’ll be glad to assist you with this.

Jennifer_ > That’s not required, Barrett.

Barrett > OK.

Jennifer_ > Have you changed the preinstalled Operating System in the Computer?

Jennifer_ > I didn’t receive a response. Are you still with me?

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