FRAGMENTum is a long compendium of selections, deprived of their dates of composition, from two sources, Leander Gaux-Yon's FakeText series and The SYborg's Little Black Books (I/One, II/Two, and III/Three). Both sources—FT and LBB—are detailed in mythos - a priori. For better or worse FRAGMENTum was excerpted further before appearing here.
FRAGMENTum a: faketext
still the skull can be beautiful, sockets and teeth
Unwound: the beauty of failure. Profanity that drapes itself in an episodic truth, only to vanish like a magician: "I never want to dive into this heart of mine having no idea whatever happened to...I'll disappear, and I won't know its true" (sic passim).
In short, the nonrational knowledge needed to alter the destructive course of human history needed to be achieved nonrationally, through music. More to the point, the "course" "of" "history" must not be changed. It must be ended. The song must either burn itself out in the entropic decay of withering feedback, or it must explode in an apocalyptic gesture.
S***'s Corollary to Great Revolutionaries as Great Writers #1, converse expression:
The great revolutions, or rather the true revolutions, unfold IN WRITING, since their material and spectacular—one should say real—dimensions merely produce the truth of their inexistence.
S***'s Corollary to Great Revolutionaries as Great Writers #2, inverse expression:
The great revolutionaries are great writers because they are the most difficult to read in the context of tradition, and the more a writing resists our interpretive and heuristic expectations the greater it is; nonetheless, to understand that greatness we have at least to ATTEMPT to read the writing.
S***'s Corollary to Great Revolutionaries as Great Writers #3, conclusion:
True revolutions arise out of reading and not writing, as is commonly supposed.
To be frank, brutal honesty may well be the most cruel prevarication.
Writing that splits the scene
I'm sure that it's both obvious and tedious. The knife of the text. They say: A picture is worth a thousand words. I says: A word is worth a thousand words. Blades, razors, adventures in poise. You can quote me on that.
In grade school I always finished my timed math tables last because of my extreme skepticism about the repeatability of operations. Rather than memorize tables, I completed each calculation via the longest and most elementary route, in its entirety, hoping to witness the singular.
Out of Baker's Why I Hate Saturn: "A polite word always signifies a major fucking."
OPEN LETTER (One)
* * 19**
I recently returned from Morgantown, WV, where I participated in the University of West Virginia's summer seminar in literary and cultural studies. The seminar organizers provided me with a room in "historic" Stalnaker Hall. Historic carries inverted commas since this student residence had the effect of making Anna Mann seem a sleazy flop house. Discrepancy between the modern sterility of these lodgings and the messy mental labor of the seminar was the least shocking of my engagements with the WVU campus.
In contrast to R***, where interesting and secret haunts are revealed to the patient wanderer, WVU gives itself up immediately. The Student Green turns out to be an expanse of astro-turf; the sound of a vacuum replaces that of a mower. This green doubles as the roof of a parking garage. It finds its reflection in the sides of nearby Mountainlair, which houses the Student Union behind its surface of blue one-way glass. This student union is a flawless simulacrum of the food court encountered in shopping malls, complete with Taco Bell, Sbarro's, Wendy's. An enormous television dialed permanently to the Weather Channel drowns out conversation. Coffee is served with a smile.
Initially excited by R***'s plans for architectural renovation and construction, I have become skeptical about such changes after my experience with the WVU campus. R***'s construction initiative manifests, to be sure, an awareness of the intimate links between our work and our structural environment. However, the living conditions of a large number of R***ies prove the maxim that luxury rarely facilitates thought, and in a time when intellectual production is increasingly reified by the academic market, the architectural "improvements" at R*** would appear to be an uncritical concession to the culture of capital. The so-called Ivory Tower has always already been permeated by culture, but consciousness of being situated in a historical and economic context should be tantamount to effecting strategic resistances in and to that context. In a time when it also becomes increasingly barbarous to invoke Geist, I nonetheless hope that the spirit of R*** will be able to make something of the new construction—at least through the specter of irony.
It is not surprising that while in Morgantown my most provocative dialogues were on the edge of town, over whiskey, and not with students attending the university. In a dilapidated billiards hall not unlike R***'s old pool room, I discovered the air that the WVU campus lacked in comparison to R***. And the bar's bathroom was occupied by abundant graffiti.
EDGE OF THE LAST: Theses on the Philosophy of "Environmentalism"
ONE: Environmentalism must be comfortable with paradox.
The difficulty in thinking environmentally proceeds exactly from the semantic potential of extreme. Environmentalism cannot function effectively without recourse to an extreme, for with the protection of the environment, the merely sufficient is already extreme. As the center from which environmental action develops its strategy and as the goal of this strategy, the conservation of the environment cannot be other than radical; it is both the center and the edge, dwelling at two extremes. The thought that the action capable of change must take place extremely and that this extreme pushes out to its own center—the conservation of the environment—this thought is in itself extreme. The English extreme derives from the Latin extremus, superlative of exterus, meaning outward.
TWO: Environmentalism must be comfortable with hopelessness.
After the onion skin of television screens is peeled from the issue of environmental consciousness, the enemy is none other than capital, which lacks will and intention and is not burdened by a sense of irony about so-called development, i.e., annihilation. Capital plays by one set of rules, while care of the environment plays by another. These two sets of rules, or better, these two structures are incommensurable and can relate to each other mutually only as extremes. In other words, the stakes have been maximized: conflict over environmental policy must end in the death of one of the sides. But how do you beat an opponent playing a different game?
THREE: Environmentalism must conceive of itself ideologically.
"What" precisely is the environment? How and why has it been severed—practically, but most of all discursively—from "humanity," from people? If in fact human beings are among its constituent elements, how is it even possible to be for or against the environment? By conceiving of itself as ideology, as that which composes individuals as subjects at a given moment, culturally, economically, intellectually, etc., environmentalism can feign disappearance, only to irrupt at once, relieve capital of its rules, and with brutal subtlety, oblige the enemy to carry out suicide. The integrity of the extreme obtains in an aleatory tactics, bereft of strategy.
FRAGMENTum b: the little black book I-III
III/Three [back to top]
I have one because
I'm tired, another because
before I had four.
I smoke one because
I desire, another due
to my sleeplessness.
This Skin Yard song—"Wither" from Hallowed Ground—always recalls me to the windshield view of the so-called Kriegenwagen, cold fingers around a cold steering wheel, smell of Exports, Datsun spaceship, long past the closing of bars, a silent running, engine off, lights low, rolling toward the Point No Point lighthouse, having won a race to that place, from the parking lot of B********* I***** High School. Could I at that time have had an inkling that one of the houses I passed on that empty road belonged to the father of the woman I live with in New York City seven years later?
Pier 34. All the taut men stretched full-length on what have to be the most uncomfortable benches ever manufactured, worse by far than the subway platform ones, look me up as I sit down to read Joyce in spite of the powerboat races on the Hudson, tele-covered by helicopters, so the noisy is doubly. I enjoy the exhibition scene of a Sunday on the pier and take off my shirt, sucking in my stomach. Being watched here always give me pleasure, probably because there is that scene in play, while the vector of my own desire rests for a moment, still, legible. As brevity or fatigue or a lack of in-line skates.
"Modulations"—at each level—personal reinscriptions—Descartes...given the—for lack of a better word—ideology of the electronic music community (whatever that is!), its insistence both on its historical inevitability and the radical and transformative power of the medium, an aporia arises: a music that develops from a history and a music that effects an erasure of that history—a more or less automated destruction of its own grounds of possibility—there is no freedom to be found here?
like shaving the price tag off a wine bottle
slow, frustrating, messy
inability to think in complete sentences
verbs gone drinking for the night
Autechre, a classical sense of scope without the impression of playful irony that inhabits the Amon Tobin \ the question of crescendo in relation to repetition \ digital Ärvo Pärt, anyone? \ also fear and pity, the tragic in electronica, over-and-against a different emotional surplus
Mary Shelley: that "...we are sent here to educate ourselves, and that self-denial, and disappointment, and self-control, are a part of our education."
The Port Authority at 2:30 a.m. is transformed into a military-secured personnel dispatch zone, complete with gates and guards. "Papers please." Everyone smells at least vaguely like booze, pays with cash. I am the only one to buy a roundtrip ticket. This is not a place you come back to... Relief in motion. The twitch of thinking.
The Plug PK1 lent has grown on me, as they say; but it's late night music that worms its way into the situation unobtrusively until you realize of a sudden that it has transformed the shape of the room. The particular features of its style (unlike Tobin and Autechre) that provide it with this power remain impossible to identify. This impossibility is its—Plug's—power in and of itself.
The Wagon. In the absence of booze you become booze? a self-intoxicating nightmare, a perfect exemplar of insomnia. So anánke—Greek, force; necessity; i.e, fate—of course is locked into its own fate, dialectically bound up with character, which is why you deserve everything you get and are utterly blameless in the same moment, sucker.
Re "Total Station" of Harris and Bernocchi: true to the intention in/of the name, "Nervous?" (track 3) strikes at the potential of electronic music. While most of the disk distinguishes itself by its spacing, a palpable gapping and dispersion, track 3 and the coda, "Kip," are alarming textures...fascinating how pretty aural violence can be made: to sound. One thing of which I am reminded in listening: with electronic music, extreme volume is critical in determining the worth of a particular work.
surreality of the Traveler's Building, rising, violent, into an improbably bright night sky
"Only smoking distinguishes humans from the rest of the animals." -Anonymous
"Happy New Year." -Anonymous
...been playing on a
sign comes alive and
speaks the mind...
—Sonic Youth, "Disappearer"
The snow was a lot deeper when I was a kid.
These Soho structures wag in their own smoke.
I stand, stock still—
Lee's voice is always comforting; or,
first to have made tracks on our roof,
two matches, two butts, one burned to the snow,
Standing six floors up,
I play air-drums, detail by détail,
crash and ride...
I can barely play the drums.
Virtual virtuosity is also comforting.
Metaphors, however, are tritely metaphorical:
I wound, zum Beispiel, the white with my feet.
'Wondering where on earth all' the shadows are going
and still not caring.
shadowed ice is last to give way to rain or sleet.
No, last (of course) are the margins of a footprint—
all this has been said before
as that famous, favorite disappearer writes,
wrote, "It has happened before,
but there is nothing to compare it to now."
It's open season
on broken hearts;
you must finish
off what you wound,
eat what you kill.
The desire between
hunter and stag
is, still, desire;
a line remains
open and tied:
Of speech or of sight.
the strength to lose count / "Guilt is self-inflicted meaning."
II/Two [back to top]
one shot because I'm tired
another because it's late
a third because I like my veins
a fourth because I already had four earlier
Paul Celan: "Ich bin du, wenn ich ich bin." ...reestablishing link...please wait...transferring file social life to Recycle Bin...
Lists. The collector, in the process of forming and building his/her collection, does not simply redeem objects by ripping them from a context and importing them into the one s/he is constructing, for this context never stops changing: it shifts with each importation. Rather, the collector becomes in this process an object as symbolically invested as those s/he gathers around himself/herself. He collects himself/herself, or better, his/her collection collects him/her. Predestined incompletion.
Here lies my past. What perdures, writing calls forth and back to me in fragments. Writing to remember, everything. You will only have grasped what you annihilate. As if the end of the world had come and gone... Nachdenken, then, not as after/concerning thought, reflection, but: reading itself? "To read: not to write; to write what one is forbidden to read. To write: to refuse to write—to write by way of this refusal. So it is that when he is asked for a few words, this alone suffices for a kind of exclusion to be decreed, as though he were being obliged to survive, to lend himself to life in order to continue dying. To write—for lack of the wherewithal to do so" (MB).
Prosthesis. That if one develops the concept radically it becomes impossible to think a structure or an organism through which one can distinguish between the prosthetic and its other. Everything functions prosthetically, without, perhaps, being functioned upon... The difficulty lies in developing this concept without lapsing into naive relativism or an argument founded merely on the effects of a perspectival shifting. The body, the first prosthesis?
A grand old Fourth, in the now-traditional style, in which I take myself down a notch in order to make myself equal to a bottle of vodka. And true, AZ, burning the flag: the most patriotic gesture. The consumption of the object that makes possible the appearance of the concept that permits the consumption of the (figurative) object. A closed circuit. The concept of freedom necessitates the destruction of that which makes it knowable, visible...the moment in which one is free and knows it ends just as it is opening, for the act through which this moment arrives is the very destruction of the means of recognizing freedom. Absolut freedom.
I/One [back to top]
Graffito: "Summertime and the livin's sleazy"
[Journal:] The plane is rerouted, and it will be another hour. The rotund bald man next to me, with his obnoxious girlfriend, both speaking German loudly, is playing video games and bouncing against the seat, which bounces my head against the window. The walkman is dying despite new batteries, so I listen to Gluck and Schubert over and over again on a fifteen minute loop coming over the built-in headphone station...Flying into JFK doesn't allow a very good vantage on the city, but then, rolling across the Williamsburg (?) bridge [The Manhattan Bridge -SYborg], out of Brooklyn into Manhattan—now that's adrenaline! The transition into/onto Manhattan even all but ended my lengthy conversation with the cab driver, a conversation consisting mainly of: the pros and cons of extended love affairs with flight attendants from PDX (this sweaty, globular man has had several, he says); higher education; and being a waiter or bartender [sic! sic! sic! The SYborg moved to The City before ever having visited; could it at that time have known...?]. The door to #*** is nearly hidden. It looks like a piece of white plywood, covered in graffiti. There are pieces of wood and cement piled around. It is 10:30 [p.m.], but it is muggy still. There are many sounds. I focus on paying the cab driver...he wishes me luck. 6 LO-O-ONG flights of stairs, very heavy bags, I'm exhausted, but the city continues to buzz. The apartment shakes and rumbles every time a truck drives by. The jackhammering, screaming, and pure noise continue all night. Men come in and out of the flat until 3 a.m. The phone never stops ringing. The men are setting up film lights on the neighbor's fire escape—he's angry—must get up—already, what with the cab driver's comments to other vehicles [how very stereotypical, probably a performance -SYborg] it would seem that NYC's MO is altercation. On the TV I watch this 1000 lb. man being pulled from an apartment building. Or I watch cops who've been shot or Dole talk. The news in NY moves considerably faster than the news in, say, Seattle. It's less of a recap than an in medias res, ongoing blitznews. Tomorrow I will take stock of my sitch, work on the project [ Double Prime; see BIBLIOPOLIS -SYborg], and, finally, I will go downstairs to be an extra in the party scene of a Certs advertisement.
Getting up at 1 in the afternoon. Everything is still pretty much the same. Same level of noise—more people it seems—but it's not even that much more light outside. So! (as R***** ****** might write)—We shall see. And no joke! a sign down on W****** street reads, "No Stopping/ or/ Standing Today/ Thanks, Police" And a double warning this morning on the tube: Ozone warning—UV rays are too dangerous—do not expose yourself unnecessarily; Pollution warning—too much filth in the air—do not physically exert yourself while outside. I'm reminded as I smoke 555s (cigarette of Chairman Mao!) out the window of Kathy Acker's "The End of the World of White Men": (Artaud speaking) "In her dream, the city was the repository of all dreams." [sic passim]
The discourse of the stamp vending machine at the PO on 43rd is mindboggling: Hello, I am a machine. Please don't be afraid. How may I help you? Etc. Polite ATMs, friendly microwaves, well-mannered doors! Machines really have become the new underclass. Our technoscientific liberalism, our addiction to Progress, our ideals also haunt us with the physiognomy of our catastrophe.
Times Square wee hours. Robot-man strikes again and again. He still can't recognize himself through the blood. I smash my knuckles one on the other and repeatedly. But I can't remember him at all. The failing plug sparked him to the recognition of the sadness born long and heavy—my god—he thought—I miss my dog and cats dearly. The revenge of the mirror—I say—bludgeoning myself with a small piece of masking tape.
Buying a pack of cigarettes is to gain twenty friends (JH).
Benjamin—scotch—Indy 500 pinball—scotch—Benjamin—scotch
Maybe everything is an utter waste of time, e.g., the notion that melancholy can be mastered without the application and purity of the will, which less masters than alloys and directs melancholy toward itself as both a source and a negation. This would be the initiation of a self-reflection that opens the widest possible matrix for critical activity, but through an inside/outside inversion.—Have I taught myself negative dialectics? Not bloody likely.
"When I hear the word 'culture,' I reach for my gun," said the spokesman of Hitler's Imperial Chamber of Culture. Why does this sound like a Republican lobbying against the NEA?
The pub, haven for lost boys afraid to travel. There is something to be said about the resonance between physical travel and virtual "spaces," something about the giddiness of identity reconstruction. Indeed, I begin to think that the question of embodiment in cyberspace is of the utmost importance for determining the difference between travel and its writing(s) and MUDing, for example. Aren't we dealing here with the issue of nascency? It's only a matter of time before the signifiers that mediate apprehension and typologization of the "physical" body find their analogues, or supplements, in cyberspace. Utopia, as Adorno correctly insisted, blocked by possibility.
It's not enough to practice this theory discursively. One must allow it to mark the zone of the phenomenologically lived. A physical, even brutal, performance is necessary. The ideolect of irony for the thinking person drinking himself to death in New York City.
FRAGMENTum: in virtual environments distinguishing between levels of commentary or message via locating varying transmission targets, or pathways, or addresses. Feedback.
Mandelstam: "At the end of an historic era abstract concepts always stink like rotten fish"; "A raznochinets needs no memory—it is enough for him to tell of the books he has read, and his biography is done."
|[archives][back to top]|