2013. Anti-Media - Ephemera on Speculative Arts

An Amediaite's Mediated Anti-Media

(review of

Florian Cramer's Anti-Media: Ephemera on Speculative Arts)

by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - June 6-11, 2014

full review: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/367743-an-amediaite-s-mediated-anti-media?chapter=1

truncated review: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17174753-anti-media


Ok, I've been friends w/ the author, Florian Cramer, since I rc'vd a friendly letter from him dated August 27, 1990. He was probably living in Berlin, Germany, at the time. We 1st met in person when he came to visit me in BalTimOre in January of 1993. On January 16th, 1993, we made our 1st collaboration together: a movie entitled "What's Your Fucking Problem You Bloody Gash" (you can witness that here: http://youtu.be/eXwhuBr3iD8 ). This pretended to address the issue of why there are so few neoist women.

Since then, I've spent time w/ him in Berlin in 1994, 1997, & 2004; in Hungary in 1997; & he's visited me in Pittsburgh in 2003 & 2012. In the fall of 1994, he was probably the 1st person to publish writings of mine online. In September, 1996, he was also responsible for having many or all of these same writings published on the "of(f) the w.w.web" CD-ROM. He currently hosts many of my websites: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/ .

I consider Florian to be one of the world's leading intellectuals. I consider him to be a great scholar. I consider him to be a prominent neoist. I consider him to be one of my best friends. He has a meticulously analytical mind. He's not easily taken in by hype. I think of him as someone who's highly interested in making infrastructures evident, perhaps as a form on 'enlightenment'. He strikes me as always searching for a hidden essence. "What is a hacker?" [..]:

"1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary." - from "the famous self-written Internet dictionary of computer hackers" (p 220)

In Anti-Media, in the article entitled "In Some Respects Reversed: Georg Philipp Harsdörffer's Frauenzimmer Gesprächspiele" (2004) Florian writes: "Contemporary digital artists such as jodi work" [..] "making the formal systems underlying computer games legible." (p 197) "Seeming to go against the understanding of Spiel (game) as an artificial thing, Harsdörffer etymologizes the word as an onomatopoeic term for flowing water. In doing so, both the signified of the word 'game' as well as the word itself become a sort of game. Or, to use the terminology of Schottelius' linguistic theory, which was published at the same time as Harsdörffer's Gesprächspiele, the word becomes a 'stem word' in which the essence of the thing that it expresses is inscribed." (p 197)

In footnote 13 of the section entitled "Poetic Art of Wisdom: Quirinus Kuhlmann's '41st Kiss of Love'" the reader learns that "Together with Schottelius, Harsdörffer pursued his poetic study of language as part of the Fructiferous Society. Kuhlmann dedicated his '41st Kiss of Love' to a patron who is likewise a member of this literary society." (p 254)

The Fructiferous Society, Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft in the original German, "was a German literary society founded in 1617 in Weimar by German scholars and nobility. Its aim was to standardize vernacular German and promote it as both a scholarly and literary language, after the pattern of the Accademia della Crusca in Florence and similar groups already thriving in Italy, followed in later years also in France (1635) and Britain." [..] "It disbanded in 1668." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_members_of_the_Fruitbearing_Society ) Florian revived this society in 1997 or thereabouts & invited me to be one of its only members (despite my essentially not speaking German). I went on to make a movie entitled "Story of a Fructiferous Society". Interested readers can read my article about that movie in OTHERZINE issue 17 (Fall, 2009) here: http://www.othercinema.com/otherzine/archives/index.php?issueid=22&article_id=96 .

"A die in the middle of ornamental vines that outline the perimeter of an overturned triangle; above this, the line, 'Auff manche Art verkehrt' (In some respects reversed). This is how the 'Haubtregister' ('index') of the eighth volume of Georg Philipp Harsdörffer's Frauenzimmer Gesprächspielen ends." [..] "Does the emblem represent the Gesprächspiele itself, which appeared in eight volumes between 1641 and 1649, or does it represent the author, Harsdörffer, who as a member of the Fruitbearing Society was given the name of 'The Player'?" - p 193 Florian is "The Forked One" & I'm "The Ballooning One" - both of our names refer to specific plants.

Given my whole-minded endorsement of the fruits of Cramer's labor, I'm nonetheless uncertain about this bk's title: does it really address & define "anti-media"? Are the writings really "ephemera"? Is the subject really "speculative arts"? I reckon I have to write this review in order to answer these questions. Cramer's introductory paragraph holds great promise:

"While this book was in the making, an article in the online arts journal Triple Canopy almost destroyed it. "Speculative" turns out to be one of the most fashionable buzzwords in what authors Alix Rule and David Levine call "International Art English' ('IAE').' Rule and Levine analyze the lingo of 'the art world press release', particularly on the e-flux mailing list, and reconstruct how in the 1970s, French structuralist and German Frankfurt school jargon was imported into the canonical American arts journal October. From there, it mutated into today's globalized, pseudo-scholarly contemporary art English. Rule and Levine predict the 'implosion' of this 'decadent period of IAE' along with art biennials and the globalized 'curatorial' art discourse." - p 7

In my review notes I referred to this as an "hilarious beginning!" Now, after many mnths have elapsed since I started reading the bk, I'm not totally sure why I found it so "hilarious" - perhaps simply b/c Florian seems to be effacing himself from the get-go, perhaps b/c he's immediately acknowledging the pitfalls of language that has the appearance of intellectual substance but that may really be more of a lingo-smokescreen behind wch emptiness hides. University art students are taught to embellish their work w/ the appearance of heavy theory thru the use of jargon known only to elites - but does the mere use of the jargon inevitably signify a parallel degree of specialization in the work itself? Or might the jargon just be the Emperor's New Clothes intended to make anyone who points out the substantial nudity seem like an intellectual child?

Now, I have my very sizable collection of magazines in my personal library organized into 2 areas: read (& that means read as completely as whatever my knowledge of the languages involved enables me) & not-read (meaning not read at all or only partially read). I find that I only have 2 issues of October, #3 (Spring 1977) & #17 (Summer 1981), & that I haven't read either of them (or, perhaps, only an article here & there). Somehow, October (1976-the present) has never appealed to me in the way that, say, Art-Language: The Journal of Conceptual Art (1969-1978), Avalanche (1970-1976), General Idea's FILE (1972-1989), The Fox (1975-1976), High Performance (1978-1997), lightworks (1975-2000), semiotext(e) (1974-1984?-the present?), View (1978-1993), & VILE (1974-1983) did.

semiotext(e), at least, started introducing French philosophy to the US slightly before October came around but their style was so flagrantly radical queer that I was impressed by the sheer audacity of it. I've always imagined that their "Man/Boy Love" issue from Summer, 1980, & their "Polysexuality" issue from 1981 probably put a substantial damper on their academic distribution - no more cash-cow university bookstores. &, indeed, while I still see "Polysexuality" available from The MIT Press, the "Man/Boy Love" issue is nowhere to be found - perhaps this is b/c it was newsprint, perhaps not. October is also distributed by The MIT Press.

It's tempting to slanderously hypothesize that the reason why something like October endures is b/c it's such a dry academic journal that the likelihood of its ever making any significant political difference in the world, despite its possible Marxist orientation, is nil. In other words, my ongoing (&, perhaps, increasingly tedious) contention is that the more IAE people use, the more funding they're likely to get b/c the more obvious it'll be to funders that the blah-blah stays safely in la-la. Alas, that's an oversimplification. October, obviously, thrives b/c it's the most entrenched in academia & academia thrives when it's the least threatening to the status quo.

Moving on: Florian continues in his introduction to say that "Joseph Beuys, a highly problematic figure with his left-nationalist missionary aspirations, summed it up in his formula that everyone was an artist, and accepted - among others - cooks and nurses into his Düsseldorf academy class." (p 10)

This issue of "everyone['s being] an artist" seems to have run thru, at least peripherally, my entire life. At some point, I might've found the notion challenging &/or exciting &/or radical: What if everyone's creativity were encouraged? Wd we have a more playful, a more flexible society? Maybe - but, 'when it comes down to it', not everyone wants to be an artist, not everyone gets the stimulus from it that people that it comes more naturally to do. Furthermore, the more 'art' is promoted as something that everyone can 'do', the more creativity seems to become undervalued.

I remember working in a bkstore in BalTimOre: I was playing the music of Anthony Braxton, a musician of consummate skill. A customer came in & sd: "My grandson could play better than that!" I replied: "You must have a very talented grandson." This imbecile didn't know shit from shinola but she was sure her ignorant opinion was unassailable. I prefer a society where skill is recognized & appreciated.

If "everyone['s] an artist" is everyone also a murderer, a car mechanic, a cook? I find it easy enuf to believe that all of us have some latent potential along any of those lines - but that doesn't mean we shd delude ourselves into thinking we're the 'real thing'. By all means if you want to be an artist & everyone's discouraging you as lacking talent, do it anyway but, please, I hope that you don't perpetuate the notion that critical standards are absolutely disposable.

Florian, like myself, is a neoist. Neoists may be almost entirely 'white' males from 'western' backgrounds (wch is unfortunate) but that doesn't really mean we're all the same.

"A 1985 issue of SMILE - a zine that could be published by anyone, thus anticipating the shared identity of 'Anonymous' - contained an aphorism that is quoted elsewhere in this book:

"Anti-art is art because it has entered into a dialectical dialogue with art, re-exposing contradictions that art has tried to conceal. To think that anti-art raises everything to the level of art is quite wrong. Anti-art exists only within the boundaries of art. Outside these boundaries it exists not as anti-art but as madness, bottle-racks and urinals.

"A book called 'anti-media' can't help being about 'media' for the same reasons. The only difference is that 'media' lack boundaries where 'art' - in the sense of contemporary visual art rather than in the broadest sense - has to draw them out of its own systemic and economic necessity. In both anti-art and anti-media, a love/hate relationship is undeniably at work." - p 14

Some people call me an "artist", some probably call me an "anti-artist". I don't consider myself to be either - much like I don't consider myself to be a Christian or a Satanist. One advantage that I can see to the term "anti-media" is that I'm not likely to be called an "anti-mediaist" or an "anti-medium". How about Amediaite?: a person who tries to avoid the propaganda traps of mediated existence - akin to an Atheist.

"In their research on International Art English, Rule and Levine note that: 'Usage of the word speculative spiked unaccountably in 2009; 2011 saw a sudden rage for rupture; transversal now seems poised to have its best year ever.' It was too late to change the subtitle of this book as it had already been announced by the publisher." - p 15

Yes, in IAE there are fashionable words wch, as in clothing fashion, are meant to make the user seem up-to-date. It doesn't pay to not be on top of the latest art trend. But what about the people who make their own clothes, who coin their own neologisms? The fashionable people are just buying into a system that rewards them in the same way that going to an elite university & getting a degree from there does - but it doesn't make them creative people. The mere fact that Cramer is even willing to criticize the language of his own bk's title rather than to try to further milk a particular word's recent IAE popularity cd be construed to mean that he's abandoning a sinking ship to try to stay fashionable OR that he's maintaining his integrity. I believe the latter is the case.

"One ought to think that it's a waste of time to give 'interactive media' and 'interactive art' any more serious thought, that there's a broad consensus that these were false promises and sunken big budget ships of late 1980s and early 1990s institutional laboratory art founded on such wacky ideas as - in the case of the German ZKM - 'the Bauhaus of Second Modernism'. We should be only a couple of years away from a time where these monstrosities will be turned into pop culture and celebrated as period kitsch, with the installations of Jeffrey Shaw and company representing 1990s retro kitsch next to Star Trek props for the 1960s, flokati rugs for the 1970s and Commodore home computers for the 1980s." - p 20

I get the impression that the above critique is Euro- &/or Internet- centric. IE: that rather than addressing the concept of interactivity in a broader sense, Florian is reacting against specific instances of "'interactive media' and 'interactive art'" in his immediate environment. Herr Stiletto Studios, another neoist based in Berlin, (probably) coined the term "interpassivity" wch pokes fun at the underacknowledged limits of the not-very-active 'interactivity' that Florian critiques. IMO, if the "'interactive media' and 'interactive art'" doesn't live up to its promises that doesn't invalidate the term, it invalidates the execution in its name.

"While there is, in other words, no such thing as 'interactive media' or 'interactive technology' if one doesn't reduce the notion of interaction to machine feedback, interaction technology and interaction design can and do exist - that is, technology and media that enable and constrain particular human interactions. Language might be the first and most important technology to be named here, architecture is a close second: the possibilities opened up and constraints imposed upon human interaction and communication by language, the constraints and options of human interaction created by the architecture of buildings, cities and landscapes. Nowadays, this also includes information protocols and information architectures, such as the famous 1990s example of AOL chat rooms being limited to 12 participants and banning conversations on AOL. In other words, information technology is 'interactive' only to the degree that it defines platforms of interaction - making it, just like architecture, both powerful and limited." - p 21

Ah ha! That strikes me as a great clarification: "that is, technology and media that enable and constrain particular human interactions." Has there ever been a debate where the ways in wch the debaters use their vocabulary aren't subtly at odds w/ each other?

"While 'interactivity' remains the radioactive cadaver and zombie that never seems to die, its rhetoric has been largely replaced by that of 'openness', in notions such as Open Source, Open Content, Open Access, open technology and even open society. 'Openness' is the biggest red herring of the IT industry. Software like OpenVMS, HP OpenCall, Apple OpenFirmware, Novell Open DOS, SCO OpenServer, file formats like Microsoft Office Open XML and websites like OpenBC and OpenID demonstrate how the word 'open' is the standard newspeak for a product not being open. But ultimately, the ideology that equates technological openness with social openness is based on cybernetic thinking just as much as on the ideology of interactivity, since it flatly conflates society and technology." - p 22

What Florian doesn't mention here is the definition of the collective identity, Monty Cantsin (&, perhaps only by implication, its successors), as an Open Pop Star - a notion conceived of by mail artist David Zack in 1978 or thereabouts & then developed thru neoism. One might explain this omission by saying that a name (& its attendant 'naming' subtext(s)) is not a 'technology' but given his statement from p 21 that "Language might be the first and most important technology to be named here" that explanation probably doesn't fly. Given that Monty Cantsin is the foremost collective neoist identity, Anti-Media is salted & peppered w/ references to it:

"The name SMILE is a travesty of FILE, a paper published by Canadian artist group General Idea that originally imitated the graphic design of LIFE magazine. FILE in turn had been parodied by Anna Banana's mail art periodical VILE and Bradley Lastname's fanzine BILE in the early 1980s. SMILE mutated, among other things, into MILES, SLIME, LIMES, LISME, EMILS, C-NILE and iMmortal LIES. As an 'international magazine of multiple origins', it appeared in more than 100 known issues published by different editors in Europe, America and Australia, many of whom adopted the collective pseudonyms Karen Eliot and Monty Cantsin." - p 26

According to footnote 16 on p 244, Stewart Home, the founder of SMILE magazine, claims that "'Incidentally, I called SMILE that name for a number of reasons, one being a play with/on General Idea's FILE. When I picked the name, I was not aware of VILE or BILE. If I had been more rigorous in thinking, I would have named it FILE but it's too late now', in Monty Cantsin (ed.), Neoism Now (Berlin: Artcore Editions, 1986)." To the best of my recollection, this isn't accurate. As I remember it, when I encountered Stewart's 1st 2 SMILEs at the 8th International Neoist Apartment Festival in London in 1984 I informed Stewart of the LIFE-FILE-VILE etc lineage wch he had NOT been previously familiar w/ at all. Then again, I'm writing this 30 yrs later & Stewart was writing 2 yrs later so he might be correct.

To be a stickler, an important part of this genealogy wd have to be Charlie Manson's 1970 record entitled LIE wch has a cover taken directly from the LIFE magazine that had Manson's picture on it. The cover design changed LIFE to LIE as a direct, & very clear, critique of mass media's propagandistic dishonesty. Regardless of how one feels about Manson & his crew & the tragic murders associated w/ them, his LIE record has an important place in the history told in the above paragraph - coming, as it did, 2 yrs before the 1st issue of FILE. If Home had been more 'rigorous' (according to what I take to be his logic) he might've simply reprinted the original LIFE issue about Manson & bypassed any variation whatsoever.

"Nowhere are the limitations and ugly flipside of the technological notion of 'openness' more visible than in 'One Laptop per Child' (OLPC), the project of outfitting schoolchildren in poor regions of the world with an inexpensive computer built using only free software and open hardware designs. Just like the Internet and ultimately free software itself, it wouldn't exist as a mass product without the slave labour in Chinese special economic zones that made electronic hardware cheap." - p 24

Anti-Media: Ephemera on Speculative Arts is so rich & dense w/ content that it's hard for me to write this review w/o the temptation of quoting just about the whole bk. "Yet the underlying idea of allowing works to be more freely used than under default copyright provisions wasn't new at all. In the 1930s, American folk singer Woodie Guthrie printed his songbooks with the following remark:

"This song is Copyrighted in the U.S. under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission will be mighty good friends of ours, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do." (p 24)

Alas, "Nowhere are the limitations and ugly flipside of" such anti-copyright "more visible than in" the capitalist art world where the people likely to rip off Guthrie, or whomever, aren't likely to "be mighty good friends" but are, instead, more likely to be people w/o their own imaginations who want to capitalize off of other people's imaginations for the sake of their own wealth & glamor. Take, eg, ORLAN: According to the Huffington Post ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/lady-gaga-sued-by-french-artist_n_3460710.html ):

"French artist Orlan is suing Lady Gaga and the French subsidiary of Universal Music for plagiarism in a Paris court. In the lawsuit, the artist accuses the singer of stealing from her to construct the visual universe of her third album, "Born This Way." According to Le Quotidien de l'Art, which broke the story, Orlan is demanding $31.7 million or 7.5 percent of the profits from the album and video.

"The lawsuit specifically mentions the beginning of the video of "Born This Way," which features Lady Gaga's made-up decapitated head. Indeed, it is very similar to Orlan's sculpture "Femme Avec Tête" ("Woman With Head") from 1996.

"This isn't the first time Lady Gaga has been accused of freely taking ideas from the visual arts realm. She already made Orlan's facial implants her own (though it was kind of like raiding your best friend's closet for her high heels). And the famous meat dress she wore at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010 was borrowed from a similar dress made by artist Jana Sterbak."

The hypocrisy & greed of both of these celebrities probably knows no limits. Orlan's imagery is heavily rooted in the morphing reuse of art works by people that her general public wd be too ignorant to know anything about - such as the paintings of George Catlin or work by anonymous artists in non- or pre- industrialized cultures. Here's a relevant excerpt from a review I wrote of an Orlan bk:

"The bk cover has a George Catlin painting of an Indian woman that's been altered to put ORLAN's face in. In the portion of the bk where these portraits are displayed (pp 248-265) no mention of Catlin appears at all [Catlin IS mentioned in passing in Viola's article on p 47]. Instead the section's called "Self-Hybridizations - American Indians". There's also no credit given to whoever took the fotos of ORLAN's face in order to have images that wd fit the poses of the paintings."

Even ORLAN's much touted implants cd be sd to've been plagiarized from others. Here's another relevant excerpt from the above-quoted bk review:

"But, once again, let's give credit where credit's due. ORLAN is not the first to do something like this. Take the example of "Stalking Cat": "Stalking Cat started his transformation in 1980" [..] "He has had all his teeth removed and replaced with tigerlike dentures and fangs. He has had his lip split to resemble the mouth of a cat. He has six stainless-steel mounts implanted on his forehead and 18 piercings above his lip to which he can attach whiskers. He has had nose and brow implants, and silicone cheek, chin and lip injections. The tips of his ears are pointed. And he has so many tattoos they almost cover his body." ( http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2002441727_catman16.html ) (see also: http://stalkingcat.net/ )"

As for the meat dress made by Jana Sterbak? Ok, she might be interesting, I don't know her work. I DO know that "Blaster" Al Ackerman wrote a short story about someone making a suit out of "2,197 Vienna Sausages" sometime before 1994 & that Catherine Pancake made a movie from the story sometime after that. But Blaster & Pancake aren't rich & famous, ergo: 'they don't exist'.

[For more critiques of Orlan's plagiarism see the section of my movie entitled "mm 37 - musical saw" starting around 8:35 here: http://youtu.be/mbmdUuwUP8M & see my review of an ORLAN bk here: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/315420-orlan-review?chapter=1 ]

"Under the headline 'None dare call it plagiarism', the editorial of [VAGUE] issue 18/19 reasons that:

"From Lautréamont onwards it has become increasingly difficult to write. Not because people no longer have anything to say, but because Western society has fragmented to such a degree that it is now virtually impossible to write in a manner that has traditionally been considered 'good'.

"The text concludes: 'In short, plagiarism saves time and effort, improves results and shows considerable initiative on the part of the individual plagiarist.'

"While the text is signed with the name of editor Tom Vague, the passages quoted above were copied literally and without attribution from an issue of SMILE, an underground magazine published by multiple editors independently of each other." - p 26

I completely disagree w/ the above promotion of plagiarism but still appreciate it as an exploratory project in & of itself. Unlike Orlan vs Lady Gaga, the relevant editor of SMILE was certainly not going to sue Tom Vague for plagiarism b/c Vague's reuse of the text was a participatory appreciation & an in-joke amongst friends & colleagues done in an anti-capitalist spirit. Florian later quotes me (writing under the collective identity of "David A. Bannister") as commenting:

"No matter that the Festivals of Plagiarism were mainly art shows for collages & copy art & paintings & other such banal pictorial forms. No matter that Festivals of Recycling might have been more accurate descriptions. The important thing is that by virtue of calling the act of reusing & changing previously existing material (not even always with the intention of critiquing said material) "Plagiarism', the appearance of being 'radical' could be given to people whose work was otherwise straight out of art school teachings. If the process of reusing had been called something so uncontroversial as 'recycling' the festivals would have seemed more like the product of 'outmoded hippie liberals' & wouldn't have sold nearly as well." - p 36

[For the full text of the above-quoted "History Begins Where Life Ends" pamphlet go here: http://www.thing.de/projekte/7:9%23/tent_history_begins.html .]

In other words, plenty "dare call it plagiarism" b/c that's the 'sexy' language in the art market niche that such philosophizing is aimed at. This, by the by, is NOT to diss VAGUE wch is a great magazine that endures to this day.

"By 1958, methods of 'recycling' and 'sampling' - or rather: collage - were already considered stale. At the time, avant-garde theorists Guy Debord and Gil Wolman saw Duchamp's 'drawing of a mustache on the Mona Lisa' to be 'no more interesting than the original version of that painting.'" (p 43) While I don't completely disagree w/ this, I do find it a most peculiar criticism for Debord to make considering the found footage nature of his films (Society of the Spectacle (1973)) & those of his fellow Situationist René Viénet (Can Dialectics Break Bricks? (1973)).

"In [Bakhtin's] advocacy of folk culture, he neither fully contradicted the cultural politics of the 1930s nor nineteenth-century romanticist philology with its praise of folk songs, folk tales and popular epics. The concepts of 'collective intelligence' and 'wisdom of crowds' in contemporary Internet culture follow the same tradition. Wikipedia's forced-upon editorial consensus and the prevailing mainstream aesthetics of open-licensed 'user-generated content' reveal the dark flipside of the 'commons' as a liberal variant of 'popular instinct' ideologies - gesundes Volksempfinden in German." - p 30

Let's not forget that the Nazis held the 'pure German people' to be the Volk, the folk Body that scapegoated peoples & opinions were presented as diseased threats against, threats to be destroyed thru genocide. On places like Wikipedia, however, bk burnings aren't 'necessary' - Wikigardeners make sure that 'undesirable' content, including content provided by people more expert on the subjects than the authors whose versions are allowed on Wikipedia, is simply banned & most users of Wikipedia are none the wiser.

Florian writes that the Festivals of Plagiarism's "form of small, self-organized festivals had been adapted from the earlier Neoist Apartment Festivals (APTs). The APTs, in turn, borrowed from the Fluxus festivals of the 1960s." (p 32) I differ by pointing out that people organizing such festivals are just using whatever's available to them. By having such events in spaces lived in by the participants they're not that dissimilar from the Salons of aristocratic hosts & hostesses that are sd to've begun in the 17th century but that've most likely existed throughout the history of any social gatherings. The main difference being, of course, that APT Fests weren't/aren't generally held in palatial homes but in more impoverished living quarters such as the "Peking Poolroom" wch was really just the rented apartment of Kiki Bonbon used as the main location of the 2nd APT in Montréal in Feburary of 1981. Nonetheless, if a palace were made available for an APT Fest it wd most likely take advantage of the opportunity. Perhaps the closest that any APT Fest has come to this was the 3rd APT Fest, organized by myself, at one of "Greenway's Follies", the mansion I was living in in BalTimOre in 1981. A movie of that can be witnessed in multiple parts starting chronologically here: http://youtu.be/_FfY1dw6RDI .

Cramer points out that "The eleventh issue [published by one editor of] SMILE" "even includes an interview with [concept artist Henry] Flynt" (p 32) Partially what interests me about this particular SMILE is that even though it's the "Plagiarism Special" the interview w/ Flynt is printed as "Henry Flynt in conversation with Stewart Home, New York 8/3/89". This identifies the originality of the interview & specifies the people involved. The interview isn't presented w/o identifying place or time & isn't presented as something like 'Monty Cantsin interviewed by Karen Eliot'. I actually prefer it the way it's printed even tho it might be 'more rigorous' to 'collectivize' the positions presented thru anonymity.

While I more or less completely disagree w/ Flynt about music & find most of his own to be somewhat boring (the earliest recording I have by him being the Edition Hundertmark 90 minute cassette of "You Are My Everlovin" (1981) & "Celestial Power" (1980) - this was later reissued in a 2 CD set by neoist John Berndt), I strongly agree w/ him in this interview where he's reputed as stating "I was listening to black music and I began to think that the best musicians were receiving the worst treatment. The people who were doing the greatest work were despised as lower class, with no dignity accorded to what they did" - more specifically, I agreed w/ his critique of how classism discriminates against talent that doesn't fit the ruling elite molds. My own essay on class warfare in classical music can be read here: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/WdmUUsicEssaysLCU.html .

One of the reasons why I'm glad Home presented the interview as being w/ Flynt is b/c I think that Flynt, too, gets '2nd class treatment' in the art world - precisely b/c he's actually one of the most original thinkers in the world of Concept Art wch has been overpopulated w/ Conceptual Artists whose concepts are considerably weaker than Flynt's. I want him to get credit.

Alas (?), I also think it's important to understand the significance of what Flynt himself reveals: "I was a student at Harvard and that's where I learned about so called avant-garde music." "I was trying to be up with the latest thing. To a point I just took what I was offered, logical positivism in philosophy and the so-called avant-garde in music." This admission reveals to me 2 things: 1. Flynt was a part of a very elite academic world, Harvard, 2. His interests were conformist rather than rooted in actual understanding.

Unfortunately, I think his reaction against his own conformism & privileged class background was to throw the baby out w/ the bathwater: ie: to reject avant-garde music by trying to align himself w/ cultures that he isn't actually part of - the result is, IMO, basically avant-garde music that fails not only as Indian music & as jazz, wch is what he imitates, but avant-garde music as well. His critique of the 'inauthenticity' of the avant-garde infects his own music w/ a different type of inauthenticity. (Actually, I still enjoy some of it anyway) There are excellent musicians coming from privileged backgrounds & there are excellent musicians coming from oppressed backgrounds - to reject one or the other on the basis of class is part of a failure to simply appreciate the music.

This issue of SMILE was the last one that Stewart published & the last one before the 1990-1993 Art Strike that he initiated. It was a very exciting time & the issue is one of my personal favorites. Cramer comments that "the art strike campaign lacked the competence, language and networks for infiltrating the official art system." (p 35) In the front p article of this issue it's written that "Art is conceptually defined by a self-perpetuating elite and marketed as an international commodity. Those cultural workers who struggle against the reigning society find their work marginalized or else co-opted by the bourgeois art establishment."

In an article entitled "To Tell the Truth?" by Stewart on pp 30-32 of "lightworks" magazine, issue 19, winter 1988/1989, Stewart writes that "I was engaged with a lively correspondence with numerous individuals about multiple names, of which the theoretical elaborations of tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE, in particular, were crucial to my developing understanding of the project." (p 31)

But after the Art Strike was over, Home seems to've taken his own critique of "Those cultural workers who struggle against the reigning society find their work marginalized or else co-opted by the bourgeois art establishment" & apparently decided that rather than be marginalized he'd enter the "bourgeois art establishment" by initiating his own co-optation. As such, he gave a lecture at the Victoria & Albert Museum. To quote from the afore-mentioned "History Begins Where Life Ends" pamphlet:

"The Art Strike, for Bannister, was not so much a rejection of the commodification of creativity as much as it was the commodification of itself accomplished by placing itself in pseudo-opposition to the only context in which it could be sold so that it could be sold within that context. Bannister could have never sold his talk to the Victoria & Albert Museum on the Art Strike if he'd contextualized it as "commodification resistance" (for example) & left out the "Art" part."

"History Begins Where Life Ends" was written by "David A. Bannister" about "David A. Bannister". As such, it wd've only been recognized as a critique of Home's initiating his own co-optation by people 'in the know' thru involvement w/ the subjects addressed.

For me, the Art Strike didn't lack "the competence, language and networks for infiltrating the official art system" as much as it lacked any substantive willingness to actually subvert the art world. It infiltrated "the official art system" simply by not really being opposed to it in the 1st place. Hence the V&A speech was a no-brainer. Since I had the audacity to point this out publicly, Home then turned against me. As I explained in a letter to Green Anarchist (issue 57-58):

"In "Neoism, Plagiarism, & Praxis" Home no longer indexes me primarily as "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE" (as would be conceptually appropriate) but as "Michael Tolson" - as a sort of deliberate reduction of my activities to 'normality'. The hostilities of the text against both myself & Istvan Kantor (another person that Home has a grudge against) & its unsupported or poorly supported claims are numerous. Perhaps it's best exemplified when he writes: "Tolson, like the producers of CALL IT SLEEP, is insignificant. His work is largely unknown outside the 'marginal'/anarchist scene, and this is just one mark of its failure." [page 119]"

By criticizing Home's participation in his own co-optation I went from being a person whose "theoretical elaborations" [..] "were crucial to [Home's] developing understanding" to being "insignificant" & "cultural workers who struggle against the reigning society find their work marginalized" were no longer so b/c we're actually doing something important but b/c we're "failure"s. W/ this neat completely self-serving 'logic' Home did, IMO, infiltrate "the official art system" very competently even if the Art Strike, itself, didn't. In the long run, I suppose, there are worse ways of 'selling out' to make a living.

Cramer continues: "For young people, TV has been killed by YouTube, the music industry by mp3, DVD profits by bittorrent, newspapers by the Web. But even more significant than these shifts of consumer technology was the digital revolution of production. Most musicians no longer need a record label, but can master their music on a laptop. Thanks to the last generation of inexpensive digital cameras, cinematic films can now be shot and edited at home by freelancers. Writers no longer need publishers, but often are better off self-publishing via print-on-demand and e-books. In all these areas, 'creatives' become all-rounders. Division of labour is decreasing, not increasing, with many industries, big agencies and highly staffed bureaus becoming dinosaurs of the past." (p 42)

Unfortunately, while some aspect of changes in the means of production have undoubtedly opened up new possibilities, such as a more immediate international accessibility of this review, the readership for something like Anti-Media will continue to be as small as ever precisely b/c so few people are interested in the issues it raises, no matter how brilliantly. The general public will still be giving millions of hits to YouTube videos w/ huge breasts or cute cat activities than it will to my own considerably more esoteric movies. This 'marginalization' isn't an aspect of 'failure', as Home wd have it, as much as it's an aspect of the general lack of intellect among the potential (v)audience.

It's my opinion that mass media will, for the most part, continue to recoup itself B.A.M.N. (By Any Mean Necessary) simply by staying invested in whatever dominant mediums there are. As such, if "newspapers" are "killed by" "the Web", eg, then newspapers will (& already have) obviously relocate(d) there. The advertising that ultimately supports them can easily relocate w/ them.

Florian Cramer is a scholar & I've learned many an interesting thing from him. Reading Anti-Media: Ephemera on Speculative Arts reminds me of all the informative conversations we've had. When he writes "The radical systemic provocations recycling poses for the art and media markets are no longer negotiated within the Academies of Art, but rather in places like Stockholm: at the trial against The Pirate Bay" I then have to look up "The Pirate Bay" to find out what that's about b/c it's a new one to me. Here's what Jemima Kiss [really?!] of The Guardian is credited w/ having written about this in an article dated Friday 17 April 2009 05.25 EDT:

"The Pirate Bay trial: guilty verdict

"Swedish court sentences four co-founders of notorious download site The Pirate Bay to a year in jail and a $3.6m fine

"The four co-founders of website The Pirate Bay have been found guilty of assisting the distribution of illegal content online by a Swedish court today and have been sentenced to a year in jail and a $3.6m (£2.4m) fine.

"Charges against the site, which allows web users to access music, movies and TV shows without paying for them and claimed 22 million users during February, were brought by a consortium of media, film and music companies led by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

"A Stockholm court found the four defendants guilty of making 33 specific files accessible for illegal sharing through The Pirate Bay, which means they will have to pay compensation to 17 different music and media companies including Sony BMG, Universal, EMI, Warner, MGM and 20th Century Fox.

"All four have pledged to appeal against the decision though the process may take several years.

"One of the defendants, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, admitted on Twitter that Pirate Bay had lost its case.

""Stay calm ­ nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or filesharing what so ever. This is just a theatre for the media," he said.

""Really, it's a bit LOL. It used to be only movies, now even verdicts are out before the official release.""


"The chairman of the Swedish Independent Music Producers Association, Jonas Sjöström, said as the trial concluded that the consortium is "tired and sick of services like The Pirate Bay who have no understanding or respect for the creative community, and instead have their own financial interests at heart".

"Meanwhile, Sweden's National Museum of Science and Technology announced yesterday that it had bought a server owned by The Pirate Bay confiscated by police last year. The museum paid SKr2,000 for the server and will display it in its archive of illegally copied material." - http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2009/apr/17/the-pirate-bay-trial-guilty-verdict

I clearly don't understand what's going on here b/c I don't understand what the "financial interests" of the 'guilty' are. Are they actually capable of paying $3.2 million dollars? If so, did that money somehow come from file-sharing?! If they aren't capable of paying it what happens to them if & when they don't?! If they're unable to pay it, will they resort to becoming corporate criminals in order to do so?!

Aren't there white collar criminals, such as Enron management, who've actually defrauded far more money in a much more tangible way out of people who've ultimately been expected to deliver considerably less money to those offended simply b/c their actual purpose was theft & not sharing?! In other words, doesn't the legal system tend to underprosecute actual white collar criminals precisely b/c of class bias?!

According to Wikipedia's presentation of the trial, The Pirate Bay "is funded primarily with advertisements shown next to torrent listings." Furthermore, "The prosecution attempted to show the Pirate Bay as an immensely profitable business that made its money helping others violate copyright law. The defense attempted to show the Pirate Bay as nothing more than a search engine, no different from Google and thus subject to the same protections." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pirate_Bay_trial ) My question is: IF it IS an "immensely profitable business" why shd I care about defending the accused/convicted? If it ISN'T then, to me, it's a completely different matter. So wch is it? I've been unable to learn the answer to this online.

I have so many ways of getting stimulation & entertainment cheaply & for free that I've never actually explored file-sharing as it seems to be talked about in connection w/ The Pirate Bay. I have, however, certainly, eg, recorded music borrowed from the public library & allowed friends to have copies if they're interested (wch they rarely are). It's telling that the Wikipedia article has this to say: "former Beatles member Paul McCartney commenting to the BBC that "if you get on a bus, you've got to pay. And I think it's fair, you should pay for your ticket."" Right, but McCartney is a multimillionaire & isn't actually likely to be that personally impacted by people sharing recordings of his music. If there were a moviemaker, such as myself, whose work was made available thru someone who profited off this availability w/o my receiving a share of the profits than, obviously, my sympathy wd be w/ the moviemaker - but if the service were to make the movies available w/ as much investment as the moviemaker & w/ as little personal gain then, from my perspective, they'd be on the same page. People I know who tend to share are usually sharing their own work thru trade.

"At the peak of their popularity, and just before they were shut down by court orders, Napster and Audio Galaxy were probably the most extensive public music archives of all time. Napster, the first popular incarnation of peer-to-peer data exchange services on the Internet, was the first global archive consisting of nothing more than the sum total of temporarily connected private archives without any sort of permanent existence, but rather one that changed by the second, its catalogue being synchronously revised and rewritten." - p 103

That's more what I understand. In fact, the idea of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks for knowledge sharing is a revolutionary boon to scholars or the generally curious. Since I never used Napster and Audio Galaxy & never pd much attn to them I decided to ask Google "Did Napster make money?" to wch I got this answer: "Probably the biggest question that most people have about Napster is, "How did they make money?" The short answer is, "They didn't." Initially, Napster was not intended to be a revenue-generating business. Like many great inventors before, Shawn Fanning created the program to see if it could be done, not because of money." ( http://computer.howstuffworks.com/napster4.htm )

Cool. Now I can relate even more. The same website goes on to claim that: "The simple fact is that P2P is here to stay, regardless of legality disputes. Since the introduction of Napster, many other similar utilities and Web sites have appeared. And most of them do not limit file sharing to just MP3s as Napster did. Some, like Gnutella, allow virtually anything to be shared." & that "Many of the content developers in music, video and other industries are beginning to realize that fundamental changes in the way royalties and licensing work are vital to keep up with the revolutionary world of the Internet."

It seems obvious to me that there's a central issue of: Is a copy of something to be valued in the same way as the original? No. I, personally, have encouraged copies of my own work as a way of creating a distribution system for it that it wdn't otherwise have. Therefore, in 1988, when I went to England & Scotland, I took PAL VHS tapes w/ me that I put sleeves on the exterior of that contained multiple copies of the table of contents along w/ this explanation:

"given that tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE wants to widely distribute this material, but will probably never have the means to mass-produce it, you (the recipient of this compilation) are encouraged to make a copy (or copies) of it - if you like it or have any use for it - & to then PUT THIS MASTER BACK IN CIRCULATION! (please don't keep this master & put a copy into circulation instead since that will result in a progressive deterioration of the circulating quality) If you don't like this material, please PUT THIS MASTER BACK INTO CIRCULATION! anyway - to allow others to witness it & to decide for themselves. Please make sure that a copy of these explanatory notes accompany all copies of the vaudio."

I also put my contact info on the notes. I seriously doubt that ANYONE ever followed my suggestion. No-one ever contacted me. Let's face it, most people are just unmotivated slugs wallowing thru life in a way directed by ZERO personal vision & an acceptance of being led like Pavlov's dogs w/o even bothering to care to notice.

"Napster, the first peer-to-peer service on the Internet conceived for PCs with dial-up access, was also the first to change the rules. Napster made users aware of the fact that every home PC connected to the Net was not merely a terminal for surfing the Web or reading e-mail, but also a potential server. Downloading via Napster did not incur a detour via a server, but instead, occurred directly between two of its users' PCs. Brecht and Enzenberger's media utopias, envisioning receivers as broadcasters as well, became a reality with the advent of Napster." - p 107

"there is another significant question or claim in the room that needs to be addressed: namely, whether the mere act of sampling, recycling and culture jamming (or, to use a somewhat more classical terminology: intertextuality, pastiche and appropriation) is in and of itself semiotically and aesthetically subversive." (p 44) I think not, I think sampling etc can simply be a matter of scholarly citation. If the sampling is intended to present a different message than the original then it subverts it - witness my "Capitalism is an Ism" ( http://youtu.be/kriwrqS1k4E ). If the sampling is in homage to the original materials, then it's not necessarily subversive - witness my "Skeletal Remains" ( http://youtu.be/6EicbqmLvbk ). In both cases, I consider it to be fair use.

Cramer shows the reader that an anti-fascist symbol has become co-opted for fascist use. (pp 46-47) He explains: "Irrespective of their appearance, the political message of the Autonome Nationalisten (Autonomous Nationalists) is nothing new: it is the same old neo-Nazi ideology - 'National Socialism' in the Kameradeschaftsszene of media. Their use of the so-called Querfront strategy, a tactic already employed in the Weimar republic that entails adopting the political messages and identificatory signs of the enemy, is obvious." (p 48)

I've always warned people against pop culture precisely b/c it's so easy to use it for any political purpose. Rock & Punk music can be played loudly in tanks to motivate drivers & gunners to destroy - but try doing that w/ the extremely quiet music of Morton Feldman. His music wd not only be inaudible in a tank but also extremely unlikely to assist the listener into working themselves up into a mindless rage. As Cramer astutely points out: "the mere existence of a grassroots fascism demonstrates the error in the assumption that grassroots structures are qua definition antifascist." (p 50) Indeed.

To me, ALL populist movements become popular not so much thru thinking participation as much as conformity to subcultural norms. This normative behavior can then be easily manipulated by masters of defining what the norms are - mob behavior is the result & mob behavior is very, VERY dangerous. Even in protests whose cause I whole-heartedly support I still find it disturbing to see crowds all heading in the same direction. At an anti-G20 protest in Pittsburgh in 2009, I proposed to a friend of mine that we go in an opposite direction from the one the crowd was taking. My friend chose not to. I think he didn't even understand why I'd propose such a thing. He wanted to be where the action was. I chose a more independent path & rejoined the crowd from time-to-time.

Cramer makes the interesting &, I think, crucial point that such appropriation of symbols as those of the anti-fascists being reused by the fascists shows an uncomfortable parallelism. Is it possible to create strategies that can't be recycled for undesired uses?

"Both in terms of terminology and tactics, concepts like 'liberated zones', later 'nationally liberated zones' propagated first in 1991 by the NHB, the student organization of the German right-extremist NPD, have a conspicuous correspondence with countercultural leftist concepts, such as Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zones. Both are concerned with the creation of spaces and situations in which prevailing laws and orders are temporarily suspended and replaced by a self-defined system. According to the NHB brief: 'We need to create liberated spaces in which we effectively exercise power . . . We are inside, and the state stays outside.' In the same year, 1991, Bey defines the TAZ as being

". . . like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerrilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it . . . TAZ can 'occupy' these areas clandestinely and carry on its festal purposes for quite a while in relative peace." - pp 48-49

I, personally, am in favor of the type of 'liberation' that involves the least oppression, misery, murder, etc.. It's unlikely that neo-Nazis are going to co-opt an anti-genocidal platform for their own anti-genocidal purposes since Nazis are, practically by definition, genocidal. It's also unlikely that neo-Nazis are going to co-opt a Black Panther free breakfast program for kids before they go to school. Therefore, such a Black Panther program seems dominantly positive & worthy of support to me.

"The simple but significant conclusion that can be drawn from the mere existence of a fascist 'communication guerrilla' and fascist 'culture jamming' is that a variety of pop theorists, art critics and romanticists of subculture have to take a good look in the mirror." (p 51) Indeed. I deeply distrust people who use culture in a way to gain power for their own opinions w/o simultaneously subverting themselves. The striving for power to prevent others from having power over one's self is a very different thing from the striving for power over others. "'Reclaim the streets' is another one of those hollow nomadic-geopolitical slogans that will probably soon find its way onto the flyposters of the Autonome Nationalisten." (p 50) Having participated in at least one Reclaim the Streets & having found it a positive experience I sincerely hope Florian's wrong. Alas, I think his warning is all too well-founded.

"The unwieldiness of the computer, low resolution screen displays, equipment noise, slow network connections, system crashes and telephone costs create a hostile environment for the concentration required to read difficult texts. With added access fees and the costs associated with acquiring hardware, Net literature most likely costs the average reader more than a good library of paperback books would. The idea that content on the Web is free just because the computer and telecommunications industry make a profit from it (as opposed to authors) is a widespread mistake." - p 56

THANK YOU. For pointing out what shd be obvious but apparently isn't to entirely too many people. Getting bks online is like buying a pair of shoes that require batteries: the shoes are 'free' (made by Chinese slave labor) but they won't let you walk w/o the batteries & the batteries are very expensive. I HATE reading a computer screen, I read bks & magazines in hardcopy every day, I rarely look at any such things online & I NEVER read them in their entirety - even when it's a place where I'm published. I'm astounded that people witness movies on their small laptop screens w/ low volume as a 'normal' thing to do these days instead of on larger tv screens or projected. The devices are too expensive, the viewing & listening conditions are too shitty. I STILL prefer VHS tapes: they're more reliable as a storage medium than crash & digital glitch susceptible mediums, etc..

"The idea that electronic hypertext spells the end of books, however - as claimed by American author Robert Coover in the New York Times Book Review in 1992 - has not come true." (p 54) Thank goodness. The promotion of devices that enable the viewing of content w/o actually necessarily containing the content itself is a very dangerous precedent for allowing content to no longer be in private hands. I'm not against streaming as much as I am against streaming as a dominant medium. People are brainwashed into thinking that just b/c they can use a device now to access a bk in an electronic form that they'll 'always' be able to do so. This is extremely delusional.

& here's what I've been saying all along: "the so-called digital media are thus only so-called because although their information may be digital their carrier medium is always analog" (p 78) "Digital" has become a 'magic word' of market-speak: I even have a "digital tripod"! Need I explain that there's nothing different about it from any pre-digital tripod?! How many people understand that VHS tapes (analog = 'bad') are the same as ADAT (Alesis Digital Audio Tape = 'good')? How many people understand that there's nothing intrinsically 'digital' to any of the mediums associated w/ digital? One can still buy a pretty good VHS deck (used) for a couple of hundred dollars or less & the tapes for $2 or less; on the other hand I see a Digital Betacam VTR for sale online (new) for $53,476.50 & tapes for $11.44. No doubt, the difference in quality is substantial but is it $53,276.50 more substantial? I doubt it.

"In contrast to this, classical analog print carriers like the book are self-supporting: the physical storage and haptic, visual display of their symbolic information clump together to form a stable, unified hardware that can be used independently of other technical components. In analog film this dependency is restricted to one element: the projector. Since this has remained constant for over 100 years, the film industry continues to use 35mm celluloid prints for long-term archiving, even when it comes to digitally produced films." (p 78) "It is highly unlikely that a video DVD, for example, will technically still be able to play on hardware and software in 100 years, if it is not already physically destroyed. 35mm is, without question, a more stable medium." (footnote 17, p 248)

I have a bk called The Secret Societies of the European Revolution - Vol. I from 1876 & another bk called Travels in Peru during the years 1838-1842 from 1852. I can still read both of them. NO-ONE is likely to have a Kindle 162 yrs from now that they can still use. Even if they were, marvelously, able to still use their Kindle for such a purpose & if it were still, again marvelously, in working order, it's incredibly unlikely that their device wdn't be costing them something for maintenance & powering-up AND it's incredibly unlikely that the content for it wd be w/in their control. The success of capitalism in getting the consumer to accept pre-planned obsolescence is mind-boggling. People seem to no longer concern themselves w/ longevity at all, most people seem to accept 'upgrades' as 'inevitable' &, somehow, 'necessary'. This is idiotic & slavish. I'm all for innovation. I'm also all for long-term use value - digital technology for the consumer under the control of capitalism goes completely against this. The days of buying a device, such as an audio cassette duping deck, & expecting it to last for decades are gone.

The seemingly recent widely spread notion of 'hoarding' seems like a calculated propaganda move on capitalism's part to get people to continually rent to NOT own EVERYTHING possible: why own a bk when you can have it sent to yr device? Actually having the bk is 'bad', it's 'hoarding'. In John Brunner's 1969 novel The Jagged Orbit he envisions a society where clothing's rented - partially as a way of keeping up w/ the latest fashions (see my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/362701-the-jagged-o-r-bit ). Is that so far off from people looking down on people who make their own clothes instead of prominently displaying brand names that're like gang signs? Kindles & streaming pave the way for a future where content providers have an extremely centralized stranglehold over what information people have access to.

"Why then write about literature on the internet?" (p 54) I'm reminded of a party I was at several yrs ago. A group of us were having a conversation, probably about a bk or bks, when 2 guys I didn't know rudely interrupted us to say "Literature is dead." I didn't know them but they apparently knew me & they followed up by sneering at me something like 'but you'd probably still find something interesting about it'. I wd've found their statement more stimulating if they hadn't been so confrontationally & insultingly arrogant & if they'd followed their provocation w/ some sort of logical argument. They didn't, they just sneered & moved on. How did they define "literature"? If they meant that there's currently no such thing as literature that seems like a rather unsupportable statement w/o dramatically redefining what literature is. If they meant that what made literature interesting, say, 100 yrs ago no longer applies in today's society I can imagine some lively debate arising out of such a contention. But these guys just seemed to want to look down on people at the party. What a bore. My impression was that they were hackers on designer drugs - wch isn't to make an anti-hacker statement since I find hackers, at least as previously defined here, intelligent.

Cramer articulates on p 56 when online publication is worthwhile:

"1. The text is meant to be quickly and globally accessible to as many readers as possible" (distribution)

"2. The text evolves, publically or privately, as part of a collaborative, networked writing process." (writing platform)

"3. The text is meant to be researched through the use of a search engine." (database)

"4. The text requires user interface software or is produced automatically according to programmed rules." (computer literature)

How many of the above apply to most bks available to Kindle or whatnot?

Cramer points out that: "As easy as it might be to use a search engine to track the use of the word 'hand' throughout the entire World Wide Web or within a database, it is impossible - without the aid of tagging or artificial intelligence - to search through digital photos for images of hands." (p 55) Is that true? What about face-recognition software used in connection w/ surveillance cameras? If it IS true, I think I'm somewhat relieved - much as I'm relieved that humans still seem unable to control the weather.

"In the Western tradition, the history of algorithmic poetry goes back to the Hellenist poet Kastorion of Soloi, who, according to historical records, used a process of word exchange - permutation - to vary and multiply a sentence." (p 62) According to a glimpse available online into a bk entitled Beyond the Canon & edited by Annette Harder, Remco F. Regtuit, & G. C. Walker, "Kastorion of Soloi's permutative Hymn to Pan plays the same role as Raymond Queneau's Cent mille milliards de poèmes" but we're talking 3rd century BC here. Cramer is an expert on such things & curates a relevant website called "per.m]utations" wch can be accessed here: http://permutations.pleintekst.nl/ . The above-mentioned Queneau text can be read there under the "Rotary Dial Text" category.

His expertise is great for exposing the interested reader to the obscure: "Eastgate also publishes work by Jim Rosenberg, a former member of a group of American writers known as the language poets who have experimented with intermedial poetic forms since the 1960s and 1970s." [..] "On Rosenberg's website, one can also find a number of theoretical essays addressing computer literature." (p 64) Now, I, too, was associated w/ (what I prefer to call) language writing & I've never heard of Rosenberg & he's not in The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book or in "Language" Poetries - but these 2 bks are by no means representative of all work done under that umbrella, they're just the 2 I have handy.

As for "since the 1960s and 1970s": I tend to date language writing as starting w/ Ron Silliman's magazine Tottel's (1970-1981) &/or w/ Barrett Watten & Robert Grenier's magazine This (1971-1982) &, therefore, wdn't date it as far back as "the 1960s". Proto-language writing cd be sd to've started much earlier w/ Gertrude Stein & Jackson Mac Low, etc..

SO, now curious about Rosenberg I went here: http://wings.buffalo.edu/epc/authors/rosenberg/ where I was interested to read that he got encouragement from 2 people who also encouraged me: Charles Amirkhanian & Jackson Mac Low + inspiration from someone that I also find very inspiring: John Cage. I downloaded the earliest piece of his available on the site, "Dawn Quartet" (1972?), & unintentionally downloaded the RealOne Player at the same time. I'm listening to it as I type this.

I was further interested to read on Rosenberg's site that "Intermittence was first performed (1974, I think) at the San Francisco Poetry Center. The recording here was made at WBAI in New York in 1975; the readers were Barbara Barracks, Jackson Mac Low, Sharon Matlin, and Mac McCloud. The score for this piece was published in Scores: An Anthology of New Music edited by Roger Johnson, Schirmer Books, New York, 1981. The score gives the timing and the overlay structure; each reader receives 7 pages of 3 stanzas each and orders them however the reader would like; some pages are given to only one reader, some to two, and some to three. Thus each performance is likely to be unique." I have publication envy!: Scores: An Anthology of New Music is an excellent bk that I wish I had something in. Thank you, Florian, for exposing me to Rosenberg's work.

Cramer, West Germany -born, has a better English vocabulary than most native speakers I know - probably partially b/c he studied rhetoric. He uses the word "pleonasm" (p 65). Unable to immediately define it in so many words, I look it up: "1: the use of more words than those necessary to denote mere sense (as in the man he said) : redundancy" ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pleonasm ).

Cramer is always trying to refine his definitions, to clarify:

"Computers, the Internet and all digital technologies are based on zeros and ones, so they are based on code. Zeros and ones are an alphabet that can be translated back and forth between other alphabets without information loss. In my point of view, it makes no sense to limit the definition of the alphabet in general to that of the Roman alphabet in particular when we can write one and the same textual information as Morse code, flag signs or zeros and ones. The Internet and computers run on alphabetic code, whereas, for example, images and sound can only be digitally stored when translating them into code, which - unlike the translation of conventional text into digital bits - is a lossy, that is, a not fully reversible and symmetric translation." - p 68

"Alan Turing showed that no electronics are needed to build a computer; the Boston Computer Museum even features a mechanical computer built of wooden sticks." (p 69) "Firewire" takes on a whole new meaning in the latter example.

Cramer borders on waxing manifesto-like: "while all literature should teach us to read and deal with the textuality of computers and digital poetry, computers and digital poetry might teach us to pay more attention to codes and control structures coded into all language." (p 75) I wonder how many of Cramer's readers find his opinions offensive?:

"7. Ctrl > Alt > Delete

"On the Rapid Decline of New Literature: Why Net Poetry Today is Even Less Interesting Than It Was a Decade Ago


"The greater the technological dependencies of an electronic text on other layers of (software, hardware, networking) technology, the higher the probability that one or more layers will break and make the piece unreadable, and even unpreservable. In the past two decades of electronic poetry, this has happened more often than not." - p 75

The infrastructure that most people take for granted is deliberately totally out of their control. "Even the majority of Net literature and art made for the World Wide Web since the 1990s is missing or arcane. These works require browser functions, plug-ins or data formats that no longer exist, their web addresses have disappeared, or their pages link to online documents and resources that have been erased." (p 76) While the full title of this bk is Anti-Media: Ephemera on Speculative Arts, it might be more appropriate for it to be called Anti-Media: Speculation on Ephemera.

"Ever since 'Web 1.0's' idea of a 'docuverse' and the global electronic library was supplanted by 'Web 2.0' - a constantly updated universal operating system for online software applications - these difficulties have, instead, increased and escalated." [..] "In the eyes of media management and politics - at least in Europe - Net Works are not part of our cultural heritage. They are, instead, a menace to it. The Internet Archive, which allows rudimentary access to Internet documents from the past, is financed through private donations, has a smaller annual budget than a European municipal theater and, in light of what it is and does, is in violation of copyright law." (p 77) It's also the main place where audio files of mine are available for free download: http://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22tENTATIVELY%2C%20a%20cONVENIENCE%22.

Florian claims that "all of postmodern American literature, from language poetry to the prose of John Barth, has been written by professors, printed by university publishing houses and read primarily by students of literature." (p 76) Generally accurate but, otherwise, NOT. Ron Silliman, Jackson Mac Low, & I all don't fit this mold. One of my favorite publishers in Pittsburgh, Encylopaedia Destructica, doesn't fit the mold. My own publications such as DDC#040.002, SMILE, & Street Ratbag don't fit the mold. Most anarchist & neoist publications don't fit the mold. Maybe none of these fit the category of "postmodern American literature". Where does my Puzzle Writing published by Crag Hill & Score fit in? How does my ""Corrected" Dyslexic Variations" published in (S)CRAP 6 & ottotole 3 fit in?

"C[reative]C[ommons]'s self-definition that 'our licenses help you keep your copyright while inviting certain uses of your work - a "some rights reserved" copyright', translates into what software developer and Neoist Dmytri Kleiner phrases as follows: "The Creative Commons, is to help "you" (the "Producer") to keep control of "your" work. Kleiner concludes that:

"The right of the 'consumer' is not mentioned, neither is the division of 'producer' and 'consumer' disputed. The Creative 'Commons' is thus really an Anti-Commons, serving to legitimise, rather than deny, Producer-control and serving to enforce, rather than do away with, the distinction between producer and consumer." - p 84

Kleiner & Cramer's point(s) is(are) well taken. Nonetheless, I license my recordings on the Internet Archive using a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical-Share Alike 3.0 wch means that:

"[People] are free to:

* Share - copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

* Adapt - remix, transform, and build upon the material

* The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

"Under the following terms:

Attribution - You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Attribute this work:


What does "Attribute this work" mean?

The page you came from contained embedded licensing metadata, including how the creator wishes to be attributed for re-use. You can use the HTML here to cite the work. Doing so will also include metadata on your page so that others can find the original work as well.

NonCommercial - You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

ShareAlike - If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original." - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

My concern here is that other people will take something that I've put an enormous amt of thought & labor into w/o making any money from it & thru means I find egregious turn it into a money-maker for themselves. The use of the license isn't to keep copy-leftists away, it's to thwart capitalism. Perhaps there's a better way to do this, Kleiner & Cramer are more likely to know about that than I am. I'm not particularly worried about the 'consumer''s uses of my output, I'm worried about the faux-producer's exploitation of it. I DO think that a strong distinction exists between most producers & most consumers: the world is largely populated by couch potatoes - in the 'west', at least, they're more likely to spend more money on their annual vacations (if they're fortunate enuf to have one) than I am on a yr's worth of movie-making. The consumers AREN'T spending every day making complex works from wch they can hope to make close to ZERO financial gain. They have no motivation to do so.

As Cramer later writes: "Experimental, radical art and activism that does not play nice with third-party copyrights and trademarks can't be legally released and used under whatever license anyway. Its work should rather - and explicitly - be released into the public domain with, quote jodi, 'all wrongs reversed' and quote Kleiner, 'all rights detourned under the terms of the Woody Guthrie General License Agreement'." (p 90) Such statements are what I feel most in tune w/.

Berners-Lee "conceives of the Semantic Web as a universal, unified markup or 'meta tagging' system: 'Instead of asking machines to understand people's language, it involves asking people to make the extra effort.'

"This effort, semantic tagging, is a well-established and popular device on sites like the photo sharing platform flickr.com, the news aggregator digg.com and the bookmarking site del.icio.us. It simply means that users attach keywords to texts, images and other resources, making the information searchable by keywords or particular keyword combinations." (p 92) Good to know.

"In his essay and short-story 'The Analytic Language of John Wilkins', Jorge Luis Borges writes about the English seventeenth-century scholar:

"He divided the universe in forty categories or classes, these being further subdivided into differences, which was then subdivided into species. He assigned to each class a monosyllable of two letters; to each difference, a consonant; to each species, a vowel. For example: de, which means an element; deb, the first of the elements, fire; deba, a part of the element fire, a flame.

"Similar classification schemes have been designed throughout the Middle Ages and renaissance, among others by Ramon Llull, Giordano Bruno," [tortured & kept in chains by the Catholics for 8 yrs & eventually burned at the stake] "encyclopaedist Johann Heinrich Alsted and theosophist Jan Amos Comenius, scholars in whose tradition Wilkins, a founding member of the 'Invisible College', works and thinks. Before Diderot's and d'Alembert's revolutionary, heretic device of arbitrarily structuring human knowledge by the alphabet, encyclopaedias developed increasingly complex tree-like classification systems of all things in the world they described. The cosmology-called-ontology of the Semantic Web is not only similar, but precisely the same." - p 93

The reader is again directed to my movie & the written explanation for it entitled Story of a Fructiferous Society. The reader is also directed to Umberto Eco's wonderful The Search for the Perfect Language a bk that the afore-mentioned movie borrows heavily from.

"Although no Semantic Web existed in the 1940s, Borges' essay hits the nerve of the issue. One is tempted to replace the name John Wilkins with Tim Berners-Lee when Borges reviews the former's categories and finds that stones, for example, are absurdly classified as either common, or modic, precious, transparent and insoluble, or that beauty is assigned to a 'living brood fish'. He concludes that:

"These ambiguities, redundancies and deficiencies remind us of those which doctor Franz Kuhn attributes to a certain Chinese encyclopaedia entitled 'Celestial Empire of benevolent Knowledge'. In its remote pages it is written that the animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied,(j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camel-hair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.

"Although this is Borges' own fiction, it nevertheless reveals the arbitrariness of categories and classifications. It also had a thorough impact as a philosophical critique. Michel Foucault's The Order of Things begins with a discussion of the above list of animals, which, as he admitted elsewhere, 'shattered all the familiar landmarks' of his thought, opening his eyes to how the order of knowledge is culturally constructed and may be conceived differently. To understand Foucault's discourse theory, it practically suffices to read Borges' Ficciones." - p 94

Yes, but that's only true if the reader is (a) named Deb, (b) has adequate proprioception responsive to the haptic, (c) enjoys pleonasm-like activity, & (d) makes "arguments in favour of command line versus graphical user interface" (GUI) (p 96) while keeping this in mind:

"According to Barthes' distinction of realist versus experimental literature, the readerly text presents itself as linear and smoothly composed, 'like a cupboard where messages are shelved, stacked, safeguarded'. Reflecting in contrast the 'plurality of entrances, the opening of networks, the infinity of languages', the writerly text aims to [..] 'make the reader no longer a consumer, but a producer of the text'. In addition to Umberto Eco's characterization of the command line as iconoclastically 'protestant' and the GUI as idolatrously 'catholic', the GUI might be called the Tolstoj or Toni Morrison, the command line the Gertrude Stein, Finnegans Wake or L.A.N.G.U.A.G.E poetry of computer user interfaces" - p 99

Referring back to the earlier discussion of producer vs consumer: as a person once associated w/ language writing I agree that it attempted to "'make the reader no longer a consumer, but a producer of the text'". These days, however, I think I prefer the idea of encouraging the reader to be a critical (or, at least, attentive) reader by employing obstacles to misleading 'transparency' thru insisting such things as that they (a) be an element, & (b) be the 1st of the elements while simultaneously realizing that the notion of "the 1st of the elements" is probably rooted in creation myths.

"So every archive is encoded at least three times over; first, in its archived data, second, in its metadata, and third in its rules of access. Derrida questions the nature of the creator of these codes when he begins 'Mal d'Archive' with the assertion that the archive 'attains its meaning, its only meaning through the Greek arkheion: initially a house, a domicile, an address, the residence of the superior magistrates, the archons, those commanded'. So he thinks of the archive only as an official institution and overlooks its unofficial divisions: the private archive as the place where private obsessions are collected, but also borderline areas between the official and the private such as Harald Szeemann's Museum of Obsessions, which he claims is 'not an institution but a "life task"' while, on the other hand, it has already been institutionalized by his book of the same name, published by Merve. As opposed to Derrida's archont archive, first, the private archive hides its location and its discourse, and secondly, the Museum of Obsessions defines both location and discourse negatively and contradictorily with its refusal of discourse." - p 105

In other words, neoism "could not function without the centralized assignment of and control over network addresses by ICANN and the administration of hierarchically organized databases like that of the Domain Name System (DNS), assigning, for example, names like www.google.com to the IP address" (p 106) In other words, neoism.

"One reads on the Freenet homepage: 'Freenet is free software designed to ensure true freedom of communication over the Internet. It allows anybody to publish and read information with complete anonymity. Nobody controls Freenet, not even its creators, meaning that the system is not vulnerable to manipulation or shutdown', while the GNUnet developers define their project as 'anonymous censorship-resistant file-sharing'." [..] "And finally, the architecture of the archive remains a privilege of programmer-archonts even when their free software falls under GNU-Copyleft (as in the cases of Freenet and GNUnet). Which is why claiming that nobody controls Freenet, not even its creators is just as naive as any assumption that an anonymity can be achieved merely through cryptographic privacy" - p 111

"Naive"? Probably - but still more resistant to invasion of privacy than more transparent presentations. What's also naive, tho, is thinking that ANYTHING can resist involving factors outside of one's control wch can, then, control factors one thinks are resistant to control.

"Still, it would be rather problematic to also include common social links between humans as 'interfaces' since that would either imply a cybernetic-behaviourist explanation of human behaviour through machine functions, or exhaust itself in [..] superficially sexy, yet vague and ultimately unsatisfying analogies of social and machine-connecting devices. As Soren Pold points out in the introduction to the volume Interface Criticism, there is the risk of inflating 'interface' into yet another humanities hype word, like 'text', 'performativity' and, last but not least, 'media'." - p 113

I don't really have any problem w/ 'softening' the usage of "interface" to include any connector between any anything(s). What the neoist, it's probably already long-since happened in things like Mark Adlard's trio of SF novels Interface (1971), Volteface (1972), & Multiface (1975). Besides, I find that referring to my penis as 'an 8 X 7.5 yr old interface w/ a lifetime guarantee & no need for OS upgrade' works every time I use it as a pick-up line.

"Out of these eight possible interfacings, media studies have historically privileged one, the human-to-software interface, using it often enough as a synonym of 'interface' per se. The trend was set with Brenda Laurel's - terminologically still precise - anthology The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design." (1990) (p 114) & to think that all these yrs I thought the title was The Art of Human-Computer Interfaith Ensign. No wonder I have so much trouble keeping up w/ the trends. "Interface, in that definition, becomes a synonym of a perceptive 'medium', much like optical devices in Renaissance philosophy." (p 114) "As, for example, in Athanasius Kircher's Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae (1646) and Jan Amos Comenius' Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart (1631)." (footnote 12, p 251) In other words, Anti-Media: Ethereal Labyrinth of the Speculum Heart.

"As a matter of fact, every act of computer hacking - in the 'black hat' sense of breaking a system open - boils down to a tactical misuse of an API as a user interface. A good example is John Draper's legendary use of a Cap'n Crunch toy whistle to deactivate AT&T's tariff time switch: the touch tone frequencies of the dial were designed as the telephone user interface, the whistle's 2600 Hz frequency as a programming interface withheld from ordinary customers, but turned into a user interface with the help of the technology provided in the cereal package." (p 116) Hence, "2600 The Hacker Quarterly".

One of the biggest treats for me of this bk is Florian's "13. BNADJT PD" ""(programmed on a Sinclair ZX81 home computer in 1985 with a rounding bug, published in the zine NR. MERZ NO. in 1986)" written when Florian was a teen & 'explained' in this footnote: "One could write a postcolonial study about Boney M., the awful fake American disco band that bussed Dutch Antilleans into the studio along with high school kids from GI schools as choir singers, shamelessly grinding together all sorts of exotic, racist clichés about black culture. Remarkably enough, Boney M's music never had any success in the USA, but is still rampantly popular in African countries." (13, footnote 1, p 253)

In "14. Ultimate Manifesto of Neoism", the 1st paragraph is this: "Two girls wearing silver overalls and Monty Cantsin lookalike masks visited Monty Cantsin. The first girl said: 'I bet this is an allegory.' The second said: 'You have won.' The first said: 'But only allegorically.' The second said: 'No, in reality. In allegory, you have lost.'" (p 124)

In "The Wager Lost by Winning" in John Brunner's The Traveler in Black, there's this:

""There was a storm," said the traveler didactically, "The figure tumbled and landed in the street. It has always been the custom, has it not, that any who looked on Lady Luck should die? Save the breath you'd waste for an answer; I know your agents dump those you dislike in the market-square, claiming that it was for that reason they expired.

""Accordingly, none recognized the fragments. When you commanded stone-masons to assemble the necessary material and build this wall atop your handsome tower, they gathered up whatever they could find, and into the wall they set the broken pieces of the statue, in such fashion that the back of the head was behind your throne."" - pp 166-167

Hence we have "Ladylookalike' & 'Lucklookalike" - but they're just lucking w/ you. "With time left behind them, Neoists find any obsession with freedom futile. Neoism is not a means to freedom, but supports censorship as a radically populist cultural practice. In the same spirit, Neoism prescribes arbitrary game rules to put the lives of Neoists under the discipline of rigorous combinatorics, with perpetual permutations. The purpose of Neoism is to reinforce mnemonic structures on the mental plane and so invigorate culture. Of all values and norms we believe the value of tradition is the greatest; this is the one we try hardest to reinforce." (p 125)

The reader might remember that not-so-long-ago (if they're reading from start-to-finish) I mentioned "encouraging the reader to be a critical (or, at least, attentive) reader by employing obstacles to misleading 'transparency'". W/ this in mind, have you wondered yet whether all these quotes from Florian's bk are even 'real'? What if I'm making the whole damn thing up?! I strongly recommend getting a copy of the bk, if it 'exists', & doing some fact-checking. I also recommend that the reader keep in mind the neoist's penchant for paradoxes, mind games, & plainchant. Lastly, I recommend that the reader read Luke Rhinehart's The Dice Man (1971) if you haven't already.

Once you've read the latter bk, I suggest pondering the following story: In 1991, I became lovers w/ a woman whose parents were both wealthy psychologists. Her father had cured the owner of a sports team of an overeating disorder. In gratitude, the sports team man offered his Lear jet to my friend's family & friends for 1 wk out of the yr to go anywhere in the world they wanted to. On the 1st trip, the group flew to the Riviera in luxurious conditions w/ all the food & drink available to them that they cd want. Unfortunately, w/ access to all this luxury, the guests overindulged &, one by one, began to vomit - making a hideous & embarrassing mess of the interior of the plane. My lover told me this story & invited me to join them on the next trip. She & I were both using the PXL-2000 camcorder at the time & I suggested that I re-enact the scene in The Dice Man where the protagonist determines wch of his multiple roles to enact by rolling dice. The idea was to then shoot the (unexplained) subsequent interactions w/ the PXL. Alas, the previous trip's ironic excess led to a decision to pursue no further Lear jet trips.

Furthermore, consider this:

"In the mid '80s I noticed that a friend of mine who was fasting for a week appeared abnormally radiant, alert, & healthy. I decided to give it a try. 1st for a week, then 2 weeks, then 3 weeks. Hey! Then I decided to really push the parameters:

"From June 1st 1990 (e.v.) to June 1st, 1991 (e.v.)


will(has) decide(d) whether or not to eat each day

By Tossing a Coin

"Yeah, right. For a whole year I was going to decide whether or not to eat that day by tossing a coin. Fat chance! I'd toss the coin & if I was disappointed by the outcome, well, I'd toss it again until it 'allowed' me to eat that day. So much for that idea." - http://othercinema.com/otherzine/archives/index.php?issueid=21&article_id=79

"Through official-looking websites and domain names, groups like the Yes Men could believably pose as the World Trade Organization and instigate communicative processes that allowed them to be invited as WTO representatives and pull off critical pranks at highbrow economic conventions. Similarly, the mass availability of software design tools equalized the means of corporate identity production between artists and companies. Thanks to professional-grade graphics and web design, the 'Nike Ground' project of the artist collective 0100101110101101.org was a believable simulation of Nike's corporate identity. The alleged renaming of Vienna's Heldenplatz into 'Nike Ground' managed to confuse" - p 129

Cd a nazi pretend to write a tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE bk review & have it convincingly express opinions I wd never endorse? The result, of course, wd be a complete unsettling of all reality for almost everyone in the world.

"In 2006, ubermorgen.com was part of the 'Smile Machines' exhibition during the transmediale festival in Berlin, a show on humour in comtemporary and computer-based art." (p 131) For no particular good reason, Dick Turner is, once again, left out in the cold. When I looked for "Turner Scientific's Smile Machine" online I found this:

"ID 53A SmilTurner

"A Smile Is Your Greatest Asset!

The Smile Machine - A breakthrough in Happiness Training technology! "Psychological Affects Through Physiological Effects"


"Re: Smile Machine

"Alleged editor: Turner Scientific

"Presumed editor: Dick Turner, John Berndt

"Baltimore, USA, 1991

"Promotional flyer for The Smile Machine" - http://www.thing.de/projekte/7:9%23/logos.html

Those desiring more detailed info shd purchase a copy of WIdémoUTH Tapes 027: "Dick Turner Retrospective" ( http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/WdmUCatalog.html ) in order to more fully understand the Smile Machine & how the 1994 Olympics plagiarized it. OR, what the heck, you cd just read this article: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1994-02-07/features/1994038137_1_smile-machine-turner-smile-campaign

"For all classical musical avant-garde music, whether composed or improvised, the record album was always a spinoff product: it was seen as a pale mimetic reflection of a concert or a session, a dead, canned package of sound. Citing similar reasons, John Cage claimed that he was not interested in making albums of his music (though as part of Heinz-Klaus Metzger's and Rainer Riehn's multi-disc project Music Before Revolution, he did contribute to a landmark concept album)." - p 138

Music Before Revolution being worth mentioning as in my top 10 of favorite records of all time, it's also worth mentioning Lejaren Hiller & John Cage's "HPSCHD" on record given that it came w/ an individualized computer print-out of instructions to the listener as to how to play their sound system.

"While the differentiation of computer programming languages as 'artificial languages' and languages like English as 'natural languages' is conceptually important and undisputed, it remains problematic in its pure terminology: There is nothing 'natural' about spoken language because it is a cultural construct and thus just as 'artificial' as any formal machine control language. To call programming languages 'machine languages' doesn't cut it either as it obscures that 'machine languages' conversely are human creations." - p 142

Nonetheless, the distinction is useful. For one thing, most of what passes as 'natural language' is a product of mass users of that language &/or somewhat self-appointed arbiters of that mass. WHEREAS, what passes as 'artificial language' is more of a jargon specifically for limited use & designed by specialists. Similarly confused is what I think of as my old nemesis: "figurative" vs "literal" insofar as they seem just as apt etymologically as meaning the opposite of what they're commonly used to mean.

Florian's "Reconstruction of Quirinus Kuhlmann's wheel" (p 155) is one of those goodies that's likely to be passed over by mass interest. I think it shd be widely reprinted (in larger font size) & used in sand by OuLiPian Buddhist monks w/ nothing better to do.

"A number of Kuhlmann's writings from the early 1670s suggest that combinatorial text generators are themselves capable of meaning production - other texts from this period, however, do not. Long before the text machines in Swift's Grand Academy of Lagado and Borges' Library of Babel, Kuhlmann's Geschicht-Herold and Prodomus projected a less ironic 'Ars magna librum scribendi', 'welche alles begreifet / was alle Menschen begrieffen / und durch einen gegeneinanderhaltungswechsel alles belehret / was belehret werden kont' (that understand everything / that every man understands / and through changing comparisons teaches everything / that can be taught). In this vision, such understanding (begreifen) is reached through combinatorics of alphabet letters, a process that ultimately generates all present and future books." - p 159

Shit! I don't even buy that "such understanding (begreifen) is reached through combinatorics of alphabet letters" w/o any other restrictions - but it comes alot closer to what I might vaguely agree w/. Regardless, such visions are stimulating.

Florian tells us about "an attitude which, six years later, at the apex of the feminist anti-porn campaign, exploded in violence at Berlin movie theater Eiszeit when an autonomous commando raided a presentation of Richard Kern and Lydia Lunch's underground porn movie Fingered" (p 166) wch, in turn, gives me an excuse to tell some Eiszeit stories:

I lived in Berlin for 3 mnths in 1994 & had a 2 program screening at Eiszeit. There was an advance screening for newspaper critics & a woman at Eiszeit advised me 2 things: use a promotional still of a naked woman w/ large breasts, show only short fairly easy to understand non-formal movies. The naked woman picture was a winner insofar as Tip magazine used it. I liked the picture & it was adequately representative of one of the movies so I was ok w/ using it. I was a bit more uncomfortable w/ not screening a longer & more formally difficult work for the critics but I took the Eiszeit person's advice. Alas, one of the 2 critics who attended the advance screening then lamented the lack of more complex work in his article. One never knows.

Eiszeit was also where I 1st witnessed work by Bruce La Bruce, the socially provocative gay porn humorist. The work was Super 8 & 1/2. I liked it, it was funny. The screening I was at was also ill-attended. I was talking w/ one of the Eiszeit people one day & he told me that Berlin was planning a big 100th cinema anniversary for 1995 & that Eiszeit had been passed over for the special funding that just about everyone else was getting. He sd that the Eiszeit management was then considering having a 100 yrs of porn celebration - partially just to stick it to the people who didn't think them worthy of support. The Eiszeit guy & I had a good laugh over that plan. I think they might've gotten their funding after all. What a great theater! I hope they're thriving!!

"Just as Indie pop is a specious alternative to the music industry's mainstream, and in reality based on the same business model, which is being protected by ever more absurd copyright laws, preventative technology, cease-and-desist notices and searches of homes, Indie porn is not at all 'independent' but in fact commercialized and sealed off from free channels, even positioned in opposition to them" - p 167

I don't know what the current laws in the US are regarding porn but in 1985 when I worked briefly as a "Peep Show Mechanic" at a place in BalTimOre that I can feel no hesitation to call abusive I found the laws very informative of the actual underbelly. It was legal to exhibit & to sell porn (good for the place I worked for) but illegal to make it (also good for the place I worked for). This latter law was, obviously, not to prevent porn from actually being made but was to make sure there was as much of a monopoly as possible among the same people who ran the businesses given that their whole position in the industry was entrenched & protected by lawyers & payoffs & whatnot.

Near "The Block", where I worked, there was also a drug store where, as was common at the time, one cd send small-gauge film off to be processed. What a surprise when a girl I knew sent off a movie of her having sex w/ another girl &, gee, 'it came back' blank - y'know? It didn't turn out or sumpin'. In other words, I reckon it was fairly routine for people who worked at these film labs to look for sex footage to sell to the porn industry while the originators got nothing.

Cramer has a lively intellect, he's interested in & open-minded about many subjects. As such, he can segue from porn to code poetry - & why not? I completely agree w/ this range of topics. "Mezangelle, the artistic language developed by Australian Net artist mez_breeze, is a mix of collage and construction, program code and conventional text. Though modelled on computer languages, it is not composed in strict programming syntax. As is common for the Codeworks genre, mezangelle texts circulate mostly in the form of emails sent to Internet forums" (pp 167-168) Cramer is looking for where things are happening, NOT, necessarily, where vested interests are pointing. As Reverend Ivan Stang of the Church of the SubGenius admonishes: "You're looking at where the finger's pointing instead of who's doing the pointing!" Ok, that may be a bad paraphrase, but the meaning that I get out of that is along the lines of: instead of salivating at Pavlov's bell, bite the scientists & escape.

I don't know mez_breeze's work but I was fortunate to pick up a copy of New Directions in Digital Poetry recently & that bk features her. On pp 157-158 of that it's stated that "Mezangelle is replete with plasticity: using braces and square brackets, as well as other symbol and punctuation keys often found in programming code, she customarily divides and imaginatively re-joins fragments of word. Mezangelle also plays with homophones and makes use of colour". Florian gives the reader a fairly in-depth analysis of a poem called "Viro.Logic Condition] [ing] [ 1.1". Every poet shd be lucky enuf (& worthy enuf) to have such a reader as Florian Cramer. He concludes:

"The common denominator for codeworks has to do with a dystopian subjectivization of the computer, which is articulated in various ways: playful and anarchic in jodi, political and analytic in Graham Harwood, and, in mezangelle, as romantic poetry that iconoclastically subverts the fusion of the apparatus and the body found in stereotypes of 'virtual reality' and 'cyberspace'. A reflection of dystopia, subjectivization and algorithms as cultural constructs allows for computer art that critically reflects its codes. In the textual art of codeworks, algorithmic programs are - for the first time - no longer clean-room applications. Instead: they are dirty, corporeal and culturally contaminated material." - p 186

"Conspiracy theories are an old phenomenon, but a modern term, coined in Karl Popper's book Open Society and Its Enemies of 1945. What nowadays is called a conspiracy theory chiefly applies, since the publication of the Rosicrucian manifesto "Fama Fraternitatis' in the early seventeenth century, to secret societies like the Rosicrucians, Freemasons and Illuminati, since the nineteenth century in to whole parts of the population like Jews, nowadays also to Muslims or, reciprocally in political Islam, to Christians. Religion is a conspiracy in the most literal sense of the word, a gathering and fabrication of spirits, or ghosts. Conspiracy theories thus target the grey areas between religion and politics, belief and power." - p 187

And "Conspiracy Theory" is used as a dismissive pejorative by people who don't want to be bothered to look past the veneer & by the propagandists who reinforce their herd-like submission. Sometime in the past few yrs, I was at a party & a friend was talking about getting a new computer & a 3 yr warranty for it. I told him that there wasn't much sense in getting the warranty b/c the computer wd most likely only break down a few mnths after its warranty expiration. I was astonished when my friend exploded w/ anger, shouting at me that I was a "Conspiracy Theorist" & so violently reacting that he rushed away as if to resist his impulse to physically attack me. THIS was a well-trained Pavlovian dog.

After he'd calmed down a bit, he accused me of having no basis for my statement. It's typical to me that Conspiracy Theorists, who might more accurately be called Socio-Political Analysts (or just Analysts) often support their arguments w/ at least a semblance of detail while their detractors tend to mainly use bluster. I explained that the basis for my statement was that I'd had a computer w/ a 3 yr warranty & that w/in mnths of the warranty's expiration the hard-drive had failed & I'd taken it to the 'geniuses' for repair. A row of perhaps 6 other customers were waiting for the same service at the counter. They all had laptops of apparently the same vintage as mine. I conversationally asked every one of them how old their computer was & when their warranty expired. We were all in the same sinking boat. All the computers were slightly over 3 yrs old & all the warranties had just expired.

I wasn't able to continue to explain my point to my friend b/c he was still too angry for listening to me. if I'd been able to, I might've used an analogy like this: imagine that you are a car tire manufacturer, you give yr tires road-tests, you learn that the tires will last x-number of yrs in slightly more extreme-than-the-norm wear-&-tear, you then sell warranties for the tires for a period less than the x-number. This isn't a 'conspiracy' w/ its usual insidious overtones, it's just good business practice. The odds are in the business person's favor that the warranty won't require any business output b/c the tires have been tested & found proficient - hence more profit. The customer, perhaps knowing that s/he is going to give more wear & tear than the norm, gets some measure of protection.

NOW, imagine a computer company doing something analogous: they test a large variety of factors: likelihood of software compromise, poor treatment of the laptop during frequent transport, whatever. They then price the warranty accordingly (I remember mine as being very expensive) & base its duration, as w/ the tires, on actuarial statistics that protect them more than they protect the customers. Is that a 'conspiracy'? Yes, if one considers any behind-closed-doors planning to be such. But, more conventionally, it's just sensible business planning. No business is likely to take the risk of an overwhelming amt of claims - why wd they? They're in business to stay in business. The conspiracy comes in more in the pre-planned obsolescence, in the deliberate manufacturing of products that 'require' constant new expenditure, the psychological manipulation of the uncertainties & fears of the consumer that leads to their buying a warranty that'll probably be largely worthless to them (except for 'peace of mind'). Consumer-friendly visionaries like Rudolph Diesel w/ his more efficient fuel use are more than rare, they're discouraged &/or exploited by the business-world at large.

Cramer examines the work of Alvin Lucier, particularly his famous "I Am Sitting in a Room". "During the last eight playbacks, its frequency spectrum continues to level out, approximating sine tones on an oscilloscope." (p 201) A little quibbling here: this is technically inaccurate insofar as it implies that the oscilloscope is a sound-generating device instead of a visual display one. Florian is far, FAR more knowledgeable about Net culture than I am. However, when it comes to avant-garde classical music, I'm most likely quite a bit more expert. Hence, I was moved to more quibbling when I read: "'Music for Solo Performer' (1965), Alvin Lucier's most widely known composition besides 'I Am Sitting in a Room' and 'Navigations for Strings' (1992)" (p 201)

Why quibble? B/c I know Lucier's music better than most & I've even assembled a 5 tape retrospective of recordings of his work in chronological order to give to a friend of mine who was teaching at the same university as Lucier so that my friend cd know his work better & I've never heard of "'Navigations for Strings'" so how "widely known" cd it be? My retrospective includes:

"Fragments" (1961)

"Elegy for Albert Anastasia" (1961-63)

"Music for Solo Performer (for Highly Amplified Brainwaves)" (1964-65, realized 1982)

"Music for Solo Performer (for Brainwaves & Percussion)" (1964-65, realized 1982)

"North American Time Capsule" (1967)

"Sferics" (1967-81, etc)

"Chambers" (1968)

"Vespers" (1968)

"I Am Sitting in a Room" (1970)

"(Middletown) Memory Space" (1970)

"The Duke of York" (1972)

"Still & Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas - 1-8" (1973)

"Music on a Long Thin Wire" (1971-79)

"Bird and Person Dyning" (1972)

"Music for Pure Waves, Bass Drum and Acoustic Pendulums" (1980)

"Sound on Paper" (1986)

"Music for Baritone and Slow Sweep Pure Wave Oscillators" (1996?)

So, ok, I'm not as familiar w/ his more recent music as I am w/ the older stuff. STILL, I'd nominate "Music on a Long Thin Wire" as one of the most "widely known" pieces. "Music for Solo Performer": "Like 'I am Sitting in a Room', the score consists of a short set of instructions written in English, a typical 1960s notational style used, for example, by John Cage, La Monte Young and Fluxus event artists such as George Brecht and Nam June Paik." (p 201) - to wch I'd add Allan Kaprow & Yoko Ono &, slightly later, Christian Wolff & myself. For more about the subject of text scores see my review entitled "[This review is NOT elegant]" here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/357236-this-review-is-not-elegant?chapter=1 . Cramer's take on things is especially interesting b/c he analyzes the text:

"'I Am Sitting in a Room', however, differs from works by these artists and from all of Alvin Lucier's other compositions in that the score itself plays an integral part within the performance, acoustically implementing what it verbally describes. This makes it all the more surprising that criticism and essays analyse 'I Am Sitting in a Room' merely as an experiment in sound, and have so far neglected to examine it as a work of language." - pp 201-202

IMO, that oversight is an ordinary reaction to the 'transparency' of the language used - it's ignored as a mere vehicle, as technical writing. More to quibble w/: "Together with the sound art of Max Neuhaus and David Tudor, Lucier's acoustic experiments constitute a rupture in the history of composed music" (p 207) Neuhaus as a sound artist? OK. Tudor as one? I strongly object. Tudor's work was much more solidly placed in avant-garde music theory than Neuhaus's ongoing installation under Times Square or Lucier's explorations of physical space w/ pieces like "Vespers" (in wch SonDols (Sonic Dolphins) were used as sound-producing navigational canes for the blind turned into musical instruments).

"Two years after the publication of 'Dr. Faustroll', it [the history of pataphysical music composition automata] is ushered in by Marcel Duchamp's 'Erratum Musical', whose title already addresses the technical and scientific exception: the printing error." (p 213) "it has instead become the prototype for indeterminate aleatory music and is instrumentally performed as such by interpreters of Cage, such as Petr Kotik, Mats Persson and Kristine Scholz." (p 214) To wch I add that Donald Knaack, percussionist, performs a 15:04 realization of this piece under the title of "The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. Erratum Musical" on a 1977 record published by Ilhan Mimaroglu's excellent Finnadar label.

"Cage's indeterministic music and Boulez's and Stockhausen's thoroughly composed serial music sound remarkably similar" (p 214) This, of course, is what people often claim who aren't totally immersed in the music. Florian isn't quite in that category but I still have to disagree. To my mind there's a huge difference in the way that the work of these 3 composers sound. Cage, as I recall, made the claim that upon listening to his music & that of the 3 other 'New York School' composers he was most associated w/, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, & Christian Wolff, one wd easily be able to differentiate between them. I agree w/ Cage. I think that the claim, also sometimes made, that some 'free' improvised music sounds like some thru-composed Serial music is a bit more supportable. Florian goes on to claim that "the two compositional methods unintentionally demonstrate how chaos leads to aesthetic predictability and how, conversely, overdeterminism turns into chaos on the level of perception. Both lead to indifference." (pp 214-215) Again, I disagree - it's my opinion that when the average listener is confronted by a complexity that they can't process into a simplicity comprehensible to themselves, they fall back on negative stereotypes as a way of protecting their own self-image as intelligent instead of accepting the challenge.

"The childhood piano lessons that the composer, Essl, was made to suffer through end here as well, thanks to an outsourcing to the machine. In the same period - the late 1990s - the artistic subculture of neoism programmed a slogan generator to relieve its members of producing these themselves." (p 216) At the risk of committing an ideological crime, I inform my (quite probably nonexistent) reader(s) here that the specific text generator referred to is called "The Neoism Machine" & it can still be accessed here: http://permutations.pleintekst.nl/neoism/cantsin.cgi . It's credited to Monty Cantsin, & here comes my crime, but of the neoists, only Florian cd've created it. The reader/viewer is also referred to: http://neoism.pleintekst.nl/ .

As for the "childhood piano lessons that the composer, Essl, was made to suffer through", the reader/listener is also directed to my 7 volume (as of this writing) series of "Piano Illiterature" recordings that cd be sd to also be an outgrowth of childhood piano lessons suffered thru: http://archive.org/search.php?query=%22Piano%20Illiterature%22 . Essl's piece, the 'Lexikon-Sonate' (1992), is a computer one in wch the audience for it is enabled to pick categories of sound type to then have the computer compose & playback. After Florian exposed me to this piece, maybe around 1995, I incorporated a presentation into lectures that I gave starting in 1997. In the end, tho, while I like the spirit & theory of the piece, I didn't ultimately find it interesting to listen to. The timbre of it is too limited - it's sortof a serious classical composer's equivalent to the way a Casio might have its rhythm machine strip down Afro-Cuban music. It's also akin to the earlier Lejaren Hiller compositional lowpoint: his "Expo '85", computer generated 'jazz' (created w/ the assistance of Charles Ames & John Myhill).

Tooting my own horn, as usual, 'compels' me to mention that my own collaboration, "The 'Official' Project", initiated w/ Neil Feather in BalTimOre in 1990 & later involving Florian in Berlin (1994) WAS deliberately structured to exploit categories of contemporary avant-garde classical sound organization in order to more easily generate them thru structured improvisation than thru thru-notation. My "One Note per Instrument", eg, is meant to produce a similar aural effect to a Xenakis stochastic field. I like both & I don't think the careful listener wd confuse the 2. Also worth mentioning is my "Drying Clothes Made Entirely Out of Zippers" (1989) in wch the stochastic field of the zippers hitting the dryer drum is generated by the spinning of that drum. This has led to at least one remix that's apparently downloadable here: http://www.stafaband.info/download/mp3/lagu_drying_clothes/ . Both of these anticipated Essl's 'Lexikon-Sonate' (w/ "Drying.." using a machine & the 'Official' Project using live musicians) by a couple of yrs & produced timbrally much richer results. The computer-generated tones of Essl's piece harken back to the Serialist 'purism' of Herbert Eimert vs the broader acoustic pallet of Musique Concrete. Then again, I only listened to it on narrow-range computer speakers.

Florian goes on to discuss the "portable booed usic busking unit" wch the interested reader can find out more about in "The international NEOIST SLIME" (April 1990), "Experimental Musical Instruments" (Volume VI #1, June 1990), Cassette Mythos (1992), & other offline places. This includes mention of "the 'nuclear brain physics surgery school' (where tests are obtained through subliminal messages heard on a prepared audio tape while sleeping; along with the stipulation to reproduce this audio tape for the next generation of students)" (p 216) Of the 5 graduating classes since 1978, FLORIAN IS NOT ONE OF THE GRADUATES. This is an oversight of colossal proportions. Having given up on the likelihood of a class reunion after 10 graduating classes, at wch the graduates wd be able to hear their lessons while awake for the 1st time, I may eventually make the lessons public on the Internet Archive. Graduates were to create a new lesson, w/o listening to their product, for the next class to sleep thru.

I usually find coincidence & synchronicity interesting & reading this: "the most ancient Western emblem of system manipulation, the Trojan horse, as it was told by Homer" (p 221) coincided w/ my listening to Karel Husa's "The Trojan Women". Then there's always reading about the place you're living in: "Still in 1988, funds of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) were used to reshape the 'Computer Emergency Response Team' of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, into the research centre CERT. Since then, CERT systematically collects information on security holes in computer software to document them, along with bugfix recipes, in its 'Advisories'. To date, CERT Advisories are a mandatory reading of computer security experts and system administrators all over the world." (p 223)

Many of my interests are too esoteric to be shared by many people, the gene pool narrows down even further to be predominantly male in the case of experimental music & neoism. A typical tactic of some 'feminists' is to pretend that all fields in wch there's minimal female participation are this way b/c women are suppressed from them by 'the' patriarchy. I consider this to be smoke & mirrors by 'a' matriarchy to hide personal responsibility or just plain apathy under sympathy-attracting 'victimhood'.

Contrarily, most heterosexual guys I know involved in both neoism &/or experimental music wd be delighted if it weren't just a sausage fest. The married ones wd be ecstatic if they cd even listen to the music they like in the home w/ the wife around w/o attracting censure. In my own case, in those rare instances when my girlfriends have expressed any interest in my (M)Usic they've ceased to do so immediately upon my no longer fucking them - thus confirming the typical criticism that (wo)men are only interested in (wo)me(n) for sex.

Apparently, this deficiency of female participation is also the case in computer hacking. Therefore, I was delighted to read about Cornelia Sollfrank who "employs digital or non-digital means for her hacks. Still, they remain 'social hacks' even when they involve computer programming. The Net art generators for example, programmed on Sollfrank's commission by Ryan Johnston, Luka Frelih, Barbara Thoens and Ralf Prehn, are generative art, but not in the form of purposelessly beautiful algorithms, but as devices for intervening into social systems. In 'Female Extension', for example, they were employed to automatically generate art, which Sollfrank then entered under a number of false female artist identities into a competition, successfully bluffing the jury into the essentialist fancy of a 'female aesthetics' in Net art." (p 226) Sollfrank, noticing the lack of women in an area, creates a false presence for them & then gets to witness the critical reaction. Love it.

Cramer notes that "Critics have liked to call such tactics and manipulations 'situationist' since the revival of Guy Debord and the Situationist International in the late 1980s [and] early 1990s; however, the situationists themselves - a latecomer post-surrealist avant-garde that started off gathering third-class abstract expressionist painters to later end up as a Marxist political sect - hardly ever practiced such activities." (p 226) Harsh me out! I've actually never found the Situationists to be that interesting but even I wdn't reduce them so dismissively! In case it isn't obvious, to those of you who still stubbornly cling to the idea that neoism is Fluxus + Situationist I hope this'll permanently disabuse you. Very few neoists are actually even aware of Situationist writings & films. It's no surprise, tho, that 'critics' might lump Sollfrank's work in w/ that of the Situationists - no matter how ill-fitting it is. If this were 40 yrs ago the same ilk of critics wd've just used their other ignorant default, dadaism, in order to avoid actually thinking about the work hypothetically being addressed.

"I would agree with other Internet culture critics (certainly including Kenneth Goldsmith) that the digital revolution of music has been mp3, not Max/MSP or Pure Data. In e book culture, we are now witnessing the mp3 revolution all over again: on the Pirate Bay, in underground download libraries like aaaaarg.org and Monoskop, and the recent hacker efforts to turn the Open Source e-book software Calibre into a peer-to-peer e-book sharing network. This culture is certainly not included in the domain and research of e-literature at all, but shouldn't it be?" (p 231) In other words, at least as I read this, what's emphasized here is distribution rather than content. Fair enuf. When it comes down to what content dominates, or even gets noticed, how it gets distributed is far more 'important' than what it is otherwise. Therefore, the lower file size of mp3s enables much wider distribution. The complexity-enabling potentials of Max, eg, can still be used to make unimaginative & unoriginal music as much as the opposite.

"But in the twenty-first century, even the primal criterion of literature has become obsolete: that of being published. In the age of homepages, blogs and social networks, the classical distinction between non-published personal writing and published writing is moot, and with it the distinction between everyday communication and publishing." - p 232

I don't think that's entirely accurate. To quote something already quoted: "The idea that electronic hypertext spells the end of books, however - as claimed by American author Robert Coover in the New York Times Book Review in 1992 - has not come true." (p 54) Two things that're important to me here are: 1. what's the content?, 2. who's reading this content? If the content's in the form of a grocery list or a letter that's fine w/ me <i>but I have to be able to get something significant out of it</i> & in order to do that it also helps if I'll spend the time reading it carefully - wch I WON'T DO ON THE COMPUTER, I'll usually only do it in hard-copy. I hate reading a glowing screen (regardless of how much I do it). What I see as an even more essential condition of 21st century online reading is the tendency to browse, to skim. Having had the opportunity to observe the 'reading' habits of a laptop addict almost daily for over a yr, I think I can safely say that she was barely literate at all - despite PR to the contrary.

"Is electronic literature as represented in the ELO [Electronic Literature Organization] embracing this ["a large repository and plunderground of popular written language"] or is it opting for the opposite, creating islands of literary works within the massive writing/reading streams of the Internet?" (p 233) Or is it just promoting critical standards?

"Contemporary 'prosumer' culture has profoundly changed music and video production; writing no less if we look at the Internet. But how is it possible that media studies of audiovisual prosumerism abound while they are virtually absent from literary studies? Why isn't the academic field of electronic literature studies the forerunner of such a research? Or is it just the opposite, that established notions of literariness and the literary work are being preserved in order to filter the sea of digital communications? But even with such a curatorial model, there remains a crucial question: Isn't this critical filtering artificially constrained in writing that bears the tag 'literary' conveniently upfront, instead of dealing with electronic writing at large? (Codeworks artists, for example, did just that.)" - pp 233-234

The bottom line is that people will usually hang onto whatever ways they grew up understanding (or pretending to themselves that they understand): they'll listen to the music that moved them as teenagers & spend the rest of their lives trying to reinstantiate whatever the circumstances of their original thrills were (probably in diluted form so as to not tax their waning adult energy). 'My' generation will mostly never embrace music post- rock & folk (certainly not avant-gardes) & 2 generations younger than me will find Facebook more exciting than any bk that takes mnths of concentration to read. Code Poetry will be for hackers & for people like myself seeking fresh instantiation rather than reinstantiation. Nonetheless, everything will 'change'.. except for the same old, same old business-as-usual stupidity-&-passivity-is-encouraged & subversive-analysis-is-not. This, of course, is precisely what makes Anti-Media: Ephemera on Speculative Arts important: Cramer is not only swimming upstream, he's swimming up-dam & he might just be strong enuf to make it to the impregnation spot.

"Goldsmith advocates a 'post-identity literature', yet he does not, for example, include Internet culture like the memes and image/text 'macros' of 4chan and the Anonymous movement in this example." (p 234) Nor does he write his bks anonymously or using collective identities, after all, he'll only go so far - just far enuf to give his bourgeois identity a bit of an appearance of devil-may-care w/o actually threatening any status quo (& his benefitting from it) whatsoever.

"Even the 'creative' in 'creative industries' remains a piece of romanticist legacy. If all contemporary concepts of literary, creative and uncreative writing were abandoned, this could bring back the notion of creativity to its original meaning - clever inventiveness - where a fraudulent tax return qualifies as a piece of creative writing but not a novel by Toni Morrison." (p 236) Ha ha!

This bk is in a seemingly academic series w/ similarly designed covers to enable their target readership to immediately recognize them as 'the sort of thing they're interested in'. The titles listed in the back are:

Organized Networks: Media Theory, Creative Labour, New Institutions by Ned Rossiter

Delusive Spaces: Essay on Culture, Media and Technology by Eric Kluitenberg

Animal Spirits: A Bestiary of the Commons by Matteo Pasquinelli

Web Aesthetics: How Digital Media Affect Culture and Society by Vito Campenelli

Nettitudes: Let's Talk Net Art by Josephine Bosma

Is it really necessary &/or desirable to have all the titles be so damned similar?! I don't know whether Florian Cramer is in good company here or not - but I'm sure the other authors are by virtue of his presence.





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