there must be some way to introduce oneself, and future readers, to a text without some variant of an idiomatic generalization about the lack of motivation at a certain time of day, or an arbitrary collection of emotional, social, governmental or financial forces stretched around one’s world to take the role of warden.

a fictional space is created, and depicted in such a way so as to challenge the protagonist in her righteous claim to autonomy. archetypes, be they scientific, historical, communist, feminist, anarchist, et al, are argued to be clustered around these hubs of illegit power, and the writer enjoys an imaginary authenticity within his or her internal narrative, for a time.

much planning is said to be underway. the scientists and engineers work to keep that tech edge the powers at be find so irritatingly semelfactive; hackers never appear, only a brief trace of their work, coded insulation nested within codes within codes, and then gone, leaving revolutionary texts on homepages like “the coming insurrection,” or “the coming community,” announced once and then never seen quite the same way again; anything so long as the message left for media-loving peoples is one of a continuing contradiction in the world.

it’s suggested that there’s something out there, brewing, plotting, violent and ungodly, waiting to take common securities away. the plans are personal to their core. for once, the rhetoric of revolution isn’t for an oppressed class, or sex, or sexuality or nation, any more than it is an idea or simulation.

for once, it’s about you.

somewhere on the upper east side a designer whose life flies between work in the financial district, home entertainment, and pre-arranged three-ways lets loose a dime from her fist, on its way to a waitress’ model hands, and the cycle is broken for an instant, and she thinks

{is this…a simulation?}

slowly, depositing doubts in each phoneme’s contours about who her CV says she is, about why she writes her assignations in her planner, about why she leans on social media accounts for self-assurance and correspondence rather than email or a phone call.

she can’t remember the last time she made a phone call, she can’t remember when she spoke out of character, the last time she spoke without constraints and without three to five trending words on her mind to fill awkward silences with. she couldn’t remember the last time she thought without sex, money, or power being its object, its End.

her phone makes the alert sound to remind her of her trendy mask. she gained another twenty likes for throwing in the hashtag “autumninnewyork” on a nature photo, and below she can see the comments, whereupon she is reassured that this is real, that the amalgam of quantitative statistics suggesting for her that she will, in fact, exist, if only she would announce it according to google analytics. And who could argue? google tells her she has many more hits this year than last, and the further back in time she searches, the less she exists.

in fact, her social media accounts and the followers contained therein tell her, there is a good deal of her who has come into being since 2005. she Likes over 128 bands now. in 2005 she only liked genres. she has Read over 100 books on Goodreads. Before then only a few friends and family had seen her holding a couple of dozen. how scandalous! she thinks, how much time she spent reading privately, thinking privately, presuming a signature self not subject to the democratic assent of Likes and Shares. how could she ever claim to be a bibliophile if she wasn’t seen reading or digitally shelving her books? her thoughts on the book were given value, Goodreads says, if only she’d transcribed them online.

it’s difficult to level the insult of historian so succinctly at anyone in a group, today. every experience is devoid of value unless it is Social, i.e., liquidated for its quantitative potential through Likes, Retweets and so on. Thus every user account on social media networks is collectively writing the fiction of now, and history is a knot of embedded links and #shoutouts and archetypal reminisces from the position of a dead icon or author, whose death thankfully preceded the death of the author.

there is no history, because reality is narrative, and that can be purchased, re-interpolated, weaponized. i remember going back to the future last month, how about you?

this is why your memory is so unreliable. virtual space has extension, too. our lives extend there before anywhere else. but writing online constricts language’s use to the lenses of those positions pushing the trendiest terms; an anti-poeisis always already at work between every hyperlink and image.

if there is always a finite number of lenses with which a text can be interpreted, then communication itself’s reductive. semantic scarcity is the desert of Facebook.

all things equally exist so long as all things are social. then, after the (in)different is silenced, all things (left) exist equally.

Advertisements

03.01.2015

It’s easier to write journal entries in portions as prescribed by blog-writing form, as something I’m obliged to portion, slicing off just enough memory to synthesize some intimation of what will be slated for short-term repression, done to process the myriad observations, recognitions, and the spectrum of narratives formed with decreasing relevance to the actual lives I live amidst, when they’re under the header of a single date. My relationship with time is one of religious devotion to a set of goals, a part of each (the ideological excess of phantasy and self-projection) drives me to bring the parts of each which I do not phantasize about, which do not in fact drive my desire, into being. These undesired things are the necessities; food, money, and the psychological growth and persona-adaptation that comes from engaging a socius, a social body.

A day is an advertisement. Probably for tomorrow. But running on the promise of tomorrow is risky business because it is a teleological thing. And telos is a big tease.

(it never really comes because telos is merely the echo of your being’s possible future-perfect selves, each of which is advertising its respective future in disparate ways, waiting for your present self to stop repressing and step forward)

But about that – repression, or rather a human relationship to the binary of desire and satiation, repressing satiation // generating desire, or reneging desire // releasing subjectivity to a flow one becomes subsumed by.  These releases include acts like sex, self-deconstruction à la Sharing Feelings in a vacuum, insulating the capacity to think with micro-fascisms or mental ticks, etc, etc, and the less I enjoin myself to do the former, the more I find myself slipping into thought-habits circling round the latter. And that is both healthy and pernicious.

I mean to write soon, about a woman I have met, who appears to have mastered the art of instilling desire, and managing, guiding, keeping-dirigible the desiring object’s narratological reliance on the promise of eventual satiation. It’s like neo-teasing. And it is both unhealthy and liberating.

My current engagements keep me from becoming-monomaniacally reactive to said desire-generating femme’s refusal to sate, which is good. Clarity is very important at this juncture.

Soon I will be back on the streets, fighting authority and simulating utopos with the masses.

a tardy review of a show at yoko and a critique of expat cultural production that earnestly reads like a rather dated cry for better abstract expressionism

the review      

Stepping into the redesigned Yoko, I greet the doorman with a nod, and look up. A skyline of stolid silhouettes jerked to unsyncopated rhythm, pulsing with each tremolo scratch. The experimental pastiche is pulling their heads forward in random cycles, as if some monstrous question were being exorcised from the audience. Hanging off of the white walls are comic-portraits of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain and the like, each framed with a single-served quote-to-enlightenment.

Everything is black, or blue from the artist’s five meter runway of synthesizers and record players. I look up to see the introvert’s nest I remember retreating to last year. Empty space has replaced the loft.

fitting

fitting

I also notice an apparently non-functional A/C. Take a deep breath. The air is thick, watered down. I can smell bodies, perfumed and not. Also, whiskey? From the entrance, the bar’s bland white fluorescent light spills over more silhouettes in the far-out right. The customers stand there, no cash in hand. I continue up the stairs and navigate through a plethora of pillars decorated with woven wood-urns, dying candles and brand-new ashtrays. Conspicuous cosmopolitan eyes guide me to the menu. It’s as thick as a magazine, all done up and gleaming with the white light’s reflection. Unfortunately, perhaps pretentiously, the beer is 69K VND and up. Oh well, I thought, there’s cheap beer across the street and as long as I look beneficially busy, no one will object to externally purchased booze. I decide to splurge and buy a G&T (120K). The servers speak English fairly well, although it took an awkward exchange to learn that my Viet-accented English was unnecessary.

After several “excuse me’s” and bright-eyed smiles, I hugged my German Viet-kieu friend at the front of the crowd and saw the spectacle I’d come for.  It took a few seconds for me to realize why Yoko had changed. Or rather the kind of venue it might become. On the screen, images of average Saigon sights; xe oms, food stands, and other small businesses. I began to wonder why only businesses with no upward or downward momentum were chosen.

not yoko, but the feeling's parallel

not yoko, but the feeling’s parallel

As my thoughts began to dive into postindustrial squalor, the image was cut out, piece by piece, and lines of static appeared at the top and bottom. Imagine an old VCR fast-forwarding long enough to achieve sentience. A rainbow of colors and fractal effects begin to fill the bodies, overwriting them one organ at a time. The next few minutes feature traditional Viet hats resting on a Fibonacci sequence resting on a hoodie proclaiming “USA #1.”

This show wasn’t just entertainment; it’s a reproduction of a city casually reinterpreting its place in a possibly non-mutual consummation with neo-colonial markets. A regular cannibal’s Babel, Yoko is. Two obligatory femme fatals shook their stuff to the left of the screen, baiting me to join in. A tall blond man to my right smiles and gives me a thumbs-up, nodding, to dismiss any doubt. But before I could bite, the projector switched functions, and suddenly the crowd was displayed on screen: silhouettes of static noise, fractals and bubbles pushing and melting into everyone’s crossed arms. Only the girls moved like the screen. Everything was scratches with velvet and perfume. A dolly shot of five ambiguous bubble-shadows standing in a semicircle. The girls and their go(o)ds. Scene.

the critique

Bringing experimental noise music into a venue like Yoko, where the object of the show is either to dance or talk, creates the same familiar paradoxes accompanying entertainment universally. Here you have long, Wagnerian moans and pulls laced with absolutely spontaneous tremolo scratches and effects generally not heard above the radio spectrum. But still those scantily clad femmes’ goods were shaking to their best guess of a rhythm.

Anticipating the crowd’s response, the DJs gradually alter the soundscape until some base rhythm achieves a veritable omnipresence. But why? My contention is that they have three at-hand choices on stage, or three ways to respond to the polemic of production. Giving the artists the benefit of the doubt (in that they are not putting on a show only for fame and fortune, but actually have something to express), there are three kinds of audience members:

i) the avant garde, listening not to be entertained, but to study, interpret, travel-with, suffer; listen.

ii) the entertainers, who analyze the production for value alone, be it financial or sexual.

iii) the entertained, who cheer or jeer only in conjunction with passing levels of jouissance or alienation, note with this last group, their actions have less to do with the production than with their happiness.

These three types are not rigid in the sense of being composed of the same individuals at all times-there is always the contingency of psychological transformation or perturbation. and there’s death.

But so the question begged is: which audience do the DJs play to? Are they purists, abstaining from the cupidity of entertainment and shock-value in full fidelity to artistic expression? Perhaps, but then, if they really are there for the art alone, and bland bloodless repetition for entertainment’s sake is the abject, then those of us poor fools suckered into one of the last two categories (and i’m fully aware of the religious irony here) must be saved.

But here they realize in order to save us from blind entertainment, in order to overcome entertainers, they must Entertain. This is already weird enough to signify some sort of cyberpunk continence. In order to hold the entertainers in a symbolic chain capable of eschewing business par usual, to Rising Above Entertainment, the producers (if avant garde) must keep the girls’ goods swaying, keeping the entertained profitably distracted, leaving the entertainers’ minds in a good space to Listen.

From what space-or continence or whatever-can someone really Listen? A place where they are willing to be (although not necessarily always are) beside his-or-herself. An element of amnesia is required, but this must be one of forgetting the short-term hyperactive emotional affirmation of the now (à la Dionysus); the entertaining quality of the production must not rely on happiness, or any quick derivation of some other easily triggered emotion.

the production must induce amnesia of something

The entertained must be just that (i.e. entertained) until the entertainers forget their existence as such, in favor of a deeper, more impassioned self, willing to experience anything-even boredom, for the sake of experiment and expression (or to speak Sartrean, transcendence). Since the entertainment of the entertained is primary, the production must first induce amnesia of the drawn-out, big-self identity that the artists, the avant garde-is always striving to be.

the production must cloak the producers

tumblr_mn3qmu8gE31rwgw6to1_1280

for “d’auteur”

*I claim no rights to any photos shown here, which rightfully are the exclusive property of the included website’s content-producers*