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.

I was unable to access the internet, except to agree to a payment scheme with some offshore account. I located the suspect program by clicking on a popup, only to find the file was locked and could not be deleted. I sought countermeasures: a malware protection program which I downloaded from another computer and installed. The malware fought back, would not let it open or run—sending up one error message after another. Internet sessions began to open onto anonymous porn sites, creating feelings of displeasure rising to panic: error message, pornography, malfunction, machinic repetition.

The malware was taking over more functions, shutting things down. I downloaded the countermeasure onto a memory clip, and ran the program from outside. The malware must have sensed I was on to it and fought back hard: every click was surrounded by popups and error messages. I got the quick scan up and running, but with no results. Looking for options, I located a “file assassin” tool in the software  that would delete locked files. I clicked on it, found the file, clicked again. One could hear machinic screams down a time tunnel as the malware succumbed to deletion. Out into interstellar space, alien. With a reboot it was gone, processing speed restored, only minor damage to files needing repair.

“A bad thing happened to me,” and yet again in all its machinic inevitability. I remembered Bad History, and before that Charles Olson’s “A Story of an Olson, and Bad Thing.” Olson was bothered by mortality, no doubt, but his title also references an earlier historical instance, the mala cosa of Cabeza de la Vaca’s Naufragios—a sixteenth-century tale of shipwreck and wandering across what are now Florida, Texas, and northern Mexico. When the “bad thing” is encountered or displays itself, it is unmistakeable. Malacosa demands countermeasures, now.

As it is here, so it was for Olson: “Bad Thing came in the night and, this time, ate away part of my heart. Yet I endure, knowing no cure, because, as each is, I am stubborn . . . .” The moral is a willed persistance to write through the inhuman incursion of machinic destruction:

The sweetest kind of essence, violets
                                                      is the smell of life.
And I mean serious, like magic is, like
white or black, is
the business we’re here for (not here AFTER) i mean (NOW)
the smell of
                   And don’t expect me to answer,
how come. Nor do I care, even it turns out, as it just might well,
electricals, simply the odor of, from the crackling of,
a wave     H-mu, the determinant, human. (Collected Poems, 178)

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