Interview with tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
conducted by Pata-No UN LTD
August, 2019, by email
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
interviewed by Pata-No Un LTD
August 26-31, 2019
& conducted by email
P-N U L: (My first question, although probably covered in PSK[S] & PNT, is as follows...)
Keeping these excerpts from Stewart Home's Assault On Culture in play:
"The most notorious stunt in the Church's history was the climax of its 1983 Congress
t,ac: Strictly speaking, the term used at the time was "Convention".
in Baltimore. On the 18th of September, tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE (ps[eu]donym of Michael Tolson)
t,ac: Any names that I use as alternatives to my given name don't function as "pseudonyms". I call "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE" the 'master' set that includes the other name sets.
made national news
t,ac: international news
when he performed his "Pee Dog/Poop Dog Cop[y]right Violation Ritual".
t,ac: "t he Poop & Pee Dog Copyright Violation Ceremony" - See entry 061 here: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOutline1983.html . This movie is also relevant:
- made under the name of Tim Ore
- cameras: David Yaffe, Lizard Media Systems, Craig Considine, Kent Bye
- conception, didActing, scanning, editing, etc: tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
- This is basically a drastically upgraded version of 036 that's different enough to get its own number.
- 1/2" VHS cassette, 35mm slides, mini-DV -> DVD
- '82-'84 / '01-'02 / march '06
- on my onesownthoughts YouTube channeel here: https://youtu.be/_HxXGlMriKA
tENTATIVELY, naked and covered in white greasepaint, was arrested by more than twenty armed cops, while beating the decomposing carcases of two dead dogs strung from the ceiling of a railway tunnel. He was accompanied by thirty-five SubGeni, who danced to the rhythmic pulse of a thunder sheet. Two police officers who'd been sent to investigate reports of trespassers were so frightened by their discoveries that they called up reinforcements. The action resulted in tENTATIVELY receiving a probation order. tENTATIVELY - also notorious for his films, such as "Peeing On Bob's Head' (which after an extremely tedious single shot opening, finishes with a woman pissing into his mouth) - is now considered a Saint by the Church.
The Church, with its cult of weird[n]ess, ultimately becomes a one line joke.
t,ac: This is typical of Stewart's dismissive competetiveness. Knowing very little about the SubG he dismisses it in hopes that his followers will too. The Church of the SubGenius is, IMO, far more complex than anything Stewart's ever accomplished.
It bears a certain conceptual similarity to The College du Pataphysics, but with a popularist - rather than intellectual - approach. It is this lowest common denominator attitude that accounts for its success. Similar cults, such as the Krononauts
t,ac: The Krononauts were/are not a "cult". More than anything else, The Krononautic Organism was an art project of Richard Ellsberry's.
- who among other things have held a 'Party For The People Of The Future' with the intention of attracting time travellers - are too rigorously intellectual
t,ac: I, personally, wdn't call the Krononauts intellectual at all.
to appeal to the average male college student As well as participation in the Krononauts, Neoists and Church of the SubGenius,
tENTATIVELY simultaneously pursued his individual interests as a 'mad scientist/d composer/sound thinker/t ho ught
t,ac: t ho ugh t
collector/as been & not an artist'). Without these other diversions, it seems unlikely that someone as hip as tENTATIVELY could sustain an interest in the church."
"While the Lettriste Movement, and International, were undoubtedly ludicrous, most - if not all - their members, seem to have remained blissfully unaware of this.
t,ac: As if the young Stewart wd've had any valid basis for 'knowing' this.
Isou, and later Bernstein, Conord, Dahou, Debord, Filion and Wolman, treated their activities with a seriousness that the objective observer can only find comic.
t,ac: More self-serving drek. Who is Stewart to say "the objective observer can only find comic." Is that "objective" of him?
There were, however, other groups with Utopian leanings who actively cultivated an air of ridiculousness.
t,ac: Even though "ridiculous" & "absurd" are often used interchangeably I'd argue that they aren't synonymous & that the word "absurd" is more applicable here.
Typical among these is the College Of Pataphysics, which, while rarely viewed as a 'fan club', is often seen as an over-extended joke.
t,ac: By who?
The 'College' was neither an organised 'art' movement, nor an 'alternative' education institute, and yet many of the avant-garde's leading figures came to join it. Its members have allegedly included Boris Vian, Juan Miro, Marcel Duchamp, Eugene Ionesco, Max Ernst, Jacques Prevert, Raymond Queneau, Jean Dubuffet, Stanley Chapman and Asger Jorn."
What pataphysical solutions do you think Neoism has contributed to?
t,ac: None? Even though Neoism is sometimes placed in an 'avant-garde' lineage, perhaps most often in connection w/ the Situationists & FLUXUS, I think its placement as such is more misleading than it is helpful. Of all the Neoists, I don't know who is even very aware of 'Pataphysics other than myself & Florian Cramer - not that such an awareness is necessary for Neoism to contribute to 'pataphysical solutions. That sd, I'm not sure what a 'pataphysical solution is or might be. If we accept 'Pataphysics as the Science of Exceptions then what are its problems to wch solutions are sought?
Jarry implodes the distinction between absurd/seriousness and Asger Jorn warned (much like some other situationists) of pataphysics, in what way would you consider contextualizing these pragmatics of "utopian" paradoxes
t,ac: This notion of ""utopian" paradoxes" interests me. It might be that all paradoxes are potentially utopian insofar as they leave non-dogmatic wiggle room.
to the terms you use for the/your activities in "A Mere Outline"?
t,ac: My "Mere Outline" terms are mainly intended to label categories of my activities in ways that're more accurate (& imaginative & funny) than pre-fabricated contexts.
Considering that these terms (as you mention in the Outline) lend to, "...enabling entities perceiving my actions to superimpose their stereotypes to oversimplify me, I've been substantially occupied with public self-contextualization resistant to previously existing categories..." of those "Extroverted behavior of a calculatedly complex & politically/socially theoretically backed nature..."
t,ac: They're not intended to "lend to, "...enabling entities perceiving my actions to superimpose their stereotypes to oversimplify me" they're designed to counterbalance that tendency to oversimplification. They don't necessarily work that way, however, b/c the people who tend to oversimplify aren't going to encounter &/or absorb or accept such challenging terminology. It seems likely that only people inclined against oversimplificcation are likely to embrace or, at least, pay attn to such terms. As for the relationship of any of it to 'Pataphysics?: I consider Neoists & 'Pataphysicians to be a sort of 'Fellow Traveler'. We're mostly inclined to philosophical mind-games that help challenge & enrich our relationship to 'The World'.
August 28, 2019:
Perhaps with this in play our discussions of the 'Pataphysics of Neoism with its various patamechanics like how everything/everyone as Neoism/Neoist but there remains few self-reflexive Neoists, much like everything remaining pataphysical but there are only few practicing pataphysicians. Monte Con O Sin Safos brought up his interest in pataphysics alongside anarchism (a parallel with Jarry), much like both Hugill and Lyotard discuss the pataphysics of Duchamp ("...between the Ubuesque equivalence of the readymades and the Faustrollian preciosity of the pieces such as The Large Glass." (p.12, Hugill)). With all of this to consider how would you consider your mentions of pataphysics in "Paradigm Shift Knuckle Sandwich & other examples of P.N.T. (Perverse Number Theory)" fit with the patamechanics of Neoism?
t,ac: I don't really consider Neoism to have much or any content, including that of a patamechanical nature. I've always been mainly interested in NEOISTS, the strange people who band together from time-to-time to use the flaming umbrella of Neoism as a pseudo-unifying factor. As for "Paradigm Shift Knuckle Sandwich & other examples of P.N.T. (Perverse Number Theory)", I've been known to claim that it's my most Neoist bk. What that probably means is that it uses evasive tactics.
According to the index in "Paradigm Shift Knuckle Sandwich & other examples of P.N.T. (Perverse Number Theory)", on page "383 transfinite numbers", I refer to Pataphors on pages 46, 59, & 79; to pataphrase on page 46; to 'Pataphysics on pages 7, 8, 9, 12-13, 18, 60, 110, & 162; & to a "Pataphysical Introduction" on page 7. Contrarily, I only refer to Neoism on pages 22, 43-45, 150, 163, 165, 227; & to the Neoism Machine on pages 43-45. None of the 'Pataphsyics references & the Neoism references seem to overlap. In fact, on the back of the bk it's listed as fitting under the categories of "'Pataphysics/Math/Humor/Cognitive Dissidence". No mention of Neoism is made at all.
If this question seems redundant what're your (re)views of Max Stirners impact on nihilism, Neoism, and Individualist anarchism of all varieties?
t,ac: I still haven't read much Egoist writing. My friend Trevor Blake is much more knowledgable on the subject & has published relevant texts extensively. Of Nihilists, Neoists, & Individual Anarchists that I've known, reading 19th century philosophy would be mostly a low priority. Perhaps quoting from my review of Trevor Blake's Confessions of a Failed Egoist
( Confessions of a Saturday Morning Emily Post-Left Anarchist - pt 1:
Confessions of a Saturday Morning Leftovers Anarchist - pt 2:
Confessions of Emily's Saturday Morning Leftover Post-Egoism - pt 3:
might be the best way to answer this:
Most, or all, the work I like has a sense of play, a sense of fair-play, a cents of fare-pay, a sense of humor - Trevor's exceptional.. but not an exception to what I like. Consider the opening 2 paragraphs:
"I am an egoist, a circular thinker of the most self-contained philosophy. Keep reading, though, and you'll see I'm not a very good Unique One. I see rusty rivets and loose lashings in the HMS Egoism. Egoism is the contrarian's philosophy, and so of course I begin this book with a broadside against it.
"Egoism is the claim that the individual is the measure of all things. In ethics, in epistemology, in aesthetics, in society, the Individual is the best and only arbitrator. Egoism claims social convention, laws, other people, religion, language, time and all other forces outside of the Individual are an impediment to the liberty and existence of the Individual. Such impediments may be tolerated but they have no special standing to the Individual, who may elect to ignore or subvert or destroy them as He can. In egoism the State has no monopoly to take tax or to wage war." - p 5
An egoist is a person who thinks of themself 1st & foremost - most people do this but in a way that's severely moderated by fear of negative consequences from the larger social whole. Only the brave (or devious) dare to challenge external society's 'right' to try to reel in the Individual's pursuit of their desires & self-definition. Self-definition is crucial to me & to most people I can relate to. The beauty here, for me, in Trevor's beginning is: "Egoism is the contrarian's philosophy, and so of course I begin this book with a broadside against it" - no cow (or water buffalo) is sacred - not even the one you ride in on, cowboy.
Then again, while egoism might claim that "social convention, laws, other people, religion, language, time and all other forces outside of the Individual are an impediment to the liberty and existence of the Individual" consider this excerpt from a May Day speech I gave in 2014:
"Now, I'm an exemplary lone wolf lunatic fringe individualist. But I still believe in Mutual Aid! In this spirit, I've joined Fight Back Pittsburgh, a chapter of the United Steelworkers Associate Member Program. And I have to say: Fight Back is INSPIRING! Through them, I've gotten to hear from many great people struggling for better conditions for workers - a tradition that Pittsburgh can be very, VERY proud of! Through them, I've learned about the Fight for Fifteen movement, a movement for $15 an hour to be the minimum wage for fast food workers & others. AND I SUPPORT IT! I've worked for less than minimum wage - & I don't recommend it!"
[The full speech can be witnessed here: http://youtu.be/FUY9DwiE1Dk ]
In the long run, I really am a "lone wolf lunatic fringe individualist" & don't fit in very well w/ such groups as Fight Back. Nonetheless, I don't see working w/ other people as necessarily being "an impediment to the liberty and existence of the Individual" in all cases - even if it is so in most.
"Egoism not only has the problem of being unable to define when any particular Individual appears, but also when any Individual at all first appeared. Egoism cannot say whether there were egoist Neanderthals, or before them egoist possum-critters who stole dinosaur eggs, or perhaps egoist dinosaurs, or egoist fish, egoist algae... don't stop at selfish genes when you can imagine selfish molecules. There is likely a line of before and after egoism emerged in evolution. Egoism cannot say when that line is drawn." - p 8
I'm reminded of a friend's dad, someone I like very much. We were sitting around talking when the dad sd something about his being the type of person who "lives in the moment". Being the pain-in-the-ass stickler that I am I replied w/ something to the effect of: "Do you know who I am?" to wch he replied: "Yes" - "Then you don't live in the present moment b/c you learned who I was in the past & have to be living partially in that past to remember me - Do you understand these words?" "Yes" - "Then you don't live in the moment b/c the language we're using is something from way before that wdn't exist as it does for you if you were only in the moment, its use relies on its vast history." You get the idea. Trevor hunts down the usually unexamined broader implications of egoism where few egoists have even had the imagination to consider going before.
"Solipsism slips in the egoist envelope. Solipsism is on board with the Unique One, going further to say that all else is a projection of that one. Egoism is okay with others existing, just not in elevating them above the Self. But who that Self is, and how there can be more than one One, and why it might be that others aren't just imagined, for these egoism is left shrugging." - p 14
I'm fascinated by solipsism in a similar way to how I'm fascinated by Zeno's Paradox. If one accepts that one's perceptual apparatus is the way thru wch one is able to perceive & if one accepts the notion that that perceptual apparatus is subjective by definition then one is confronted w/ the notion of one's subjectivity being the center of one's universe - in order to reach 'objectivity' one has to get halfway there 1st & then halfway there again.. ad infinitum. In the mid-1970s I coined the word OGJECTIVE to signify a state of perception that defies subjectivity and objectivity to prove themselves to be true. 'Reality' is a Möbius Strip of self-inclusive sets - but that doesn't make it any less painful.
"Politics, philosophy, ethics, all those thinky things, can be corralled into two camps. One is the prescriptive, which can tell you what to do. One is the descriptive, which tell you what happened. Egoism is an exceptionally isolated lone little doggie in the descriptive camp." - p 17
Blake at least tries to leave no stone unturned in his quest for philosophical self-definition - including a rock he cd hide under:
"My friends, I have my doubts about egoism. Sometimes My happiness is the happiness of others. I am bothered by lies, including My own. I think things and talk about things but don't act on them. I follow the herd. I hide My mutations. I am bound and fettered by space, time, money and mortality. I confess I am a failed egoist." - p 19
Blake might be hiding his mutations - but, having uncovered the rock he's hiding them under, some of their light is shining forth from this bk & giving the reader hope of basking in the warmth of the resultant illumination.
Max Stirner never wrote a single complimentary word about me so why shd I give a flying fuck about him?
August 29, 2019:
This issue of pataphysics and Neoism (their blankness, void of content and confusion alike) may be given further context in regard to Neoism's deconstructions of metaphysics due to its blank/empty prefix-suffix Neo-ism as a non-concept as regards Stewart Home and Florian Cramer's discussions of Neoisms epistemic ramifications, where they mention you, in (HOUSE OF 9 SQUARES: LETTERS ON NEOISM, PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY & EPISTEMOLOGICAL TREPIDATION by Stewart Home and Florian Cramer),
"Florian and I also agree that every narrative constructed around Neoism is inaccurate and manipulative. Given the success of my own particular historicisation of Neoism as a cultural movement in the tradition of the twentieth-century avant-garde, Florian's strenuous efforts to recontextualise it as an epistemological experiment in speculation must be viewed as Herculean. Florian, whose knowledge of rhetoric is both broad and deep, is to be applauded for his success in propagating a rival version of Neoism through the House Of Seven By Nine Squares web site.
In Florian's view, Neoism is a construction. The specific quality of Neoist constructs - such as 'Monty Cantsin' 'Akademgorod' or 'Neoism' - is that, rather than simply being arbitrary, they are self-contained signs and that everything done with them affects what they represent. I agree with Florian, but simultaneously insist that Neoism is no more ridiculous as a 'cultural' phenomenon than Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Lettrism or Situationism.
t,ac: "HOUSE OF 9 SQUARES: LETTERS ON NEOISM, PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY & EPISTEMOLOGICAL TREPIDATION by Stewart Home and Florian Cramer" having been published in 1997 (see this website: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/Book1997House.html ) we now have 22 more yrs of experience to study. While Neoism may be "no more ridiculous as a 'cultural' phenomenon than Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Lettrism or Situationism" that doesn't make it equivalent in other respects.
All of these 'groups' operated on the basis of speculation, aiming to create the illusion that a 'movement' that bore their name actually existed.
t,ac: It seems to me that movements exist when people act in the name of the movement. Why is that speculative? However, lumping "Situationism" in there seems a bit misguided. I've always accepted that there was/is no "Situationism", only Situationists. I accept the insider position as more valid than that of people trying to impose order from the outside.
Florian's position is not so very far removed from my own, although neither of us are likely to admit it. The 'avant-garde' has long denied its 'avant-garde' status because it does not wish to acknowledge the ebb and flow of its own discontinuous 'tradition'."
and later you are mentioned specifically in this regard by Florian,
[t,ac: Perhaps there was meant to be an image here that didn't make it to my end.]
"Luther Blissett wrote: "And what's more, most of the 'Luther Blissetts' (urgh!) have nothing to do with 'artistic milieus' but seemingly with the classic urban leftist ones: cultural terrorism, international gang of revolutionaries, mail artists, poets, performers, underground 'zines, cybernauts and squatters, effecting sabotages, hoaxes, urban legends, performances, magazines, bulletin boards and TV or radio broadcasts are spreading the name all over the world, psychogeographical warfare."
At present, Luther Blissett may be the most "alive" multiple name while Cantsin has tended to become rather speculative, an endlessly aporetical emblem of an arbitrary signifier that is stable at the same time. As mentioned in Cantsin's previous post, such a signifier cannot be exhausted in 'resistance mythologies' based on clear-cut twofold epistemologies. Like in Neoism before, this might be Luther Blissett's potential to trick his perpetuators. Cantsin
[t,ac: Is this cut off?]
John Berndt wrote to Luther Blissett: "What Monty Cantsin missed in her response to your news group posting is that there is no need to differentiate between using many names for one thing and one name for many things. The paradigmatic shift is the dissociation between names and things, ascending to a more refined spectrum of these dissociations which open up semantics. The contradictions so produced need to be potentiated towards the transformation of social reality, opening up the human psychology as well as the objectified realm of communication. Anything is Anything. There is no need to exclude or differentiate between them. An often missed factoid: Neoism itself is a multiple name. 'The Neoist Alliance' was an attempt to potentiate a contradiction in 'Neoism' by the following paradox: Neoism claims not to be limited so why can't it accept a Neoism that is limited to not be Neoism. Provable unprovability is provable or else untrue."
My reply: "Yes, but the attribute specific (multitude, hence specific, hence...) of Cantsin is to focus the paradox of that dissociation within one (multiple...) signifier. By saying that 'there is no need to differentiate between using many names for one thing and one name for many things' you're caught in the paradox that you actually 'name one thing' (etc.). Therefore, Cantsin remains [a signifier (a symbol, an allegory, a signified) of] a constant problematisation of one and multitude, signifier and signified, a differentiation always to be (somehow, temporarily) solved, but never dissolved. 'Anything is anything' is a paradox by the predication 'is', " "Anything is anything" is a paradox" is a paradox. Etc.. If there wasn't the 'dissociation paradox' (if 'anything could just be anything'), there wouldn't be the name 'Monty Cantsin'. Cantsin" Again many of our mutual head-shaking at Home's positions may indeed be linked to his self-profession,
"Obviously, we have different views about Neoism and various other matters, but I think your dislike of Hegelianism makes your response to Luther Blissett somewhat one-sided (Hegelianism is a tool, not something anyone with any sense actually believes in)."
t,ac: "Hegelianism is a tool, not something anyone with any sense actually believes in" strikes me as yet-another instance where Home uses a form of oblique intimidation to influence what other people are willing to admit to as their opinions.
In view of all this how do you relate the empty/blank non-conceptuality of Neoism (like many have pointed out in its parallels with the "nonsensical" term like Dada-ism) in relation to what you call in PSKS the "borderline tautological nihilism" of this Anything is Anything?
t,ac: Specifically, I wrote:
"Ignoring the "loss of unique factorization" that this example is used to demonstrate in Singh's bk, I'm struck by the incredibleness of taking a 'real' number (1) & adding an 'imaginary' number (the square root of -11) to it & then multiplying that times the same real number w/ the same imaginary number subtracted from it! It's a sortof borderline tautological nihilism, a startling example of what I'll later discuss as "anything is anything"."
The paragraph that precedes that is a quote from Simon Singh's "Fermat's Enigma - The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem":
""For example, if we restrict ourselves to real numbers then the number 12 can be factorized only into 2 x 2 x 3. However, if we allow imaginary numbers into our proof than 12 can also be factorized in the following way:
12 = (1 + the square root of -11) x (1 - the square root of -11)
Here (1 + the square root of -11) is a complex number, a combination of a real and an imaginary number.""
In mathematics, this "borderline tautological nihilism" is explored w/ an astonishing precision. In Neoism it's explored drunkenly, even by the sober people.
Since it transverses metaphysical demarcation/definition in a manner similar to the deconstruction of language games and their "Grand Narratives" its very postmodern and not merely because Hassan considers the 'nonsense' of the pataphysical part of the postmodern but I do press it as interlinking (albeit with incommensurable differends) because it acts as an imaginary solution of sorts to these ontological quagmires tied to this subject/object distinction problematic. Much like your 'OGJECTIVE' Derrida deconstructs Artaud's rare use of his neologism 'subjectile in the text the Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, where "Subjectile, the word or the thing, can take the place of the subject or object--being neither one nor the other." (61) Could you explain your position on the 'OGJECTIVE' more?
t,ac: Perhaps I use the word "ogjective" so rarely for what may be the same reason Artaud used the word "subjectile" rarely, I never developed the idea very far. For a class that I attended at a Community College when I was in my early 20s I was asked to define a word as a writing exercise. It was explicitly stated that the word cd NOT be made up. In full knowledge that I wd fail the assignment, I defined the word "ogjective". The idea was that I didn't find "objective" or "subjective" satisfying. Objective is dependent on an omniscience that strikes me as improbable & subjective is dependent on a separateness that strikes me as equally improbable. Ogjective is simply neither, it has no pretense of thoroughly detached omniscient understanding & no excuse of simple self-generation. Whatever might be stated under its umbrella can be taken at face value w/o having to be 'true' as self-expression of 'true' as 'reality'-defining.
August 31, 2019:
You're also mentioned in the ambiguity involved in the evasion of defining Neoism in the correspondences between Florian and Stewart, where Florian says to Stewart,
"Our 'different views about Neoism' result from your explanation of Neoism as a 'movement in the tradition of the avant-garde, particularly Situationism and Fluxus', which seems rather accurate for your own - Neoist and Pre-Neoist - activities and fields of interest, while the smarter half of the Neoists I know, the 'mind game players' as tENT calls them, (Ackerman, Tristan Renaud, Gordon W., Stiletto, John Berndt and last not least the Krononauts and tENT himself) certainly did not perceive Neoism as derived from that tradition, but as a 'mind game,' 'mad science' or whatever else, so that your characterisation misses the point by claiming to be a global characterisation. On the other hand, I agree that Neoism is completely laughable when considered a 'movement in the tradition of the modern art avant-garde,'
t,ac: This is a dynamic I frequently encounter. I explicitly state in lectures, interviews, & writing that I don't think of myself as an 'artist' - that, in fact, I find 'art' to be an over-used context that does more harm than good in terms of helping people understand the subject(s) under discussion. I've given at least one lecture where I made this point only to have an angry person say to me something to the effect of: "You say that you're an artist but I think you're a really bad one." This type of reaction just proves my point even further: the basic process at work here is that many or most people seem incapable of perceiving creative activity outside of an established context that, IMO, works counter to its full creativity. Since they are themselves limited in this way they then project their own limitations onto other people who aren't limited in that way & attack them on grounds that're completely misconstruing & irrelevant.
which would both hit the nail on its most blatant shortcomings, and, being the oxymoron it is, mark the structural irony of the whole enterprise. On the next-other hand, I am always astonished by your historification again since your pre-SMILE 8 writings clearly stress an interest in Neoism as 'experimental practical philosophy' which I share.
t,ac: "'experimental practical philosophy'" being much more to the point than slotting Neoism into an avant-garde lineage.
(One might claim that most 'avant-garde' movements were also experimenting with epistemologies, but I can hardly see this in the case of Fluxus (aside from Henry Flynt)
t,ac: Sure, Flynt approaches such things with the focus of a mathematician. Fine. Perhaps the question is: Are there indirect ways of questioning what constitutes valid knowledge? Or do these questionings always have to be framed w/in philosophical or other language-based discourses? The Fluxus artists used their own ways of working.
Off-topic from Fluxus but still on-topic regarding epistemology, I think of the sculpture that Richard (Tryzno Ellsberry) made for the 1980 Balti-Media Edition & Science Fair. He had a box with windows cut out of it. The box contained 2 or 3 common household objects & a red light. The windows allowed the viewer to see the objects inside. Outside was a sign identifying this as a hologram exhibit. Thanks to the influence of this simple sign people looking into the box were overheard saying things like "It looks so real!!" My point being that this sculpture was epistemological w/o being discursive.
and even less in the Debordist S.I.
t,ac: I admit to having had very little interest in the Situationist factions & to've largely forgotten what I once knew. As such, I may mention Situationists who were in opposition to Debord. Here goes anyway: Isn't Raoul Vaneigem's "Traité de savoir-vivre à l'usage des jeunes générations" ("Treatise on Good Manners for the Younger Generation" aka "Revolution of Everyday Life") epistemological? Doesn't it question the 'knowledge' base of the society it challenges? & what about René Vienét's "Can Dialectics Break Bricks?" Perhaps I'm not being rigorous enough - then again, there's a distinction between rigidity & rigor.
(Asger Jorn being the exception). I guess your argument is that these movements were particularly capable of 'practically' carrying out epistemological experiments, but then you make a distinction of 'theory' and 'praxis'/'base' and 'superstructure'/'signifier' and 'signified' that oddly falls behind your premises and interest in such discourses.)"
which soon after wanders back to our co-traveling paradoxes of Neoism and 'pataphysics,
"In an Internet news group, I stumbled over the foundation manifesto of the 'New England Institute of Pataphysics,' but, after corresponding with its chairman, it doesn't seem to be overly reflected and rather fall into the categories of college humour. The 'Internet Point Survey' got, unfortunately, the same impression of Neoism and The Seven by Nine Squares. I would have preferred any other description or misreading instead: "...This text-heavy monument to absurdist philosophy spends a long time making a point of its pointlessness, espousing a 'Neoist' belief in using 'fraud as a revolutionary device.' What this means is anybody's guess, but it looks a lot like pranks by college kids coupled with pictograms and (intentionally) confusing hypertext. Buried deep in this mish-mash are enough serious treasures to keep you tied up a while (such as The Gospel of Thomas in its entirety), and plenty of amusing/aggravating descriptions of experiments in being weird for the sake of weird. 'The lies of the last two hundred years,' the Neoists say, 'are nothing compared to the lies of the last two centuries.'"
t,ac: A Neoist & a 'Pataphysician are walking along & one of them says to the other: "If you can guess how many centuries I have trapped in my portable time machine I'll let you have both of them." The other person replies "Two", delighted with the stupidity of the 1st speaker. "Nope, I said "both" to fake you out" & then he scooped the loser into his time machine which turned out to be a completely harmless debraining machine.
Of course, the quote was made up by the reviewer. This all means nevertheless that The Seven by Nine Squares are rated 'among the top 5% of Internet sites' in the most important Net survey. They also had the honour of being 'Web of the Week' in the commercial British FLAMES magazine.
Your floppy disk came at the right moment as it allowed me to mail the Jorn critique to the New England pataphysicians - a critique which, upon re-reading, seems a hilarious polemic against a partially similar and therefore competing project (as Rumney says on the same page). While Jorn's Marxist categorisation of the history of religions may have a point in observing a late-modern tendency towards a 'pataphysical' occult underground and establishment manifested in movements like the Church of SubGenius (where the maxim 'anything is anything' might apply),
t,ac: "Anything is Anything" is a 'motto' I've been using since the 1970s, 1st published in my bk
t he bk
t he referent 4 wch consists of
t he non-materialized transparent punch-outs from a letter/whatever stencil
It's interesting to see the ways in wch it's resonated w/ John Berndt & Florian Cramer but it's unclear to me how it applied to the Church of the SubGenius.
the Discordians, the Crowleyean Satanists, the Steinerites or, in a negative sense, Scientology where in Korzybskian fashion all phenomena of equality or 'false identity' are attributed to the 'reactive mind' and subsequently 'cleared'. But Jorn overlooks gnosticism and Taoism entirely; bearing just those attributes he describes as 'pataphysical', they disprove the historical linearity of his theory. (After all, Jorn's critique of 'pataphysics' can easily be turned against the S.I. itself.)...
In my letter, I also forgot to mention a new book, "Destruktionskunst" (Destruction Art) by Justin Hoffmann, subtitled The Myth of Destruction in Art of the Early 1960s, Munich: Verlag Silke Schreiber, 1995 (ISBN 3-88960-033-6 - I got a review copy, so the book might not officially be out yet). While most of the material presented is well-known and - researched (Fluxus, Nouveau Realisme, S.I. and Vienna Actionism in detail up to a comprehensive chapter about the Yippies, Art Worker's Coalition, Kommune 1 and Provos) and the theoretical discussion is rather superficial, the book might be the first to cover Gustav Metzger's 'Auto-destructive art' in greatest detail - filling 20 pages about the three manifestos and the two lectures and another 20 pages about the London and New York symposia. The S.I. section is heavily drawing on "The Assault on Culture" and mainly serves to describe the development from the Spur group to K1 and the Baader-Meinhofs (Hoffmann seems to have difficulties making the S.I. itself productive for his subject). In fact, the whole chapter From artistic to political action (pp. 167-181) plagiarises "The Assault on Culture" while elaborating on the German and Austrian groups.
I used to know Hoffmann from his work as a freelance critic for "Kunstforum" and member of the Bavarian New Wave rock band FSK. "Destruktionskunst" is the book adaptation of his Ph.D. thesis. It exemplifies the typical sadness of the more ambitious feuilletonistic 'art' criticism in Germany in its desire to engage in a theoretical debate all the while referring to the usual second-rate works cited in the 'art' journals, i.e. Baudrillard, Wolfgang Welsch, Slavoj Zizek and the 'Post-structuralism for Beginners' readers."
and so with all of this in frame how would you say this juxtaposes with your so-called 'mind game' context for Neoism, in what ways is it informed by "postmodern" movements like post-structuralism or those like Henry Flynt and Fluxus or Jorn including Cobra and the Situationists?
t,ac: I'd say it's not 'informed' by any of those. I respect Flynt's Concept Art & Fluxus in general. I've pd very little attn to Jorn & Cobra. I know some Situationist work but have mostly found the writings too turgid to be fun to read. It may just be an inadequacy of the English translations. That doesn't mean that I dismiss any of these people or mvmts. Quite probably, I'd find them interesting & important in some way or another if I were to spend more quality-time studying them.
My referring to Neoism as a "mind game" originates w/ my November 6, 1994, text entitled "A Few Simple Statements about Neoism". The purpose of this text was to try to extricate Neoism from contexts (such as avant-garde art) that I thought were directing people away from a more insightful appreciation. My introduction to this text states:
Neoism is a mind game.
The purpose of the game is to provide stimulus for the players.
Playing the game comes naturally to the players.
People who aren't sure that they're Neoists aren't Neoists.
No-one is a Neoist all the time.
Not all mind games are Neoism.
25 yrs later, I'm still satisfied w/ this as being incisive.
Did you ever meet any of those writers from postmodern academia?
t,ac: I was on the same cable-tv panel w/ Sylvère Lotringer once as a part of the Ultimatum II: New Literatures festival in Montréal in 1987. The 1st time I remember reading such writing was probably in the Volume II, No. 3, 1977 issue of "semiotext(e)", the "Anti-Oedipus" issue. I had a subscription to "semiotext(e)". Lotringer was its General Editor. Perhaps it's oversimplifying to refer to the writers in that issue as "postmodern" but I tend to lump post-structuralism & post-modernism together. I respect Lotringer & "semiotext(e)".
Nonetheless, the gist of what I have to say about "postmodern academia" is that I'm not a part of it & I don't want to be. I consider myself to be an intellectual, but w/ the distinction that I'm a working-class intellectual. There're probably plenty of people that wd 'fit' in that category but the only people that occur to me at the moment are "Tom Collins" (Joseph Furphy, author of "Such is Life"), Cookie Mueller (perhaps best known as an actress in at least one John Waters movie but also the author of "Walking Through Clear Water In a Pool Painted Black"), & Primo Levi (whose "The Monkey's Wrench" novel is one of my main reasons for including him even though he may've come from a more privileged background than I wd prefer).
In other words, instead of formulating theories from the secure bourgeois safety of academia, I formulate theories at the same time that I'm struggling to survive in a capitalist society that I get to experience the more oppressive end of thru 1st-hand experience. How much is an academic steeped in privilege going to understand life conducted while working jobs that pay less-than-minimum-wage? I read "Finnegans Wake" when I was 22. How many academics, including professors who teach Joyce, have ever read Finnegans Wake"? There might not be any. Reading my critique of Gertrude Stein's "The Making of Americans" here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/42323-as-i-was-saying-the-making-of-americans-y-know will give you a more detailed idea of what I'm talking about. My movie "Living a Making" ( https://youtu.be/YSRsar8SfMg ) is also helpful.
***My next "question"/counter-move***
Considering this problematic of Duchamp's pata-/metageometry and second-order cybernetics feedback-loops or meta-phenomena, like those elaborated in Godel, Escher, Bach, as they related to your booed busking unit or Istvan's loop-machine, alongside pataphysical solutions (patamechanics) mentioned prior, how would say these parallel with the explorations in PSKSPTN in relation to Neoism as 'mind game' or open 'collective phantasm' when operating in this so-called anti-media ambiance of new/digital/social media and in what ways could this yield new (virtuactual) psychogeographic games/experiments?
t,ac: Alas, your question makes little or no sense to me. It seems to me that you're lumping & conflating many things together that I find to be uncomfortable fits. E.G.: My booed usic busking unit is what I call a portable Concrete Mixing studio for live electro-acoustic performance out on the streets & in other places where such events wouldn't ordinarily occur. I designed & co-assembled this device. Monty Cantsin Amen's use of the JamMan (the loop machine) is a very different thing. Loopers are commercially available devices made for & commonly used by many musicians. I wouldn't conflate the busking unit & the JamMan together at all.
As for "Paradigm Shift Knuckle Sandwich"'s parallels to things Duchampian & Hofstadterian ideas & their relation, as conducted through PSKS&oeofPNT, "to Neoism as 'mind game' or open 'collective phantasm' when operating in this so-called anti-media"?: I'm immediately a bit caught up by your use of the term "anti-media" ("so-called" or not) because that, of course, is the name of a book by Florian Cramer who, of course, is a fellow Neoist but isn't necessarily using that term as a Neoist term. Even though I love & respect just about everything that Florian creates I don't necessarily find the term "anti-media" useful - in or out of a Neoist context.
Moving on from that glitch, I do like the idea of a " 'collective phantasm' " as a critical term & the slippery slope of "virtuactual". Collective phantasm evokes for me Consensus Reality, something that I don't hear/read much about anymore. Neoism as a mind game deals with self-consciously playing with collective phantasms in contrast to 'society-at-large' in which collective phantasms are generated by robopath-inducing propaganda mass media mind control shaped by all sorts of censorship & spin doctoring - much of which is kept hidden by euphemisms. Just having a lively, critical , & creative mind in relation to such things is enough to generate "new (virtuactual) psychogeographic games/experiments" - although perhaps "psychogeographic" strikes me as less apropos than 'psychovirtuactualgeographic' insofar as there are both thought experiments & experiments out & about in the world.
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to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewee page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewer index
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to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page
to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience
to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important
for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..
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to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)